Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Putting the Garden to Bed, Fixing the Dryer, and Taking Trips

A photo of Nebraska DaveWow, has it really been that long since I've left a blog post here? Hi folks, I hope you all have been having wonderful adventures at home in garden. I know that I have, and it all will be missed as I tell you about putting the garden to bed.

Every garden year has an end and this year it came on November the 10th for me. Although we had a couple earlier frosts it didn't seem to get to aerial plants such as the tomatoes and green peppers. November 10th was D-day at the Urban Ranch. Every plant was killed by the mid 20s temperature.

Dave in the garden  

As you can plainly see here it's definitely over for everything. However, there is a final harvest. Ripe and green tomatoes still hung on the dried up plants. I really can't complain about this year's harvest. I didn't keep track of the bounty, but it supplied family and friends all summer long with some left for me. Next year the garden will be two beds bigger and better. My goal is to preserve some of the harvest next year. It will be marvelous. You will be able to follow along as I blog about it.

Final Tomato Harvest from the Garden  

Here's the final tomato harvest on November 8th which is way past the date that harvesting should be completed. It was a gift from the pleasant weather we've been having through out October. We had temperatures in the 40s at night with highs during the day in the middle 70s. Seventy degree days in October are not unheard of but for a whole month it is. It caused such a wonderfully long fall to enjoy. The color is still on the trees here.

Final harvest for green tomatoes, potatoes, and green peppers  

Here is absolutely the final harvest of the year. There was a final bunch of onions as well. I was quite excited that so many tomatoes were still useable. Next year I will actually try to use the green tomatoes. I have all winter to accumulate recipes that use green tomatoes. If you have anything that you like to do with green tomatoes leave me a comment and I'll add it to the research I'll be doing.

The watering system as been dismantled and drained until next spring when more exciting things will be happening with it. I hope by the end of next summer to have a nice fountain in the big tank with a good home for fish. No exotic fish in this tank. Only native Nebraska fish caught out of the local ponds. My grandson will probably enjoy helping with that task.

Clothes Dryer heating element  

Some of you are probably wondering what could this picture possibly have to do with gardening? Well the answer is, nothing. I awoke one morning to the sound of the tumbling clothes dryer loaded with clothes that my daughter had started. Something just didn't seem right when I opened the door to remove the clothes and they were cold and still wet. Hmmmm, right away I surmised something was wrong. I know it's just gift I have. Anyway having been down this road a time or two I pulled out the tools and a test meter and began to test the possible parts that would cause such a issue. When I put the meter on the heating element presto no response. Right away my gifting kicked in and said "this part is bad." I just love it when that happens. Now, if this would have been Hank Will, he would have grabbed a chunk of something around the farm and fixed the element and put it back in the dryer in true pioneer fashion. Since I'm still learning about such things, I just went to parts place and bought a new part. As the sun set over the horizon, my daughter was glad to know that the dryer once again was in working fashion. You can read more about trips and home repairs by going to my personal blog here.  

Installing a door  

This is a three day door installation that I helped with. It's not that I actually know how to do all this stuff. I just hang out with friends who do, which makes me look good. This was a arch opening and my friend wanted to close it off with the installation of a door. Normally this would be a days work for a good carpenter but for two of us it was three days. It couldn't have been the fact that we just had to go to Home Depot every day could it? Well, of course there is the stop at the Italian pastry shop before we get started each day. Oh, yeah, then we have to have coffee with our pastry.

Installing a door day two  

After the second day the hard part was finished. On the final day we trimmed out the door and splashed on a good coat of primer paint. I didn't quite get to finish up with this project but the only thing left was the to install the door knob and give it a good covering of paint.

Insulating water pipes  

I've been out on a couple of volunteering trips since my last blog entry. This one was in Kansas City at Midwestern Baptist College. Our team worked on a new chapel they were building. Most likely this will be the last trip for me this year. They put me to work doing many different things. Here I'm insulating the water pipes that go to the airconditioning. Of course it was way up in the attic and required crawling and climbing into the smallest of spaces. Also they had me helping with hanging drywall and helping with running of electrical conduit. The team was there for two weeks, but I could only be there for the first week.

Time for coffee  

At the end of the day whether it be putting a garden to bed, or working on a clothes dryer, or bending a wrench on a sick car, there's always time for a good cup of coffee. I hope you enjoyed the post and leave a comment to tell what's been going on in your part of the world.

Grit Editors  

Oh and one final thing before I'm off to replace the fuel injector in my old '93 Cavalier, if you are ever close to Topeka, Kansas, be sure to drop in to meet the GRIT magazine staff. They are the greatest folks ever.

Until the next time, hunker down and batten the hatches because winter is coming.

nebraska dave
11/24/2010 10:21:10 PM

@MW, Mountain Man and I are destined to meet somewhere along the road of life. I can just feel it. Our temperature dipped all the way down to 16 degrees last night with weatherman promises to go even farther down to 12 tonight. It’s definitely put an end to anything growing for this year. I’m ready to rest awhile before starting to delve into the inside projects for the winter. I've already posted up the first look at my spot in the basement for the food storage area on my personal blog. It's quite a sight to begin with. I am beginning to have a hankering for winter foods such as hot soup and fresh baked biscuits. Have a great late fall day.

mountain woman
11/24/2010 6:16:13 AM

Wow, Dave your garden really produced lots of food. I admire all the tomatoes. Our garden went long this year and I put ours to bed about the same time you did. Still not very cold here but I'm not complaining. Your projects are always so wonderful and interesting to see. I wish you and Mountain Man could meet. Have a most wonderful Thanksgiving.

nebraska dave
11/17/2010 11:23:35 AM

Cindy, I really miss my time out in the garden and building thnigs for the yard. I am already planning for next year with some pretty different kind of vertical growing. I'm toying with the idea of building an 8 foot support structure over the regular garden bed that would allow me to build another bed about 4 foot up on the structure. It would have to be built to support about six inches of soil. It would be like a 4X8 box above the in ground space. I'm not sure if it will work or how I would water it yet but if it works then I could double the garden space without any more beds. Would that be considered thinking outside the box. To keep me busy this winter I have a basement project that I have mentioned before. I want to take a 6X10 space in the basement and turn it into a food storage pantry. It will require building a short wall with a door, insulating the inside walls, rebuilding the shelves, and running electrical wiring for lighting. That should keep me busy most of the winter. You have any winter projects planned? Have a great day cleaning up the garden areas.

cindy murphy
11/17/2010 7:34:14 AM

Hi, Dave. I see you've been as busy as your usual self lately, and you sound as if you're enjoying it all! We've been enjoying an unusually long fall here too. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, and it's been soooo nice to work outside; makes me love my job even more. Though the nursery officially closed for the season at beginning of November, we've been busy with winter preparations. Putting nearly 40 acres of nursery stock to bed is no task for the weak and feeble...which is exactly how I'm beginning to feel. It's a race against the weather, which changed pretty drastically over the weekend. The work should be done by the end of the week though. Then I have to come home, and bust my behind getting my own gardens put to bed. Time is running out it seems. We've already had our first snow. But I've still got roses blooming! In mid-November! While you're researching green tomato useage, be sure to check into if eating too many of them will make you sick. My co-worker made green tomato salsa, and suffered quite a bout of stomach distress. I thought it might be from the poison solanine, which is present in all things from the nightshade family, and is more concentrated in green fruit. We looked it up on the Internet, and discovered that indeed, some people have an intolerance to the levels found in green tomatoes. Hope you're not one of them! Love the last couple of photos! Coffee is great; meeting the Grit staff would be even greater.