Thursday, September 27, 2012


I ponder how I can look so horrible.  I am a walking wreck.  Then I have a day like yesterday and I wonder why it is that I don't look incredibly hot.  Really!  I should be smokin'!!!

Okay, to start from the beginning... as you know, my good neighbor came over and used his post hole auger to dig fourteen fencepost holes.  However, the ground is so dry that even when the auger is at it's full depth of four foot, the hole is over half full of granulated fines.  All of that still has to be dug out with a post hole digger, sometimes called a jobber.  The fines often fall right back out of the digger and it gets to be a slow moving task.  I had already done two of the fourteen holes.  Yesterday the rest got dug out.  I feared the loose material falling back into the hole so I went ahead and set the posts.  It wasn't easy.  My posts tend to be oversized.  Luckily we had already pulled then out of the wooded area where they were cut and they were neatly in rows.  Even with being able to get to them more readily, it was a hard day to get them loaded and then dropped to where they were to be used.  All but the four corner posts are moved and set.

Anyway, the point is that it was one tiring, heavy lifting day yesterday!  I am still kind of tired.  Oddly enough the muscles that are sore are just a bit sore.  Mostly my biceps.  I have an achey bit in my abs, but that's pretty much it.  Calves and thighs are fine.  Lats are great.  Upper abdominals ...... nothing!  So, why don't I look like the Bowflex model/demonstrator/ hot chick?  Nope!... not me!  I have to look like some polynesian fertility goddess, ample for production.  This sucks!

Oh well, hopefully this thought will pass.  In the meantime, I will be borrowing the good neighbors chains and I will be dragging the corner posts out to their corners.  With great luck and care, I will try to tip them into the holes.  I may not be able to, but maybe.  Once that is done, I will tackle the greenhouse again.  I'll just keep at it, with my big, strong muscles.  Keep going... inch by inch.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fence Posts and Other Maladys

I woke up tired today.  Busy day yesterday.  My good neighbor brought his tractor down with the post hole auger and cut fourteen post holes for me.  It was a relief to see the auger cut through the earth.  In about an hour to an hour and a half this machine did three days worth of manual labor for me.  While I watch it work it gives me a feeling of the miraculous.

These fourteen holes will take care of the corners and a walk through gate for a new pasture section.  I aspire to a couple of new fenced sections in the hope that I can keep rotating pasture more and be less reliant on hay.  The problem is that I don't have the money for the tee posts or the electric wire/line.  But strangely enough, lately, I have had such hope.  Things could happen.  Things could get better.  I have this split personality of emotions of being wildly hopeful and terrified about money.

I will try to not think about either.

I have a lot to get done.  I want to drag posts out to the fourteen post holes. I have already made a start. Two posts were set yesterday.  I think I can set four more posts today.  After that I will need to find an alternative method for moving the incredibly large posts.  Not for the last time, I wish I had a large towing chain.  It is a matter of missing the small things that brings projects to a screeching halt.  I will do what I can and when I am done with that, I will start on something else.

Like the greenhouse.....

I finally picked up some flat concrete pavers to go under the block to make a temporary pier to set the greenhouse on.  The digging is done.  The piers are leveled.  And I have started tamping dirt around them to give them more stability.  Next will be a matter of emptying the partially constructed greenhouse of all the crap that has accumulated there.  Once empty we will lay wood scraps under the structure and start sliding it to it's new location.  Once I get it to the piers I will probably be reduced to levering it.  Inch by inch, it will be eased onto it's new feet.  Once set then I can finish up the roof, the door and the vent.  Then it will be time for the plastic.  I am giddy with anticipation.  As much for the feeling of having something done as anything else.

DONE!!  what a wonderful word! What a great feeling!  You become ethereal as the weight of the "thing", whatever it might be, falls from your shoulders. An aphrodisiac for the soul.  Oh yeah, Baby.  That's good.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Doubts and Disorganization

I'm not totally sure what is wrong with me.  The summer is over.  Mac is back to school and still, I cannot seem to get myself organized.  It just seems that I should be getting loads of stuff done.  But, it's just not happening. God knows I have the lists!

I am so torn between the indoor and the outdoor tasks.  I have christmas projects lined up that are starting to taunt me.  I have some shower presents that need to be made.  I would like to have some shelves made for the bathroom.  Instead I have a load of laundry started and I am looking at dishes from the weekend that need to be attended to.

