Thursday, March 29, 2007

photos galore

tomatoes are really coming to the front. we worry that they might grow too much in these little pots before it is time to plant in the earth

kassi loves pink. this is her favorite for today.

this is the view of across the street into mikes forest. tabitha and the kids went for an adventure into the springy wood. the *redbuds* are aflame across all of these ozarks.

tristans forest harvest. "curlydog" as he like to call it.

you can almost see into kassi's future in this photo. a girl or a woman?

TOLY, if i have told you once i have told you a thousand times--"five month old babys dont crawl"

tristan is teaching himself to write. he has managed to learn how to sound things out.

yummy dogwoods, they look like popcorn floating in the back yard flowing to the ravine

one of my little piles of wood in the shady pasture.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

nimue is back

our cow, nimue has returned from visiting a friendly bull--his name is unknown to prevent any paternity lawsuits. jack, a family friend, was kind enough to take her to his place for a little bovine rendezvous. he is the local cattle guru. he is also the guy that we buy our hay from. we really missed our cow, she is so wonderful. i hope she is pregnant so we can get some fresh raw dairy again.

our anniversary present to each other arrived yesterday. we have been wanting a screen from the road and our solutions were always "almost right". so i have been researching giant timber bamboo and found a cold hardy variety for our region. i planted them today after work.

we are off to pee wee soccer, wish us luck.

Monday, March 26, 2007

kassi in the sky with diamonds

it is so nice that spring is here. the kids adore the out of doors. gardening and yard work has started in earnest. our neighbors gave us a new tractor/mower--it was their old one. i mowed the yard in record time. usually i stretch it out over two days but it was just a morning tractor ride.
our winter wheat is up in all its glory. the best part is there are tons of lady bugs hiding in it and waiting to pounce on any errant aphids that happen to find their way into our garden.

romeo and enrique seem to have survived. both of them are impaired from the battle. enrique still chases romeo sometimes but he flees for his life and manages to stay clear of him the rest of the time. i'm glad that things seem to have worked out without any casualties.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

spring is here

my little tree hugger. picassa lost kassi's photo. i'll make a big post with kassiopeia in all her princessly glory.

rosie really likes her dog house

i turned all the compost--probably three yards worth. i had to build a huge temporary compost bin. it is roughly 4' by 4' by 4'. this new one took the overflow from my other three compost bins. i plan a whole new system for any new manure and refuse. three new bins will be constructed using seven pallets and my existing cedar poles. the pallets will make up three sides of the system and the poles will hold in the front. the poles will be able to come out for easy shoveling and turning.

it is truly spring we picked and ate our very first asparagus. there were no other arrivals but we are hopeful for bounty to come.

the root cellar is coming along nicely. i still need to put in the wood support. the next step will be to purchase cement and fiber reinforcement.

our peach tree is blooming. no fruit this year--we are in this for the long haul.

Friday, March 23, 2007

fashion show

kassi received a package from gracious acres yesterday. she was asleep when it arrived. i stopped opening it immediately so she could enjoy the entire process. when she awoke the excitement began. kassi love love loves clothes. pulling one item after the next with little ooohs and aaahs. then she began the fashion show. the look of joy on her face was magic. she kept saying things like "don't i look beautiful?" there was one princess dress that she still won't take off--she slept in it last night. such a magical gift for a magical princess.

thank you so much--truly wonderful.

tristan was so excited for her. during the fashion show he'd go into the other room and look for appropriate shoes. once he came back saying "can we buy kassi some princess slippers?" after all the gifts for kassi tristan didn't feel jealous and truly relished in her excitement. it was completely unexpected reaction since rivalry is rampant around here. it just shows that my little boy is growing up. sad but wonderful in the same moment.

