Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Our Flower House Pop Up Greenhouse Arrived!"

I had talked with Don about hardening off our indoor seedlings when it came time to set them outside.  They need protection but also need to adjust to temperatures and light intensity.  I searched online and at a very reasonable price ($150.00 with free shipping) we ordered this little collapsible greenhouse from Flower House.  Another thing I like about it, is that it will be able to be set up over our metal fire ring raised bed, warming that up and giving it a head start with the growing season, too!

Here it is lying at my feet......

It assembles very quickly, too.

How about the static it caused making it a "hair raising experience"?

Here it is with the interior cross bars and roof bar installed.

And here it is totally set up for its photo op.  ;)

When disassembled, it has a zippered carrying case for packing it away.  It also comes with a "shade cloth", along with stakes to anchor it securely to the ground.  I "think" we will be setting it up on the cement pad next to the garage first for hardening off plants, so will be anchoring it with something like cement blocks, but will eventually move it over the converted fire ring and get something planted/growing in that.

Monday, March 24, 2014

"Temporary Fix......."

Dave Soper of Soper Services (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Soper-Services/294265167352106) came over today to put a temporary fix to the issues from the front porch ice damming.  It will suffice until the snow melts.

Here is what it looked after Don cleaned up all the fallen blocks of ice.

The tree support (using those words loosely) has been moved over and replaced with the expandable metal support.  The bars across the beam are, hopefully, going to slowly move the beams back to center.  As you can see, they are under pressure and can be tightened as needed.....sort of like straightening teeth with braces.  ;)

Here is a close up showing the setup.

A quick and easy solution until it is possible to work on it after the snow is gone......

Saturday, March 22, 2014

"Helinox Collapsible Chair......"

When Don was perusing the Canoecoppia Catalog for this years event, he saw an advertisement for a lightweight collapsible chair which he thought would be perfect for having along with him for rest stops when biking.  As seen in the photo below, he ordered and received one.  :)

Small, lightweight and easily packed on his recumbent bike to be brought out when he stops for a longer rest while on one of his "higher mileage" rides.  Here is the frame and the chair cover is seen behind Don on the chair.

The frame assembled and the cover about to be slipped in place......

Here it is fully assembled.  I was surprised at how tall it is!  I was expecting it to be more the height of a low folding beach chair.

The fully assembled chair with one comfortably seated and very pleased consumer.  ;)

Friday, March 21, 2014

"Cleaned up....."

Don did some porch clean up while I was downstairs weaving yesterday.  I came up to find he had used our 2 wheeled cart to remove the chunks of ice and totally cleaned up the mess.  He was even able to stand the "tree" support in place, although it isn't as much of a support as we had originally thought.  We'll be doing something about that when the snow/ice is melted.

He did a fantastic job!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Ice Damming Lets Loose....."

Even with all the melting of snow and ice from the roof that has already taken place, we still had a huge piece of ice hanging onto and over the edge of the house roof this morning.  That is until a few minutes ago when it totally let loose and crashed onto/into the porch area, taking out one of the support beams and the built in bench seat.

The base of the support beam is moved a couple of feet towards the house now.....

And totally disconnected from the roof beam.

The ice came down with a force we certainly didn't expect, splintering some of the wood of the built in bench seat.

It also pushed everything on the porch towards the house, so at this time, we are not able to go out the front door.  We'll be taking care of that soon as we need access to the wood rack to keep "the home fires burning".

Owning a home brings many joys, but also brings some unexpected issues, too.  To be "optimistic", I will call this experience "exciting".  ;)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"Saint Patricks Day....."

Don and I drove into Traverse City yesterday to run a few errands.  Afterwards, we decided to go to Bubba's (http://www.tcbubbas.com) for lunch.  Don had read that the Traverse City Bagpipers were planning on being there at 2 PM for one of their stops in the "Unofficial" Annual Traverse City Pub Crawl (https://www.facebook.com/events/555664847797144/).

