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Thursday, March 26, 2015

It was a Dark and Stormy Night

..it really was too...


It overfilled my pond a wee bit, the young willow on the right of the picture has wet feet.  However it's not the only one with wet feet...


That would be my Macintosh tree.  It's kinda swimming, so as soon as it dries up a little bit (yeah Spring and dry prob not anytime soon) I need to get more dirt around it to keep it from happening again.  I just need it dry enough to move the dirt without it being clumped.

The other side wasn't so wet thankfully:


Not sure how well you can see it, but the Redhaven peach is in water that isn't in water now.  It soaked up in a few hours where as the Mac is still in all that water.  See the tires?  I thought I'd try the grow potatoes in tires since I have 7 tires right now.

Also I have  another picture of the cinder block stove.


The back will get raised up like the sides, then we'll fill up the holes of the  cinder blocks then they'll be capped and some rebar will be put across to cook over.  Also the center will get a solid block for the burn surface.   I can't wait for it to get done so we can cook in the mornings on it.

Hope you're safe with the severe weather moving about.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Garden Sprouts!

I went out this morning between rain drops and this is what I saw:  That is a pea.. and it's not the only one either, seems so far half of the peas have sprouted and I'm waiting on the rest.  I can't wait to see them climbing all over the place.

Then there is this:


There is a row of spinach seedlings there.  I am sooo excited.  I have lettuce sprouting too but the pictures did not come out at all what so ever.  I know my red current did survive and is putting on growth big time and the willow I planted last fall near my pond is alive as well and greening out.

I LOVE Spring.

BE Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Wood Fired Water heater

This was written by Silver and I, Riven have posted it for Him.

A couple years ago we were given a gas fired water heater. Upon inspection it was apparent that the entire burner assembly was useless. So a week or so later I removed all of the burner and the insulation from the bottom foot or so, at first thinking the tank might be useful. About that time I watched a couple videos on using wood fired water heaters and decided to see what I could do with it.



Other than keeping the heat shield used to hold the burner assembly, I found a old unused steel tire rim that the shield fit into snuggly. The lower half I filled with dirt and gravel to help keep it in place. The opening in the shield where the gas burner had entered I opened a bit and used for the wood feed.

Given the fear of over pressure and possible explosion fed by all the warnings we had seen on the net, I only filled the tank with water and left the lines unattached. After filling the “fire box” and lighting it using small branches and kindling, we found that to heat the initial forty gallons took approximately a hour. After, it took less time, refilling the used water, keeping the fire running with only small pieces of fire wood.



At the time we did not have a water heater so it was a godsend for us. Much easer than heating the water on the stove or a fire a gallon at the time. Some time later we were given an electric water heater that with some parts worked and so we stopped using the wood fired one. Given the setting up of our outdoor kitchen I moved it to that location and am setting it up once again for use there. This time I will not have any fear of running it under pressure as it is fairly easy to tell when it is getting hot enough and the pressure relief valve is attached. Given the fire box is less than a cubic foot does not hold enough for a long burn time.

One last thing the warnings online also mentioned the chimney being too small to work accurately. We had no trouble with it on ours nor do we expect to. My guess on others experiences is they were trying to have to big a fire going in it. As we were not in a hurry to have the water heat up we did not over feed it.


 I hope this helps any that are interested to try there hand at it though only if you feel comfortable with attempting it.

Silver has said if anyone has questions feel free to post them and He'll do His best to answer them.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mostly done Kitchen

Well have the main structure on the outdoor kitchen mostly done.  As is I don't have a floor and we need about 6 ft of roofing still...


We ran out of it, one and a quarter rolls apparently wasn't enough.  That ladder on the front side is the one Silver built for doing building jobs around here, it takes 2 people to move it.  Right now we're planning the locations for everything and deciding what color(s) to paint the uprights.  We're going to put a wood floor down on 3/4's of it.  Where we are putting the rocket stove and bread oven needs to not have a wood floor.  Silver is going to make a counter top with 2X4's.


This is the start of our cinder block cook stove like the one we started out in the first six months of being here, it was so much fun cooking on it.  Oddly it did not use much fuel to cook a meal on it.  We need to get some new blocks to make the rest of it as I'd like it to be permanent and figured new would work better.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Out door work

So we got started on a long over due project today.  The outdoor kitchen.


The wood has been sitting for a while now and the weather has been cooperating with us while Silver is feeling mobile enough to do some building.


We have been waiting to get this built as we really want to be cooking outside again, and in the summer it's better to bake outside in the heat than in the house.  After a long winter I can't stand the being cooped up feel of having too cook inside the house.


Our intern was helping out with this today, we have discovered she is very good at eyeballing distance.  See the corner post in the fore ground?  It is made with 3 2X4's glued and nailed together.  Silver has a habit of making buildings that'll live a few hundred years..  Or that you could prob store an elephant in.

We should get the roof finished on it tomorrow which is good because we have storms coming in Tuesday.  The floor'll be put in later and some half walls on the side.  We're going to use that water tank to catch water off the roof for my herb garden.  We're hoping the first cooking item placed in (err just outside) will be the cinder block cook stove Silver made that first year we were here.  It was fun to cook on it especially in the early mornings when the sun is just beginning to rise.

Looks like we should have across the street neighbors soon, we had 2 groups stop by today to check out the property there.  I hope someone decides soon.

Hope your Sunday went well.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Judgement is In

So today was rooster sentencing day, and no they didn't get a fair trial and I'm afraid the sentence is death.

We butchered 6 roosters today four of which are destined for the soup pot, while two will either be roasted or fried.. maybe grilled. I did learn a couple things from this batch of birds. First, I had read a number of times about how it is easier to skin your birds instead of plucking them. Yeah... personally? For me skinning them took twice maybe three times as long to do. The biggest problem is the feathers got in the way of me seeing where to run my knife to remove the skin.

The second thing I learned is that turkens are easy to pluck. It took almost no time for me to get the feathers off the body of it. Even better the skin doesn't look like it had the feathers in it over half the body. It was also the largest of the birds after butchering and it was one of the youngest ones we butchered.

Silver is going to make some home made stock from four of them and the feet from the birds (well the feet that were healthy, two of the Leghorns had sores on them). The feet have a lot of cartilage on them and some fat(s), it is simple to clean the feet too once you learn how. You boil some water, take the water off the fire/burner and drop the feet in the pot. Now you take them out one at a time and starting at the nails pop the sheathe off the nail and start peeling the top layer of scales off. As you go to the leg joint it gets more difficult but it is easier to start at the claws.
My biggest problem with these birds (I got them for free so it's only a half assed complaint), is most of them have had feet problems. Two of the white leghorns we got had feet that couldn't grip the pearches, couldn't grip at all and they had sores in the “palms” of the claws. The guinea fowl we had had one badly broken leg that healed wrong. There is a brown leghorn hen who has no toes. These were all in the birds we got for free last fall. Bothers me a bit they were like that. I'm just glad that they are living here now, so they have good lives till they wind up in my stock pot!


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

It's Lives!

I have proof that my garden has some life in it!


This is one of the sun chokes, it has beaten my peas on coming out of the ground.  I'm still waiting on them coming up.  I have had a few peas whose dirt got uncovered showing me they will coming out of the ground any day now.

I swear it wasn't there yesterday, so it had to come out overnight.  I am so excited, I can't wait to see that sun choke bed covered in green life, and now it's a wait to see what comes up next!

Happy growing!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...