Thursday, January 31, 2008

snow-rama

The panoramas* continue

snorama


it snowed this morning!

more to come this afternoon. let the long awaited sledding ensue.

*advanced use of the above panorama. it will show up very skinny and is a link. if you click on the panorama image another larger image will appear. on most windows machines it will automatically size it to fit your open window. click on it again and it will zoom to intended size. if you then use the slider across the bottom you can move back and forth. that will give you the illusion of standing in the center of the panorama and turning left and right as you slide respectively. try it you'll feel like you are standing in our road looking at our house.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

chicken coop II updated



i have dramatically changed the chicken coop. it is two feet wider 10 by 8. tabitha wanted to be able accommodate 50 chickens. she entertains the idea of selling eggs. the yellow circles are the chicken roost spacing recommended by Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens. the roosts will stair step up from the center. 12" apart stepping up 12" each time toward the edges.

per kramer's recommendation i ditched the idea of sloping nest boxes. his argument was too compelling. i plan to have the 55 gallon drums on casters so i can move them around to make my life easier. there will be 12 nest boxes total.

the chicken run is just a suggestion right now. it will be whatever i find reasonable when i build it. definitely larger than shown here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

chicken coop

since i strained something in my groin, last thursday, i have been taking things easy. i decided that i needed to design our chicken coop. our old coop is sorely undersized and was built in a day from the scrappiest scrap materials.


the new coop should house two or three times the amount of chickens. there will be eight egg collection boxes. designed based on this principal.


the coop will be eight feet by eight feet square. half will be used for roosts and the other half will be for feed storage, brooding area and egg collection from nest boxes.

the feed will be in 55 gallon drums. there will be a pass through into the roost area. we'll use this for cleaning and catching chickens. the whole thing will be on a slab sloping gently toward a clean-out door. there will be two tiers of next boxes, making eight total. roosts will be in three tiers 90º out of phase from level to level. the roosts will remove easily for cleaning and allow easy access to next boxes. there will be a large rampart door that pulls up to close--large enough for a turkey. a huge easterly facing window for lots of light in the morning. a medium sized run in case we need any nest box re-training. the run should be substantial enough so they can live there for weeks at a time if necessary.

the coop will be much further from the house--two and a half times as far.

see the old coop on the right? the new one will be half way down the hollow on a flat spot. i'll have electricity down there so venturing down there to close them up for the evening won't be too daunting.

Friday, January 25, 2008

rough and tumble

this guy really is rough and tumble


kassi is pretty rough but here she is just tumble


one of the few times he is tumble without the rough


just cute, playing some role playing game of their invention.




for my record---->
i had to refill the wood box on the front porch. it has been really cold. i also used about half of the rick of wood by the barn. the wood is comprised of smallish sticks from the branches of the large trees that i sold last spring. it burns very hot and has about cooked us out of the house on this extremely cold day.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

one, two, chicken poo


this is our back porch. recently the chickens have decided that since we are the main source of food they should just wait at the door for it. herein is the problem. if you leave the house via the back door re-entry is impossible. why? chicken poo in the house sucks. if you look closely at the floor of the previous picture you might notice a greenish brown hue. chicken poo.

i decided that something must be done but i wasn't ready for a slaughter. we stopped by the semi-local home improvement store--the one that doesn't hire "those illegals." i usually prefer to support a compassionate immigration friendly store but exceeding a reasonable carbon footprint was looming.

thirty some odd dollars later we were on our way. i had remaining horse panel from a previous project. i integrated it into the design. other considerations were to make using the solar clothes drier easier and allow for a cat sanctuary.

so i built the rail and chicken barrier. then they came.

they wanted in. they were looking for chink in the armor. they really wanted in. circling like sharks. i hadn't made the gate yet. i propped my "show" saw horses at the entrance for the evening. somehow my measures only budded the curiosity. then they were in. congregating and still making little donations on the porch.


the next day i made the gate. it is a cute gate. it worked, they are successfully excommunicated from the porch. today, day three, i scrubbed the porch twice--hot soapy water then hot soapy bleach water. i usually don't like to use too much bleach but this is a case where extra was necessary.

there is a fine line in chicken behavior that we'd like to achieve. a chicken troupe that stays close enough to home as to not offend our neighbors but stays off all porches. culling this spring will include three of the roosters including the white monster. we hope to kill the wider ranging roosters leaving the two agoraphobics to keep the girls at home. we have had luck with this in the past.

i received a blog award but in respect of the striking writers and my unwillingness to cross any picket lines i'll shrink further into my bubble and just say thanks from here. thanks to my lovely wife and children, my muses. without them i would probably be sitting on some bar stool waiting for my turn at the pool table. thanks to pablo and danielle, my first two readers. they are probably the reason that this blog continued beyond a fizzling whim. mostly thanks to all of you supporters. the prayer and collective consciousness have helped us through many troubled times. isn't the blogosphere wonderful? it affords a community where never possible before.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

the perfect bread

rather the quest for it.

