Our coldframe works!

Holy cow, did I have a busy weekend!  But before we went downstate, we went over to the garden (in the pouring rain, I might add) to see how the spinach is doing in the coldframe.

It looks great! And I have to admit, I was gearing myself up in case the cold frame was destroyed.  You know, a rock through the windows or something.  But no, it was in perfect shape!

Closer up

They are thriving in the coldframe!  We compared the growth to a little spinach plant (that I didn’t get a picture of) outside the coldframe and the one outside looks puny and frail comparatively. The spinach in the ‘frame had turned a rich green and even the transplanted seedlings (we had moved some of the plants from outside the coldframe inside) are doing great!

A bonus is that our coldframe is not completely solid because in the rain, plenty of water was dripping in and the dirt was wet, so we don’t even have to go water it in between visits.  It’s protected from the cold (at least until the snow flies), allows some moisture in, and will allow plenty of growth.

I only hope the spinach can grow much more before it gets too cold for even the cold frame.  I guess we’ll see!

No farmers market for us this week, but the Jets game was awesome and I will be back with pics tomorrow!

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Done!

The coldframe is finished!  Just in time to…probably not really help anymore for the season. Oh well, we’ll see.  K finally finished it a couple weekends ago, but it took me that long to paint it, which is needed to help protect it from the weather it will have to hold up against.  We brought it in pieces (because K the engineer made a fabulous disassembling coldframe)and set it up facing the south side of the property.

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Partially set up

We tried to enclose most of the spinach that has survived so far, but some lay outside of the box.  Of that, we tried to transplant them into the box, but I think they’re too young to transplant and will die. Oh well.

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Closeup of spinach

We got the windows in front and left them down, as the spinach has plenty of water to last for a few days.  I am a little nervous that this greenhouse will be too hot and fry them, but I guess that’s what experimenting is all about!

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All set up

It looks solidly built, I’m so proud of my hubby! He even put weatherstripping all around the windows to make sure the inside was protected.

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Side view

As we left the garden this afternoon, and I turned to look at the coldframe through the chain-link fence surrounding it I had a horrible thought – those two windows are facing the road where lots of people in the neighborhood walk by every day. And it’s not the best neighborhood (and that’s being generous).  How long will these windows last before someone tries to throw a rock through them?

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View from outside the garden

I hope that is just my own prejudices talking and that I’m wrong. I will fight them.  But I do admit I’m a little worried.

More on the garden tomorrow!

Taking It Easy

Thank you folks, for your kind words on my I’m Stressed post the other day.  I’ve taken your words to heart and doing some soul-searching on what I really want to focus on in my homesteading activities.  Now I just have to narrow it down, and that will be hard!

Instead of doing any big projects this week, I spent a lot of time with friends.  The hubby and I attended our friends’ JOP wedding in Schoharie smack-in-the-middle-of-effing-nowhere Tuesday night!  I got a call from A on Friday night asking if we would be their witnesses at the wedding.  Hell yeah!  A and R actually had a destination wedding in the Bahamas in May but no one except them was there, and I really wished we could have been.  Well, apparently, Bahamas weddings don’t transfer to the U.S., so they haven’t been “legal” this entire time, so I got my chance!  On Tuesday night, we pulled into the gravel parking lot of an old building in Schoharie, where the town judge and clerk were waiting for us.  There, A and R proceeded to repeat their vows (which were very nicely done by the judge I might add) and then we all drove back up the street to their house for pizza.  All weddings should be that simple. 🙂

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Last night, I met up with some old and current friends from work at the Mexican joint down the road, and we enjoyed catching up with each other, relaxing with some drinks, and having some fun outside of the office. Neither night did I get home early, but I stopped stressing about all I had to do, and made sure I got to bed earlier than normal.  Sleep still isn’t great, but I’ve been getting a little more.

Lots of my current homesteading activities are about to be done for the season, mostly gardening and food preserving.  K went out to our garden today (as I sat at the car dealership dealing with a very important recall on my Honda) to see how the plants made (or didn’t make) it through the frost.  Good news for the most part to report!  The peppers and melon did indeed wither and are now done, but the baby spinach has thus far made it through, hurrah! He wasn’t able to take any pics, but hopefully I can get out there this weekend.  (Again, sure wish the garden was in my non-existent backyard!) He reported the golden chard is actually looking the best it’s looks so far this year (it must like cold weather), the garlic has all sprouted, and the brussels sprouts are still fine, as expected.

Does anyone know when brussels sprouts get harvested?  A quick Google search says anytime between late fall to early winter, which taken literally to me, means we can pick it in January (if winter starts in late December). That doesn’t sound right, but ours are still pretty small and I’m hoping they will at least keep growing till November.  We’re in Zone 5 though, so I’m not sure how long they will last.

I’m still very new at this, as you can tell!  🙂  But I’ve come a looooong way since last April, when I had no idea what THIS was! 🙂

Mystery plant

Mystery plant

Bwahaha! I had seriously NEVER seen what brussels sprouts grow on. Never in my life!!

It’s supposed to snow overnight, now, so the hubby has renewed his quest to finish the coldframe before the next season starts. 🙂 He spent much of the night tonight in the garage and has thus far come up with this:

Front of coldframe

Front of coldframe

K drilling the back of the coldframe

K drilling the back of the coldframe

Apparently he still has several hours of work left on this, he says.  Yea, I’m so not getting this this weekend. 🙂

New Project

IMG_0151Have you ever heard of Habitat for Humanity Re-store?  I hadn’t until this week.  I forget exactly now where I read it (though it was definitely online) and I think it was in some blog or another that I was reading.

Habitat for Humanity Re-store is sort of like a Salvation Army or Goodwill store, except it’s for home improvement items.  They accept donated items like old appliances, windows, doors, paint, anything related to house stuff and sell them to earn money for Habitat for Humanity.

So, K and I wanted some old windows to use in our coldframe project. Instead of running out to Lowes or even the local hardware store, we hit up the Capital District Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.

Man, they had EVERYTHING there. Some very out of date appliances, some old couches, LOTS of cabinets, mirrors, lighting fixtures, you name it – they have it.

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They had lots of windows, but at first we didn’t see the size/kind we wanted.  We kept checking around. With so much stuff, we knew we’d find something.

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In the far back corner of the store we found a bunch great looking windows for our purposes.  Then we also found a pile of 2x4s that they were selling for $.50 each so we chose 4 of the best looking ones.  Added to that an old can of exterior paint (quart) and we were almost entirely set!  We got all of it for $15, helped “recycle” some old items and HfH made a little money.  It works out well for all of us.

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K spent a good portion of the evening planning out his cold frame design (oh help, the engineer is coming out!) and I’m pretty sure we’ll have the best made coldframe ever this time tomorrow night.  Unless he’s still planning it out. And measuring.  I mean, I understand the “measure twice, cut once” mantra, but this could go to extremes. 🙂

Stay tuned…