Tuesday, December 30, 2008

now i'm really getting excited

garden planning, garden planning tra-la-la-la.

maybe it is because the weather has been especially mild lately and feigning the end of winter. or, maybe it is because it has been soooo long since i have had omelay fresh vegetables. or, maybe it is because our garden all but failed last year.

i don't know. but, i have been eying the compost bins while salivating again. strange behavior you might ask? i admit it i'm weird. that compost bin is pavlovian trigger for food this summer. i lovingly add manure and discarded hay and in few months poof beautiful loamy black gold.

we just bought seed and have some saved-seed from two years ago. i hope they all germinate. if not we'll be fine either way. when the seeds arrive the gardening excitement will heighten.

i have been planning a mini green house for the past few days. it will be made from two cattle panel arches and some cement block. the block will be the perimeter and raise the panels eight inches on each side. it will be six feet by eight feet long. i scavenged some thick plastic from bobs greenhouse. the whole thing should cost next to nothing. of course we already have the cattle panels, plastic and cement block.

the greenhouse will be where we start seeds this year. in years past it has been a tedious task in an inferior place. this will hopefully save lots of work and produce better results. we'll start tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and some flats of greens. the flats of greens are because we'd like to enjoy spring greens as early as possible.

the greenhouse will hopefully double as a chicken brooder on the floor below the shelves of plants. we'd also like to start our chickens as soon as possible in the spring. as long as we are heating the greenhouse why not get some chickens in that heat too?

i'll document my greenhouse construction. hopefully it won't take as long as the root cellar. look there is even a new label "greenhouse"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

it's too late to order seeds

it's a joke that my father-in-law always says about any gardening activity. just after he'd plant beets he'd say "it's too late to plant beets."

we made our seed order from baker creek and johnnys seeds.

baker creek

beans purple potted pole
we like our pole beans grown on cattle panels as arches. not only is it way easier to pick but it makes such a wonderful shady spot in the garden. the purple pole bean is new for us this this year. it is purple on the vine and should be easier to see for picking. the kids like to help and i like to make it as easy as possible on them. these are also stringless the rattlesnake pole that we've grown for the past few years albeit delicious has a string and is a bit irritating when they are pressure canned. we just don't use frozen beans as often as canned beans.

cucumber japanese long
we love this cucumber and it will take some serious convincing for us to drop this one from our garden.

hot pepper serrano tampequino
a person needs some heat for their salsa (pico de gallo) tristan loves salsa and i'm sure that toly will like it also. kassi is another story

okra star of david
tabitha makes a mean pickled okra and all the kids love it. my preferred okra recipe is a simple marinate whole okra in soy sauce and skewer together as many will fit on the stick and toss on the grill. yummy

winter squash waltham butternut
throughout the winter we'll eat many butternut squash. the kids have been known to eat it too.

winter luxuary pie pumpkin
tabitha has taught herself to make incredible pie and pumpkin is a household favorite.

summer squash crook neck early golden yellow
yes we are gluttons for punishment. the squash bugs or vine bores always get these little guys. but, we almost always get a few meals from them before their demise. my favorite is sautee'd with butter then scrambled into some eggs. tristan can be counted on to make these and brag incessantly afterward. "don't i make the best squash?"

tomatoes they probably deserve a post of their own because we love them so much.

we like the amish paste for canning but they work in salsa too.

omar lebanese it is the crown jewel of our garden. these babies are huge and delicious and pink. mild but full flavored if that isn't a contradiction?

green zebra i just like the looks of these and people whom i trust say they are tasty. after all it is a tomato. the green tomato makes the salsa more interesting.

yellow pear it's the the kids favorite. they love these tomatoes and very few of them make their way into the house. these plants are prolific and tristan and kassi will stand there in the garden and eat them until they are full and will skip any meal just afterward.

johnny's seeds

beets we tried something new and we got a 1/4 pound of them. we eat beets around here. my favorite vegetable, baby beet salad, beet tops in salad especially tuna salad, steamed beet tops yum, steamed beets the glorious red bulb, pickled beets and finally beet soup. i love beet soup. and for desert beet chocolate cake--you wouldn't believe how good it is.

