Saturday, October 15, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
What a crazy, busy end to the summer! After getting in touch with the realm at Faerieworlds Harvest Festival under Mount Pisgah, we headed north, just west of Salem for the first Rootstalk Festival! Lots of great educators and speakers really made this a wonderful experience! Just getting finished making and canning blackberry jam, containing blackberries picked just 2 & 1/2 miles from our front door! Expect the videos soon! We also harvested over 9 lbs. of elderberries! The elderberries will be used for mead, wine, & medicines! Though our garden was ravaged by a small deer family, we have managed to get a breakfast of blue potatoes, a handful of beans, a good bushel of corn for cornmeal, 1 artichoke, a few maters & tomatillos, some chard, some lettuce, some spinach, some jeruselum artichokes, and various other goodies.... Next year, besides better deer-proofing, we will plant an over abundance, just in case! Hurray for the harvest!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I have two tour vids up on YouTube (links : PART 1- PART2). Been busy having fun and "workin' hard in the yard"! Got two new rain barrels (55 gallon) to hook up into the system. Been weeding and what-not. The garden is going strong. We left the gate open the other night and ended up losing a bunch of lettuce to the bunnies! Darn them bunnies! LOL - but all-in-all, it's been a busy and fun summer so far here at The Little Red Homestead In The Woods!
Monday, June 27, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The strawberries are starting to bear fruits!
We set up a small pool for the kiddos, and I am now searching the countryside for a free dis-used hot tub to add to the mix! I was given the 'Stylish Blogger Award' by Leigh from '5 Acres & A Dream' blog. accordingly, I have to pass it on to seven other blogs. Here are seven blogs I find enjoyable! Please visit them!
- afloat the tributary of sentience - good musing and beautiful photography!
- Forest Walk Art - good pictures. Enjoyable!
- Living Our Way - homesteading and homeschooling...
- Rainwalker Mesa - pictures and thoughts from up on the mesa.
- Nine Bean Rows in a Bee-Loud Glade - new blog, but from a neighbor here in the Willamette Valley!
- Wranglerstar - Off grid homestead building project
- Whose Woods - running through the woods..
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Grape vines for the arbor, from the Alpine sharing gardens.
Free canopy for Tigger, found on a craigslist ad.
Another bamboo pole, another roost for the birds! That's two 8' roosts for 21 birds... more than enough space!
We discovered we have to have a pre-hatch tracking system for broody hens. I am developing the system now. Watch for updates!
Sunshine! I expect to have the garden tilled by Monday evening!
The weed-eater has died,... long live the weed-eater.... found an electric replacement at goodwill for $10. I believe it was donated because the spool was a complete tangled mess. This proved to be an easy, simple fix.
Feed store only 8 miles away has the same local feed at the same price as the feed store 18 miles away!
Two huge saw horses. Free w/ the truck canopy!
Neighbor is looking for locals that will ride her horses! The Queen & Isabelle are really digging this one!
Monday, May 30, 2011
-Jack & I did some simple pruning around the yard today. Mostly around the arbor. Got to let that sun shine in!
-Some of our starts are going in the ground this week... And high time to do it! It is a practical jungle in there! Not to mention the untrimmed grass that is now at chest level - oops... never trimmed it when we put the greenhouse up, and now that the weed-eater is broke, it looks like I will have to pull it out by hand! I plan on laying some sort of ground cover in there when I am done...
-Helped Jack haul in his Hot Tub, and got to planning more of our hot tub adventure. Same place, but now that my shoulders lifted part of the 800lbs of his empty, figured I better start planning the footing structure and getting it done, because once it's in, it's in!
-Just found out that Glory Bee sells their second-hand 55 gallon food grade barrels, for $10 - That's $5 better than the other place I found, and I believe they are closer! So the rain harvesting system is on!
