Not Quite Spring Yet

Getting close to spring.
Getting close to spring.

I love the four seasons, and after my 23rd winter her in the WI Northwoods, I am looking forward to the arrival of spring.  The birch trees are wonderful against the blue sky but I don’t see leaf buds yet, on the birches, they are often the last of the trees to leaf out.

Snow melt in the garden.
Snow melt in the garden.

Today there was not a lot of snow left in the garden, and we are looking forward to removing any remaining weeds, and northwoods plants.  I’ll be watching to see if the herbs survived the winter, and for the rhubarb to appear.

A homemade greenhouse being made.
A homemade greenhouse being made.

Earlier this week I came outside to find Char re-purposing the poles from an old art show tent into a homemade greenhouse.  She will finish it soon, and a neighbor is giving us some greenhouse plastic to cover it with.  Char will build bench/tables for inside.  We’re looking forward to giving this a try.  After the remaining snow melts and we level the ground, it will be moved back a bit further, closer to the “back” gate.

Greenhouse on the north side of the fenced garden area.
Greenhouse on the north side of the fenced garden area.

We will have access to the greenhouse from the path leading to the shed, and through the back gate when working in the garden.

A bit of green uncovered when the snow melted.
A bit of green uncovered when the snow melted.

We planted a few herbs along and inside the garden fence last year.   I spotted this bit of green today, and am so looking forward to see which plants survived the winter, hopefully all of them.

A year ago we started seeds in the basement, but they didn’t turn out as well as we’d hoped.  We may try it again, to get things started, then when it warms up enough, move them to the greenhouse where they will have plenty of natural light, and more warmth than they would have in the basement.

Unpicked apples.
Unpicked apples.

Normally, any apples left on the tree would drop to the ground in fall or in early winter.  This year, many of them have hung on, and they will be collected and taken out to the compost pile soon.  I’m a bit worried about the roots being so near the septic tank/system, and it is likely this apple tree will be taken down, and a couple new ones planted further away.  This tree has never been a big producer, though it is at least 14 years old.  The herbs and plants will be removed and the fence taken down, to make mowing this side yard easier.

The lake is still frozen.
The lake is still frozen.

Late this afternoon, I could see just a bit of water around the edge of the lake.  I’m really looking forward to open water, and the sight of loons, ducks, geese,  ospreys and eagles enjoying the area.  Something else to look forward to are the first sounds of spring peepers, then the nightly frog chorus, then loons, and in June, the return of the Whippoorwill making his nightly rounds around the house and area nearby.

Scrap of wood.
Scrap of wood.

A friend spotted this scrap of wood near the house, and I try to keep it sitting on the end of a log on the house.  Wind and squirrels frequently knock it to the ground.  Standing up, if the right hand end hadn’t been cut off, I’d “see” a howling wolf.  My daughter, however, see a snapping turtle when it is viewed horizontal as shown above. Living in a log home, with all ceilings, walls, and floors wood, you get used to “seeing” pictures in the knotholes.  I’ll have to post a few of them someday.

Wood, waiting for us.
Wood, waiting for us.

We still have several loggers cords of wood left to cut, split, and stack, which will provide us with good, dry wood for next winter. Meanwhile, I hope to get another 12 loggers cords of wood to have on hand, and have time to dry for the following winter(s).  Lots of work to do this spring/summer/fall!

The 5th season,... MUD season!
The 5th season,… MUD season!

As happens every year, the driveway and private road have had large areas of water from snow melt.  Driving over those areas creates muddy ruts, hard on cars, drivers, and passengers.  When things dry up, I’ll have someone come in (again) and do some grading.

Badger, waiting for the remaining snow to melt.
Badger, waiting for the remaining snow to melt.

Badger is waiting for the remaining snow to melt, as we all are. However,  WeatherBug has a winter advisory warning up tonight from later tomorrow Tuesday through Wednesday AM, 3″ to 5″ of new snow possible, along with sleet and freezing rain.   Nope, it’s not spring yet.

