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Grazing goats

Artemesia has been putting so much food in her belly lately that she's a bit ungainly on her feet. Meanwhile, the only good grazing is now on steep hillsides full of thorny blackberry Honeysuckle tanglebrambles. So while it's been cold and wet, I've been pulling honeysuckle off the side of the barn and taking it to my pregnant doe in the coop. (No, of course she's not spoiled!)

But Saturday was so beautiful, Artie seemed more willing to go out. She gamely climbed up onto the rise that separates our trailer from the floodplain and everything was delightful...until the time came to get her down. Then I had to beg her and tease her and even pull on the leash a little bit. But I'm sure the sun still did her good and all that fresh forage will be much appreciated by her growing kidlets.

Posted Mon Jan 16 07:31:04 2017 Tags:
Mushroom mountain climbs up a tree.

Mushroom Mountain is now offering online courses that include on demand and live webinars.

Anna and I took a class from Tradd Cotter in Asheville and were very impressed with his teaching style and content.

Posted Sun Jan 15 15:18:51 2017 Tags:
Demolition

The trickiest post of remodeling (for me at least) is deciding how much of a perfectionist to be. For example, in the bedroom there's a lot of water damage in the ceiling tiles from a leak that came before our time. I'm sure the pros would have told us to rip the panels out and replace them...but instead I just laid down a coat of primer and then a coat of paint.

Primer over wood paneling

Similarly, I decided not to deal with the indented lines of the wood paneling and even avoided spackling over nail holes. This room will see low use during daylight hours and will generally be viewed under low light, so less disruption of my sleep during remodel trumps polished perfection. Plus, it lets me get to the fun part faster --- painting!

Posted Sun Jan 15 07:39:19 2017 Tags:
Basket of carrots with snowy background.

Our big carrot harvest of 2016 continues to feed us and both Aurora and Artemesia.

Posted Sat Jan 14 15:49:36 2017 Tags:
Aerial silks

Some move I don't know the name of"Wanna go to circus school with me?" I asked Kayla one day last week.

"Um, sure?" responded my long-suffering friend.

Aerial silks was surprisingly fun --- the hour flew by and I'd be a regular if the gym wasn't located an hour from our farm. Here's the link in case anyone else in the area wants to run away and join the circus.

Kayla: "That was definitely a once-in-a-life-time experience."

Anna: "Is that the polite way of saying you aren't going back?"

Posted Sat Jan 14 07:33:00 2017 Tags:
Kubota X900 gets stuck and then unstuck.

How long was the Kubota X900 stuck earlier this week?

Just a couple days. The ice melted enough to crush through the big chunks.

I think we could've busted up some of the ice with a spud bar to get unstuck but we were on our way to the dentist for a cleaning and didn't want to be late.

Posted Fri Jan 13 16:49:56 2017 Tags:
Arthur wall

Joey took these great shots of an Arthur wall --- a heated wall to train espaliers against for freeze protection. Since fruit plants need lots of light, you'd probably only plant them against the south side (or the north side if you lived in Tasmania where these photos were taken). So what would you put on the opposite face to utilize all that heat? Perhaps a chicken coop to up your egg production?

Posted Fri Jan 13 07:33:23 2017 Tags:
Plywood curtain on two hinges.

A thin sheet of plywood on two hinges makes a good plywood curtain.

Sometimes a full moon shines too much light in this window for sleeping.

Posted Thu Jan 12 15:46:36 2017 Tags:
Aquaponics water testing

Daffodil bloom budBack when I was first getting the pH and ammonia levels in my aquaponics tank close to recommended values, the water went crystal clear. I'm now realizing that sparkling water is actually a bad sign in aquaponics.

In contrast, as soon as I did a partial water change and began seeing both nitrites and now nitrates in the water, turbidity levels rose once again. Those nitrogen-converting bacteria --- not stirred up sediment --- must be what's causing the cloudiness.
I'm thrilled to be able to see my microbial partners as they work!

In other news, one of my forced daffodils is already sending up a bloom bud. Looks like my grow bed is going to turn pretty sooner rather than later!

Posted Thu Jan 12 07:25:14 2017 Tags:
Using wedges to split firewood.

I end up doing 90% of the wood splitting with the biggest wedge.

Makes me wonder if an even bigger wedge would split faster?

Posted Wed Jan 11 15:23:33 2017 Tags:

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