Filed under: garden, home addition, house, Minnesota, pond, summer, water garden | Tags: flowers, garden, Koi, Minnesota, pond, porch, summer, water garden
Many of the plants I put in or around the pond have started to bloom lately. Some I remember the name of, some I cannot. Those that I don’t remember for sure are not appearing in any online listing, so you will have to help me guess their names.
Our water lilies are now in bloom. These are part of the same ones we have in the front pond. I just broke off a part of the root mass and transplanted it to this pond. Since the water is deeper and colder it took a while longer to bloom here, but is worth the wait. The koi will usually hang out near this plant.
This, I think, is a marsh daisy. It’s planted with about 2 inches of water over the pot. To get the right depth I set the pot, actually more like a basket, on top of a rock. The yellow flower just emerged today.
This pond side planter contains bogwort. It likes its roots wet, but the crown of the plant above water. The plant on the right started blooming two days ago, the one on the left should be in bloom tomorrow. This planter is sitting on an underwater shelf with a few rocks on it to get the depth right.
Growing between the rocks by our bench is creeping thyme. It’s not a big plant, but ideally suited for an area that will get walked on. You can see that neither the plants, nor the flowers are very big.
I have four different varieties of this succulent, each a different color. They are planted next to the house where it doesn’t get much rain because the roof overhang. They bloom when they get a little rain, but don’t mind being dry.
This hen and chicks has an unusual flower. It will be interesting to see what happens next.
We.ve added a bit of patriotic bunting to the porch wall. The porch has an old time look already so bunting just helps set it off.
I’ve also added some low voltage lights to light up the stairs. You see them as a black circle just under the railing. They don’t show up much during the day, but at night they light up the area quite nicely.
I need to get the screens and screen doors on before summer is over and a railing for the step area. I’ll find a few other things that I need to do before this is all over I’m sure, but for now we’re enjoying our porch and the pond in bloom.
Filed under: Biofuels, cold, Corn, Corn Stove, home addition, house, Minnesota, winter, wood heat | Tags: alternative energy sources, cold, Corn, electric heat, energy sources, farm, Minnesota, solar heat, winter, wood heat
I have to admit I’m a bit unconventional when it comes to the heat sources for my home. The very fact that I have multiple heat sources is in itself unconventional. It does make for some interesting conversation when we talk of cold and how we stay warm.
I purchased the house I live in in the late 70′s, not for the house, but for the land it sits on. As a young farmer at the time I was looking for land to farm, and this piece was near the rest of the families farmland. Having just met my eventually to be wife, the house was not part of my thought process.
The house is a two story Gordon Van Tine model # 501 purchased by previous owners as a precut, build it yourself house in 1925. It had a full basement, kitchen, living room, dining room, entry porch and back porch on the main level and three bedrooms, bath and a sleeping porch on the second floor when we bought it. Since then a half bath, office, family room and screen porch have been added on the main level where the old back porch used to be.
When we bought the house it had an older LP gas furnace in it that never seemed to quit running in the winter. This was a replacement for the old coal fired furnace that was original to the house. The replacement of the older LP furnace in the early 80′s helped us increase our furnaces efficiency.
One of our first additions to the heat was the purchase of a cast iron wood burning “parlor” stove for the living room. This and a wood burner in the basement kept us warm for several winters. Since we have access to several farm site tree stands, I have plenty of wood just cleaning up the fallen trees and trimming branches that are in the way.
The 80′s were a period of increasing fuel costs and the first big push in solar energy. The house now has 3 air to air solar collectors on it. One of which helps warm the living room and the other two heat a rock bed under the office and family room.
When we added a mud room onto the house we placed coils of tubing into the floor so that we could heat that room with hot water. Heating coils were also added later under the floor of the kitchen and the front entry to help heat those rooms. A small electric boiler was added as the heat source for these rooms.
Five years ago I replaced the basement wood stove with a pellet stove. This stove will burn either compressed pellets of sawdust, or kernels of corn. Even with the current high prices of corn I can afford to burn corn as a heat source. It requires about the same amount of work as a wood stove, but is overall cleaner having less ash and a smaller chance of smoke entering the house.