So, instead of an early start on gardening, I’ll continue weaving, preparing new work for the gallery, an art show, and the summer and fall art tours.   It’s going to be another busy year, “up north.”

Catching Up ~ Nov./Dec.

Nov. 11th snowstorm.
Nov. 11th snowstorm.

Winter arrived early, like a lion, with a huge snowstorm on Nov. 11th, dropping 23″ of snow on the 3″ or so base we had.

23" of new snow.
23″ of new snow.
Keeping the roof raked.
Keeping the roof raked.

We must have raked the snow off the roof at least three times during the storm.  Thank goodness a neighbor loaned us a snowblower for the winter!

Wet, uncut wood, now covered in snow.
Wet, uncut wood, now covered in snow.
Pioneer Maid woodburning kitchen range.
Pioneer Maid woodburning kitchen range.

We put this Pioneer Maid woodburning range in about 16 years ago, ordering it from Lehman’s Non-Electric catalog.  It has a warming oven, a nice, big firebox, and provides wonderful heat for several months of the year.

Badger, a Husky, joined us in early December.
Badger, a Husky, joined us in early December.

Badger, our Husky, joined us in early December.  He is 9 years old, good manners, and Char hopes to train him as a service dog for her.  (Char has Trigeminal Neuralgia, and Multiple Sclerosis.)  Badger LOVES the snow!

Dec. 11, FROST in the morning sun!
Dec. 11, FROST in the morning sun!

Dec. 11th was a beautiful sunny morning, and the frost on the trees was beautiful!

Frost, Dec. 11th.
Frost, Dec. 11th.

The WI Northwoods has great beauty year around, with special moments like this in winter.

Dec. 24th, arriving home in the afternoon.
Dec. 24th, arriving home in the afternoon.
Christmas Day evening, enjoying our tree.
Christmas Day evening, enjoying our tree.
Christmas Tree detail.
Christmas Tree detail.
Another snowstorm, Dec. 27th, brought heavy, wet snow.
Another snowstorm, Dec. 27th, brought heavy, wet snow.
Heavy, wet snow weighed   down tree branches and boughs.
Heavy, wet snow weighed down tree branches and boughs.
Our garden, resting until spring.
Our garden, resting until spring.

Catching Up ~ Sept./Oct.

We had been making numerous phone calls, trying to locate wood for the winter.  No one had any, no one was delivering, they were working to supply pulp mills, despite the ads in the newspaper.  We had our name on three lists,… THREE, and in the end, wood was delivered by only one.

We have been heating with wood for 22 years.  In the past, wood was delivered in May and June, it was not freshly cut, had already had some time to dry, and you had the summer to cut/split/stack it.

In summer we were told our wood would be delivered in early August; it was delivered on Sept. 3rd,  too late to get it all cut/split /stacked and time to DRY before it would be needed in the woodburning  kitchen range beginning in October.  This is a problem for people who heat primarily with wood.  The previous winter was so long, everyone ran out!  Even today, while in a local store, I heard a man asking if anyone knew where he could get dry wood.    So this winter, between  wet wood with insufficient time to try, and LP prices up because of the antics of the industry last winter, there are heating issues this time around!

Wood deliver, Sept. 3, 2014.
Wood deliver, Sept. 3, 2014.

Years ago you could order 5, 6, 7 or whatever loggers cords of wood as you needed.  Now, 12 loggers cords is the minimum suppliers will deliver.

12 loggers cords of wood stacked.  Usually somewhat dry, this year it was newly cut.
12 loggers cords of wood stacked. Usually somewhat dry, this year it was newly cut.
The shed is nearly full.
The shed is nearly full.

We had cut down three oak trees, and that wood was in the shed before the wood delivery.  There are still several loggers cords of wood  not yet cut.

Stacked wood!
Stacked wood!

With a full wood shed you feel ready for winter, ice storms, loss of power,… you know you can stay somewhat warm, provide hot meals for your family, and heat water for washing.

