About 4 times a year, I make soap. Making soap is one of my favorite recurring homestead chores, and I deliberately make it in small-ish batches so that I’ll have to make it again a few months later, giving me an opportunity to try a new design, recipe, or fragrance. The main ingredient in my … Continue reading Tallow: a foundational homestead product
With a favorable forecast, a three day weekend, and hip-high grass in the pasture, it was time to make some hay. I got home from an 11 hour workday Thursday and busied myself peening the 85cm (33″+) scythe blade I’ve dubbed the haymaker. Peening is the process of hitting the very edge between a hammer … Continue reading Making Hay by Hand: Year 2
We’ve been quiet in Blogville, but it’s not because nothing is happening. SO MUCH is happening. We’re starting our second spring at Bellfern, and–dare I say it?–it feels like we’ve got our feet under us. Our disasters are fewer and farther between. The Farm Update In early April, we castrated the piglets, and yes we … Continue reading Spring projects: piglets and kitchen remodel
The piglets are 10 days old today. They’ve grown a lot since their birthday, and they’re beginning to fill out. Honeybunny continues to be an excellent momma. We’re so impressed with her. Today was was a big day for the piglets. They had 3 big milestones: Most of them ventured out of the farrowing hut … Continue reading Big day in pigletville
Shortly after it became apparent that Hypatia was going to become the matriarch pig of Bellfern Homestead instead of Eliza as intended, her name morphed into Honeybunny. Hypatia seemed an appropriate name for a creature too smart for her earthly form who was destined for an unfortunate end, but Honeybunny seems more fitting for a mistress. Pigs … Continue reading It’s a boy! And a boy, and a boy, and a boy, and a girl, and a boy, and a boy, and a girl, and a boy, and a girl
Have you seen the Big Lebowski? The Dude, hopelessly adrift, finds purpose and grand adventure in recovering a stolen rug that was the keystone of his humble abode. That’s how I feel about the scythe on the farm. Like, The Dude’s feng shui, the farm’s flow is totally blocked without it. How strange that the … Continue reading The scythe; it really ties the farm together.
I spent many years working landscape construction specializing in steep slope installations and other sites with difficult or delicate access. Sites where an excavator or other heavy equipment could not/should not go, Some places where even a wheel barrow would be too cumbersome. On a couple jobs we used a military surplus medic stretcher to … Continue reading Upgrading the mighty 5 gallon bucket