Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pouring the Foundation

It was impressive watching the foundation guys build some cusom forms in order to work around the existing stone foundation of the old garage.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Who Dat?

I found this little guy on the celery this morning.  Looking it up,  I identified him as the caterpilar of the Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly. Evidently, they are more often found on members of the parsley family, or wild carrots, such as Queen Anne's Lace. Maybe this one was just a little confused.  

This photo came from www.kuse.medford.k12.wi.us

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Goodbye George

I finally finished with the paint in the TV room, also called the "George Washington room".  This is because when we bought the house, this room had very old wallpaper, stained and falling off from previous water damage. The sellers had started removing the old wallpaper on one wall.  And under that wallpaper was maybe original paint, and the old plaster walls had been patched where cracks, etc. had been. One of those patches looked exactly like the classic profile of George Washington ;  you know, the one  in the portrait that you see all the time.
good ol' George

Can you see George above the TV?

its sort of like seeing the image of the Virgin Mary in your grilled cheese sandwich. We hated to have to paint over it.  We would have friends over, and just point to the wall, and say, "notice anything?"... and they would say, "You mean George Washington?"  So,  it was with just a little bit of sadness that we finally re-painted and said goodbye to George.
Well, not THAT much sadness.... gosh, this room has looked so awful, and took a ton of work to even get it ready to paint.  It has been a mix of a couple of colors of old paint, chipped, cracked walls and ceiling, stained, peeling wallpaper, and a few splotches of exploratory colors the previous owners had tried in a few places.  

I keep telling myself that we need to take "before" photos, so the "after" is more impressive.  But, I never remember to do that.
So, here is  the "after" at least.

Friday, June 26, 2015

House Painting

We are finally getting the house painted.  I was not a big fan of the yellow, even though it is a traditional color for a farmhouse of this vintage.  We had originally planned to paint all the trim an off white, but after tallying up just HOW MUCH trim there is, we decided that white looks just fine!  it just needs touching up in a few places.

The new color!

Steve does the high ladder work, I do the ground level work.
Who will do the middle?
The old Chicken Coop is also getting   facelift.   

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Barn Foundation

The concrete guy came today, and in about three hours flat, set up the forms for the concrete frost wall for the barn. They poure three sides of it. 

yes, of course the geese were over-seeing the whole project.

forms in place

pouring concrete

they just make me laugh

I discovered the fence makes  dandy clothesline

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer Solstice

Finally summer is officially here. of course Steve reminded me that this means the days begin getting shorter now, but I prefer to just be happy that everything is green and growing.

they are saying "welcome summer" and "happy Father's Day"

celery is looking nice

two kinds of kale

the romaines are still wet from the rain we had earlier today.

the sweet peppers, interplanted with carrots 

tomatoes with rows of carrots also. I stick carrots everywhere there is space.

onions. will i have enough?

view from the front yard

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Rotating Chicken Pasture

Today i rotated the chicken pasture.  Because of the barn construction, we have to leave the coop and fence out of the way of the big machinery, so they are staying on this side of the driveway area.  that just means we cant move them quite as often as we might otherwise.  

the whole reason to rotate the pasture is to have a fresh source of natural forage for them.   Left too long in one spot, they will scratch up the ground to bare dirt in short order. By moving the fence to new areas, they have access to bugs, grass, weeds, seeds, etc.  All that makes them healthier, and the eggs tastier and more nutritious.   

enjoying the new forage.  

You can see where the fence used to be.

we did not move the coop this time, so the area immediately around the entrance sort of gets sacrificed .  i will re-seed it with a good forage crop like buckwheat  once we move the coop.

This is so much healthier for them than a  bare dirt run, and if they are healthier, then their eggs are too.  I have neighbors comment, that  the yolk of our eggs are so dark. orange, and denser than store  bought ones, even the organic, so called :cage free: varieties.  It is all diet.  This fresh forage is what makes the diffrence.

i hope they are finding and eating all the ticks!

not chicken related.  I dont know what these flowers are, but they are pretty. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Harvesting and Washing Garden Greensa

If you have ever grown lettuce or other greens in your garden, or gotten them from a farmers market, then you know that eating fresh greens full of sand or grit is not a very fun experience.  So here is how I wash our greens to hopefully avoid the occasional bit of dirt that might show up in a salad.

