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Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 1707
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 17 3:10 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

Another (not charming) grey day. Sunshine would be nice, don't you think? I know I do.

Cassandra, when we had the smaller generator Mr Jam Lord's intentions were to start it up once a month. You know about good intentions . . . Power would go out, battery would be dead, he'd have to jump it from a car's battery. And of course this usually happened in the black of night with bad weather. Then there was Superstorm Sandy and we were without power for about 2 weeks. Our area was so impacted that there were restrictions on the purchase of gasoline (depended on whether your car's license plate ended in an odd or even number.) So now we have a propane fueled whole house generator with auto start. The one addition Himself made was a small heat lamp inside the generator housing. It is on a thermostat electrical switch (on / off at 20 / 30 degrees Fahrenheit) so oil does not sludge at coldest temperature and generator cannot run. Fortunately I don't have to concern myself with these things, I'm just the cook and bottle washer.

Mistress Rose, I took a couple of basketry courses. My more interesting baskets incorporated native vines and / or roots with bought material such as rattan. Virginia creeper vine and roots, and grape vines that I foraged were especially good to work with.

Thursday is the media preview for the orchid show at the New York Botanical Garden. This year's theme is Thailand. Should be very colorful. I will, of course, report back.

cassandra



Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 1521

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 17 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

sensible spinners do indeed have a mat on the floor beside them - I am not a sensible spinner - at least not yet while I don't have to bother with housework. No doubt I will be more finicky once I have the house in order again Gregotyn.

Meanwhile I have been fiddling with the soil pipe to fix a small leak around the rubber sleeve near the bit that was repaired. I am currently running the dishwasher to see if my repairs worked - if so, I will be covering it back up again and making sure there is a good depth of gravel over it so there will be no more problems. It is all my fault as I had not bothered to layer soil over it as I was instructed by the plumber who originally installed it, so I can not complain.

I have also been watching a video on how to use a dynabolt and now know what sort of masonry bit to get and how to do it, so I won't have to bother finding a man to do it for me. That's a relief as they seem to be hard to find at present (I think there is a lot of work going on the farms).

Finished another beanie and am under way with the one for the client the first beanie was supposed to be for, but I read the instructions for starting off the back of the associated jumper rather than for the beanie so did not cast on sufficient stitches and used the wrong sized needles. Still, it fits me comfortably so should still be saleable.

And tomorrow I will be back in the History Room yet again as we have a special guest coming and I also need to show Steph how to make me an administrator on our FB page (which has seen better days). I have taken a number of photos around the HR to brighten up the banner and to cheer things up a bit.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8826

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 17 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The Castledale sounds interesting Cassandra. In the UK sheep are mainly bred for meat as there has been so little interest in the fleeces over the last few years that it often costs more to have the sheep shorn than they can get for the fleece. Things are getting better, but most wool used here is imported from places like Aus, and most reasonably priced knitting yarn is still synthetic. Sounds as if you are getting on well with the spinning anyway. I have found that I need to divide tops into 1/8 to get the fineness I want to spin. You might try dividing it into half or quarters to get what you want.

Gregotyn, Happy Valentines Day to you, rather belatedly I am afraid. We sometimes use our little low impact tractor in some places to extract the logs to a place the big tractor can get to, then transfer, partly for speed, as taking 1 load on the larger forwarder is a lot quicker than 6 journeys on the little forwarder. In the wood we are very aware of the problems of compaction, but unfortunately, we sometimes have to use the bigger forwarder as the little one just cannot lift some logs. Agree with you about the use of large machinery for farm work, although with one man trying to do everything these days, deep ploughing every few years might work out better for them than going half the speed on a small tractor, with a small window of time to get the job done.

Jam Lady, your generator set up sounds very sensible. We have underground supply here, and it is pretty stable, so we don't have to bother with a generator. We are also set up for heating and cooking on the fire, and can use candles for light if we have to, so the sort of short power cuts we tend to get aren't a major problem for us, just inconvenience for an hour.

