Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chapter 92...Baby Calves and My New Square Foot Garden

Off Grid...Chapter 92

It has been a beautiful week here in the mountains of East Tennessee so let me tell you about it

I have been working on ads for days. We are trying to sell property and all of the different things we have accumulated over the years and our crazy lifestyle. We have to purge every few years. Anyway I finally got most of the ads submitted to the papers I would have rather spent my time outside. We made our first sale. We sold off the extra t-posts that we had to buy for the temp fence last year around the fresh paving.

Later that morning Mike and I drove into town to the Wood stove store. After half an hour of driving we find out the store is closed. I don't understand business anymore. How can you be closed on a weekday? Then again in our little town the banks are closed on Wednesdays. Small town living is different We will have to go back next week.

That afternoon Mike, Niki, and I went for a hike. We were surprised to see that we didn't have many trees down on the border(at least on a 1/4 of the property). We didn't walk the whole thing...we are not in shape enough for that hike, lol.

We came across a log that has been chipped away. It has really big chips. Does anyone know what kind of animal could do this?

And little miss hot stuff hiking

Mike went up top tis morning and found that our trailer broke through the curbing and rolled back towards the back of the house. Thankfully it dragged the coupler, which slowed it down, or it would have come through the back wall of the house. The curbing on the other side also stopped it. Mike had to get the blow torch out and melt down the curbing that broke so he could re shape it.

Woo hoo, today we are going to the Farm Supply to pick up garden stuff and a new clothesline. Since we don't have any trees inside our fenced area I have been using t-posts and cord for my clothesline. It's a little low to the ground and not very nice looking. So let me tell you a little story about the clothesline....Mike says to me the other day "you don't need to buy a clothesline because I found an old tie out we can use" Uh long long is the tie out? He says "20 feet" Oh goody, then I can hang 2 blankets and 2 towels. Men, lol. Maybe I should let him do the laundry on the tie out

On our way, we stopped at the land that Jimmy sold to us last year and put up a big For Sale sign. That was a job climbing the back hill.

On to David's. He has been wiped out of most of the gardening supplies. I think everyone must have Spring fever. Oh well...the next delivery is on Thursday and we'll be back. I did get a couple of bags of compost to add to my garden. I am on the look out for a used compost tumbler so I can make my own, easily. We also picked up a 50 pound bag of grass seed. Wow it went down $20.00 per bag. Too bad we already did most of the grass...when the prices were high, lol.

A man came out to buy one of our Wind Generators. I am socked we have gotten so many calls for the wind generators. Mike spent a lot of time with him explaining solar and wind. There really is very little real information on there and a lot of it is wrong.

BTW, our solar panels are doing awesome. We are fully charged everyday and with all of this sun we don't have to worry about the electric we use. Bring on the hairdryer The building does get hot when things are cranking so Mike is going to order a thermostat to turn on the fan inside the building when it reaches a certain temperature. I am very happy to not ave to pay an electric bill. I was shocked when one of our electric bills in FL was $400.00.

Some of Mike's turkeys are back but they haven't come close yet.

Well we put it off as long as we could. It's time to go over to the other property and do a clean up round. I start off with the dreaded weed whacking....yuck!!! There's lots of things I dread but you gotta do what you gotta do

Starting at the pond.

While I am doing that Mike is mowing. As I make my way around the pond I realize part of the small walkway across to the Island is gone. I can't make it across to weed whack so I will have to get some boards form home and bring them back. I don't want to fill it in right now because mama goose is sitting on her eggs on the island and right now the neighbor's dog can't get to her to terrorize her.

After 2 hours I see the black clouds rolling in, the wind picks up, and it starts to rain We were almost done. Oh well at least we got the bulk of it done.

The rest of the day was really cold and rainy. Niki was even cold, lol. I think she is going to miss this fireplace when we et rid of it next week.

It is a sunny day but it is cold outside. Time to hibernate, lol. Mike and I spent the day doing paperwork. We got it all done. We also got the thermostat in the mail. Hopefully it works like it's supposed to.

Later that day Mike got the organizing bug. Uh oh. He starts taking my canned goods out of the back closet and brings them into the kitchen. Then he opens my pantry Oh no you don't. What are you doing in my kitchen? Go find some tools to organize, lol. Nope. He starts pulling all of my cans out and starts writing the dates on the cans, which is already on them but he can't read them. Now I have to get involved because he has no clue about food or cooking. He puts a bunch of cans back in the pantry and all the labels are facing different directions. C'mon if you're gonna to do it then do it right. All my labels are now facing the same direction Needless to say my pantry is completely full and I have to start eating lots of green beans and kidney beans. Does anyone have a good recipe with kidney beans, lol?

