right now

right now

Apr 6, 2010

Making hay while the sun shines!

Last Thursday hubby's boat pulled in and we have been busy ever since! Our weather has been fantastic, so we were able to get so much accomplished this past weekend and it looks to be a productive week ahead since he is on leave and will be home all week.

Finnegan waiting for Daddy to get off the ship (his boat is the USS Truman in the background) so we can go home and enjoy the weather!
(Nice trash in the pic, huh?!)

We had a nice surprise waiting for him when we got him back: a set of 5 gal kegs, CO2 system, and the makings of his homemade kegerator! He has been wanting to build one of these for awhile, and I must admit it makes homebrew bottling day go by much quicker than sanitizing, filling and capping all those little individual bottles! It keeps indefinitely in the keg, so I don't have to worry about using it up quickly, which was one of my concerns. Even though we love brewing beer, we aren't the kind of drinkers that drink every evening, so it was a must that it wouldn't go bad! It is awesome for entertaining, though!

Here he is taking the top of and dismantling a perfectly good fridge

These are the components: recycled 5 gal Cornelius soda kegs, co2 bottle, regulator

This was me figuring out how the CO2 works before he got home - don't know what I would have done without that laptop and the homebrewing websites!

It all fits in the fridge!

By Friday evening we had a 2-Draft tower keg!

He finished it just in time for our Homebrewing/Homesteading Skills demonstration on Saturday night. We hosted a Disaster Prep group for an evening of Homebrewing "how-to" and it was a great time! We met some really great people, and shared our love of a skill that is important to "social survival" as I call it. A diverse group that includes everyone from die-hard survivalists to people like us who simply want to live as self sufficiently as possible and whose future plans include homesteading on their own piece of land. Everyone in the group brings a bit of knowledge and skill about different areas which made for an evening of lively conversation and a good time meeting new friends. We definitely hope to see more of the group!

Here is the finished batch of Double IPA from the Homebrew Skills evening. It will be fermenting and dry-hopping for the next couple of weeks and then we will keg it and store it for another few weeks until it is aged and ready to enjoy!

We did manage to find time (I don't know how!) for the kids to dye some Easter Eggs. I forgot how smelly this project is, yuck!

Most of my seedlings are hardened off now and will be going into the garden today! Below are all of them, in their various stages. The perennials, herbs and flowers are growing slowly but steadily, but the top row of tomatoes is ready to be in their new homes. I am going to go ahead and plant them today, fingers crossed! I do have a backup, however, there is another generation of tomatoes and peppers that are about 3 weeks younger than these, so if they get stunted I can replace them, but I am hoping for success. Daytime temps here are in the 80's, and nighttime temps in the 57-62 range. They did well overnight on their rack outside, so I can only assume being planted permanently will actually be gentler on their roots and better for keeping even temps.

Close up of 1st generation of tomatoes. Brandywine, True Black Brandywine, Paul Robeson, Vorlon, Yellow Pear and the Hand-me-down unidentified Polish are the Heirlooms, and the hybrids include an Orange Wellington and 4th of July Hybrid. I had bad germination on my Red Zebra, so Baker Creek Co. offered to replace them and those will be going in with the next generation of seedlings that I am raising for the Master Gardener Plant Sale in May. Kudos to Baker Creek customer service, I am very pleased!

Off to enjoy another day of very warm (hot even, 88 forecast!) temps and working in the yard. We have been given yet another date for hubby to leave for his 8 month deployment, and it gives us roughly one month left at home, so we get as much done as possible before then! He also got my much anticipated hammock up, so I will try and get some pics of that today as well as what the garden is looking like in general! Now, if I could just find some time to actually lay in the hammock...


  1. My goodness - you have certainly been productive!! Your seedlings are looking wonderful, and I am green with envy. I'll transplant and start hardening off my tomatoes this week as well. Today we're expecting temps to hit 90. What happened to spring??

  2. I'm pretty sure we would have been part of the gaggle of nerds in school. lol

    All joking aside, I think you're pretty damn smart and productive. Way to go Erin. :)

  3. I can't believe your temps. You certainly should be good to go on the planting. Our night time temps just can't seem to get out of the thirties, and days aren't much better...lucky if we hit 60. The only seedlings I dare set outside during the day are the brassicas and lettuce.

  4. Doesn't it seem like it was just a week or so ago that you were battling foot after foot of snow? How does it change so quickly?

    We're still in dreary, cold when's-it-ever-gonna-be-spring time. Frost forecast for tonight again.

    Seems like you've been packing an awful lot into your days lately. You're gonna need a rest in that hammock if you don't slow down. You continue to put the rest of us to shame. You go, girl!

  5. I love the new addition to the brewing establishment. My yellow pear seeds never worked either, and the odd thing is I can't even find any transplants of them in the stores this year. I will be so sad if I can't grow those.

    Look at your brandywine tomato up there! Mine are doing the same and outgrowing everything around them.

  6. Ribbit, those Brandywine seeds are 4 years old too! I can always count on them for germination. It ended up being 91 yesterday - no kidding, MamaPea, what happened to spring? My peas and carrots really want to know!

  7. Erin -- I've got a serious question for you. How have you manage to find those extra 12 hours in a day?! You are one productive lady!!!! Your seedlings look gorgeous (yes, there's that zone envy creeping in again!) and while I'm not a big beer drinker, I think your homebrewing system is awesome. Well done!

  8. Fiona, I never have enough time! Especially to do things that I WANT to do, like knitting, reading, and just organizing in general - it always feels like I am playing catch up! Maybe I just am really good at looking busy, LOL! I definitely go through spurts where I am getting nothing done, and times where the energy is there - I call it my manic-depressive homestead :) When my husband leaves on deployment to the Middle East next month I am sure that I will get more done for "just me" since there is more daylight and we also killed the cable TV so it is quieter and more productive, and he won't be here to distract me with odd projects, LOL!