Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Rainy Day Activities on the Urban Ranch

A photo of Nebraska DaveHi again. The weather this week was rain with rain and more rain. There was not much to do except inside work.

I decided maybe it was time to clean out that kitchen cabinet that housed the left over containers. Just how many left over containers does a family of three really need?

Left over containers

In fact I’ve discovered that the best left over container is a mason canning jar. If the left overs are put in the jar hot and the lid screwed down it will seal. Now I’m not saying this will be good for long term storage but it does extend the left over time from 2 to 3 days to at least a couple weeks time. I store the sealed jars in the refrigerator as an additional precaution. Anyway one 33 gallon trash bag full into the trash made the closet much more tidy.

Clean closet shelf photo

Many of the GRIT bloggers have been posting about their chickens and their techniques on caring for them. Well, since I had time on my hands because of the rain this week I decided it was time to assemble my flock of chickens. I even found a barn coop for them to stay in if needed. I’ve been collecting my girls for some time by frequenting the local Good Will store. The Iris were cut from my sea of Iris on the West side of the house. These stems had fallen into the yard from the Iris bed. Instead of just throwing them in the compost I decided to bring them in the house to decorate the table. It’s the first time real flowers have been in the house since .... well since ever. Another first for Old Nebraska Dave.

Dining room table chickens photo

My black beauty tulips came into bloom right after the tulips of fire started winding down. They are now just about finished but the Iris are starting to come into full bloom. I am in need of reblooming day lilies and have been in hot pursuit of tracking down some for over planting the tulips. I have discovered that day lily roots are referred to as fans and the best I could find was about one dollar a fan. That’s just a little more expensive than I thought it would be.

Black Beauty Tulips

As you can see the Iris are really starting to put on a show. Hopefully this display will last a couple more weeks until the peonies come into bloom. They are starting to produce the big buds and usually break into full bloom about Memorial Day in Nebraska.

Iris Flowers

Since I couldn’t dig in mud for the watering system, I decided to start working on the trellis I have in mind for the living poor man’s patio. While in the home improvement store placing concrete blocks on the transport truck a man came walking by and asked, “How many of those are you getting?”

I replied, “I’m getting 10 but wish I could get more.”

He surprised me with, “I have about 30 blocks at my place that I would just give to you if you want them.”

Well, free is good, so I followed him home and gathered up the 27 blocks he had and sneaked home with a load of I figure close to 1500 pounds on my little Ford Ranger named “Ranger Rick – Ricky for short.” I think he’s rated for a payload of 500 pounds. I can truthfully tell you that I didn’t feel a single bump all the way home.

Concrete blocks in truck

This was one of the rainy days so I set up shop in the garage. I started working on the trellis that will hopefully be covered with pole beans and morning glory. I was real hesitant about the morning glory because in my humble opinion it’s real close to being a noxious weed. It’s hard to keep under control and stay contained. My plans are to plant it in a container on the patio and never let it get out.

Cutting 2-by-2s for trellis

This is the top of the trellis. The sides will be of similar construction and when it’s all together it will stand 8 feet high and 10 feet long. It’s sort of being designed as I build it. I do that a lot. I can build one step then the next and the next. I have the picture of what I want in my mind but I only figure out how to build it as I work on the project one step at a time. It’s not the best way to build I suppose but it works for me. A friend and I once designed a storage shed on a paper napkin while eating breakfast at Burger King, bought the supplies that afternoon, and built the shed over the next two days.

Top of trellis

I’m hoping to get back to the watering system this next week. I have run into a snag with the watering system. The tank has been setting for over 15 years unused and has rusted through the seam of the tank. I tried to light up sparky my welder, but just ended up blowing a bigger hole through the rust. The lesson learned was you can’t weld rust. The plan now is to pop rivet sheet metal over the hole, solder around the patch seams, and seal it up with silicone sealant. If that don’t do it then plan C will have to go into effect. Oh, plan C, ah, haven’t figured it out yet.

