Thursday, November 25, 2010

Just a quick note!

Just a quick note. I removed the tarp over the garden and put it on the roof temporarily to keep any rain out of the garden so it can dry out. I will be working on installing a water spigot in the end of the garden so I’ll be shoveling the compost around and it is so much easier when it the compost is dry. The added benefit was seeing the air flow over the roof.  It is as I had hoped, I don’t foresee any problems with the wind raising the roof (pun intended).

 I took this photo just as the sun was rising over the mountains to the east, gave a beautiful contrast to my photo.

 At the same time I was out looking the roof over there was this Thanksgiving Day rainbow in the valley. This really set up my feelings for the day! There was just a light mist which gave us the rainbow. A few minutes later when I came out of the chicken coop the mist and the rainbow was gone (that is the corner of the chicken coop on the left). It pays to be an early riser!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"A good day for Juan getting things done"

Yesterday morning was not a good day to work or so I thought. I almost called Juan and had him stay home but it cleared up after a while and he went to work. It is a bad day for me, temperature of 100.4, it wiped me out. I wanted to at least do some small things but, nope, the body and mind said they were taking the day off so I might as well just sit and watch the boob tube or fuss with the computer. Guess what I did, sat on my butt and veggied out. Sometimes that is all you can do.

Anyway Juan was busy, busy as always, it did take him a little longer to do things as there wasn’t the extra pair of hands or a go-fer. I’ve never heard him grump about things, he just goes ahead with whatever and gets it done. I will say one thing, he does like the small electric chain saw that I have. I should get him one for Christmas!

We need to get 4 more 1X3s for the roof and then the corrugated clear poly roof can go on. I have searched everwhere but cannot find the wavy board that you can put under the corrugation to give the plastic more strength. Too bad I can’t bring some back in my luggage.

If I can, I will take the blue tarp and put that over the roof to let the compost dry out, plus it will allow me to start fussing with other things like maybe some place to store the few garden tools we will need. Now that you can see the results of the block garden, you can see that there is no need for a tiller, no need to dig the garden up in the spring so I don't need all of those tools and the back breaking work that goes with them. I also want to run a pipe out for water. I goofed, I was going to have the pipe come up in the end of the garden for water. I may just go ahead a dig it under the footing and bring it up inside the garden, much better than any other place for ease of use.

From our sunroom I get these awesome sunrises, OK, so I went out side to take the photo but it is what I can watch while I have the important first cup of coffee going over my plans for the day and changing those that have to be done later.

This morning I didn’t get to watch as I was trying to sleep in with my temperature. If it doesn’t drop then it is a trip to the clinic for the “cure”.

Well I guess I will try and find something I can fuss with or answer some emails. Then again I just might sit in the sunroom and watch the chickens, perhaps take a nap, who knows????

Monday, November 22, 2010

I am finally caught up with the garden construction!!!!

OK, this gets me caught up. It is surprising how far behind you can get without realizing it. The weather has been fair. Had to run to the saw mill and get more wood for the framing of the roof. Things are plodding along.

Look at all the blue sky, no rain in that. The weather gets better and better but then the wind has made its presence known. You can see the shredded leaves on the banana trees. Three banana trees have blown over already but they come right back, too bad they aren’t the good eating bananas.

Juan is doing a marvelous job of framing the roof out. Actually he does good at whatever he does, be it woodwork or cement/blocks. Once the roof is framed out then we wait for the poly sheets to finish the garden.

 I have tried to start some bell pepper seeds but I don’t think they are any good. Several gardeners that I know say they have problems with seed germination here in Costa Rica. Most agree that they think it is the high humidity that affects the seeds. Most now seal their seed in plastic bags and either put them in the fridge or freezer. The seeds I have are ones that I bought locally but kept on the shelf. They were inoculated seeds but whatever, they don’t seem to be germinating. Of course I am starting the seeds in the window greenhouse so they should really pop. I have a couple of other plants recovering in the greenhouse and they are doing great so I guess it is a seed problem. I will try and get seeds in San Jose next time I am there at El Semillero, all I have to do is to find the place in San Jose where the streets have no names.

