They Are Finally Finished!!

F4931A19-D444-492F-A0EC-C85C14D3061A63E3CD13-EC6B-4A19-913C-129EBE60F82C906F9C4F-F0C2-468C-80C4-25181E992DDD2A8529D1-63BB-4B4E-9DD5-89334C93D8635434F7F0-5689-491F-B948-E2FBA1A358D714 yards long, 15 napkins, a week’s worth of hemming and the napkins are done!  Reminder to me…. Don’t expect to get a lot of weaving done when its gardening season!  I’ve been working on these since April.  Dumb idea.  I am so happy with the results, but my oh my was it tough to get down to the loom when trying to garden and put up food for the next season.

I’m getting better at my hemming.  They look less like a snake and more like a hand done project.

After looking up from my dreamland and discovering that Labor Day weekend is just a week away, I kind of freaked.  For fun, I want to set up a booth at our local holiday fair this year.  It will be to have a weaving presence.  If I don’t get my butt in gear I’ll not have anything to display!!  I want to sell some Christmas table runners, placemats and kitchen towels. But before I can loom them up I have a couple other orders to fill.  Deep breathing.  Whodah thunk that post retirement would be busier than pre?  If you think a couple can homestead and get everything done….. you are delusional.  I woke up this morning, thinking that I’d get in the garden and was met with a sick turkey.  Now that they have been de-wormed, its now 7:30 pm and I’m hemming napkins.  We are on goat baby watch, we have been canning and dehydrating, the wife is working a full time job, and I’m losing my mind.  All in a week’s schedule.  Of course….in the end, who owns this problem?

 

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Farming and Hobbies Take Up A Lot Of Time

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So the lesson learned here (tongue in cheek) is that starting a huge weaving project at the same time as seedling starts in the early spring, does not yield quick results.

Tonight I finally got these napkins off the loom!!  I started them right around the time we bred one of our Nigerian Dwarf goats (1st part of April).  It was a warp of 14 yards (friggin huge).  Since that time we built new raised beds, all the hail covers, drip irrigation to the new beds, planted the entire garden, built two new grow out coops, hatched a flock of turkeys, raised and processed meat birds, got two more pigs, built an outdoor worm composting bin, got barrels to create biochar, fixed up a car to take to my kid, have a pregnant goat, hired a very part time farm hand, took care of the critters and the gardens, built new composting bins, built a dog house, dealt with a goat that contracted pinkeye, Zina spent a week in Detroit helping her family out and we still tried to have a little down time. It is now the end of July and the napkins finally came off the loom.  There are 15 of them.  They are about 22×22 inches which makes them the size of a napkin that you would get at a 4 or 5 star restaurant.  They still have to be pre-washed and hemmed but I’m very pleased with the end result.  I have been trying to make extras of patterns I weave so as to build some inventory.  I have half a mind to set up a little booth for the holidays at our local rec center.  No weavers there, so maybe I’d get lucky.  If we keep six for ourselves that means I have two, 4 napkin sets to sell that will go with the table runners and placemats of the same color.  Whadya think?  Will I get Jeff Bezos rich?  How about I just be happy to cover my yarn costs so my hobby pays for itself.  Ya we’ll go with that.  Homesteading ain’t for wimps.

2 Out Of 3…. Or Maybe 4. Not Bad For A Grumpy Old Wreck

4FFFCDD2-EF96-45CC-B36A-DD723C07EF62My goal, while Zina has been out of town, has been to get at least 2 or 3 more minor builds out of the way before she gets home.  So far 2 down.  Next up, plumbing our water tank.  Then, lastly, a jungle gym for the girl goats.  I’ll likely get three done.  It’s too durned hot to construct stuff out in that goat pasture.  It’ll just have to wait.  Also, after six days of throwing, sawing, hauling and screwing, lumber and steel, I’m feeling some stenosis twinges in my hip,  and my toes are kind of going to sleep.  It’s from too much illegal bending and twisting.  I’m going to have to let the old backbone rest a bit.  Those tingles are definitely PTSD moments.

I finished roofing the dog house this morning.  There are still a few minor details to batten it all down; but those remaining  things are to winterize it.  Considering it’s 98 degrees right now, I think I have some time yet.  Both pups have been in it and are looking decidedly spoiled.  If we ever need to babysit a Buffalo, now we’ll have room!  Or the in-laws.  Either works.  So 2 compost bins (I still need to fill) and a horse sized dog house in about 6 days.  I’ll chalk it up to that farmer dude being able to do anything!

 

A “Dog House”

Nothing like 5 hours of driving and a little construction in 95 degree heat to just invigorate you.  We had to attend to some parenting issues over the last several days; not the least of which was having one of the roommates go off of his meds (clinical schizophrenic as it seems), impersonate a police officer, berate Aaron outside of his window, scare the bejeezuz out of him, break into the apartment and then get arrested.  Ah, college life.  Everything else seemed pretty easy to handle after all of that.  He had a doctor appointment on Friday and then back up to school.

However, in the midst of all this, an engineering department manager saw Aaron sitting outside of class the other day.  Aaron is an Origami Artist.  It keeps his hands busy while he is reading.  The prof saw his stuff and was very impressed.  He asked Aaron what he wanted to do with his ME degree when he finally escaped college.  Aaron basically said, “planes and or automobiles”.  The guy gave Aaron his card, told him he knew of an engineering research prof that needed an assistant. Aaron emailed his resume and Voila! Interview next Tuesday.  This professor does research in “Multi-functional polymers and composite materials” (Ya, me neither).

