Posts Tagged ‘spisblog’

Here’s another addition to the water-powered mill series.

This is the Mingus Mill, an 1886 cast iron water turbine mill located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cherokee, NC.

If you are interested in other water powered mills, covered bridges, historical timber frame buildings, barns, structures, or the like, please susbcribe to my YouTube Channel and this blog.

There will be plenty more coming…


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I just posted a three-part video I shot while visiting Mackinac State Historic Parks’ “Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park”, in Mackinaw City, MI, this past weekend.

I can write a book about it, but a video (or three) is worth a thousand words, or more.


Episode 1- Visual Overview of the Mill (inside and out)

Episode 2- Some area history and a demonstration of the mill in action

Episode 3- End of the demo and some insight from the sawyer

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I finally shot a video update of the container garden and posted it on YouTube.

I’ve been adding new containers almost weekly and plan to continue through the growing season.

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We have recently expanded our container garden to include some strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Last year I planted a couple of two-year-old blueberry plants, only to have them flounder through the summer and get nearly destroyed by winter-starved bunnies.   These both appear to have made it through the winter alive.  I’ve transplanted them into containers and will nurse them through this year.

I also had one surviving raspberry start we got from Burgess Nursery a couple years ago.  This start was a bare-root twig that didn’t do very well at our old extremely shaded house.

This past weekend we picked up some additions to the berry container garden.

We added a ten pack of ever-bearing Quinalt strawberries, a three pack of Mary Washington asparagus (which will go in one of our established landscape beds), and two very nice one gallon starts- another blueberry and an ever-bearing Rubus ‘Everbearing’ raspberry.

We found the blueberry and raspberry plants at Wal-Mart for $10 each!  They look extremely healthy and ready to go.  They must have just received the carts and didn’t even have them displayed.  In fact, the carts were full when I selected our stock.

For the strawberries, I used a  regular self-watering pot and an old nursery container with the bottom cut out, buried in the center.  This provides a nice two layer pot that should give the strawberries amply room to grow and hang down.  They are looking good considering how they looked when they came out of the $3.98 Home Depot package.

With  the warm weather forecast this week, they should have a good running start into spring…

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During the last few days the weather here in NE Indiana has begun to turn more “springlike”.  Sunny days with highs in the low forties and cold frosty nights.  The buds on the trees appear to be plumping right before my eyes and the boxwoods out front are showing signs of their spring growth.

As I sit here writing at 0730, I see the spring sun rising; filling the sky with it’s wonderful warm hues and casting its ever-progressing shadows over the landscape.  I’m sure this happens every day, but I seem to be more in tune with it this morning.  I just finished the Intro To Permaculture session 7 video (that I mention in the Permaculture post), which made me more aware of the movement of energy through and around the landscape.

It is with this in mind that I will make a conscience effort to monitor the landscape for solar tracking, shadows cast, microclimates, wildlife activity, etc.  These observations will help me to better adapt my plans for the weeks and months to come.

I am also planning, today, to create a map of the landscape and the energy flows around it.

Container Garden/ Seed start update-

After listening to the Self-Sufficient Homestead podcast– Episode 19 yesterday, which included a segment on indoor grow lights, I’ve adjusted the fridge-germinator to make it more efficient.  I’ve lined the walls with heavy-duty aluminum foil, added a 19w compact florescent bulb, and lowered the light rack to within four inches of the seed starter trays.   These minor changed made an immediate impact that was noticable this morning.

The nice thing about using the fridge is the ability to adjust the shelves as the seedling grow taller.  The shorter starts can be propped up on so they can be closer to the light source, instead of having to stretch, while the taller starts can be given all the room they need.

I started another 35 tp starter pots yesterday.  These are mostly herbs, maybe a dozen varieties, and a few flowers, including some Four O’ Clocks.

I’ve read that Four o’ Clocks are a natural pesticide for handling Japanese Beetles.  Supposedly, the Japanese Beetle loves them and will be drawn to them, but they are toxic for them, resulting in their immediate death.

I would much rather let the birds enjoy the free meal, than spread the chemical pesticides all over the landscape. 

As John Wayne would say ‘We’re burning daylight…’, with that said, it’s time for another cup of coffee and off to pleasure (I mean work).

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Birch Bed

Nearly Blank Landscape- Birch Bed

It’s amazing how wonderful a sunny evening and 42-degrees F feels after a long, cold, snowy winter.  As simple a task as cutting down some ornamental grasses was, it felt so incredibly relaxing and refreshing.

With my ever-expanding awareness of Permaculture and landscape design, I now view our landscape in a totally new light.  I’ve become more aware of the beautiful, living, breathing, evolving ecological canvas that it is.

I look around with wide eyes and an open mind, looking to see what exists; it’s characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, and possibilities.  I ask myself how we can help it help us fulfill our needs and wants.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’ve scrapped nearly all of my original plans- put this tree here, and that shrub there, etc. 

I am now viewing the nearly blank slate as the zones that will evolve in the months and years to come, how we wish to use each area, what we will do to make it the way we want and what it will return to us, what companion plants will complement the existing, established landscape elements, etc. 

As the sun sets, I move my focus to the seeds and sprouts that I am planting and closely monitoring- realizing that they are literally the seeds of this landscape’s future.

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