“Get Up” there is work to Do!

May 22, 2010


As all weekends go this time of year we were extremely busy.  Friday our day started with a trip to Salem which is the closet town to where we live.  It is has an IGA grocery store, a Dollar General, a few local restraunts, and automotive stores.  If you need seed, or a rake there is even a hardware store.  My favorite place is the Dairy Queen.  Like most small towns that were once a hub of business for the communtiy it has been beaten out by the box stores and shopping centers touting variety and cheap prices.  I am ashamed to say that even we have traveled the forty miles it takes to reach this meca of deals, but as we get to know our way around and what is available locally we try to spend our money closer to home.  Like the Montgomery Gentry song says, “This is my town.”

Since we came here with nary even a shovel we are trying to aquire the needed tools to keep up the garden.  This weekends purchase was a three pronged hoe and a spade.  We often look for tools of any kind at the Flea Market on Saturday mornings.  You better get there early or you will miss out on some great finds.  We are up by 5:00 in time to fix some breakfast, get a cup of coffee in the to go cup and get to the market by 7:30.

Wash Tub $15.00 Deal of the Day

Last week we found a double galvinized wash tub with original stand for $15 bucks.  It will be great for washing the dirt off our garden vegetables before bringing them into the house.  Unfortunately no such luck this weekend. Even though the clouds were gray and it looked like rain we jumped into the Jeep for our Saturday excursion.  Visions of booths and tables filled with all the items we need floated through our minds. Shovels, logging chain, tools, and anything useful were on the list, but the clouds opened up and the rain came.  When we arrived at the old Drive In Theater where the market is held it was too wet. Only a few diehard sellers were there and it wasn’t worth going in.  Disappointed we had to turn around and head into the big town to get what we needed. The tomato, sweet potato, beans and cabbage plants couldn’t wait any longer to be planted.

Cabbage Patch Kid

The rest of our time was spent at home. Sonny mowed the lawn while I planted some string beans.  Together we planted sweet potatoes, tomatoes,cabbage and put up a fence made of T-posts and cattle wire that will be used as a trellis for the lima beans. When we were done it was nice to look at the work we had toiled and sweated over and to be able to say it was good.  I think being able to work together in this way for a common goal brings us closer together.  In between plantings we had to stop now and then to throw the new toy we bought for Ruby.  She demanded equal time.

The Hummingbird has been flying by giving us the evil eye, so I guess the last chore of the day will be to refill the Hummingbird feeder.  We don’t a P.O.’d Hummingbird on our hands.

Gardening Time of the Year

May 19, 2010

Fence Stretching and Resting

Time to Dig-In
Sonny and Linda

This garden is the first real garden Sonny and I have ever done. We both come from a long line of gardeners and farmers.   You would think that with such a soil rich ancestry we must have inherited some green in our thumbs.   At least we hope so, but it takes more than green genes to get a garden going when you are more of a green horn than a green thumb.   It takes a whole lot of help from friends and family who have been doing this kind of thing for eons.

The first thing we did was stake out where we wanted the garden. Wooden shims hammered down in the ground worked great for marking borders.  Gary, a neighbor of my cousin and a man we now consider one of our friends was good enough to bring his tractor over to do the plowing. That is one of the things that we have found here and truly appreciate. Out here, neighbors are willing to help each other.   Last year we gave Gary and my cousin John a hand during hay season and plan to help again this year.

Hard Work Begins

There were large hunks of log butts and wood buried under ground from when the property was logged three years ago and a lot of it is right where we wanted our garden.   We dug up quite a few pieces when Gary hit them when he plowed.   We had to stop every so often to dig them out, but we got the job done.

Once the land was tilled it was time to put up electric fence.  In our case it was solar fence. Sonny, John, Carol and

Solar Fence from Tractor Supply

I all went to work. John dug the holes with his tractor, that post hole attachment sure did make things easier.  Next the T-posts still had to be pounded in and finally the cattle fencing had to be stretched and secured to all the posts.   Sounds easy but it was a days work and an Advil night.