only twice in my life have i had perfect bread. i pine for both moments.

the first time was while in paris. it happened every morning at the little cafe near the hotel. i had a thick rich creamy coffee and a baguette with fresh butter. it was heaven in a simple bread.

the next time was in berkeley. tabitha and tristan were at elephant pharmacy. i went to andronicos and grabbed a baguette because i was starving. i shared it with tabitha and we both agree it was vastly superior to anything. while in the bay area we enjoyed great bread regularly. this was truly perfect bread.

here in missouri the perfect bread can only be a distant memory. tabitha makes good bread but is handicapped. the nature of the local yeast affects the bread negatively--it is inversely true of paris and san francisco. geographically handicapped and the best we can hope for in perfectly executed bread is and 8 or 9 on the 0-10 scale.

our micro climate has one thing. it grows the most fabulous tomatoes. they are like no others. in fact the red round fruit found in most grocery stores shouldn't be able to be called tomatoes.

i think there should be a label MISSOURI TOMATOES. it's defining characteristics are grown in southern missouri. no pesticides, no gmo, no petrol based fertilizers, picked fully ripe and never refrigerated. every other type of tomato should bear the burden of listing it's negative characteristics like cigarette labels must. GMO or hot house or chilled below 50 degrees.

what is perfect in your micro climate?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

farm photos


this is the wood pile that i have so far. the first 1/3 of that partial row is sassafras. it is a light wood that will burn fast. it'll be great for the early season and starting fires. it really doesn't count for much heat. i'll need to finish out that row with decent wood to have enough wood for next year. i'll probably cut a fourth row just to be sure. i'll also have to cut some for the fire ring. next year i plan to have many more cook outs. also i'd like to have the hot-tub finished. that'll take a fair share of wood too. all in all i am probably about half way done cutting wood for next year. especially since i have several trees that are shading our intended pasture.

pictured above. just beyond the barn...

...off to the left, by the pile of branches are the offending trees. the chickens working in the barn are scratching where i just move the pile of lumber to finish the top part of the barn. all progress halted this summer because two huge copperhead snakes were living under the wood pile.

this is my baby girl.

she is growing up so quickly that it makes me sad. the chicken to her left is a broiler that we didn't kill. it was too scrawny. now it weighs 30 pounds. i'll probably let it live until the spring culling.

here is the garlic up and happy so far.

here is what it looked like last month.

hermoine underfoot is decidedly cross eyed.

she is a great hunter and probably my favorite cat--ever. she follows me around like a dog--even on long walks into the woods. here she was as a kitten--eating straight from the udder squirt.


as far as toly goes--we don't know. all tests were inconclusive. we are going to wait and see for a while. thank you all for your love and support--we need it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

toly is in the hospital

he is scheduled for an upper GI and needed to be on an IV. i hope they figure out what the problem is. this whole thing has been such a fiasco.

tabitha stayed with him last night. i brought tristan and kassi home. i will milk the cow this morning and take the kids back to the hospital.

UPDATE----
toly & tabitha had a miserable night. friends & family have been a great support.

Monday, January 14, 2008

seed order 2008

bakercreek rareseeds.com

$2.50 1 - Thai Bonanza Loofa
$6.50 1 - Detroit Dark Red - 1/4 lb
$1.50 1 - Boston Pickling
$2.50 1 - Japanese Long
$1.25 1 - Genovese Basil
$1.25 1 - Dill - Bouquet
$2.00 1 - Cilantro Oaxaca
$2.50 1 - European Mesclun Salad
$6.50 1 - Vulcan Chard - 1 oz
$1.50 1 - Butternut - Waltham
$2.50 1 - Musquee de Provence

johnnyseeds

Windsor broccli $2.65
Parmex carrots $2.55
Kinko carrots $3.00
Arava melon $4.55
Tyee spinach $2.30
Cashflow zucchini $4.20

things seem a bit more expensive at johnnys. we have saved from last year for the rest of our garden needs

Sunday, January 13, 2008

carrots anyone?



i must find room in the garden map for carrots, broccoli and cabbages. arragh.. i'll post an updated version later today.

danielle, we mostly eat edamame as a vegetable--a whole food in moderation. the kids love it they eat it like mad when we cook it. we get our protein elsewhere during our meals. we eat tofu occasionally from whole soaked soy beans. we believe that the protein isolates in over eaten soy products are the true problem. we love swiss chard--tristan's first food.


Jbmaine, sorry i didn't include scale in my map. the garden is 70 feet by 40 feet of plantable area. i'm going to squeeze more room from somewhere.

sugarcreekstuff & pichinde, we will probably do two separate orders of chickens, six each time. one order will be buffs and the other will be golden laced.

Kevin and Beth, yeah if you consider actually collecting the seeds the work was too much to attempt as anything except a labor of love.

