With the weather being so nice this weekend (the temps were in the 60’s today) I decided to do a little work around the house. One thing that I’ve tried to improve on since we’ve been in our new home has been my gardening skills. Now if you’ve ever seen where we live, it’s not exactly a prime spot for growing a garden. It is mainly forest land located next to some swampy lowland. The first year I had about a 10′ x 20′ spot that I had cleared out when we built our house. The problem was that it was full of tree roots and rocks, with an abundance of shade, that didn’t yield much success. Year two I expanded the garden when I started clearing out along our small creek in order to make room for the party temple (I’ll try to get some pics posted some time of our little outside dining area). This helped a lot as it increased the amount of sunlight. Also, the ground was a little better after having cleared most of the roots from the year before.
This year marks year three for our garden and my goal is the same as last year, to continue to improve and hopefully learn how to grow a decent vegetable. One thing I thought might help would be to put in some raised beds. So Saturday I brought some Cedar over from the shop and built 5 beds. Nothing fancy but I think for the money invested (which is nothing since I already had everything on hand) it should work pretty good. The pic shows the boxes (please pay no attention to the brush pile as it is evidence of how much I have cleared for the garden) already filled with a bottom layer of leaves and topped off with some well-seasoned horse manure from my dad’s horse barn.
I also got to spend a little time in the shop on Sunday working on two ideas that I’ve been thinking about for some time. For Christmas, I got Bridget a print that needed a picture frame. I wanted to build something that was unique, but also sentimental. So this is what I came up with. Basically its two pieces of trim that I salvaged from the old McGowan house when I purchased our farm. It’s amazing how crisp and clean the lines of the trim are, especially since they were probably cut with a hand plane 150 years (or so) ago and not a specialty machine as they are now.
The second idea I wanted to work on was for a pair of end tables for our living room. This piece of poplar wood came out of what was the original Wannville post office, also located on the farm that I purchased back in 2001. This piece was 36″ long and roughly 14″ wide and was used for a shelf in the post office. I began by sanding it with 150 grit paper to see what the grain looked like. The piece cleaned up very nicely. And by sanding and not planing, a lot of the original “character” from the 100-year-old piece of wood was left in tact. Here is the almost finished tops. All that is left is a coat of Tung oil (to tone down the green a little) and then 3-4 coats of lacquer to create a rock hard, yet mirror-like finish. I’ll post more pics when I finish the tables.