Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Cucumber Bean Trellis

Last year I made this cucumber trellis.
It served its purpose for the most part,
but it wasn't the greatest.
The chicken wire allowed the cukes to grow through them
but it sometimes pinched off the growing veggie.
It also wasn't very sturdy, so Big E and I knew we'd either have to improve the design of this 
or find something else.
So I found something else here: The Rhinestone Beagle.
Basically it uses 8- 1x2's and 7- 2x2's
some galvanized nails and some twine.
The original design uses 8 foot lengths
but I opted for 6 foot 1x2's for length and
stuck with the 8 foot 2x2's for height.
You're going to use 6 2x2's as your vertical posts and the 1x2's for the cross pieces.
Lay them out and then nail them together.
Be sure to use 2 nails at each juncture to prevent the board from spinning.
The bottom cross piece we nailed 12" from the bottom
and the top piece was about 2 feet from the top
and I think the other 2 were spaced about 18" apart from the others.
(you can tell I'm not one for exact perfect measurements, that why Big E built it)
The original plans called for the 7th 2x2 to lay in the crook at the top
of the trellis and everything gets lashed together with rope or twine.
Because I was too lazy to walk to the barn to get twine 
we were running out of time,
and Big E wasn't keen on lashing, 
he suggested we nail the sides together at the top.
So using 3 1/2" galvanized nails
(they were a little too long but it didn't matter)
he nailed the sides together at each of the 3 posts.
This also made the trellis able to close as if hinged.
This makes it easier to carry and a cinch to store in the winter.
(this is why I'm learning to let Big E build things how he wants 
because he usually knows what he's doing)
 And here we have the finished product.
Cucumbers are planted on one side
and pole beans on the other.
One improvement I think we'll have to make is that 
I think there needs to be either 2 more vertical pieces 
and/or extra cross pieces to make for easier climbing for the plants.  
But I think that's something that I can add after the fact 
as it won't be for sturdiness just for the plants' benefit.
Also, because it's so easy to get under the trellis,
I'm going to grow my lettuces under there.
The cucumbers and beans will provide some shade for the lettuce.
We also managed to get nearly everything planted
with the exception of the plants I started
and the tomatoes.
That's on for the weekend.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Busy Sunday

It was a busy weekend in general.
Wedding items were worked on
(including a nearly completed wagon),
there was a birthday party,
a ball game
and finally....
A garden started.
The weather in our area has been a little crazy this spring.
Big E finally got the garden tilled for me for Mother's Day
and yesterday we managed to get some seed in the ground.
Though a little late for some stuff, we planted it anyway to see what happens
(really, temps were in the upper 30's this morning so weather-wise, it isn't that late).
We have a giant row of peas planted since my son likes to eat them off the vine,
spinach, kale, 2 types of cabbage, beets and carrots.
We planned out the rest of the plantings of cukes, tomatoes, pole beans, squash, melons, pumpkins and corn. 
What can I say, we're ambitious.
Now I just have to keep these cluckers out of the garden
since they think it's their very own Olympic sized dust bath. 
And they like kale.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Almost Finished

This Mother's Day I worked on the wagon.
After painting it some more in the morning, 
we were ready to begin assembling parts in the evening.
Assembling the pivot head

Attaching the wheels with the new hubcaps
Completed front wheel section
Attaching the front wheels to the wagon bed
Here is the nearly finished product.
I still have the side panels to put together,
but they need another coat or two of paint.
And once assembled, I have the task of redoing the lettering.
With a little luck, I'll have it all done this week
and be able to move on to planting the freshly tilled garden.
Big E even gave up going to get ice cream 
to get this done for me for Mother's Day.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Painting: Round 1

So, we started painting the wagon.  
I don't think I need to go too much into the process, 
but I will say, taping wheels- HUGE pain in the butt.

We were running out of primer and we needed it for the metal pieces
so we didn't bother priming the wood. 
Now I need more red paint because it's going to take a few coats.
I LOVE the metal painted black.
Originally it was painted a greyish color.
And here we have the bird cage we purchased for holding cards.
We got it on sale but I hated the color.
It looks much better in white.
Hoping to get all the hardware I need (nails and bolts)
and get painting finished so I can get the wagon assembled by the end of the weekend.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fungus Among Us

So I started seeds indoors.
I wasn't very hopeful that I would have success 
because every time I've done this in the past
I've had all my seedlings die due to 
damping off disease.
This is a disease caused by fungus and/or molds
that are naturally occurring in the potting mix.
It can kill seedlings 
or it can prevent germination.
So, of course, it hit my seedlings again.
For future reference, 
you can sterilize your soil in the microwave by placing it in a microwave safe dish
covering it loosely
and heating on High for 8-10 minutes.
Let it cool on its own before using.
But my problem was happening now.
So here's the remedy I found.
Chamomile Tea.
Yes that herb tea that relaxes you and makes you sleepy
has anti fungal properties.
You boil 2 cups of water, 
make your tea then put it in a spray bottle and use it to water and mist your plants.
The results?
My tomatoes began germinating
and my cabbage, peppers and kale are not dead.
I did lose most of one of the cabbage varieties I had,
however, I did set aside some of the seed to direct sow in the garden.
Now, if only the weather would cooperate so I can get the garden tilled!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Still Sanding

With my wedding happening in just over a month, 
the stress planning and preparation has hit high gear.
So I've been frantically trying to get the wagon to the priming and painting stage.
I managed 
(with the help of my brother, dad, Big E, an entire can of WD-40, 
a hacksaw and a reciprocating saw)
to take out the bolts and remove the metal pieces from the wood base.
As of last night, 
I think I have the metal pretty much rust free,
and now my attention is turned to the wood.
The two side panels have the original 1975 lettering,
so I was trying to come up with a way to be able to repaint it.

This font isn't used on any of the newer Town & Country wagons.
In a moment of brilliance, 
I thought of using clear page protectors and a Sharpie.
It seemed to work pretty well.
I made a couple of tracings, and I'll hopefully use them to make a stencil of some sort.
Afterwards, I went out and removed the nails from the slats and
the metal brackets that hold the slats.
Today I will begin sanding again, 
though I anticipate wood going faster than metal.
And somewhere along the line, 
I'll need to manage to find time to finishe making 21 tablecloths,
decorate 40 mason jar vases
and cut out an assemble 140 feet of pennant banner.
Oh, and organize my music playlists and download music.
And order a speaker system....
and make a batch of Sangria to make sure it tastes ok.