The Good, The Bad, The Finale

So if you haven’t been completely asleep you have noticed that the weather has been pretty freaky.  We are in a pretty awful drought.  Couple that with intense sun because of our mile-high altitude and heat that started way too early this year, our gardens have been getting the crap kicked out of them.  Most of the outdoor gardens (Those not in the greenhouse) have gotten terribly scalded.  I am going out on a limb and predicting a 50% loss.  Our melons got fried, our peppers are dropping flowers and not producing peppers and we have lost all of the hard bean crop.  There may be some soil issues involved because I had to take a year off because of surgery, but flat out, it is way too damned hot and dry.  The carrots NEVER germinated over two consecutive plantings.  The potatoes and sweet potatoes and some of the onions are doing well and we had a great garlic harvest.  Inside the greenhouse everything is doing well, although the tomatoes are not going to produce nearly what we are used to.  When the temperatures get over about 93 degrees they don’t readily set fruit.  There is some out there but nothing I would call a “success”.  If our garden is any indication what food is going to be like going forward I would seriously recommend learning how to can and store food long term.  We are all going to get a lot thinner.

As I am not a person to give up without a fight, we did some studying of the gardens.  Why were the greenhouse plants doing so much better than the outdoor gardens?  As near as I can figure its because 1. There are fans keeping the air moving and 2. There is 40% reduction shade cloth on the roof and the walls.  If the sun is too intense and the temperature too hot, then wouldn’t eliminating one variable help?  I’m betting yes.

As a result, Aaron and I set to task to put covers on all 18 of the outdoor beds.  These covers will include quarter inch galvanized screen to help deflect hail and also the same shade cloth that is in the greenhouse.  Next season this ought to reduce some of the stress on these poor plants.  In the past, as long as the plants got to get their roots down and established, high heat was tolerable.  This year, the heat started the end of May and hasn’t let up yet and we are yet to get into August.  This set up will create something of a roof over the beds and (fingers crossed) give the plants a chance to get established and rooted to better help with these extreme temps.

So everything we do out here is an adventure.  One of our pigs is off to freezer camp.  Two weeks ago we put 50 chickens in the freezer. The turkeys are looking more and more like turkeys, and the goats are getting bigger.  The vegetables are going to be a disappointment this year.  Because we rely on it for our food, I will be going out to look for other bulk sources to fill in the gaps.  If you are a farmer or a gardener, anticipating success “next season” (if there is one), is indeed optimism.  We will get potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, pumpkins, celery, basil, oregano, sunflowers, and green beans.  Still not bad, but an awful lot more was planted.  Melancholy is the word of the day.

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The Weaving Studio

My loom arrived this past week!  It is so beautiful and I can’t wait to get started on it.  We are currently working on “blocks” and “Summer and Winter” patterns in class so I haven’t had time to try it out yet.  But, I took a day off yesterday and headed to Boulder and put together some yarn and patterns so I am ready to go!  This thing is an amazing piece of wood working.  We’ve ordered our share of furniture and this is easily as well built as our Amish stuff.  it is all solid maple and I didn’t have any part of it not fit as advertised.  Time to go full on hermit!

The new toy!

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The beginning of the studio.  The dogs checking things out. Very well camouflaged.  They are the same color as the loom!

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The first yarn for the first project on the floor loom.

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The latest project for class:  block design with Summer and Winter pattern.

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The new “Pixar” light.  The loom has holes drilled for lights.  This will help with threading immensely!

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The Boy Goats Get A Home

Aaron and I got the fencing put up so the bucklings couldn’t escape.  They will be living in the grassy run area around the chicken coop.  The girls will stay over with the donkeys.  This should help to prevent unchaperoned breeding!  Tank and Dozer are the cutest little guys.  They are as sweet as the girls and actually are somewhat less demanding.

Aaron and I also built what we have named “The Bomb Shelter”.  It is a stack of cinder blocks and railroad ties we had lying around.  Because goats love having things to climb and hop around on, this gives them a place to play king of the castle.  It is also open underneath which gives them a place to get out of the sun.

To let then live among the chickens, the puzzle was how to keep them from getting at the chicken feed.  While they would love to eat it, it is very bad for them.  Goats, like cows, are ruminants.  This means they eat primarily grass, weeds and leaves.  Corn and other grains can cause “bloat”.  This comes from their inability to digest something and it can be fatal quickly.

So far, all is going well.  They lived up to their billing as being incredibly energetic.  It was explained to me while learning about them that keeping goats is like giving a three year old a hammer.  Yep.  Good description.

Tank eating out of the new feeder I built (Still needs a cover).

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Maybe if I eat from the side I can get my head in there farther.

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The Bomb Shelter (we figure it has to way close to 2000 lbs).

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King of the castle.

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I dare ya to knock me off!

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This buffet is pretty tasty!  I loves me some thistles!

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Dozer

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