Sunday, April 1, 2012

26-31 March, 2012 - Book Finished, Root Cellar, Spring Planting

I finally got the book ready to go to the publisher.  I pushed some long days this past week to finish it up.  The total length ended up being 188 pages plus 14 pages of photo captions for 144 photos.  We'll see how many they actually use!  It's so nice to have it done ... for now!  Monday I need to start on an article that was sent back with a request to make some changes.  I dug my archery target out of the snow and have it set up on some bare ground so I can start shooting again.  I've missed that over the winter.  

We have/had two roosters and since only one is needed I butchered on of them.  This one was chosen because he displayed some aggression towards me.  Bad mistake and the last one he made.  He was sure good eating though.

Since the weather's warmed up and we have bare ground again I've been letting the chickens out to look for seeds and bugs.  We're down to four hens and one rooster now.  These three are our oldest hens.  They're hitting around five years old now but still laying well.  We'll be sorry to see them go and hope to hatch out some replacements before they die.  Two of them will actually hatch out eggs and we'd like to see that trait in their progeny.  They are laying eggs again but the numbers are inconsistent this time of year.

The cat took a break from the outside to get some sleep inside.  Scott must be asleep because the cat doesn't dare close his eyes if Scott is up.

We've started our outside work now that the snow is leaving.  Susan got the ladder out and did some limb pruning.  WE also have some trees to take out soon.  One is big and bowed and I'm not looking forward to cutting it down.  There'll be pictures when it happens!

Susan took part in a talent show with some friends last Friday.  They did some numbers from the Andrew Sisters.  They were pretty good but we didn't stick around for the awards.  Our son was treating us to a movie so we sent to see it right after her number was done.

Scott loves being out of the house and somewhere in his wanderings (he leads, we follow ... usually because he's got a grip on our finger) he ends up by the U-Haul camper.  He remembers he has a toy box inside so we make a short stop there so he can visit them.

He's "helping" me do a Sudoku puzzle while I'm laying on the floor by the wood stove.  He does his best to sit on the book then scribbles on whatever's showing under his feet or legs.

He's helping wash dishes now.  I now have to get out two sponges because he wants one too.  Everything takes three times as long to get done now but it's a lot more fun doing it. 

Scott's uncle Tristan and his wife came for a visit.  Tristan and Krystina are his favorite aunt and uncle.  He really gets excited when they show up.

While putting the photos together for the book I scanned some of them that showed us building the root cellar.  This is the beginning where we all pitched in to get started.  I marked off where to dig and we got busy.  It was all dug by hand by Susan and I and the kids.  Starting on the left you can see Becky, Emily, me, Tim (behind me and Tristan), and Tristan.  It was one of those projects that the kids worked on while I was at my job then I worked at it when I was home.  If they hit an obstruction it waited until I got home to take care of it.  I remember once when they had a bunch of tree roots in the way and one large rock to deal with.  Emily was about 10 at the time and she and I worked on it one Saturday morning.  For some reason everyone else was gone so it was just her and I.  She took a little garden trowel and began excavating around the rock while I used a mattock to cut through the roots.  She talked non-stop for about an hour while we worked.  All during that time she was digging around the rock with the trowel.  When I finished with the roots she had it worked lose enough that I could pry it out with a bar.  We hooked the chain around it and pulled it out with the pickup.  Have I ever mentioned that we have a lot of rocks around here?  We put in a lot of hours getting this place habitable.  Those are good memories. 

When we had it deep enough we put logs across the top of the hole then nailed boards across the logs.  We put a sheet of plastic over the boards, then six inches of dirt then another sheet of plastic then more dirt then another sheet of plastic and another layer of dirt.  The multiple layers of plastic keep the dirt over the roof from getting saturated too deeply with water.  We hope this keeps the weight down and helps insulate the cellar.  It must do alright because the temperature stays relatively constant (45 degrees + or - 5 degrees) no matter how high (95 to 100 degree highs) or cold (down to 25 to 30 below)

The cellar filled the first fall and ready for winter.

The door is on now and it's looked like this for about eight years now.  The only thing we should maybe have done different is we do not have a vent in it.  It hasn't been a problem though.  Our root crops keep for almost a year when stored there.  Condensation can be a bit of a problem with metal cans or jar lids.
The package says to plant as soon as the ground can be worked so Susan was busy planting snow peas today.

She also thought it would be good to get the winter squash started.

...and get some flowers in the planters.

Okay ... It's April Fools Day!

Have a good one!

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