Looking into the woodrange firebox.
Looking into the woodrange firebox.
Newly refinished studio floor!
Newly refinished studio floor!

The studio floor refinishing project was completed in time for the fall Northwoods Art Tour, Oct. 10-11-12.

Halloween day snowstorm!
Halloween day snowstorm!

We often get two or three snowfalls before the end of October.  This fall, if memory serves, we had snow early in October, and again at the end, and it did not melt.  Shovels and woodburner were put into action earlier than usual.

 

Catching Up ~ July/Aug. 2014

Somehow 2014 became very busy and time got away from me.  So now, before New Year’s Eve, I am playing “catch up” on the blogs so I can begin anew with the New Year.

I was busy with weaving, Sarah was busy with her two part-time jobs which equal a full-time+ job in hours, and Char was busy working on the house, garden, and her own art (woodworking).

Preparing and fencing a garden area was completed, seeds and plants we’d started were put in, and more work was underway in the house.

Northwoods Art Tour, July 24-25-26, 2014.
Northwoods Art Tour, July 24-25-26, 2014.

In July we were ready for the Summer Northwoods Art Tour, July 24-25-26.  Lights had been installed in the weaving studio, and work was progressing on refinishing the floors.

Our garden in sumner, 2014.
Our garden in sumner, 2014.

The garden was growing, we were able to eat fresh vegetables all summer, but because it was so cool, it didn’t perform as well as we’d hoped.

Fresh salad from our garden!
Fresh salad from our garden!
Sliced Watermelon Radishes from our garden.
Sliced Watermelon Radishes from our garden.
Our own Red Potatoes and Snap Beans.
Our own Red Potatoes and Snap Beans.
Frittilary butterflies enjoyed the sunflowers and oregano!
Frittilary butterflies enjoyed the sunflowers and oregano!

We’re planning another garden for 2015, the same size, a few less vegetable varieties, and another 3-4+ trees will need to be taken down for additional sunlight.  We’re also figuring a way to cover part of it, if another cool summer, to provide more warmth and growing time.

Updating Screens

Newly updated screens.
Newly updated screens.

“Home” is a rustic log home, everything is wood both inside and out,… walls, ceilings, floors, doors, cupboards,… everything.  That is a lot of BROWN.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this log home, but after 18 years I’ve gotten a bit hungry for COLOR.

We were discussing the weather-worn wood of the screens and storm windows as well as making them tighter.  They leak cold air in winter and bugs in summer.  The possibility of painting them came up so I spent 2+ weeks bringing home color chips from paint stores and auditioning them next to exterior stained logs, then graduating to small sample cans of paint in a couple colors.  Then I changed my mind again, deciding the blue needed to be toned down a bit more, and decided on a muted blue/teal color.  The final color choice,  a color similar to the background of a couple rosemaled plates I painted back in the early 1980’s, is Valspar Exterior Flat “Shipshape.”

We tried it on a a screen frame, decided it would take a little time to get used to it, and Char has proceeded to take the screens apart, paint the wood frames, add in new screening (bug-resistant), and adding a weather-strip on the top and one side to tighten up the fit in the window frame.  Excellent!  Char replaced the screening on the patio sliding screen door, too.

It’s a banner year for mosquitoes, and they are making life slightly miserable.  In town today, someone told me there isn’t an insect fogger left anywhere!  Now, there are fewer mosquitoes inside, mostly coming in anytime a door is opened.

Fan incorporated into a garage window screen.
Fan incorporated into a garage window screen.

A couple days ago Char also decided she could mount a fan into a screen for a garage window, to help remove dust and fumes, which should be a help to her.  And for the first time ever, the garage has screens on both sides for cross-ventilation.  Excellent.

The newly refurbished screens are on at least one window in each room, and the rest will be done over the summer.  Right now, Char is anxious  to get to work on the remaining two sides of garden fence, which will be made of wood and painted the same blue/teal. Stay tuned!

