Monday, August 27, 2007

The Road Ahead

Wow, just got our internet back running. After Eight days. Time to start thinking aboout a satellite system. We've been progressing around the joint, getting it ready for winter. Started the road building excercise. Tom and a friend of his, Eddie came up and we managed to get 14 loads at about 16 yards each onto the road. Maybe another 40 or so loads to go. The skidsteer blew a starter motor so that put a bit of a cramp in the process but Tom managed to spread the road bed with the big shovel, after walking it down from the gravel pit. Any way we got a good bed near the house, which was about the worse part of the whole road and made a good start on the hills.


One of the joys of my life is finding artifacts around the place of an earlier era. When nothing was wasted and most things were hand built. I've really admired some of the old gates that are around. All hand built. This one, below has handbuilt hardware, probably made in the blacksmith shop that was tacked on to the original log cabin.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ready for the Road Gang

The Kenworth made it into the yard yesterday after some work with the clutch. We did some spring repair on the front axles and need to replace a valve for the rear gate and then we're ready to start digging the gravel and spreading it on the road. With a little over a kilometer of road averaging about 300 centimeters thick, why that's only, let's see now, at 3 meters wide say, about 900 cubic meters. Or about 1177.16 Cubic Yards. If I figure about 5 cubic yards per load ( light I know but it's hilly ) that would be around 235 trips. So I think this year, just the real bad spots get graveled. At around $200 bucks a truck load that would be, let's see now... about $47,000 bucks. Jeez, good thing I have my own gravel pit...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

No Sweat

Well actually quite a lot of sweat. Some friends of mine invited me to a traditional sweat lodge ceremony. It really was an amazing and powerful experience. It was the first time I had been to one and I tried not to over analyze it. It is something that will stay with me for quite a while. I have been asked back to another one and look forward to it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What's up Doc


Carrots that's for sure! We planted a tire full in mid July and now they are ready for the table. We experimented with two different varieties. A short stubby one (Red Cored Chantenay) and a long one ( Imperator). I think the short one makes more sense in the tires we're growing them in. We have a pretty good crop of Kohl Rabi (purple Vienna) but a mouse and some slugs have been wrecking havoc on them.

The new garden is going well. I am getting some risers and tops ready for painting. That's a tire with both sidewalls cut out and one with just the top cut out, respectively. Together with the parts that were cut out they make a great cold frame. We planted the new garden August the 6th and the red radishes will need thinning in a couple of days. I am going to try using the tire coldframes with lightbulbs inside for heat to see if I can keep them growing when the temperature drops. It will be snowing here come mid September so it will be interesting.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What a Load A...

Well, wood. We are starting some of our Fall Projects. The things we do to get ready for winter. Like get the wood in and cut the Blue Shed in half. Things like that. Tom bought a new dumping trailor, and that sure makes getting the winter wood in quite a lot faster. And easier. A couple of more loads and we'll be set up for the season.




One of those old sayings is you get what you pay for. Have to say there is some truth in that. I have managed to burn out a couple of lightweight ( read Cheap ) recipricating saws when cutting up 24.5 inch logging truck tires to make cold frames for the new "re-tired" Garden. Finally we went to the Home Depot and bought a heavy duty Milwaukee sawzall. What a difference. I cut one tire that had an inch and a half thick sidewall. Easy Peasy. If it ever drys out I will be able to get the insides of the tires painted white. These are the parts that go on top of the tires that have the soil in them to act as cold frames. We are seeing if we can extend the growing season into October or even later.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Black Radish

We decided to try a different type of radishe having grown a couple of crops of the ubiquitous red radishes. I noticed a package of Black Radishes at the Knapps and so we took them home and stuck them in a tire. Strange beasts. Of course we didn't do any research on them until now. The seem to grow like weeds but most of them have huge, two and a half feet stalks and tiny, for the size of the stem, heads. And they are black. I pulled one of the ones that hadn't gone to seed and here it is. What a surprise.b I expected a little radish size head and lo and behold:


Really quite a weird vegetable. Apparently a very old one, with the ancient Egyptians using it.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Summer Vacation at Last.

I'll think I'll spend it doing stuff. I managed to get all my commitments polished off and now I can spend some time doing some chores around the place. Like finishing the Chicken runs, getting the skid steer mobile and maybe planting a late tire garden.I've discovered a new way to make a tire garden. By reversing a 16 inch truck tire and painting the inside white it makes a great cold frame. The curved white surface on the inside reflects the light and the black tire outside collects the heat. We have been doing a little test with some of them and in the sun lately it was getting over 40 degrees centigrade inside. Too hot to grow anything but it sure showed what the set up is capable off. Going to do another run of radishes and lettuce, maybe some spinach. Our crop has all bolted.