That’s what has been happening on the urban ranch this week. I hope you have enjoyed the adventures for this week. Leave a comment about what’s been going on in your part of the world. I hope you have a great week and I’ll see ya next week.

nebraska dave
6/19/2010 11:39:32 PM

@Will, Thanks for the tip. I like it. I’ve been contemplating about how to fix the rusted seam and you have given me the fix. I have been working on the lower distribution end of the watering system. I’ve certainly learned a lot about low pressure gravity feed watering systems, mostly by trial and error. I’ve found that water volume is necessary when pressure is not available. There will be one secondary tank for every two raised beds. This tank will be 25 gallons and feed the final distribution manifold. Each bed will have one distribution manifold. I have one secondary tank functioning and am working on the first distribution manifold. It should be working shortly. I’m almost down to connecting the final distribution end of the system together with 5/8 inch garden hose. I’ll have more posts and pictures about all this process but if you can’t wait go to OldDavesGarden.blogspot.com and the latest post is about the building of the distribution manifold. It’s always good to hear from you, Will. Thanks for leaving encouraging and this time helpful comments. See ya next time.


hank will_2
6/17/2010 8:39:43 AM

Hey Dave -- I love your projects and even more so your posts. On the old stock tank, if you can reinforce the rusted area of the seam and can find some old truck or tractor inner tubes, you can cut patches and "seal" them into position on the inside with gobs of silicon. The weight of the water will just make the seal tighter. I've gotten many additional years out of tanks that were "shot" using that cobble job. The rubber and silicon didn't seem to hurt the cattle either. :)


nebraska dave
6/7/2010 11:28:31 AM

Cindy, never apologize for give out good advice. I always value your input. I believe that the day lilies from my friend are as you have stated, ditch lilies. She said they were orange and in just a couple years had grown from one small clump to a large clump. That’s why she was so willing to give me some. So there are different sizes of daylilies. I’ll have to check out my favorite nursery here and see if I can find a clump to start in the Tulips. Orderly garden is indeed my downfall. I’ve been trying to move into the more natural way and not in straight rows of gardening but I just haven’t got there yet. For me that would be a whole new wave of creativity and a huge break through in gardening. I’m going to leave it for a couple years but when I have to dig up and replant the bulbs I will be ready to try more grouping instead of order. I remember that post back in July now that I have gone back to read it again. Those Happy Returns Day lilies are just what I was looking for. I'll have to find some of those and put the friend's ditch lilies in a backyard bed some where. For future reference here is one of my disposable email addresses dbentz24@q.com . You can use that which would be a little easier for you and not run out of comment space. Thanks for all the advice. It really helped with design idesa for the front flower bed.


cindy murphy
6/7/2010 6:39:39 AM

Oh, and one more thing I just thought of, Dave... Go to my blog here on the main blog page, and click on "A Lakeside View". Scroll down to "Archive" and click on July 2009. In the first entry on that page, you'll see 'Stella de Oro' in the first photo; the buttery-yellow flowers. The orange in the third photo are ditch lilies. In the second entry, 'Phase II of the Garden', the last photo is 'Happy Returns'. Those three plants...or really two and a half, because my foot slipped on the shovel...I divided from one single pot, purchased just a month earlier, (if the plants themselves look kind of beat up, it's because I am not gentle when dividing - and with daylilies you don't need to be; they bounce back in no time). There are probably sixties-to-eighty fans total, at least. This will give you a good idea of why planting a single fan is not really worth the time or money. Ok...I promise I'm done, and will leave you be. Enjoy your day.


cindy murphy
6/7/2010 5:38:36 AM

Daylily 101 continued... The rebloomers....in my climate only a handful of the daylilies listed as reblooming actually rebloom. Our summers are just too short. 'Stella de Oro' is the most common daylily in production - and there is a reason it's been called the world's most over-used landscape plant; it performs extremely well, but is quite drab in my opinion. A prettier color, and another good performer is 'Happy Returns' - it's a bright, cheery sunshine yellow, is fairly short in daylily terms, and an excellent grower which stays in a nice, neat clump. All reblooming daylilies require deadheading. If you liked the way your daffodils looked in your garden, you'll love 'Happy Returns'. But don't discount the non-rebloomers either. Daylilies come in a variety of heights and pretty much every color but blue. There are early, mid and late season bloomers. Best advice is to go to the garden center and check out the colors and fullness of the pots before you decide. And psst...there is nothing wrong with starting with just one big clump in the corner of the bed where your black tulips are blooming in the photo. Nothing says you have to plant in straight lines all the way across the bed.