Thursday, May 26, 2011
We went to see an alternative orthodontist yesterday in Eugene, Dr. Gray Grieve, and after reviewing the choices, have decided that his pricing was better than previous orthodontists have quoted us for Isabelle's braces and headgear. Plus, if we do the down payment before the month of may, he is offering a $500 off on total price! See the detail's on the Queen's blog. We have set up there, an art sale and donation fund to get us there! Here is a link to Isabelle's blog: http://isabellerose10.blogspot.com/
It has been raining here in the northwest pretty steadily... this has put a damper on the tilling of the garden. Hopefully, it will dry out this next week (boy, there is an echo in here! I must have said that for the tilling 10 times this year!), and I will get it done! I will probably ditch hand till to get it done quicker and go back to the original plan of borrowing Jack's gas tiller.
I also recorded a video tour of the hen house, now that egg sales are up, I figured it would be a good idea for everyone who hasn't made it out to our homestead yet to get to see it's progress, and how the biddies are doing! The end gets cut off a bit, sorry for that. It actually cuts off the part where I discover that one of Big Momma's eggs is missing! I can't figure out where it went, other than maybe she rejected it, and her or the other chickens gobbled it up. I don't know....
---hmm... blogger is still making it difficult, if not impossible for me to upload a video... so here's a link to the same vid on my YouTube channel:
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Started some major marketing/advertising today for our eggs. We have been posting 2 times a week on craigslist, and we have a sign at the mailbox on our road, but orders just weren't coming in fast enough. So I decided to push it a bit and see what happens! If we run out, then, oh well! But with our homestead and Jack & Joey's producing 17-18 average per day, the back order shouldn't last long! I am setting up a weekly delivery to Eugene on Wednesdays, and a weekly to Corvallis (still up in the air about what day.). I think this should be a good start to get word of mouth flowing and also some regular return customers!
Started hand turning the upper garden last week. BOY! What a chore! But, with perseverance and determination, our gardens should be going full without any gas powered help! YEA! I am just working the perimeter of the upper garden and then the lower garden first, and then plan to attack it in full force and in earnest!
Just started reading a wonderful book by Joel Salatin called “The Sheer Ecstasy Of Being A Lunatic Farmer”. It is about how his family's farm, Polyface Farm, which sits in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, is using a new (old!), and oft times shunned practice of farming with a solar-driven, pasture-based, locally-marketed, symbiotic, synergistic, relationally-oriented system. Eye-opening, and inspiring me to keep getting my fingers dirty, I am recommending this book to all!
As this week closes, I bid thank you to my visiting elders, who, lasting impressions aside, have brought us back, face-to-face, with what being the caretakers of a homestead, in a small community, really mean. Thank you!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
So, we have gotten another chunk of the fire pit herb bed done. All of the composting cardboard is laid underneath the soil that was in the bed area to begin with, and new soil has been brought in from where we dug out the stream at the entrance to the Faerie Sanctuary.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
OK! So after trying unsuccessfully many times, I went ahead and stuck the tour up on my YouTube page. to view this video, go here.
-The driveway is really shaping up... the huge lakes that were forming in the pot holes where gettin' to be a bit much!
-The berry patch path is coming along nicely.
-raspberries are in the ground... heard a disease was hitting this strain, so have checked them, and it looks like only one of the plants has root rot, so I will be yanking that out ASAP.
-The front porch bed is really looking good and alive now.
-The hops are amazing! I plan to spread 'em out around the arbor a bit as they come up... and hopefully get the grapes in there soon!
-The Queen is really gettin' on those baby plants! Such a good turn out!
-The Faerie Sanctuary is the next big project to tackle, but we are full steam ahead getting the ditch dug!
-The discovery of the goat pen behind the Faerie Sanctuary is just perfect!
-The baby chickens are now out with the mommas... Free range eggs - $3 a dozen!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Now that we are getting on average 6 eggs a day, this next easter egg hunt coming up in a few days is going to be great! Between our eggs and Jack's 2 dozen a day, there are going to be soooooo many colored eggs! It's gonna take a bazillion hours to paint them all!
I emailed a company near here to get a few rain barrels for the water reclamation system, so I am starting to plan it in earnest now.
A found a used, small engine to convert for use in my first wind generator. Expect post on its construction, as well as its tests and usage.
Finally felt comfortable turning off the light in the pump house. Not too worried about freeze now, however, I am still lighting the stove sometimes to keep the girls warm.
