Sunday, December 30, 2007

christmas seed packages postponed


seed card progress screeched to a halt when our computer crashed, died and gave up the ghost. the seed cards are one of many casualties that suffer because of my lack of planning and not getting those files to a save place. i have removed the hard drive from the laptop and plan to take it to a friends to perform the necessary file recovery.

very soon the packages will go out.

my seed list includes:
danielle mc.
erin s.
christine o.
kristine a.
donna & sarah
kelly @ scf
jessica & mark
walter @ smf

if you are expecting a seed package and aren't on the above list please email me omelay (at) gmail (dot) com and ill happily include you.

on one page there are several types of tomatoes (photos and descriptions). the second page is a mix of vegetables and flowers (photos and descriptions). this should be our very own seed saver contribution. may these heirloom varieties live on.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

matt should be here today

my best friend, matt, should be here this evening.

here he is in flagstaff, az on his way from santa barbara.

he is uncle matt to the kids. tristan remembers him but kassi was too young when we left california. it'll be fun to show him around the farmstead. we met as roommates when were attending school in santa barbara. we lived in isla vista, the city adjacent to U.C.S.B. i used to borrow his skateboard to get on campus until i got my own. i remember falling asleep listening to the waves crashing and the pungent smell of eucalyptus from the tree in the front yard. i ran on the beach every day and got tar on my shoes from the leaking offshore oilfields. it was a glorious time, halloween at U.C.S.B. was like nothing imaginable.

looking back it seems like a different life. one of many to follow. i wish my children a rich life like i have enjoyed. my current incarnation being the best--isn't it always? a good friend once said that i am like a chameleon embracing the changes that life presents. it is hard not to be nostalgic when a friend of many years turns up for the first time in my latest adventure.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

promises, promises

the local weather people have let me down yet another time. the promise of snow (sled-able snow) and just the slightest dusting occurred. i know that there were many in the collective conscious rooting against me. we have kids and we want to sled. we want to build snowmen and snow women. we want to have snow ball fights. we want to perform the aforementioned at least once per winter.

it is a sad thing when two small children have brand-new shiny-red sleds and no place to go.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

the intangible

there are certain things that make life better.

organic food is a great example where initially the difference is barely perceptible. after living eating mostly organically or locally farm-fresh the difference is huge. i get physically ill whenever i eat a meal of overly processed foods or hydrogenated oils.

we hardly eat out of plastic dishes even though we have kids. food and drink from plastic tastes funny. if a chef tries to make a soufflé and whipping the eggs in a plastic bowl it will fail. the molecular structure of plastic and egg protein is so close that they react during mixing and makes the soufflé not able to raise properly. scary right? i know that i don't want to consume petrol based non-foods.

we have a dyson vacuum because it's a chore to vacuum and using a dyson is almost a pleasure.

why are macs better than PCs? are they really worth the extra money?
macs are just better PERIOD. they are elegant and easy to use. a mac is intuitive and pleasant which makes it worth the extra expense. it is funny what you can learn to settle for. we had been condemned to a PC for too many years. the moment we unpackaged and plugged this computer in all of my concerns about the extra money immediately washed away. this thing is beautiful. i used a mac for many years and life was better then. i looked at things differently. all of those subtle differences came flooding back.

new photo uploaded from the camera. the computer automatically recognized the camera and had the photos waiting for me to work on.

picasa doesn't have a mac based application but they have an elegant solution that just plugs into iphoto.

Friday, December 14, 2007

new computer ahoy

it just arrived. i plugged it in and it just worked. it found our wireless internet, and here i am. whoo hoo!!! lots has happened but the big news is we are expecting several inches of snow tonight. the kids have new sleds and are brandishing them at the slightest sign of precipitation. i hope to have wonderful snowy photos tomorrow. i am so excited about the new computer that i don't know where to start--just staring at the huge monitor seems to be enough right now. the kids are blown away by this thing. i'll be back very soon

Sunday, December 09, 2007

computer is going down

this will be my last post until we get a new computer. this computer has finally given up the ghost. i hope i'm back soon. now if we can come up with the money for a new computer:(

Saturday, December 08, 2007

christmas cards

this is our christmas card photo that we are including in our christmas cards. i am finishing seed descriptions and photos. we should be ready to send everything off by monday.

today i cut a giant swath along the fence row where we plan to put the new fence. it was mostly scrub and just a few trees. i also cut down a large oak that was shading our intended pasture. it should amount to about a rick of wood. i have several more to cut down from that same area. they should provide more than enough wood for next winter and probably a surplus for the wood fired hot tub--if i have it done by next fall.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

decorating the front door

the kids had a blast with tissue paper and liquid starch. they made stained glass art on the front door. tabitha and i did the unreachable areas.

top of door, i tried to make a sunset. can you tell which one it is?

this is the lower kids part. the light that comes through really gives the feel of an old cathedral.

this is our sorry looking tree. although, it is beginning to grow on me. notice the lack of ornamentation on the lower reaches. toly loves christmas ornaments. luckily the kitchen chair doesn't easily cross the scooting barrier threshold into the bathroom. otherwise, we'd have no place left to hang ornaments.

