Saturday, February 12, 2011

Banjo playin’

In an earlier post, I shared with everyone my new endeavor: learning to play the banjo. I’m having a lot of fun with it, and have learned quite a bit already. I’ve only begun, of course, but I thought I’d make good on my promise to share some of my progress with you.

The following is a video I recorded earlier today of me playing Wildwood Flower. While it was so cold on Thursday, I spent a few hours learning how to play the tune and have continued to work on refining my playing of it yesterday and this morning. It’s not perfect, I know, but I’m happy with it for now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Root cellar and garden/storage crates

If you didn’t know, we’re building a house. I don’t mean that we’re paying someone to build a house for us. We’re building it. Well, I’m doing most of the work, but I accept help from friends and family.

Anyway, one of the things we designed into our home (and, yes, we designed the house ourselves) is a root cellar. At one point in the process, I was going to build a root cellar separate from the house using the methods described by Mike Oehler in The $50 & Up Underground House Book. I still like his method (years ago after reading the book, we thought about building an underground house like he describes), and may use it for some structure sometime in the future. If you want to build a fairly inexpensive root cellar, you ought to check out this method.

We changed our plans for the house more than once (it’s been a developmental process, and it’s only gotten better with each change we’ve made to our plans). One of those changes was to make the root cellar under part of the house with access to it from the house. 024So, I dug a hole with the use of a friend’s backhoe and constructed a root cellar. You can read about how I built it here.

We haven’t gotten to use the root cellar yet, though. We haven’t gotten to live in our house yet either, but we’re getting closer all the time. 031In fact, just this week I built the stairs to the root cellar

The root cellar has two rooms, a larger one and a smaller one. The larger one is about 8’x13’. The smaller one is about 8’x 8’. I still have to insulate in the ceiling and install the exhaust vents in each room. Then, there will be 026shelves and bins to build, but I’m looking forward to being able to store some food in it next fall and winter. Hopefully, if all goes well, we’ll also be living in our new house by then.

Earlier this week, I bought some storage crates to use in the garden and root cellar. 025I saw them advertised on Craigslist late last week. They are really very nice. They measure 24” x 16” by 8.25”, and if filled up to the handles, they hold one bushel (based upon my calculations of volume). They are very sturdy and stack nicely. I think they will be very handy. You can buy them new from a few places, but they’re expensive. I’m glad to say I paid well less than retail price for them.

I move them into the root cellar yesterday after I finished the steps. So, they are now waiting for the coming harvest season and the christening of our new root cellar. In the meantime, we have more snow (it won’t last long, though).


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