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
In the 1970s, a short-term study was conducted, whereby a small group of people was fed a limited high-fat diet, and an increase in blood cholesterol was observed. Before any long-term studies could be conducted, nutrition science, a relatively new field, took that news and ran with it. Official “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” were announced, proposing … Continue reading Pork: the other red meat
It really is a load off my shoulders and mind. All the design deliberations, cost considerations, material requisitions, and top-of-ladder installations…done. Done, done, DONE! Well, there’s still caulking, painting, and power to run, but that’s pretty mindless… …point is, no more big decisions! Geoff Lawton, of Permaculture Research Institute, says a design is made … Continue reading DIY greenhouse; 11 months in the making.
The Thursday morning before Christmas, I got up to get ready for work and discovered that we had no running water. NOOOOOO!!!! I knew it was below freezing outside, and my first thought was that our pipes had frozen. But it wasn’t that cold. Why would they freeze now? I hadn’t had coffee yet, so my … Continue reading Water, an abundantly scarce resource
We are playing the long-term game here on the homestead. In a year and a half we’ve only planted 4 trees because well, the soil sucks and why stick sticks in the ground just to have them suffer? It takes time to build soil and that is what we are focusing on. Meanwhile, we expanded … Continue reading Whack-A-Mole! Butternut the Cat Steps Up.