Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Preparing the Garden for Winter, Day 2

I'd like to begin by expressing my sincerest sympathies to all those who are experiencing the terrible tragedy that occurred in Connecticut today.  I can't find the words to express my grief; perhaps this evenings sunset will bring a feeling a peace to anyone who may need it.  

Yesterday I posted about our adventures collecting horse manure as one of the steps in preparing the garden for winter.  Our goal today was to complete step 2, which is to cover the manure with a thick layer of mulch.  We would use the mulcher/shredder we purchased some time back, and shred the cornstalks and piles of wood that were the result of cutting down some trees to gain more sunlight on the garden. 

This is before, with the manure spread and wood piles waiting (I am only showing you one here, we have two more at the west end of the garden, just like the one you see in the right corner of this picture).

We began by shredding the corn stalks.  Everything was moving along nicely for about 2 minutes when the shredder made a funny sound and stopped.  
We ended up disassembling portions of the metal casing to see if we could discover the problem (first we disconnected the spark plug wire to ensure the machine could not accidentally turn on).  We found the problem tangled in the shredding wheel and blades...the corn stalk fibers wrapped themselves around the side of the blade, keeping the machine from being able to turn the blade.  So after much effort, we released all the corn stalk fibers (oh yes, now we know not to shred corn stalks) and put the casing back together.   
We didn't want to turn it on with the blades exposed, so we put the machine back together.  Murphy's Law...it still didn't work!  We looked at each other and sighed.  Then we started looking at the machine again, surly we don't have to remove the casing again (it took us an hour to pull everything apart, clean it out and put it back together, we really didn't want to do that again) and oh happy day Johny found a cotter pin in a bolt beneath where the shredded material comes out.  He released the pin, pulled out the bolt, and the bottom screen flapped open, exposing the blade wheel!  We removed the remaining stuck portion, and woo hoo, we were back in business!

It was getting close to noon, and we wanted a quick lunch break.  The photo below shows you the shredded wood along the east side of the garden.  We had shredded about 1/2 the pile of wood, and we were a little surprised at the small amount of garden it covered.  But we were happy with everything we had learned thus far: 1. don't put corn stalks into the shredder, 2. we now know how to take the metal casing off the machine if the need should ever arise again, and 3. we now know we can easily remove the bottom screen to gain access to the shredding wheel!

We finished the pile of wood on the east side of the garden just as the sun went behind the trees.  You can see some corn stalks laying in the garden...we are leaving them there to decompose under the mulch we will lay.  You can also see some sticks of wood on the right side, this is everything we "rescued" from the pile for either burning in the wood stove or building rustic furniture. 

Tomorrow, we will finish mulching the two other piles of trees we have, and lay the winter rye seed on top of that.  Then our garden will be ready to rest over the cold winter and be ready for tilling and planting in the spring!

Finally, I'd like to share your comments on what you were doing at 12:12:12 on 12/12/12:

Bertie said, "going to Belks to buy my Christmas present, ha!"
Patti said, "I was making oatmeal cake, it's an old family recipe. The icing is coconut placed under the broiler."
Susie said, "Unfortunately I was fighting the crowds of shoppers at WalMart".
Dad said, "Donald was working and I had lunch listening to new age music and looking at the plants and flowers in the yard!"
Thanks for sharing what you were doing at that once in a lifetime moment!  Anyone who still wants to share what you were doing, please feel free!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,


Dad/Pepere said...

You and Mountain Man are beginning to sound like real mountain folks! Congratulations! Hugs!

Lise said...

Hugs back dad!

Powell River Books said...

Fortunately with such a small garden I don't have to go to so much work to augment the soil. You are to be commended for all that hard work. at 12:12 on 12/12/12 I was with my Mom at the doctor. Hopefully that auspicious day will bring her luck in healing. - Margy

Lise said...

One of the advantages to a floating garden Margy:) Healing thoughts for your mom!