Friday, April 8, 2011

Being Neighborly

About three weeks ago I drove in the driveway to find the neighbors cat. Dead. Now being the farm girl that I am, I decided the best course of action was to take said cat back to its owners. All of a sudden I find myself standing on the porch of the neighbors I have not met, daughter in one hand, dead cat in the other. I was certain that was not the way to greet the the neighbor that 1) moved in 6 months ago and I failed to introduce myself too and 2) who wants to see someone at their front door holding a dead cat? So, I gently placed the cat that I had wrapped in a towel around the side of the door and rang the bell. It was a most awkward moment. A few days later they dropped off a shamrock to say thanks but I still felt guilty about not saying "Hi" properly. I have found urban living to not be all that neighborly and only but the boldest of urban dwellers will extend themselves to you. I talk regularly with exactly one neighbor. That is a sad state of affairs.

As a result, I put together a welcome bucket for the new peeps on the block. Some wash rags, handmade cards, cookies, pencils, decorated note pads, tea and a onsie for their new baby. Just a few things to say hello, I'm a nice person. Make sure to extend yourself to someone this week. It might just make their day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Are you getting any feathers?

Its been few weeks so your baby chicks should have put on a good amount of feathers. Be sure you are raising the heat lamp a few inches weekly. This not only encourages them to put on their feathers but makes sure they are being acclimated gradually to life with out a lamp! I don't know about you, but I don't have a heated hen house so they have to live the guest bedroom for now! Watch your chicks closely to make sure they are not huddling and indicating that perhaps you have moved it a bit too high.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cold Frame

I've had an old storm door stored in my garage for at least five years now with the intention of building a cold frame. Well, I think it is finally time. I have the door, and thanks to a deck removal, a large supply of scrap wood. The benefit of a cold frame is that you can get a jump on the growing season. I know, I have a heated greenhouse but there is never enough space! A cold frame also has the benefit of being a passive system that shouldn't cost anything to operate!

Free lumber is always good! I have lots of plans for this pile of wood. At least that is what I keep telling code enforcement!
Designing the angled sides is the most difficult part. Be sure your angled edge is not wider than the width of your door. Some of these cuts were a bit tough with a circular saw. It would have been nice to have some more equipment. But as you see here I got it done.
I made the legs to extend one foot into the ground. This helps to support the weight of the door. Mine is really heavy. It might be wise to go with something lighter if you have a choice.
Once the angled pieces are complete, you can assemble the rest in the field. I used lag screws to attach the boards. Once again, make sure this assembled measurement does not exceed the total length of your door.
Base complete. Be sure to angle your frame to the south for the best sun exposure. The intent is to capture as much sun as possible during the day.
I attached the door with door hinges. It still needs and additional board and some sealing to efficiently hold heat but for the most part, it is done. I will put some new top soil and compost inside and will definitely use it to harden off plants this spring. I had hoped to use it a bit more this spring but as my husband reminded me, its done. Its ready for fall use and is no longer taking up space in the garage! The cost to build can be summed in the total cost of the lag screws(about .35ea). The rest was recycled. Let me know if you have questions.