Saturday, June 30, 2007

photos and solar shower

tabithas flower garden

twisting twirling

this years bean arch incarnation

our new out-door shower

the complicated water heating for our shower.

animal roll call at the pile

nurtured animals
laying chickens 25
broiler chickens in tractor 25
guineas 10
goats 2
cows 2
dog 1
cats 2
people 5

feral animals
whistle pigs 2
squirrels 8-10
squash bugs 10,000

please consider yourself tagged and comment here so we can tally all.

Friday, June 29, 2007

roosters beak

pico de gallo, yes it is true we harvested our first tomatoes yesterday and today. tabitha roasted one of our recently butchered chickens and i suggested that i make salsa (pico de gallo style) and have roast chicken tacos. this occasion was one where we produced most of the meal on site. tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, chicken, sour cream, milk, cheese and a sliced cucumber on the side were all home grown right here at the pile of omelays. what a great feeling of accomplishment.

onto further accomplishments, i finished the pour on the root cellar. i have another week or so of curing time before i can get back at it. i also finished tearing up the floor in the bathroom. it looks like hell right now but we are one step closer to a new beautiful bathroom. the new tile is on order from home depot. i tried to buy local but none of the local shops carried`our choice. as an interim solution for showering i made a makeshift outdoor solar shower. 100 feet of black hose concentrically draped on the roof and sent to a shower head with cold water mixed via two hose bibs and a ball valve for abrupt on and off capability. eventually we'll have an outdoor bath and shower but the piles of dirt that will re-cover the root cellar must be moved out of the way first.

saturday i plan to get the bath tub ready and tear out the old, now leaking from several cracks, bath/shower. the new tub needs some cleaning and slight repair of the surface. we will also paint the cast iron underside and decorate with kids hand prints.

the garden is really coming to the front. i'll try to get a panorama together tomorrow. tabitha pickled beets yesterday almost 12 hours straight. that was about 1/3 of the beets that we have in the garden. the tomatoes should really start cranking here in the next few days. the cucumbers are about to burst at the seams. there are so many little ones just a day or so away. summer is here, the true tell-tale-sign was having fresh pico de gallo. i wish you could be here to taste the first fruits of summer at the pile of omelays.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

partito di compleanno della principessa

kassi is my princess. i sometimes call her principessa, thats italian for princess. five years ago in santa barbara and during the early pursuit of tabitha she was in an italian class. during a viewing of Life is Beautiful i started calling her principessa. the name stuck and was an obvious carry over to kassi.

we had her big birthday party. tabitha made cake (delicious beyond any other) and ice cream. we bought a hand crank ice cream maker. if you have a jersey cow an ice cream maker is a necessity the hand crank model keeps ice cream production to special occasions only. we invited many friends and were a little disappointed in the turnout. the thompsons were sick and justifiably absent. hand cranking the ice cream makes the build up to crescendo palpable.

kassi was doted upon and showered with presents. she was truly gleeful with a perpetual smile. we continued our piñata activity and acquired this piñata from the local mexican food restaurant. it was heavily constructed and took several hits by every child before giving up the ghost. kassi recieved a huge package via fedEx just at the tail end of the party. it was stuffed with dress-up stuff her excitement was so extreme that any verbalizations that came from her could only be heard by dolphins and dogs.

we over packed the piñata for many more children than were present (grumble). candy saturation was taken to new heights the old title was previously held by halloween. birthday festivities are now suspended until august 9th.
kassi big party

i got some cool tea as a late birthday present i'll try it out today--thanks a lot.

the big cement pour is slated for today. i hope i can hold up for the entire task.

our new bathtub arrived today also. well, it is old but new to us. we are also in the process of re-doing our bathroom. the old bath got a micro crack and leaked under our flooring and ruined the tile work:(

Thursday, June 21, 2007

county fair

we went to the county fair again this year. as an adult once you have been to a fair of this caliber you have been to them all. kids are a different story. they had the same rides as last year with the exception of a broken merry-go-round which caused a little heart ache. the county fair is pretty rinky-dink but the kids loved it.
they only have the usual set-up of traveling mechanical rides and concessions--you've seen them. the favorite ride for the second year in a row was the gigantic slide. kassi and tristan both climbed all the way to the top, alone. they managed to follow instructions without getting intimidated and slide down. after a few assaults on the summit kassi got tired and we moved to the next ride.

they did have a mini bull riding display in the arena which was amusing for a while. after a bucking ride one of the bulls refused to return to the corral. we left a few minutes later because during their incompetent attempts to subdue the bull they fell back on a comedic routine which included crude and explicit jokes. sadly, all judging competition of farm animals happens at the state fair in sedalia missouri. once the kids are older we might pursue a 4-h project animal raising and make the trek to sedalia.
county fair 07

not really venturing too far from my immediate circle left me amazed as to the sheer quantity of smokers walking around. i had to get out of line several times from a ride to avoid the envelop of blue smoke around me and toly. i just don't get it. historians will look back at this era with amazement. they will wonder how our species survived the rampant self inflicted poisoning.

