Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Winter is coming!

When I moved in to this house (very old mobile home), it had a wood stove that wasn't working very well. I bought new gaskets for the door and the glass, thinking that I could get it to seal up better and be truly air-tight. Unfortunately, the door is slightly warped, and there's nothing I can do to make it work. Consequently, I was never able to get a log to last all night, and the heater (electric forced air = $$) came on every morning about 4 am. I was thinking about this as we've started to cool off in the evenings (and the heater came on...).

Off an on, I've looked at Craigslist for wood stoves. The other day, I found one. It was a screamin' deal - a Vermont Castings, Intrepid II, the smallest stove they make - perfect for my house! And even better, they were asking $200. I made arrangements to pick it up, and after I gave her the money, told her what it was worth (like $5-700). She laughed and said it was too heavy to move and she was glad that I got it!

I installed it yesterday morning (the pipe really isn't crooked - it's the picture angle).

 And then I had to have a fire...

 It's going to be marvelous!! The stove that came with the house will live in the storage shed until I need to put it back (if/when I move).

Since we're expecting a cold front to move through tonight and last for the next few days, I thought I'd better get the one bed that has growing things in it winterized. I had installed the hoops shortly after building the bed and planting it. Currently growing in this bed are: 2 rosemary plants (temporary until I build the herb bed), 2 lavender plants (ditto), umpteen beets, a bunch of sugar peas (complete with string to climb), and a few carrots. I pulled the tomatoes a week ago - I didn't like the fruit, but the peafowl sure did! This freed up some space in which I'll plant lettuce or more beets. The plastic is 3 mil (not what I wanted but was available), and is attached using clips from Territorial Seed.

 The second bed, which will hold the brassicas (kale, broccoli and cabbage) got the manure spread on it, but needs to be dug in, hoops and plastic installed, and then watered before I can plant.
 My garden so far:
I'm planning to build another bed in the next week, as my garlic and shallots shipped yesterday (no pressure!!). I may intersperse some beets in that bed as well as the brassica bed, because you just can't have too many beets!!

I have fooled around with the drip system and finally came up with what I think will be the ticket. Each bed has a feeder line that enters up the side of the bed (see the middle photo). This line has a male threaded hose connection on it. I then build whatever that bed needs, with a female swivel hose connector on that. I can shut off beds by disconnecting the bed drip and capping the connector, or move the drip lines from bed to bed as I rotate crops. Like all things plumbing, there are always more parts that you need. I've learned my way around my local ACE Hardware's drip section, let me tell you!

One added benefit that I hadn't even though of has to do with electricity, not plumbing. I needed to put in ground rods for my electric fence. Down by the garden, the soil is less rocky, and with the watering going on, it's also damp, making it the perfect place for ground rods. With good ground, the charger will really pack a whollop, which will be needed for the new inhabitants when they arrive in a few days - but that's another post...

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