View Full Version : Back To Basics

08-25-2011, 05:44 PM
I know I've mentioned this before, but times are tough for me as far as income goes. No work, means no income. No work also means I have time on my hands, and with no funds to go anywhere, I'm at the mercy of home projects. so I took out our above ground pool, and am building the fair maiden a garden plot in its' place.
Had to remove some square footage of insulated steel panels which were under the pool, and then bring in rich loam dirt from the old swampland that downtown sac is built on to supplement the hardpan we have out here. Fortunately I found a guy digging out under his old victorian era home to build a basement. Lots of free, dark soil rich in nutrients, and very easily worked. Well, it was hard work to carry it back here. Now to build a fence to keep that shoe chewing up, bone burying, plant eating dog of ours out of there.



Speaking of gardening: A few months ago, our lemon tree grew one lemon that had some unusual side growth on one side. I couldn't help but notice that it resembled a vagina :o. After I showed it to my wife, she recognized the resemblence immediately also, so it wasn't just my male characterisitcs seeing what I wanted to see. I was going to post a picture of it here, but thought it less than newsworthy after a bit. But now another coincidental event has me wondering if our fruit trees aren't sending us some sort of messages. Today the orange tree had this hanging from its' braches, and mind you, the lemon and the orange tree are right next to one another


So gardening is not the only home chore you can do for free. Since June, I have obtained , cut, carried, split, and stacked 4 cords of hardwood firewood. I answered ads on Craigslist, but you have to be prepared to work hard for it. Last year we ran short, and ended up having a long winter (we burned wood up until mid june), so this year I prepared for another long one, and for the year following too. We have Oak, Walnut, and Eucalyptus. The most recent being the latter, one guy was cutting 30 trees down. Between the wood and the dirt, I'm stretching my aging body's limits I think. 4 cords of wood takes up quite a bit of space I came to find out. I had to stack it in little spaces here and there all over the yard, and as the picture shows, I still have about 3/4 cord to split and stack yet. I have so much wood now, I was thinking about putting a small chimnea in the treehouse and renting it out to a college student





08-25-2011, 05:48 PM


01-16-2012, 01:49 PM
Here's a Back-To-Basics update:

Radishes already grown and eaten, but up and coming is lots of lettuce, broccoli, carrots, and garlic





01-16-2012, 01:59 PM
Forgot to update you on the Jimmy Durante Orange:


also, have already burned through a whole cord of our best oak firewood. We've been burning pretty much non-stop through november, december, and january. I got another half cord of wood that was cut up, but needed to be split. It's oak too, with a little more walnut. Picked that up under the "free" section of craigslist. The Walnut that I got in June is burning ok; at least the limb wood is anyway. But the tree trunk which was around 80 years old was as hard as rock in the center, and still tightly holding moisture. It coals up pretty well, but it burns a little smoky. The Gum tree I cut in late august is not at all burnable yet. Next year for that one, or maybe for campfire wood this summer
Wood....it smells like independence when burned.:)

Patriotic Army Mom
01-16-2012, 05:08 PM
Wow, it all looks good!

Illini Sky
01-17-2012, 12:18 AM
After reading what all you've been doing these past several months, I'm worn out!!!

Love the Jimmy Durante orange! :)

01-19-2012, 12:20 PM
Nice job stacking the wood, AG.

Got an idea, will PM you.

02-08-2012, 01:25 PM
Garden update:

we've already eaten all the Radishes, and have made at least two large salads from the lettuce, The carrots are slow, but coming up, and lo and behold, we have Broccoli crowns a' formin'. Broccoli and carrots should be on the table in two weeks or so. Also, Garlic is about 5 inches high.



we've also made quite a dent in our firewood. we've burned about a cord and a half, and it's really starting to show in our diminishing stacks. Actually, some stacks are gone completely. We haven't really stopped burning for weeks. The fire goes out, but there are always glowing coals beneath the ash that allow for it to start back up in the evening by just stacking some small chips on the top and let it sit there for 20 minutes or so. at night, I close the air intake down quite a bit, and throw on a couple big logs, and the house is always warm in the morning.



