Monday, May 28, 2007

farm photos

the tomatoes are coming to the front

the new loft floor. rough sawed hickory, still green.

the gate that karl built

birthday panorama

this was taken on my birthday may 19th.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

thwarted by ftp issues

panoramas are a special deal, to be able to pan across them they must be uploaded and viewed full size. for months we have relied on picassa and google to automatically download our photos from camera and upload them to the huge free storage online. picassa is amazing and does so many things automatically that days of my life have been given back to me. the problem is that picassa resizes the images and doesn't provide http access to the full size versions. i used to employ *fire ftp* to upload my panoramas to and then access them from my blog. that worked fine last summer but i now have a different host that denies my every attempt to upload a simple photo via *fire ftp*.


that was my lame excuse for not blogging because i really want to put up panoramas and have been thwarted every time i try a new avenue. the new calf's first steps. i rushed home from work and carried it from the covey in the background so the kids could see it's first steps.

here at the pile many thing have been happening.
the new calf has been born
the garden has exploded into lush summer glory
i have most of my barn loft finished
i built a new old-timey gate
we have a new kitten
i have been working instead of blogging

i'll take a bunch of photos today of stuff and make a picture loaded entry.

Monday, May 14, 2007

bean arch - II

i spent the better part of the day yesterday putting up the new bean arch. although last years arch was very cool we completely changed our construction material. last year bamboo was the obvious choice. it was free, it seemed strong enough and it is a completely renewable resource. the unforeseeable downfalls were when it rained and got wet it flexed and couldn't hold the weight of wet bean leaves. i repaired it several times. this year cattle panels are used. they are pricey but if they don't work we will have many other uses for them around the farm.
another thing we learned was we only really like *rattlesnake pole beans* the other one we tried, missouri wonder, was vastly inferior. it was tough and a very pronounced string and not nearly as tasty. besides the *rattlesnake* has a beautiful purple flame design that disappears when cooked. it is like the turkey timer that pops out when done.
we made one alteration that might be risky. last year we noticed that the south end of the bean arch produced substantially more beans than any other part of the arch. i assumed that it was because of lack of competition with other beans for sunlight. in an attempt to replicate this we opted to make five separate bean arches each three and a half feet apart. these are still lined up to form a long tunnel but they might produce more beans from fewer plants. we'll see, it is always a learning experience.

Friday, May 11, 2007

friday fertility photos

tomatoes before last nights hail storm

nimue, step back shes gonna blow. that poor swollen cow is ready to spring any second.

henny-penny-sally is such a good mama.

not quite as good as this one

i'd say rosie is such a good dog except every time i do she does something really naughty. well, you get the idea.

water baby, one sure way to contain the feisty behavior is to immerse child in water--toly is following in his siblings footsteps. often an half a dozen baths are taken each day.

kids at play, play kids play...

Monday, May 07, 2007

booty from the festival - tomato roll call

tabitha and i both got straw hats. five dollars each. we couldn't find our georgia flame pepper so we settled for a serrano pepper. the kids got cherry tomato plants that tabitha just planted in the garden this evening. our tomato varieties are:
- Principe-Borghese (cherry)
- black cherry (cherry)
- cherokee purple (purple full flavor)
- omars lebanese (large pink slicer)
- pantano romanesco (large red slicer)
- amish paste (red canning tomato)
hopefully we'll have a yellow pear that was a volunteer from last year. that would be a seed saving accident. if it did make it we'll be sure to nurture it for next year also. it'll be the first omelay heirloom. actually it was tristan's favorite i really hope it makes it for his sake.
we had a bunch of fun. deb from work came and brought her husband and another couple. i guess gale and husband from work were there also, i didn't see her though. the thompsons were there with their whole family in tow. we really like them, their kids are nice and fun for our kids. i brought them our extra tomato plants that wouldn't fit in our garden. i hope they produce for them. i invited them to help butcher our chickens. we'll share a few with them (around 5) for their trouble. we can do the butchering ourselves but having help would make it less of a daunting task. plus we want to share our wonderful milk-fed chickens with such a nice family.
nimue is bloating up--she'll calf any day now. i can't wait for fresh cream in my morning coffee.
the garden is starting to really look good. i put mulch (wheat straw) between all the planted rows of tomatoes and beets. the swiss chard and other greens are still to small to mulch in yet. i hope to get cattle panels from mike tomorrow. we'll use a total of eleven cattle panels in the garden. five will make up the pole bean arch. two will be for trellised cucumbers. two will go to pumpkin trellising and two will go to the butternut squash. i'll buy them from mike since they are only slightly used in perfect shape and it'll save me the trip to ozark-MFA in a borrowed truck and trailer.
best of all, mike is giving me his surplus wood from making his loft in his barn. it will go for exactly the same purpose in our barn. i have heavy plywood there now but cool rough cut hickory one inch slab will keep up the rustic feel. i can see the finished barn in my minds eye. i hope to get to work on it very soon.
summer is almost here. life feels so rich right now that it seems like a dream.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