toly is very comfortable walking, running, hopping and especially climbing. his agility for his age scares me. the worst thing is he understands that pushing something to stand on will increase the trouble that he can get into. baby proofing the house has become impossible.

the hotbed and cold frame are doing marvelously. the arugula has been up for a few days. it was in the low 20's last night i'll check how it fared this morning.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


happy birthday tabitha. she's not up yet

this morning i feel much better. as of last night, tabitha and the kids were still very sick. my chest is still tight and i still cough until it hurts or a piece of my lung comes up. i'll get some exercise hauling wood today and that'll help. the kids have been cooped up for so long that they have the maniacals. they delve into fits of the craziest of uncontrollable crazies. over the last three sick days i have read the first three in the harry potter series. luckily it's fourth grade reading or i wouldn't have survived.

we forced ourselves to walk across the street into to the wooded field and cut a christmas tree yesterday. i never realized how perfect cedar is for a christmas tree when you have kids. it is so prickly that it is self regulating as to the damage the kids can inflict on it before their skin crawls and itches. our very own whomping willow of sorts. although toly, being the third hence impervious to pain, still needs close monitoring. the tree is so ugly that it's beautiful. we almost rejected it once we got it inside but the kids fell in love with it. it was pretty easy to convince me not to go back for the one i wanted. maybe i'll get to choose next year?

our computer is about to give up the ghost. the power supply went out and nothing could be done for it. we were headed for a seventy mile trip for a new one. i dreaded spending $150 for a new one since we are planning on replacing this computer in march--tax return. did i mention that the car has been acting funny lately? after getting the whole family ready and excited to get out of the house. we piled into the car. about two miles down the road the check engine light came on. i panicked and promptly turned around. tristan started to bawl. i'm sure he was hoping for a rendezvous with a certain mexican restaurant. wasn't gonna happen anyway.

lamenting our sorry state, broken car and broken computer, tabitha put the laptop back together and it magically worked--was it ever broken? YES i swear.. having just read most of the first three harry potters, i was convinced some dark magic was involved. as tabitha went to phone brag to her father that she just fixed the computer i sunk back into the couch and the rest of HP#3. if the check engine light mysteriously stays dark next time i attempt to drive the car well have proof that dark magic was indeed involved.

i got this cool new T-shirt the other day. a goldfish wearing a crown captioned with KARL IS KING. yes, spelled with a K--my ego won't recover from this one very soon. presents that inflate your ego--is there a better kind?

the hotbed cold-frame has started the anabolic reaction--it's really warm in there. i hope to plant some arugula today. arugula is my favorite salad greed. there might be some swiss chard involved too. it has been a while since the seed box has been pawed through. speaking of seeds, i finished the first page of our christmas present. one more to go. we ordered little baggies for the seeds and hope to send the omelay heirloom seed pack presents very soon.

we really want to get the kids a pentatonic harp for christmas. affording it is another matter. $150 seems like so little, yet like a fortune in the same breath. the car can wait to get looked at since we now have a second vehicle. hello online shopping while we still have a working computer. keep your fingers crossed that this one holds together until march.

i also have another large design job that will help pay for the new computer. that'll happen in spring. we just need to get through the holidays and we can coast after that. we want to get a mac and leave this horrible windows realm. it'll be better for the kids. i hope this piece-o-crap computer isn't paying attention while i conspire against it.. better go.. nice computer, nice computer, just kidding computer...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

sinus infection

we went to silver dollar city saturday and all i got was this lousy sinus infection. the kids touch everything whenever we go anywhere. if there is an illness they will ferret it out. i try my best to remind them that touching everything is a guaranteed way to get sick. they can't help themselves. i guess we need to stop going anywhere.

we had a blast at the amusement park. tabitha went on most of the rides with the kids. i hung out with toly. tabitha did try to take toly on the frog hopper ride. he loved it until they started the ride. he freaked out and the ride had to be promptly stopped. toly was very cute hanging out between my legs when mommy was off with the older kids.

i look forward to the new baby because that means toly comes over to the dark side. he's mine all mine. he's already a daddies boy. first words "da da." most used words "da da."

since i've been sick i have been watching movies. ratatouille is a great movie. care about what you eat was the message that i took away from it. something that we encourage around here. i gotta go lay back down.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

where the bodies are buried

before i put the bales around this it looked like a fresh grave

i finished the hot bed / cold frame today

it looks like it is going to work. planting will start tomorrow.

this is the little pile of wood that was from a single little tree that was down near the ravine. the sections were laying in the forest litter. i wanted to wait until the snakes were gone before i lugged them to the house. i'll burn this wood late winter.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


you guessed it... we're expecting the fourth and littlest o'melay. hooray we love babies.

other news
  • i closed up the eaves on the milking house and it's ready to paint.
  • i built a cold frame (* see photo below)
  • i planted the garlic and mulched it with leaves.
  • i started a hot bed cold frame

that's a sliding glass door window pane.