Bubba's was PACKED, but we managed to share a table with another couple of guys alongside the bar/walkway between seating in the front and seating in the back.  We arrived prior to the TC Bagpipers and had "ringside" seats for their entrance.

Their Drum Major leads them in....single file, of course, due to the crowd!

Yes, I forgot to wear my green yesterday.  We have found that being retired means we no longer know what day it is....or when we do, we forget that it is the current day and walk out of the house "oblivious" sometimes (I should probably say I speak for myself only).  Yesterday was one of those days.  We knew it was St. Patrick's Day but it didn't "click" that we should have on green!  I could have looked quite "Ye Olde Bearded Irishman" if only I'd remembered!  ;)

While sitting at our table, we did receive a few "Irish Trinkets" from passersby.  Here is Don with the ones he scored.

A good time was had by all!

Monday, March 17, 2014

"Beer and Cheese Pairings......"

Don and I drove into Traverse City to participate in a beer and cheese pairing event at The Little Fleet (http://www.thelittlefleet.com). The beer was from Terra Firma Brewery (http://www.breweryterrafirma.com/index.php), located south on the outskirts of Traverse City, and the cheese from Boss Mouse (http://www.bossmousecheese.com), located outside of Kingsley, a small town (village?) south of Traverse City.

Here is the menu of what was served.

Sue Kurta, the cheese artisan, sat down and chatted with us, telling us how she got started, etc.  She is a delightful person and her enthusiasm wonderful!  We also met the owner of The Little Fleet, Gary, seen in the cap and glasses behind the bar, who seemed very nice, too.

For whatever reason, the beer was served in wine glasses, but I have to admit, I think I enjoyed it more that way.  As many of you know, I am not a big beer connoisseur, but all 5 of the beer/cheese pairings were delicious!  I'm certain that if having tasted a few of the beers by themselves, I would not have gone back for a second sip, but having a bit of the paired cheese with it, I found it delicious.

Here is a close up of the cheese plate.  The pairings were set clockwise from the top and around the plate, which also had sliced apples and a trail mix of dried fruits and nuts.  We topped the sliced apples with the last cheese, Ricotta in Marmalade.  Ummmmummmm GOOD!

Of course, Don had to not only document the event with the photos of the beer and cheese, but had to add my mug in a photo, too.  ;)

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Meanwhile, the Other Aero Garden....."

Our newest Aero Garden Hydroponic unit which has the 2 cherry tomatoes growing in it, is doing VERY well.  Here are a few photos of the vigorous plants.......

I'm looking forward to the ripening of the cherry tomatoes........then let the eating enjoyment begin!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Overnight Growth!"

Yesterday, when I transplanted the seeds from the Aero Garden pods to the Jiffy peat pots, I noticed a couple of the Belstar Broccoli seeds had begun sprouting.  When checking them this morning, it was evident they had continued their evolution from seed to seedling even with the "probable" shock of moving them from their pod into the peat pots, emerging through the potting soil and into the light of day.  :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"A Redo......"

Replacing the pump in the old Aero Garden worked fine for a few days.  This morning I was surprised and somewhat dismayed to find the pump once again not working.  SO.......rather than replace the pump with another one we have, which, for some reason I remember as being "used", I decided to use the Aero Garden only for its "light timer" and not for its hydroponics.  I replanted all 7 of the seed pods into soil filled #2 Jiffy-Pots, plus I sowed a few more peat pots of Cal Wonder Red Bell Peppers and Belstar Broccoli, bringing their total to 6 pots of each.  To use the extra space in my plastic drain containers, I added 3 peat pots of a dwarf heritage tomato I had purchased, thinking I would try it in the Aero Garden because of its height, called Green Martian, and 2 peat pots of Sweet Basil.  It is a bit early to plant the basil for the garden beds but since I had the room and peat pots (which can be planted without disturbing root systems), I thought I would experiment.

I took the Golden Grape Tomato Aero Garden pod and added it to the windowsill group, filling out the number of pots the drain container could hold.  Why waste space, eh?  :)  It allowed me to plant the 2nd Sweet Basil pot for under the Aero Garden lighting system.  As you can see from this photo, we have brilliant sunshine today as we have had for the past few days.  Hopefully, the lengthening daylight will give these plants what they need to stay healthy.

