Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Some success in the garden.

Apologies for the photo quality, not only was it raining today which makes the lighting a little iffy to begin with, I don't have a machine that I can edit photos on right now. Even without edited photos I'm glad to be able to share that our remaining squash plant seems to be doing well. As you can see from the plethora of blossoms it is adding fruit constantly. Not having a trellis isn't seeming to hurt it at all. I'm looking forward to being able to cut summer squash and steam it.
Our tomatoes have also set fruit, and seem to be doing fairly well. Some of the fruit appears a bit crowded as you can see here, though it seems to be growing fine. From how close the fruit is set these are probably sungold tomatoes since I think that's the only kind of cherry tomato I planted this year. The tomato plants are very stunted this year compared to the past, and we didn't even plant them late. They just haven't been doing well. Some of that is probably us having not used the bunny fertilizer we've used so liberally in the past, some of it is probably the very strange weather we've been getting with cold nights, and scorching dry periods.
Given the attention we've been able to give the garden at all this year I think it actually speaks very well to the benefits of mulch. If we'd given as little attention and watering to our plants in the past they'd probably be dead by now. With mulch they seem to be able to retain moisture well, and stay hydrated which has prevented the tomato plants from having strange split tomatoes, or just turning yellow and drooping after a week of no rain and hot sun. When we garden in the future I intend to make sure we mulch our garden beds, because the cost seems to be well worth it!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Garlic scapes, and chicken intrusions.

I'm sorry for not having a post up yesterday, with trying to get everything done, I've been running out of time and brain power. This is especially true as we've started packing up the Critter's things and he's getting upset and concerned about why his things are going away. That's led to evenings being a lot more challenging for us, and less sleep. Either way, while we have gotten rid of a lot of the homesteading things with the rabbits and being down to two chickens, there are still things left to do.

First of all, as you can see the garlic is doing very well. I went through and cut all of the scapes, and have put them in a vase. From the experience of a few seed savers this should give them enough energy to get through flowering. Over the next couple weeks I'm going to be keeping a close eye on them so I can pull the bulbules out and try to give the flowers room so we can save actual seed from them. It's one of those things that I really don't want to let go of  since it's been a goal for some time now.
Another thing that's going on is that the chickens are still very much around, and our red girl has survived and is thriving despite the attack from what I assume was a hawk. Unfortunately her desire to stay close to the house lately has led to some interesting behaviors. Including staring in the dining room window during dinner. The other thing that happens with this has become particularly relevant to my sleep. She's been perching there during the night, and as dawn approaches she starts shifting, and the bush taps the window. That wakes the dog up, who given the events of a couple weeks ago, thinks that the bear is back and wakes up barking. The barking wakes me up, and because you can't assume a false alarm I bounce up, run down stairs, and check for intruders. This of course cuts my sleep short when he does this 3 or 4 times from 4 - 6:30 AM.

Something we haven't discussed a lot in our homesteading talking is dogs and dog training. Dogs are an integral part of homesteading in my mind, and good training is an important part of that. We aren't expert dog trainers is why I haven't talked a lot about training. I would say though if you intend to do homesteading in the future, bone up on your dog training, and get good at it so you aren't looking for the best way to train this kind of false alarm behavior out, without eliminating the alerting behavior we do want!

Finally, we really appreciate all of the help we got on the GoFundMe, The push with the doubling met the goal, and it has helped a good bit. We're still struggling but it has made a huge difference for us, and thank you to everyone who has helped.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Events, rain, and chickens.

The rain finally came as it always done, and I swear the plants have perked up overnight. That's probably hyperbole, but it definitely feels like it even if it is a psychological thing.

Before I get back to that and focus on the homestead for the rest of the post, I'm going to touch on a couple things. First things first. The Lady of the House is having an art show near us, so if you're in our area and come we'd love to see you.

The other thing is, we're getting so close to the line where we can put the down payment on the furnace, and we're getting close to the end of the donation matching period on our GoFundMe. If you have been thinking of donating, now would be a great time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sending on the coop.

One of the hard things about getting the house ready is how much we'd done to make it ours. Some of that is the chicken coops. Unfortunately when the chickens are gone I'm going to have to just disassemble the big coop in the back. Fortunately, the Lady of the House's father wants to get into chickens so I was able to offload the smaller red coop we used for so long back to him. He actually found that coop for us for free, and hauled it up in the first place. He came up on Saturday, and the two of us moved the coop onto the trailer he brought, took down the chicken run, and packed it up into his trailer. Once that was done we loaded up a lot of the Critters toys, and the electric fencing for the chickens and sent it off to his house. Once that's set up we're going to bring the chickens to his place to watch over until we have a place we can have chickens again.