photos to come....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

romeo update

after three days of banishment to the upper coop i intervened. i reached in to the coop and grabbed the pale reflection of romeo. he couldn't see me--blind in both eyes. i put him down and he stumbled around and ran into stuff. then he scratched his eyelids open--remember rocky balboa when he had his eyelids cut? he kinda noticed the food in front of him and ate.

i went to work...

when i got home he seemed ok but still acting funny. enrique came over and ambushed him they fought a bit but romeo took off and enrique chased him. i chased off enrique and put romeo by some water. i hope he recovers and remains submissive so they don't fight like that anymore. enrique is a much larger breed and will likely win most battles.

the circle of life continues...

the rest of the evening romeo ran from enrique and that seemed to work.

big rain storms envelope us today. our garden likes the non-treated water.

today is our wedding anniversary and first day of spring--it's easier to remember that way.

happy spring everybody

Monday, March 19, 2007

the camera is back

tabitha has an entire tribute to her camera at her blog there is some login / acceptance issue involved. here are a few photos of the picture neglected pile.
tristan needed to use a turkey feather and ink. here is his self portrait

tomatoes anyone?

super boy con cape

baby girl pleading for something

the "show-wife"

goodbye romeo

our roosters had a fight to the death the other day. we tried to break it up but testosterone levels were too high. the fight would have rivaled any that frequent back alleys and warehouses in east L.A. the result is romeo hasn't left the upper coop for three days and enrique is blinded in one eye. stupid chickens. it's like they were harboring a hateful grudge their whole lives and finally exploded into the day long battle that ended in the ravine. both roosters were so exhausted that i had to find them far down the ravine and physically carry them to the coop that night.

romeo is not dead yet but i don't think it will be long. the only thing that keeps me from putting him down is, every few hours he crows out like a perfectly healthy chicken. as tabitha said "nature must take its course"

memorial service is tentatively scheduled for next weekend. arrive early parking might be a problem. camping is available for distant travelers.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

the new look

sorry for the new look but the "theme" that i was using doesn't have the features that i desire--mostly a category sidebar. i feel that referencing this data will be important since i hope to look back at some of this stuff to enrich our lives. i upgraded to some new more editable template. tabitha choose the look, i'm ambivalent but after adding to my frequent list, they look suspiciously similar. sorry allen and annie i'll make more changes later.

we went to a farm today. mike micham and nancy walker have a little slice of heaven in the ozarks. any crunchy environmentalist would love this place. it's recycled everything in true hillbilly fashion. i wish our camera was back, we'd have taken photos--that kitchen-seed photo was on the card. i'll take photos next time we visit. they are musicians and very talented, they play at the bakercreek festival among many other places.

toly ate a cheddar bunny from the kids spill and is miserable today. cheese and wheat all in one little bunny. he's scooting around the house with blazing speed. he's not officially crawling yet (some rule with crossing hands and knees) but "that boy is mobile." isn't 5 months and a week ridiculous to be able the get to the wood stove and burned? i don't like it one bit, not only because it's too much too soon but what happened to my baby? next week he'll be toddlering around, i say i don't like it--not one bit.

i hope you all like my new look cause who knows when i'll get around to making it mine.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

listy list

stuff needed for...

- - metal lath
- - cattle panel cut in half for re-bar
- - 2 cattle panels for support to be reused in garden
- - masonry sand (james has extra)
- - cement
- - fiber reinforcing additive
- - dump truck of chat 1" to base (sift for chat & use larger for french-drain & foundation in barn)


- - 150 bales of hay (find a better price)
- - hydrated lime
- - chicken wire
- - cement
- - chat 1" to base
- - bamboo (free, devels tea table rd.)


