Archive for the ‘tree house’ Category

Shelling Peas in 2012

Shelling Peas

I got this small collection of shelled peas from an 8 foot row.  And this was a good year with an early spring.

It turned out that I planted a bush variety pea, so they didn’t need to grow on the tree house trellis where I planted them.  Either peas just don’t grow well in my yard, or people who can peas must be planting literally hundreds and hundreds of feet of them.

Do you freeze or can peas from your garden?

Sad, Dry, August Garden Update

The state of my garden is mostly dead with patchy aliveness. We have had PERHAPS a quarter-inch of rain in the last 7 or 8 weeks. Manually watering the garden is not something I strive to keep up with, so there isn’t much alive. I have a few tomatoes alive, a whole bed of peppers, and the sweet potatoes seem to be doing OK.

I tried planting a couple beds of green beans a few weeks ago, but they are scraggly and sad looking plants that probably won’t grow anything. I’ll probably just till them under to help fertilize the beds.

I can only imagine how hungry I would have been this year if I weren’t able to supplement this garden with produce from other local vendors.

Then again, I did have a nice selection of canned food leftover from last year. The USDA’s eat-within-1-year-or-else-you-will-die-of-botulism recommendation is a bit over the top, so we will keep ours for 2 years before tossing them out.

Tall Tall Tomatoes – 2011

H. with tomatoes in mid-July

They just keep going up and up! I am running out of places to tie them to at this point, but I’ll devise something.  Out of 28 tomato plants in the ground, these 4 are the only healthy-looking ones left.  The rest are all failing due to septoria leaf spot, and some to other diseases as well.

July Garden – 2011

My garden is getting along very well right now.  We ran through strawberries last month and they were great.  Cucumbers are coming along very well right now.

It is time to make a small batch of pink sauerkraut (mixing these two varieties) and replant this bed with bush beans.

The center of this bed is where I’m getting my cucumbers. The left half is planted with white potatoes and the right half is planted with sweet potatoes.

It will VERY soon be time to pickle some peppers. I hope to can up a few jars of hot peppers and pepperoncini peppers.  I also plan to have stuffed green peppers and to dry some tabasco peppers for hot powder.

The tree-house trellis is growing very well right now. In fact, since this photo was taken a week ago these tomatoes have overtaken the upper railing.  Each plant is about 9 feet tall now.

February Hoop Update 2011 – Not Dead Yet! (Just Mostly Dead)

A few months ago, around Halloween some time, I covered this 4×8 bed with plastic and planted an array of seeds in order to find out what will grow for me over the winter. Since that time we have had several days with below zero temperatures, perhaps as low as -5, but nothing like what COULD have happpened at our worst.

Anyway, it was an experiment. The turnips have melted away completely into a stinky brown mess. The beets are just gone, but they were only short greens when I covered them up for winter. Some things are doing well.

Spinach is growing slowly (VERY slowly). We harvested some of this for our Solstice Salad in late December to celebrate the return of the sun and I could not believe how sweet it tasted. Literally like candy.

The Kale  is doing fair, and the carrots are doing surprisingly well.

This cabbage got bigger than I thought it would in the cold. It’s probably 5 inches across at the moment.

These pictures were taken on an unusually warm day, so the kids are enjoying the tree club house.

I even had a little February snack while I was out there.


S. found a toad while we were camping. He named him something predictable like Mr. Hoppy or some such. LOL. He is a lot of fun. He kept him in his pocket for 5 minutes and then put him back. He just knows that it would be wrong to take home the wildlife.

I have a tradition of taking the boys camping over Labor Day weekend. First I spend a night out with one of them while my wife gets alone time with the other one, then we swap and I spend another night out. This year H. and L. were sick, but they were doing well enough for S. and I to spend one night out.

The highlight of the trip this time, for both S. and I was something I unfortunately don’t have a photo of. In a tree 10 feet from our tent there was a wild beehive! We stood and watched the bees coming and going several times, and then went back with flashlight and lantern after dark to see them all settled in for the night, guarding the door.

