Sunday, April 30, 2006


it's official, we have named him merlin. yeah, i know the arthurian legend and the oedipal implications. he will be on the dinner table before his motherly love can take a twist.

we drove to the baker creek heirloom seed company spring festival. very cool time. on the way back we spied a cool flatrock bottom stream and the kids needed a dip. what fun. it was icy cold water and very slippery to walk on.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


it's 2 am and the cow has started giving birth. it seems that i'll be up the rest of the night.

a jersey bull born about an hour ago. the calf isn't up yet but nimue seems like a good mama licking him and mooing little soft moos at him. they are getting aquainted. it is raining and 55 degrees. i'd be happier if he'd get up and start sucking. the after birth hasn't been delivered yet but things are progressing.
nimue looks alot skinnier and her bag is huge and swollen.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

timber framing #2

i worked with danny on timber framing today. it was very pleasant. nice hard work and many new things to see. mostly i just enjoyed their company. they are an amish family and very pleasant. i drove danny to the store and had a long conversation with him. he is moral, honest and straight forward. i like him, i'd be his friend if he lived closer. that is saying alot. tabitha says that i don't really need friends. i have a few very close to my heart and that's all.
my best friend matt is probably enough because his heart is larger than any person i have ever met. and he loves me and i him (in a brotherly sort of way).
my friend craig is my oldest friend and i do anything for him. he is great kind and considerate.
dietrich, is another close friend of the same caliber. he is like a brother to me.
i hardly speak to my friends except matt but they are there and i love them. i have a few other friends gary, justin, boris and most recently ben. that is about it.
i usually don't think about it except when i meet someone that i'd add to that short list.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

things my wife does that go unnoticed

is a wonderful mom
-nurses a million times a day
-reads countless books to the kids
-wipes several butts
-picks up after them
washes dishes and cleans the kitchen
does laundry
-hanging on the line
-folding and putting away
cooks for the family
-several normal meals per day
-tons of random snacks for the kids
cleans the house
takes care of finances
shares my perspective on the environment
-grow our own food
-keeps us away from processed foods
-eat organic when possible
she isn't scared of hard work
loves the kids more than herself

Monday, April 24, 2006

the planting

we planted eighty or so tomato plants this morning. we were expecting a rain storm and wanted to get them in the ground to benefit from the un-chlorinated water. we also planted many different melons. i salivate everytime i work in the garden. i wonder if pavlov could have predicted that one.
the garden is looking like a real garden--only one small patch of weeds left to till. my new tiller came with two extra shear pins that hold the tines to the driveshaft. i broke both of the shear pins and used the extra replacements--did i mention that our soil is extremely rocky? i have to get extras for the next time.
the kids are so great they mostly behave while we garden. they help themselves to the potty, their respective leappads and the computer(the reading game). tristan is learning to read or else memorizing the entire website and the appropriate answers. either way it is getting in there.
i sifted a few wheelbarrow loads of soil to put around the tomatoes. the kids loved playing in it. it was their version of a sand box. no sterile sand for them just good old fashioned dirt. they love to help. sometimes it is actually helpful and others not. kassi is especially helpful picking up rocks and putting them in the bucket.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

garden update

we broke down and bought a tiller. we were going to try and garden it without a tiller but it became crystal clear that we were having another hippie pipe dream. our neighbor used a good metaphor "it is like buying a pump for your well--you can do it without but why would you?"

i have been weaving a web of jute on our bamboo arch for the pole beans to climb. tabitha says it is visual representation of my addled mind. have you seen those anti drug use campaigns where they show different examples of spider webs woven while the spiders were on different drugs? well, mine most closely resembles the spider on reefer.

our potatoes are doing very well. we planted more pole beans, corn, bush beans, more potatoes, more beets, swiss chard, tatsoi and lots of herbs. plus we picked out tons of rock and put in yet another rock ring.

our spring garden is doing very well we have been enjoying nightly salads. the kale is almost ready. it rained a little today not enough to do much good but every drop counts.

the tiller works like a champ even in our extremely rocky soil. i had buyers remorse until i used it. it makes such a big difference that it is beyond obvious. i built compost bins out of small cedar poles that were too small to use as fence posts. these should do the job.

Friday, April 21, 2006

we finished the rock wall

here is the final cap to the rock wall. all he needs now is a hot tub. actually this is mostly for just a place to keep his fire wood.

here are the tools, as promised
an assortment of chisle and hammers. these are all old and well used. each chistle has a little different purpose. the most used ones are a 3/8" little flat chisle, the rock hammer, a big chisle 7/8": to 1 inch. i could get by with a set like this.
this is just an angle grinder but the blade is a diamond blade and is more expensive than the grinder.
this is necessary for large rock work but not really needed for the average stone mason.
finally this is a complete luxury. it moves big big rock around easily.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

bug hug

it has greened up here over night. the trees are all leaved out. the grass is beyond mowing in the back field. the kids spend many hours picking grass for the cow. they are so cute.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

we finished the rock wall

it looks so good that we thought that someone else did it while we ate lunch. i'll take photos thursday and photos of the tools for pablo.
i also got permission today to take up close photos of that old house on my way to work. i can't wait to get up close to it.
i am off work tomorrow we have a big day planned--gardening, fencing and getting ready for chickens.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

garden photos

this is our potato area we added more mulch & soil around them and planted rows of bush beans in between

this is where tabitha has been harvesting our nightly salads

this is the pole bean arch that i constructed out of local bamboo. it will show up better once it is covered in pole beans

