Winter milkweed

image

Milkweed is food for the monarch butterfly. As we have reduced the amount of mechanical mowing we do on the farm by using the goats, and also changed how we mow the hay pasture, flowers and plants have been regrowing – and popping up in new places!

This is on the north side of the barn hill – the goats mowed this area last spring.

We’re so pleased to see the wild plants come back – with more milkweed, perhaps we will see more monarchs this year.

Day 356 – how high’s the water, papa?

It’s been a while, I guess! Farm life just keeps going along – moving hay bales for the cows and the goats to eat, forking loose hay to the horses, gathering eggs (wherever they may be!), planning for the coming spring (seeds for the garden, new critters for the farm, living quarters for said new critters). We also completed the “big move” – only (haha) 100 feet apart, but I think that actually made it more of a job, because it wasn’t pack-everything-and-throw-it-in-the-moving-truck-to-go-to-the-new-house, but a few trips here and a few trips there. Finally, in the words of a dear friend, we put the cat in with the cactus, and just got it finished. Well, at least we have all of our stuff in the house and all Mom’s stuff at her house. If you’ve ever moved, you know that the unpacking and such may be even more stressful than the box moving. But it’s done.

On to yesterday and this morning. It rained, and rained. It stopped for a bit, then rained some more. End result? Same as it ever was – the river came to visit!

The critters are all well, if a bit damp.

Day 305 – big wind

A nice sized storm system rolled through the area last night, bringing some serious wind and rain, which (surprise, surprise) knocked our power out for the evening. After checking the animals, we thought a line had been knocked down by some falling branches, and reported as such to the DP&L power outage hotline.

No one slept well last night, half listening for the repair truck (not that we actually expected it to come until this morning!) and wondering about the imagined damage to buildings and such around the farm. Well, at least I was wondering about that!

Morning arrives, power is still out, so we begin assessing the damage. No line is down, so we figure a fuse popped. Buildings – fine. Critters – fine (it appears that there was a calf born sometime between yesterday afternoon and this morning – silly momma cows). Trees – laying across the driveway. Yikes!

Out comes the chainsaw to cut a path (you can see how big this “branch” is) and a rake to remove smaller debris. We’ll chip the branches later on.

These are the branches that we think caused all the problems – they came from pretty high up and we think they bounced the power lines together and blew the fuse.

DP&L arrives as we are sawing away – problem resolved, and we have power. No damage to foods in the fridge/freezers. Huzzah!

 

Day 244 – another week in the books

My part-time teaching gig began this past Monday night, so I am re-acclimating myself to being places at particular times and articulating all that Spanish that’s banging around in my head.  Added a Humanities class just to spice things up a bit (2 mornings a week), and am loving it.  It’s all those things I’m […]

My part-time teaching gig began this past Monday night, so I am re-acclimating myself to being places at particular times and articulating all that Spanish that’s banging around in my head.  Added a Humanities class just to spice things up a bit (2 mornings a week), and am loving it.  It’s all those things I’m interested in – music, dance, 2D and 3D arts, art history, theater, cinema.  And it’s hopefully giving people a wider window to the world.  Plus my class is pretty good on the participation thing, which always makes a teacher’s life easier.

So the chick coop is mostly ready to go – as you can see, the door is on, the ramps are installed!  I need to adjust the frame piece on the right – this is on corrugated siding, and it won’t lay flat for me to install the door locks.  So will pull it off, add an appropriate shim, re-install, and hopefully it will be even enough to install the locks.

And as an FYI – oak is a pain to work with.  For cutting, used the circular saw.  For drilling – punch through a pilot hole, then ready to run a screw through.  But it should last!

As to the grooves cut in the ramps, my Dremel Trio helped out with that.  We had seen a chicken coop at the fair that had grooves cut in the ramps (as opposed to nailing a small piece of wood across the ramp), and I thought that was pretty neat.  Just in case – the grooves or cross pieces of woods give the chickens something to grab on to as they go up and down the ramp. Otherwise, they slide down, and may not be able to get back up the ramp into the coop because there’s nothing for their claws to grip.