On the subject of the GoFundMe, we are doing well, and with the donation matching we're getting close to the $5,500 point where we need to be to get the heat and hot water installation begun. Any help you can give before the 1st while the donation matching is still going on would be greatly appreciated. All of the help and sharing we've gotten has been amazing to us. Thank you all.

On the farm side of things, we still desperately need rain.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Short grass problems.

One of the not entirely unexpected consequences of mowing the lawn short relative to our wild grass and perennial woods clearing. With the drought we've been seeing this summer, despite our nice moist climate relative to the valley, after mowing the lawn regularly we're seeing a lot of sad and browning grass. It's not the vibrant greens that I'm used to seeing our lawn, but it is starting to look more like a normal lawn. With a bit of rain it'll look fine.

On the GoFundMe front we are closing in on enough to put the %50 down payment on the furnace. Right now with the donation matching my father is offering we could reach that goal very quickly. We hope to reach it before August 1st so we can get the house on the market with a firm date of installation for the furnace. Thank you all for listening, sharing, and donating. Our community has been such a huge help to us.

Now on to the rest of the gardening situation.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Bear Visit

The Lady of the House had a very interesting experience while I was at work yesterday with a visiting bear. When I say visiting, I mean opening the trash can, and trying to get what little food there is in our trash.

Before I get to that I'm going to touch on our GoFundMe. We finally have a solid estimate on the furnace replacement. It is going to come to $10,550, and we have to pay half up front for them to get started. To help us out my father is offering donation matching dollar for dollar. Right now if you can help, your donation will count double.

That out there, let's get back to the bear, and the Lady of the House.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Quick Hit: The last rabbit kill.

Forgot to get the photos for today, so instead I'm just going to do a quick post, after all, this particular post doesn't really need any new photos. Last night I did the last butchering of rabbits that's going to take place here on the homestead. It was a killing that needed to happen, but I still am glad that it's the last one unless I'm going to be teaching people.

Herbie was the last rabbit on the homestead because he wasn't a rabbit we could let move on to another home. We'd tried to give him almost 6 months to recover from the back leg problems he was having, but he never did recover. It seems he may have injured his spine while playing and jumping around in the hutch, and just never was able to move properly after. It's a thing I've been putting off hoping he'd magically get better and we'd be able to pass him on, but it just wasn't happening.

Physically, skill wise, it was one of the easier killings I've done. Both of us were calm, and the physical process went perfectly. On an emotional level, it just confirmed that we made the right choice not to do rabbits anymore even if we were going to be able to stay in the homestead. The question now is, how do I continue to eat ethical meat, and stay healthy? Mostly, by eating less meat, and only buying from ethical sources.

But to be honest while we're in the process of selling the house and under financial duress, we're probably going to have to compromise and just eat what we can afford, while eating as little meat as we practically can.

Go Fund Me

Friday, July 8, 2016

The conundrum of chickens.

Obviously I'm using old photos today given that this shows Boris and our old girls, but I wanted to talk about chickens, and letting them express their chickenness. There's a balance to be had as long as you don't have infinite money with chickens. It's the balance of safety versus comfort/freedom that comes up in many ways.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Moving rabbits and hutches.

I hope everyone had a good 4th of July. If you're in the USA I hope you enjoyed your Independence Day however you chose to celebrate it, and that your livestock, and the humans in your life weren't disturbed by the fireworks. For the most part we weathered the fireworks just fine, but last night it seems that Boris didn't make it back into the coop, and I wasn't able to find him this morning. Last night was a bad night to be out between the thunder storm, and the fireworks.

Otherwise this was a very good and productive weekend, though we also spent time getting to be sociable and relax which is important in the midst of stressful weeks.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Luna moths, leaving rabbits.

I'm always glad to see the arrival of our first Luna Moths, they are a beautiful if fragile species with a short visiting time. To me they have a lot of the charm of fireflies except during the day instead of dusk and night. They are also incredibly sensitive to pesticides so they only survive in areas without any real pesticide use. To me they are a sign of living in a healthy environment.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Welcome rain, warm nights.

