Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Updates on the Summer To-Do list

I thought I'd take a moment to update y'all on my projects. Progress has been made on some, with all the snags and setbacks that come with the territory.
Here's the original post, in case you missed it and get confused about what I'm talking about.

GOAL: Cool storage, away from sunlight, for my canning jars full of food
A lot of progress has been made on this one. Dave and I canned a lot of great stuff this summer. There was no way all the goodness could fit in our kitchen or pantry, plus those places weren't cool enough or dark enough for ideal storage. I needed space set up in the basement. Dave came to the rescue and set up the last of the scavenged shelving, plastic but pretty heavy duty.
We got all the jars off the kitchen counter :-D and down onto shelves, organized and looking good. It was hovering around 70°, so we've been trying to blow cold air down the stairs at night. This has brought things down to 60°, but I need to work on getting it below 50°. I think the problem is that I don't have an exhaust hole for the warm air to escape out of, so the cool air isn't making it down to where I need it. Not sure how I can make a hole without destroying my rented house.

GOAL: Cold storage of veggies, like onions/turnips/carrots/garlic/apples/potatoes
The bottom shelf of the can shelving is where I'm putting my boxes of veggies right now. I don't have cool wooden crates yet, what I do have is small cardboard boxes. :-D I've been stocking up on cheap root-cellar items as I see them at farmer's markets and grocery store. Much easier than canning, the surplus items are simply placed in my chilly basement to await their tasty dinner fate.
What I have so far:
Apples: 2 dozen of little green ones, 1 dozen of assorted reds.
Squash: 4 butternut and 2 acorn
Onions: 40-50
Potatoes: roughly 10 pounds
Sweet Potatoes: roughly 3 pounds

This still isn't enough to really do my winter experiment. I still need a lot more apples and potatoes. More on that another day though. (I'm still calculating how many weeks I want to experiment for)

GOAL: Rain barrel in place and downspout adjusted accordingly.
The Rain barrel is in place, with downspout trimmed properly and it has filled with water a couple of times now! Sadly, poor construction of the tube-connection-thing has led to all the water leaking out over the course of a few days. :-( I'm hoping this winter I can fix that problem, and I'm glad I set it up this fall and found the problem. Dave thinks a clamp around the hose might fix the problem. If not, I might cut out the whole thing and install a nice new spigot with rubber rings and a proper seal. It'll be great to have 55 gallons of stored water next summer.

GOAL: organize and pile neatly the fire wood I've collected.
I'm a couple of steps closer on this goal. I bought an axe, and I took it to a neighbor's house to sharpen on his bench grinder. I'm not a stranger to fast moving equipment, but the bench grinder was a new one for me. It showered me with white-hot sparks and made a really loud noise. :-D I did find it fun though. He says I can come back to sharpen it as often as I need to. Hopefully the sunny weather this week will allow me to tame the pile and get it stored properly before winter hits.

Of course, as I make progress on this round of To-Do's a whole new round is cropping up, related to weatherizing the house for our first winter here. We're a zone colder and in a bigger house than we're used to. It's going to take a lot of work to make sure we don't spend a fortune keeping things warm enough for baby boy. I'll do a post in a few days outlining what I'm planning to do. Dave and I ordered some of the things we'll need last night, but there's a lot to do before the end of Oct.

What's on your to-do list? Did you get everything done this summer? :-D


Syeda Zehra said...

Best of luck.

BTY,I left a reply to your comment on my blog.

Brian Johnson said...

What's on your to-do list? Did you get everything done this summer? :-D

Nope. Painting, landscaping, door fixing, log splitting, garden bed rehab, tree pruning, basement remodeling, foundation repairing... so many are the projects.

Jennie said...

Brain, you and Mel should totally host a Project Party this winter. Cook some tasty easy food, invite some of us handy people who love you and we can spend a day helping you with your basement. Becky always seems to get a lot done on days when Dave and I drop in to help. Use your friends man!
Although, I have to say, your projects that are getting done are looking awesome!