Did another 20 log sacks yesterday as we have orders for them. In fact we have orders for 30, but that will get both customers out of a hole, and the remaining 10, which may well rise to 20 again, can be delivered next week.

My basket has shrunk a bit as it has dried, as I expected, so I will soak some strips of hazel that I split some time ago and add them in the next few days.

gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 1423
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 17 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Not a bad day today, sun shining and all in the garden is...green, no flowers yet, almost spring here, but could be a false start; up here we get good falls of snow and heavy frosts even into April occasionally. In some ways it would be good to have a decent spell of frost to help kill off those unwanted overwintering bugs and diseases, and it just hasn't been that sort of season this time.

I was thinking more in terms of the history room for the floor covering, Cassandra so that you can spin there without the mess, and be a topic for the visitors to talk about and watch. I am in sympathy with the soil pipe mine is playing up too, but I guess it is to do with the horses that are in the field across the road, probably charging all over and upsetting the outfall-more expense I fell coming on. I have never heard of dynabolt, what is its purpose?

You are right about speed of job to be done on farms, MR, and timeliness is important, but sometimes I think a pace back may not be such a bad idea, I am not saying that we should crawl round as that is almost as bad as too fast, but all the chaps at work can talk about is how fast a tractor can go, when it should be what is the optimum speed to maintain soil structure and fuel consumption at its least to do a good job. Mind I was young once....!

I chopped enough kindling yesterday to fill 8 nets in an hour which pleased me. I now have enough for the week coming until at least Tuesday I hope, by which time I expect to have another 20 nets cut chopped and netted, and pigs may fly! (or not). I have been doing the work in the mornings before I start work, my boss is happy to let me do this provided I start his work at 7am and this has enabled me to get ahead on a temporary basis. Once the summer starts I will be able to put into stock. It seems I need around 200 nets to begin the season with, this time round I have sold more than ever before, aided by the fact that my customer has moved a long way from the other kindling stocking shop. My customer is a food store mainly, and now has a captive market with the cash point; since the bank closed everybody goes there and so buys there as well.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8826

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 17 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

There are a few flowers out here; snowdrops and crocus mainly. I went out for a walk round the local roads yesterday and there were some lovely clumps in odd gardens. The rest were green though.

I was scheduled to stay in yesterday as we were expecting two things to be delivered. As it happens both arrived when husband and son were home, but they were doing log loads, so there was nothing for me to do in the woods, so I stayed home and did housework and paperwork.

Saw the peregrine again yesterday. It seems to have set up home on the electricity pylon just down the road, so no rooks living there again this year and the pigeons flying low.

cassandra



Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 1521

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 17 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

A dynabolt is a metal bolt in a metal sleeve. You drill a hole into masonry then tap the whole lot into the hole. When you tighten the bolt, the bottom of the sleeve expands and locks the whole thing into the the masonry. If you tighten it too much the masonry cracks so clearly it is fairly powerful. I will be using my socket wrench so will be careful how tight I go. You are supposed to use a torque wrench but that is something I do not own and I suspect it is rather an expensive thing. As long as I stay at least 50mm from the edge of the slab I should be right!

I was planning to do it tomorrow but now I have a visitor coming.

In case you wondered what the History Room looks like, here is a pic of the exterior.

It used to be a service station and garage. It is built from concrete formed in situ and heaven alone knows what sort of reinforcing was used - all a bit rough and ready.

I went to Hobart today, firstly to the Craft Fair where I was outstandingly restrained and bought nothing, though the prize-winning quilts were rather lovely to see. Then on to the Hardware to get shelving for the shed, a masonry bit and some insulation for the shed. I also bought some brass hose fittings as I am tired of the plastic ones which split and leak and break and fall off with gay abandon. I also picked up a sprinkler so when that heady day arrives when I can plant a lawn, I can now also water the seed to get it established.