- - five cattle panels using the two from the root cellar
- - 15 - 20 steel fence posts
- - 1/2" hose repair kits (8 to 10)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

seeds are flourishing in our kitchen

tomatoes are happening. oh, i can taste them already.

recipe for canned beans

soak beans overnight
drain and fill pint canning jars 2/3 full of swollen beans
1 clove garlic
1 - 2 table spoons chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
top off with hot water 1" head space

pressure cook 10 lbs pressure for no less than 75 min and no more than 110 min.

this works really really well with garbanzo beans (chick peas) which is used in hummus. recipe to follow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

spring beets are in

we planted three rows of beets for spring use. we'll have to harvest them a few days early to get the tomatoes in on time. tabitha pickles a mean beet and the little ones are the best. they are a bit harder to work up but worth the effort. kassi especially loves pickled beets. the larger ones will get promptly juiced and drank on the spot. i also look forward to several meals of fresh steamed beets.

the tomato seedlings are up. we had a few slow-to-germinate plants but we'll have plenty to select from. tomatoes are one thing that does amazingly well here in the ozarks. the flavor is so rich and tasty. we tried a couple of new varieties. i can't wait for that first thick slice of a tomato that covers the entire toast--slather some fresh garlic mayonnaise, a little salt and pepper voila.

the garden plan has changed i'll have to go to the illustrator document and make some updates. plus i need to document the location of varieties within a planting. we hope to focus on seed saving this year. toly had just been born last fall when most of those activities occurred so we were distracted from our gardening tangent and finely focused on children rearing.

warm weather yesterday. well, it was actually hot and summer-like. all the original onion sets (the first little bulbs) are up and about two inches tall. it was so hot that i set up the sprinkler up in the front yard for the kids to play in. yes, i used the newly installed spigot and boy will that be handy for watering our new strawberry bed--photos to come.

our new willow tree arrived yesterday. i see a large hole in my immediate future. i still need to add more dirt to the strawberry bed. this evening will be another busy one. the earlier-longer days make spring seem more close at hand. i was very tired and sore last night when i finally laid down. two days of climbing around bobs rafters and installing reflective barrier bubble wrap insulation has taken its toll on my body. a short day at bobs followed by a full evening of gardening makes for long days.

tabitha canned beans yesterday--yum, yum-yummy. we eat plenty of beans around here. there is nothing like home canned beans. if you have ever soaked beans overnight and then slow cooked them all day long with garlic and spices, you have a idea of what these are like. she also cans garbanzo beans and then makes fresh hummus. oh, the kids love hummus. oh, i love hummus. hummus hummus dreamy hummus

Monday, March 12, 2007

progress update

i worked at bobs today. when i got home i finished installing water line to the front spigot. i ran it in pex from the cold feed to the clothes washer. it is just for water for the front yard so copper pipe is not necessary. we like to keep our drinking water in copper whenever possible--plastic is plastic no matter how stable they claim it to be.

i rototilled a few more rows in the garden after strewing some compost around. tabitha planted a dozen or so cabbage plants in part of that area. we will plant the rest in spring beets. between this and the last planting preparation i gathered the better part of a wheelbarrow load of rocks. i surprisingly found several large (in excess of 20 lbs) rock. a person would think that they just keep rising from the bowels of the earth.

i also raked a few bucket loads of rock from the yard around the piles of rootcellar dirt. i put all the rocks in the fill area between the root cellar and pump house. i get paid from bob today maybe i can afford more root cellar materials and get going on that again. i already bought the electrical conduit and fittings necessary. the next thing i need is re-bar, cement, sand and fiber reinforcing additive--metal lath will closely follow.

rosie ran off yesterday, mother nature seems to be more powerful than any training i can accomplish. she is back now and sadly confined. her operation is in just a few days, hopefully she'll settle down after that.