02-14-2012, 05:11 AM
Back in October 2011, 2 days before Halloween we had a huge snow storm. The leaves were still on the trees. There was massive damage. My property has 80 trees. I chain sawed limbs and branches for three days, saved the big ones and drug the rest to curb side for Town pickup. My power was off for three days.

I have a fireplace. I researched wood pellets. There are wood pellet furnaces and there are fireplace baskets. The furnaces are a major installation and an expense well North of $3,000.

I ordered the pellet basket. http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLL_enUS360&q=pellet+basket

It fit's into my fireplace grill. And I bought bags of pellets from Lowe's, less than $4 per bag.

Hard wood, oak, firewood gets a little expensive from the Guy's who cut, split, haul and sell it.

05-21-2012, 10:23 PM
So here's a few recent pics of our spring crops:

We've eaten about 4 rows of lettuce already. There was lots of that. Also almost gone is the broccoli. But we just planted squash, tomatoes, more radishes, corn, carrots, and a few herbs.









05-23-2012, 08:04 PM
Forgot these too:

Our first real crop of Loquats. Last year we got about 1 dozen of them, because this tree's pretty young. It was planted some years ago when the in-laws gifted it to us. this year we got about 350 loquats. I always ate these as a kid, but liked them best before they were real ripe. Always liked a tangy bite to fruits. I did use some of these as spice for some salmon we ate this week.


Also, a bumper crop of lemons. I've been juicing them by the hundreds. Then strain the juice and pour it into one of those old ice trays with the long lever on the top. they make the biggest cubes. We been freezing up zip-lock baggies full and sticking them in the bottom of the freezer for summer and beyond. Also, my wife's been making lemonade.


05-24-2012, 01:02 PM
Check out the size of these Radishes. Big ones!


also, strange coincidence, but this lemon grew on our tree and I found it during the eclipse last weekend. I call it eclipse lemon.



And here's pictures of the eclipse shadows refracting on our wall as we saw it just before I picked the lemon:




05-26-2012, 08:01 AM
Today I made chefs salad for dinner from the proceeds of our garden. Of course I had to supplement it with storebought stuff like ham, avocados, cheese, and such, but I've been buying our eggs from local backyard egg raisers. I highly recommend you search them out in you area too.

Anyway, today's victims in the plot are three different varieties of lettuce, radishes, and what's left of the broccoli.





These little thieves have been chewing the leaves of our radishes right down the ground. Have to chase them out of there daily


Also note that we added fresh picked loquats to the salad

07-02-2012, 01:43 PM
The garden is in full swing right now. Carrots, corn, squash, garlic and tomatoes all providing weekly food. Also have been using the sweet basil for seasoning








07-02-2012, 01:49 PM




Also filled up the new woodshed with free firewood from craigslist ads. My son bought a house close by also, and he's been getting about 1/3 of the wood I've collected



07-22-2012, 10:43 PM
Lotta stuff ripening up these days, and the garden has close to peaked it's internal boundaries.


Cherry Tomatoes


Zucchini Squash


Lots of sweet white corn







07-22-2012, 10:49 PM
Mrs Ayatollah picking carrots and squash




Tonights dinner in the raw. I made a chicken stew using all these ingredients from our garden, and added some leftover chicken from the day before. Also added sweet basil we grew, and potatoes that we didn't. The stew turned out rather excellent, and we froze up some for next week


07-28-2012, 12:13 PM
Our rat problem had intensified this past week with the rats eating all of our tomatoes. We fought back with the old style spring loaded rat traps, and immediately took out 2 rats in one day. This morning we saw movement in the corn stalks, and spotted a rat eating our corn! I took a shot at him with a CO2 pellet revolver, but missed him. I've had to reset the traps now. Our Corn is sacred :mad:


The shot I took must have just slid by that little pest, from examination of the trajectory and the pellet which lodged in the fence a few inches away. I should examine the pellet for rat hairs;)