Our New Vegetable Garden!

Clearing area for garden.
Clearing area for garden.

I’ve lived here for 18 years, but we never had a “real garden” on this property.  This area has always been covered with brush, ferns, and a few wild raspberry canes.  That has changed!  Char and Sarah worked hard and removed the brush, rocks, and three smaller trees. It was time to begin tilling while we waited for a tree service to take down four trees, two of them next to the new garden.  When Char began tilling, she expected to find sand, and happily found soil, possibly from decades of leaves and ferns being undisturbed.

Char begins tilling.
Char begins tilling.

We rented a tiller for 1.5 days from a local business to turn the new area over two or three times.  Char had already marked out the garden perimeter.

A dyeing Red Pine was removed.
A dyeing Red Pine was removed.

I’ve always loved this Red Pine, was nine years of drought took its toll.  There were many dead branches.  This pine along with a nearby oak, in summer, shaded the new garden area.  They were professionally taken down as we didn’t want them to fall on the house. We then spent a couple days cutting up and removing branches from the yard.

Middle section of the pine falling to the ground.
Middle section of the pine falling to the ground.
Pat Indermuehle helping move the tree trunks.
Pat Indermuehle helping out with his Bobcat.

A friend, Pat Indermuehle, of Conover Gardens Fresh from the Vine, brought his Bobcat over to move additional soil into the garden.

Pat with his tractor tilling the garden even deeper.
Pat with his tractor tilling the garden even deeper.

Pat spent time here moving the tree trunks from the garden vicinity, then went over the new 39′ x 53′ area twice with his tractor/tiller.

"Raised beds" being formed.
“Raised beds” being formed.

Once the tilling was finished, Char went to work raking twelve long “raised beds” which are now ready for planting.  They will be divided in half to allow for drainage.

Two sides of the garden currently have wire fencing.  I’d hoped we would put wood fence around it, but $800+ was more than I could do, so two sides will be fenced with wood in the next few days. Meanwhile, we’ll begin planting seeds.  As soon as the garden is totally fenced in, we can put our plants we began weeks ago.  The garden has a back gate near the compost bin(s).  Char has already built a trellis/gate nearer the house, waiting to be painted.

View of home from the garden.
View of home from the garden.
Lilac buds finally emerged after the long winter.
Lilac buds finally emerged mid-May after the long winter.
Little Porcupine visiting again.
Little Porcupine visiting again.

We have three porcupines visiting us nearly daily (or nightly).  This young one, another probably its mother, and an older one, with quite a bit of gray (no photo yet).

As work is proceeding, we’re coming up with expanded plans, including moving the wood shed next year, clearing a good share of “the island” in the driveway so we can plant fruit trees.  A lot of work ahead but the results, over time, will be wonderful.

Signs of Spring

Char took this photo of two of the deer that visit the yard almost daily, this day enjoying a few treats from the kitchen.

White-tail deer visiting the yard.
White-tail deer visiting the yard.

We still have some snow in shady areas, like this 5′ high snowbank courtesy of the snowplow.  Probably just a few more days.  And yesterday, the ice was gone from the lake.  Now we see Merganser and Bufflehead ducks, Canadian Geese, and Loons.

Leftover snow.
Leftover snow.

Three days ago Char was diagnosed with a form of facial neuralgia, and three days of frustration followed at not being able to make progress on the jobs she has lined up around the house.  Today, she want out and set up our first compost bin.  Sarah and I then did more raking and placing the leaves/grass/needles into the new bin.  We’re looking forward to using the compost in the organic garden we will be setting up this month.

First of the compost bins.
First of the compost bins.

In the last three days, Char has filled in five badger holes around the yard, including these two we found late this afternoon at the edge of the old garden fence.   We haven’t seen it yet, but there was a badger two and three years ago, and I was able to get a few photos once. We’ll keep watching and keep a camera handy.

