Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Coop Time

Well, Monday was the first really nice day we've had in a while, so with my brother (Sinfonian) raring to go on his coop, we headed to Lowe's to pick up needed materials, and met his father in law back at my folks place and set to putting up a coop or two.  Well, we made good progress on his coop, you can read about it on his blog, so Tuesday we got to work on my coop.  We set up at my house, just across the street from my folks, and got to building my coop.

As I had a bunch of 2x4's I found in my while he used 2x3's, I chose to save some dinero by using the found 2x4's and buying what I needed to make up the rest.  I figure that once all is said and done, the diffence in weight between the two coops won't really be that much.

I have some photos of this construction, they are small, but do represent the build...fuzzy at best.  While my brother regards me as some sort of coop building genius for designing what he and I feel is the "perfect" coop (at least now, as newbies to chickendom, we will likely revise our thoughts on this as time goes on...) to tell the truth, I learned my construction style with lincoln logs when I was six!

Framing up the front walls,  you can see the new beds I built in the foreground.  We used my ladderrack as a building platform.  I'm the goofball in the picture.

Here's the front wall of the coop being put together.  Framing on this piece is just about done.
Front wall and Base laying down, waiting for the back wall to be framed, then it will move into the back yard where assembly will take place.

Assembly going on...just about now we found a major error in my plan.  The base side bars were too small.  I forgot to take into account I wanted the inside to be 3' wide, so had to make the side bars on the base 3'!

This is the back wall of the coop.  You can see the bottom, what will be encased in 1/2 inch Hardware cloth.  Poultry Netting works great at keepin Birds in, but stinks at keeping other Critters out, hence the welded Hardware cloth.

This is a side shot, looking at the framing for the Nesting boxes.  You can also see the framing where the floor will be.  The floor dimensions are 3' wide by 6' long, giving me 18 square feet of floor space.  I allowed for 6 inches between the floor and the door on the front in case I want to use the deep litter method.

So in this photo, you can see the framing for the door, that will drop down to allow cleaning of the coop.  I can reach all parts of the coop floor by leaning in.  The door is 4' wide by 38" high, so I don't have to stoop over to keep my head from banging on the top rail.  Above that is 8" by 6' of vent space for ventilation.  This will be covered with fine mesh, to keep insects out, but let amonia build up out.  I think you can clearly see the old wood and the new wood, and that it's about 40% old, which saved me a bundle.  I have an overhang for the roof of 1" on the back and 4" on the front.  The front is just over 7' with the roof, and 4 inches lower at the back for runoff.

So, tomorrow is supposed to be nasty, but this weekend is looking better.  Hopefully we can make more progress on my brother's coop, and I will look to frame out the nesting box, build a gate for the bottom front that will flip upwards to allow access to the lower run, and build the ramp up to the floor to allow the girls access to the outdoors when the door is open.

All in all, I probably have 4 more days of work to go on this.  I am slow, but what I build stands up.  Everything on this coop was pre-drilled to prevent splitting, and connected with 3 inch exterior grade deck screws.

My lovely wife, though she denies it now, set a budget of $300.00 for this coop.  So far, I am $215.00 into that budget, and may spend a bit more, but will definately come in under budget.  I will continue to take pictures, and once finished, will post plans with cut lists so others can if they want take the plans, use them, modify them whatever. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Let me take a moment to share, Thursday is my least favorite day of the week.  I am usually tired, and today was no exception.  But when one tries to homestead, being tired is the last excuse to work.  So, today I got a number of things done, none terribly big, but work it was.

First off, the weather was iffy to say the least.  Sun Breaks, means no sun most of the time.  The weather was around 55 degrees,  but at least it didn't rain.

So,  I took my tomatoes for a walk:

Aren't they cute dressed up in their dollar store pots???

The got about 4 hours out, in the on again off again sun and light wind.  All and all it was good for them (I hope...fingers crossed.)

Then I got out and finished filling in the last of the garden beds I built:

Yes, all my garden beds are in the front and side yards (I live on a corner) and I like this setup.  My house faces South, so that was the primary reason, but now I like that people come up and talk to me, know me as that garden guy; ask me questions, and possibly ask for help in setting up their own gardens.  So far, I have gotten 2 neighbors who previously weren't gardeners, into planting veg!