Despite the challenges right now we're moving along with life as we address them. Lately our predator concern has come from the hawks that are out a lot lately. The electronet doesn't help with that, but the chickens have been sticking to the tall grass and weeds to hide from the aerial threats. I'm always glad to see animals doing the smart thing to stay alive when I can't be there to preserve them 24/7/365 since I'm at work during the day.

On the funding side of things, the furnace situation is rough, but the go fund me has been incredibly helpful, and people have been generous, kind, and helpful with money, advice, and love. Our strength and wealth is in our community and friends, and this has really highlighted that.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The time has come.

In short order after Tuesday's post, things have changed again. Our furnace failed spectacularly. While we've always wanted a hot tub, 5" of boiling water in the basement was not quite what we'd wanted. With the results of that, and everything else going on, we've shifted from "We need to fix up the house, and sell but we'll keep it private for now" to "ASAP."

Where does that leave the blog? Well, sale in our area usually involves 2 years on the market once we get the repairs complete. I see no reason to not keep up what we're doing with this as we move along and keep doing what we're doing. I intend to keep going with the blog, and keep on keeping on for now. I will keep updating folks both on the homestead side of things, and will let folks know if the blog is likely to close or take a break for a while.

For now, I'm going to post the information from our Go Fund Me. If anyone's looking to buy a house in the hills of MA, or pay for all of our repairs let us know! We love the house, it's a great house in good condition other than a couple repairs. The real reason we have to move comes down to, our financial situation isn't improving, and hasn't improved for years. Without our finances improving, we end up with our one car dragging the Critter around for hours a day which isn't ok. So, it's time to change.

I figure, closing on a rainbow seems appropriate. If you're interested in the Go Fund Me you can go to the link, or I'm including the text below.
As some of you may know, we have reached a challenging point in home-ownership.  We had planned to keep it private, but we had already decided to move after the latest in several major expenses when the well suffered damage due to the previous home-owner's "DIY tendencies." We simply cannot keep up with the expenses, even with insurance.  We LOVE this house, but the distance and issues have made this a completely untenable situation.

We have long spent our emergency funds and ability to take loans/credit cards. Those who have been to our house know that we hadn't even had a chance to repair the damage from the first plumbing issue (affectionately known as the "Speed Bump") where the improperly installed dishwasher dripped through to the basement.

We just had our oil furnace completely give up the ghost. Our insurance is probably helping to cover much of the water damage caused by 4+ inches of hot water, but not the new boiler which is the priciest part. While having a hot tub is something we wanted, in the basement by surprise wasn't really what we were hoping for.  No one was hurt and there wasn't a fire though, which is lucky.

For the destroyed oil furnace, while we may qualify for fuel assistance to get a new burner through Massachusetts grant programs, they are out of money at this time, and may not be able to start qualifying us until November.  We are looking to see if an exception can be made but the process is slow and unclear. We also are out of hot water and heat until it is replaced (though the water otherwise works fine thanks to that last repair...thank god!)

We would normally never resort to such a thing, but times are bad.  We were trying to save for the new roof, or the painting that the house badly needs to be lived in long term, much less resold, but things kept coming up.

If left in this state, things are only going to get worse.

We are asking for help with covering some of the expenses because we are out of options. We are going to continue to try to pursue grants and things of that nature, but realistically much of it will need to be out-of-pocket. There are some things on our list that are musts, and some that are maybes.

Houses don't sell well in our area, so it's necessary that it's at absoluty move-in ready and passes inspection to sell in any length of time.

To start with the money would be used for:
Paying the well repair company
The installation and cost of the new furnace
Repairing the floor damage caused by the first leaks
Wiring the bathroom light
Fixing the wiring in the upstairs room
Painting the house

Some of it will also go towards paying the taxes on the funds.

For those who own a home, you'll probably notice that our list is long for 10K. If the money goes over, the money would still be used towards getting the house in livable, then sellable condition. If it's under, we will handle things in dire need first.

Of course we prefer not to just be handed money. Michelle also has an etsy store, and sells art.  We are happy to go that route as well.  She cannot take on many detailed commissions because we currently rely on the regular income from that time spent making gryphs so couldn't realistically give a reasonable deadline since it couldn't be prioritized. Smaller projects might be a go, such as pet portraits. She'd be happy to discuss work that is already created though, or custom size prints, etc.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. Any help right now would be invaluable, thank you for your time, anything you can give, and anywhere you can share this. If you'd like to contact us directly with support rather than through here, you can contact me at

Thank you.

