Saturday, June 30, 2007

a start on the new garden

While the kids were here last week Kevin did me a big favour and moved all those tires over to the new garden.



That was the short version of the video Jo-Ann made. I thought Kev might like the long version, so it's here.

I did get a start on laying the tires out .... making a plan .... ... and drilling drain holes.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Home Alone

The company is gone now. We had some decent weather, but today it is raining. I don't think we have had a day in the last two weeks that hasn't rained at some point.
I'm back working on a software release and haven't had a lot of time to play in the yard. I started the new tire garden, and it quickly became evident that I need another hundred tires. And a few truckloads of barkmulch to put between them to keep the weeds out.

This is a picture of my buddy Graeme on a sabatical from the Coast. He was fascinated with the giant puffballs and we barbequed a few slices up for mushroom and steak.



Well, actually that picture is below. The one above is some weird houseguest that showed up..

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Giant Day


On the way to the Chicken barn, Xena pointed out the giant mushrooms growing in the ground between the barns. They are from the Puffball familly and are great eating. We sliced them up like a slice of bread drizzeled olive oil on them and barbequed them.

We have one chicken that grows giant eggs. I suspect it's the one that has no feathers around her backside!

Sara and Kevin are here and we're having lots of fun. Today we have the smoker running and smoking a 20 lb brisket. We did a test run yesterday with some porkchops. Yum.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Fencing 101

(go to Jo-Ann's blog to find out what Walter is saying at the end)

Walter, the farmer whose cows are pastured here, came up the other day with a fencing crew. And a tractor mounted fence post pounder. In about three hours they had installed a 300 foot cut-off fence between the Main House and Grandma's. It's a well built one and the cows won't be able to get through this one in a hurry. And it makes rounding up the cattle easier, just open the gate and put them in. Easier than driving them all over a quarter section. Meanwhile I was busy repairing the fencing along the West and North Sides. So most of the house perimiter fencing is intact. The only problem now is a single, bottom wire on the East side and the cut off fence ensures the cows can't get through that. None the less, I don't want to encourage bad habits so when I get a moment, a dry one, I'll patch that up. The yearlings have taken to walking over the cattle guard 'tho. It is filled with dirt from the spring flooding and consequently grass, so it's not acting like a deterrent to them. If they can see grass or the bottom their not shy of it. The excavator is off doing some stump pulling at our neighbors in the valley and when it returns I will use it to lift the entire cattle guard up out of the way and dig the bottom clean. In the meantime I've wired a piece of 2 X 6 across the fence and the cow engineers have even managed to figure out how to knock that down. Right after I put it there they all congregated right at the cattle guard, noses sniffing at the gate/board. I imagine the conversation must have been like this: " hey Marty, look at this, some kinda stick thing accross the path to the good grass." "Yay, Frankie, Don't know what to make of it, better call Red, she's had some engineering experience with this kind of thing, pretty sure she can handle it." And she did. I've had to put it back up twice now.

The Big Guy sure makes some nice sunsets.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Mending Fences

The other day, right in the middle of a rainstorm, we noticed that there were cows on the wrong side of the fence. After chasing them out and spending several hours in the downpour fence-mending (with some swearing thrown in for good measure), here they were back this morning.I guess the sight of all that luscious grass is just too much to resist. The problem was with the fence line around the house. It encloses an area of about 20 acres or so. Last winter's heavy snowfall has wreaked havoc with the fence lines in the area. Fences around here are four wire fences. Three wires just don't cut it with the red Angus heifers and bulls. Some farmers are considering just putting up new wire as opposed to patching the old. In our case, I am just going to fix up the fence. I have a fence stretcher that makes the job a lot easier. I really don't have time right now as I am writing code like a monkey on a coffee overload getting ready for a customer at the Coast, but cows wandering around the place can do a lot of damage. Last year the bulls wrecked several trees by rubbing against them. At first I thought it was someone's clumsy attemts at pruning but no, it's the bulls, and cows getting a scratch.I am grateful the tire gardens are covered and they don't seem to bother it. They're a nuisance in the yard, though....pooping and trampling at will.And they just step on anything in their path. Terribly destructive.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

All Wet

We took Sunday off to catch up on some house chores. One of the things we did was install a drip irrigation system in our tire garden. Makes watering pretty easy. Well, automatic, once Jo-Ann figures out how to make the timer work. Instead of buying commercial sprinklers, which are a small fortune for the 1/4 " stuff I just made a ring of 1/4" tubing at each tire and supported it with nails. I then punched holes in the tubing and Voila! sprinklers. The lettuce loves it.


Speaking of which, has anyone tried just cutting the lettuce and leaving the roots in the ground? The lettuce just keeps growing. That's a new one on me. I haven't tried the new crop but it seems to be growing pretty fast so it shouldn't be too long.

We are starting to get creative with our eggs. Storage really. The 10 Chickens are laying eight or nine eggs a day. And that adds up. We really can't eat that many, so we are experimenting with different ways to use them up. One of the ways we have tried that seems to work is to break them into egg cartons ( the styrofoam kind ) and freeze them. When you need an egg for baking or scrambling just pop one or more out and thaw them out. I just may have to dig out the pickled egg recipe...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work we go..


We've been getting up at 5 am to go painting a log cabin on Francois lake. Jeez, I must be getting old. I seem to be creakier at the end of a day than I can remember. We don't have time to do it really, but I made a committment to do it before I had a software deadline. So were taking a break from coding to get this done. Of course, my estimate of how long it would take, was about half right. Setting up scaffolding to work Thirty feet up takes time..


Ah well another couple of days then back into the office.