All of our plants are enjoying the bright sunshine and longer daylight.  :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Transplanted Seedlings....."

When checking the Aero Garden which holds the heritage tomato seedlings, I found that the water pump in the Aero garden had died.  Thankfully, Don had taken the precaution when ordering seed pods from the company, by adding a replacement pump to the list of things ordered.  I figured since I was disassembling the unit, I may as well transplant the seedlings before replacing the pump.

The transplants now sit in the east facing window of the great room, where hopefully, they will be joined by more transplants in the next few weeks.  :)

After replacing the pump and cleaning the Aero Garden, I sowed 2 more pods of tomato seeds, 1 of Golden Grape and the other Hana, 3 pods of CA Wonder Bell Peppers, and 2 pods of Belstar Broccoli.  Looks like I will have "succession plantings" out of necessity as suggested by many of the gardening books.  :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I planted 14 heritage tomato seeds (3 different varieties) 6 days ago and 9 of them have sprouted!  Each variety represented, too!  In a few more days, I will transplant them into soil and they will continue their growth (I hope!) on the east facing windowsill in the great room which gets our greatest amount of sun.  I hope by the time I transplant these, the other seeds will have sprouted, too.  I will replace these grow pods with heritage bell peppers.

I am looking forward to this Spring which will allow me to plant our raised beds at the appropriate time rather than mid-June as I did last year.  :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Package Received!"

Yesterday, Maniphone and Jonathan received their "surprise" package of 2 chenille scarves that I wove for them.  They look great on them......even if I do say so myself!  LOL

Monday, March 3, 2014


Even though the temperatures were pretty low when starting the day, they have been rising steadily throughout the morning.  We woke up to minus 11 here at the house but it is now almost noon and the temperature now stands at 14 above.

We've also been given a few days of bright sunshine, too, which Copper has been enjoying through the east facing window as it falls onto her bed.

With the heritage tomato seeds planted in the Aero Garden in preparation for my raised outdoor garden beds, plus these few days of bright sunshine, its encouraging fervent anticipation of the Spring thaw and the oncoming warmer weather.  :)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

"Roof Snow Removal....."

Even though Don has been good about going out and raking snow from our roof, ice and snow have still built up and have caused us a few problems....water drips a few weeks ago in the main floor bedroom, which thankfully, stopped after a few hours, and recently, in the great room around the window overlooking the front porch.

Our temporary solution was to line the windowsill with plastic food containers......

Thank goodness for our bread storage container!  It was large enough to take care of the main drip point, otherwise we'd have had some overflow by morning.  As you can see in this photo, the built up ice has slid a bit more out and away from the end of the roof, but has not broken off.  Our temperatures have been in the single digits or lower as of late.

Don made a phone call yesterday morning about having someone come and do some ice/snow removal from the roof and we were very fortunate that he found someone who could come out late in the afternoon.  Not only were they able to come and check out the job, but were willing to do it right away!  Hired!!!!  Up they went and began the job of removing as much as they could with Don out there to document the event.  :)

Don has only been able to reach so far up the roof with the roof rake so having it cleared up to the peak will help enormously.  Notice the ice overhang has been removed?  The great room is so much brighter this morning.  :)

The guys finished as the light left the sky, timing it perfectly........it took close to 2 hours from start to finish.

I took the next couple of photos this AM.  By the way, the dripping has stopped, too.  ;)  We still have some ice build up but it is so much better than before!  Hopefully, we'll have some warmer temperatures soon and get some thawing action started.  :)  When enough thawing happens, the roof will clear in one big sliding moment!  This has happened on the far side of the roof which is a shorter section.

All of the ice and snow removed from the roof has brought the base of the pile of snow, which began by Don's raking, onto the front porch.  I think we're safe from it coming much closer.  ;)

Soon all this will be but a memory.........one we will look back on when we reminisce about our first Winter in Interlochen.  :)