It's warm and sunny. Time to hook up the trailer and go back to David's. This time I score and get my gardening stuff and my clothesline. I am a very happy woman Mike gets feed for the turkeys and some fertilizer for the lawn. I also got a small bag of onion sets to plant. It's another first for me. I can plant them next week

Yay, we are home and we unload the trailer. Now I get to play. While I am mixing my "special mix" for my garden Mike gets a call about our folding bikes. He unfolds them and fills the tires before the man shows up.

Here he is just like a kid. I know the bikes are funny but they were perfect when we were in a campground.

All my garden stuff.

Next year I won't have to buy more stuff because I am not having a bigger garden. This is it.

Here I am measuring and mixing...and missing the bucket. Those bags are awkward, lol.

The man shows up for the bikes and stays about an hour and a half. While I am doing my garden, he and Mike have fun by riding the bikes and shooting the breeze, lol. Mike explained everything about the solar. It's funny because the man had no idea we had a house and he was standing behind it. Mike said "what did you think it was" The man had no idea. He didn't even notice the solar panels. Mike gave him a tour and the man was fascinated. At least he bought the bikes, lol.

Here is Mike spraying Miracle Grow on our poor plants. Hopefully they come back. The were so nice and now they are pitiful.

After he leaves Mike and I go back to finish the mowing and weed whacking at the other property and also do a tree clean up. We get there and Mike puts the boards across to the island for me. I get across and start weed whacking while the mama goose is hissing at me. It's not like I don't do this every spring and summer Then the male swims over and starts hissing. Great now I'm going to be attacked by 2 protective geese, lol. They can be really nasty birds.

Here is one of our big fish in the pond. Mike is going to miss this pond.

I finish up before Mike so I go around the property and pick up all of the branches. I end up filling the trailer. Thankfully we don't have any trees dow so it was just twigs and branches. Mike finishes mowing and we drive around the perimeter to pull some trees up that got windblown and re stake them.

On our way out we come across one of those crazy birds pretending to be injured. Remember them? These are the killdeer birds that lay their eggs in the center of the driveway in the gravel. They pretend they are injured to lure you away from their eggs. Here are the eggs.

We drive home and go through pour gates and we are greeted by the children, lol. One cow is being nosy and checks the trailer to see what we have.

Aww!!! A new calf was just born. I can't believe how quickly they are up and moving around. He is still slick.

Big Red had a calf this year. She didn't have one last year.

And Mr. Bull

Finally we get through the cows and unload the trailer into a new safer burn pile. At least Mike won't burn my grass anymore.

I spent the early part of the day doing the grids for my garden. In a square foot garden you make little 1foot by 1 foot sections. I am ready to plant.

Howard and his son Eric showed to feed the cows. They were up on the far hill so Mike took the 4-wheeler to visit....and he was gone for about an hour. You get men together and the can yack away, lol.

I weed whacked the fence line since the cows were sticking their heads through our fence to get to the grass Then I mowed the back yard. When Mike got back he mowed the front yard.

Mike installed the regulator. Hopefully this will keep the inverter and charge controllers cool.

Our back shipping container is a mess. In order for us to organize it the inside we need to build a shelf to get some stuff off the ground. Mike starts out by drilling a few holes in the back sides of the container then I go on the inside and hold a board in place while he screws it in from the outside.

We do this for both sides then we find a metal bracket to use to hold the back of the shelf.

Mike cutting the metal bracket. Gotta love a cut off wheel. Great tool.

Mike screws in the bracket.

Now it's ready for a sheet of wood for the shelf.

Mike and I measure and cut a piece of T-111 for the shelf, hike it p and put it on the brackets. Now we just need to add some bracing along the front.

Tomorrow we will take everything back out of the building and re organize. It's getting too late tonight.

I hope you all enjoyed my weekly update. Have a wonderful week and I will write again next Monday.



  1. I can't say that I have ever seen gardens down up in square foot sections like yours. Must be a southern thing?? LOL :)

    1. The square foot garden is a known concept for easy gardening in smaller spaces. I decided to try that for my first garden since it was supposed to be easy. Four years later and I have no plans of digging in the ground:) I am the only one I know who has one....what else is new, lol?