Sunday, December 19, 2010

How Sweet It Is

Wow!!!!! thanks so much for all the comments and wonderful feedback that ya'll left on the last post. I really do appreciate the time you took to comment. I would have normally answered each one but I didn't check until later and there were so many, I thought it might be easier just to answer you here. I think that lack of time these days is what has contributed most to a lot of bloggers stopping. Lots of people are now having to work longer hours or even work more than one job. And, as some of you mentioned, some people feel they have just said all they have to say. I guess if I had limited my blog to just my house it would have petered out too, because there have been times when progress has gone so slowly, the blog would have virtually stopped. Fortunately, I like to run my pie-hole about most anything, so you all still get to read about my train wreck of a life!
I have dutifully taken note of the things ya'll said you would like to read about and will do my best to post on those things. Thanks again, truly, and welcome to the new readers.

In fact, these photos are what one of my sweetest readers, Floridacracker, asked me about a little while back. He wanted to see the stone retaining wall I had been building around the parking area. I thought I had shown a full scale shot but I must not have. Anyway, here it is. It is not completely finished at the areas next to the steps but it's getting closer.

I don't lack a whole lot finishing but sometimes so many other things distract me. There is just so much to do here. Cleaning up the yard helped so much though, to give me some incentive to finish things like this.

Some of you may remember my plan to weave various little curious objects into the wall. How many can you see? I have not put everything in that I intend to, as this is just one small section of the wall. This stone is just dry stacked for now but I do intend to go back and mortar in a few pieces of the loose stone, concealing the mortar as best I can.

Here is the broccoli. Yesterday was warm enough that I pulled back the plastic over the tunnel to let the crops get some good sunshine, which I do if the temps are going to get above 50 degrees. These plants are about a foot tall. I will be so excited if I actually get some broccoli off these plants. At least you don't have to worry about too many pests at this time of year, although I know there is still the possibility of some.

The cabbages, which are about 14-16 inches across, are trying to form heads. Everything seems healthy and robust so far. In the worst cold they are a little wilty looking but then as it warms up they spring back up. I have read that cabbages can easily take 20 (F.) degrees, so these seem to be doing okay. However, I put the light, with a 100-watt bulb, under the tunnel on nights that are going to be in the low 20's or lower. I am trying to come up with some other form of heat that could safely be put under there and would not require much or any electricity. Any ideas? I do not believe it is weather proof enough for a small ceramic heater and those things use a good bit of power anyway.

*James Taylor


HermitJim said...

Hey, those plants look pretty good! Seem to be nice and healthy!

What about a small wood heater at one end with the stove pipe running down the length of the tunnel under cover?

Whatever you're doing right now seems to be working!

Ed said...

Up here where we do get spring time cool temperatures, we use what is called a wall-o-water. They are plastic things that can form a ring around the plants and you fill with water. The water takes on thermal mass during the day and dispense it at night. Wouldn't do you much good for 20F but they do alright for those dips just below freezing.

Rusty said...

I think Ed has the right answer. My first though was to use rocks - there seems to be no shortage of that around. Rock may store heat faster than waterbags - but would probably also release it too fast. What is the thermal coefficient of rock compared to water? Second thought would be to perhaps replace the cover with a clear plastic that has a light aluminum coating (almost transparent), on the inside. Would that allow more light and heat in during the day and tend to reflect (or slow) heat loss at night? That needs some study - I don't know the answer.

Floridacracker said...

:)Thanks ...blush.

Thanks also for the looksee at that rock wall. It came out great!

Water has a much higher heat capacity than rock,so Ed may be on to something.

Or, you could put a cage of rabbits under your cover.
I read once about a greenhouse heated by caged bunnies ... who also supplied fertilizer and Carbon Dioxide for the greenhouse plants.

Here, we wait for cold weather so we can actually grow lettuce, spinach, cabbage, collards,broc, etc. without them bolting.

edifice rex said...

Hey Jim! that's an idea; however, my little tunnel is only about 2 feet tall. I was thinking abut a very small kerosene heater tho.

Hey Ed! yes, I have seen those water things but I would need like, 28 or so. That might be a little pricey, i don't know.

Hey Rusty! The plastic sounds great; but, do they make such a thing? I've never seen anything like that.

Hey FC! thanks! well, the rabbits are certainly an interesting idea!
I am thinking maybe some very small oil or kerosene heater.

Sissy said...

I would seriously avoid the kerosene. It harmed me greatly. Think what it may do to the plants.

Once I had an electric insulated cord that wrapped around water pipes; I bet one of them stretched along or even down in the soil might work.

My spinach planted six weeks ago did nothing. I wonder why and am very disappointed.

Rusty said...

Here is a link that may help in getting info on aluminized films (vapor barrier)

Application and usefulness is another matter though.

How about old truck tire innertubes to hold water? (Or do they still use innertubes)?

edifice rex said...

Hey sissy! good point about the kerosene; I hadn't thought of that.
The heated insulation is an interesting idea. I'll have to check the price on that stuff.

Hey Rusty! thanks for the link! I'll check that.
the innertubes are an interesting idea. since they are black they would certainly absorb heat from the sun. I'm not sure if they still use them or not but i would think so.

Rusty said...

Here is a link you may already know about. Some specific info here.

It might help a bit with cost comparisons.

edifice rex said...

Hey Rusty! thanks! I did not know about this site so it will be interesting to go through!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi Annie - season's greetings to you and Capt Jack! Glad to read that you will be coninuing on and doing your thing here - best way to go. Happy (early) New Year!

JoJo said...

I just took my first look at your blog and got as far as Nov. 08 wow I love it.You are a very talented Lady. Your home will be the best. And I love your pottery. As soon as these holidays are over I will take a better look at what you are selling.
BTW I found you through HermitJim

edifice rex said...

Hey Beatrice! thanks and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Grenville!

Hey Jojo! Welcome! and thanks so much for your kind words!
Yeah, I get a lot of referrals from Jim! that's great!

Anonymous said...

This idea does use electricity, but maybe less than if you just turn on a light bulb and leave it on all night (?). Not sure if it would work for you but thought I would toss it out in case it might help.

Up north in Farm N Feed type stores, they have a special plug that you can use with brooder lamps (don't know if you know brooder lamps, but they are just very basic metal half-sphere "bowls" that you put a light bulb in).

Anyway, this is an inexpensive item that you plug in and it goes between the male plug on the lamp and the female wall outlet. It has a built in thermostat that makes the electricity come on at something like 36 degrees and go off again at something like 42 degrees (I forget the exact numbers). Of course you need to have the female outlet (or cord end) in the space you want to heat.

I used one of these to heat a small pumphouse I had up north in "twenty below country." The pumphouse had no other heat source. I used one brooder lamp and also a trouble light (auto type) because that's what I had on hand.

In my case I had insulated the pumphouse and did not want to open it any more than necessary. I also did not want it to freeze if one light bulb burned out, hence the two lights.

I used an indoor reading outdoor thermometer to monitor the temperature in the pumphouse.


edifice rex said...

Hey Anon! thanks so much for that info!! I had not thought of that. I'll check into it!!