Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Barn Trusses

This morning the trusses came and were up on the barn by 9AM.  The barn is really taking shape and you can get a real sense now of how it will sit on the land.
There is more framing work to do, including the stairs to the storage area, then the roof comes on Monday.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Garage work

With the barn underway, we need to build the doors. We bought the hinges a while ago and are just making simple plank doors, like all good Pennsylvania German barns. That means its time to get back to work on the wood shop.
Alan spent part of today stripping the siding off the back wall of the garage. Currently the entire house is sided in off-white aluminum siding.  I must ask Jerry what color this house was when she was growing up.  We haven't settled on a color for the main house yet, but I would like make the garage cedar stained dark brown.
First step was stripping off the aluminum siding.
Underneath the aluminum was cedar siding painted white.
And underneath that was vertical planking in a creamy yellowish color.
One of my inspiration pictures has a similar color exterior. Maybe that's our answer.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Amazing what 4 guys can do in one day

The wood for the barn was supposed to be delivered on Tuesday, but the truck couldn't get up the drive.  Then we had a couple of rainy days. This morning at 7:30 the wood came on a trailer with a different truck. And then the crew got to work. They had everything in the pictures done by 3:30PM.
There is something nice about working in the garden while men build you a barn.
Here is the progress so far:

Unfortunately, they won't be back until Tuesday since this is a holiday weekend. But I can keep dreaming.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Nothing is as cute as baby ducks. (well maybe kittens, puppies and baby hedgehogs.)
These are swedish ducks. Hopefully, they will like the stream and not cause any damage.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Barn has Begun

We got a call this morning that the contractor was coming today to dig for the barn. They showed up with this cute piece of equipment: a radio controlled compactor.
Then the real work started. They opened up the old road along the edge of our property and dug out and compacted a level spot for the new barn.

We will have a nice drive to get to the barn.  That will make stocking up on hay and straw so much easier.  Maybe we can even keep the drive open in the winter and there will be no more treacherous trips to feed the animals in the snow and ice.
Tomorrow the wood comes to the site!

Sunday, May 18, 2014


The wisteria this year is beautiful. The entire walnut tree, about 40 feet tall, is covered in lavender blossoms. As you drive down the hill into our little valley the wisteria is right in front of you.
Of course, any picture I take from far away to get the entire tree in the picture does not show off the wisteria.
The lilacs are very full of blossoms as well. One big clump overhangs the bank behind our house and patio. When you walk outside it smells so wonderful.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Garden Chemistry

Last spring I bought a soil test kit and never used it.  I finally got around to using the kit this spring and found out my garden soil is very alkaline.  My soil is also very deficient in nitrogen, but I haven't tested for potassium or phosphorus yet. Looks like I need a whole lot more compost and composted manure. I think I will also add bone meal to the tomato bed as I usually have a problem with blossom end rot, especially in the first tomatoes that ripen.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The New Babies are Here.

Saturday was pick up day for our new babies: three new chicks, three baby turkeys and two swedish ducks. Baby turkeys are still the most inquisitive.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I Really Do Like Lily of the Valley, really...

Some of my earliest flower memories are of my grandfather's patch of lily of the valley. I loved the little bell-shaped flowers and the fragrance.  The large patch, probably not as big as I remember, seemed like a fairy forest.
I was happy to see all the lily of the valley at our new house; that is until I tried to dig through it to plant something in the front flower bed.  There was an impenetrable mat of 6 inch thick roots going 30-40 feet down the bed.  I want to move some of the perennials from other garden areas and add some of my own favorites. But there was no way I could plant anything in the front bed.
Enter the new tractor.  Alan spent a few hours digging out the lily of the valley mats. If we had wanted we could have peeled up the mat in one long roll, but we needed to shake off a lot of the soil.  We put some mats along the stream and the rest in the woods. Now I can plant!
I was able to salvage some daffodils that needed dividing anyway.
The rest of the front gardens are looking very colorful. Azaleas next!

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Barn is coming....

Today the contractor came and staked out the exact location of the new barn.  If all goes as expected they may start the pad work early next week.
Its hard to see in pictures, but the three little orange flags are three corners of the barn.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Grosbeaks are back!

We have been enjoying feeding the birds and watching their antics. The cats probably enjoy watching the birds more than we do.
This week the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks returned! We love the grosbeaks for their ugly beaks and the males' beautiful markings. The females look like little hawks. Last year the Grosbeaks stayed all winter and we had at least two pairs all summer. They must have known this past winter would be a hard one and decided to spend it somewhere warmer.