Friday, April 10, 2009

Goings On

I have no doubt become a source of constant amusement for my neighbors. Little 5' 3" Sandy who is trying to take her rural neighborhood home and make it into a 'cutting edge' forward thinking sustainable homestead. Gone are the huge stretches of lawn that require gas for mowing and (albeit organic) fertilizer for primping. We have one large patch left for sports and running around. We have made all kinds of 'nooks' productive. Any care required, produces something we can eat . . . and of course there are some things simply pretty to look at like my lilac bushes, rose bushes, my circular perennial bed and fluffy hydrangea!

So yesterday when this piece of equipment pulled up in front of our house, our neighbors were no doubt asking "What is she up to now?!" Well, I'll tell you. This piece of heavy equipment with the jaw like attachment drove around the back woods and picked up large boulders that were strewn about when our foundation was dug. Then, the boulders were brought to the north side of our house (the shady side) to extend a retaining wall.
It's a little difficult to tell here in this picture, but the slope of the land was very severe and a menace to anyone trying to mow it. It was an exercise in "How not to cut off your foot". 
The nifty part about my idea was that not only does it eliminate having to mow this awful slope, but it's far enough away from our house, that it actually gets full sun! Presto! We used materials from our own land to create an area that can produce . . . raspberries! I've purchased 3 different varieties from Johnny's Seed Company. Isn't that exciting?
Great idea, huh?
I traipsed outside in my pajamas this morning to take this . . . er . . .  less than fabulous shot of the finished raspberry bed, just for you! (In the foreground is our baby cherry tree. Might be awhile before we get a major cherry harvest from that baby!)
I finally went through and unpacked my two hives yesterday afternoon. I ordered them ready-made because I just couldn't handle one more project. Not very frugal of me, but perhaps wise. Although I will probably never use the plethora of honey supers I have for another year, I don't like the idea of needing one and not having it on hand! Initially my plan was to coat them with linseed oil, which eventually turns blackish. I liked the idea of using something totally natural. However, I'm beginning to think they will look a bit unkempt and feel that my a-traditional hives wont be 'accepted' into the beekeepers 'cool club'. Even natural beekeepers paint their hives white. It's just tradition. (You only paint the outside areas -- not inside where the bees live.) So besides priming and painting my hives to preserve the wood, I have to assemble my wax foundation to the "frames" on which the cute little honey bees will make their comb.  
And finally, we have Ripley's first T-Ball practice. He's in the stripped sweatshirt and 'noisy pants' as my boys like to call them (the athletic pants that go "shwt, shwt, shwt" when you walk). His friends Madelyn and Ella are behind him -- all born within 2 weeks of each other. Aww . . . how cute.
Thankfully for the parents, practice was less than an hour long (it was cool and breezy), but Ripley was so disappointed it was over, he cried. Poor guy.

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