Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ma and Pa Kettle

Mom and Dad were constantly comparing themselves to this mysterious couple, Ma and Pa Kettle.  Over the years, by numerous example and reference, we kids got an idea of who they were and how they lived.  If Mom would build a duck pen out of salvaged, fence panels that she wired together strung up on re-purposed, kitchen doors, we understood that to be a Ma and Pa Kettle construction.  If Dad built a water tower from a horse tank and salvaged telephone poles, that was Ma and Pa Kettle.

Proudly, I built my own Ma and Pa Kettle cold frame yesterday! Morning picture below!
 The window is from our kitchen remodel that we changed out mostly for cosmetic reasons, but also for the insulation factor and a lock.  The concrete blocks came from Mom and Dad's place.  I painted them black several years ago and had them in the greenhouse soaking up rays, and they serve the same purpose they did in the greenhouse.  At night, the blocks are a source of stored heat.  The mulches, the garden fabric and the flattened cardboard box, are necessary because runner grass will thrive near the heat of the solar panel aka "old window."  

The garden fabric deserves special mention because this is on its third life.  It began as purchased material, dense and textured, that served as a mulch beside a row of tomato plants.  After a season, it had some weak places, some holes from cages, etc, so I doubled it over lengthwise to serve again.  It has crumbled down to nearly shreds, but folding it over yet again, I got enough to cover two sides.  The third side, the cardboard box, is from my hoard, which grew to epic proportions from the remodel.  I NEVER throw away a box!  They are much, much too useful. 

The growing bed under the window is a little lower than the surrounding area, and I shaped a bit of a slope on the sides to funnel rainwater.  The sides are open because if I closed them, I would literally COOK anything under the glass, especially with those black blocks as the back wall.  During extended periods of cold weather, I can close off the sides, naturally, but I don't anticipate much need for it.  In fact, I chose to plant spinach here for just that reason.  In our climate, the cold is seldom severe enough (especially under that glass panel) to outright kill spinach.

Nothing is attached with wires, screws, nails or hairpins.  I can easily disassemble it and adjust as needed in response to the weather, although I don't anticipate much fuss.  I tossed in the seeds, stirred them around and watered.  Now, I'll just wait and watch.  


nilraps said...

Phoebe Kettle reincarnated…………..very good job of re-use/recycling. Your parents would be proud. :)

Morning Angel said...

Thanks, David! I am positive that, if my mom or dad saw it, they would be sure to mention Ma and Pa Kettle. They always did!

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