I also weeded 2 of the 3 original beds, and found that the lettuce is coming up nicely, and the spinach and beets are just starting to pop up! So that just leaves Kale and Swiss Chard as the johnny come lately's (hoping the come soon!)

I realized today, that while I devoted the last post to the girls and their new digs, I didn't update their growth progress.  So I will rectify that here:

This is Rosalina, our Welsummer.  Right now she is the biggest of the flock, and the undisputed Alpha Chick!

This is Hayden, our Golden Laced Wyandotte.  She and Rosalina were hatched 3/21/2011, and Hayden is #2 in the pecking order.

This is Twinkie our Buff Orpington.  She has calmed down since her early days, and has quietly moved into the #3 position.  She has also put on some heft, and is almost as big as Hayden who is one week older.

This is Little Red (more on the name later) our Silver laced Wyandotte.  She is the smallest, and now #4 on the pecking order.  She is the smallest of the flock, and since coming to the new bigger box has been pushing everyone's buttons, to no avail.  This has moved her from #3 to #4 in the flock.  

The name for Little Red came as an epiphany.  In my family, we love playing games, and whoever is in last place, is the little red caboose.  Hence, her name reflects her position; Little Red.

The girls are settling into their new box.  The garden beds are done, and ready for planting.  Now we just need the weather to come around.  But a quick check on the weather shows tomorrow and Saturday as being nice, so the bro and I will likely get a good start on the Chicken Coops before Easter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Movin' On Up...Bigger and Better

Well, due to the uncharacteristic cold spell we are enduring, The Tomatoes that should be tucked into the soil, are still hanging out in the den.  The cool weather crops, planted late last week, are slow to show, with only lettuce sprouting above the soil surface, oh and one or two pea plants poking up.  So, this post will be devoted to the girls.

Quite frankly, the brooder box was so small the hens had to get out just to change their mind...bah dum dum.  Sorry, couldn't help myself.  Last week, my brother and I went to Costco and grabbed two of their big produce boxes, mine held Watermelons:

Well, this certainly gives the girls room to spread their wings.  I put a dollar store (yes, I shop their often, and usually find something I can use for the homestead) shower curtain down below the box, and cut another piece of cardboard out in the shape of the box to cover the hole in the bottom.  Then I put about 2 inches of pine shavings down.  I cut some hardware cloth to cover the top, and hung the 250 watt infrared lamp from the ceiling.  The temp under the lamp is 70 degrees, and the temp in the garage where the box sits is 55 at night and 62 during the day.  So the girls can hang under the lamp to warm up, and move around and become acclimatized for when they go outside full time.  I then moved the waterer, feeder and roost (after thoroughly cleaning all) into the big box.  All that was left was to put the girls in.

Let me tell you, they spent the first 20 minutes in their new digs, stretching their wings, and running around like 3rd graders on a Sunny Friday after a full bag o' skittles.  They also found lots of fun in knocking over their food tray.  I had it propped up on a 2x4 cut to the length of the feeder.  So I took some scrap wood, and made bumpers, to keep the feeder in place.  Now it does just that.  Try as they might, it won't tip over.  So they eat from the feeder now.  Though they still hunt, peck, and scratch.  I spread some chick grit around for them.  It keeps them busy.

Man that box is big.  It sits in the garage, which is my shop.  The counter in the back, is next to an old stove (left over from our remodel a few years back) are part of my candle making setup.  Notice I didn't say money making, but someday.  But not until the chicks are ready to move out into the big wild yonder.  Before that though, my brother and I need to build our coops.  Perhaps Thursday or Friday we can start.  Weather man says those will be the best days of the week.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ever had one of those days???

Wow, I could chalk this one up to being exhausted.  I could chalk it up to the day being cold and dreary.  I could say that I had a bunch of busy work around the house to do.  But then, that wouldn't be truthful of me.  Nope, I was just meandering mentally and physically today.  Not sure why, but boy was it hard to get on track with anything today.

Looking at being exhausted:

First I need to show you all my current garden beds to set the mood:

These are the 3 original beds I made up almost 10 years ago.  The nearest 4x4 bed is now a dedicated herb garden.  The next bed over has a plethora of veg planted, Kale, Swiss Chard, Celery, Beets, Spinach, and Lettuce.  And the 3rd bed, has Cauliflower, Broccoli, and the Trellis' are for the Peas.

