Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ebay Addiction

Ok, I need to stay away from ebay. I bought some shampoo ginger tubers about a week ago but then had to have the person hold the shipment because I realized 'duh, I might not be here when it gets shipped'. I bought them because I used to have some but they died in the arctic winter we had last year. But I loved the plants and little flower spikes so I decided to replace them with these. Then last night I saw the camera I wanted and bought it. Should get here some time next week. Then just now I ordered some moringa seeds. If you don't know what moringa is, go look it up. Very nutrient dense plant. But that's it. I'm not buying anything else until we get into the house......... Oh, look at that.

Talking About the Property and My Plans

So we sent a bunch of stuff to the lender today so he can get our mortgage loan started. (squeeeeeel!) Won't be much longer now and we'll be getting into the nitty gritty of things here. Like the land being surveyed, etc. Speaking of the land, I thought I would post some pics of it here. They're not the best pics since they're just screenshots from google maps. But next time we're at the property I'll be sure to get actual pics. If you're extra good, I might even get video.

This is the overhead of the property. Nothing has been done to this land except it's been cleared. I.E, no trees. Our property is from the road all the way almost to the pond. The pond isn't ours. But you never know what the future might bring. The trees on either side of the property are as far as it goes in those directions. The big line going through the property is a runoff from the pond. Some people might see that as a bad thing. I see it as a decorative water feature.

This is a street view image. It's taken from the road and right about in front of were the runoff meets the road.

Um, I think that's all I can say about it now until the building and such starts. I got some Christmas money from my parents and inlaws. I'll be saving that for an IBC tote, some 55 gallon plastic drums and some soil. So my aquaponics project will be getting off to a quick start once we move in. 

I also want to build some raised beds but soil might get expensive quick. So I'm thinking of filling them with free horse manure and just planting straight into it. A friend of mine does that and she's had horses almost her whole life so I trust her opinion. I can always mix in a couple bags of cheap garden soil if things don't seem to be going well.

I'm kind of torn about if I want to buy the IBC tote right away or not. There's a camera I'd really like to get that's about the same price. It's got HD video, it's waterproof(fishy cam anyone?) and you can stream over wifi. The only thing I don't like is that the audio isn't the best. But from what I've on youtube, it's best to record the audio separately anyway.  Especially if you're not going to be close to the camera the whole time.

Do I NEED this camera right now? No. Will I be able to do some really neat things in the future with it? Hell yeah! But the question of, is the IBC tote more important or is the camera? I can use the camera now for videos and pics. But I still have my tablet and regular camera that I can do those with. So the IBC tote might be better for my aquaponics. But then again, I can get by just fine by using the 55 gallon barrels to start out with.

What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below or comment on my google plus page. Nevermind. I found the camera on ebay for a pretty good price so I went ahead and got it. And it will leave me plenty of money to get several of those 55 gallon barrels. I'm a sucker for plants and animals. But I'm also a sucker for gadgets.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Indoor Greens Container Update

So here are the results so far of my indoor greens container.

Things are growing. At first I didn't put in the aluminum foil because I wanted to see if it would work without it. But, as you can see, things got leggy. They improved when I put in the foil so, yes, you definitely do need the foil in this project.

As you can see below, some of the leaves have gotten singed. That is because I had the lights hanging straight down and the leaves touched them. Even though cfl bulbs don't get hot like regular incandescent bulbs, they are still too hot to touch with hands or leaves.

So I've changed the bulbs to a horizontal orientation.

 Since this brings the bulbs just a little farther away from the bulbs, I've put aluminum foil on the underside of the lid to direct as much light back down to the plants as possible. I didn't take a picture of that though.

Early on I also noticed that the plants seemed a little limp even though they had plenty of water. I don't know if that was because of extra heat being held in by the lid (it's not air tight but it does snap on at each end where the handles are) or if they weren't getting enough air current or just air itself. So I drilled some holes in the top for ventilation. This seemed to solve that problem as the leaves perked up pretty well.

My next step is to either harvest all the plants I've got in there now and start over, or just harvest the most leggy ones and leave anything that looks ok. So far the pac choi (bottom right in the top picture) seems to be doing the best. But I put in the foil shortly after they sprouted. So that might be why. The red russian kale is the most leggy because it sprouted first and was my indicator that I needed more light. There are a couple spinach sprouts but they're kind of small and weak looking. I think the seeds were a little old. But I'll try them again in case it was because of the lights or ventilation.

I also plan on starting some purslane in here. I think these conditions will be just about right for them. Not yet sure what else I want to try. I'll have to look through my seed stash. But if anybody has any ideas or suggestions. Bring 'em on! I'm always open to suggestions and ideas. The sharing of ideas is one of the best ways we expand our knowledge and learn new things.

