Sunday, October 14, 2012

I'm in a bunch of Tough Grit
Some of you may know that I have a blog on a National Magazine website.  This magazine is called "GRIT".  It's a magazine that talks about all aspects of gardening, harvesting, preserving, raising animals and every thing in general about living on the land as a homestead.  Way back in May they had a sign up for a new thing that they wanted to do this year.  It was called "Tough Grit".  It was a TV show slated to air on the RFDTV channel.  It would be about how to do things that would be done in a homestead environment.  I threw my name in the mix and quite frankly forgot all about it.  Through an amazing quirk of fate a cancellation for one of the episodes happened just a couple weeks before the filming date.  A message from the GRIT headquarters office came on a Monday during the day.  I didn't catch the call and a message was left on the voice mail of my phone.  Was I ever shocked when I found that they were looking for a contestant for the show.  Imagine me on TV.  So I packed my bag and left for Topeka Thursday morning on October 11 with that old tune of "Act Naturally" running through my head.  For those too young to remember Buck Owens or the Beatles it went something like this.
They're gonna put me in the movies
They're gonna make a big star out of me
We'll make a film about a man that's sad and lonely
And all I gotta do is act naturally

Well, I'll bet you I'm gonna be a big star
Might win an Oscar, you can never tell
The movies gonna make me a big star
'Cause I can play the part so well
Now I would change the line that said sad and lonely to wild and gritty.  Get it.  GRIT magazine.  Wild and Gritty.  Yeah, I knew you did.
Friday, the filming day, was spent at the farm and the competition between two teams to see how fast we could build fences began.  The first round was to pound 15 steel posts (T-posts) in the ground using a manual driver for the first five and a pneumatic driver for the rest.  The second round was the actual stringing of the barbed wire fence.  Five strands strung, stretched, and attached to the post.  This was a very physical day and my friends Alieve and Advil were welcome friends at the end of the day.  Oh, yeah, the episode will air on May 13th.  I know a long time down the road.  I'll have to send out a post to remind anyone who wants to see old  Dave drive himself to exhaustion pounding posts into the ground and play with barbed wire.  Yeah it's pretty funny.
Having some extra time on Thursday afternoon, I decided to take a tour of the Kansas state Capitol building.  It was just a stone's throw from the hotel where I was staying.  I didn't think to bring my camera and the secretary was kind enough to take a picture of me with a camera she uses for those forgetful folks like me.  It's not the best picture but I'm actually sitting at the desk of governor Sam Brownback.  Yeah, I'm not sure exactly how much time he spends here but it makes for a great picture.  The gal by my side was the tour guide.  The building was going through a major renovation so I didn't get to climb the 297 steps up to the top of the dome.  Whew, I'm glad for that.  It still was a great tour.
I made it back home in time to wake up on Saturday and help with the last minute preparations for Bradley's birthday party.  Fourteen boys with a few girls hit the house at 1:00pm and for the next two hours the yard was crawling with kids.  Cake, soda, candy fr0m the pinata were all consumed.  Yeah, we sugared them up and sent them home.
Wow, maybe this next week will settle down and get back to normal. .... Nah, what would be the point in that.
Have a great week.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Killing frost ends gardening
I haven't been to garden yet but I think 27 degrees will be the termination of all gardening for this year.  I'm ready for a winter rest.  It has been a long hot dry summer of gardening.  The massive water hauling project was indeed tiring.  Up at 5 am to haul water to the garden before the sun brought the dry 100 degree weather was a test of man (me) and nature (garden) for survival.  We both made  it through the tough times.  I just didn't have it in me to try a fall garden.  Maybe next year.
The mulching of Terra Nova Gardens has continued and is the primary focus at this point in time.  The two large bales of hay have finally been completely hauled to the garden area.  A total of 11 1/2 loads were hauled and spread over the growing area of next year's garden.  It covered all of the new area and half of the old growing area.  Next comes the yard waste mulch.
Foraging the neighborhood netted three loads of grass - leaf mixture slightly crunched up from the lawn mowers.  It's the best stuff ever to use on a garden.  Some would ask aren't you afraid of the chemicals that go on the yards?  Most of the chemical stuff is put on the lawns in the spring and summer.  Not much other than a winter fertilizer is spread on the lawn in the fall so nope not worried about the chemicals.  It would be very difficult in today's world to claim to be a 100 percent organic gardener.  Even the rain has become some what contaminated.  I try the best I can to keep the chemicals to a minimum and never use them directly on what I eat.  Nature has a way of cleansing the earth if you will just let it happen.  For the next two or three weeks, the process of covering the ground at Terra Nova Gardens will keep me busy.
I do get some odd looks as I roam the neighborhood looking for the precious mulch bags.  I'm just a little selective about what I take as I don't really want brush or weeds.  I leave those by the curb to be picked up by the yard waste truck.  They take the waste to a place where it's processed into a product called Omagro.  It's basically composted and sold back to the public for landscaping.  I have tried some and it's pretty good but my experience with it was that it dried out fast and wouldn't hold moisture very good.  I suppose if some peat moss was mixed in, it would improve the texture of the soil.
I found these guys on Craig's list for free.  When I get my pond finished I would like to build a platform over part of the pond.  The unsupported span would have to be about six feet and require some hefty beams to allow it to be stable.  These are bridge support timbers.  One is pretty solid but the other is not so good and can't be use for a support.  It will be placed on the ground by the fenced garden area to deter digging varmints.  I don't think I'll get to the placement of these beams until next year.
Bradley and I decided to go to the zoo on his day off from school.  It was a scheduled day off from school for what ever reason.  It sure does seem that the school system of today has way more days off than when I was in school.  We have a season pass so we don't have to see the entire zoo on any given day.  This day and almost every zoo visit the petting zoo is high on the list to things to see.  The other thing we almost always like to see is the "Kingdoms of the night."  It's the creepy, crawly, swampy part of the zoo.  There's alligators, beavers, frogs, toads, and other creepy night active things.  Boys love those things.  They also have many snakes, spiders, and bats in cages.  Sheesh, snakes.  I hate snakes.  They are just too sneaky for me.
The last couple days have been spent helping a friend of mine with storing up hay to feed his horses this winter.  Because of the drought this year in Nebraska the farmers have had to feed their winter hay to the livestock during the summer months.  My friend wants to be assured a good hay supply for his horses over the winter so he's in process of buying enough to get him through to next spring.  Of course hay has doubled in price because of the drought.  Many farmers are reducing their livestock herds because of the feed issue.  I'm guessing that this won't be felt in the supermarkets too much right away but about next summer food will increase in price even more than it has already.  I really think we are in for some tough times in the coming years.
I hauled a 47 inch TV for a gal at church and attempted to hook every thing up for her.  I did get the TV working but man with all the extra stuff now days, it's tough to get everything hooked up correctly.  There's the cable box, the sound system, the DVD player, and the Internet all have to be hooked together and play well with each other.  It was beyond my abilities to get it all to work.  She's a school teacher and knows a lot of techie kids that are a whiz at this new technology stuff so I'm sure she will find one to get it all to work right.
I hope all is well at your end of the world.  You'll find me out in the garden cleaning up today.
Until next time.