Speaking of water, since the tanks were installed we have had several rainfalls, but none of it has arrived in the tanks as the run off has been busy filling those pipes that were drained. Today's afternoon deluge did, however, end up where it was supposed to be so I am feeling a little less stressed about the water levels (10,000 litres spread across two 3.5metre diameter tanks seems awfully low!), and we have more rain on the way, though not tomorrow.

So tomorrow I will be able to get the washing done as well as entertain my guest.

When I got home I found a pile of hay beside the lane. It is terrible hay - I have to wonder why he cut under pine trees when it has been such a great hay season. It contains pine cones, pine needles, a dead lambs tail (presumably from docking) and goodness knows what else. And is black - again, presumably he baled it a bit green and it went off. But it is great for mulch and at $2.00 a bale a bargain.



It was supposed to be 12 bales, but only 10 were there when I got home, so either he mis-counted or two 'walked' before I got home. They are now more neatly stacked in a location more clearly part of my property!

And this is the 'pantry' cupboard I am looking at getting. Though the door detailing will be less fussy on mine.



gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 1423
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 17 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thank you for the bolt description Cassandra, we call them rawl bolts in the UK after the company who makes them here, I believe. And you are right about the over tightening. The History room may look rough and ready to you but in that sunshine it looks good. I never thought I would hear an expat Brit. asking for rain-though I realise why!

We too have the start of the crocus flowering season, just showing yellows and so on but not really "out" if you know what I mean, this is the first time I have spotted them, well on my way home after going home from the library yesterday. I tend not to notice the wild flowers so much now without the dog walking I used to do. I got a bit dog broody this afternoon when a young girl was playing with a dog in her father's pickup whilst he was 'shopping'. Anyway the dog was very sociable and we had lots of love and I thought I might....., but I've got home now so ok, I am recovered!

Was that meant to be horse hay Cassandra?

I have been cutting wood like a mad man to keep my customer going they are definitely burning more kindling than they were in this area, and no, there haven't been any major housing developments in the last year or anywhere near us for some years-inexplicable or I am too cheap-still? I am delighted really, I bundle at night and chop before work in the morning , I seem to be on top of it, but starting earlier in the morning in order not to encroach on working time at work. My current output is about 6 nets a day, which takes about an hour to chop and half an hour to net up so not too bad, but I have to cut the blanks and that can be tedious with knotty wood and slows down chopping time.

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 1707
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 17 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

That hay looks O.K. for mulch (though likely full of seeds) but I wouldn't feed it to any animals.

The orchid show was the very best yet.



From the moment my friend Joan and I entered the conservatory's Palm Court



to the orchids in the exhibition gallery it was just a fabulous explosion of color



The theme this yet (15th annual orchid show) is Thailand. There are two spirit pavilions, two sets of 9 (fortunate number) hanging lanterns, orchid flowers floating in little pools of water.

And the traffic was light and moving well in both directions!

About 40 or more media people attending the preview. Saw many friends, and one young man who was a student in my required bulb class for the School of Professional Horticulture lo these many years ago. So all in all a very delightful day. I'll provide a link for you all, when I get an entry created and uploaded.

Temperatures below freezing at night. If I believe it, tomorrow is supposed to reach 16.7 degrees Centigrade. If so, maybe (I can hope, can't I) the remaining snow will melt away.

From a bag of mixed crocus corms the yellow crocus will always bloom earlier than the white / striped / blue ones as the yellows have Crocus ancyrensis, cloth of gold crocus, in their ancestry and it is an early blooming species.

And I saw two (American) robins in New York yesterday. So Spring is definitely on the way. Hooray!

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8826

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 17 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks for the picture of the History Room Cassandra. As you say, rather rough and ready, but serves its purpose and it would be a brute to knock down, so better to be used. That hay looks awful, but as you say, will probably do for mulch. Glad you are getting water in your tanks. Once they have filled you will have a good store. One thing we have always relied on is mains water for the house, although we use rain water in the garden quite a lot. I even have a hand pump for the tank under the greenhouse when it is working. Your craft fair sounds interesting too.