Friday, December 19, 2014

We're Going for It!

So they called us back and said they could give us a loan for most, but not all, of the down payment. That works for me! Gets us a lot closer than we are right now. But since hubby was at work, he wasn't able to call them back today. But tomorrow, tomorrow is a new day! Can you tell I'm excited? Then as soon as we have that money in the bank account, we'll call the lender and tell him so he can get the loan started. Then we'll call the builder so they can get the house started. 6.32 acres! Here I come!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Big News!....... Maybe

So I can't keep quiet any longer. I've got to say it. The big news I mentioned before. The still only POSSIBLE big news. But big news none the less.

For the past month or so we've been looking into getting a modular house built. Not a very big house. 4 bedroom/2 bath. 1600sqft in total. I say looking into because we're still working on getting the mortgage loan and until that happens, nothing's been built yet. The only thing that's holding the mortgage back is the down payment. We would need about $6,000. But we have nothing saved up. Hard to save when you have bills to pay. But according to the lender, North Carolina has a thing that helps you specifically with the down payment. Only trouble with that is that you have to have a credit score of 640 or higher. Hubby's credit score is almost there so we need something that will push us up just that little bit. So we've got some credit cards we're trying to pay down that have gotten a bit more than 50% full. Seems that under 30% is a lot better place to be. And doing that would cost us a lot less than trying to save $6,000. (I actually wrote this post yesterday but we also applied for a personal loan at our credit union today. They said we should know by tomorrow if we're approved.)

We're really excited but since we don't yet have the mortgage loan, we're still trying to stay realistic that it could possibly fall through. One of the things we're excited about most is that this will be a brand new house. Not something used and abused by somebody else. It will only get abused by us and us alone. It's like buying a used car. You never know how the previous owner treated it or what problems it might have. It's brand new! Even the septic and well will be new.

We have already been back to the dealer's and picked out all the colors and such. I say colors loosely though. We ended up picking out a lot of greys. Light grey siding on the house, black shutters, black roof (more like dark grey). Grey laminate wood flooring in the main rooms, light grey carpet in the bedrooms, beige paint on the walls(this is actually standard but we can always repaint later if we want), dark wood cabinets in the kitchen, beige counter tops and back splash. I think that's pretty much everything. Walls, floors, kitchen, outside.

We actually like the grey and beige combination. But I realized the other day that we may occasionally have difficulty finding cat. The thing I'm holding is a sample of the wood laminate flooring we picked out.

There will also be a fireplace in the den. That's where we'll probably spend most of our time. I love a wood fireplace and have always wanted a house with one. So there we go. We also opted for the kitchen upgrade that gets us all black kitchen appliance. Big fridge, dishwasher, glass top stove, microwave above the stove. I think the standard kitchen was just a basic off white fridge and coil burner stove. Off white appliances wouldn't have gone well with the dark cabinets.

Even though I'm really excited about the house, the cherry on top for me is that we found a 6.32 acre piece of land for a really really good price. I will finally be able to have the mini farm I've wanted for years. I will finally be able to provide healthy, unprocessed food for my family by growing a big garden and raising livestock. We've already been to the property a couple times. Once to make sure we liked it, then with their contractor to discuss placement of the house and such. I didn't want to leave. I think the next time will be after we get the loan and we go look at it again with a property appraiser so he can mark the exact layout of the property and other such things.

The only other possible problem is that our lease is up here at the end of March. So we need to get this loan quick so they can start building the house. They can have the house built in a month. But getting the foundation wall put in and actually placing the house and such could be held up if the weather starts to get bad. Like snow and ice bad. They can't dig a place for the foundation or put in the septic and well if the ground is frozen. So far this winter has been really mild so hopefully that holds out. If all goes to plan, they should have the house placed in plenty of time. But since there are still lots of things that can go awry, we're still nervous.

We've already spoken with the landlords here and they said they would work with us if the house wasn't done on time. The details of 'working with us' aren't ironed out, but at least we know we're not going to be kicked out if we don't renew our lease.

Anyway, that's pretty much it. I'll post again once we know if we got the loan or not. Cross your fingers, toes and eyes for us. Or maybe not. Fingers and toes can get cramped and crossing your eyes isn't supposed to be good for them. Instead, wish us luck and keep us in your prayers.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Air Lift Pump for Aquaponics

I keep forgetting to post this here. My mind is all over the place lately. Working on garden type stuff, learning the new sensor for my daughter's insulin pump, trying to get a mortgage for the house..... Oops, did I say that last part? Maybe I did. But I'll hold off on the details until we're sure we can get the mortgage. But here's the video I recorded the other day about my air lift pump I made for my future aquaponics idea.