red chard a staple green vegetable around here. it is great in chicken soup

bush beans tabitha will be picking these... and canning them but i still get to eat them;)

carrots we had pretty good luck with these last year.

arugula my favorite green i graze this stuff right out of the garden on all fours and munching like a cow;)

toscano kale our neighbor grew this and has kept us in supply this winter. i love this stuff too. it is a young romance but strong and true.

basil tabitha freezes pesto and uses it in everything all winter long.

we have great garden plans for this up coming year. tristan is eating more than i do at each meal and we'll really need the fruits of our gardening labor this next year.

i'll be working on my annual garden map very soon.

plus things are really looking up. we got nine, count them 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9, eggs today. i'm proud of those girls. they took their sweet time getting started.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

the count of monte cristo

the count of monte cristo is my favorite book. i like don quixote almost as much. i aspire to live life like alonso quixano but realize i am much closer to edmond dantes rather closer to sinbad the sailor. the count's professed alter ego.

it has been a long time since i've read either book. i think about edmond dantès whenever i get angry at someone. yeah i know let it go... but here i am trying to post and still feel violated.


the bees are all still alive.

we have had some very cold weather. our neighbor and trash collector guy had all of his bees die during the last cold spell. he came by and offered his sugar water that was now useless. i refused because i don't plan to feed them. each hive had plenty of honey this fall. my goal is to have the healthiest bees possible but under natural conditions. somehow i think that feeding them sugar is kinda like humans eating at mcdonalds everyday. a person can live on it but won't remain healthy.

after his bees died i began to question my logic. i was worried about the bees and today i feel better. when richard the trash guy came by i offered him a nuc of bees. i said these bees are local and are hardened to the conditions in the ozarks. so in the spring if all the hives survive i'll checkerboard them and slip some of the extra brood comb with a few bees in a box for him. it is not really any skin off my back. i'll need to do this to keep them from swarming anyway. i don't want to start-up any more hives for me to take care of either. if i manage these four hives they should produce more than enough honey for our needs. mead production may start in a few years but not right now.

the pigs are doing fabulously.

i have really enjoyed them even though their waterer froze and catastrophically failed.

here is the repaired version with a 50 watt birdbath heater installed in the bottom.

there is a specialized pig nipple threaded into this 4' pvc pipe. it almost holds three gallons of water. if we continue to raise pigs i'll upgrade to a larger diameter pipe and add another nipple.

i fed them an old pumpkin and they loved it. they eat hickory nuts and persimmons when we pick them off the field and toss them into their pen. it is amazing to watch them crunch a hickory nut with their molars.

kassi loves her little pony.

she's hugging it tight.

henry is getting so big.

huge in fact and still growing.

the chickens are finally starting to lay.

they have been giving up about six eggs per day for a week or so. yesterday i installed a light in their coop in an effort to extend their daytime hours. i might trick them into laying heavily throughout the winter. we have been without a reliable supply of eggs for far too long.

see it there in the back?

tabitha is finally really starting to heal up from the pneumonia.

going outside has not been an option without repercussions. luckily it is extremely warm today. rome likes it outside too.

toly loves to swing

Saturday, December 20, 2008

who can comment?

well it happened. creepy people have found my blog and made a creepy comment. it was creepy for creepiness sake. i have struggled what to do and have decided to merely not allow anonymous commenting. i went to my google analytics* account and decided it wasn't a regular commenter--it's scary what a person can find out if they really care to.

i know this might force some to log-in or create a blog page. sorry blame the assholes without dignity that attempt to hide behind the anonymity of their creepy perspective. i considered making a closed blog, invite only, and still might do so. having a closed blog generally goes against the belief i have about free information and wanting to give back to the internet that has given me so much instruction.

i know one reason why so many of my favorite bloggers have quit. now, there will be one further constraint to my mustering a blog post. i'll have to consider what the creepy people will think.

sorry to trouble you all with my latest drama i felt that i needed to explain why i haven't posted in a while. the regular scheduled program should continue directly.

analytics* - used to be called urchin before google bought them. i've known those fellas for over twelve years. they used to host access magazine for me as favor and the occasional AD or design work.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

the first christmas present

tabitha found a piano. Harry gave it to us and helped me load it. what a wonderful christmas present. it is little and fits in perfectly into our house. it makes our whole house resonate when the kids play on it. they already love it. thanks harry!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

happy holidays

the tree

our own bath scene like in my neighbor totoro

things are getting better around here. illnesses are waning. holiday expectations are rampant. i almost got something done outside today.