cindy murphy
6/7/2010 5:14:32 AM

Hey, Dave. Here's a quick Daylily 101 rundown...because I really think they'd complement your front garden bed, and I'd bet you'd find you'd be quite happy with them having them there. About the clump your friend gave you....and the 1.00 fans you're looking at on ebay... Do you know the variety? I'm gathering from looking at the way you've got things arranged in the bed, that you like order in the garden. If this is true, stay away from the daylilies commonly referred to as ditch lilies, roadside lilies, common orange daylilies, or the botanical name, Hemerocallis fulva. They are tall, orange, and quite pretty, but are best in a bed by themselves, like your iris bed, because unlike most other daylilies, they spread endlessly. Skip ordering fans from e-bay. More people who order fans are daylily collectors willing to pay more for a single fan of an unusual variety, rather than a gardener who is looking to have a little color during summer. Go with potted plants instead. Besides, even at a dollar a fan, you're not really saving much money. For example, at the nursery our daylilies are sold in 3 gallon pots for $9 a pot. In an average pot, there can be 15 to 25 fans - sometimes more, except for the collector varieties, because they sell quicker than the plants grow. A full 3-gallon pot, can be divided into 3 fairly good sized plants...or more if you're willing to wait for the show. Continued, because I've run out of room..


nebraska dave
6/6/2010 11:52:45 PM

Lisa, The only thing about my girls is that I haven't found one single egg. You are right about the maintenance. No coop to scoop and no food to feed. However they are not too interesting to watch but they set a good runner for a table. I'm working on a Winter table runner set. All of what I have added to the original around the house finds have come from the thrift stores and haven't cost much. I have a friend that likes to go thrift store shopping so as she sorts through the clothes racks, I browse through the nick knacks. Tulips have been one of the things that I haven't had much trouble growing as you can see. I don't know that I did anything special other than planting in the fall. Make sure the flat side is down that's the root. The pointed side is up that is not the root. It's like that with most all bulbs. Keep trying. Tulips are one of my favorite Spring flowers. They don't last long enough for me but are still worth the effort. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope that all your flower growing efforts will be rewarded greatly this year.


lisa_8
6/6/2010 2:36:51 PM

I love tulips but I don't have much luck at growing them. That is the best flock of hens I have ever seen! They don't eat much and poop even less!


nebraska dave
6/5/2010 8:55:49 AM

Cindy, your two cents is worth about $2.00 in my experience. I always value your advice and in this case it’s worth much more than I paid. You are correct the quality day lilies are about $2.00 a fan. The dollar ones were off Ebay so that is kind of a crap shoot for sure. The reblooming ones are much more than that. Are they that much better than the regular ones? I have acquired some day lilies from a friend and found that they are really big and won’t really work where I want them. I not sure how there clumping nature would work among tulips and daffodils. The smaller Hostas are really doing well at bushing out this year so I really think I’ll just leave the Tulip and Daffodil area go dormant and let the Hostas put on their show in the fall. This is their third year and hopefully they will bloom this year. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the advice.


cindy murphy
6/4/2010 6:23:16 PM

Hi, Dave. I love your sense of humor. Your flock of chickens gave me a big smile. I was going to mention the plastic containers could have been recycled, but I see it's already been commented upon. Live and learn, eh....that's what life is all about. Can I chip in my two-cents on your daylily quest? The roots of daylilies are actually comprised of tubers and rhizomes. It's the top growth of the plant just above the ground that is the "fan". It looks very similar to your iris looks at the base of the foliage - just like a little fan. I'm assuming you're buying them bare root, and $1.00 per fan is really cheap...almost too cheap, in fact. Even wholesale, most fans cost upward of $2.00...unless they are very small fans, or ones of a less desirable variety. If you're mail ordering, the fan will come chopped off with only about 1 to 2 inches of foliage remaining. It probably won't flower the first year, or even the second, and most likely will look quite tiny and forlorn (almost pathetically so) in your garden. A suggestion would be to clump a number of fans together in a hole to make a fairly decent-sized plant, or purchase potted daylilies instead. Of course, it's just my opinion - I like instant gratification in the garden. And you know what they say about advice; it's free, and you get what you pay for. Everything's looking good on your urban ranch. Looking forward to see what's next.


