Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tearing Out the back Porch (3 Days Before our Pig Roast)

Speed-weeding and power-cleaning continued throughout the last weekend and all week, as we try to get all the flower beds, vegetable garden, grapes and berries to look their best - all at one time, for this one weekend when all our relatives and friends are visiting.  
When Tina finally decided to clean the dark hole at the back of the house - also known as the screened in back porch (something everyone has been avoiding for quite some time), it was hopeless.

Jeff had been saying for months that the only way to make that space livable was to get air in there and get rid of the boards and screens. So on a spur of the moment - around 5:30 in the evening, we decided to just tear the entire enclosure off.

Luckily Zach was visiting that week, which meant one more strong (and determined) person, willing to run a reciprocating saw and swing a sledge hammer.

We had that porch torn off and carted away to a burning pile in less than two hours, with enough daylight left to hoist a huge flat rock with chains and the tractor, and move it to the now open back porch as a entrance step.

The floodlights and overhead light in the back yard worked well enough so that Tina could powerwash all the walls, the chimney, and the brick floor - plus mulch the flowerbed around the porch. It looked like a dream when it was all done!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2011 Pea Harvest Final Results: Over 10 Bushel!

We picked 14 five gallon buckets (=10.5 bushel) of peas over the course of 4 days, with various helpers, including of course Lars and Sam, but also Jens, Grammy and Aunt Ruth (they came down on Sunday afternoon).  The reason we got all those peas processed was the "magical" electric pea sheller at a local Mennonite Farm.  We gave some of the peas to family and friends and froze and canned the rest.
  • 71 bags of frozen corn (each about 3 cups)
  • 20 quart jars of canned peas (one jar broke in the canner or there would have been 21)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pea Picking Weekend!

We had our first meal of this season's peas last night - together with new potatoes from the garden, and a fresh garden salad.  It was delicious!  This morning we got an early start with everyone helping to pick peas before it got too hot.  We managed to pick 4 buckets (about 3 bushel) - which is not even a quarter of the patch.

We took our peas to a farm outside Newville that has an automatic pea sheller.  In less than 10 minutes, all the peas were shelled - it was awesome!  Spent the hottest part of the day inside the air conditioned kitchen blanching peas.  We got 32 bags of frozen peas (each bag had between 3 and 4 cups of peas).  The plan is to pick more peas late tomorrow evening, so that Jeff can take them and get them shelled Monday morning and keep them refrigerated until everyone is home from work Monday night.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Stone Wall Progress

Well, it's not much progress... but I took some time this evening while everyone was at the movies, to work some more on my stone wall.  This wall is eventually supposed to be the border between the backyard and the blackberry patch - without being too obtrusive.  I build up a small section from the picket fence to where the walkway starts.  On the other side of the walkway is the spot where Duff and I had started the stone wall last summer.   I put my hibiscus trees on each side of the walkway, and planted one of the small cedar kind of bushes that were originally planted around the house when we bought it.  I had already started making a shady border in front of  the "pretend" stone wall last year, with all my transplanted hostas from the old house, a couple of ferns, bleeding hearts and some lily of the valley plants.  This week I added some more plants:
  • 1 purplish rhododendron
  • 2 dark pink azaleas
  • several purple coral bells
  • a transplanted hellebore (which made three separate plants)
  • a flat of white and purple impatiens
Jeff helped earlier in the week to pull out one last stubborn tree root (with Zach's tractor), so there is no more barrier to continuing the stone wall building project - except finding the extra time.  Also weeded the flower beds alongside the house, where the lilies started blooming.