Friday, December 05, 2008

many thanks

recently we have been the recipients of some glorious "get well" meals. we have friends that we didn't even know we had. the two deliveries of food are life savers. the food is so tasty and obviously healthy. we didn't know that other people ate like this in our area. in-fact we'll likely be implementing these delicious dishes into our regular diet once a semblance of normal health returns.

tabitha is feeling slightly better--virtual emergency room to critical care. she can't go outside without the cold air filling her lungs and sending her into fits of coughing that can end into vomiting. i have been taking care of the cows and guess what, they are sick too. awful diarrhea for the past two days. henry also got sick but is now better today.

i'm starting to think that the neighbors new house trailer has disturbed an osage native american burial ground and the wrath of the supernatural is smiting us. perhaps we have offended God, mother-nature or some other collective consciousness. certainly things have been rougher than usual. i guess i should be thankful that all the illnesses we are afflicted with are currently not going to kill any of us.

kassi is starting to feel the most well. she is leaping at the chance to fight with anyone over the smallest things. toly must be the next closest to mend because he and kassi have been in several fisticuffs already this morning.

i have to go to bobs today for a short while. he had a water main emergency yesterday. i briefly went and took things apart so he could buy new parts. today i must put the new parts in and restore his water. it seems that every critical thing that bob had done on his house where i wasn't involved has either catastrophically failed or i've had to preemptively re-do-it.

ron if you are reading this, these recent events have definitively convinced me that exposing the soft underbelly of myself and family to the blogosphere is right and certainly worthy. our new friends have found us and came to our rescue via our blogs. imagine we found community where we thought only virtual community existed. i guess everything happens for a reason and this too is part of "the plan."

many, gracious and humble thanks

the names of the innocent have been excluded to protect the angelic.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

who's counting anyway

day three, visit number three to the urgent care. imagine rome and toly both have ear infections now. holy crap will this ever end? lets see..

toly pneumonia
tabitha pneumonia
tristan strep throat
kassi strep throat
tabitha pink eye
rome pink eye
tristan pink eye
kassi pink eye
tabitha viral flu
rome viral flu
kassi viral flu
rome ear infection
toly ear infection

this all happened within three days. it is almost funny. wholly crap i feel like crying or laughing hysterically.

the hardest thing

thank you all for your generous comments and well wishes. i'm not really a complainer but i strongly believe in the collective consciousness--another contribution by a namesake. carl jung is an honorary karl with a "K" in my book.

i still feel "OK" knock knock.. the sore throat is really trying to get in but my defenses are strong, zinc, astragalus extract, C, liquids and a bit of sunshine for good measure. it might get me yet. the general lack of sleep will eventually take it's toll. the tag-team middle of the night needs are perfectly timed to allow me to just barely drift off to sleep--wahhaahwhaa. luckily even the severely ill tabitha must meet most of rome's needs although he is the easiest child yet.

my boss is reluctantly understanding and officially i get family sick leave but it was all used up by rome's paternity leave. what a crappy way to use up my vacation time. not that i'd get a real vacation anyway. there are several projects around here that could get done during a couple of weeks off--grump.

even though toly has been very ill i am starting to draw the conclusion that his issues are milk related. illness or no he has had a language explosion. he has several two and three word phrases now. he says thank you when you do something for him. i always say thank you to the kids and it rubs of at an early age. he has been playing imaginary feed daddy from the coat sleeve food dispenser. it is really cute. he sat through my reading him several books. tantrums are pretty much isolated to the wearing out of pain medication.

this not being a true scientific experiment still leaves out the fact that the pain medication could be relieving some other ill. he begs for it when his time for the next dose comes due. my wort fear is that he has been in pain this whole time and we didn't know. the jury is still out..

