Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This weekend was particularly productive at Powell Cottage. I planted peas, and onion sets, and seed potatoes, and tomatoes, and peppers, and beets, and radishes, and spinach, and kale, and brussel sprouts, and lettuces (lots of lettuces) and other things that I can't think of right now. Seeds and sets, all the window sills are full and the onion bed has about 100 onions planted, and the potato tower is started. The shed is cleaned out. Oh, oh, oh and the asparagus is planted. I have high hopes for this asparagus. I have organized a place for the new raised bed by placing loads of large, leftover, plastic pots side by side in the area where the new bed will be. I am thinking that along with a new deck I will build a new trellis as well to shield the sun from my window but not necessarily from the ground so that the ground can still be productive. It's a theory anyway. Also my comfrey root and salsify arrived. I will open them when I go home. January is feeling really good right now! Really Springy!

My house is doing better as well. The den is better, but not great. The kitchen is better, but not great. The living room is not great. The bathroom is not great. The guestroom/closet is not great. And the bedroom is horrible. ...after writing this it doesn't look as if my house is doing better, but unfortunately this assessment is better than it was. Ugh!

My energy level is up. I am attributing it to my better financial status, and my improved outlook. Now it give myself pats on the back for coming up with free ways to do whatever it is that I want to do and I spend time working on what I have already got going on and not thinking up new things to start. This may be the best thing that comes out of hard times.

I also prepared the way for my shed water collection system this weekend. My plan is to gutter the shed and have the water flow into water barrels along the back of the shed. That's the plan anyway.

I seem to have lots of ideas these days. I evaluate them on whether or not they will save me money. No gas heat in the Winter is saving me money I think. The electricity bills will tell, but if heating 2 rooms with a space heater turns out to be cheaper than heating a whole house with gas; that is what I will do from now on.

Becoming self sufficient on my little 1/4 acre is the ultimate goal here at Powell Cottage.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Narcissis are Blooming!

And the daffodils are coming up. Spring seems to come so fast after Christmas in Texas. Tonight it is supposed to be 27 degrees outside, so the temperature will seem like Winter, but it should be near 60 on Saturday. As I have said before Winter is a roller coaster ride.

I noticed on the weekend that the violets are coming up in the portion of my 1/4 acre that I consider the natural area. I have many areas in my yards. In back there is the lawn area which gets smaller every year and the shade garden area, and the back corner cover in Vinca Major and marked by my stone wall, then there is the shed, behind the shed not yet identified for use but I am thinking green house, there is the chicken yard/coop, the brush pile, the compost stable, the natural area under the pear trees, the clothes line area, the vegetable garden area which expands every year and the pond. The area near my back door currently has a very small deck but I have dreams of a screened in porch. That pretty much covers the back yard....the front yard is another story-for later.

I have been watching the GardenGirl online now for a few days and I really think she is inspiring. I have going to try to put a link to her on this blog...but it you don't see it then I didn't figure out how. Wishing you a deep Winter's sleep and dreams of Spring from Powell Cottage.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Peas Are In!

Today the high was 53 degrees, but planting peas made it seem like just the right temperature. I planted 3 types of peas and I innoculated the seeds and I have actually recorded the types and mapped their location so I might really be able to make a decision about how they do.

Under my hoop house there is lettuce, and parsley, and cilantro, and spinach, and grass and henbit. Ugh!

I put up a potato tower, but my nursery didn't have seed potatoes yet, so it is loaded with a layer and hay, and leafs, and some beautifully aged compost. It ready whenever the seed potatoes arrive.

Tomorrow it is supposed to be warmer than today, but then a strong cold front should be coming thru. North Texas Winters are always a roller coaster ride.

It's always a ride here at Powell Cottage.

Winter is Here

It has be cold here at Powell Cottage this week. In my part of the world cold means lows near freezing. I bring the chickens in when the cold is near freezing. Yes, my Dad, the farmer, thinks I am nuts, but I only have 3 chickens and I put newspaper down on the washing machine and they roost there quietly all night.

This year I am trying something new at bedtime. I have started using bed curtains and I am amazed at the difference it makes. The house can be much colder than I would have normally accepted and I am all warm and snuggley. Of course, there is the additional heat of up to five dogs inside my bed curtains and they help.

This weekend I will check under my unoffical green house and see how everything is going. We shall see.

I am planning on buying many of my seeds this year from Seed Savers. I want to join and I will as soon as I have the extra few dollars. I am excited about growing heritage vegetables and saving my own seeds for next year. The way I see this is every year I can buy a few new and interesting seeds to try, saving my old seeds from last year, and eventually I will have all the seeds I could ever want and just have to spend money on some new find if and when that occurs. Always thinking of ways to save.

I need to put gutters on my garden shed. My plan is to use rain water to irrigate the small wild patch in the southeast corner of my garden. I might sound like a good spot to grow something, but it is very shaded by a 6 foot fence on the south, and oak tree on the east, and the shed on the west. Mostly is is covered in Vinca Major, a Red Bud tree, and some daffodils in the winter. The Vinca Major looks very scraggledy in the Summer, so rainwater is my answer. Maybe if I collect enough water I could plant some shade loving plants that need more water than we have naturally.

I guess that's all from Powell Cottage today. Cheers!