Saturday, June 22, 2013

Garden Before and After Photos

We've been hard at work on our garden over the past few months and we have some before and after photos to share with you. Hopefully we'll update these with pre-harvest photos to show how much it grew!  Inbetween the "before" and "after" we amended the ground with a few things and then used a large rototiller to till almost everything in the garden.

March 17th, 2013

June 22nd, 2013

March 17th, 2013 (The dark stuff is a vermicompost amendment that we spread prior to tilling)

June 22nd, 2013 

And a bonus panorama of one of the garden and the orchard right after the sheep had grazed it. :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Water system failure!

 One Thursday night we were suddenly without water. An inspection of the spring house revealed that our well pump had been freaking out, turning on and off quickly, over and over again. After not too long it overheated and a safety shutoff prevented it from running until it cooled off again. Clearly untenable.

Joel and I spent the better part of two days in the 100F+ heat replacing the well pump and finding out that one of the pressure tanks had failed as well.  In the end the system is better off than it was and we know a lot more about this antiquated, eccentric system. For more background there's a old blog entry about it.

During the two days without water we drank from our stored backup water supplies in the house. The garden was a different story. Nicole and I hauled many 5 gallon buckets of water out of the creek to make sure our garden didnt succumb to the summer heat. Well worth the effort though!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Goat Slaughter

A few friends of ours had a goat that they loved but had become overwhelmingly unruly. So, they made the hard decision to slaughter him which we gladly helped with and offered them space to perform the work.  I only took a few photos of the whole ordeal because most of the time my hands were in a state not fit for holding a camera. :)

Some of the folks that keep bees on our property know a thing or two about slaughtering and butchering so they came out to show us the ropes. 

After butchering all of the meat and sharing it with a few friends, I took the skin, scraped it, soaked it in limewater, scraped all the hair off and then stretched it out to dry. When it's all done we'll use it to make new drum heads for some drums we have here. 

This whole goat slaughter adventure won us much good-natured ribbing from some close friends who drew this photo of us. Actually, quite an honor in the strange circles we run in :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

SuperAdobe bench update #2

Again, not exactly related to our adventures at the homestead but we've made significant progress on the bench that we started last year.  It's taken on a somewhat different but more creative form than we first imagined. The serpent dragon on the top is a real hit with the kids at the preschool it lives at :)

Still to come is a final layer of smooth plaster that we'll embed decorations of various sorts into. 

There are lots more photos of our work on this here.

Spring Additions

 With spring here, we have all kinds of things popping up

The Trillium are back again for their yearly show. These deep red ones are beautiful!

Some of our beekeepers  set up 5 new hives this year, a welcome addition!

This is Jack. He came to us with nowhere else to go. Now he's our top mouser and earning his keep quite well.

The figs have just started to form but they're getting bigger every day.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


This is a photo that I took at the County Assessor's office. They kindly pulled out all the info they had on our parcel and I found this gem from 1962. Our parcel had been colored in with green colored pencil after an ordinance (ORD 629) was passed declaring it Residential-Agricultural (RA) land.  If my understanding of county history is correct this was around the time that the county first started cataloging all of it's land into a zoning system.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Grazing sheep

The sheep have been here for a few weeks grazing our pasture grass down. Financially it worked out to be a much better deal than paying to mow it and we get the added pleasure of watching the sheep. They are quite comical. There are about 30 male sheep of various ages and breeds. They are accompanied by a female guard llama. The Sheep spend their entire time eating grass except when they aren't chasing each other around or mounting each other. We have you even seen most of them up grazing in the middle of the night. The llama does her share of grazing too but remains constantly alert of sounds around her.

The kids both really enjoyed having the sheep here. They were contained in a portable electric fence that was moved around every 4-5 days. Over the course of a month they grazed everywhere twice.

 It was beautiful to behold such simple animals going about their lives each day. The llama was particularly amusing.

 You can see how good of a job they did. On the left side of the road in this picture they were left for 6 full days at one point. They started to get down to just dirt in a few places!