After a chimney fire three years ago we had to replace the parlor stove. In it’s place went a LP gas fired “parlor stove” that adds the heat, but not the dirt, smoke and insects associated with wood heat.
Also at that time we installed an outdoor wood burning furnace. This heat source uses wood to heat water, which is used to transfer heat to my house and shop. The hot water also adds a boost to our water heater.
There are also three small electric space heaters to help heat up rooms like the bathroom when you are using those rooms.
So there you have it. I have 5 sources of heat for my house, wood, corn, solar, LP and electricity. Unfortunately 4 of those sources need electricity to run. As you might expect, I’m looking for a way to produce my own electricity also. I’ll not be happy until I have no need for a fuel truck to come to my farm.
I did hire the foundation work. My wife has done most of the painting. I had help a day or two for installation of some longer pieces, but this has been a long lonely project, and I don’t mind. With the right tools one person can do quite a lot.
We’ll hold off on installing the screens until next year, and then I can start the landscaping. Those details are already messing with my mind.
The steps kind of end in mid air yet, and I have some doors to add to keep folks from falling out and cats from coming in, but it’s time to move on to harvest. I’ll do a final purchase inventory this week. Install the last elements for this year. It must be time to party. Come on over.
Filed under: home addition, house, repairs, safety, time | Tags: machines, repairs, screen porch
Every building project has it’s ups and downs. There are the parts of the project that are enjoyed and those that are not so enjoyable. We are now at the part of our addition that I like the least, shingling the roof.
Some of it may be my age. Bending down all day to place and nail shingles into place is not easy on the older body. Muscling the heavy bundles of shingles up a ladder is easier for me than the bending over. On a hot day the shingles can scuff if you are not careful, so taking care of how and where you step is a requirement. Working near the edge of the roof with that drop to the ground is not such a fun activity either. There is only one thing that is good about shingling, it means the project is getting nearer to the end.
In the case of our screen porch, we have the siding and a lot of the inside and outside detail done. Most posts are clad in cement board to protect them from the weather. Bead-board plywood is on the ceiling and the walls. Karen has been painting the screen doors and some of the siding. The floor is waiting for me to install it.
I know the project would have taken even longer without the investment in power tools. The air powered nailers really speed the project up. They make it possible for me to hold a piece in place with one hand and nail it with the other. They mean that with the squeeze of a trigger I can put a nail into place. I love power tools.
If the weather holds I’ll finish the roof tomorrow. Then I can finish off the details on the walls and start the floor. I will not finish the entire addition by harvest, but it will be usable.
Filed under: Farm, harvest, home addition, Minnesota, rain, Soybeans, summer, weather | Tags: farm, harvest, hot, Minnesota, rain, screen porch, Soybeans, weather, Weed control
Into every life a little rain must fall. That old saying could be changed into a lot of rain for some folks this past week in areas south of us. When you get 7 to 11 inches of rainfall here in the corn belt you have a problem. We’re just not ready for monsoons here in the center of the continent. Luckily we’ve missed those massive rains here, but we’ve had our share.
We have been getting some really hot, humid days to the point it is difficult to work outside. Today is forecast to be one of those. Usually this kind of humidity is followed by a storm and one is forecast for tonight. We’ll see how much rain we get.
Yesterday was a wonderful day with temps in the lower 80′s and reasonable humidity. I spent most of the day working on the screen porch, but some time was spent baling hay in the afternoon. Today I’ll spend some time in the morning on the porch then I’ll switch to jobs that have air conditioning for the hottest part of the day.
I have 70 acres of soybeans I want to cultivate before they get too big. This is part of the last field I planted and they are just right for a quick trip with the cultivator. That should discourage the last weeds just enough so they will not be a problem. When soybeans are planted in 30 inch rows they take a while to shade out the center of the row. Once they do it’s hard for weeds to get enough sun to grow.