--------------------documented--------------------
loaded wood box on front porch--it should last until february. one and a half cord of wood cut, split and stacked by driveway for next winter--another 3/4 cord to go.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

preliminary garden map

this is a preliminary garden layout design. there are still a few issues to work out. so i'll draw this line in the sand and we can continue from here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

home grown revolution

i saw this wonderful quote:

"in our society growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. it is truly the only effective protest, one that can--and will--overturn the corporate powers that be."

thanks phoebe for the link

Thursday, January 10, 2008

thoughts of spring dance in my head

the barrage of seed catalogs have sucessfully transported me into spring. there are only a few seeds that we'll purchase this year. japanese long cucumbers, bulls blood beets, swiss chard and some yet to be revealed melon and pumpkin. more will be known when i get around to making a garden map. i'll put the new adobe illustrator™ through its paces. my experience with adobe indesign™ was painless--some of the old quark express™ quick commands even worked.


we also recieved the new McMurrary Hatchery catalog. we are contemplating our new girls. the group of suspected free-loaders will be under close scrutiny. this spring will be a large culling. chicken broth will be made and canned. we like the idea of the Light Brahmas, New Hampshire Reds and Golden Laced Wyandottes. we have a local hatchery in springfield but their quality and health of the chicks has always been questionable. McMurrary Hatchery is a bit more expensive but we feel that they are worth it.

i have tons more of work for this season, including several more trees to cut down. i should quit being so dreamy about the next season.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

legacy fiasco

yesterday


today


yesterday


today


we have had this bulldozed ditch full of an old house on the edge of our property since we moved here. the junk pile was a blight that seemed to never be likely gone. i pulled a huge favor to get lance over here with his backhoe. mike set it ablaze a few hours before i got off from work. i feel bad about burning such a toxic mess. i called our neighbors yesterday and warned them of the impending plume. lance kept busy all day ripping not easily burnable stumps from the ground. he displaced some of our precious topsoil but it's a price that must be paid. we have many locust trees that sprout a crown of extreemly thorny suckers when the stump is left. they grow back extra thorny if you try to burn the stump. eradication of these is near impossible without poison or mechanically ripping them from the soil.

we found a new home for our ducks. they spend entirely too much time wasting chicken feed for my taste. i planned to kill them. my days are already too busy to fit an event like that in. catching them and hauling them off will be plenty.


here are some of our girls. i think these are the productive click.


these are the rest of them--the free loaders.


our seed gifts were a huge success. everyone loved them. there is still one to go out but we need to send something else along also hence the delay.

here is a a gratuitous shot of the kids enjoying a pomegranate.

Friday, January 04, 2008

alien abduction

toly has G.E.R.D.

we spent the day in springfield yesterday. what a fiasco. they put a endoscope up his nose and down his throat. G.E.R.D. is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and he'll most likely grow out of it. in the mean time we have to treat it with pricey medicine. i am glad to finally know what the deal is and hopefully he can go back to being a happy baby again. it is so hard knowing that he has had this for a while and he was unable to tell us what the trouble was.

these times are the sucky part about being a parent. i guess it can't always be sweet elysium. we got back late--past my bedtime. i am tired this morning. toly was up all night with nightmares--probably something along the lines of an alien abduction.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

seed packages are all ready

whew, we finally finished all the seed packages. that was more work than i expected. we are sending 8 different tomato varieties, three flower and two varieties of bean seeds. i used adobe InDESIGN to lay out the seed cards--never used that program before. we have a photo and description for each seed. hopefully, i'll send them out tomorrow.

oops lost an address:(
yes they'll go out today

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

chef tristan


tristan wants to become a chef. he loves it when i have him cook. he made excellent rosemary, onion and garlic home fried potatoes for breakfast.
he loves to watch cooking shows on pbs. i wish we had the food network. we miss alton brown.

garden excitement

seed catalogs have been arriving in earnest. it is impossible to NOT start to get excited. even the burpee hybrid catalog has an allure--how did they get my name anyway? i am going to attempt a garden map again. the garlic is already in and claimed it's real estate. i haven't even disposed of the old tomato vine skeletons yet. the bean arches are still up. in general the garden is looking very shabby. i plan to do some computer work today which could include redoing the seed cards that we'll send out with our meticulously collected heirloom seeds.

i will remove the music from the bottom of this blog. we have been listening to tabithas new sufjan stevens box set or else using pandora.com--i highly recommend pandora. it is a very cool approach to music and exposes the listener to cool stuff that you'll usually like.

we are all sick with a cold again. the kids got a wooden puzzle of the U.S. for christmas. toly promptly choked on ohio too bad it's not really round on both sides. we had an immediate visit to the hospital. by the time we got there he had already gotten over the choking. we still went in because we were already traumatized and needed reassurances. they never came. the only thing that we got were these colds. each and every one of us is sick--tabitha especially so. i want a t-shirt that says "i went to the hospital and all i got was this lousy cold."

it is a cold one here today. i was going to kill ducks today but it is too inclement for the that sort of task. indoor projects should consume most of my day. maybe a few garden photos a bit later.

white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits

happy new year.
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