Puttering around the yard, first use of the new wagon

June 21, 2015

Mom got the garden beds weeded, watered and I got most of the straw mulch laid out in the raised beds.  The Bok Choy and Napa cabbage “bolted” almost immediately after I planted it, so we are going to add a Mom’s tomato starts to that raised bed.  The front yard beds are going to be the spot for the root and leafy type vegetables. This year I’m trying a succession type gardening on some the leafy greens and root vegetables. This Tuesday Mom and I will stop by D&B and grab some leftover/sale flowers and plants for the beds.  Mom helped me finish up the second rose bed border and it looks pretty good, though I will need to add a little more wood mulch to finish off both rose beds.

I have to say the new wagon is a joy to use! Unlike the “cheap” wagon, this new one is much less prone to tipping over.  I think the Lock nut and washer setup is not a good set up for some one using the handle and hooking the wagon up to an ATV or Yard tractor, but a bolt/cotter pin or regular bolt and wing nut setup is an inexpensive and quick fix for the wagon handle.

Big Shopping week planned. Home depot has the battery powered fan/mister bucket set up for $79.99.  I don’t know how well a mister would work in areas with high humidity but where the air is dry like high desert they are great for cooling a person down.  What I like is the fan/mister combo runs on a Ryobi 18 volt battery and you can use a bucket of water or a hose for your water source. As long as you can charge the battery and replace the water you will have a good cooling system for summer.

Speaking of charging batteries, I ordered a fold-able 14 watt solar panel setup from Amazon that can charge both a “smart phone” and laptop at the same time! I’m a bit dubious about that claim but I figure I can charge some of the slim backup battery banks via the solar panel and then use the battery bank/backups to charge my electronics.  Apple products are very particular about direct charging power, as long as the power will charge up your external battery banks/backups  via solar panels, the backups should recharge your I gadgets. I don’t own any Apple products so I won’t be able to give a complete review on how the solar panel preforms.

Sales: Big 5 Sporting goods has Coleman cots for sale at $36.00 until the 25th of June. I’m sure many people plan on sleeping on the ground or using a foam mattress during a bugout or camping situation. For some of us older and disabled folks having a cot is not a luxury but a necessity.  I used to joke about those commercials “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” That was funny till it happened to me. I don’t like foam sleeping pads as most I used in the US army tend to sweat and make your sleeping bag damp.  A thin self- inflating air mattress worked as a better insulator for cold ground and it does not “sweat” like most foam mattresses.  Another thing I like about this Coleman cot is my Rubbermaid “roughneck” boxes will fit under the 17 inch cot height with an inch to spare.  Trust me on sharing a tent with other people, everyone must minimize their foot print on available floor space.  Cots and roughneck totes minimize floor space and the totes can work for make shift seats or chairs.  I was Tactical signal and had vehicles to carry my gear. I usually slept in a tent and had a cot. Grunts live a lot more austere when training and in war. I ain’t a grunt and I couldn’t handle that sort of physical effort before I was disabled.

Make a realistic assessment of what you can do daily! I don’t want you to give yourself a heart attack but do you train your body physically? Believe it or not, many 20 somethings kids can’t even walk 2 miles as they never had to do it in life.  I’m not knocking the younger generation as they rode the bus to school  be it 2 blocks or 2 miles there was no difference.  The  PTBs did not want healthy people, big pharma has lots of drugs for the unhealthy!  Start slow and walk around your block 5 days a week. Use tools that maximize your physical energy.  My electric rototiller can do in 30 minutes to an hour in one day what would take 8-16 hours physical energy spread over a week.

Cheat working hard and work smart! Don’t do things the hard way if you have a choice. There is a story about a guy that was given 8 hour to cut down a tree and he spent the first six hour sharpening his tools and the last two hours cutting down the tree.

It’s time to sharpen your tools.


The garden planting is almost finished added a raspberry and blackberry in big pots

May 29, 2015

This year I’m trying to avoid overloading my raised beds.  Mom was a big help on the plant placement of the plants that tend to spread out and those that grow up and out.  I’m doing more winter squash rather than the patty pans to see how they grow and store this winter.  Winter squash should store longer in my basement compared to the summer squash, though the summer squash did last until Jan.-Feb. after harvest which is pretty good in my book.  I have a space in the big bed for the onion sets I got from my aunt and I think I may have space to grow a tomatillo plant. The raised beds are about as full as I want to try this year!

I  have tomato cages and garden stakes set up to direct some of the plant growth.  I’m usually behind the power curve on that aspect of gardening.  The berry plants are in big 18 gallon “party buckets” and will be set among the front yard rose beds. While I don’t expect fruit this year, my hope is they will grow, unlike the berry starts I tried in past years.  I can’t blame the plants as I was kind of dumb about growing black/raspberry plants via proper soil, placement and water drainage.  I’m very excited to how the berry plants work out! Gardening takes practice and sometimes you can do everything correct according to theory and have a lousy harvest.  Sometimes you can do many things wrong and have a good harvest.  All a person can do is create the best environment for growing and after that it is up to “Mama Nature”.

I won’t be getting the kiwi vine/tree this year.  While I like the idea, something like a cold hardy Meyer lemon or some of the cold hardy dwarf lime trees make more sense because of the vitamin C.  Plus storing long term is much easier with many citrus type fruits.  From salting, candied, dehydrating to using a lime or lemon daily is much easier that using a kiwi fruit.  Don’t get me wrong, I think growing  a Kiwi fruit tree up to Zone 4 is very cool. But is it the best use of my time, available land and physical energy?  D & B farm store has Olive and Fig trees and while they sound interesting, both trees need  several years of care before they produce fruit and olives tend to need a lot of processing before they are consumable by humans.  Remember your physical energy will be almost as limited as your fuel supply.

Last but not least the little 20 inch tall fence and garden stakes are working out great protecting the raised beds from the chicken’s scratching when they free range.  Overall, the fence is working much better than I anticipated when I first set it up.