Posts Tagged ‘homesteading’

We had wanted to burn the garden off by now, but with the unseasonably warm, dry weather we don’t want to risk it.  I am hopping for a frost by next week, but I’m not sure Mother Nature is going to comply.

Once we are favored by a nice, hard frost we’ll run a fire through the garden and introduce the chickens to scratch and eat whatever weed seeds remain.  Burning the garden helps accomplish two things, 1. It destroys many of the insect eggs left on the garden plants.  If these remains are just tossed into a cool compost pile, and then spread next year, the eggs can still hatch resulting in a new infestation of last years pest.  2.  It destroys much of the seed dropped by weeds, in our case, crab grass.

We would love to practice no-till gardening next year.  This would prevent the weed seeds deeper in the soil from surfacing.  We’ll need lots of mulch though and unfortunately our county has a miserable municipal mulch program.  Stuart is going up to another county on business several times this winter.  I’m hopeful he will be able to pick up some mulch there.

This week, we put on our handyman hats and fixed the fireplace.  We spent about 100 dollars on supplies (a chimney brush, four poles, firebrick cement, and a cap for the chimney) and spent about three hours on the repairs.  First, we removed part of the damper to access the chimney.  Then we pushed the chimney brush through the opening and added poles to extend it to the top of the chimney.  We scrubbed the entire chimney very well and lots of junk rained down in the fireplace.  After that, Stuart used a small trowel to clear out the smoke box.  Because the former owners had failed to install a chimney cap, birds nested throughout the chimney, filling the smoke box with bird crap and mud.  We nearly filled up the fireplace with all of it- bird skeletons, feathers, dried vegetation and powdered bird crap.  It was disgusting.  After clearing all that mess away, we moistened the fire bricks and applied the fire brick repair mortar to seal cracks and places where the mortar had chipped away.  We had to cure the stuff with a nice hot fire, which we didn’t mind a bit.  There’s nothing better than snuggling up close to a hot fire on a cool fall day.


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