Coureton, Michelle aka. The Lady of the House, and Gabriel aka. The Critter.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Quick Hit: Quitting Rabbits.

The Summer Solstice has come, and it is a time of changes. This is the best time of year in Cummington, and when we most love where we live and homesteading. Given that, I feel that it is also an ideal time to make decisions about things that are tough to decide because we aren't tainted by the fact that winter is rough.

We've decided it's time to move away from raising rabbits for meat. The primary reason to move away from it is, I am getting to the point I just can't really take doing the killing. It's too stressful to me to regularly be giving the rabbits the care I feel the deserve on an ethical level, and also be able to kill them. Part of it is the frequency it has to be done, but part of it is, I just think I'm not cut out for doing it since I don't literally HAVE to to survive. There are other choices we can make to have ethical food, and we're just going to have to do those instead.

I'm a little disappointed that we aren't going to be able to continue doing rabbits, but there is more than enough in the way of other things to do.

For now we're going to start de-acquisitoning our herd and getting rid of the hutches, because the rabbits and hutches both are in good shape.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Wait, it's Friday?

I seem to have gotten confused on days, and ended up not making a post yesterday! I apologize for my oversight. The new chickens that our friend was kind enough to de-acquisition to us have settled in for a couple weeks, and we're starting to get them used to being outside. I need to do a little more mowing and weeding before putting the electronetting up is going to be useful and successful, so right now they're only out when we are outside with them. The Critter really enjoys being outside with the flock, though they break way before him like he's a large ship with a really unfortunate bow wave! He hasn't yet trained these girls that he's safe enough to be around to be able to pet them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Two Years, and healthy greens.

First things first, today is the second anniversary of our wedding. It's been a tough couple years, but our partnership is only stronger than it began, and I'm glad for it. Something that may not come across all the time is just how much the Lady of the House does for the homestead, and in terms of thinking and planning. Her beautiful work on her herb garden has done a lot for the beauty of our house, and in terms of what we will have available for cooking.

Really though, I feel fortunate to be with her as whether homesteading or otherwise, she enriches every aspect of my life.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Wind, power, and wood oven class.

Another long night of heavy winds which seems to be more and more common. We get a lot of good cover from our trees, but that doesn't protect power lines elsewhere. We lost power for around eight hours last night which is very inconvenient. Fortunately other than needing to throw out most of what is in the fridge, it's just that, an inconvenience. Sadly part of that inconvenience is not having our white noise machine that helps the kid sleep, so we had a long night.

Before that though, I went to an interesting class last night at the River Valley Market Co-Op that I'd intended to talk about today, so that's going to be below the cut.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Perfect weather for greens.

The grass is getting out of control with the nearly every other or every third day rain we've been having followed by hot sunny days. I'm going to actually have to mow the law instead of using a sickle and feeding it to the rabbits. Just too much greenery! Not a thing I thought I'd be saying, but there it is. We've been trying to keep on top of the weeding. In the bare beds I haven't mulched yet that's tough, though the garlic is going gang busters as you can see.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Chickens, and mulched terraces.

Of all the things we got done this weekend despite the rain, mowing the lawn wasn't one of them, though the rain was why it didn't get done. The rain also made the necessity of doing it all the greater. It's amazing just how fast our grass grows. That said, while I covered most of what went on I missed a few things, and didn't get all of the photos I wanted to share for Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mass weeding.

One of the fun things about a sudden change from normal cool spring to super hot is the explosion of life. That also means an explosion of weeds. In this photo you can see a profusion of god knows what in with our garlic. The quantity of weeding that we had to do was a little intimidating, fortunately it wasn't just the Lady of the House and I working on it. It also led to us doing some calculations and making some new decisions about our gardens.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Greening, and resorting to Roundup.

Well, being sick or exhausted for a couple weeks we've missed the easy time to really do ground clearing, now we have a thoroughly greened area. We went from just go yank it up to, I suggest power tools. Given that this slope is a if we have time area, not a focus area I have a sneaking suspicion it isn't going to be gotten to this summer. Ahh well. That said, none of what's over there is something that has to die right now, the only weed we have around that needed to die right now was in our front garden bed, so we did something about it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Quick Hit: House plants and recovery time.

