Lots has happened for my little family since the last time I posted.
The biggest change is that I finally found a way to buy a little house of my own and we moved in December. We miss our little Mississippi Ave. North Portland bungalow, but it was pretty tiny and now all the kids have their own room and we’ve got lots of room to spread out.
You can see we’ve got our work cut out for us, but it’s already looking much better (this is the listing photo) and we’re excited about the possibilities. We got a great deal due to the unkempt condition of the house (all cosmetic) and the barely-up-and-coming neighborhood. The good news is that we’re having fun with lots of projects and all Portland neighborhoods are improving, so it won’t be long before this is a sweet little spot.
Here’s a more recent photo, after several days out in the yard.
Now that spring is upon us, the garden is taking most of our attention. (I keep using the plural pronoun because I usually make the teenagers help me with all the work, though they don’t quite have the same sense of ownership that I do.)
I had a garden planner come out and take a look at the property and help me decide what I should do where.
It was the best $200 I’ve ever spent. (If you’re looking for help with homestead planning and you’re in Portland, call Renee at Hip Chick Digs.) I can’t wait to put this plan into action. We’ve started with some of it, but it’s a lot of work, so we’ll definitely have to phase it all in.
The parts that we’re working on right away are the springtime veggies and some infrastructure. Some projects currently in the works . . .
The Back 40
This area is in the bottom right corner of our plan and it is a huge area that receives a good amount of sun. Renee suggested I use this area for crops that are too big for a raised bed. We’re thinking corn, squash and potatoes.
As you can see, this area was a disaster — lots of blackberries, leaves, trash and junk. I hired some help to clean it out so we could get it planted soon. Now it looks like this . . .
I’m super-excited about this. We should be able to plant within the next 2 weeks.
I built this little compost bin out of some pallets I found for free on Craigslist. (Can I just say that the free section on Craigslist is my favorite right now?) Renee uses a 3-bin system, and I may upgrade to that eventually (I have the space) but I’m starting with one bin and using the 2 extra pallets to cover in front and on top.
I still have a little repair work to do on that back bed and I’m hoping to get to that today. The other two beds (one of them isn’t visible in this photo) have been weeded and we even planted peas in one of them (Alice built the cute little trellis). Tomatoes will also go in this bed. I’m hoping to get 8 tomato plants in this bed and because the peas will be just about done around the time the tomatoes really need to go in, I should be able to do it. Leeks, broccoli and cauliflower will go in the other beds.
I feel so satisfied that this little project is working so nicely! (It isn’t actually finished in this photo. I’ll post a finished photo later today.) I found some good instructions in this YouTube video. I did it almost exactly like the guy in the video made his, though I got a fancier faucet connector from Home Depot. The whole project was pretty cheap and easy! Here’s the list of supplies I used.
- 55 gallon drum — free from car wash
- Watts Neowasher 3/4″ #HPL-1872 — $14
- 3/4″ brass hose bibb — $5
- cinder blocks (3) — $3
- gutter redirector thingie — on hand
- screen — $3
- Total: $25
I probably could have done it for less, but I wanted to make sure it worked out, so I felt fine spending the money.
I’ve spent a ton of time researching the best way to have chickens on this property.
Originally, I thought I would carve out a section of the shed and have their run be on the left side of this photo.
But, I’m currently thinking that I want to keep the shed intact. There’s a lot of space on that side — plenty for both a henhouse and a chicken run. Now I’m just trying to find a cheap way to get it all set up over there. Once again, the free section of Craigslist is my best friend. I’m hoping to get this figured out before we head back to school next week (gotta love spring break!)
There are lots of other little things that need our attention, and we’re getting to them bit by bit.
- Other planting (Blueberries and hydrangea are already in the ground. Hoping to get some huckleberry out there, too.)
- Pressure washing porch, patio, shed, driveway
- Building driveway beds
- Cleaning gutters
- Painting the house (getting an estimate today)
- Replace ugly chain link fencing
So, as you can imagine, knitting has been taking a backseat! I’ve still got some projects on the needles and knit away at them a little bit everyday, but progress is slow.
My other big interest of the moment is my bullet journal. I’ll put together a post about that soon.