The big theme this week: woodchips! I tracked down an arborist working in my neighborhood and was able to have a big (big!) load of woodchips delivered Tuesday. Woodchips can only block the driveway for so long, so it’s been a shovel-a-thon over here since then.
Here’s this week’s list of accomplishments, recorded in the hopes that this practice will help keep me motivated and accountable. Please join in, and list your own weekly achievements in the comments, or if you have a blog and want to do your own post and link it up, that’s great too.
Planting & Maintaining
- Removed nearly all of the straw mulch in my garden and replaced it with fresh arborists woodchips. Top-dressed existing paths with woodchips.
- Topdressed fruit tree areas and perennial beds with chicken-coop litter.
- Finished planting potted peppers and tomatoes.
- Set up drip irrigation system to keep the potted vegetables properly watered.
- Side-dressed the remainder of the vegetable garden.
- Trimmed out old, yellowing, or dead leaves from squash and cucumber plants.
- Continued to summer prune fruit trees.
- Overseeded several areas with crimson clover.
- Completed at home soil test to check soil nutrient levels. (At home tests really aren’t that great but we knew that going into it – we just wanted a quick-and-dirty gauge of any glaring nutrient deficiencies.)
- Performed a mini, DIY soil assay with peas to check for residual herbicide residue in my garden soil. (There is some concern the straw I mulched with this spring may contain herbicide residue.)
- Watered, fertigated, etc. as needed throughout the garden. Also watered my fall seedlings, which are up and growing.
- Set up a bucket system to make it a bit easier to utilize Nature’s Easiest Liquid Fertilizer.
- Planted fall peas where a round of spring broccoli finished up.
- White Currants
- Summer squash
- Asian Plums
- One nearly ripe tomato
- Honey berries
- Various Herbs
- Same as last week – the focus was on outside, not inside this week. No food preservation projects for me.
Cooking + Eat Down The Larder
- It feels like we are eating two kinds of dinner right now: meals from mostly garden veggies, and popcorn. (Related: Garden Fresh Cooking – Patreon.) My daughter was away camping for four days this week and while she was gone Homebrew Husband I got into Game of Thrones. It therefore seemed perfectly reasonable to eat popcorn for dinner…more than once.
- I learned kimchi can go on everything. Even hot dogs. Never tried a kimchi dog? Your loss, friend.
- Lots of zucchini and egg or zucchini and bean type scrambles. I’ve used up 2 pints of pinto beans this way.
- Used up a jar of chili from the pantry.
- Cut up and roasted my last chicken from the freezer – made “hot wing salad” with the huge amount of lettuce I’m still trying to eat before it bolts and a bit of blue cheese.
- Deep cleaned coop.
- Mucked out chicken run.
- Added deep layers of woodchips to chicken run.
- Set up my favorite fly traps in the chicken coop area. These things work so well.
- Cut and installed a splash guard between the duck tub and the coop to stop water from the tub from making the coop litter damp.
- Cleaned out duck tub filtration and ran lovely mucky duck poop water up to the food forest.
Household and Projects
- Vapor barrier was re-installed in the crawl space, which officially concludes the crawl space sump pump home improvement project that has been in progress since January. Yes, January.
Business, Finances and Frugality
- $455 per month of direct funding on my Patreon page and an amazing growing community. Doing the Patreon thing is one of the better decisions I’ve made with this blog.
- Reminder for Patrons: our Livechat Q&A is happening tonight!
- In all other financial management areas, I’m totally behind. The bills need paying, paperwork needs filing, the budget app needs updating…and so it goes.
Energy Use & Solar Panel Production
- Total electricity used: 186 kWh
- Total solar energy produced: 225 kWh (= $120.89 in production incentive)
- Energy “sold back”: 39 kWh (= $4.10 in net production)
- Total earned through our solar panels this week: $124.99
Homeschooling & Family
- Started reading The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy to Oliver before bed. He loves it!
- I need some summer reading just for me. Fiction. I get enough non-fiction in my life. Something really engaging. The last books that kept me up way too late past my bedtime were the Wool series. I like most genres, but don’t like excessive/pointless violence, gore or torture. Any fantastic recommendations?
Planning and Research
- Lots of research into signs of herbicide residue.
- Otherwise, right now I don’t have a lot of garden projects in flight so not much to obsess over.
• • •
I’m working on growing my Christmas gift stash with canned goods, so when December rolls around I won’t have much more to do. I have been grabbing from the closet for summer birthdays though, so I have a ways to go still. Thinking about planting some more peas soon as we definitely didn’t have enough this spring.
Kristina M says
I recommend the Maddaddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood. The first book is called Oryx and Crake. It’s an incredible speculative fiction series looking at biological engineering in the near future. Also the Kingkiller series by Patrick Rothfuss, if you enjoy GoT.