This was the 2nd set of beds, I pulled some awful bushes out, and put in 3 4x4 beds, and a 2x4 Permanent home for Raspberries.  The bed right behind the Raspberries is holding Garlic planted last October.  Beds 3 and 4 behind the Garlic are needing to be tilled under again from the Winter cover crop I grew.  In May they will get Shelling Beans.

This was a problem corner for many years, nothing would grow here but weeds.  Then I had more paver blocks than I needed, and made a 3x11 bed out of the area.  I scraped it clear of weeds, mixed in 40 or 50 wheelbarrows of compost, and voila.  Now it's home to a whole mess of onions.

So, I had some beds, but found that I had a hard time rotating my veg as I should.  The only solution, was to make more beds...And I finally got around to that:

Enter two of four new beds I built this year.  The small one nearest in the photo is the Permanent Asparagus box.  I got a great deal on 2 year old Asparagus crowns, so they now rest under the soil there, waiting for next spring.  The furthest box is 4 x 8 and will hold the Water Melons, and Cantaloupe Melons I have sitting under the lights indoors now.  Later, I hope to be able to plant Butternut Squash and Pumpkins there.

Notice the nice soil in the two boxes.  Yesterday I picked up a yard and a half of it in my truck (just visible beyond the beds in the last photo.  I was shoveling, wheeling, and raking from 10:00 am until 4:30 pm yesterday.  Hence the exhausted.

How can I be exhausted, I still have two more beds to fill!  Lucky for me, they are near the street, and I can back the truck up and shovel right into the beds.  The Furthest bed will hold Pole beans (trellised on the street side West.) Peppers, squash, and cucumbers.  The near bed will house my tomatoes.  I can fit 10 plants into the 4 x 8 box (as I really don't worry about cross pollination) and not much else.  

So until I step up and get about 3 more yards of good garden soil, I can't be exhausted.  My Tomatoes need to get into the ground, they are seriously tired of their dollar store pots....

But that brings us to the cold and dreary.  Today the weather just couldn't make up it's mind.  Not cold, unless the wind blew, and boy did it blow.  Kept me from taking the tomatoes out for a walk to harden off.  It never really rained, just sprinkled off and on all day, until 5:30 or so, then the sun came out for 15 minutes :) only to darken again, and sprinkle away.  The Farmers Almanac says the average last frost date for our area (Zone 8a) in the Pacific NW is April 15th, just a few days away.  I think when I get the bed filled (the next somewhat sunny day) I will put out the 10 best tomatoes, use that fancy red mulch, cage them, and then wrap the cage with plastic around the sides.  Just to keep these winds from whipping them around.  That will probably happen about a week after that magical Avg. Last frost date. Just to be safe.

As for stuff around the house needing to be done, when doesn't it.  Dishes, vacuuming, laundry, dusting, cooking (which means doing dishes again...) so that can't be an excuse.

No, not sure what it was today, just felt off.  But I was still able to up-pot my peppers, watermelons, and  cantaloupe melons so the day wasn't a total loss.  Here's hoping tomorrow is better all around.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Small Seeds and clever solutions

Huge kudos to my sharp wife.  She has been reading tips and techniques and some are good, others well not so much.  But like most things in life, you take the good with the bad, and try to smile throughout it all.

Today I worked on the flower gardens, helping my wife move plants, and figure out what we have in the back garden.  Perhaps because she felt for me working on the flowers, or perhaps she just loves me.  She shared one of the tips she read about with me, and you know, it sounded good.

In summary:
Carrot seeds are really small, and sowing them usually devolves into pouring the whole packet into a small trench and thinning excessively later.  I hate this, as buying seed packets while not expensive, isn't cheap either, with a small packets of seed costing $3.25 or more (organic of course.)

Other options are using seed tape, which is even more costly, and you don't get nearly the same amount of seed.  Yes, there are other tools out there, but after trying them none really worked as advertised.

So here is what my wife told me:

The tip she read told how to make your own seed tape from toilet paper, and flour glue.

Well, we tried it this evening, tried it out, here is the recipe:

2 Tbsp of flour
Toilet paper
Carrot Seeds

Add water to the flour and stir just until it becomes the consistency of white glue:

Cut the toilet paper to as many squares (length) as you want.  Then cut this in half so you have two thinner sheets the same length.

