Sunday, March 29, 2009

chicken coop roof

kassi is rome's second mommy. she held him while watching morning pbs and he fell asleep in her arms.

so cute.

i managed to squeeze some chicken coop work in today.

the roof is on and it's ready for siding. i cut the recycled steel with my circular saw. i used an old carbide blade installed backwards. it works better than using an actual steel cutting blade. the noise it makes is incredible and will damage your ears. luckily i have several sets of ear protection and safety glasses.

that huge roll of horse fence is seven feet tall. it will be the chicken pen. they'll enjoy a large run instead of roaming all over creation.

here is a nice juxtaposition of the old shabby coop and their new diggs under construction.

besides cutting the steel for the roof and installing it we managed to plant some gifted bamboo, yucca, and day lilies around the farm. the bamboo will hopefully be a screen from our creepy new neighbors. the yucca is out by the mailbox and lilies are by the red fence.

the onions are doing marvelously.

we'll be in the salad very soon

we also had a little surprise yesterday morning.

this will be our first year that we can harvest as much asparagus as we can eat. in previous years we had to show great restraint to let the little guys develop. there will be a few weeks of smelly pee around here very soon.

the dogwoods are finally popping out. everything is really greening up. we are expecting a cold snap this coming weekend then the pullets will go out into a chicken tractor for a little while. they need to get outside in the grass.

spring is so much fun, such excitement and wonderful expectations.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

spring has sprung

the pullets are at that ugly stage right now. they'll start looking better in a few weeks. this stage is especially sad for this breed, silver laced wyandottes.

the green house is really a huge change for us this year.

not having the tomatoes in the house threatened by small crazy children has been a sanity saver.

our matriarch cat is with kitten again. she is a true farm cat and her offspring are great hunters.

bob has one of her daughters, overfeeds her and she still is an incredible hunter.

this in an incredibly straight row of onions.

it just looks crooked.

greens are doing nicely.

we started these in flats and transplanted them a few weeks ago.


he looks normal sized in this photo. he's not though. the kids try to ride him all the time. he lets them for about three or four seconds. henry loves rome and hovers over him when he's on the ground in his areas.


aka dinner

this is the smaller pig kirby.

ham anyone?


the past illness has all but halted progress on the new coop.

fresh raw milk is in my future and here is the reason.

garden yet to be planted.

we love our green house.

our peach tree is in full bloom.

along with the redbuds, service berry trees and all those bradford pear ornamentals everywhere.

strawberry beds. the newest one is in the foreground.

rome has taken to a speedier method of transportation

the bear crawl.

he is thinning down loosing that chubby baby status

he still has a double chin though.

Friday, March 20, 2009

the victory garden revived

if you care about growing your own food and keeping that sentiment alive then you must read this. white house vegetable garden

i think it is brilliant. now if they could just kick monsanto out of the U.S. ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

evil flu

the entire pile of o'melays has been struck down again. this time it was my fault. i got it first probably from work. i have never been so sick from a flu in my life. it was completely debilitating. i laid in bed, hardly ate and forced every amount of liquid that i could manage down. this morning is the first day i have had coffee in three days. for those of you who know me can easily realize that any illness that keeps me from my most passionate vice it must have been severe indeed.

poor tabitha now has it and has been apologising profusely for not being compassionate enough during my misery. i must say that she took fine care of me and i have arrived safely on the other side. i'm staying home today to help take care of the pile. any well wishes might help though.

rome had a 103.5 temp last night. kassi seems to feel etter this morning. tristan is still miserable. toly has yet to officially contract the illness althoough he is showing the early signs.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

overdue photos

this was the coop before yesterday

these are my accomplishments as of last might.

i have all the rafters on. i need to finish some small details then it will be time for the steel.

tomatoes anyone?

silver laces wyndotte pullets

"show heifer"

rome loves these spring-like days

and canned peaches

princesses like the weather too.

here tristan is showing that the peach tree is almost blooming

Thursday, March 05, 2009

new chicken coop

i got to work an entire day on the new chicken coop. i made some real progress. i had to buy almost all the wood for this project. luckily the local lumber yard is very kind to me. they share their yellow pine lumber with me at below normal lumber cost. their side business is making rafters and they use tons of yellow pine and get incredible deals on it. yellow pine is much stronger than regular lumber that you can get at home depot.

i have all the walls up and half the rafters on. i still need to buy the wood for the other half of the rafters. then we'll put the steel on. i have been saving steel for a long time for this project. it will be very cute once it is finished. the lines are already apparently pleasant.

photos tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

choosing less

this tax return we have all but decided to not get a van/vehicle that we can all fit into. our focus during this depression will be to further secure our farmstead. if we get our root cellar done, our solar hot-water installed, our chicken coop finished, our house made more energy efficient, a new refrigerator, our wood floors installed and all the little things procured we'll be much better off. we need a grain mill. we need more bulk storage containers. we need to get ready for the hard times ahead. if we blow it all on a vehicle and can't afford gas then what? better yet we can always get into debt to get a vehicle if the countries course changes abruptly.

this has been a hard decision. tabitha and i have looked into the future and imagine that this is the most prudent choice.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

i have an idea

my problem has been not having a solar storage tank for my solar system. i have the solar collectors most of the plumbing, pumps and a controller. the system i have in mind is called a drain-back system. basically the water is pumped up through the solar collectors when there is a call for heat. when the pump is off the collectors drain completely into the tank. this serves several purposes. one is that during freezing temps there is nothing to freeze since all exposed piping is drained into the insulated tank. another is that once the water temperature in the tank is hot enough the panels drain and doesn't over heat the system.

anyway i have been planing to build a tank from cement block and hydraulic cement. needless to say my solution would have been time consuming and tons of physical effort. my solution has presented itself and i am excited that my patience and observation has paid off.

i plan to use an intermediate bulk container.

it holds 275 gallons. it is made from high density polyethylene (HDPE). it is a recycled product and is extremely cheap. the product is already plumbed for my needs almost perfectly. (HDPE) can contain fluids at a sustained temperature of 230° indefinitely. the large access port on the top of the tank will allow me to insert my heat exchanger coil into the tank.

so my idea is to plumb and insulate this tank install a long copper coil as a heat exchanger. the household water will travel through a long pipe immersed in the tank. as the water travels through the immersed pipe it'll warm closer to the tank temperature. the water in the tank will remain as a closed system.

this revelation has just bumped my solar hot water system up on my queue. we'd really like to get all of our hot water from the sun.
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