Gregotyn, I think a lot of people are starting to use wood and sometimes coal for fires these days. It means you can keep the central heating down a bit, and a fire is always a good focus in a sitting room. We could sell far more firewood that we do, but we are limited by supply, time and energy. I forgot to reply to your tractor remark, but I agree there is an optimum speed for work. Having the speed if you have to travel between farms or fields on the roads is useful though.

Jam Lady, your orchid show looks lovely. Well worth the visit.

I went out with husband yesterday morning to do a firewood load they already had on the truck, then back to food bank. We didn't have quite such a busy day yesterday, so managed to sort things out a bit better. Unfortunately I then had to spend an hour sorting our husbands prescription and they seemed to have got it all completely wrong. Hopefully now have things sorted and won't have any more trouble, as the blood tester he had has been phased out, which I am told is why they kept leaving the test strips for it off the prescription. Pity they didn't tell us that earlier and provide the new tester I got for him yesterday.

gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 1423
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 17 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I am finding the doctors busier than ever now and as you say they don't always get it right MR. I repeatedly have to ask for the nasal spray that I use in winter mainly. We have come to an agreement that I will ask for one when I want it, so that I can get it before the nose gets upset- blocking in the night for some reason but I panic a bit when it happens, and the spray sorts it out. Before I had to see the doctor first-such a waste of their time.
Yes they don't seem in higher places, councils-ref Sheffield-that trees are a source of carbon capture. They seem to be eliminating trees that need trimming not felling. I doubt if they are going to plant trees to replace them, but hope they do. I am thinking of felling my Spruce trees and will be replacing them with more, but also plan a couple of oaks or beech so that they will carry on well after me! I have 2 oaks which need to come down and also a beech tree and possibly an ash, all of which are large and encroaching on the land to the point I have to go round them as their branches are so low. I have a row of sycamores and a few ash to demolish, which are weeds and the sycamores are in a 'blow over' spot

The orchid show does look good, I'm awaiting the link, Jam Lady. Temperatures here are relatively warm. We have not had the weather that I normally associate with winter in any quantity this year; so far a couple of "gone in a day snowfalls", about a week of frosts in the early morning, roads salted, and some rain, but for me it has been autumn into spring-pleasant to say the least. I agree with you regarding mulch JL, I would use straw. In theory the seeds have gone, as most straw is fairly clean due to sprays, there is much less weed (and so seeds), in straw.

Now I know why the yellows are early, genetics, I was that yellow crocus in a previous life-get up, get it done and go to bed!

cassandra



Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 1521

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 17 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I was in the History Room again today, knitting and entertained a fairly continuous flow of guests all morning, though the afternoon was pretty dull. I had one local call in who just wanted to talk - and boy could she talk. It was only as she was leaving, after an extensive discussion of animal neglect and cruelty that she mentioned her dog was in the car - a black car, windows fully up, in full sun. I shooed her out the door with a reprimand, but she knew better. Grrrr.

Since I had a visitor yesterday no work was done on the garden bed and path, and I have just realised this is the beginning of the last week of February. I am hoping the shed people remember that the tree is being lopped tomorrow and don't rock up at seven in the morning as I really do have to have at least the path filled in before they arrive to protect the pipe i have just repaired for the nth time. But I am fairly sure they would have been in touch with a firm start date. Fingers crossed.

Seb spent last night in front of the fire completely relaxed will Billy was on my lap for the evening (which is why I was unable to post yesterday). Both seemed completely relaxed, and they have been face to face quite a few times now. Seb still rolls his eyes to see if it is OK to be that close to the cat (and possibly asking permission to eat it), but otherwise they seem fairly good together - but still not good enough to leave them in the house without separating them if I am not there. But it is minimally problematic at this stage.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8826

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 17 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I like it when the purple crocus come along to mix with the yellow ones; the combination is beautiful, but at least having the yellow ones is a sign of spring. All colours are out here now.

Gregotyn, if you don't need to get rid of those trees for other reasons you could always crown lift them. Get someone to cut some of the lower branches off so you can get past them. It is a job that needs climbing or a polesaw, so unless you have a polesaw, I would get someone in. I think councils are getting rid of trees as they just don't have the money to maintain them.

