Category Archives: home improvements

Sumer Is Icumen In

Jack feels guilty so the Wednesday guest post is on Wednesday – –

It’s the time of year to start thinking about planting and growing things again. We usually start with seeds inside in trays or plastic cups and that’s what we’re doing now with mostly tomatoes, but beginning to move on to peppers and other things.

We checked what needs to be started both before and after the last predicted frost and I made a ‘calendar box’ with compartments for each week. In each compartment we put the seed packets that are due for planting that week.

Since I hate gardening and have always considered it a Calvinist punishment for some past or future sinning, I have been designated management and Wendy is labor. So my job is to research what goes where in the garden and when it’s safe to transplant.

We have some black walnut trees and they produce a substance called Juglone which is toxic to particular plants, so this determines where we can plant certain things. An alternative is to construct raised beds with garden cloth and clean dirt and we will be doing that soon as well.

We had an additional corner of the backyard turned over by friends with a powered tiller a few weeks ago and that will give us more options. We need to keep our four chickens out of the growing areas so Wendy has made a fence round the tilled area and reinforced the existing fence round the inherited vegetable garden

Another job that Wendy has started is to make a chicken proof fence to keep them out of the yard area closest to our house and back deck. They are very friendly and when they hear our kitchen door open they come running and poop on the deck!

We learned a good few lessons last year and we’re hoping that things will be easier and more productive this time around.

Wish us luck – –

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Filed under between books, crafting, home improvements, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Compliments to the Chef

Jack has been busy with some construction, so of course his guest post is late –

One of the things we’ve been brushing up on during the last year is our culinary skills. I’ve been expanding my range of meals while Wendy taught herself to pressure can. We purchased a new toaster oven that doubles as an air fryer so with that plus our trusty slow cooker crock pot and the pressure canner we set out on our taste adventures.

Air frying is a fast, clean and healthier alternative to deep frying, which is what I’ve usually done in the past. It’s really a small convection oven with a fan to distribute the hot air and very little oil is needed.

Wendy became an expert at sourcing vegetables in bulk from local farms, and after distributing them to local foodbanks, non-profits and the ‘pay it forward’ café we had loads of stuff left to be canned for ourselves. The only problem we’ve had is where to safely store the jars where they would be cool and safe from our cats. We have lots of potatoes, mushrooms, tomato sauce, curry sauce, beans and onions stashed away in every nook and cranny!

During the pandemic and before we were vaccinated we avoided going to grocery stores as a great many people there were either un-masked or wearing them round their chin. So we concentrated on using our stocks of veggies and meat or fish from the freezer.

Another safe source of protein is thanks to our four chickens and their egg laying proficiency. They give us so many that we’ve been able supply friends and neighbors as well.

So, with a limited range of ingredients I’ve been scouring the internet for interesting and different recipes – 101 things to make with potatoes or what to make with potatoes, mushrooms and onions. It’s been an enjoyable journey and I suspect that when things get back to ‘normal’ our approach to cooking will have changed permanently. My main specialty before was curry, but now I can add many more, just so long as it includes potatoes, mushrooms, onions and beans!

Bon Appetit – – –

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Filed under between books, crafting, home improvements, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch