Hi everyone! Yes, I am still alive. I normally like to write about twice per week, so going two whole weeks without any posts seems crazy! But between a week long family vacation to Door County (plus the extra day of work before you leave, and the whole day or more that it takes to pack for all of the kids and us, all of the unpacking when you get home, and the stomach bug you get- of course- when you get back… wow).
Anyways, there is soooooooo much going on at the house I don’t even know where to begin! I’ll go into more detail on these later, but just to give you an idea, here is the current projects list:
- Cleaning up old and overgrown berry beds in the orchard and adding new bushes- think thornless berries! The kids went out at lunch today and came back with buckets of blackberries, and even some mulberries from the mulberry tree- which, until we saw this one, I’d only really ever heard of in nursery rhymes, haha. The goal is to add more raspberries and bring back the strawberries and blueberries though. 🙂
- We discovered that some of our best plum trees (2 of my favorites in particular- the Mount Royal and Long John) have contracted Black Knot and need to be removed from the orchard completely before they infect all of the other trees. I just hate cutting down such mature trees but it has to be done.
The Potting Shed
- The potting shed is being renovated! It is incredibly old and the smell reminded me of my grandpa’s old lake house, in a good way though. I believe it is original to the property, which makes it about 90 years old, which makes me love it even more! Unfortunately, years of no gutters made for years of water in the walls, which we discovered had lead to tons of black mold behind the charming old cabinetry. Nooooooo! It had spread to so many things, and being as dangerous as it is, we had to practically gut it. I almost cried that day. I know that might seem silly, but it’s one of the things that made me love the house- that sweet old potting shed. No worries though, we plan to restore it, and then some- stay tuned!
- We have had some serious amounts of buckthorn removed- wow!! I was amazed how many wonderful oaks and maples were hiding (and being strangled) in all of that. I’ll put up a video and some before and after pictures. The transformation is amazing, and we haven’t even cleared the chipped brush yet! It has opened up acres of sunlit forest and, dare I say, space for new flowers (I hope my husband isn’t reading this- he may kill me, haha!)
- The small kitchen garden path and large stone stairs that led up to the back kitchen door are being torn up, excavated, and relaid. The whole area has been sinking over the past 20 years or so and is causing water to flow into the basement. The lesson here is to always do it right the first time. If you are building a stone, slate, brick, etc patio up against your house anywhere- for goodness sake pour a proper foundation! DO NOT skip this step. If it is just on layers of gravel and sand, over the years, it will eventually shift a bit, which can lead to much larger costs down the road. And when you excavate to pour the foundation, go the extra mile and waterproof your foundation block. There is a thick black substance that can be painted on and is worth every penny- trust me!
- The garden fence is finally going back up- hooray! This spring, one heck of a wind storm knocked a large tree right into the garden, taking out a big section of the white picket fence. Turns out, the posts weren’t sealed at the bottoms and many weren’t put in with cement, so they were rotten. So when one section fell, they all started to fall. Why?!?!? Just as I was getting ready to plant too! There have been a few delays here and there, including a possum that took up shop in a post hole and scared me half to death, but this week it’s finally going up and I’m ecstatic! No more deer and bunnies eating all of my beets and carrots- the nerve, right?
Phew! I’ll write about each of these things individually over the next two weeks, not only because I find them all interesting and hope you will too, but because I think everybody likes some good before and after photos!
Oh, and how can I forget- the garden! Late July seems to be when it really gets going. We’re picking tomatoes, peppers, bush and pole beans and beets, pulling up onions to dry before storage, snipping lots of fresh herbs, and getting ready for some okra. Oh, and the cucumbers are maturing- which means I’ll have to do a quick “How to Can Pickles” video in the next week or so. Also, most of the indoor plants tend to end up outdoors during the summer, where they are thriving. The fig and lemon trees put out blossoms in the warm spring air and are producing a good amount of fruit. I had also bought 2 new turkey figs this spring that are already ripening. It’s so funny to see a 5 yr old come walking in from playing outside, just eating a fig… I love it.
I Hope you are all enjoying this wonderful summer!