Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Autumn Lingers

We still haven't had a killing frost yet. Last week I covered part of the wood pile.

There should be plenty of extra wood in-the-dry under there for the entire winter. Four rows ten feet long by five feet high. Sorry to bore you but this is how I document this sort of thing. There should be a few ricks of wood left over for next winter.

I might use the surplus to make some terra preta. I have discovered an easier way to make charcoal than previous searches have revealed.

It is described in detail at

Last week I also turned the compost from these two bins..

..into this larger bin.

I wet it down as I forked it over. Yesterday it had settled about a foot and was giving off considerable heat.

Last evening I took a break from work and raked some of the upper field with Tristan and Toly. We raked hickory nuts and leaves onto a huge piece of tarp. They helped me drag it to the pigpen and dump it. several more evenings like that and we'll have the entire paddock cleared of leaves and hickory nuts and acorns. The pigs should really enjoy the fodder.

The chickens are finally laying a reasonable amount of eggs again.

One of our neighbors had a stroke and gave us his chickens. I reluctantly took them, because I felt bad for him. They promptly gave our hens mites and probably worms. One day I went to collect eggs and there were merely a fraction of the expected amount. Since we treat everything naturally and only when necessary it takes a while to get over this kind of stuff. That was several weeks ago and with intensive treatment and they are finally getting better. No good deed goes unpunished--I didn't even like that guy either.

I also got a bit more slipform masonry completed on the milking barn.

The weather has been perfect for this kind of work and I have been stuck in-doors doing web design. Aarrgh..

Here is that bad cow on pasture furlough. She has been promptly going directly for the acorns. She can poison herself if she eats too many. We have been keeping her up and feeding hay until I can do something about it.

The boys are getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

Their raw diet agrees with them. They still have that sheepish puppy look to them. astrid has been keeping the dominance pressure on them even though they are beginning tower over her. Ianto, the tallest, is starting to not take it anymore. I imagine there will be a power change very soon.


Ed said...

Awesome link to the saveourskills website. I've been watching things on there for a half hour now and I keep thinking to myself, why haven't I thought of that!

kentuckyagrarianwannabe said...

Nothing like having your fire wood already taken care of, I still haven't started but have enough left over from last year to get me started. I will not be cutting near as much this year, since my dad passed away mom will not be using the outside woodburner this year so I want have to be cutting for her as well as myself. I installed an outside central air and gas furnace for them a few years ago and it only cost her around $100 a month. It cost me a lot more than that to drive down and cut the wood.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

The guys will always submit to Astrid just because she is top bitch. The two guys may fight especially if you don't have one or both of them neutered. At least that had been my experience with dog group dynamics. Two unspayed females are the worst though. They will fight and draw blood.

Sheila Z

bethanial11 said...

Thanks for sharing the info on the charcoal :-)

Rachael said...

We're getting the rest of our wood under cover, too. It is the BEST feeling, right after a pig, chickens, and a cow in the freezer, and food in jars. I like reading about how others are getting tucked up.

Rich said...

For a number of years, I have been experimenting with adding charcoal to the garden (both during the composting process and applying directly to the garden).

All of the charcoal has come from the aftermath of burned brushpiles (smother the coals with water and dirt).

But for a higher yield of charcoal, the barrel technique looks like it would much better.

After watching the video, I wonder if the technique could be improved by preparing the primary fire at the bottom and stacking the wood vertically in the barrel to create a "chimney effect". Then, light the fire from the vent holes in the bottom of the barrel and smother the fire as suggested.

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