Summer field work is drawing to a close. We’ll still be scouting fields for problems, the most common one being aphids in the soybeans. Road ditch hay is mostly cut, but we are not done, we’ve been dodging those rain events. Those with oats and wheat are watching their fields to see when they can be harvested. County fair season is upon us and school will start in less than a month. It’s time for us to get the combine (harvester) out and get it ready for fall. Still plenty to do here in the slow part of the year.
Filed under: Farm, home addition, house, Minnesota, rain, Trees, weather | Tags: rain, screen porch, trees, weather
Again it rains. Last night we got another 1.54 inches of rain with some in the area getting much more. This is getting a bit old. I have not been out to look, but I’m sure the puddles are now small lakes. Our basement sump pump, which was holding off the water, is still pumping as water sneaks past it’s defenses.
Happily the wet weather pattern seems to have broken for now. There is no rain forecast for the next week. We may need that week to dry things out.
I had gotten most of the broken trees cleaned up from the last storms, now I’ll have to check to see if there is any more damage. My big chainsaw is still in the shop so I have been making do with my limber. It will handle the small stuff well, but I have one large tree I need to cut that is waiting for the bigger saw.
We put the walls up on the screen porch yesterday. With the rain, the porch had the prospect of becoming a pool, but a porch must have drainage scuppers, and the scuppers did their job.
Off to church this morning. A chance to catch up on the area rain fall reports and storm damage. Then, since I have my son here, a bit more work on the porch.
Filed under: Farm, home addition, house, Minnesota, rain, Trees, weather | Tags: farm, rain, trees, weather
We had some wild weather again last night. As the evening sun was nearing the horizon a storm blew in and dropped its load. Luckily for us it was only rain, some to our north had tornados. The rain gauge tally was 1.44 inches here, but reports of over 3 inches are starting to come in. We are officially well above average rainfall for June.
Puddles are again back in fields where they had started to dry up, and bigger in fields where they had not yet gone away. I had been hoping to get back to field work monday, but now there is no way that will happen.
I had seen a few tractors and sprayers on the road yesterday. Whether they were actually getting into the field I’m not sure. I know that from my morning walk in the fields I was not going to get any field work done, and now will not for a few days.
My son is coming down to help me for a bit this weekend. I hope to do a bit more tree cutting at my dad’s place to remove down trees. There is also the screen porch to work on. We’ll find something to do.
Filed under: Farm, fertilizer, home addition, house, Minnesota, nitrogen, rain | Tags: farm, rain, screen porch, weather, Weed control
I finished spraying the beans. I was supposed to get the nitrogen applicator to side dress the corn fields today but the applicator is still in use at another farm. While I waited I worked on the screen porch. The floor is now on the porch and I need to make another lumber run.
We have a severe storm warning for tonight along with a forecast for a 90% chance of rain. If we do not get too much rain I can get at the nitrogen application soon. We could just be sitting here waiting for things to dry up again. All the time the corn is growing and soon it could be too tall to get into the field. Oh well, we’ll do what we can.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, fertilizer, home addition, house, Minnesota, nitrogen, rain, Soybeans, tillage, weather | Tags: Corn, farm, fertilizer, rain, screen porch, Soybeans, weather
OK, now this is getting to be too much. It has rained for most of the days in the month of June and I have work that must be done before the corn is too tall, and time is running out. Our best hope for nice weather is Wednesday, and then it is supposed to rain again.
I got a good start on spraying the weeds in the corn, but I need another day to finish. The soybean fields already have weeds taller than the beans. This is frustrating.
Also on the to do list is the last application of nitrogen and cultivating corn. With my dad taking off a week for a trip west, I’ll be hustling when the weather clears. The corn is growing fast enough that I may not be able to get all of these jobs done.
If it was not raining, I could at least start work on the screen porch. Due to the rain the block work is not yet done, and I will need dry weather to do a decent job of backfilling dirt in the trench. I have the lumber here to start building, but no sun, more rain, makes for a frustrating day.