The many uses of a solarium.

I had always wanted a sun room or three season porch.  So when the realtor unlocked the front door to this place and we stepped into a solarium, I fell in love with it!Solarium

One of the first things Rod did was replace all 15 windows (two of which were cracked) with thermal pane glass.  Originally each window had two panes of glass with about a four inch gap between the panes.  This was a poor design as it allowed for leaks and bugs had gotten inside where they couldn’t be cleaned out.

view of 15 south facing windows

Solarium with 15 south facing windows

We’ve kept all of the unbroken glass and will be using it to build a green house/chicken coop for our Bantam Wyandottes (the garden chickens).

There are still many changes we intend on making to the solarium.  This fall we hope to replace the river rock and deck board with soap stone or patio block.  We also have plans for a utility sink and cabinetry since there is an existing hot and cold water faucet.  But those changes haven’t gotten in the way of it’s usefulness.

For instance . . .  it’s a great place to store firewood.Firewood storage

 We added four ceiling fans for air circulation.  This creates a nice gentle breeze, so the addition of a retractable cloths line and few hooks makes this a great place for drying clothes in the winter.  I also like that it cuts down on the electric bill. 🙂Inside clothes line

This is an excellent place for starting seeds.Solarium Seed Starting 2 Solarium Seed Starting 1I still need to work out a few kinks and learn patience – started them a bit too early again this year. 😉

  This spring we found another use for our solarium . . . brooding chicks!Solarium Brooder 2

My grandmother had a large three season porch where she would start her seeds, dry her shell beans and black walnuts, and sometimes take a little break by relaxing in her glider.  I now have that glider in our solarium and wonder what she would think of my “three season” room.Glider

Perennial edibles get an A+ in my book.

The land surrounding our house was so overgrown that we had no idea what we were going to uncover once we started to cut down the tall grass and weeds.prepurchase front field

Before Rod ventured in with the riding mower set to it’s highest cutting level, we did several walks through finding fencing, boards with nails, and all sorts of other hidden surprises.  During one of these walks a friend discovered seeded out asparagus.  We began searching through the tall grass and found an entire row of plants!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Who would have thought in amongst all that tall grass and weeds was such an edible delight!

Shortly after that day, Rod was mowing another overgrown area below the front of the house and found another nice patch of asparagus – YUM 🙂OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I see this find as a good omen.  Before we even started looking for land we made plans for the produce we would raise.  Establishing asparagus beds that would supply us and our customers was one of the first things on our list.  Our tasty discovery is supplying us nicely, but more is needed for our customers.Asparagus harvest

It’s been almost three years since we bought this place.  Much of that time has been dedicated to repairs and improvements on the house, work shop, and lots of poultry infrastructure.  This is the first year we’ve had the time to establish our gardens.  First plantings this spring are five rows of asparagus (310 plants) and six semi-dwarf apple trees.2014 view

Our first apple blossom. first apple blossoms

New little asparagus sprout.newest asp

We’ve also established a blueberry patch. blueberry patch

Our next “perennial edible” projects will be to expand on the raspberry hill (started with plants donated by my niece)raspberry hill and establish a small grape arbor in front of our solarium. Thanks goes out to our friend and fellow gardener Michael, for that last idea. 😉

 

 

Out of hibernation & into Spring cleaning . . .

 

Well Mother Nature is taking her own sweet time turning up the thermostat around here.  Although I’ll not complain too much, after all it was less than two weeks ago she dropped eight inches of snow on us.  As you can see from the picture, there is still a lot of snow to melt, and I don’t want to rush it . . . flooding is no fun! March snow 2

Since I can’t get started with outside clean up I will begin inside.  One of my many “when I retire” goals is to get my work room/studio organized.  The previous owners of this place had a hot tub (and the fridge!!) in the main entry area.AR4

One of the bedrooms was behind the tub and we felt this was an inefficient use of the space, so out came the tub and thus the beginnings of the “work room”.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the tub out and walls sheet rocked things are really taking shape!Workroom 11Now this feels like some space I can work in.work room reorgThere is still much to do.  I’m having a sink installed, there’s trim work to be done and a very good friend of mine, Kathy McCain, is making a custom stained glass for the top of the double french doors.  More pics to come in the future.