nebraska dave
6/4/2010 5:29:40 PM

Shannon, Oh yeah Mason jars rule. They are way better than the plastic things that I removed from my cabinet. I kept just a few because my daughter just hasn’t got the hang of using the jars for left over containers yet. I am going to try to grow Pole Beans and Morning Glory up the trellis and over the top. I want the Pole Beans to climb up the eight foot sides of the trellis. The Morning Glory containers will be tied onto the sides near the top to spread their veracious growing vines all across the ten foot top of the trellis. Well, that’s my plan anyway. We will have to see what becomes of this vision of beauty. May all your gardening endeavors be even more successful that you expected for this year. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


nebraska dave
6/4/2010 5:28:17 PM

Jackie, Oh my gosh, I usually do recycle but didn’t even think about recycling all those plastic containers. In fact our city picks up the recyclable items once a week right from my curb. Shame shame on me. Thanks for the reminder to always be thinking about recycling. My face is red. I do get so focused on the task that I forget to see the big picture at times. You can bet that I won’t forget again. I hope you will stop by again and keep me straight on recycling. Thank you so much for your comment.


jackie_3
6/4/2010 2:05:12 PM

Ok I'm gasping for air here. You put all of those *plastic* containers in the TRASH?? Repeat after me....those really should have been recycled....those really should have been recycled..... Aside from that, I enjoyed your rainy day adventures. Good score on the blocks!


s.m.r. saia
6/4/2010 11:21:43 AM

Wow, N. Dave! You've been busy!! I have also discovered the wonders of the mason jar for saving food. Course then you end up with cupboards full of mason jars...what are you going to grow up that trellis????


nebraska dave
6/4/2010 8:39:23 AM

MW, you are up early, but then morning comes early on the farm. Thank you for stopping by and always leaving such nice comments. The perennial flowers, I believe, were glad to see the Winter over and bloomed gorgeously this year. I was surprised at how well they put on a show. I’m hoping that the garden does as well. We had a wind storm come through this week but everything survived. The potato plants were knocked down and don't look as wonderful as they did but I don't think it really hurt them. I have finally got my Poor Man’s Patio planted. This year there will be 24 containers of flowers placed around the wall. The containers are filled with mostly shade plants as the patio only gets a hour or two of sun. Syc (the Sycamore tree), Elmer (the elm tree), and CC (the Cedar tree) keep the patio shaded most of the day. It’s great for sitting and relaxing while drinking a cup of coffee. It’s a great way to start the day and to end the day. I have a small portion of the watering system operational, but it needs improvement. I have a lot to learn about low pressure water movement. It’s nothing like sprinkler systems. Gravity feed is all about water volume and not water pressure. Totally different from what I’m used to. It may take awhile but I’ll get it figured out. I’m lifting my coffee cup with you and here’s to a great day.


mountain woman
6/4/2010 6:03:19 AM

Nebraska Dave, A most wonderful adventure into your life as always. You are a man after my own heart willing to share photos of all your storage containers. Mountain Man is very particular about our storage containers, all glass, so I shall suggest to him the mason jar idea. I don't have any chickens either so I must entertain the idea of your kind of chickens. Your tulips are absolutely stunning. Whenever I see your pictures, I am reminded about how different the seasons are in other parts of the country and I'm glad to be able to share your beautiful blooms with you. I can't wait to read more about your watering system. Your creativity in finding solutions to problems is wonderful. Raising a cup of coffee to you this morning!


nebraska dave
6/4/2010 12:02:57 AM

Anna, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Ah yeah my handy work. Some of it works out and some don't but it's all about the challenge for me. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. The watering system is one of the projects I'm working on this year. I have a couple others when that one is completed. There are many blogs here at Grit that are interesting reading. Such a diverse group of bloggers hang out here. I think that you will really enjoy being a part of the community.


sweetmissdaisy_2
6/3/2010 4:02:56 PM

Thanks for the nice note, Dave! Was reading through your blog posts, and admiring all of your handy work. Your raised beds are grand! and your new patio - wow! Good to see you're keeping yourself extra busy around the house -- looking forward to reading more about your H2O collection tank progress, too! Thanks again for the welcome! :) -Anna.