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.

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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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The Greenhouse Has Exploded

While taking a walk through the greenhouse, Zina got some photos of all the progress.  It appears the damage from the initial chill is a memory.  According to the forecast, summer is set to arrive this week with daily temps around 90.  East of Steamboat Springs got 2 feet of snow this weekend.  We’d attribute that to global warming but we all know that’s a myth.  After all it’s snow right?  5 years.  Harvard Professor says we have 5 years to fix it.  Never happen.  Plant til you can’t.

Next up in the farm evolution is a huge Permaculture development of a “food forest”.  It will involve ponds and swales, pollinator attractors and habitat, trees, vines, bushes and ground cover.  We will be making lots of vermicompost, utilizing hugelkultur techniques and making furnaces to create bio-char for amendments. It will be the biggest soil building project I’ve ever tried and easily as big a job as the initial farm infrastructure was to build.  Stay tuned!

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Coop Deville

 

Ya baby!  It all fit and with inches to spare!  That oughta hold a bird or two.  Of course now Zina wants me to build one for the dogs.  Maybe in the fall.  This one is for our chickens, but we put 17 new turkey eggs in the incubator today.  We have to clip the flight feathers on the teenagers tomorrow.  They’ve found out how to escape the pen.  Free ranging is fine…… right up until the hawk flies away with you.

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