We cooked up some sausage for breakfast in my camping cast-iron set and then headed home to take care of the sickies.

Tarp roof for the Tree House

The treehouse had gone a long time uncovered, and the kids were getting a bit bored with the same old thing out there.  I added a tarp roof this weekend and now everyone is enjoying this play area again.  It does feel a lot more cozy up there now.

Now, a review, for those of you who arrived late to class….

Two years ago I decided to build the kids a tree house in the back yard:

Then, literally the next week, the tree had a big issue:

So then the JUST-BUILT tree house had to be completely disassembled:

Then the tree was professionally removed and the “tree house” was reassembled without it’s center support.

And that’s how it looked for about two years now.  It’s nice to finally give it a roof:


Excellent tree house books:

Other garden helpers

Playing on my trellis!





Excellent tree house books:

I’ve been getting some sun!

The weather was really rainy for the last few weeks, with very little sun showing through.  When the sun did come, it was wonderful!

Last weekend I was able to move 4 yards of topsoil and fill up my two new garden beds and the ones I raised higher (finally!) I got two beds of tomatoes planted.  Sixteen tomatoes plants at home with 4 square feet of space for each one.  8 plants are Big Mama hybrid paste tomatoes.  Also a mix of heirlooms with a couple hybrids (all indeterminate) Phenomenal, Cabin, Pineapple, Beefmaster, Dad’s Barber’s Paste, Super Marmande, and Grandeur.

My wife planted a perimeter ring of carrots around one tomato bed and I planted a perimeter ring of radishes around the other one.  The radishes will definitely be done growing before the tomatoes need that space.  We’ll see about the carrots.

I have been weeding my broccoli beds, which also have a few cabbages, beets coming up from seed and a few earlier radishes growing their third set of leaves.  I mulched these particular beds last fall with lawn mower clippings that included a LOT of tree seeds, so there is always some weeding to do in there.

My 5 year old son S. has planted lettuce starts in the straw bales down by the fence.

Today I planted 13 peppers and an 8 foot row of cucumbers that are going to grow up the side of my kids’ play fort (shown in the distance at the top of this photo).  I think I’ll go back tomorrow and plant some sugar snap peas in the same area. They love browsing on those.  That reminds me, I need to make them a pole bean teepee soon.

Lots more is going on.  I’m so busy with it, I forgot to blog!

Tree house downdate

Today I thought I should post a picture of where we are with the tree house project.  Sorry about the blurry pictures…it was a dark and dreary morning and the camera was setting itself on 1/8th second exposure.

No, you haven’t travelled through time.  I took the whole thing apart last night.

Here (both foreground and background by the fence) is the entire tree house.  Not as much fun now. 😦

What happened?

Crack is bad

My father noticed last weekend that the tree was cracked.  Upon closer inspection, it was MAJORLY, HUGELY cracked.  Upon looking down into the crack from above, the tree guys told us that it was well on it’s way to being a completely hollow tree.  A split-in-half-rotten-hollow tree 45 feet tall only 10 feet from my bedroom and literally INSIDE a play area I was making for my children.

So with much sadness, we decided that we should not attempt to simply cable together the top of the tree and save it.  It had to be cut down.  But, the plan was, we should save the trunk so the kids can still have the same kind of tree house.

I decided to thunk my crowbar against the trunk last night to listen for just how hollow it was.  I hit the tree trunk on the house side.  It did sort of thunk, but also kind of squish.  The crowbar sank right in.  I actually made a hole.

Mushrooms grow on DEAD trees.  These grew within the last 7 to 10 days.  They stink.  Even if I did leave the trunk standing here for the tree house, the whole play area would be covered in this stinky toxic fungus by the end of June.

We’re having it cut down to the ground and hauled away, at great expense!  I know, everybody gets paid for their work and it’s going to be a lot of work to haul away the tree.  Ugh!

And now I get to redesign the tree house and salvage as much as I can, hopefully without needing to buy a ton more wood.

My boys are taking it pretty hard. 😦


Excellent tree house books:

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