So after an up and back to school on Thursday and Friday, I get a text from him about this.  He needed the only dress shirt he owns and wanted my lighter road bike instead of the heavy Trek mountain bike, in order to ride the 4 miles to the interview.  I told him to ride at a reasonable pace so as not to be a sweaty mess when he arrives (there is a campus bus service, but being a control freak like his mother, he didn’t want to take a chance that the bus would be late).  So off I went, up to deliver said items.  I swear all of the Front Range is under construction!

After 5 hours, I was back home and set to the next in a series of smaller projects that needs to get done.  The first was the building of the composters.  This next one was from the lessons learned from the land hurricane that hit us last winter.  The first doesn’t involve anything from me except writing a check.  We are having a shed built for the boy goats.  Of all the critters, they took the bomb cyclone the worst.  They had the least shelter and those poor boys had ice hanging from their coats.  I love my animals and that shall never happen again.  Secondly, the dogs had a hog hut as a dog house.  The blizzard had such strong winds that it swirled the snow around the front and actually filled the hut up with snow.  So in the fashion of the little grow out coop I made for the chickens, I am making a “Dog House” for the pups (And for the off chance we need to house an elephant).  It will have the actual shelter and I will be adding an awning to it for shade.  That way, along with their swimming tank, they can stay outside all day if need be.  I can too if I get kicked out of the house.  Always be prepared!

So while Zina is off to Detroitistan to help clear out her folks’ house to get it ready to sell, I’m here doing what I do best: weeding, screwing screws, swearing at the barn sprites and keeping the place running.  How did I do all this while I was still working?  Can’t remember, but there is a scar on my back to remind me.

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I should be done with the framing and wall covering tomorrow.  Then it’s off to the Stockyard Supply Store for the metal roofing.  Then the awning.  I’m thinking of putting a gutter on the back that runs into their swimming tank.  We’ll plumb that when we get to it.

Voila! Carpe de Compost!

D0B87475-6B6F-404B-9035-86998249FE64I built a couple of composting “bins” inside the chicken pasture over the past two days.  I had to do it in shifts because it is over 90 degrees now.  Summer has arrived. Or perhaps the hurricane that looks to make life difficult for New Orleans changed all the weather patterns.  In either case it’s blinking hot!  My water consumption goes hockey stick on days like these.

I put these composters in the pasture to help with fly control.  Zina has a relationship with a food bank near her office and she gets the leftover produce every week.  It’s a lot.  It’s not your garden variety table scraps.  It’s bushels of stuff.  With that much rotting vegetable matter and our own chicken manure, flies happen.  Outside the pasture there wasn’t much we could do.  With them in with the boy goats and layers, everyone gets a job.  The bucks can eat whatever vegetable matter they’d like, but the chickens are master composters.  They will get in there and scratch and peck and eat all manner of insect eggs and larvae.  It should drastically reduce our fly problem.  We had fly issues over by the donkey barn as well.  Why? Well, because donkeys crap a LOT.  When we got turkeys it dropped to practically nothing.  Voila!  We are an equal opportunity poultry employer!

 

This Year Couldn’t Be Doing Much Better

I weeded 15 beds today and Zina set out cleaning pens and coops and feeding.  We found a farm sitter we can use when we are in a pinch and she is coming out on Sunday to see things.  She is studying to be a Vet Tech which is a bonus feature for us.

This year’s growing season couldn’t be doing much better.

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Our little girl, Ginger, appears to be with child.  Kidding can happen anytime on or after August 23.  Zina is going to need a sedative.

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Piggies

These little guys are growing really fast!

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The Jersey Giants Chicks

All the brooders are empty.  But we are expecting a turkey hatch to begin tomorrow!

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Tank and Dozer

The bucks are rutting.  They are stinky and fighting.  Tank, the black one, got his bell rung pretty good yesterday.  Almost took him to the vet but he seems to have come back as a contender.

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Donavan and Julio

The Stoic Farm gurus.  You will never meet a calmer gentler soul than an old donkey.

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The turkeys

The turkeys are totally worth the effort but whodoggies iz they dumb!

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The layers and his highness

We have toooo many layers.  We’ve been getting 2 dozen eggs a day and have been giving loads of them to the food bank.

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The Greenhouse

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Some of the beds.  All freshly weeded out.

Feeling vindicated after the collapse from last year’s drought.  We appear to have this wired.  We put the green in Greenhouse.

 

 

The Finished Product/Project

Got the door today to use as a worm bin cover.  It even had hinges attached so all I had to do was heave it up there, center it and screw it down.  It needs a handle as it is a solid core door and moderately heavy.  If I used a standard indoor version, the weather here would eat it up in short order.  I moved it over by the house as it is a bit shadier on that side.  I’m not thinking barbecued or steamed worm would go well on a salad.

I ordered 6 pounds of worms today and they should be arriving next week.  As red wrigglers can eat half their weight in scraps a day, we will be using anything from kitchen scraps, coffee filters, newspaper and cardboard, to donkey and goat hay and chicken manure, discards from the food bank that Zina works with, as well as weeds, grass, spent straw, and garden waste to keep up with the 3 lbs. of food they will need every day.  Looking forward to a bathtub full of black gold.  I also found two, 30 gallon steel garbage cans for the biochar burners.  It’s not ideal, but it will get the project underway.   Now to find a couple of 4 foot lengths of stove pipe so I can finish the build.

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