The tip said to paint the flour glue onto the toilet paper strip, but we tried, and it worked, though was a little difficult to control.  So we tried a children's medicine syringe and it worked remarkably better:

Spread the glue about 1/4 of the way up the toilet paper, from end to end.  Then just drop the seeds onto the glue at the spacing you would use for your final plant spacing.

Once you have placed all the seeds onto the Flour Glue strip, fold the top half over the glue and seeds. Smooth it down and label them.  Place them somewhere to dry:

Once dry, store them until ready to drop the tape into the ground.  The tip said that the toilet paper decomposes quickly (that I believe is true), and when the Flour glue decomposes it provides starch to the germinating seedling (not sure if that's one of those good or bad things, but hey experimentation is like life, you just have smile through it.)

We spent about an hour, and it got faster as we went along, and were able to make up 3 tapes for each of the varieties of carrots we want to plant.  We will let them sit overnight, and when dry will store them in a cool dry place until planted.

Best of all, this cost pennies to do.  I still have a bunch of seed left from my original packet, and when thinning time comes, I will have less to do.  All in all, if this works, I will have saved time in the long run by doing something in my down time.

I'll keep tabs on germination and how they grow.  If it fails, I should only lose a week or two at most, and will go back to the spread and thin method.

Night all

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Feeling Better, but not good

This has been a rough week.  Dealing with medical issues, pain that kept me up all night, finally left me late yesterday.  After 39 hours awake, and with pain meds firmly in place, I finally got a solid night sleep last night (13 hours) and woke up to a Sunny Day :) Things were looking up!

I was able to get the Cauliflower and Broccoli into the ground, though I lost a few due to being root bound in the small containers they were in (thank goodness I am an accidental gardener (meaning I plant twice as many seeds as I hope to plant)) so 8 Cauliflower and 4 broccoli made it into good soil, and soaked up a full day of sun before the cold night came on.

I took a hint from the root bound plants, and decided to up-pot the Tomatoes:

Love Dollar Store flower pots...Showing are 4 Sungold; 3 Isis Candy; 3 Gils All-Purpose; 3 Brandywine; and 4 Yellow Pear Tomato plants, all started on Jan 25th 2011.

My lovely wife, has taken a greater interest in gardening, and specifically vegetable gardening.  She has always loved flowers, and gardening for the flowers, and one of our favorite events of the year is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  Well if you haven't heard, the Daffodils have made a strong showing, but we have yet to see the Tulips for which the festival is named.  Seems that our Winter like weather has pushed the blooming of the Tulips back on the calendar.  Noting that, my wife uttered what I took to be sage advice: "Plant tomatoes after the Tulips have bloomed."  

I know that there are all sorts of sayings from conventional folk wisdom like this, but I have never heard this before, and it makes sense to me.  The Tulips in our yard are trying to bloom, but have not as of yet. So now I am watching them closely, as closely as I am watching the weather reports, as the tomatoes, are really ready to go into the ground.

And believe me, I am nowhere near ready for that, as I have the garden beds ready, but no dirt in them.  I had planned to visit Craigslist and find free dirt that I could amend, but got sick and the whole week blew by.  Now I am contemplating buying soil and having it delivered, as I have 4 beds to fill, and have lots to still plant out.

Add to that the chicken coop that still needs to be built...and the bathroom remodel that needs finishing touches, and boy am I behind in just about everything that needs to be done!  Getting sick on a homestead sucks!  

As for my chickens, I finally had to put wire on top of the brooder, as I found Hayden our Golden Laced Wyandotte sitting atop the waterer, and looking over the edge of the brooder!

Well, this post will be really short, as I am still really tired, and not fully well.  And tomorrow is supposed to be nice again.  I'd like to get Spinach and Peas into the ground, and call around on dirt to be delivered.

I may also get together with my brother and go pick up the material for the Chicken Coops we will build.  I have leaned back to my original plan for the coop, my own arguments with my brother (mainly, that coop height doesn't count to square footage for the chickens) convinced me I was right the first time.  

I also have to plant some Begonia's my wife bought tonight, and some time will need to hang a towel rack, and touch up paint the bathroom.