Again, the whole household has been sick basically all weekend. It's a really inconvenient time to be sick, but there it is. On the up side we're going to have a 3 day weekend to work on the homestead with next weekend, so hopefully we'll be well for that. Mostly what we did when one of us wasn't experiencing the joys of gastrointestinal distress was try to get outside and do things that weren't too physically strenuous. Fortunately the Critter's all about going outside and enjoying things even when he is just getting over being sick. It turns out he's also really good at spotting wildlife, and seeing any sort of shift in his environment that would indicate something is there. For an 18 month old he's also super patient waiting for things to come out of hiding. Of course, that means about 2 minutes, but that's a long time for a toddler!
What we did get done this weekend, and by we I mean the Lady of the House, is getting some house plants set up. As we move the seedlings outside, the Lady of the House really wants to have some living plants inside for a number of reasons. One is the relatively inexpensive decor, and another is the benefits to the interior atmosphere. Here's the wiki that includes the chart from the findings from the NASA experiment. One of the plants we set up is Aloe Vera which in addition to being pleasant to look at has medicinal benefits. We're thinking about what other house plants we could have that would be pretty, have medicinal benefits, and only be minimally toxic to both toddlers and cats, since our cat REALLY likes eating plants.

Sorry for the short post, we have other things going on to talk about, so I'll have a more substantial post Thursday!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Weeds and Boris.

The good news is Boris is doing very well, he's about fully healed at this point and only occasionally stumbles. The bad news is, he's the only chicken we have left. Between sickness, fatigue, etc, etc, we didn't get the electric fence up yet, and what was probably a fox again came and took all of our laying hens leaving Boris uninjured, but panicked. The Lady of the House found him panting and hiding in the shadow of the house, he's not well enough to fight a fox again, though the fact that the fox left him indicates that most likely it's the same fox that didn't want to tangle again, and left him alone. I feel really crappy about myself because I let the fact that I've been very tired lately get in the way of setting up the electronetting, and lost 4 hens because of it. The first one, happens. The other four are entirely because I didn't do my job. We're fortunate to be in a situation where we will be able to get more laying hens that are being de-acquisitioned from a friend's flock. Before we do so though, I'm getting that fence installed and running because I don't want to do this again. On the up side though, the world is turning green.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Seedlings, and seasonal confusion.

Despite the very strange weather that continues to be very unpredictable, and perhaps because of it, seedlings are our focus right now. This weekend was the seedling swap, so you may notice that a lot of our seedlings are gone because we gave them away at the seedling swap this weekend. I'm always happy to be able to share the wealth with seedlings, especially given that it isn't like we came home empty handed. You can see some of the more sensitive seedlings still inside in this photo, but we also came home with a basically full herb garden.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Growing and recovering.

One of the particularly unfair parts of parenting is something called sleep regression. It's when your kid (who never really slept well) stops wanting to sleep at all. The result of this is that I've been living in a fog for a few days. That has impeded us doing much of anything because between trying to get the kid to sleep, and day to day work nothing is getting done. That said! There are things happening. For one, the asparagus is doing very well. Most of the asparagus has come up and is doing well. To fill out the asparagus patch we've been advised to take the red berries they will sprout later and plant them to thicken the bed, which I look forward to doing. There is a lot that's going on though, especially with the weather as warm as it is, though we're still getting frosts at night not infrequently.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Posting tomorrow

This weekend we were busy enough that I don't have a post for today, I'll try to have one tomorrow.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Experiments with water, and dances with porcupines.

Well, I had a plan for the post I was going to do for today so I may as well go with it for at least part of the post. I was going to talk about the brilliant idea I had for the seedlings. For the Lady of the House's birthday/Christmas present I got her a 55 gallon fish tank. One of the things that fish tanks need is water changes, even with a vibrant live plant community in the tank. The reason that fish tanks need water changes of course is that waste builds up in the water. Nitrates and other similar wastes that kill fish happen to be really good for plants. Right now using fish water to nourish plants is actually something of a fad that may end up being a good long term plan called Aquaponics. Given that we don't have the money, or space to do a big set up, using a couple glasses of water per day out of the fish tank to water the plants can't hurt. Well, it could, but I suspect it will be nothing but good for the plants so we'll see. We are doing this in the least scientific way possible, that is, without a control group. Either way, I expect it to work well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Continuing rapid changes.

