Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Day of 2009

Hey, it's December 31st of 2009!

Looking back on the year, there are a number of things I really liked about it:
  • getting my first harvest of red potatoes planted under hay
  • getting a few melons, though they didn't really ripen as they should because the weather so unfriendly to melons this year
  • getting a great harvest of black raspberries (and turfing out some weed red raspberries with great satisfaction!)
  • exchanging my long, heavy kayak for a much lighter, more nimble one that it is also much easier to travel with
  • going to the first Canadian Yearly Meeting since I last attended 15 years ago and reconnecting with people from Atlantic Canada
  • getting a free GIS up and running for the Urban Forest program at Peterborough GreenUp
  • exploring the Celebration of the Arts in Scottsdale
  • finding lots of great organic produce at the Scottsdale Farmers Market when we visited there
  • hiking in Sedona
  • kayaking on Cape Cod
  • hiking in New Hampshire
  • spending an afternoon at the nudist swimming hole on the Mad River in Vermont
  • getting into doing no-knead artisan bread when we travel as well as at home
  • making dandelion wine for the first time in nearly 30 years
  • finding more and more great local stuff in Peterborough and at its farmers' market
  • using my solar dehydrator a lot (when the sun shone!)
Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Time For the Last Major Harvest

I took the recycling out this morning and the ground was hard underfoot. We had snow earlier this week. I think it's time to get the last of the carrots and beets in, pluck the parsley, gather the last lettuce and chard, further mulch the kale, and get mulch ready for the parsnips.

I'm next year to simply be securing down the winter tunnel cover for the lettuce, chard, parsley, and kale if I can get that set up! Hopefully where I have the garlic planted now. It's right outside our back door and fairly protected.

Then it's waiting another week to mulch the garlic so it won't heave in the January thaw!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Back Room Make-over

The "back room" is a poorly enclosed former sunporch built a number of years before we bought the house behind the kitchen. When we tore apart the entire upstairs, it was our bedroom. Once we had a proper master bedroom, it was set up as a reading/guest room with bookshelves. It was cozy with the gas fireplace. But running the fireplace was expensive and it didn't produce much heat when its fan broke. That's when we began closing off the room in the winter time and it became a storage area.

The worst thing you can do to a room is make it a storage area, especially when you're doing renovations elsewhere (my husband has torn apart and rebuilt his office/studio -- the house is subsequently warmer because the walls are now R-22, but he had to put stuff somewhere while doing it).

One good thing about my husband's renovation was that he used a lot of material that we had in storage in that room. Then we got rid of all the computer carcasses that had accumulated over the past seven years (some from us, others from friends). A former employer (who never paid) finally took away the electrical stuff my husband had been storing for him. Suddenly we could see expanses of floor.

With winter coming in, we had to seal one window whose storm plastic had gotten ripped. Earlier in the week I got rid of a lot of books, boxes, and an awkward display rack (now in pieces in wood storage for next spring's projects). While my husband cleared space in front of the window so I could work on it, I cleared out the cabinet and reordered things there.

The window has sliding glass panes with no weatherstripping (it will be replaced next year), so I sealed all the edges. When I was done I could no longer feel the wind through the window. Next I put on plastic and sealed that to the window frame. Afterwards my husband arranged stuff along that wall. All of our travel gear (other than luggage) is in one spot now. We discovered that the roof leaks in the corner opposite the window. That will probably be the last repair of the season.

I beefed up the doorway partition between the room and the kitchen. The doorway is four feet wide. We have a two-foot false wall in it that is now insulated. I'm going to add another layer of Reflectix to the door as well. We'll probably continue with a heavy blanket in the doorway for January and February.

We actually can see the floor now. The empty bookshelves may become this year's "cold storage".