Monday, June 18, 2007

fowl news

our friends whom have a delightfully large family came to help us butcher our remaining broiler chickens. the kids played while adults got gruesome. i showed shane how we butcher. he was a quick study, i knew he would be. we killed 19 in about four hours. after the first two hours the girls gave up outdoor plucking and retreated to the air conditioned house to do the final touches on the birds. they also had the tougher job of monitoring the progressively feisty children. about three hours is the physical limit of children in that situation.
we plan to give them five chickens for their much appreciated help. i hope they feel it is worth it. we got these chicks from the local hatchery estes and they didn't do nearly as well as the ones that we get from mcmurrary hatchery. it might be all luck but it seems that every chicken we get from estes is of questionable bloodlines. slightly wrong combs on our layers, flecks of wrong color in the broilers are two examples. further more the (leg issue)death rate on the estes broilers is not acceptable. the reason for my rant is because i know that five broilers of last batch (from mcmurrary hatchery) would be more than enough compensation for the grueling day our friends spent butchering. the problem is we can't really afford to exchange any more because our financial equation will be backwards. i know that they were hating it toward the end of the day but i hope that it is similar to child birth, the pain is easily forgotten when the reward is tasted.
when we tried our first experiment of six chickens and butchered them at the end of the day we said "this isn't for us" then a few weeks later we ate one of the chickens and promptly ordered 25 chicks to raise and butcher.
in other fowl news we got ten guineas in the mail (from mcmurrary hatchery). five of them promptly disappeared, vanished without a trace. we thought a snake was the only explanation, there wasn't any sign of death or escape but i promptly shored up the edges of the brooder coop which was sitting on the ground in the corner of the garden. we leave the bottom exposed so they can scratch the earth and grass as soon as possible. you might see where this is going. then the next day tabitha was walking by the compost bin and thought she heard the keet squawk. there they all were cozied up under the warm compost and all survived the cold night. imagine the odds that they found the only possible warm safe spot to hide. anyway we are very happy to have them all safe and sound.
i was tagged for a mime and want to do it, really i do, but just haven't had the time. friends and family have been bleating for an update so i must carry on.
i know that i am overdue for a panorama but my ftp issues still plague me and relying on tabitha's xanga account is just daunting enough to keep it on the back burner.

finally happy birthday to my perpetual fathers day present, Kassiopeia Saffron Rose O'Melay, she is a big-girl three years old today.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

the problem with..

the problem with having mostly farmstead type blogger friends (if i may call you friends?) is summer farm duties take uber amounts of time. time must be spent in the garden, yard and farmsteads. blogging turns to treacle--my reading material dwindles.

a storm is expected today so i'll try to get a full blown post together photos and all.

Monday, June 04, 2007

root cellar ferro crete shell

this is what sixteen tons of chat looks like. well, minus the small amount needed for the bond beam on the root cellar.
the ferro crete shell is on.

outside view

inside view

Friday, June 01, 2007

Hermione Underfoot

the parallels between the television series of yore *green acres* and the pile of omelays are scary. one example is our post master jeff or heffe as i call him. when we first moved here he told us to move our mailbox because a circle drive isn't within government parameters. i moved it across the street and made a modest approach which was promptly rejected by the delivery girl--some hateful grudge toward us that involved years of pining for our little homestead. we simply paid for a mail box at the post office. a year and a half later we decided to pursue a house box because it will be easier for tabitha to get pressing mail without relying on me to drive there. in the interim heffe transferred to another rural post office. the new postmaster authorized in concert with the delivery girl that putting our mail box back in it's original location would be fine. bastards...

anyway, recently heffe returned under dubious circumstances from the other rural post office. he promptly needed to drop by to see our new calf. upon arrival he promptly displayed his wares mr haney style. he had a kitten in a white postal bulk box. it was too young to be weaned and demanded that the only chance it had for survival was fresh colostrum from our cow. tabitha couldn't refuse and wouldn't let me refuse either.

well here she is Hermione Underfoot O'Melay

mr haney aka heffe aka jeff the post master got us again.....
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