Well, I better catch some sleep, as my day looks like it will begin tomorrow at O dark 30, or a time I normally wake up to go fishing just to fit half my work in :(

Night all, and pray for your health.  Remember that the food you grow, you control, and will be the medicine to keep you healthy.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Time to meet the girls

Well, today was my day of good deeds.  I took advantage of the break in the weather to help my folks out in moving a Rhododendron.  With the help of my Brother (Sinfonians Garden Adventure) we made short work out of the job.

This left me tired, and longing to be indoors pursuing my favorite rainy day (heck any type of day) activity, watching ChickTV.  Well, I spent a bit of time watching the chicks, and before I get into any deep thoughts, I figured everyone should meet the ladies:

This is our Welsummer, hatched March 22nd.  My daughter holding all the chicks in these shots has named this one Rosalina, as she feels the name reflects peace and serenity.  This chick is the calmest of them all, and she doesn't want to leave the hand, when she is put back in the brooder.

This is our Golden Laced Wyandotte, hatched March 22nd.  My daughter has named this one Hayden, as she feels the name reflects Strength and Loyalty.  This chick is content to be number 2 in the flock, and is loyal to Rosalina, but Mother's all the chicks.

This is our Silver laced Wyandotte, hatched March 29th.  No name for this chick yet, as she is still to young to have shown us much of a personality.  She is pretty calm, doesn't mind being picked up, and adores Hayden, following her every move.

This is our Buff Orpington, hatched March 29th.  No name yet, but leaning heavily towards "Brat" as she is our little thug in training wings.  She is trying to assert herself over the older birds, and is just now coming to realize that they have put up with her, but her antics won't move her into the Alpha spot anytime soon.

And that is the cast of today's post.  Now for the deep thoughts.

Being new to this chicken thing, I didn't start the two older ones with a roost, adding this 3/28.  This first attempt had a 1"x1" roost about 3" off the bottom of the brooder.  Neither bird was the least bit interested.  By the time the little ones joined the party on 3/30, I changed the roost to a 1"x2" wide roost. Hayden was the first to show some interest, then Rosalina, but when they tried to use the roost, the Buff Orpington would peck at their toes until they came down. So the most recent incarnation of the roost has a 2"x 4" board for the roost.  I figured that the birds could rest on that, and not have to grip the board, exposing their toes to the the little pecking fiend!  Hayden found the roost fairly quickly, but Rosalina still bedded down in the bedding, even though the Buff Orpington would rush up to peck at her, or walk over her, or push her Orpington around every time she settled in for a quick nap.  I was really concerned that Rosalina was quite possibly the dullest tool in the shed if you get my meaning...why put up with this, when the roost would allow her some peace and quiet.

Well, I had made my peace, even if Rosalina wasn't bright enough to figure out the roost.  When what to my wondering eyes did appear....but Rosalina, Hayden and the Silver Laced Wyandotte all snoozing on the roost.  Of course in my fumbling and bumbling to get the camera, they all woke up, and hoped off the roost to peck at the bedding, eat or drink.  I did catch the shot below about an hour later:

Hayden and the Buff Orpington were snoozing on the roost until the flash went off.

As you can see in the picture, my brooder has the waterer on a 2" x 6" piece of wood, to keep it out of the bedding, and minimize the bedding that gets into the water.  There is just enough room for 3 chicks to stand on the wood and drink at the same time.  The roost is to the right of that; with the Buff Orpington just under the 250W infrared lamp (the warmest spot in the box.) Opposite to the waterer and roost is the feeder try resting on another 2" x 6" piece of wood that gives the chicks about an inch of board to stand on as they peck away.  The feeder is large enough that all four chicks can feed at the same time.

Well, let me state, that I simply forgot, that these chicks are still baby's, and like baby's can't be expected to know everything that and adult knows.  They learn as they go.  So, I too must learn; Patience.  All the chicks are healthy.  The vents are clear, eyes are bright, toes look good, feathers all coming in.  So far so good.  Roosting, eating, drinking, pecking, scratching will all come in time.  I hope that I will remember this in the summer whilst awaiting the first egg.  Though I will probably be a total wreck by the time it Patience doesn't come easily to me, though it does come (likely by the 2nd round of chicks some years down the road!)

