I scored some really cool garage door panels that I plan to use on a new high tunnel. The panels were from a drive through car wash bay that someone decided to enter before the doors went up. Two of the aluminum framed panels were slightly bent, but easily straightened by standing near the offending angle and applying a little of my additional mass while the panel was propped up against the stoop of the chicken coop.

The double walled plastic panels will make wonderful knee walls for a nice high tunnel. I am planning on it becoming more of a greenhouse as time goes by, but I thought it would be best to start out small. I have four panels that are about eleven feet long and a little over two foot wide. I was thinking about framing them and hanging them from hinges as knee walls. That way they could be propped open for ventilation. A twenty two foot long by maybe eighteen foot structure would be good enough for starters. I’ve plenty of pressure treated lumber left over from the renovation at my brothers restaurant. Ripping the larger stock down to 2×4’s will give me two usable pieces from the salvaged 2×10’s and remove the inch and a quarter that still has broken screws and nails remaining in them. Working with somewhat clean lumber is more important to me now than in the past. I took a half of a nail head almost an inch long out of the tail end of a circular saw that embedded itself in my forehead while working on the renovation. It neatly cauterized the wound at the time of impact. I reached up to feel this hot nail head sticking out of my forehead. The first thing I noticed was I wasn’t bleeding and it wiggled so chances were that it wasn’t a permanent addition. I thought I would look like Richard Kiel from Happy Gilmore with a nail sticking out of my head. Fortunately it was a minor injury that re-taught me a valuable lesson about double checking stock carefully for foreign objects.

I hauled off so much of the old material from the renovation/addition that I found myself dreaming up a lot of stupid stuff I could build to use it. Sometimes I think I’m nuttier than squirrel poop. Thank God my wife asks me why in the world I would want to build “that”, what ever “that” was before I get started. I have been a little hesitant to build more permanent structure here for lack of a master plan for the future construction of our barn. It’s a little tough to plan how new structure will be used on a practical basis. I always try to pay attention to others barn/lot setups to see what works for them. I still find it difficult to visualize placement and use patterns. That is why I built our coop on skids. It would be a pain to move the posts for the run, but less of a pain than if the coop were built on a foundation.

We finally sent our seed order in to Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. We have talked about driving down to one of their spring time festivals. Last summer Theresa and I took a weekend to visit some of the historic mills in our area. We want to pick up where we left off on our tour and possibly include one of the festivals/farmers markets that they have scheduled on our agenda. From their catalog it looks a little on the “bransonish” side of things, but it can’t be all that bad as long as the bluegrass is good. I would hope that anyone who has been to Baker Creek would leave a comment here with their opinion of any experience with them.

Katy and I have also started the preparations for the arrival of a several thousand composting worms. We shredded a trash can full of newspaper and drilled drainage and breather holes in a pair of old rubbermaid tubs. Katy wants to keep track of how a worm farm works for a potential 4H project. So I’m sure that some wonderful pictures of some dark green storage tubs and a handful of worms will soon be following this post. I’m a little skeptical about the professed results that I have read with regards to composting of kitchen waste versus the effort, both initial expense and maintenance of the system. It’s not that big of a deal to haul our compost bucket out to the heap or drop it in the trough for the pigs. I can see where it would be nice on a cold and icy day like today to dump the bucket in a tub in the basement as opposed to a mad dash to the pile. At least I know I’ll have a supply of worms to fish this spring.

I know that this spring we will have to thin our landscape beds around the house. They are full and getting crowded. I would hope to have a little get together with some of the folks who have asked for a clump of different perennials over the last couple of years. Throw something on the grill and some fish in the fryer and I will be able to lure more folks in for some digging. Oh…while your there, would you spread a little of this bark mulch around the hole you left. I’ll just have to get the dump trailer and have about four loads hauled up here before hand. We have used tons of the old bark mulch from local saw mills for our mulch with great results. Except for the odd mushroom growth here and there and an occasional face to face with the harmless western worm snake this stuff has been wonderful. The mulch is almost composted when we get it. It doesn’t last as long as the fresher mulch that most people put down in their flower beds, but it does wonders for the health of the beds soil. I would much rather put this stuff down each season and improve our soils than to have our mulch “look pretty”. The sawmill operator I get our mulch at charges me one third what he gets for the fresh stuff. We backfilled around our foundation with some of the rockiest clay crap anyone could call soil. After only two years of adding the old bark mulch to our beds the quality of the soil bears no resemblance to the fill.

We have been getting loads of wood chips from the contractors who are clearing the right of ways for the electrical co-op. I won’t use this for mulch for at least two more years, but as long as they need a place to dump their trucks I’ll take it.

Our fresh batch of chickens is on order for delivery in early March. The forecast for some of our existing flock is soup.

Katy has to pick out her two show hogs for 4H very soon. It looks like she will be going with Hampshires this year. She is really going to have her plate full this year for the fair. Showing hogs, chickens and participating in the horsemanship fun show. I feel it is just wonderful that she shows a high level of enthusiasm for 4H. I see so many kids her age wanting to spend their time playing video games or watching tv instead of getting their hands dirty and learning something.

Most important for me to mention that Katy has brought home nearly all A’s on her last report card. She was having a hard time with math earning a less than desirable grade on the previous report, but raising that grade to a B+. Although she didn’t like working a little extra at home, she is now showing a lot more excitement about knocking out some killer grades. She still doesn’t understand how hard it is to bring up a grade as far as she did. I’m very proud of her. Attitude is everything.



  1. Ed Abbey said,

    February 18, 2008 at 7:49 AM

    Too bad I didn’t live closer to you. I would haul away about all the annuals you wanted to rid. Starting from nothing, we’ve been buying a few every year but they are so expensive from the nurseries.

  2. Woody said,

    February 18, 2008 at 6:19 PM

    We lucked out…when we were building my folks were moving out of their old home. They are rabid gardeners and had an outrageous selection on their 2+ acre, every inch landscaped yard.I know we hauled five pickup beds full of clumps of everything to our home. I would hate to think about having to purchase what we received. I do know that the landscaping made a big difference when we re-financed for a lower rate and to rid us of pmi.peace

  3. Danielle said,

    February 21, 2008 at 7:39 AM

    Well now, see, that right there’s why you need to post more often. That was like four posts in one! I laughed, I cried… I got freaked out by the whole nail-in-the-forehead story.The salvaged doors sound awesome! Can’t wait to hear how the project develops. When we moved a couple years ago, our realtor had a 15′ moving truck that she lent out to clients for free. We loaded that thing to the hilt with landscaping plants, and you couldn’t tell I’d pulled anything out of my beds. The new owners let my gardens go to pot, unfortunately, which makes me very glad that I took what I did.

  4. hillbilly2be said,

    February 21, 2008 at 2:05 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. karl said,

    February 23, 2008 at 6:28 PM

    we’ll be at bakercreek festival this spring barring anything catastrophic. if you go email me and we’ll say hi in person. nice entry, worth the wait.k-)

  6. February 28, 2008 at 4:14 PM

    Boy have you been busy (hope you had fun with your grandson by the way). Looking forward to seeing any progress on your tunnel/greenhouse. I have never gotten that far yet so I am always interested in seeing the accomplishments of those who do. One of these days….Oh yes—never been to Baker Creek either though we too are thinking of it. Must be a number of us that would like to. Guess we’ll all eventually make it I suppose.MonicaP.S—I think you will like those carrots–they were REALLY good.

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