It sure was nice to look out of the window in the morning and see the plot of ground that would feed us. It was a bit overwhelming.  It makes you think about the days when people didn’t have ready made food in stores to stock their pantries.

I could almost feel the anxiety and hope that they must have felt each season that their gardens would survive the weather and pests.  That the fruits of their labor would carry them through the winter.

So far we have planted onions, potatoes, lettuce and radishes.  Unfortunately I don’t think the radishes will make it due to the last frost.  When my father was here a few weeks ago he showed us how to plant the potatoes.   He also showed us how we needed to rake off some of the wood bark debris and stones from the surface.  It made a big difference.  He also told us to lime and fertilize to help reduce the acidity from the wood.

"Let me Out"

We are lucky to have so many people to give us good advice.  My Dad, John and Carol, Ronald and Vicki and anyone at the country store you might encounter.  Not only do they answer questions they are always willing yo share plants, seeds, and any other thing you may need.  We are definitely blessed.  I couldn’t be happier.  Now let’s just hope our green genes kick in.

New Water Barrel Installed

May 18, 2010

Home Depot 60 gallon Water Barrel

(Sometime Last Week)
Water Barrel
Sonny Jobe

We picked up this water barrel from Home Depot last week. It holds about 60 gallons of water and doesn’t look too bad either. Actually it only took about 15 minutes to install. I removed about 1″ from the gutter and inserted a plastic spacer with a outlet that is even with the feed nipple on the barrel.

The other night we had a heck of a rainstorm and like many had dime sized hail. It only took about 15-20 minutes and the barrel was full. This is only one of about 5 we plan to get. They cost about $100.00 each, so we will spread out the purchases. Our plan is to use the water in the barrels when the stream dries up this summer.

Diggin’ Dirt

May 18, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Diggin’ Dirt

I have been wanting to expand this flower bed for a while and I decided today was the day. The Irises planted there came from my Grandmother’s garden. She has been gone 25 years now, but it seems like only yesterday for me.

She was someone real special in my book and these flowers are like a house warming gift from her. Thanks to my cousin John who saved bulbs from her original flowers they can be shared and loved with other family members.

On a cold and wet day late last fall Sonny and I quickly dug a bed and planted these bulbs. It was such a shoddy job that I prayed they would survive. At the time we were not sure when we would be back out here and winter was fast approaching. I was so excited when I saw the green leaves sprout up earlier this Spring and now the proud purple blooms that are atop strong stems. But as pretty as they are the old flower bed didn’t do them justice.

If you know anything about West Virginia you know that it is a rock farmer’s paradise. Digging this bed would not be for the faint of heart. So equipped with my spade, wheel barrow, and hoe I dug in. I peeled off the layer of grass first. It can be used later to fill in bare spots in our yard. Then I turned the soil with my spade. Sounds easy but each dig scraped and crunched against stones that ranged in size from marbles to near softballs. That was the first layer. The next thing was breaking up the hard clay and rock under that. Since I am no longer a spritely chicken (truth be told if I was a laying hen I would already be in the pot) I took frequent rests on the porch swing. It took all day but now the Irises are flanked on both sides with soft beds waiting for new plants.

The work was hard but anything of worth is. I slept well that night. It was a sleep of exhausted satisfaction. I think my Grandmother would be proud and happy that her beautiful Irises still live on.

The Trouble with Rainy Days

May 18, 2010

This girl expects play time no matter what the weather

Tuesday May 18, 2010
Linda Jobe

I awoke this morning at 6:30 to the rumblings of a thunderstorm. That should have been my clue to just stay hidden in the house for the day. A nice breakfast and a good cup of coffee or two and it looked like the storm had cleared. I decided to go visit my cousin and his wife and to pick up some sweet potato plants at a little place in town that I had ordered last week.