Now to get back to planning the coop!  My wife and I went to view some coops that were for sale over Craigslist.  It was local, and the coops were kit's.  They looked cute, but weren't very sturdy.  All framing was 2" x 2" and the 3 sizes weren't compatible with their features.  The medium coop we saw for 4 - 6 chickens had some likes:
  • The whole floor pulled out for cleaning
  • Two nesting boxes
  • Outdoor fencing on the ground to prevent dig under intruders
And some things we didn't like:
  • No ventilation other than the open door, though there was a ventilation feature on the large size.
  • The door was only 1 1/2 feet wide and 4 1/2 feet tall (no way for me to get through)

So back to the drawing board.  Though I did take away some ideas, and am re-working my design.  My brother is rightfully anxious and ready to start building our coops, so that will probably begin this week.  We pulled the canopy off the truck so that we can go get the wood.  Now I need to finish up the design so I know how much wood to get.

So I have been noodling off to much on this post, as my brain is not wrapping itself around this design phase.  But it's late, and we have early appointment's tomorrow, so I will shelve the design for tomorrow, and hopefully will come to a final decision.  


Friday, April 1, 2011

Rainy Day here at the homestead

This morning I was reminded of a little tune:
"The rain rain rain came down down down
In rushing, rising riv'lets,
'Til the river crept out of it's bed
And crept right into Piglet's!"

Now being raised in the Pacific NW; rain isn't something that normally bother me, but with this being April 1, and me being way way behind on tilling under my winter cover crop on the garden beds, I needed to suck it up and get out there.  But the bed being warm and cozy...well, thank goodness the dog needed to be let out, or I would've stayed snuggled up 'til noon.

As I walked to the back door, I passed my seedlings, sitting under their lights, just waiting for the "sun" to come up.

Tomato, Red Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Pepperocini, Jalepeno, under two 20W shop lights.

With the seedlings beckoning, and the knowledge that I still didn't have Peas, Lettuce, and Spinach in the ground.  So, I bundled up, put on a rain coat, my hat and gloves and broke out the roto-tiller, set up the blocker boards (that's what I call them, they are basically an extension of the garden beds, so the dirt doesn't get thrown out onto the ground) and did battle in the mud.  

Here in the Pacific NW, we have many types of rain.  I have heard that the Eskimos have 100 words to describe the snow in all it's forms, well we are close to that with rain.

This morning it was  a light sprinkle, that wasn't bad to work in.  As the work went on, we went through, heavy sprinkle, big fat 'ol drops, mist, downpour (that's when I raised my hand quit.)  All in all, I got through the two 4x8 beds, and will be able to plant early next week.

I had taken all the normal precautions, but still got soaked to the bone.  And when all I wanted to do was go inside and take a hot shower, I still had to clean the tiller.

This is when the work ethic kicks in.  Having a homestead, means doing the little things, the big things and all the things in-between, even when it isn't comfortable.  Getting through today, gives me strength knowing that when it's cold and nasty next winter, I will still get out to care for the chickens.  When I am enjoying Spanikopita made from my own Spinach in a few months, the soaking I took today will be a laughable memory.  But a necessary one for the Spinach to be grown.

Experiment #1, these are Red Bell Pepper Plants.  We got the seed from a Red Pepper we bought at the grocery last year.  Cleaned and saved the seed, and we'll see what grows.

Experiment #2, Melons (center tray)  Planted 9 "Tigger" Cantaloupe melons (8 have sprouted) and 9 (all 9 sprouted) Crimson Sweet Watermelons.

Yes, in the photo above, you can see I use paper (newspaper) pots for my seedlings.  I use an 8th of the page and wrap it around the medicine bottle you see in the first photo on this post.  It holds just the right amount of seedling mix to get them started, and then the whole thing is planted into larger pots (the newsprint decomposes quickly) and I have used this system for the past 5 years with no ill effects.  The other two trays hold Basil starts on the right and Ground Cherries on the left.

As for experimentation, try it, It's healthy.  Play around with your gardening, grow new things.  Try try and keep trying.  I've heard it said that you can't grow melons here.  Well, I'm gonna try.  And when I try, I go for something that sings to me.  As you you can tell from the opening lines of this post, I'm a Disney Kid.  I loved Winnie the Pooh, so the T- I - Double Guh - Er melons were a natural for this experiment.

Remember, this is work, but it's also fun.  It's fun to play in the mud, see things grow from a seed you saved from a grocery store Red Bell Pepper, figuring out names for rain.  Yep it's all fun.  Well, time to end this post, and go snuggle up in bed with some hot cocoa.