This weekend we had a really nice time with a fire pit and a lot of good friends visiting, and in the interests of that, we got the cleaning of the yard that was so desperately needed done! It also reminded me of just how much I like cooking over wood, despite how inefficient it is over an open fire. I shifted things around in the fire pit to make a shielded cooking area with a radiating fire box, but it's still much cooler as a cooking surface than if I had a purpose built cooking area. Probably not a project for this summer, though it very well may be given some of the other changes around the house.

The biggest change is we now have a housemate. I offered to use an alias for him, but he's fine with just being himself. Lucas is now going to be living with us, and he's going to be working at one of the local stone quarries. He's the gentleman that provided the tools and expertise on building the stone floor in the kitchen, and in addition to being handy, he's indicated he'd like to help out around the property. With that, we'll see what becomes possible with more help around the property on a regular basis!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Quick hit: Fast growing.

Yesterday was incredibly busy so I don't really have much of a post for today, and didn't get much done homesteading wise. We did go out with the Critter, and he got to look over a corn field that hasn't been plowed yet this year, and was fascinated. 
On the homestead Boris is doing a lot better. We're guessing he must have pulled  muscles or something of the like. He's limping, and struggling to stay upright as you can see from his posture. We're glad to see him recovering relatively rapidly given the degree of fight and injury he dealt with. We just keep making sure that he's in at night, and out during the day when it isn't raining.
Last but not least, the seedlings are doing very well. Perhaps a bit too well honestly on the tomato front. As you can see Below the tomato seedlings are shooting up fast, and some are almost in contact with the roof of the mini greenhouse they're in. When that happens the top will have to come off. The pepper seedlings are still very small, so we'll see. We may have to set up a second working area and transplant to larger pots soon. That's all for today, we'll be back Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

So many seedlings!

Our seedlings have come up! It's a really joyful thing to watch the first seedlings come up inside, and see them doing well. Right now most of what has been started inside is tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant. We started a good variety of various seeds this year and I'm looking forward to seeing how they come out, and being able to share a lot of seedlings. One of the main differences in our seedling starting right now is that we have the seedlings up on the baby clothing rack that used to be our seedling station. It works though!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

An hour here and there.

I figured I'd start with Boris and his hens. He dragged himself all the way over to the garden and back to the ramp a couple times yesterday. He's still badly injured, but it doesn't look like he's going to die of his injuries. Even if this is how he lives the rest of his life, he's earned sticking around and us giving him care for the rest of that time instead of us butchering him for meat as we usually would for a non productive animal on our property.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Boris's stand.

This has been an eventful weekend, and at least some of what got done is what we were aiming to get done. One of our two seedling trays has been started, and I'm really happy about that. The reason I haven't gotten the second one started yet is because I don't have enough things that need started yet! I mean, I could start amaranth inside, and probably will start some in the second tray, but I realized we are basically out of tomato seeds after I failed to properly save tomato seeds last year. Yay for toddler sleep induced haze! 

That said, there are other things we got work done on, and things that happened that were a huge surprise.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Thursday? Chickens doing work.

I'm sorry about yesterday, with schedule wonkyness I ended up forgetting that yesterday was Thursday until the evening. Lately the weather has been lovely, and this weekend is going to be thoroughly spring like, and that'll be nice. We may be able to get some good work done around the homestead. Now, of course, 70 degree temperatures during the day doesn't mean we aren't to planting season yet, patience is going to be the best thing for us. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't be getting seeds started inside, and prepping beds outside.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Thoughts about sustainability and Transylvania.

Over this past weekend my father and stepmother visited, and beyond just having a good time with them, and spending a lot of time with the Critter we had some interesting conversations. One of them was how much easier it is to do what we're trying to do here in Romania, specifically in Transylvania. My step mother is from Transylvania, and she and my father live there over the summers, and it is fascinating to hear about the differences in how life works there. I suspect she isn't wrong, that it would be easier to be a small farmer there than it is here, especially given how the villages are organized.

There is an interesting video online about how different the area is, and how important the sustainability that it still maintains as a holistic system is. The specific part of this video that I think folks would enjoy listening to is Prince Charles speaking to the interviewer starting at 7:45 in this video.

I think that Prince Charles's point is very well put, and I agree that we really do need to learn that Agri-Industry isn't the only answer. Sorry for the short post, but I think that Prince Charles said what I'm thinking about this.