Harvested a few cherry tomatoes and zucchini. Work picked up again, so not much else is going on
Madd Adam was the first book series I thought of too! I haven’t read Wool, but it sounds like they might have a similar vibe.
I have to second the Rothfuss recommendation. His books are exquisite, just golden. Lin Manuel Miranda is involved in the upcoming screen (I’m hoping television long-form) adaptation of the Kingkiller Chronicles, and he’s the guy who wrote Hamilton and the songs for Moana, so you know it’s got to be good.
The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry! So good.
Love reading your weekly accomplishments and comparing climates, techniques, calendars, etc. I live in central Germany where the climate is neither fully continental, nor so temperate as Seattle’s. So for me, this week is all about green beans, which I plant in one throw to get critical mass for processing into the freezer. I’ve also been harvesting the random zucchini and yellow summer squash but the big story this year is pickling cucumbers. Maybe I over-planted but we’ve had a wet and cool summer and the cukes could not be happier. Today I did a batch of 5 liters of dills and tomorrow’s harvest will go straight into a ten liter crock for fermentation. I read with interest your planning for the winter garden, but then I remembered that I don’t leave the house between November and March, so I’ve decided to continue to focus on “putting up” foods we enjoy in the winter.
Sweet Double D says
Over at root simple blog they have a few posts I think about residual herbicide
It’s worth a looksie
Made 14 half-pints of Trilogy Plum Jam yesterday. Cleaning the freezer out of frozen apple slices, satsuma plums, puff pastry, pie crusts, cilantro, nuts, bread crumbs, last years blue and cane berries, etc. Picking this year’s blue and cane berries. Love the thornless loganberries new this year. Defrosted a bag of last year’s mixed marion and boysenberries and made popsicles, faux gelato, and a crisp this morning. Using up some of the dried tomatoes in a baked turkey meatball recipe this weekend. Doing damage control from the critter who broke the top off the Beauty plum tree (grrr). Caught and removed the adorable young possum who helped himself to some of the best nectarines growing in the greenhouse. Just ate the last one (nectarine, not possum!) for lunch. Watering, watering (except in the layered raised bed which stays moist quite long). Picking fragrant sweet peas, bush beans and snow peas all planted from saved seed. Picking a few crooknecked squash with cucumbers and tomatoes right about the corner. Planted some more snow peas in the small greenhouse. Pruned the lemon and Mexican lime in the citrus house. Picking and giving away tiny Mexican limes, but they are so good! Used them in a blueberry chia spritzer last week. Interested in what you find out about the herbicide in your hay as I noticed my potato crop seemed to die once I put the straw down (and thought I was being so smart!). Have to dig under and see if anything came of it all or not. Also, just about any time I go outside I am running back and forth to either the easy pallet composter by husband erected, or the chicken coop with weeds or bugs. Twice this week I collected earwigs in the raised beds and nasturtiums between 9 and 10 PM and let the chickens pig out the next day. Read August Sunset Magazine cover to cover this afternoon. Haven’t even looked at an issue since January! Ahh, now it’s summer – too busy to tackle books…
A book I love, which is a kid’s book so you may want to keep it in mind for the future, is called The War That Saved My Life, by Kate Saunders. Set in WWII Britain, it is the story of a very abused child whose mother has kept her locked up in a room because the child is lame. The child is evacuated to get away from the bombings and for the first time sees grass and animals. She has to learn how to cope with kindness instead of abuse—the woman who wrote it either has lived with or worked with kids who have been abused because it portrays extremely well the struggles in learning a new language, one of love, and how suspicious an abused child is of love. It is good for about 12 to 14 age group but my husband enjoyed listening to it being read aloud so a parent reader will not get bored. Really worth looking up.
Oh, your list just wears me out! 🙂 My daily tally (much shorter… but I’m much older!) reminds me that I am accomplishing things, even if I can’t remember them by end of day. Thanks for book recommendations, all! I got hooked on Louise Penny’s ‘cozies’ … and the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series by an author I can’t remember. Oh, and loved ‘Cutting for Stone’. I’ve listened to all these … audiobooks from library. And, non-fiction, but fun science….Bill Bryson’s ‘A Short History of Everything’; get the long UNabridged version, narrated by a delightful Englishman.
Neta Courcey says
If you haven’t read Elena Ferrante, starting with, My Brilliant Friend, you are in for a treat. And of course there is Elizabeth Strout.
Oh gosh I loved the entire series. HBO is currently filming a TV version.
Barb Stork says
My 2 favorite books, and completely opposite of each other, are “The Rent Collector” (a beautiful listen on audible!) and “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” (yep, that’s the name).
Oh, and if you want to get nothing done for the remainder of the year, READ The Game of Thrones books!