OK, you asked how the pups are doing, well here they are in all their glory. They are growing fast, if you could see their front feet they are large, so is their appetite.

Of course they do cooperate, ha, ha! They have grown some, Caroline can hardy keep them in one place.

The silkie chicks are doing great. Mrs. PJ has scratched the wood shavings all over herself, the water container and out from under the board the feed gets scattered on. You only see 6 chicks, one is under the board, camera shy maybe!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Catching up, one day at a time!

Got some more work done on the garden. I’m doing this in a daily progress report but not on the days they were done, I’m catching up. I should get things back to a proper daily update soon.

Juan got the batter boards all in place strung his chalk lines and set the roof support posts. Yes, I do help but the credit goes to him, he does most of the work with me being the once-in-a-while helper, the extra hands and also I get to be the go-fer, I go-fer this and go-fer that.

Each of the post goes deep and has rebar pieces put though crosswise to make sure that the wind doesn’t pull the posts out of the cement should they shrink a little allowing the wind to work them up and down till they pop out which happen to a neighbors patio roof. This wood isn’t supposed to shrink but I’m not taking any chances, the 6’ sheets of poly are $10.00 each and I need 20 of them.

All 7 of the silkie hens eggs hatched (her name is Mrs. PJ, the rooster’s name is PJ as Caroline thinks the feathers going down his legs makes him look like he has pajamas on). The little fuzz balls are doing fine.

Notice that the little guy has feathers on his legs all ready, I think they were there when they hatched. It was unusual in that it took 3 days for all the eggs to hatch, perhaps that is something unique to silkies, I don’t know but 7 out of 7 is very good.
The Fresh Step litter buckets make very good feed containers in that the tops snap down which keeps the mice out of the feed. It takes 5 buckets to hold a bag of chicken feed and 1 more for the cracked corn treats. I need one more bucket for a second bag of cracked corn so I can keep the two balanced when I buy feed. Fresh Step stopped putting the kitty litter in the buckets, darn it! I gave some away not knowing they were stopping using the buckets, oh well, things always work out, I’ll just have to clean out one that I use for storing something else and put that into a 5 gallon bucket.

 Here is a photo taken a while back of a sunrise ground fog developing. From the time I took this photo the fog filled the valley in less than 5 minutes. Where I was standing is where the wood/chicken shed is now.

More photos to come!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I didn’t realize it been so long since I posted an update.

I guess most of you are aware of all the weather happenings here in Costa Rica. Most of the month has been a real mess. We had a short period of dry between heavy rains, in one 5 day period we received 3 feet of rain, yes, 3 feet in 5 days. A slide took out our main water line for a total of 9 days. We now have a water tank up in the carport for emergencies, it will last us over 5 days and more with us being conservative.

In between rains, Juan got some work done.

Juan was busy getting the ground level around the base of the garden, you see the foreman in the foreground making sure the work is done to her satisfaction.

You can see that the rain showed up one spot that needs to have a little more work to get rid of any standing water. Juan just has time to get the batter boards in place, not even one chalk line, before the next rain came. There will be 6 posts that will support the roof. The roof will extend out 40” past the edge of the garden to help keep the heavy rains from drowning the plants. I’m still thinking about a water storage system being that I’ll have to water the plants and rain water would be so much better than water from the county.

The Silkie hen is shown here sitting on 7 eggs. She choose to lay her eggs in a nest she made in the shaving litter I use in the chicken coop. every day that I let the chickens out I give her some cracked corn, she scolds me but then goes right after the cracked corn.

Here is a little fellow waiting for his dinner to come crawling by. We hope to see more of these around, we don’t use any poisons that would keep them from living here. These will keep the bugs out of the cat’s cage as the chickens don’t get in there.
More photos to come, ASAP