Saturday, January 24, 2015

Clean up, pick up, put away

James and I are both clearly itching to get back to work in the garden.  Last night, on a whim, we raced out after dinner to tidy up as much of the garden as possible in preparation for tilling.  We still had drip hose lines, T-posts, and sunflower stalks to clean up.

Yesterday, I finally stripped the last of the Hopi blue corn from their cobs.  Next up, I'll grind it for blue cornmeal!

This morning, James is away, helping a friend move, but when I reviewed the quantity of things still to be done, I hustled outside as soon as Miss G went to sleep, leaving my trusty Assistant to watch her and JoJo.  I managed to construct a "found materials" compost bin of half a hog panel, a gate, and a pallet.  The winter's accumulation of leaves from the basement door is swept up and ready to decompose.

I also sorted out a pile of odds and ends that were abandoned at some urgent point in the winter.  Wood went to the scrap lumber pile, t posts to their own piles, metal to a pile, and the tipped over stone bench was righted.

The burn barrel needs to be lighted, but I'm exhausted, so that will wait for another day.  I need to finish my seed list, and I'm sure I'll find plenty of other garden-related tasks when Miss G goes back to sleep!

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatry Ranch.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Work in Progress

My bathroom is going from this...
 To this...
 To this...
 And finally it will turn "surf blue" when I have the walls washed, spakled, and sanded.

Meanwhile, Toeless (aka Princess) gave me a chuckle as she tried to raid the food bucket!

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Morning has broken...

... like the first morning

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ice, wood, and furnace

My breaking ice for the last two weeks has resulted in piles of "ice pucks" near each coop in the yard.  I'm ready for a few of the piles to melt away in the comparitively sweltering highs in the 50s for the next ten days. I don't know how other people manage water for their chickens in cold weather, but heated waterers aren't feasible, so, depending on the severity of the cold, I haul water four (or more) times a day.

 I am grateful that these chickens seem to suffer less frostbite than our turkens.  I think this improvement is a result of both breed and superior coop construction.  James is definitely stepping up his game with each coop.

In addition to chicken chores, I've been streamlining my wood hauling.  Our wood burning stove insert is in the basement, so our wood piles are under the deck.  The challenge is, however, to sort the wood.  Our upstairs fireplace can fit quite long logs, but the stove is significantly smaller.  While I'm loading my wood cart, I find myself creating a new wood pile of logs that won't fit downstairs.  I'm interested to see how much would was usable, especially since we rarely use the upper fireplace.

Oddly enough, in between the original draft of this post and the finishing of it, our electric heat pump failed.  Funny the things I learned about my AC/furnace when it stopped working.  The wood hauling served me well, as the primary heat to the house for 48 hours has been the stove.  I've done pretty well, if I do say so myself, but the new furnace, to be in place tomorrow, will be welcome for bedroom heat!

Some part of me would love to not have a furnace, but the reality is this: I can't chop wood right now.  When I'm pregnant or caring for a newborn, I can't haul enough wood.  We need the AC in the summer, as our house is not built to circulate air efficiently.  Still, this was a worthwhile experience in knowing that I can heat the house in a "disaster" with very little interruption to our lives.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Winter Storm Preparation

When threats of heavy snow/ice/rain are in the forecast, winter storm preparations take place here at Yahweh Jireh Acres.  Our first thought and last thought are about water: water for animals, water for us to drink, water for washing.  You see, we have well water, so if the power goes out, the water stops.  We filter our drinking water through a Berkey filter, give the animals water straight from the well, and have a softener in the house since heavy minerals destroy our plumbing.

Yesterday and today, I filled water storage containers.  We're checking for dirty dishes, and I'll run three loads of laundry before I sleep, just in case.  Ten years ago, at this time of year, we had an ice storm of epic proportions, such that sme of my students (I was single and teaching) were without power for a week.  We might make it a week on current water storage; I prefer not to find out.

There are plenty of mundane tasks that occupy my in between thoughts, like emptying garbage cans, making sure tools and containers are put away as they will disappear under the snow, and charging the DVD player.  I've plotted out where we would spread mattresses, if I have enough disposable dishes to keep us a few days, and what sewing projects I can do by hand.

The other major consideration for power loss is heat.  We fortunately have a wood burning stove insert in our downstairs fireplace, so the wood is stacked and ready to work for us.

It's time to switch out the laundry and convince the kids to sleep.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.