Saturday, April 15, 2006

the original garden salad

tabitha has been picking an evening salad for dinner every night this past week. we have arugula, spinach, swiss chard, beet tops, green onions and kale. soon we'll have tatsoi to add to the salad. balsamic vinegar and olive oil are the only dressing necessary for a truly fresh salad of this variety. we'll be planting beans today after a small birthday party for a cousin.

things are really greening up around here. the dogwoods will soon loose their flowers--sad. the mosquitos are finally out. measures will have to be taken for insect containment from the house. it is hard to get a two year old to close the door after herself.

nimue (the cow) is still pregnant. i fitted her with a halter and escorted her around the yard to eat some fresh thick grass. she really appreciated it. i'll get a chain for her and tether her in deep grass this afternoon. she doesn't really like to go back into the paddock but she'll also get used to that.

the new orchard trees are leafing out. i pray they all do well.

this is the third time that i have attempted this post. leaving the computer alone with a three year old that only wants to play (the reading game) on the allegedly abandoned computer is a bad idea.

i'll post a picture of the garden this afternoon--happy spring.

Monday, April 10, 2006

dogwood sunrise

alot has happened over the past few days. our orchard trees came. apples(3), plums(2), and one cherry. we managed to plant three of them. i think i passed something last night. i didn't catch it too many sleepy painful pees to really care.

the dogwoods are blooming in our back yard! they are so beautiful. the garden is growing already. I ate several arugula leaves from our garden. tristan is sounding out words and is soo close to reading. thank you phoebe! i discovered from your site. he has spent many hours on the computer while tabitha and i have been parentally challenged with illness.

kassi wrote a capital I and then pronounced it to tabitha and myself. then a few minutes later she wrote a capital A and showed it to us. she stands over tristans shoulder while he is on the computer and obviously is absorbing it. tristan has taught her to count to twelve and is now teaching her letters.

the cow is still pregnant! thankgoodness. we plan to tether her in the squatter lot to eat the bounty of grass growing there.

i am still sore but we plan to plant the remaining trees today. four more 2' by 2' holes which can be a challenge here in the ozarks. (extremely rocky soil)

the chickens are up to full egg production 9 or 10 eggs per day. they disperse nimues manure the minute that it hits the ground. i guess they are looking for undigested grain.

although still very sore i feel better today than i have for several weeks. back to back illness (cold, flue), a sore back thrown in at the onset and a dash of kidney stones for good measure.

something good is going to happen to us soon. after such a long streak of bad luck good luck usually follows. if you click on the sunrise photo to enlarge it the white dogwood flowers are more apparent

Thursday, April 06, 2006

could it get any worse?

since yesterday i have had bladder pain and constantly have to urinate. i went to the doctor and she said it's not likely a urinary tract infection but gave me antibiotics anyway. she said if this doesn't get better by the end of the weekend then it is most likely kidney stones. arragh....

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

avian flu continues

yes, we are still sick and i blame the chickens! i have to blame something... certainly not the fact that both of my kids have been seen licking shopping carts, licking the dirt off any object to clean it or generally smearing themselves on any horzontal surface (especially the mall floor). so the birds the are the scapegoat of the day--too bad we don't actually have a goat to get the blame.

actually i am on the mend but it is still taking too long to heal.

Monday, April 03, 2006


the pandemic has started at our house. we are all sickly, tabitha especially so. she has the evil sickness that we all have compounded by morning sickness. i have been looking forward to working with the amish timber framers for months and now i'm too sick to go. i am miserable not able to do anything except clean the kitchen (my sickly version). maybe we'll go look for mushrooms this afternoon.

i found one yesterday and know of a good spot (when blogger starts working again--insert photo here)

why is the spell checker in blogger so lame that the word "blogger" comes up as an error? someone should be fired over that...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

i arrived early

the site where we are doing the timber frame is beautiful. there is a huge cave that has a spring that fills this pond. this site has been developed by the past several owners. stone work paths, little brooks, several picnic areas, bridges, a water wheel, and on. it is lovely. i arrived early and walked the entire grounds. this photo was taken from a rock overhanging (8-10 feet) the pond looking back at the cave. this is where i ate lunch and meditated on break. there is something about the energy of freshly emerging water that soothes the soul. i guess they spelunked the cave for 20 miles all the way to springfield.
i worked with an amish timber frame company. they were impressed with my work ethic. several of them threatened that i should slow down or they'ed hire me permanent. i wouldn't mind except they're home base is too far from me to be possible.
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