Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Making Space

Spices anyone?  Okay, I freely admit I'm a bit of a spice junkie.  Pungent, sweet, savory, brightly colored or demurely earth toned, I just love shelves full of neatly labeled little jars of goodness! But where to put them? WeeHavyn has a tiny kitchen that desperately needs remodeled.  There is barely cupboard space for a few cans of tomatoes and counter space is even more restricted.  This is definitely a kitchen designed for the "heat it in the microwave" type.  Yet the kitchen is by far the most expensive room to remodel and other projects have taken priority.

I've been considering filling the remains of the doorway to the bathroom with shelves for a while.  The door basically made the kitchen a hallway into the bathroom so it was removed almost as soon as WeeHavyn became a part of my life.  While it's just the depth of a 2x4, that's plenty of space for small jars.  So...with some scrap lumber, inexpensive brackets, and a few tools, I've built a lovely set of shelves for my spices and baking needs.  It's wonderful not to have to dig through the overfull cupboard to get to the baking soda when I need it and now my mortar and pestle collection has a home.  

I love how these little shelves have opened up my kitchen and am planning on building a niche in that spot for them and perhaps another next to it during the actual remodel.

Look how many more spices I could have!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Harvest in the Shade

As much as I love WeeHaven, she, like her mistress, isn't exactly well suited to conventional gardening.  Her challenges include: steep slopes, little soil, and shade from several large trees, the most notable being the large Oak that spreads his protective branches over the entire lot where I built the goat pen.  Now, a very determined gardener, which anyone who has read this blog knows I am not, may put in a series of raised beds and trim selective branches to shed more light on the ground.  I prefer to put whatever container is at hand wherever it fits and see what happens.  Sometimes, if I remember to water regularly, I even have a successful harvest.

Since I decided that goats at WeeHavyn would wait another year, the goat pen sits empty.  The bare gate was just too much to see and I had a 16 foot piece of cattle panel that I had cut up for a different project. A little muscle, a few fencing staples, and some 5 gallon buckets with holes drilled in the bottom have made a lovely cucumber trellis.  I believe if I continue the 1"x1" wire all the way to the top of the fence, I can even grow them when the goats join us, since I am getting miniature goats that won't be able to reach over the fencing.  As this spot is very well shaded by the Oak, I wasn't sure I would get any fruit at all.  However; the determined vines have climbed all the way to the top of the trellis, where I ruthlessly clipped off the growing ends, and is happily beginning to produce.  I probably don't get the harvest I would in a sunny space, but the leafy trellis is a beautiful sight and I have fresh crispy cucumbers every day. 

These are heirloom Lemon Cucumbers.  They are very crisp and never have even a hit of bitterness no matter how old they get, although the seeds get tough when they start to turn really yellow.  I can also now recommend them for producing in the shade.