Amanda has started a huge run of starts in the green house from seed, and just yesterday started the second run of seeds... If the weather keeps up good, I will be tilling the garden proper soon!
I been filming a lot with the new camcorder and am learning many new ways to get it to internet format. editing is still the biggest time loss...
Plan on getting a load of manure to turn into the firepit herb bed soon from a local company only five miles away! Yea for local animal poop!
Starting the ditch digging tomorrow for the Faerie Sanctuary entrance stream. I will have help via Shamus!
Will also be getting the firepit herb bed pre-compost till done tomorrow.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Clearing brush & removing or relocating Oregon's famous blackberries is a big part of “carving out” our subsistence here on The Little Red Homestead In The Woods; whether it be creating a space for a new garden or herb bed, or blazing a pathway through to a destination. Although this provides great fodder for the fire ring, and subsequently, brouhaha's with family & friends, it has also provided materials for; fence-making, marking out and/or bordering a new or existing herb bed, child entertainment, craft works, building supplies, and tools. I try to use all that is available to us.
For this project, I am simply putting the cleared brush into the fire pit, since the majority of it is blackberry vines and roots. The lack of a wheelbarrow yet would make this project take even more time, however it's proximity to the fire circle will make it go alot smoother. The photos will be in order from the beginning of the work until the end. Not in pictures is the view from when we first moved in, as I have already done quite a bit of clearing to this area.
Besides extending the old bed out to create more herb and garden space, pampering the new trees that have shot off the hawthorn tree since this bed was first established. Some cultivation and tumbling of the soil is also in order. I will be laying down wet and pre-decomposed cardboard underneath the up-heaved soil, with more soil and amendments to follow.
Hawthorn trees are one of the Celtic sacred trees that are present on our homestead. Keeping these trees healthy is very important to me. A hornet infestation found at the base of this mother hawthorn was of great concern (painfully so!!) when we first moved in. After trying a couple of different ways to extract the yellow jackets from their hide-out, I eventually had to resort to fire. But it seems the tree has held on despite the rotting, pre-fire hijacking, and the fire itself. New growth has shown both on the upper and lower areas of it. YEA! And the shoots off it also seem to be prosperous.
And so another space for herbs and veggies has arisen!
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
I have finally seemed to have gotten the frame for the chicken coop done. The rain has wrecked havoc on my schedule for it, and the fact that the lumber is scattered all over Benton County... hahaha. It seems sturdy enough! Thank you Jack & Ethan for donating scrap lumber to the cause.
After finishing the floor frame, I put up the 4 corner posts, followed closely by the 2 side posts. I then put up bracing and put the window in. After the ceiling braces were completed, I drank a beer to celebrate! The frame is done, yeah! Oh yea, I also added a bit of the floor so I could have something to stand on! Now to cover the durn thing in plywood and install the doors and gutter/rain catchment system!
other than the roof, and a little bit above the door, and trim, the coop is done! A temporary latched on tarp is supplying the cover, and today I spread straw on the bottom. To keep the young-uns separated from the mature birds, I have strung fencing through the middle of the coop. I plan on adding a ceiling stick between the sides to hang the feeder from. Today I also changed the chicken nipples from their small bottles to larger, more efficient bottles, and strung them up in the coop. I am building the gate for the enclosure today and stringing up the upper flight deterrent on top of the already in fence. A few ground stakes should secure the bottoms temporarily. YEA CHICKENS!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
So, we moved the greenhouse to its resting place between the kitchen widow and the neighbor's barn. We bought thick plastic (huge roll!) to surround it in at the Ace Hardware in Junction City. As soon as the rain lets up, we want to “tie” down the plastic in the old thatched roof style, by affixing twine to rocks on either side of the greenhouse, all along it. The location seems to get good sun. I will be putting up two long shelves in it, running north-south. The gazebo came with a canvas roof, but Amanda and I think more light will be let in if we do the top in plastic as well.