Love having you in my life again over the interwebs!!
You top dressed your fruit trees and perrenials with chicken litter… Is this non composted chicken litter? I’ve got some deep litter in the chicken coop (straw and poop) which could get cleaned out but I’ve been hesitant to put it on anything that’s currently growing.
Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere
My favorite book, easy to get into, the only book to date I couldn’t put down.
Barbara Szofran says
Fiction reading recommendation: Robin Hobb. Start with the Farseer Trilogy, then move on in order to the related trilogies: Liveship Trader Traders, Rainwild Chronicles, Tawny Man Trilogy, and ending with the The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy. You will be SET for awhile with these, but this world provides an awesome escape with great plot and even better characterization. The Soldier Son Trilogy is not related to the others, but is a good series in itself.
Nicole S. says
My goal this year was to re-read The Wheel of Time series from the beginning, since I never finished it. I just finished book 11 (of 14). Reading on my Kindle. Huge fantasy series by Robert Jordan.
Carolyn S says
I was going to ask why you removed the straw mulch, but then I got to the part about possible herbicide residue. Now I’m nervous about my straw mulch. If you find out anything helpful for determining whether your straw was safe, I’ve love to see a post on it. If you have time. I’m already amazed at how much you accomplish. I feel like I’m perpetually behind, especially during garden season!
As for books, have you read “Wayppoint Kangeroo”? Sci-fi/spy fiction. Much lighter than Wool, but very entertaining. I’m on the second book now, “Kangeroo Two”.
Bonus! Book ideas for summer!! I am reading the Handmaid’s Tale. I thought I had read it years ago but apparently not.
– secured a persimmon tree 🙂 I can’t wait to put in the ground
– my 1 Italian plum is still hanging on
– finally picked a handful of tomatoes. Late even by PNW standards
– lots of good eggplant starts but I put them in the ground too early. Current fruit is from time in the green house. Most of the flowers since have fallen off. I still think I’ll get 2-3 per plant. Evenings here have not gone above 60. At this point they likely won’t.
– peppers (see above) a waste of space…. a few tiny starts but flowers falling off, peppers not growing
– picking and eating zucchini, lettuce, herbs.
– fall brocc, kale sprouted
– fall carrots and beets sprouted, thinned
– a new round of lettuces sprouting
– KALE! eek!! Something is eating my kale all the way down to the rib. I did 2 rounds of BT and it is undaunted! It is coming out…
– beans flowering – yay!
– tiny cukes spotted
– first handful of blueberries
At this point of the summer I am generally wondering why on earth I planted so much for 2 people. This year I cut back and the weather has been a challenge. Oh well…
Canning and other:
– blueberry and honey jam
A fabulous book that I recommend is Joan Haggerty’s “The Dancehall Years” – set on Bowen Island. Just loved it!
For a book recommendation try: the long way to a small, angry planet by Becky Chambers. It’s a science fiction future I’d want to live in. It’s about a group on a ship off on a mission.
I loved the Wool series too. I saw some Margaret Atwood suggestions on here. I read her novel Alias Grace over the summer and couldn’t put it down. It’s based on a true story and Netflix is making it into a series. I also love to read every year the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It’s not for everyone and it’s very weird and full of Magical Realism, but I enjoy that. 🙂 Have a great rest of the summer!
Reading recommendation: A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle. Now hold on…if you’re like me and can’t stand the sight of 1 more “naive-foreigner-moves-someplace-they’ve-only-vacationed-in-and-doesn’t-really-know-anything-about-or-speak-the-language-adequately-and-btw-the-house-is-a-wreck” book; this is actually the original. There were other isolated ones before but this launched the whole genre ; for which crime I should probably be mad at it but I just can’t, partly because it’s not Americans. A British author and his wife move to Provence on a whim and he wrote about thier misadventures in a monthly column (which were compiled for the book) in a London paper. There are 2 sequels regarding the fallout from the 1st book.
Even if you just read the first 1, it’s worth it for thier neighbor, Faustin. He’s proof of something a Bosnian coworker told me: that every culture has rednecks, they just call them by other names.
Wow, some great book recommendations here. I have to agree completely with the Patrick Rothfuss recommendations. Amazing series (so far). Also I agree with the Year in Provence recommendation. It was charming and amusing. I enjoyed it.
Here are some other books I’ve enjoyed, many of which you probably have read or heard of, but still. They are all different generes.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The “Little Britches” series by Ralph Moody. It’s the boys version of little house on the prairie
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
Boy by Roald Dahl
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
In the Woods by Tara French
The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King. If you can get past the first one, The Dark Tower, it gets so very good.
I forgot these two books which I reread every few years.
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
Watership Down by Richard Adams. We had to read it in middle school and I’ve loved it every since.