First of all, as much as possible, I use a straw mulch under all  greens. this includes, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, cilantro and parsely, turnip or beet greens, too.  The straw keeps most of the dirt from splashing up on the leaves in the first place.  

Then, I harvest when they are ready.  I might snip them leaf by leaf, or cut the whole plant for something like cilantro or head lettuce.

Then, the harvest gets brought inside for washing.     

The best way I have found is to take a large bowl, fill it with cold water, and place enough of the greens to be under water, so you can swish them around.  Handle tender greens gently, but move them around in the bowl of water to loosen any dirt.  Let the water settle for about a minute, then carefully take the greens out and lay them on a dry towel or paper towel.  you should see debris or sand in the bottom of the bowl. Toss that water, rinse the bowl, and repeat this process until there is no more grit coming off the leaves.  I usually wash three times. This works better than trying to rinse the leaves under running water. Dont ask me, it just does.

Once they are rinsed, use a salad spinner to dry them. I am  not big on kitchen gadgets, but a good salad spinner will really get the excess water of your greens.  And moisture will cause them to deteriorate faster in your frig, so the drier you can get them the better.  

Then, put the leaves in your container of choice, a ziplock bag, or plastic tub, whatever. 

One more thing,  add a paper towel in the container, to absorb any additional moisture, and your greens will stay nice and fresh longer.
the morning harvest, spinach, kale, and leaf lettuce

leaf lettuce after rinsing

A paper towel in the bag of spinach helps keep them dry and fresh.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Water to the Barn

the water line was dug to bring water out to the new barn.  First, the water line from the house had to be located and then dug up.  it was almost seven feet down!

the ditch was dug from the water line to the new barn location.

The water line is run in the ditch.

the geese made sure everything was done correctly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Little Goat Mowing

This morning I took the goat brothers out to fill their little bellies with wild raspberry canes, their favorite.  

  While the backhoe was working on the foundation for the new barn, our neighbor was working  on fixing some rot on the foundation of the house.
There isnt a whole lot holding up this corner at the moment!

Monday, June 15, 2015

There Goes the Shed!

Today began the demolition of the old shed.  It has stood for close to 100 years.   

 It didnt take long at all.
There was one tricky moment when Tom, the backhoe operator was pulling the roof down.  It shook the garage so much the chimney rocked back and forth,  but in the end, they got it down.

The dogs mostly just barked at the whole thing
 The chickens all ran from end of the pen to the other
The goats watched from the safety of their shed.
The geese just watched.  Once I sat down to watch, they came over and nibbled at my clothes.  That is their way of showing affection.

He especially likes my jacket zipper pull.

The shed is gone.Next will be the old stone foundation.

Then my camera battery died.  More tomorrow!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Pasture Tour

I thought I would take a walk down to the orchard and let you see things from that side of the farm.  With my bad knee, its hard to get down there very often, but I wanted to check on the apple trees.

First I took a quick look up at the phoebe nest. These babies are almost ready to fledge. I wouldnt be surprised if they are gone by tomorrow. I am glad the demolition of the old shed was delayed a bit.

A newly mown pasture is a pretty sight.

I pass by one of the old apple trees. It is absolutely LOADED with apples! Problem is, they are all way up about 20 feet off the ground!

Just beyond the apple tree is one big thicket of woods.  This is where the goats will really come in handy.

Now I am down at the bottom.  These are the two very large, old apple trees.  They are also loaded with fruit.  More mowing has to be done down here.

Here is our little orchard .  There are the two good sized pear trees and the newly planted apples I put in early this spring. But will we have fruit?

We do!  Two of the newly planted trees have set fruit.  This is great to see.

I check the pear trees.  There are pears!  One tree has quite a few, the other not so many.

Something is already helping itself to some of the tiny fruit. Deer have also nipped a few of the lower branches. I hope they wont become a real problem.

This is where I am, down at the bottom of the hill, looking up at the house. The chicken tractor is barely visible at the top.

Headed back around now.  This is that thick piece of woods behind the old chicken coop.  The very productive apple tree is that one on the far right.

Just some wildflowers. Did you ever notice that Mother Nature doesnt have bare ground? There are plants to fill every niche, whether it be forest, meadow, wetlands, or the edges between these different ecosystems.

There is a flicker nest inside that hole in this dead tree. We see mom coming and going.

Almost back up the hill, coming up behind the old coop.

When you are a goose, you can just lounge is your swimming pool all day.