The plastic is on (THANK YOU JACK!) and it is already crock pot cookin' in there! YES! -3/28/11
Monday, March 21, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The plan is to power the light in the chicken coop, as well as a light in the workshop, via wind power. I have pretty much settled on vertical prop design (Savonius VAWT), and know where I will put the blessed thing. The location will be above the west side of the coop, so wind from the rear (north) and wind from the driveway (south), swooping in across the horse pasture, will hit it pretty squarely. I've been shopping around for inverters. I know which batteries to look for (deep cycle). The only thing that poses a problem (though small) is the dad-gum charge controller! Unless I wanna pay upwards $70 bucks, I will have to make my own! There are some good schematics out there, though. Here is one. And my favorite DIY website, Instructables, has a pretty good one too, here. Wish me luck!
Also, when I get the hot tub up and running, I plan on setting up a second VAWT system to power the heater and air blower/circulatory contained in it.
The sky's here in Ecotopia get a bit cloudy sometimes, but there always seems to be a slight breeze. Just figuring that solar would not be sufficient, nor efficient here at the Little Red Homestead In The Woods.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Neither wind, rain, or many many appointments taking from home...
The frame is up! Just picked up some scrap plywood and various boards from friends to complete the walls, floor, and ceiling! I am making the door out of 26 used matching slats that were underneath Amanda's old queen mattress. The hinges are a couple bought at Home Depot in Corvallis for a couple bucks apiece. The window was found at the Corvallis Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. Also just purchased a used circular saw for $5 at "Your Place" in Eugene/Springfield. The base is almost an 8' x 8' square. The slope curves down southward at a good 30 to 50 degree angle, depending on where you look from: at the north wall or halfway down. The window shape accents the overall design (what a great find!), but does not open. For now, the design will incorporate a chicken ladder that is put down when the door is opened in the morning, and taken up when the door is closed at night. Yea, that will change, but for now, it will do! The south side, nesting box side, and short side is snug up to (about 2' away from) my "workshop". I be installing a gutter type arrangement to catch the rainfall off the coop & off the workshop to be harvested and brought back to the chickens themselves and/or used in other landcare options and projects. The door is on the east side, in path with the gate. The window is on the west side, where we can view into the coop from the upstairs window, or out of the pen itself.
Friday, March 11, 2011
we have lots of books in our homestead library. Love cuddling up to a pillow, a hot cup of coffee, and a good book!
not my favorite, but it does pass the time. It is also fun to talk about how stupid advertisements are!
surf the web
um yeah... blogging might fall under this category ;)
play video games
not very rewarding, but can be very frustrating at times!
plan & plot the next project!
There is always something to cook up on the homestead!
cuddle the animals...
always good for some lovin's!!!!
play music instruments
practice, practice, practice...
play board games..
probably Isabelle's favorite thing to do when it's raining!
yea... Amanda has this one covered in full!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Here is a homeschooling project I gave to Isabelle today. She definitely knows her stuff! By the way, did I tell you that she made bacon, egg, & cheese sannies this morning that were the BOMB!!!!
We got the chicks at the Coastal store in Albany.
You can also view this vlog on her blog, Rooster Tales, and on YouTube, on my channel.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
We stopped by Coastal today to pick up our chicks. 5 Rhode Island Reds, 5 Barred Rocks, 2 mystery Banties, & 3 Ameraucanas. When choosing our chicks, one little Rock seemed to want to be picked, but he had a bit of a limp, but the lady at Coastal asked me if she threw it in for free, would we still want it? I said OK (softy!) Now We have them in the downstairs bathtub in cardboard boxes with a tray of feed and a chicken nipple. Nice red heat lamp overhead! Now,... to get their permanent home in the coop done!
Picked up some more wood for the frame at the Habitat For Humanity Re-Sale Store. Did some cutting this morning, and plan on finishing the frame by tomorrow!
Monday, March 7, 2011
So, with the advent of some sun and some warm weather, outdoor projects are in full swing!
Got most of the frame done for the chicken coop today, ie. floor frame, corner posts, door braces, a couple feet... lookin' good!
Amanda had fun previewing the spring fauna.... took a ba-zillion pictures!
Ocie was in wild form running around....