i need some bales of straw for the next step of my hot bed. i read a few websites and the back to basics book. all of them required digging too deep for my taste. so i am using the frost protected shallow foundation concept to alter my need to have a huge hole in my garden. i did dig a foot deep, down to sub soil. i then added twenty or so inches of fresh "HOT" manure into the hole. i'll surround it with straw bales, add eight or ten inches of top soil and top it with double pane glass.

as the manure breaks down the anabolic, exothermic reaction heats the hot frame from below. we plan to plant arugula and maybe a few other leafy greens. if all goes well we'll be "in salad" all winter.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

these rocks have fire in them

tristan is confined to use his shovel on muddy mountain. muddy mountain is not just one of the land marks in dora the explorer. we have our very own muddy mountain--the root cellar backfill. tristan has a full sized shovel of his very own. he, if given license, will dig up the entire yard. muddy mountain is an esthetically safe place to dig--it can't get any uglier. here in the ozarks flint is a regular type of rock. it breaks easily and the local native americans used it for tools. tristan dug up a large golden red piece and proceeded to smack it with the edge of the shovel. he brought the shards inside and proclaimed that they have fire in them. i explained that they were partially flint and that they would spark when struck with ferrous metal. home school lesson plan for the day.

these photos are tabitha's but i stole them--ykwim.

Monday, November 12, 2007

garlic & winter wheat / rye

i planted roughly twenty five pounds of garlic. the chickens promptly broke into the garden and scratched a mess of it up. the following morning i caught each of them and clipped the feathers on their wings. that after noon i had to chase several of the out of the garden. i traumatized each of them a bit. running them until exhaustion. i still need to shore up the defenses.

i also planted winter wheat in the remaining tilled area. winter wheat survives remarkably well here in southern missouri. last winter several hard freezes never even slowed it. i'm not sure what snow cover does to it but i imagine it just lies in wait until the sun can strike the blades. last year i also put raw manure in with the seed. that seemed to work out fine since that ended a very fertile area for spring planting.

i finally finished the back wall of the root cellar yesterday. i'll take photos today. i also insulated the water main that runs through the cellar against freezing. the front entrance is now my focus as time will allow.

the dark days of winter local challenge almost ensnared me. i opted out by default. i haven't had a moment to sit and write. the eat local challenge, although a worthy cause, hijacks my blog entries. in our defense, we eat local to our farm more than twice per week. last night tabitha made enchiladas. i almost exploded. the entire meal was local, chicken, cheese, sour cream, tortillas, and our very own green salsa. the tortillas were the only thing from off farm.

we are expecting rain today--hurray.

when i was at the freshly patronizing beer store, a funny thing happened to me. a woman looked at me and said "you're the farmer." i gave her the dumb look of a startled deer. then the woman behind the counter said "you're the farmer?" my expression remained frozen. they lept into a conversation about our farmstead describing the progress and intricacies of our animals like there had been a regularly scheduled program of conversation. it is weird to see your reflection in other peoples eyes. their lens seemed skewed to me but we're weird and i admit it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

there is too much to do

the new milk house is operational. all that is left to accomplish is the painting, trim and a few small details. tabitha has been milking in it for the past few days. adding milk-house construction to the fall chores has really made things crazy around here.

i finally started to close down the garden yesterday. i pulled cucumber and squash trellis. i tilled about half of the garden to get ready for garlic and winter wheat. we are expecting rain on monday. tristan and kassi helped. they were picking dry beans off the bean arch, picking up rocks and mounding the weeds into castles. today we'll get the garlic and plant it.

so much has happened. halloween was a grand success. the kids went to a birthday party, swimming and trick-or-treating. i had an amazing time trick-or-treating. the kids were too cute. tristan and kassi have been busy homeschooling. tristan has expressed an interest in math. he is doing simple addition and subtraction. tabitha had 13 dollars in three separate notes. a ten, a two and an one. tabitha asked tristan what was 10+2+1 tristan looked at his hands to count it out on his fingers. he stalled realizing that he has run out of appendages. then it happened the cutest thing ever. he dropped to his butt and yanked off his socks and promptly replied thirteen. i laughed and laughed.

i made a fire protection grate for around the wood stove. the kids are simply too rambunctious and the stove gets too hot to not have some form of protection. i made it out of recycled copper pipe and a horse panel.

the chickens are laying about ten eggs a day. rosie finally stopped pooping in the front yard. nimue is finally looking better. nina is becoming part of the family. the ducks are everywhere. the guineas are down to four from ten. speeding cars have taken their toll on them.

christmas is on the horizon and the kids have been pouring over toy catalogs. we, like always, have sworn off plastic toys. although wooden painted toys aren't really safe anymore. the kids don't need a bunch of creativity stealing theme toys anyway.

i made a firewood box for the front porch. it is in the queue to get painted next. the kids are going to do the painting after i prime it. it has casters on the bottom to make loading and cleaning easier. i look forward to firewood mess containment.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

milking house -photos

hi, i'm not really holding it up.

there are three doors

the other end before the loafing shed that we built today

the south end before the addition

after todays efforts

a nice big area for the cows to hang out.
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