Monthly Archives: October 2013

What a long strange trip it’s been

I keep waiting for the slow down.  It isn’t happening.  I had one day this past week when I had finished canning my apples and I couldn’t figure out what to do with myself.  I had been juggling so many things that when my biggest ball was gone it didn’t feel like I was doing anything anymore.  It has been so long I am not sure how to start writing again.  So this is going to be picture heavy to maybe make up for three weeks of no words.  

So canning is mostly done.  Or at least the huge bulk of it.  The final count was 260 pints and 143 quarts.  That is a lot.  I would say at least double what I got done last year.  Hopefully next year I double those numbers.  I will be canning some meat in a couple of weeks.  Nice to have some quick meals ready.  But yeah, veggies and fruit are done.

 

Now onto wood shed/cistern/root cellar.  It is mostly done now.  I wish I had some pictures of what it looks like underneath.  Basically we have four 275 gallon tanks down there with a small space that will be a shelter and a place to store some foods.  There is a hatch that goes down there.  Then there is the shed on top.  We hope to fill it halfway with wood, the rest will be used for some tool storage.  The huge overhang on the side will also be for wood storage.  The girls and I moved all that wood last weekend and broke the smaller pieces up.  It was a fun filled, splinter filled day! All that wood is stuff we get from free from a local cabinet maker.  We have a lot of wood that needs to be split too.  Plus our ash down at the bottoms that we need split up also.  I figure with the way we go through wood that is at least a few years worth.  With how well our house does with solar gain, on a sunny day we reach 70 easy.  Not to mention that 60 doesn’t feel so bad for us.  We are accumulating pretty well to the temperatures and not living in a very climate controlled living space.

 

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Next I will tell you about the poultry fiasco.  It was probably almost a month ago.  We were going to work on getting the poultry in with stock, you know to clean up poop and such.  It went alright.  Not really.  The chickens couldn’t figure out that even though the doors were open on their coops they could really get out.  Once they figured that out they also decided to torture themselves by walking repeatedly through the electro net around stock.  Sigh.  You could tell it wasn’t a great experience but still they did it, in and out in and out.  Maybe they did like it.  So all of our poultry was out but it wasn’t a huge deal.  They stayed pretty close, they were laying in their coops.  It was all fine, until it wasn’t.  Then they ate all my chard, kale and broccoli.  Then they started going after the strawberries we just planted and the peppers and tomatoes.  Then they started laying in some mysterious place that even though they never left the farm, I am pretty sure that their eggs are no where on this farm.  We know they are still laying because every so often like three times in the past couple of weeks we will find 6 or so eggs.  They are still laying just not in places we can see.  Still it is cute to go outside and see all the chickens scratching happily.  I just wish they were scratching up all my mulch.  SIgh

 

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The muscovey clan.

And their handsome drake…

 

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I am working my way down our land so this may not make a whole lot of sense to you and may seem jumpy but I am going by the order I took pictures 🙂

The stock is doing well.  We have been grazing them where they have never been grazed before.  No really.  We are grazing our north back hill.  Which is actually really hard.  The thatch on the ground in a foot thick in places even though we have mowed it twice.  The grass/weeds/things come up over my shoulders.  Agrimony is all over down there which means that after each move I spend a good hour picking burrs off my cloths.  This is why my hair is short.  Still they are doing lots of good things down there and seem really happy.  We hope to graze that back hill at least twice a year.  Hopefully with that the thatch will become more manageable. 

This is a picture of where we just took them off of.  You can see that there are still sticks of weeds up all over, but we hope to mow it all down before winter comes.  That and all the poop and such will help get decomposing going on and hopefully we will start to build up a little organic matter.   This is the hill we have been working on replanting/reforesting.  

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This is where we have them now.  They have a lot of space right now.  From the top of the hill to almost the creek.

 

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And yes fall is here.  It was about  a week ago I started to see the trees start to change color.  There was a picture I wanted to take, but never got around to.  My view as I milk each morning and night.  I get to see our woods light up with color twice  a day.  Maybe I will actually remember my camera when I go milk next time.  Maybe.  

Before I got east down our hill let me take you to some exciting news….

 

THE TENT IS DOWN!!!!

Yes truly.  It was taken down two weeks ago?  There is still a huge mess around it as we get rid of or find places for things that were sheltered by it.  But the tent is down.  I find myself just looking out our windows now we have such a nice view…

well once we get rid of all the stuff lying around we will.

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And now I will take you down the hill and make a quick stop to show that even though we have had a light frost the tomatoes and other things that haven’t been eaten to the ground by the poultry are still going strong…

 

 

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Now onto the piggies.  I had a lot of fun taking pictures of them.  See I told you about the poultry fiasco.  There is a slight piggie fiasco also.  I never thought I would say that the goats have been the most well behaved of my animals lately…  Anyway the mommas are doing well.  The little pigs though?  They can get out of their fence.  Actually that is why we took down the dividing wall between the two sows the babies kept going back and forth anyway.  The sows would nurse all the piggies and then the other sow would call them over and nurse them too.  The sows got along well so we just let them go. We thought that since the piggies would always go back to nurse well there wasn’t much harm in letting them go.  They weren’t going far.  And there were many more crisis crazy things going on that needed to get done.  So we never fixed the fence to make it so they couldn’t get out.  Which leads to funny things like piggies daring each other to get close the milk goats that are waiting to be milked.  They sneak up quietly to the goats and the goat will look at them and they all run away.  They have made it all the way up to the driveway.  They are almost weaned and then we will be trying to put them in stock.  The sows have a date with the butcher.  So do four of our lambs.  Then we will have meat in the freezer again!! Yay!!

So onto cute piggie pictures.  By the way these piggies were out of the fence.  They would come up to me sniff me and then run off again.  Super cute they are with their little noses sniffing me.  

 

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Last big news is our poultry containment plan.  We have tried so many coops.  I have yet to be happy with something though.  Hopefully this is the last maybe poultry house we build.  It is modeled after an egg mobile.  I totally hate Joel Salatin he is an ass.  Oh he has good ideas and such but I don’t care for the guy as a person. 

Anyway this is a big house for them on running gear.  It will have to be pulled by the tractor or the truck but oh well right?  I will try to explain some of the features…
The southside which is currently on your left will be many windows.  In the summer it will be able to be open for breeze in the winter they will have light and solar gain.  On the opposite wall there will be nest boxes that will be accessible from the outside and lower to the ground for minions to be able to collect eggs.  The side farthest away is where the rain water collected from the roof will go into 55 gallon barrels that will be stored inside.  There will be a waterer for them on that side.  Also there will be a 55 gallon barrel for feed and a feeder.  There will be a hinged roost so that we can clean out the coop easier.  

Hopefully it gets done soon.  I would like to have eggs again and maybe greens.  We will probably put up some fencing around it so they will stop eating out of our garden soon.  
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So that is all for right now.  It has been crazy and I have probably left out so many things.  But I have to let that go because, well I can’t write about three weeks.  Sorry.  I will try to be better 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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