Modern amenities

We have internets!

And indoor plumbing!

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Wood fired central heating that works excellently!  It is sleeting and 30 outside, cozy and 70 inside…..

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In farmy news we rotated the chickens onto fresh pasture:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARoosterman inspected and approved.  He really is a nice rooster, and I think the hens are happier and forage more with him around.

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And we continue to be amazed by the incredible wildlife we get to see and hear here at the edge of the forest:

M2E39L138-138R399B310You can see the beginnings of my funny little round raised bed garden down below-I did get a fair amount of garlic in this fall.  The 2015 growing season has already started!

Stay cozy!

 

Busy bees

Here is what we have been up to, not much farming but the fall rains are coming and we need to get the house in shape to live in safely… to prep for the electrician (complete rewire) and the plumber (complete replumb) we pulled trim and cut the lath and plaster at 40″ from the floor throughout the house.  Then we hired an amazing demo crew to come in and demo out the basement, the loft floor in the barn, and all the lath and plaster below our cut.  This will enable the electrician to get in and pull wire quickly, we also got a good look at the framing of the house (which looks amazing for 90 yrs old!), and made sure nothing else was living in walls besides the bees.  And we got those out too-took over a week and I almost got heat exhaustion, but it is done!  Oh, and we built a new set of stairs in the barn.

this fireplace is actually soapstone or marble painted to look like mahogany....it is a pretty good tromp l'oeil!

this fireplace is actually soapstone or marble painted to look like walnut….it is a pretty good trompe l’oeil!

found this beautiful floor under some gross linoleum in the bedroom with the bee closet.  I think we will clear coat and keep it as is.

found this beautiful floor under some gross linoleum in the bedroom with the bee closet. I think we will clear coat and keep it as is.

new barn stairs!

new barn stairs!

scary basement now significantly less scary...and we find out today hopefully if this old wood furnace is still useable...

scary basement now significantly less scary…and we find out today hopefully if this cool old wood furnace is still useable…

Huge huge thanks to Der Lovett deconstruction…they did a beautiful job with the demo and left everything spotless, and finished the house the basement and the barn in something like 14 hours.  They were awesome.  Now we are working on digging a ditch to the equipment shed for power, and hopefully if I get a chance building a colony for the rabbits…who do not seem to ever tire of blackberry canes for breakfast.  And did I mention?  Mustangs love thistles.  And generate a wheelbarrow full of ‘soil amendment’ every day while mowing. 

Osprey has landed!

Sorry for the lack of posting-we are super busy and without internets out in the country.  But not only do we have owls in the woods and swifts in the chimney (no more bees in the closet-hooray!), we have an Osprey in the barn.  Here she is:

 alfalfa for breakfast

alfalfa for breakfast

So far she is adjusting well, doing a great job of mowing down my waist high pastures.  She loves the trail rides, and is very tolerant of the dogs, who are turning into stellar farm dogs, as long as the chickens stay in their yard and coop……we are about to tear into the house for rewiring and replumbing, I have to head back out there to pull nails out of all the trim I removed this week.  Cheers!

We have chickens!

We fixed up the old coop and moved in about 20 hens of various breeds and ages…although several of the pullets are turning out to be cockerels…a good opportunity to go visit Mineral Springs Poultry in a few weeks.  Next we start to tackle the house!

 

coop remodel complete!

coop remodel complete!

Complete with outdoor dining area....

Complete with outdoor dining area….

coop interior

coop interior

first farm eggs

first farm eggs

It is so nice to have hens again….and eggs!

 

 

At last! We have closed at last!

view of the barn

view of the barn

swamping out the barn

swamping out the barn

Bees moved too!

Bees moved too!

apiary view

apiary view

shoring up the old coop

shoring up the old coop

coop swampers extraordinaire

coop swampers extraordinaire

farm glamping

farm glamping

 

As you can see, we have switched out of neutral and into high gear.  Getting on the land so late means we can mostly focus on infrastructure for animals and the garden now, plus get the house liveable and functional in time for winter (we have swifts in the chimney, bees in the closet, and I don’t wanna know what might live in the basement…..).  Here we go!  The dingo and Large Marge the farm truck are already getting put to heavy use.  So far we are having great fun, and at the end of the day we all look like this:

tired farm dog

tired farm dog

cheers!

 

Slowly slowly is surely progress

Nope-don’t ask-No farm yet, but our paperwork is working its way through the county.  I am not chilling any champagne just yet, but I am contemplating buying some.  In the meantime I pull weeds and mow around the farmhouse…wash the windows, make it look like somebody cares about it.  In town I am throwing out peppers and tomatoes I couldn’t get into gallon containers or buckets, and wondering if I will get my newly sprouted squashes and cucumbers into the ground.  Hesitantly packing a few more boxes, even as I try to find my summer clothes and barbecue tools which were all packed up sometime back in February….it is odd to live on hold for so long.

On the other hand, my mustang mare is making great strides-gaining confidence every week.  I got my first ride on her last thursday…in the middle of a gullywasher but I could have cared less!  first rideShe gets more beautiful every time I see her.  Can’t wait until I can walk out my front porch and see her everyday!  I found a good used saddle that fits for a great price, and look forward to putting her in English gear (though she looks great in a Western saddle too).

The fishing has been pretty good in the Columbia and the Willamette.  This helps keep us cheerful.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand berry season has begun!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHappy summer everyone!

 

A very simple DIY wax melter

Those of you who keep bees on natural comb and like to harvest the wax as well, as well as do it yourself on the cheap, here is a super simple, practically free solar wax melter.  It works anytime the temps are above 75 degrees or so.

Materials:

cardboard box

piece of recycled glass or old single pane window

large yogurt container (or two or three, depending on the size of your box)

string

cheesecloth

tinfoil

water

wax cappings and comb from honey harvest or other beekeeping activities

Take the box, line it with tinfoil.  Fill the yogurt container halfway with tap water, and top with a piece of cheesecloth.   Tie the cheesecloth on with a piece of string (rubber band work too, but the heat will degrade them in a day or two) and make an indentation in the middle of the cheesecloth top with your hand.  Pile wax cappings and bits as high as you dare, place in the box.  Place glass on top and leave in a sunny location.  It helps to prop up the box on one side to tilt it slightly towards the sun.  As the wax melts and filters through the cheesecloth, you can add more.  Every day or two remove the filtered wax that is floating on the water in the yogurt container and repeat the process until you are out of wax.  Works great, even in cloudy W. Oregon!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMake sure you have rinsed all of the honey out of your cappings and comb first (you can strain this and use the honey flavored water for making lemonade….delicious!).  And don’t use brood comb-it doesn’t work well, it has too little wax left in it (use that for fire starter when you go camping, it is awesome!  Or put it in your compost).  I use my wax to make hand dipped candles and lip balm.

The blackberry is just beginning to bloom around here, that is the main honeyflow in our area!  Summer is just around the corner….