Now that the sun has dropped, and the chorus of frogs has started (I will have to get a .wav of this up!), time to chill and plan for tomorrow! Since the coop is made of strictly reclaimed wood, and I didn't have enough for framing, I will have to go on an adventure to find some tomorrow!
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Sometimes, even the simplest things help so, so much! For your concideration:
Upon moving into our house, one of the biggest concerns for me was the plumbing. Built with very low angle drainage on the main output, there is always a chance of clogging. No, you can't take a shower, wash the dishes, and do a load of laundry at the same time. I am always worried about food down the drain. Simple solution? Dollar store. I got two packs of drain screens, one big one small. This satisfies the kitchen sink and the two bathrooms. Easy-Peasy!
Saturday, March 5, 2011
1 cup of blackberries will contain approximately:
- fiber 8 grams or 31%
- vitamin K 36%
- vitamin C 50%
- Omega-3 10%
- Manganese 47%
- vitamin A 6%
- vitamin E 8% (this isn't even found in most fruits!)
- calcium 4%
- iron 5%
- magnesium 7%
- phosphorus 3%
- zinc 5%
- copper 12%
- selenium 1%
- folate 9%
- calories 62
- carbohydrate 7 net
- glycemic index 4
to read more of the good stuff in the good stuff:
Countryside & Small Stock Journal, March/April 2011, pg. 62-64
Well, we missed the snow that happened at Thanksgiving, because we visited Amanda's dad's homestead down in New Mexico. But just a couple weeks ago, we finally got snow here! It was beautiful! the roads were nice and covered for two days! Jack told some slippery tales about his pump truck, and we had a "fun" drive home from Eugene The night of the snow. But all in all, the homestead looked beautiful in the snow! We brought out the sled, but never actually used it for anything but a h older for snowballs and a shield against snowballs! Isabelle made a cute snow-cat, and Tigger had a winter coat on! The kitten (Ocie) had fun frolicking, since it was her first snow. All-in-all, I gotta say it was good! :)
Friday, March 4, 2011
So, this is the second sketch. the first was better, but the program went kaput on me, and I lost it! The original had dandelions as well as a maze-like one, but I decided to incorporate the goddess symbol into this one. What do you think? The top portion is just south of the apple trees, and the bottom portion is aside the Faery Sanctuary.
Starting at the top right hand:
We got the pump house, moving to the left(east) we come across the proposed berry patches as well as herbs and such for Amber Fox Woman Apothecary. Then we walk across the driveway (gotta get those pebbles!) and into the far herb and berry patch. as we walk down the picture (north) we run into the play structure (still on the drawing board). Across the driveway lies more herb gardens. The garage/tarp shed is next followed by the small wood shed. behind that is the chicken yard and the coop location. still moving northward, we get to the goat pen. I didn't put the cherry trees in here, but the are in this area. obviously the gardens come next and the deer path through the apple trees. the fire pit is what we come to moving towards the right of the picture (west). Just beyond that is the site for the greenhouse. We have the structure, but have yet to move it to it's location. The arbor is the peach colored square and the strawberry raised bed garden is already in place right behind the house, as well as the rectangle herb garden. The hot tub will probably be located just off the front porch.
Immediately started clearing crazy blackberries and dragging loose brush and downed trees.
Bought a husky saw to dice up said trees. weed-eating and generally started getting the land in shape.
I have drawn up the plans for the labyrinth garden and will break ground in a tilling party planned soon. Gonna use Jack's tiller (neighbor located over the hill to the east) and we will make it a fun affair with kids and all behind the tiller turning and mixing. This will happen of course after we do the same thing on Jack's garden!
The chicken yard is almost entirely done now, sans the gate. Hopefully we will get the coop done soon. simple plans have been drawn, and Jack has offered his labor, as well as the rest of of his left over materials from the remodeling we did to his coop a couple of weeks ago. Good reclaimed building supplies!
Started drawing plans for the rain-water-hot tub collection system, and have a bead on a 55 gallon food grade drum for free from one of Amanda's friends!
Gotta bring pebbles out, hopefully from Irish Bend as soon as the weather gets better.
Mostly just a good 'ol mile long list to contend with!