tabitha woke briefly an hour or so ago and claimed some relief and proclaims that she is on the mend--thank God. rome has another fever and we might be at the doctor for the third day in a row today. what else is out there that we might be able to contract? a co-worker has the stomach flu i guess that could descend upon us?

so, what is the hardest thing? keeping everyone from crying at the same time. they are all asleep right now so this time doesn't really count. although if i were to try to lay down and just drift off to sleep that would be the queue.

happy birthday tabitha this what i really wanted to get you.

i know it doesn't qualify as something sexy or pretty for pretties sake but it is nice to look at. you have been wanting one forever. just pretend that we weren't way-laid by these illnesses and we could afford it. i love you. there will be sunnier days ahead and we'll bask in them.

Monday, December 01, 2008

what's the deal?

tabitha has pneumonia frighteningly bad. tristan and kassi both have strep throat. tristan has a severe case. the doctor almost prescribed the three consecutive shots that toly just got. toly is belly sick from all the antibiotics--probiotics are mostly milk based. luckily he likes, rather loves kombucha. my ear infection is just getting better after a week and a half. rome is ok and wondering whats wrong with all you people. to top it off tabitha also has pink eye--it's likely to spread house wide.

furthermore what is wrong with the evil drug companies that a prescription for antibiotics costs $100? merry christmas everybody. several hours in urgent care and then over an hour at walmart waiting for the prescriptions will squash the sanity out of even the most stable of families. did i mention that everyone was very sick? imagine a sick two year old screaming with a penetrating sound that bag pipes can only aspire to. every old person staring at us giving the look--that boy needs a beating now. branson is mostly retired people so we were out numbered.

there is a beautiful light dusting of snow on the ground this morning. tristan's favorite, too bad he's too sick to leave the house. i'm home family-sick-leave today. maybe i can get enough exposure so i get really sick too.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

my letter to the President elect

We live in rural Missouri. Any alternative form of transportation besides a gas guzzling car is impossible. Roads are narrow and won't safely accommodate bikes or scooters. Many people would use their bikes or purchase scooters for a large percentage of their transportation needs if the roads were safer.

An infrastructure upgrade of wider roads with room for slower bikes and scooters could alter our energy needs at a rudimentary level. This could be accomplished in stages starting with heaviest used roads and infiltrate into the core of rural America. Accomplishing this would be a massive undertaking of men and machines that could not be outsourced to other countries. In contrast to technological infrastructure upgrades, the training necessary to accomplish this goal is nominal. Although, the widening could be coupled with broadband transmission lines and meet multiple goals.

I see this as an advancement toward the concept of roads in Europe where bicycles are the norm. It likely would be embraced by most of the population for the plethora of benefits that accompany this infrastructure upgrade. The roads would be generally safer for cars and standard vehicles. Farm equipment could have room to move freely from location to location without traffic congestion. Mostly, kids would be safer on our roads riding their bikes while learning to be energy conscious Americans.

Karl O'Melay

we'll see if this goes anywhere....

any comments and critiques are welcome.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


toly has pneumonia. we are getting around to go to the distant medical facility for some high powered antibiotic. allegedly very painful. he had x-rays and they called last night with the confirmation and pressed the urgency that we need to head in for the shots first thing this morning. three daily consecutive shots--happy thanksgiving little man:(

tabitha is also sick...

rome has been sick and will be checked by the doctor today--arrgh...

tristan is relatively unscathed and kassi is fighting the good fight along with me.

after much reading and discussion on the subject i have developed a theory. autism might be an attempt at an evolutionary leap. given the fact that einstein, tesla among others were/are/alleged autistic lead me to this hypothesis. given the fact that we have compassionately disabled standard evolutionary measures God/mother-nature/the-creator has ferreted out another path. only time will tell?

or toly might just be a totoro;) thanks phoebe

Saturday, November 22, 2008

bovine centric?

