Sunday, May 31, 2009

end of may

we have tried some new gardening tactics this year.

the tomatoes are mostly in new ground. it was a considerable effort to make new gardening spots where only rocks lived before. one of the new rows doing nicely so far. i like the asparagus backdrop.

the foreground highlights the new raised beds. we'll be doing more of that next year.

another innovation is the deep mulch from mowing the yard.

these tomatoes have a double dose of compost we'll be doing more of that also.

amish paste were the earliest tomatoes we planted. here is one of half a dozen fruits of this size.

they are a little larger than a quarter.

this is the crazy alien hat-trick. we have been avoiding this mostly because it looks so funny..

supposedly this discombobulates the moth that lays the dreaded vine borer.

yummy deep mulch of yard clippings.

another thing that we are trying is widely spaced single rows with a large no-tred-zone.

the tomatillos are filling their little protective covering. we'll have fresh salsa very soon.

kassi is the true garden helper. she can be counted on to pick an evening salad.

we planted another double row of beets.

jocelyn is looking very healthy these days.

the broiler chickens are looking very tasty.

they rarely stand up.

we love our chicken tractors. they are so easy to move and attend. their feeder easily holds twenty four hours worth of feed.

i had to add that little piece of 1/2" pvc pipe across the bottom to keep the waste to a minimum.

we use recycled plastic soaker hoses for our watering needs. great care must be taken during handling since they get leaks easily. we'll likely keep this technology for years to come. we use hose manifolds to water several rows at once. these hoses need to be run in parallel. each manufacturer seems to have different flow rates. we buy what ever is on sale that year. one small innovation that i'm trying is to put a piece of tarp under the manifolds. this makes it possible to detect leaks and doesn't allow weeds to hide in the tangled hose/manifold mess.

we are trying a black plastic mulch this year on the melons and sweet potatoes. i had better examples of this but they also contained photos of tabitha.

the beans had spotty germination. there are new reseedings crooking up in between.

we love some cucumbers.

fresh sliced cucumbers with mayo on toast, that is all the lunch i need.

the kittens are deep in that really cute stage. meet rose tyler...

meet the doctor..

teh sun-chokes are doing well. they need to be tied up soon.

obviously kassi is still asleep other wise i wouldn't be able to take this shot.

tabitha's flower herb bed.

the other half.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

to beet or not to beet

that was the question. after a bit of deliberation we decided to pluck a few of the crowded beets that had younger fellows waiting to fill their void. kassi played the courier and presenter.

the beets were fabulous. tabitha steamed the tops and bottoms and served them separately. they were like sweet butter. i love beets and my affair with them was bolstered by these glorious examples. to that end we have decided to plant another double row of them. that will make three. luckily tabitha loves beets also.

another culinary development happened today. we got our half beef back from the slaughter house. he was grass-fed with the exception of some bribery grain to keep him friendly. we had burgers, the kids favorite. extra sharp cheddar and garden fresh arugula were only real condiments necessary. within the next few days we'll tear into the steaks. i look forward to that.

we mowed and mulched more on the tomato plants today. they seem very happy. the stupid wheat straw that i bought for that original purpose had so much seed left in it that i could have spread it on our pasture to re-seed it. or, i could have harvested all the new wheat grass and had a few mornings of wheat grass juice.

i also made the pulley operated ramp/door retraction mechanism for the chicken coop. it took a little adjusting to get it to operate smoothly. it makes it easier for the person putting up the chickens to close their door and lock it from outside their pen. no more tracking through the chicken manure each night.

i tried it tonight in the near dark and it worked wonderfully. the girls must have liked it also since they laid eighteen eggs today. i can't remember the last time that we got eighteen eggs.

kassi has taken to the computer so much so that she is standing over my shoulder waiting for me pass the baton.

Monday, May 25, 2009

burdizzo castration

well, we thought that dehorning was bad. tabitha and i mustered the courage to use the burdizzo. this device is allegedly the most humane way to castrate an animal. is there a humane way to castrate? here is a photo of after the deed. this is for our records. we are expecting these to noticeably shrink in three weeks.

the device basically crushes the vas deference and the accompanying nerve. it makes the most awful crushing sound, tabitha almost vomited. allegedly only slight bruising will occur. we gave him a large dose of bovine drugs. he seems fine now a few hours later.

between downpours i have finished the rock-work on the root cellar.

i covered it with tarp to keep the soil from eroding before i have a chance to grade it and plant it with mint and violets.

the cap stone seem small from this vantage but they extend back into the dirt.

my beautiful woman admiring my effort.

the pole beans are finally starting to climb the arch.

the tomatillos are about a week away from ripe fruit.

this is the mint that will cover my rootcellar.

risking being smited for being too prideful, the beets are doing nicely

so are the onions.

please don't smite us..

tasty greens. we had a few new potatoes the other night. OMG...

Sunday, May 24, 2009


kassi is the naturalist of the shorter omelay's. she is forever picking up flowers, animals and plants. finally after hundreds of requests for flora names tabitha made a link to missouri wildflower guide for kassi on the computer.

yesterday kassi picked a few flowers from the field and went inside. she came out proclaiming that she knew their name. tristan and kassi sat at the computer and researched the flowers successfully. it was one of those epiphany moments.

tristan, the technophile has known the wonders of the computer for years. kassi has always dwelled in the physical realm. i know that each child is obviously different. tristan taught himself how to read mostly attributed to starfall wherein kassi is learning to read in a much more standard fashion.

finally, kassi is excited about the computer. she sees that it can be a useful tool for her desires. i love it when one of my kids becomes empowered. i hope that this excitement sticks. there is nothing greater than having the ability to teach yourself at your own pace.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


toly calls all large dirt moving machinery big-dig.

well it happened i started to cover the root cellar. this has been a long time in the making.

tabitha's father came to the rescue. bob's little tractor wasn't up for the task.

rome said he'd help with his little dig.

tristan, kassi and toly stayed out of harms way and enjoyed the show.

i shoveled and monitored the fruit trees.

the sheer amount of shoveling was incredible.

i found a huge worm and threw it down to toly. he loves them.

mike was having a blast driving his big-dig.

after i shoveled dirt to the further reaches of the roof of the cellar i needed to make some more progress on the wall before the rain tomorrow evening.

just one more tier..

i can almost taste the feeling of completion.

tristan was close at hand to help wherever he could.

a little mud here.

it looks huge from this angle.

i got a little too much sun.

oh it feels so good to be close to the end..

a little video of the festivities.
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