Of course, maintaining that lifestyle gets harder and harder every day, though it is increasingly important that it is more focused on.

I'd love discussion if folks have thoughts on this.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Quick Hit: Rabbit Reflection

Today I'm looking back, and doing a little reminiscing as we come into spring and start rabbit breeding. Three years ago we already had kits on the ground. This year we're starting very late in breeding, but given everything else that makes sense. This year we've been handling a very strange winter, a small person, and hutches that needed serious cleaning. Now that we've done that, we can get started.

Of course, around three years ago we also learned a lesson, one that continued for a few days that has led to us pushing our first breedings back. Of course, we'd meant to breed earlier than this but have just had a lot going on. Interestingly actually the Lady of the House has been making new friends and found someone with an interesting similar experience. She met someone who started doing meat rabbits, and stopped after precisely the same experience we had with Dawn's litter getting killed by the roof springing a leak. It makes me wonder just how frequent deaths due to something like that are in this area.

Of course if everything was hard all the time, and nothing went well we wouldn't have continued, and much like the Lady of the House's friend, we'd have stopped. Instead we have a lot of good time with really cute kits. Of course we also have some really good food too.
All of this reminiscing is to say, breeding starts this weekend. In a month we're going to have new baby rabbit photos to share on the blog at the same time we're also going to be in a waking world of blooming plants, and the early stages of an edible garden.

It's been a hard year, and I'm looking forward to this new spring ushering in rejuvenation of success with rabbits, as well as the earth coming back to life.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Happy Spring! Time for cleaning and snow.

Happy Spring! As you probably know there's been some significant snow fall up here. It was quite a transition for us since it was warm and rainy on Saturday followed suddenly by snow on both Sunday and a Monday.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Volunteer sprouts.

Looks like I missed picking some garlic last year! Not a big deal, I'll just let it mature and pull it up as I would have if I'd actually planted garlic last year. It's definitely the answer to the question I had of whether I could get away with planting garlic as winter slowly wandered in last year. Turns out, if I'd put it in at the normal time the garlic probably would have been just fine. I am a big fan of hearty varieties for just that reason. Learning curve for the future, make sure that you get those over winter plants in the ground!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Windy Spring

High winds aren't new to our area, in fact they're fairly common up in the hills. What is new to us is how much they're affecting us. I know our sample size is only 5 years, but in that time usually the pine forest around us has made a big difference in protecting us from bad winds. Lately the winds have been causing a lot of problems, and today illustrated some of them very well. The Lady of the House woke up last night wondering what the noise was, and eventually I made sure it really was just the wind, not a fire. This morning first thing that greeted me was the results of that wind storm, as you can see above.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Setting priorities.

Apologies for the missing post yesterday, I just flat out forgot to get things ready for the post yesterday! Either way, here we are today. We've got a lot that's going to be coming up so I'm going to talk about how I handle prioritization. This is going to be especially important given that a lot of decisions are going to have to be made in a short period of time coming up without enough resources to get everything done. That sort of environment leads to decision fatigue, thus, prioritization.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Posting tomorrow

Well, I just flat out forgot the post for today, and didn't bring the image files to recreate it, so . . . I'll post tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The scale of life.

This weekend we went for a walk together in the woods on a lovely warm Friday. Of course, we turned back relatively quickly when out of the nice clear warm sky hail started, but that's New England for you. Either way, I wanted to share the really lovely photo the Lady of the House got to give some scale to our woods that is often missing from a lot of the photos that I post here. Obviously a lot of the trees around us are young, and most of the oldest trees are no more than 50 - 100 years old just due to the realities of how thoroughly the area had been cleared. Even so, everything around us towers over us and the house which can be really wonderful.

Outside of our environment being impressive, the weather is very . . . March in New England is probably the best way to put it. Snow overnight and in the morning, 50s mid day. This is honestly exactly the kind of weather I expect day to day at this time of year, I just usually expect there to be snow cover on the ground rather than grass and leaf cover.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Foggy days, and plenty to do.

Yesterday and today are firmly in fog season, not just rain, but thick fog. It's not an uncommon thing where we live, but it's definitely a normal spring sign. Of course, we're expecting Snow Sunday into Monday, so winter isn't quite done yet. We'll see just how snowy it actually gets, I'm not expecting much effect, but it would certainly not be good for anything that had sprouted. The only thing I'm really concerned about on that front is the apple tree, but we'll see how that turns out!