Badger holes at fence of old garden.
Badger holes at fence of old garden.

Mid-afternoon today I suggested a walk on the county land, before ticks and mosquitoes are out.  We saw porcupine and bear scat as well as critter tracks including those above which we believe might be from a young bear.

Tracks of a young bear?
Tracks of a young bear?

Char spotted a hole in a bank that we believe is of a fox or badger.

Badger or fox den?
Badger or fox den?

Walking along the logging trail, Sarah looked down to find a deer antler, adding it to the collection we have at home.

Sarah found a deer antler!
Sarah found a deer antler!

When we moved here, we found the remains of what was probably an old hunting shack.  There was a lawn chair in it, and if I remember correctly, a small pot-belly stove.  A few years later, the shack had fallen, and this is all that remains now, the little stove gone.

Old hunting shack is long-gone.
Old hunting shack is long-gone.

The boggy area has water again.  After years of drought it had dried up, and we were pleasantly surprised to find water there again today.  Hopefully, that is a good sign for the lake coming back up, too.

Boggy area has water again!
Boggy area has water again!

Yesterday, we transplanted several vegetables and some sunflowers, and Sarah was starting more seeds.  The day before, Char made more progress on building of bee supers and frames, and the supers are now painted white.  Photos soon.  Lots of progress in many areas, slightly behind in others, and it will all be done in good time.

April – In and Out Like a Lion

Day before the big snowstorm.
Day before the big snowstorm.

Warnings were up a day or more before the April 17th snowstorm. The critters new something was coming, we had seven deer drop by.

April 17, 2014, 5:37 AM.
April 17, 2014, 5:37 AM.

Snow and wind arrived during the night, thus began the biggest snowstorm we had during the winter of 2013-2014, even though officially it was spring.

Spring was postponed for the big snow accumulation.
Spring was postponed for the big snow accumulation.

This photo was a little after 8:30 AM, and the inches were piling up.  Char had shoveled the sidewalk twice the evening before, and by mid-day there was an another 12″ of snow, for a total of 16″ to 18″.

Looking north.
Looking north.

I went upstairs to look out the north window, out the loop driveway. No one was going out that day, even my car would probably not have gotten far.

Snowplow guy is stuck in the driveway!
Snowplow guy is stuck in the driveway!

The man who plows for us arrived as the storm was winding down, made part of one pass and was stuck.  He had to return a couple hours later with an endloader, to get his truck out, and to clear the snow from the driveway and private road.

Look!  It's a SNOW BUNNY!
Look! It’s a SNOW BUNNY!

Easter Sunday was just a couple days away, so Sarah and Char went out and built a 6′ Snow Bunny!

The feeders were popular!
The feeders were popular!

Snow had to be swept and the railing cleared for seeds for the wildlife.

My fleece washing area on the lakeside porch.
My fleece washing area on the lakeside porch.

A few days later, we had a couple warm days.  A good job done then was clean up the lakeside porch, set up the grill, assemble the picnic table, and I set up a fleece washing area.  Now, I just need the weather to cooperate!

The nook has been remodeled.
The nook has been remodeled.

As the kitchen floor refinishing was winding down, and the weather was uncooperative, Char took the opportunity to install the new shelves, extending the work surface area of the island.  It is now a baking and food prep area!  An electrical outlet will be installed soon for the Cuisinart mixer, food processor, etc.

Shelf support(s).
Shelf support(s).

The topic of what to use for supports for the shelves came up, and looking outside, and at the rest of the house, I suggested a tree could be cut down, cut in half, and used.  And here they are!  (Above and below.)  They are drying now and will be stained and finished in a few weeks.

Another shelf support.
Another shelf support.
Under the snow lies the future garden area, approximately 35' x 40'.
Under the snow lies the future garden area, approximately 35′ x 40′.

We have our work cut out for us.  First, clearing two or three oak trees, then the ferns that will be coming up, building raised beds, and fencing the entire area to keep deer, badgers, and other wildlife out.

