Monday, December 05, 2016

Side view

Here's an exterior shot of the greenhouse from the side. For now we haven't acquired any "furniture" for inside. Those shelves are recuperated from the tent greenhouse we used last season. We may eventually replace them with something more sturdy; we'll see how it goes. I am planning to get a potting table to fit against the wall of the house where you see the rake and shovel standing. We did get that nifty curly hose for inside and it works great.

The greenhouse is built onto the western side of the house. This view is looking north.

Under the curved panels is a small gutter that directs rainwater to the grey downspout you can see on the left. Eventually I'll put some kind of barrel/container there to collect it. Right now we're experimenting with over-wintering some deck plants inside, but the full potential of the greenhouse will be realized in spring when I start seedlings for the vegetable garden. I also plan to keep some warm-weather herbs, like basil, in there all season; they should enjoy the warmth. The roof has two panels that open for ventilation. Those, along with the door that slides open (on the far end in the photo) and the door into the house itself (access to the utility room), will work to keep an air flow going so it doesn't get too hot in there during the summer. At least that's the theory.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Greenhouse update

I realize that I might have gone outside to take a better photo of the new greenhouse, but I didn't. So this shot from inside will have to do for now. We've been moving plants inside for the winter, mainly from the deck, but also from our heretofore winter storage place: the glassed-in front porch/entry. Now that space will be much less crowded with cold-sensitive with plants.

On a sunny day it can feel downright balmy in there.

It's all a big experiment, of course. We don't know how much the greenhouse will protect the plants from the cold, especially if it gets really cold. The glass is single-paned and there's no heat except for the winter sun. Still, it should protect from wind and ice (like sleet and freezing rain), so that's a good thing. There's a thermometer in there that we check nearly every day to get a feel for how cool it is. So far it's been a few degrees higher than the lowest of the morning temperatures outside. That could make a difference.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Saturday morning posts

The artsy organized neighbor has taken to planting cast-away roadside reflector posts in the woods. I've noticed five or six of them placed in a straight line among the trees near his piles of stuff. Maybe they mark his property line? I don't know.

Three of the half-dozen or so old roadside posts planted in the woods near where Callie and I sometimes walk.

My theory is that this guy is a retired public works employee who is now at loose ends. He's collected things from his job over the years that would otherwise have been thrown away. But my theory is supported by very little evidence. There are just the piles of stuff, neatly arranged. If there's another explanation for his "installations," it is beyond my knowledge.

Friday, December 02, 2016

I missed opening night

Here is the artsy organized neighbor's most recent "installation." Your guess is as good as mine. I wasn't invited to the opening, although I'm sure it was replete with the who's who of the local woodsy art crowd.

A stage set for some dystopian opera? A playground for leprechauns?

I get (as in "understand," not "receive") the firewood. In fact, it's the one thing that changes all the time what with wood being taken out for burning and new wood coming in for storage. But the rest? Stacks of discarded roof tiles, concrete blocks, old broken roadside bollards, steel barrels, rusty machinery, and piles of gravel and sand. All neatly organized and occasionally rearranged ever so slightly.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Callie channels Max

Have you ever seen "How the Grinch Stole Christmas?" It's a classic American holiday cartoon from 1966 based on a Dr. Seuss story. In it, the Grinch steals Christmas after disguising himself as Santa Claus and his dog, Max, as a reindeer. He does the latter by tying some antlers to the dog's head.

Callie with her antlers, er, grape vine.

So... the other day, Callie found a piece of a pruned grape trunk and decided to carry it home as she often does this time of year. This particular trunk was U-shaped. I couldn't stop laughing because Callie carried the stick so that the ends curled up above her head. She reminded me of Max from the cartoon.

The most famous reindeer of all? It's Callie!

Today is December 1 and it feels like it. We're having crisp, cold mornings with temperatures just below freezing. There is frost. The days right now are sunny and pleasant. It's unlikely that we'll see any snow this month; that's more of a January/February thing. But you never know...

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Chapeau !

When we hired the plumbing/heating contractor to work on the new shower stall, we included a few other items in the job. One was replacing a radiator with a towel warmer, another was to install a second outdoor spigot because the original one ended up inside the greenhouse. Also included was the installation of a cap on the chimney that comes up from the ventilation hood over the kitchen stove.

A chimney cap is called "un chapeau" (a hat) in French.

There are three chimneys on this, the south end of the house. One was for the central heating oil-fired boiler. That one is no longer in service with the new condensation boiler that vents through a new "hole" in the side of the house. The second is a twin to the stove hood chimney. I'm not sure why there are two in the kitchen; we think there may have been a coal burning heater in there next to the stove, but the second chimney is not in use. The third is the one connected to the current stove hood. Our wood-burning stove has its own capped chimney on the north end of the house.

We noticed last year, after a particularly hard rain event, that water seeped through the kitchen flue to the dry-wall where the stairs go up to the loft (close to the roof). We think that water got into the chimney, since they are open to the weather. So, the contractor sealed the two unused chimneys and added this cap to the third.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Magic mushrooms

These are not they. These are called coprin chevelu (coprinus comatus), known in English as "shaggy ink cap" and, while edible when they are young and totally white in color, they are not to be ingested if they show any pink or black at all. I never collect my own mushrooms, except from the market. Not having grown up learning about them, I would never trust myself to harvest wild mushrooms. As they say:  "All mushrooms are edible. Once."

I found these shaggy ink caps pushing up through the leaves near the artsy organized neighbor's piles of stuff.

This morning is our first dip below zero this season. The sky is clear and the stars are shining brightly, and the temperature is just below freezing. It won't stay there for long, but it's not expected to get much warmer, either. This will be our pattern through the week. The constellation Orion is in full view out the western windows in the hours before sunrise.