2013-08-29 17.28.41 2013-08-29 17.29.11

What else happened this week?  More canning of apples and tomatoes and green beans (they’re still blooming?!!)

And our chickens look like someone did a bad job plucking them.  This poor birdy is scraggly all over.  Some have just lost their neck feathers, some just on their backs between their wings.  They look really sad right now.

2013-08-29 17.27.06Another week of farmers markets, and it was pretty stinking hot and humid for our afternoon markets.  This is my view at Vandalia:2013-08-30 15.05.12

The red tent on the left has salsa (new vendor, didn’t get a chance to try their product), then we have Muddy Truck Patch with some great veg (and mums for those of you who need some fall decor).  Rinaldo’s – simply amazing baked goods (breads of all types, sweets, soft pretzels…), and next to them is Rue Farms from Springfield with their delish potato chips (several varieties and no salt chips available).  And looks like some coffee and mugs in the foreground.  :)

Seriously, this is a great market to patronize if you’re anywhere near Vandalia on Fridays from 3-7.  Fruit, veg, soaps, baked goods, coffee, honey, food trucks, artisans.

And if we needed another sign besides the cicadas that fall is coming, check out the goldenrod.  2013-09-01 19.17.23

 

Day 244 – another week in the books

My part-time teaching gig began this past Monday night, so I am re-acclimating myself to being places at particular times and articulating all that Spanish that’s banging around in my head.  Added a Humanities class just to spice things up a bit (2 mornings a week), and am loving it.  It’s all those things I’m interested in – music, dance, 2D and 3D arts, art history, theater, cinema.  And it’s hopefully giving people a wider window to the world.  Plus my class is pretty good on the participation thing, which always makes a teacher’s life easier.

So the chick coop is mostly ready to go – as you can see, the door is on, the ramps are installed!  I need to adjust the frame piece on the right – this is on corrugated siding, and it won’t lay flat for me to install the door locks.  So will pull it off, add an appropriate shim, re-install, and hopefully it will be even enough to install the locks.

And as an FYI – oak is a pain to work with.  For cutting, used the circular saw.  For drilling – punch through a pilot hole, then ready to run a screw through.  But it should last!

As to the grooves cut in the ramps, my Dremel Trio helped out with that.  We had seen a chicken coop at the fair that had grooves cut in the ramps (as opposed to nailing a small piece of wood across the ramp), and I thought that was pretty neat.  Just in case – the grooves or cross pieces of woods give the chickens something to grab on to as they go up and down the ramp. Otherwise, they slide down, and may not be able to get back up the ramp into the coop because there’s nothing for their claws to grip.

What else happened this week?  More canning of apples and tomatoes and green beans (they’re still blooming?!!)

And our chickens look like someone did a bad job plucking them.  This poor birdy is scraggly all over.  Some have just lost their neck feathers, some just on their backs between their wings.  They look really sad right now.

2013-08-29 17.27.06Another week of farmers markets, and it was pretty stinking hot and humid for our afternoon markets.  This is my view at Vandalia:2013-08-30 15.05.12

The red tent on the left has salsa (new vendor, didn’t get a chance to try their product), then we have Muddy Truck Patch with some great veg (and mums for those of you who need some fall decor).  Rinaldo’s – simply amazing baked goods (breads of all types, sweets, soft pretzels…), and next to them is Rue Farms from Springfield with their delish potato chips (several varieties and no salt chips available).  And looks like some coffee and mugs in the foreground.  🙂

Seriously, this is a great market to patronize if you’re anywhere near Vandalia on Fridays from 3-7.  Fruit, veg, soaps, baked goods, coffee, honey, food trucks, artisans.

And if we needed another sign besides the cicadas that fall is coming, check out the goldenrod.  2013-09-01 19.17.23