First oak tree down.
First oak tree down.

We had a decent day and went to work outdoors.  Char cut down three oak trees of various diameters.  Banches were trimmed off, some kept which will be cut into pieces for kindling for building fires in the kitchen woodrange next winter.

Perhaps 50-70 years old?
Perhaps 50-70 years old?
Second oak tree down, thanks to Char!
Second oak tree down, thanks to Char!

Char took down a second oak tree, then a sapling.  The smallest was very close to a big pine, the other two would shade the garden too much in summer.  While Char was taking down trees, Sarah and I were raking and trimming tree branches.

April 29th, snow/sleet/rain precipitation.
April 29th, snow/sleet/rain precipitation.

Just as we’re looking forward to getting more work done outside, April 29th was snow/sleet/rain.  We were no longer amused.

Birds, squirrels and chipmunks visit all day, everyday.
Birds, squirrels and chipmunks visit all day, everyday.
Bee supers, built by Char.
Bee supers, built by Char.

Frustrated by the weather, we went back to work in our studios.  Char and I had been to a lumberyard, looking at wood for garden fence and bed so we could estimate costs.  While there we found smaller end cuts of wood.  Char went to work building supers for bees, then the needed frames for inside.

Did I mention, in addition to the garden, we’re going to have bees this year or next, build a “greenhouse” over the basement walkout area which faces south, and possibly have a few chickens!  All the things I dreamed about 18 years ago when we bought this place are finally going to happen, one step at a time.  None would be possible if Sarah and Char were not here.  We make a good team!

 

Busy, Busy Days

Before and after!
Before and after!

Three families have lived in this house over the past 22 years, a total of at least 9 children, 2 large dogs, and several cats, and it has taken quite a toll on the plank floors.  Tracking sand in on shoes over those years did not help.  They need to be refinished!

I had thought I would have to rent a sander and dreaded the thought of all the dust that would be everywhere.  Char came up with an idea,… she had purchased a planer and said she could take the boards up, run them through the planer, and put them back down again, then stain and finish.   She started with the kitchen.

22 years of dirt that had worked between and under the boards.
Twenty-two years of dirt that had worked between and under the boards.

Over the years the boards had shrunk, making it easy for sand/dirt to go down between them.  What a mess!  Twenty-two years of dirt to vacuum up as the boards were taken up.

Restored Floor 04-07-2014
Planed boards back in place exactly as they were.

Char numbered the boards as they were taken up, and they were put back down as when the house was originally built, and they were again beautiful!

Char, very pleased with how the floor was taking shape.
Char, very pleased with how the floor was taking shape.

We had a couple days off from work on the floor, when the water pressure tank for the well decided to fail.  Off to purchase a new one along with all the fittings needed.  Later that evening Char had the new tank installed and working.  The next day, she went back to work on the floor.

Char giving the boards the first of two coats of MinWax "Natural" stain.
Char giving the boards the first of two coats of MinWax “Natural” stain.

We decided on MinWax stain and finish, using two coats of “Natural” stain and two coats of poly semi-gloss finish.

A newly refinished kitchen floor!
A newly refinished kitchen floor!

Most of the floor is done, and trim and kick plate will be installed. Next Char will take up the area between the kitchen and my weaving studio, then the studio floor.  After that, entry/laundry room floor.   It’s been a lot of work for her but we are really enjoying the results!

New baking area, in progress, 04-08-2014
Baking/prep area, a work in progress.

The kitchen table is back in the center of the room (not shown), and the island has been moved over to the “nook” area where a baking/prep area is being created.  This area is a work-in-progress, as a new light will be put in, shelves, and an electric outlet.  I’ll be able to bake,… with a view!

Sunday afternoon bread baking.
Sunday afternoon bread baking. 