as child i made an estuary

as a preteen my father took me and my childhood best friend bob camping at the upper peninsula of michigan. it was so cold at night that i wore every piece of clothing i brought and still shivered awake most of the night. i woke to the smell of bacon cooking on a campfire. i'm not sure if any meal has tasted better.

later that day my father decided to go for a walk down the beach. bob and i followed. we were soon distracted by the the shoreline and sand. my father continued down the beach. we played and ran around then we noticed an inland lake. it was blown there by storms. it ran along the shoreline. further inland was thick forest. we followed it and noticed that it was huge spanning several miles. we named it lake superior too. further down the beach it came close to the real lake by about thirty feet. there was a large hump of sand between them.

being an industrious child i decided that we should connect the two with a canal. work began in earnest--bob was always a willing participant in my exploits. soon we had a hand width channel almost completed. it became apparent that the inland lake was several feet higher than lake superior (the big one). so instead of a canal we'd have a little creek. so we dislodged the final dam and stood back to observe our handiwork.

at first it slowly widened and we watched as little aquatic life slid past. then it picked up momentum and widened at an alarming rate. we both barely leaped to the campsite side and a looming darkness crept over me as i realized that my father was still way down the beach and on the wrong side of the new river. we stood there and watched a force of nature dumbfounded as to what we were going to do and how my father might get back to camp.

the river stopped widening at about twenty feet but still showed no signs of letting up. finally my dad came walking back towards us. as he surmised our handiwork i explained that we had no idea that this would happen and was sorry to have trapped him over there. wading across wasn't an option since it was at least four feet deep and very cold. i started to get really sad. then my dad noticed that the torrent had created a sandbar out in lake superior about fifteen feet from the shore. it made a crescent shape and was just beneath the surface--two or three inches. he leapt out to the new sandbar and ran across the crescent and leapt back to our shore. he got a little wet but was relatively unscathed.

have you ever built a river between you and your parents?

Friday, May 04, 2007

baker creek festival this sunday

we are going to the baker creek heirloom seed festival this weekend. what are heirloom seeds and why are they so important? heirloom seeds are basically seed lines that someone has raised from generation to generation saving the seeds each time. ideally, only the best tasting and the most suited to that specific environment pass their genes to the next generation *nurtured selection*. we believe this it important because bio diversity in life is one of the reasons we are here today. dead-end hybrids depend on monsanto and others like them to provide for the next years seeds.

mostly we are interested in saving seeds because we live in a micro-climate in the ozarks and having our garden adapted to the subtle nuances of this area seems like and obvious choice. besides our seed order next year will be much less expensive.

saving seeds is serious business and people are as passionate about it as some are about solar energy. it is another way you can make a difference for our future.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

nine chicks so far

two more to go. none of the wyandottes showed any signs of going broody. only henny-penny-sally rose to the occasion. she is a newhampshire red--one of the free chicks that came with a broiler order from mc murrary. she has been the friendliest chicken all along and is now the best mother.

a friend that raises many chicks told us to leave a bunch of eggs in one nest and someone will surely go broody. i have no other tricks to offer except we have moved the whole nest to the chick brooder to make her job of protecting them easier. we have yet to have a complete success.

******************* UPDATE ***********************

all eleven are hatched and cozied in under their protective mama, henny-penny-sally. it appears to be a mixed batch. i believe that the rule of gray-scale chickens will still loosely be followed.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

new compost bin

i finally got some pallets and made a new compost bin.

tabitha's milking area was getting kinda deep. she continually adds new straw on top of the general area which gets trampled down. i pitchforked everything into a wheelbarrow and filled the new compost bin to the top. this stuff should decompose very quickly since the raw materials are much smaller than my usual raw ingredient. i still have a couple of yards of compost that is almost ready to be added to the garden.

i also took down the big top. it was an eyesore that has passed it's time.

sorry for the boring post. this is the best place for me to document this stuff.

*************** UPDATE *******************

chicken hatching chicks at the pile of omelays

the tomatoes are liking their new digs.

left to right--nimue, romeo, aliyah

tabitha picking our evening salad.
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