Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Garden Improvements

We've been having a great time in the lovely weather getting some things fixed up around here!

First, when we put up our (now permanent) sukkah, we decided to extend it by another 6 feet beyond the sukkah. So, now we have wonderful trellising for IY"H future kiwis and tromboncino squash. We're dreaming about these:

And these:

On this:

Here's a view of the whole thing, with the sukkah enclosed in the lattice. Later, we'll install an outside door on the sukkah. For now, it's a kind of cage with an entrance on the right side from the music room and a pass-through window from the kitchen to the sukkah.

All of the wood chips are from the trees that formerly stood on the property. They make a GREAT mulch, and anytime we need more the tree cutter is happy to dump a load (saves him a trip to the mulch pile at the dump).

Then, while we were in California, Dean surprised all of us by getting the side yard completely fenced in. Hooray! It was so exciting to see it all done.

Here is the view from the front, with a nice wide gate for easy access. Later, we want to bust up the driveway in front of the fence. We have a driveway that enters on one street and exits on another, but we can just use the end by the front door just as easily.

When you come in through the gate, that's where our chicken yard will be. The chicken condo is on the left side of the picture (waiting for a nice barnyard-red paint job!). We may get a rabbit to live in one of the five condos to get some of that good bunny manure (can go fresh into the garden, unlike other manures). Dean is right now working on the chicken yard fencing and roofing. More pictures when that is done! It's more than halfway there now. :)

Here is the vast emptiness that is our side yard (1,800 square feet!!!!). Plans include fish tanks, 800 more square feet of veggie beds, a couple of fruit trees (20+ more in front), lots of berries, a tilapia above-ground pool (hopefully a test run of 50 fish this spring). The large white box is a water collection tank, which we want to secure to a tall stand so we have some water pressure from it.

And here is where the side yard turns a corner and goes to the back yard. You can see the tip of the kids' summer pool (well, spring/summer/fall pool!), which will become the future tilapia tank IY"H. The grey bricks are from the wall we knocked down in front of the house, and bricks from a shorter wall in the back that we knocked the cement off of. We hope to use those for paths and veggie beds.

A fun project! The chickens are growing, and are so, so sweet to watch and play with. When we walk toward the dog crate to say hello, they all fight over who gets to be closest to us. I never realized birds really did that! They peep happily all day long and love to sit in our laps and eat from our hands. They're getting bigger quickly. Their tail feathers are rapidly IY"H I'll post a picture soon. They'll be six weeks old tomorrow! They're ready to go live outside, so we may move them into their condo this week.

And now we'll wind up with a few pictures from our winter garden!

I took this picture a few days ago. Now the onion, garlic, and shallot shoots are a good 6+ inches tall.

This bed is full of cabbages in the foreground, and the last of the peppers in the green bush at the back.

In the foreground bed here, there are several varieties of greens - lettuces, chards, shiso, collards. Beyond that are cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, and a few more greens.

The herb spiral has been VERY happy! The rosemary is doing beautifully. Thyme, oregano, parsley, tarragon are all going strong. I'm going to trim back and dry a bunch of herbs this winter. The only herb that is all done is the cilantro.

And finally, the undisputed supertstar of the garden — the Japanese eggplant. I can't believe I'll be picking more eggplant IN DECEMBER (!). Next summer, I don't want to plant any Italian varieties. These were so far superior. What a pleasure.

To be continued! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011


Okay, one last post, just to say that Raizel is VERY excited to have finished her Kindergarten math program, and Eli is VERY excited to have finished his first grade math program. They both seem to love math. I think Eli stands a good chance of catching up to his older sister before too long!

Tour de Coop

We had such a great time riding the trolley around Savannah all afternoon, visiting six different backyard chicken coops. One of them was even on our block, so we got to wave to our house as we went by.

A side perk of visiting the chicken coops was getting to admire several lovely gardens.

The tour started at Southern Pine Company, which reclaims materials from tearing down houses and buildings then reuses them to restore and build other structures. We had a lot of fun wandering through their huge warehouse full of all kinds of interesting "junk."

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. They had chicken trivia games on the trolley, with raffle tickets and prizes being passed out. All the kids won something. Then when we returned to Southern Pine we actually won a raffle for a lovely, wonderful, unfiltered bottle of non-kosher olive oil. I was so happy! I was so sad. :( I'm sure we'll find someone who will cherish as much as we would have, could we have used it. :)

That's all for now!


Found some interesting reptiles recently...

This Eastern Glass Lizard (looks like a snake) was in our front yard when we were building our sukkah. It just didn't bend quite like a snake, so I looked it up suspecting it was a legless lizard, and sure enough, it was!

This cottonmouth passed us while hiking at Ogeechee Canal.

Had I realized it was a poisonous snake, I don't think I would have paused long enough to take, er, several pictures. I think I ought to make myself more familiar with the local fauna...


Upon arriving home, I learned that our local Victory Feed & Seed had little chickens available. I had pretty much figured we had missed the current season (most hatcheries seem to have a break about now) and wouldn't be getting chickens until January/February. Turns out the ones I wanted to get—Plymouth Barred Rocks—were EXACTLY what the feed store had! They also had six available, and we wanted five. I would have taken all six if Savannah didn't have a limit of five.

These cute little chicks...

Will turn into these cute little chicks, G-d willing:

Right now they are living in the learning room in a dog crate. They have to be kept at 75+ degrees right now. In a few weeks they'll be ready to go outside. They're already very sweet. They all run chirping to the window of the crate whenever somebody walks in the room. They eat a TON and are growing before our eyes.

Barred Rocks in general are very docile and easy to handle, and get along well with other pets. (We're thinking of getting a dog in the spring...). They're also chatty, but generally pretty quiet about it.

We love them already!


A few short updates. :) We had a great trip to Manhattan Beach to visit grandma and grandpa. Here are a few pictures... more to come IYH. We also got to spend shabbos with the L Family in Atlanta on the way out and shabbos with the F Family on the way back. It was all so nice, and just as nice to come home to sleep in our own beds.

Grandpa and 4/8ths of the grandkids!

Eli & Avi in the Rose Garden

Raizel with her Uncle Dan

Skating on The Strand

So much more, but bed is calling.