We call our farm Pot Hole Farm because the road that runs up to our house has never been kept up. No one has lived in this hollow for years and so the County Roads Department has never bothered to come down this far. That is a whole story in itself.

No matter that the puddles and ruts are deep enough to swallow my Jeep Liberty I have no fear. I have navigated those potholes many times before. This time I got about a half a mile down the road and was faced with a huge oak tree that had fallen across the road. This is a fairly common occurrence out here when trees lose their grip on the mountainside. There was no place to go but backwards. I have to tell you, I am not the best backer upper in the world and this road was curvy. My tracks looked like a snake slithered through the mud, but I eventually made it to a place where I could get turned around. Of course, I forgot to mention that there is a steep drop off and no guardrails.

I was glad to see my front door after that experience. We live in a pretty remote area and we have no cell phone service (for miles) and no land line, which along with the pot hole road repair is another tale. I had to email Sonny at work to get someone to cut down the tree. He came through for me and the State came to my rescue, but of course it was a process.

After all that mess, I decided to stay put for the day and play kick ball with my best buddy Ruby and that was ok with me. Fallen trees and muddy roads are just part of living in the deep country backwoods. That’s ok too. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. By the way, it’s raining again and tomorrow could bring more and another adventure. LJ

The Gravel Arrived and the Work Starts

May 6, 2010

It may be Cinco de Mayo but there will be no fiesta until the days work is done. Ronald and Vicki are hard at work shoveling stone. Stone has to be laid inside the garage before the cement is poured. This is where the motorcycle, tools and parts will be stored. The two open bays will accomodate the tractor, lawnmower, and various other farm gear. Later they will put some forms in place for the “entry ramp”. Some dirt and gravel filler a 3-4″ of concrete and we will be ready to go.

Building of the Barn

May 5, 2010

Finally the barn has build has begun. After saving all winter getting by on bread and water our builder Ronald and his faithful assistant Vicky (his wife) was almost ready to get started. Ronald and I worked out the best location and discussed how many bays and even talked about putting a cement floor in one along with a garage door. That turned out to be a great idea. I could use it to change the oil on the cars and store the tools there allowing me to clear out the electrical room. The open stalls can hold the tractor, mower and most other things.

Ron staked out the 25’x36’ outline with a line and a 50’ tape. Once things were squared up he marked where the 4”x6” main posts will be placed. Linda’s cousin John has a old Ford 4060 tractor along with a new post hole attachment on the rear. He offered to come over on that Friday to start putting the holes in. After everyone left Linda and I were looking at all the handy work that went on that afternoon and suddenly noticed a pretty big tree near the stream that had a pretty pronounced lean. After a second glance it was clear that if that tree roots were washed out many more times it would more then likely hit go down and could hit the corner of the barn doing some serious damage to Ron’s handy work. I quickly grabbed the Homelite and got busy. As I dropped cut the tree it began to drop and it hit exactly on the corner of the staked line that would have eventually been the corner of the barn. Linda got started dragging the brush away and I got to cutting that big boy cut up. We got the brush removed and stacked in about 3 hrs.

On Friday John completed putting all 13 holes in the ground. Ronald returned on Monday to estimate the lumber, screws, J-channel and the metal for the roof and sides and associated 2×4, 2×6 and 2×8’s. He submitted the order and set a delivery the following week. After the delivery they got their generator running and started at it hard and fast. It rained a few days here and there but in no time they got it framed out and ready for the metal to be hung.
The green tin (actually it is not tin) went on the roof and they finished it off with a ridge vent. The white metal went on the sides pretty quick until Ron figured out he was shorted on the white screws. Lucky for us Ron has some extra’s left over from a earlier job he recently finished.

By the next Friday, Ronald started the install on the garage door. He wrapped up that project in just a few hours. A week later he got the delivery and used the wheel barrel to haul and spread the 5 tons of gravel he needed to level out the floor before the concrete gets ordered. It is nearly finished (see below).

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