our world is going to change. toly's issues have sent us on an elimination diet. the first thing we are going to remove is milk. we have actually dabbled in eliminating other things with no results. milk has been the big hold out. we have been in denial. sheez, we have two milking cows right now. tabitha stopped milking the cows and left them with the calves to keep their milk supply up. we have also decided to sell nimue. yes we love her but rory is a vastly superior cow and we really only can afford one. having a milk cow is huge money suck.

so the idea is to rid the house of milk products and the whole family will go on a milk-fast. it can't be done halfway since the interchange of food cannot reasonably be monitored and segregated. i will buy cream for my coffee--i'm a cheater i admit it. within the eight weeks of milk-fast we'll sell nimue and really focus on isolating any variables that we might have control over. things like blood sugar, reflux, and gluten are on our hit-list. not milking will give the entire farm a break and extra time to focus on toly. other benefits will come from having extra time. i have actually been reading from the printed word--imagine that, books. tabitha will likely start knitting again--that leans toward a winter activity anyway. the kids home schooling has ramped up. tristan is on a real schedule and has been pumping out daily copy work. his writing has improved dramatically.

after this eight weeks, if toly cannot have milk we'll sell rory after jocelyn is naturally weaned. we'll keep jocelyn and raise her as a dairy cow. that will buy us two years and afford us another chance at a milk cow. by that time tristan and kassi will be of a greater helping age. toly will be steeped in his milk free diet. i might have the milk barn finished. regardless, we plan to redouble our efforts toward gardening and sustainability. this last years gardening failure is a festering thorn in my side. having the milk barn finished will make the whole process easier. more of our foundation in place will make everyone's life easier. we have been over our heads for so long that everyone needs a break.

we'll still raise broiler chickens. we'll likely try farrowing pigs in a year or so. laying chickens will continue to be a staple around here. their new chicken coop will arrive sooner rather later. so, i'm not removing the cows from the "pile of omelay's banner" yet but, things are changing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

a little rough

first we are being encroached upon. one offender is our neighbor with whom there is no love-loss. he is our closest neighbor and is the most obnoxious. tabith calls him two stroke man. he has a two stroke engine for every menial yard task. they are constantly running--there are never more than a nights worth of leaves on his yard on any given day. last year he took issue with our chickens and made several death threats in their direction. after several months worth of spilled milk under the bridge the feudal fires quelled.

then the other day big-digs were moving dirt around and making a pad or something. then this appeared.

a single wide trailer--my favorite. it over looks our backyard. we were frightened that he was carving out a little nook for his daughter and her certified pervert of a husband. we did a little calling around and found out that he has sold the back portion of his property to a different neighbor whom also happens to be of verifiable questionable character.

anyway we are planning a series of plantings of some sort of screen evergreen trees, giant bamboo and privet. the other concern is what they plan to do with their septic and lateral lines. there doesn't appear to be enough room to properly dispose of the waste water. the ravine that runs onto our property will likely be the recipient of their liquid refuse. we are making all the proper calls and inquires. maybe we can put the kibosh on this encroacher.

then tabitha took toly to the doctor and he told her he believes toly to fall within the autistic spectrum. we are still in shock and disbelief. although if it were true it would answer a ton of questions.

on a lighter note we did get the kids a set of bunk beds. they love them they are like having a jungle gym in the house. we'll see if they actually sleep there. imagine tabitha and i sleeping in the same bed without a pile of omelays on top of us.

i did contract the cold that the rest of the family had and now have recovered. the weather is finally wintry and very cold. i have the wood stove cranked up and the house is nice and cozy. i sold that extra wood that i had to a neighbor. she was extremely interested in my root cellar construction. she got a great deal, almost a cord of seasoned wood for fifty dollars.

henry is doing great. he is the best dog i have ever had. such a pleasant creature to be around. he looks after the farm and we feel secure with him doing so. those stupid pullets still aren't laying yet. arrgh

Sunday, November 09, 2008

fall photos

henry running to see me.

such a good dog.

i plan to put steel on the roof of this storage shed.

this is the steel. the stack just to the right.

the chickens are stalking me.

hungry eyes

zelda has grown quite a bit hasn't she?

milk waste chubbs them right up.

nimue enjoying her new feeder.

munch munch time for lunch

juat a nap in the sun

busy chickens

romneya will fall to his doom if left on the bed.

we've decided that all toly needs is a boomerang to be the feral child from mad max.

we've been buffing up on our post-apocalyptic movies since the world was going to hell in a hand basket.

