Sunday, March 27, 2011

Greenhouse is in position!

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

Video Tour 1

It has been a week since I posted anything, so I thought I would do something big... hopefully, you all will enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Planning the energy....

Hopefully, I can swing it! I should have enough knowledge and willpower to!

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

Frame is up...

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

top 10 things to do on the homestead when it's raining....

  1. read

    1. we have lots of books in our homestead library. Love cuddling up to a pillow, a hot cup of coffee, and a good book!

  2. watch TV

    1. not my favorite, but it does pass the time. It is also fun to talk about how stupid advertisements are!

  3. surf the web

    1. um yeah... blogging might fall under this category ;)

  4. play video games

    1. not very rewarding, but can be very frustrating at times!

  5. plan & plot the next project!

    1. There is always something to cook up on the homestead!

  6. cuddle the animals...

    1. always good for some lovin's!!!!

  7. play music instruments

    1. practice, practice, practice...

  8. play board games..

    1. always fun!

  9. crafts

    1. probably Isabelle's favorite thing to do when it's raining!

  10. herbals

    1. 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

The Fun Has Arrived!

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

Spring has sprunging!

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

simple things...

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

Why do I like Oregon's blackberries so much?

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
Antioxidants in blackberries are 3 times higher than in blueberries!

to read more of the good stuff in the good stuff:
Countryside & Small Stock Journal, March/April 2011, pg. 62-64

Snow, finally...

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

Faery Sanctuary

So, besides adding a fantastical and wonderful play area, I plan on molding out a hidden Faery Sanctuary in the back woods for adult meditations as well..

second labyrinth design sketch

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.

sketch to the future!

SO this is the sketch I did up on Windows Paint. It has ALOT of stuff we haven't even started yet, but, you know, we gotta plan ahead!
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.

Update / first post

Late in getting this out there:
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!