Char and I have a very workable arrangement,… she loves to cook, I don’t.  I like to bake, Char doesn’t.  So, Char cooks the meals, and I’m getting back to baking.   Today it was bread baking, two loaves of “white” (organic unbleached flour) and one loaf of cinnamon swirl.  I have two large bowls (one shown above) that are great for bread dough to rise in.

Time to shape loaves.
Time to shape loaves.

After rising for one hour the dough was turned out, kneaded briefly, and divided for three loaves.

Bread, fresh from the oven.
Bread, fresh from the oven.

We’re looking forward to a slice of  Cinnamon Swirl toast in the morning.

Freshly baked bread sliced for our evening meal.
Freshly baked bread sliced for our evening meal.

Delicious!

Sunday evening dinner.
Sunday evening dinner.

Our Sunday evening dinner was Char’s chicken/vegetable/noodle soup along with freshly baked bread.  Mmm,… delicious on a cold evening.

Seeds sprouting after only 4 days.
Seeds sprouting after only 4 days.

I need to go down and get a new photo, as the seedlings are growing. The seed packets indicated 21 to 28 dates for the seedlings to emerge,… this was after 4 days!  We’re a bit late getting the next group of seeds planted, and must make time.

As I write this on 04/14, at 1:20 AM, it is snowing with a couple inches of new snow on the ground already.  Hopefully it won’t last long.  We still have a fair amount of winter snow yet, and the lakes are still covered with ice.  We are looking forward to warmer weather and being able to begin working on our garden.

Meanwhile, work continues in our studios.  Sarah is working on her bracelet and necklace jewelry, Char works in her woodshop, and I’m preparing to warp the Glimakra Standard loom again.

Creating Spring

A few gardening catalogs.
A few gardening catalogs.

Shortly after Sarah and Char moved in, we began discussing putting in a vegetable garden this spring.  In January I requested several gardening and heirloom seed catalogs.  We browsed through them, deciding on vegetables and varieties and placed an order near the end of January.  In February, needing a bit of “retail therapy,” I ordered a variety of flower seeds, those that are good for bees, hummingbirds, to help with insects in the garden, and/or simply for beauty.

Mapping out planting times.
Mapping out planting times.

We went through all the seed packets, setting aside those that could be planted directly into the garden, and focusing on those we could start indoors.  Taking into account last frost here (mid-June in Zone 3) and length of growing season, then working back to when seeds would need to be started.

Our discussion  moved to bees dying around the world, and perhaps we should have bees.  Those plans are in the works for perhaps this summer, definitely next summer.

We don’t have a greenhouse yet, so we were coming up with ideas of how we could start the seeds and transplants, in a dim, log home.  We decided to screen in a large table in the basement and hang adjustable lights over it.  Why screen it in?  Seven cats!  We didn’t want them dining on the seedlings, or even worse, using the area as an alternative “sandbox.”

Preparations for enclosing the table.
Preparations for enclosing the table.

Fiberglass screening was purchased, wood and tools gathered, and two more fluorescent light fixtures, on chains so they can be lowered or raised as needed, were installed.

Not cat-proof yet!
Not cat-proof yet!

This is Boo, who had to come check things out and try to nest on the screening.  Did I mention there are SEVEN indoor cats?

The new seed-starting enclosure!
The new seed-starting enclosure!

The entire tabletop is enclosed now, complete with two doors for easy access for watering, moving trays, and adjusting lights.  We expect to fill the enclosure.  Thanks you, Char, this should work well!

Easy access!
Easy access!
Seed Starting, 3-28-2014 (3) - Copy
Newly planted seeds.

Yesterday afternoon we began by planting red (sweet) peppers, delphiniums, and three varieties of snapdragons.  Planted, spritzed from above and water in the trays below to wick up, now we wait, and soon, check the list and start the next group.

As I write it is 36 F. and there are a lot of drips raining down off the roof.  Tomorrow is supposed to be in low 40’s, Monday perhaps 47 F. and rain, then Tuesday,… back to snow?   We need spring!

Home, Nature, and Creative Work in the WI Northwoods