Friday, November 07, 2008


fall is here. there are heaps of leaves in the yard. i plan to borrow a leaf blower and burn as many as possible in the garden--maybe tomorrow. we don't own a leaf blower because i'd only use it every few years. this year i need to scorched-earth the garden. then i'll plant some winter wheat-rye as a cover crop.

tabitha and the kids have contracted some evil illness from visiting the doctor. isn't the doctor supposed to make you better not make you sick? they just went in to check if any of them might have any small issues. now they are all sick. sheez

i'm barely holding my own from the evil that has descended on our little abode. i hope the astragalas tincture holds until i can replenish.

the weather has turned cold. i have a cozy fire in the wood stove. i have the better part of cord of wood that is extra and won't store easily until next year. i might try to sell some of it. i was thinking i'd have my *hillbilly-hot-tub working by now and would need the extra wood to heat it.

our stupid pullets still aren't laying yet. i think they are about two weeks overdue. they look really healthy. they eat fairly well. we let them free-range and feed them a few scoops for whole corn each day. they also get every undigested kernel of grain from the cows manure. i just don't get it. maybe they are holding out for a new chicken coop? well i've got news for them they'd better not hold their breath too long. there is a culling scheduled fairly soon. i might have to make a few examples.

luna has been gone for a few days now and things are still off kilter. henry needs a little extra attention. i'm sure he misses her.

the cows are doing fine. nimue is playing the role of nurse cow and feeding both phoenix and jocelyn. tabitha has resigned to only milk rory for now. she tried to milk nimue the other week and it was a miserable failure. rory is such a superior cow to milk that it only highlights the difficulty with nimue.

the pigs are growing like crazy on the surplus whey and milk. they have pig feed in front of them at all times and have only eaten 75 pounds. they are really large easily forty pounds each maybe as much as sixty. they are getting friendlier but not enough to measure them yet.

we are seriously considering farrowing hogs in the near future. there is a small market for weaned pig. i'm sure we could raise some for sale too. all this means that i'll be doing a bit more fencing this winter.

the bees are cozied in for the winter. the next warm day i have to do a final visit before the real cold sets in.

tabitha was taking a nap so toly and i walked the property line and sprayed the perimeter trees with purple paint--no hunting. for them.

* hillbilly-hot-tub is an old cast iron bath tub with a fire built under it. i love a good soak under the stars.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

goodbye luna

luna died yesterday, i'm sad. she was a great dog and i'll miss her.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

camp obama

we were one of 40,000 people to see future president obama yesterday.

the long line was grueling.

we did a drive by 1:00pm and saw the line and decided that we'd better get in line.

they didn't start letting us in until 6:30pm

barack obama didn't get there until 9:45pm.

it was amazing. we felt like we had to take the kids. if people knew in advance that they could see martin luther king or jfk they would have jumped at the chance. our kids can forever say that they were there, part of history.

the kids were exceptionally behaved considering the long long wait. we really felt like were part of something bigger than us all. everyone was hopeful, positive and energized. what a wonderful experience.

******** UPDATED ***********
tabitha was on the local news while we were in line--twice. the local springfield paper also has a photo of her http://www.news-leader.com/

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


tabitha decorated the feeder

the kids helped.

my hand prints are there too

we took delivery of some hay

the bank over drew because of it.

the pigs are really growing

toly likes the pigs

i made kombucha today

Sunday, October 19, 2008

bale feeder dark blue

kassi was unhappy about my choice of radio station--NPR.

i finished painting the hay feeder. i like the dark blue.

i also painted tabitha's milking shanty.

this could be a scene right out of mexico.

kassi was trying to catch a chicken.

i'll drag this thing to it's temporary home as soon as tabitha is finished decorating it.

heeeeaaar chicky chicky....

we might declare this blue the official out building color.

wardrobe please..

our dogs are great they just hang out and blend in.

i still have to put on the ridge cap but the feeder is almost ready for service.
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