Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Much needed rain from a misplaced Spring.

The serious rain we've needed has finally come, and now it won't stop! The chickens however are undeterred, though in the times of heavy rain if the chicks and mom don't go inside, she does protect them, and given how independent they've become it's fairly adorable. The chicks have been growing fast, and are feathering out. They're also starting to stray a bit from mom, though still very much within line of sight. I'm excited to see what they turn out looking like. I also need to check because one of the Cinnamon Queens may have gone broody, but I was too tired to bother her this morning.

The big thing I've been up to since last time I posted is working on the last steps of pulling down all of the barn and attendant fencing. You may remember the photo Right from mid April of the situation before starting to pull the barn down. After many weekend days, and lots of help from friends pulling the barn down, the landscape has changed drastically from where it started. As you can see below, we're done with pulling everything down. There are still trips of materials to do, but the hard work is done.

I will say, disassembling this has definitely been enlightening. For one thing, nails are much harder to remove from an assembled structure without breaking things. It's sort of interesting because screws are usually more secure for keeping things from wiggling apart. In short, nails are fast together, and a pain to get apart. Makes me wonder if the possibly apocryphal stories about burning the house down to get the nails back when nails were harder to get than lumber. Today, it's the lumber you're trying to save instead of the nails which is obviously a significant difference. Either way, I'm glad to have been able to help a friend, and at the same time get the materials to significantly improve our situation. There's going to be a lot of work going into using those materials, but I have many ideas that I'm looking forward to trying out. First things first, dealing with the things that are already here, the garden, the chickens, and the rabbits. Urgh, still need to get a new hutch or two built, though that'll be more possible with the free time increase.
Right now the garden needs a bit of attention. With the non stop rain since Sunday, things initially were doing very well, but are starting to get a bit sad from all of the rain and wind. Some of the garlic has fallen over, though it seems to otherwise be doing just fine. I look forward to having done this long enough to know when to harvest instead of having to look it up, but I'm not there yet. At least with garlic when to harvest is less of a specific date, and more of a subjective thing of when the bottom two or three leaves are brown, and the rest are green. As you can see here, the leaves are all still fully green. I'm glad that despite the reason the garlic is planted, we are going to have a good lot of garlic to use. With how much garlic we eat if we store it properly this should be just about perfect for our level of garlic usage. We're also going to be planting beans up hill of the garlic in the same bed, and trellising up hill so we can have beans going, and use space efficiently. We're going to be starting with Scarlet Runner Beans.
The other thing that's going on right now in the garden that's notable is our tomatoes. We hadn't intended to plant them and hadn't focused on them, but had some leftovers so here they are. Usually when we plant tomatoes we put Epsom salts in with them because our soil is short on magnesium. The yellowing in the leaves as you can see Right is evidence that it's still short on magnesium. We'll be putting Epsom Salts in ASAP, but at some point we're going to have to figure out how to solve the shortage of magnesium long term, whether that means manure, or other long term amendment schedule, I'd like to reduce how much we're relying on adding things on a year by year basis if possible.


  1. Now, I know you're a safe and sensible person, but all this talk of nails brings up some unpleasant memories from my childhood, so I have to ask; have you had a tetanus shot recently?

    (I can believe that someone would burn down a house to get the nails back. I remember reading in The Little House on the Prairie how Pa had to drill a hole and whittle a peg for every board of the door and roof until a neighbor loaned him some nails.)

    1. I'm sure I've had it recently enough or the doctor would be giving it to me. I know, that's terribly comforting but it's a good question. I have found that wearing heavy clothes and good boots also helps avoid most of the nail related injuries that are likely to come up.

      I know that some builders considered that using iron (nails) in building was a sign of a lazy builder. For me, lazy away! Getting things up this way is slow enough.