Friday, November 07, 2008

fall

fall is here. there are heaps of leaves in the yard. i plan to borrow a leaf blower and burn as many as possible in the garden--maybe tomorrow. we don't own a leaf blower because i'd only use it every few years. this year i need to scorched-earth the garden. then i'll plant some winter wheat-rye as a cover crop.

tabitha and the kids have contracted some evil illness from visiting the doctor. isn't the doctor supposed to make you better not make you sick? they just went in to check if any of them might have any small issues. now they are all sick. sheez

i'm barely holding my own from the evil that has descended on our little abode. i hope the astragalas tincture holds until i can replenish.

the weather has turned cold. i have a cozy fire in the wood stove. i have the better part of cord of wood that is extra and won't store easily until next year. i might try to sell some of it. i was thinking i'd have my *hillbilly-hot-tub working by now and would need the extra wood to heat it.

our stupid pullets still aren't laying yet. i think they are about two weeks overdue. they look really healthy. they eat fairly well. we let them free-range and feed them a few scoops for whole corn each day. they also get every undigested kernel of grain from the cows manure. i just don't get it. maybe they are holding out for a new chicken coop? well i've got news for them they'd better not hold their breath too long. there is a culling scheduled fairly soon. i might have to make a few examples.

luna has been gone for a few days now and things are still off kilter. henry needs a little extra attention. i'm sure he misses her.

the cows are doing fine. nimue is playing the role of nurse cow and feeding both phoenix and jocelyn. tabitha has resigned to only milk rory for now. she tried to milk nimue the other week and it was a miserable failure. rory is such a superior cow to milk that it only highlights the difficulty with nimue.

the pigs are growing like crazy on the surplus whey and milk. they have pig feed in front of them at all times and have only eaten 75 pounds. they are really large easily forty pounds each maybe as much as sixty. they are getting friendlier but not enough to measure them yet.

we are seriously considering farrowing hogs in the near future. there is a small market for weaned pig. i'm sure we could raise some for sale too. all this means that i'll be doing a bit more fencing this winter.

the bees are cozied in for the winter. the next warm day i have to do a final visit before the real cold sets in.

tabitha was taking a nap so toly and i walked the property line and sprayed the perimeter trees with purple paint--no hunting. for them.


* hillbilly-hot-tub is an old cast iron bath tub with a fire built under it. i love a good soak under the stars.

7 comments:

pablo said...

Nice update. I was wondering about the bees.

I hope your pile gets well. I remember those days with my gang.

Beth said...

Sorry everybody is feeling yucky. I hope it passes quickly. I"m so sorry about Luna. The death of an animal cuts so deep it seems. Between you and Ron, I'm getting lots of info for our next endeavor~~pigs!!!

Beth

Walter Jeffries said...

Hi Karl,

Over on my Sugar Mountain Farm blog on the Iron work post you asked about methane digesters.

It is an interesting idea. I have considered this and studied various methane digester designs in great detail but came to the conclusion that I don't want to do it.

1) Methane goes boom. It's an explosive gas. I try to avoid such things if possible. I've read too many news reports of homes, businesses and winter heated tennis courts that exploded killing people, sometimes whole families.

2) Methane pigs are very dangerous to enter, just like silos and manure pits. The gas kills people who go into them. This is an accident I would rather avoid.

3) We used natural gas to cook with and light our home for years. It gave me headaches. Bad ones. It also makes me feel like I have a sinus cold all winter long.

4) To make methane we would need to collect the manure. Our pigs, chickens and sheep distribute the vast majority of their manure over the fields. This would mean more work and confining the animals to be able to gather the manure.

5) We need the nutrients from the manure to return to our soil. If we pass the manure through a methane digester it take out a lot of nutrients leaving the resulting material less useful for fertilizer.

6) We have a lot of readily available wood here for heating our home, cooking, water heating, etc. Ben want to build a wood fired electric generator but I'm a bit dubious of the feasibility of that.

7) We have a good amount of water flowing with a high head (220') which we can generate clean, simple hydro-electric power more easily than using methane.

Methane was one of the several things we've looked at for energy including wind, solar, hydro, etc. If the world economy collapses and we need engine fuel I might pull out those plans, or the bio-diesel still plans.

There are some very simple designs from third world countries out there on the web. If I was going to do it I would probably do something along the lines of the two chamber design I read of in India. If you do go that way I'll be fascinated to read about it. Different things work for different situations.

Get well soon!

Cheers,

-Walter

Sasha said...

Sucks on the illness.

Do the pullets need a light?

mommymommyland said...

are you giving them layer feed? I know this sounds silly, especially since you are feeding them other food stuffs, but we have found that it truly does make a difference.

Paula said...

Wow -the hillbilly-hot-tub sounds wonderful!

Wendy said...

Ha! I laughed at the "hillbilly hot tub."

See, when we bought our house, one of the things that made us come and look at it in the first place was the advertised "jacuzzi" - not because we "wanted" one, but because my husband kept teasing me about it - it's a too long story ... anyway ....

...we bought the house and have the tub. It was an add-on, and juts into an adjoining room that just happens to be a step down. So, from the bottom of the tub to the subfloor of the next room, there's a space - enough for a fire ... maybe :). When things started going south, and I thought about all I would miss, hot baths topped the list, and I started trying to think of ways I could modify our jacuzzi tub. Your design (a cast iron tub with a fire built under it) was one of the things I was thinking about.

What's that they say about "great minds?"

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