I wonder what that woman would have thought if someone had broken her car window and got her dog our Cassandra. Sounds like one that doesn't really understand animal cruelty. Glad Seb and Billy are getting on. How is Smidgen taking to Billy now?

We took MIL our for her birthday tea yesterday. A local tea shop does a very good 'high tea' as they call it with sandwiches, cream tea and cakes with tea or coffee as you wish. They gave us a lovely tea with flowers on the table, balloons above it and all on nice china, so nicely presented too. Son and DIL came too, so nice family party.

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 1707
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 17 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

O.K. Here's the link to my orchid show entry: Orchids at the New York Botanical Garden Not that it's skimpy on images but there's one I wanted only mine was not good enough to share in public. If they send me one I'll revise / reload.

Yesterday was an insanely warm day, 16.7 degrees Centigrade. All the more insane because the night before was minus 4.4 Centigrade. Snow mostly gone and more flowers revealed in my garden.

Yesterday's meeting of the rock garden society chapter had an excellent speaker. Her topic was landscaping with native plants and their interactions with insects and animals. Very informative and entertaining - and the two don't always go together.

Yesterday was also the living history farm's maple syrup tapping event. Still have not figured out how to be in two places at once. Next Saturday is their sap-into-syrup event, and I am planning to attend that one.

Tomorrow is the Presidents Day holiday. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays used to be separate but were merged and artificially scheduled to create a 3 day weekend. Of course with all that is currently going on it is more like President's Sale Day. There are, BTW, Presidents Day Sales in the department stores but you do realize that is not what I am referring to.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8826

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 17 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks Jam Lady. That looks an amazing display. I used to work with an orchid breeder and think he was involved in extending the range of colours. He used to bring in sprays of orchids, and the type he grew were mainly browny coloured, but think he was trying to get them towards the pinks. Never really discussed it with him though. It was rather a long time ago; early 1970s.

We decided to go shopping to a local town yesterday as there were a few things we needed. Didn't manage to find most of them, but walked back through the garden that runs behind the main street. There were some camellias, a few early daffodils, crocus, scilla and snowdrops in flower, so spring is on the way. The temperature here is about 10 deg C at the moment but is set to rise to about 15 at odd times during the week. The downside is we could have some rain, but back to cooler weather by the end of the week.

cassandra



Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 1521

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 17 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

And there was me thinking pineapples were bromeliads - the orchids look fabulous - must take months of preparation to get them all looking that lovely at the right time!

Seb, Smidgen and Billy have their moments, but Seb and Billy have yet to share space too closely. No hissing, just oozing into each other's space and 'offing' the other one. Seb goes in fits and starts. Tonight he finally realised Billy was asleep on the back of the sofa so ran around the back (it backs onto the part of the loungeroom assigned to through traffic and jumped up. It was hilarious. All I could see was this slightly crazed dog head appearing and disappearing as he bounced. Billy failed to see the humour in the situation however so Seb was confined to the front of the house while I got Billy back into his 'refuge.

I spent the day alternating between watching young lads on a cherry picker hacking at the neighbours tree and building the 'apron' for the shed.

Basically this consists of garden sleepers cut into the appropriate lengths and attached to the front of the slab at 1500mm centres, using dynabolts (not that easy till you realise the drill has multiple speed settings) using the hammer drill. Then sections of plank are cut into one metre lengths, and attached to the sides of the sleeper and to a second sleeper at the other end (longer, set into a hole and back filled with gravel), then a 3 metre plank attached to the outer side so as to make an edge. Then back fill with gravel and soil. After a day of wrestling with the chainsaw, various drill bits, lumps of wood and not to mention the shovel, I am feeling a tad weary and muscle sore, so had a hot shower, lit the fire and am in my pyjamas at least three hours earlier than usual.

I was saved from over-exertion by the onset of rain, so it is rather nice to listen to it falling on the roof (and into the tanks)

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