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Thursday, October 9, 2014

A WHOLE YEAR HAS GONE BY!!!!!!! 10/9/14

Once again, it's been a LONG time since I've written. It's been another busy year but I can honestly say, I'm starting to feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Mom and I are working on the last bed we'll build this season, and like last year, we have some partially built beds that will have to be finished next year. Next spring I hope I can finish the Diploid single and the second Diploid Double bed, plus will have to build the stipples beds, and I've decided to build a Patterned bed. Plus I want to fix a place for growing the seedlings in better conditions.
This year, we were really held back by having the tractor unusable for 2  3/4 months. I knew the hydraulic cylinders on the front end loader needed rebuilt when I bought the tractor, so had that done last winter. I thought I'd be smart and get that done while I didn't need the tractor. What I didn't expect was a lousy job. I didn't use the tractor for several weeks after I got it back home. It was winter, and I just didn't need it yet. But when I did, it was a disaster. One of the cylinders blew, so I had to send it back to John Deere. They don't rebuild hydraulic cylinders so were sending it out to be rebuilt. They rebuilt it again. I got it home and it blew again. In fact, all I did was raise the loader up to drive the tractor back to park it in the barn. So it ended up that this outfit rebuilt it 3 times and each time it blew. They said there was nothing more they could do for it and said I'd need to buy another cylinder for it. But the problem was, this was a homemade loader and I had no idea what kind of cylinders it had on it.... and no-one else did either. I heard of a tractor salvage yard about 1 1/2 hours from here so took the cylinder off (yes, I did it myself) and drove down to see if the salvage yard could match it. No, he said he'd never seen one like that. But he looked it over and asked who had rebuilt it and I told him. He suggested taking it to a different shop and recommended the shop that they used. He didn't think it looked like it was in that bad of shape. So, I got lucky - that shop was right on my way home. I stopped and showed it to them and told them what the story was. They were shocked and told me they could definitely fix it and told me exactly what they would do. I knew just from listening to the fellow that he knew what he was doing. Plus he said he could have it for me the next morning. WHAT???? I'd been waiting for nearly 3 months to use my tractor and he was going to have it fixed overnight? (Actually, that was around 3:00 PM and they called at 9:00 the next morning and had it ready). Wow, I was wondering what that was going to cost me. I mean, I'd already socked $600 into it. He told me it would be less than $100. WHAT???? Unbelievable! Well, I'm a believer now. I put the cylinder back on the tractor and it has worked perfectly ever since. That, in itself, is a miracle since I took it off and reinstalled it! But anyway it sure slowed us down.... having to move compost and mulch with a little yard wagon and buckets sucks!  lol But once we were able to use the tractor, we've made a lot of progress. You may remember that last fall, I ran out of time and planted a bunch of plants (378 plants) in the curved part of what would be the Tet Single bed, knowing I would have to dig them and move them this year. Plus there was the little bed that had over 600 Tets in it that had to be dug up and moved so I could finish the Tet bed. So first thing this spring, I had to dig and pot over 1000 plants!        Here's what it looked like last fall.
This was taken standing on the porch.
And a view of just the small bed....
And here's one from the south end
And here is the Tet Double bed - last October
Ok, here is the Tet Single bed - completed, with 903 plants.... a couple of views,
Notice where the wishing well is and then look for it in the next picture
And here is the Tet Double bed completed - with 271 plants
This was taken today, and is kind of messy looking with all the fallen pine needles. But that's just added protection this winter.
And last year, I had only one mini bed.
Now both are completed. But I saw there would not be time to finish digging out the plants in the veggie garden and I needed a place to winter the stipples so I have the Minis and the Stipples planted in these two beds, for a total of 213 plants.
 And more of a side view....
And I built a Stripe Bed, complete with 23 plants.
 
And then we started on the Dip Double bed that will be on the opposite side of the sidewalk from the existing bed. It's one that won't be finished until spring but I needed a place to get the potted dip doubles planted (plus I crammed in some seedlings for the winter...lol)
The yellow line outlines where it will be when completed. This one will look a lot different when it's done. The wooden raised beds will come out, the rock pile up by the tree will be moved and this bed will circle around the tree by the rocks and then cut to the right and will end at the sidewalk. I will put rocks along the sidewalk, as well. But it will work for this winter.
And then there is the Dip Single bed that is also started but not finished. I planted the potted dips and will wait until spring to dig the rest of the dips that are in the veggie garden. Here's what's done now and then a couple of pictures marked with a yellow line to show you approximately where it will end up.
And a picture with the yellow line outlining where the bed will be when finished.
It will have a circle of geodes around the little tree. Hopefully I can make a better circle out of rocks...lol
Hopefully, using the small tree as a comparison point in the two pictures, you'll be able to get an idea of what it will be like when complete. The double yellow line on the left will be the path to the shed. And to the left of the left line will be the upper boundary of the partially built diploid double bed pictured above.
 
Mom and I are building on the toothy bed right now and hope to have it finished and planted within a week. Here it is today.
If you can see the stakes - it will be an oval shape going to the stakes.
 
Lots of other things have gone on in this last year as well. Do you remember when I introduced my girls to you? Mama Kitty developed cancer and died several months ago.
 
And a new little girl has come to live with me. Her name is Prissy. She's a 4 month old American Eskimo that weighs a whopping 7 lbs.! And what a holy terror she is!
 
I will finally be getting that hip replacement done on November 19 so we are hustling to try to get done with these beds. I still have to mulch 4 beds before then. And we also built a Fantasy garden this year....... but that's another story. I'll save it for the next time.
 
Well, I've rambled long enough and if you're still reading, all I can say is....... I'm surprised...lol