Not looking good for goats this year

I noticed the calendar says it’s time to start looking for goats, but it’s not looking good for that to happen this year.

I’m probably just going to focus on the garden and getting the chicken fence up this year – I’ll be lucky if I get that much done.

Maybe next year…

Schedule change

Randy will be leading a discussion on “being led by the Spirit” at next week’s home group (March 1). Paula will be leading the discussion March 8 when the topic will be “Nutrition 2: Good fats, bad fats, and the ‘five deadly sins'”, unless Randy’s topic turns into a two-meeting discussion.

Worms, Your garbage, “Echo”, seed starting

Found a source today for a FREE worm colony! We found out through a back door that the son of some old friends of ours did a vermiculture project for his senior project in high school. The parents have been maintaining the worm box for the last four years while their son was at college. They are willing to trade their already going worm culture for some help building a raised bed garden! (Wow, this community thing is actually starting to work!)

SO… those of you who come to Big Oak Ridge on a regular basis, we’re really going to need you to start saving your organic garbage. We need to feed worms, start a thermophilic compost pile (for the composting toilet), build lasagna garden beds, and maintain chickens – all of which can use organic trash.

ALSO: the same people who have the worm bed told me about ECHO. Apparently there’s already quite a bit of groundwork laid for the kind of projects we’d like to get involved in. It’s good to know we really don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

Things are already starting to ramp up for spring. Yesterday we bought all the materials to build our new seed starting rack for starting seed indoors. Pictures to follow.

Hay Day!

So today, during the super windy snowy weather, we got more hay for the cows. Chris’s “Old Blue” could only handle one at a time, but they were not hard to roll off. Shelli and I did it pretty easily.

Visit to a REAL farm (sort of)

We visited the Carriage Hill Metropark Farm yesterday. The farm is being “restored” to look (and function) as it did at the turn of the century (1895-1916), including a program to breed the animals back to what they were like in that era.

I enjoyed our brief visit partly due to the history, but also because this farm looks like what I am aiming for; inexpensive functional aesthetics. The buildings are, for the most part, board and batten shed type construction, but very neat and attractive and obviously very sturdy.

I also got a picture of a “New Idea” wagon since it reminded me of Ryan’s business.

Cutting firewood (general property cleanup)

Yesterday I spent the day cutting wood and cleaning up. We had several trees come down in the high wind the night before. One of the trees was across the road. Since I heat with wood this was just fine for me. I cut up the one across the road first and brought it up. The second one was just as big, but I had cut it a couple of days before. So I just had to split it and load it up. This second one had barbed wire in it from the days of the old farm before us. They used to just wrap it around trees and nail it in place. This wire is probably about 50 years old. Maybe more. The black rust marks from it went about 6ft up the tree. The tree was maybe 4-5inches around when they put the wire around it. When I cut it was good 24inches across.

I also spent some time cleaning up junk the blew around. Our generic tin shed got destroyed and it blew into the fence and broke a few insulators. I guess I will fix it up today and cut the rest of the trees that are along the roads. I also hauled some lumber for the wood shed from up at Joe saw mill. He had scabby left overs that aren’t good enough to sell that he lets me have.

This is old blue working hard. Not bad for a $500 truck.

Here is the barbed wire. Look how thick that is compared to todays chinsy stuff.
Here is the big log with the rust marks in it.

Here is the split logs showing the rust lines. I just thought it was neat.

More fence with more juice.

Well we put up two more strands of fence and hooked it to the 110 charger instead of the solar charger. It has a lot more wallop to it now. I know, I touched it. So far they have stayed in two days. Hopefully it holds. We disconnected the bottom line that was buried in snow, but now the snow has melted. Oh Well. 🙂

What works for one …

Last year I did the YMCA thing through the winter, and I really enjoyed it. I was planning on doing that again this year, but could not afford it.

Now I’ve joined an exercise initiative at work modeled on the TV program “the great race” (I’ve never seen the program and know nothing about it). At work you get 1 mile of “credit” for every 15 minutes of continuous exercise that raises your heart rate. So now I’m using the treadmill, walking, etc. to earn mileage points at work.

I don’t know why, but I need this kind of external motivation to get me to “do the thing”. Whatever works I guess.

Design Decisions

I read an article recently about off grid vs. on grid power, and how to choose and scale systems.

Basically there are three choices:
1. off grid (produce all of your own power, no connection to the public utility grid)
2. on grid (power comes from public utilities)
3. on grid with backup (a natural gas or propane fired generator provides backup for critical functions – heating, refrigeration, pumping water)
4. off grid with backup (produce most of your own power but use the public utilities as backup or supplemental source)

There are pros and cons to each model, and, as with all things it seems, cost is a primary driving factor.

I think at a minimum we should have a backup power source for heat and refrigeration and water.

Ingredients

I am interested in vermiculture (raising worms) on a level that would be a source of actual feed for my chickens, hopefully through the winter.

I am interested in thermophilic composting on a scale that would provide at least part of the heat for a greenhouse through the winter.

I have realized that, with just these two goals/plans, I have one significant problem – we don’t make enough garbage.

I’m going to have to start collecting organic waste from outside sources to “fuel” this compost plan.

Interesting.