rain predicted for this afternoon i hope we can get our beets in before any precipitation.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

boring posts sans photos for a while

tristan managed to get his little fingers on the camera and broke it. it is in route to cannon to meet an unknown fate. of course we'll get it fixed but affording it is another matter. tabitha wants to cancel her dentist appointment--bad idea. i plan to work extra at bobs this week. plus i need to purchase supplies for my next phase of the root cellar. cement, masonry sand, expanded metal lath, re-bar, six by six welded wire and fiber reinforcing additive. plus i need a few odd electrical items to get power to the root cellar. i want a three-way switch to turn power on and off at an entry light over the door--one inside the house and one in the root cellar. i need a light and outlet in the cellar and i'd like to continue power through the root cellar to the barn. i also want D.C. wiring from battery backup to 12volt emergency lights.
AC conduit
-barn power (10/3)
-rootcellar power (12/2)
-3-way switch (14/3)
DC conduit
-emergency power (10/2)
for now i just need to have the conduit penetrating the cellar ready. i am so excited to have all of the earth bags finished. that part was very labor intensive. the ferro-crete part will be easy in comparison.

tabitha and i finished planting the onions. tomato seeds are started. i need to till more of the garden this evening so we can plant beets before it rains on friday. i hope to have a beet juice extravaganza this early summer. have i mentioned that i love beets?

the strawberry raised bed is built and ready for more dirt. i used rough cedar logs. i made it log cabin fashion. sorry photos:(

i need to order another dump-truck of crushed lime stone base (chat). the floor of the root cellar, barn and foundation for the barn will use the better part of another dump-truck load.

my next structure to build after the barn will be a new chicken coop. the old one was built in a day and won't hold the number of chickens that we finally want. plus it is a bit too rustic--rust being the real point. i have many improvements that i'd like to make.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


spring has sprung? not really... but here are the crocus. i guess we always get a snow storm in march. we just missed the last system that clobbered sugarcreek and gracious acres, two of my favorite blogs.
tabitha planted the rest of the row of onions that i started. we got our onion plants order delivery. the little plants were beautiful. so meaty that i wanted to eat them right there on the spot. it was too wet to till the garden today to finish out the onion planting.
tristan has been really sick. high fever culminating in delirium. he is terrified to go back to sleep because the nightmares are too much. when he is sick his battle with his subconscious is much more difficult. i sympathise with him so much that i'd gladly accept any fate to alleviate his suffering.

i turned the compost. it looks like i'll have about three yards of finished black gold once this huge pile is finished.

i cut wood in the ravine today. i have about two hours of splitting to do in the morning. i like getting a workout while it is still crisp out.
the root cellar is coming along nicely. nine more bags to fill and stack then i start my fero-crete arch roof. i need some re-bar to set the beam-block. i still haven't priced expanded metal lath. maybe next weekend i'll be mixing my cement for the roof?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

stormy night

i woke at five am to the sound of heavy rain. i mustered my courage to brave the morning. kassi and tristan had some how turned 90 degrees in bed and formed a mini bulldozer with their feet. perched on the precipice, exiting bed was easier than usual. the fire was out but the house wasn't cold. my wood calculations will need adjusting. we are using way less than my pessimistic projection suggested. tabitha optimistically thinks that the three quarters of a load left (loaded feb 17th) on the porch will be our last one. sorry to bore you with silly wood stuff but i'm trying to document wood usage for next years planning.

mike, tabitha's father, had his 220 to 250 pound hogs killed by a pack of dogs. it was gruesome sight and deeply disturbing. he bought ammo for his gun and plans to kill any dog on his property. he loaded his truck with the three pigs and drove it around to show all the neighbors. he informed everyone of his intentions and if they cared about their dogs they'd keep them contained. i think, if he manages to kill any, he will be doing the neighborhood a service. after seeing the killing-for-sport slaughter of his pigs i fear for my children. i am sure that rosie would alert us (like she always does) and protect the kids but it is still scary. any troupe of dogs that can kill hogs of that size could easily kill small children. we live in a drop-zone for abandoning dogs and have several unsavory pit-bull-ranchers within two miles. tabitha and i have been considering purchasing a gun. i was reluctant, although i am proficient with a gun, i just don't really like the idea of having something so dangerous in the house. we took photos for mike and nancy of the pigs, i'll spare you the horror.
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