I have some manure tea that needs to go out on the hayfield.  I think it should go on the hayfield.  I've been second guessing myself about that, which is foolish.  It doesn't take that long to make manure tea. I should be thinking... MANURE TEA FOR EVERYBODY!!!!  I have just been concentrating on what I don't have.  I want a spigot for the barrel that I make tea in.  That would make things so much easier.  I found a  three gallon sprayer that was on a pair of wheels so I could get the glorious mixture to where I need it far more easily, which probably wouldn't be an issue at all if I had a new battery in the truck.  Oh well, a worry for another day.

I still need to move the green house.  Then make final decisions on garden fence.  A decision on the new, bigger, better, bolder TV antenna!  Decisions on the outdoor kitchen!  Decisions would be wonderful!!  Decisions followed by action would be freakin' awesome!!

Maybe I need another list... an emergency, I have to get it done before winter, list.  I wonder if I could get that done..... I wonder.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Motivation and Other Nutrients

I woke up with a headache this morning.  A sure sign of some sort of weather change.  Mac has just left for work and I have gone through the house turning off every single light that he feels the need to turn on.  Turned off the television.  Poured myself a cup of coffee, and it feels like the world has taken a minute to go, "Ahhhhhh"

Quiet.  Contentment.  The throbbing in my frontal lobes drops down in volume.

With any great luck, I will be digging fencepost holes again today.  Yesterday, only three were dug with posts placed and tamped back down.  Three more were measured out and started.  Not my most productive day.  Motivation has been a difficult commodity to come by.  I got out my oft read volume of Sylvia's Farm.  I usually save it for my winter read, but I need it now.  I need that reminder that it is all doable.  Sylvia did it and she did it to a great extent alone and without a drivers license.  At least, I have the truck.  I can get to town if I must.  I don't have any money once I get there, but what the hell... baby steps.

Come to think of it, almost all of the small, do it the hard way, farmers that I have read about had years when they wondered what the hell were they doing?  Why were they beating themselves up like this? And then the miraculous happens and the land unfolds for  them and shows all that is possible.

Last night, I read about Sylvia cleaning out her barn and getting some manure out on some bad pasture.  It wasn't much.  Between what was delivered and what her sheep donated, the pasture was coming back.  That speaks volumes to me.  I keep moving the chicken tractor around and the grass is a subdued patchwork.  It is especially evident after a rain.  Rectangles of dark green with the lighter greens surrounding them.  Several weeks ago, my good neighbor Dan brought down a scoop of composted cow manure.  We spread it out on a bad spot in my own pasture.  There have been several instances when I have gone down and visited.  I squat down and watch the patch of new soil, waiting for it's inevitable burst of new life.  Looking for the new green spears to erupt.  So far.... nothing.  But it did motivate me to get started with my manure tea project.  The 55 gallon barrel has had a hole cut in the top.  To get the hole exactly the way I wanted it, I inverted a plastic bucket and drew around it's rim.  Then drew a second line about a quarter of an inch inside the first circle, then cut out on the inside circle.  This way the bucket can sit in the hole without falling through.  Then I drilled a bunch of holes in the bucket.  After that I filled the barrel almost full with water.  Filled the bucket with manure.  Then set the bucket down in the barrel hole.  Finished filling the barrel with water by spraying the water over the manure.  It is basically a giant tea infuser.  After the manure has soaked for awhile it is dumped into the compost pile.  Then I add additional nutrients to the tea.  Epsom salts will be added.  Some fish emulsion.  Kelp if I can find it.  Lime as well. Can't forget the molasses.   Then the tea will get sprayed over the soil.  Well, it would if I had a sprayer.  I do not.  I will take an old coffee can and punch some holes and make it into a watering can.  Doing it as a ridiculously small job still gets more done then not doing anything at all

When I have all 55 gallons of the tea distributed, then we start again.  It will be a break from digging post holes.  It's all good.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thinking Again

I'm tired today.   That's a bad thing.  I've already been out and done the chores.  Feeling a bit chilly and my feet are soaking wet.  I have no waterproof footwear.  I look at chore boots at the store.  Then I feel greedy and evil and after a bit, I become wholeheartedly ashamed.  Underneath all of the bad feelings, I still want the chore boots and some extra thick warm socks to wear underneath them.

Oh well.

I have been trying to immerse myself into new and amazing knowledge.  It seems to be working  I have been in a funk for some time now so keeping my mind busy, learning new stuff, is slowly pulling me back onto the high ground.  I had been reading a bit of Joel Salatin and he has some good stuff.  He also has some incredibly obnoxious advice.  He says that when you need something bigger accomplished just have the folks from your church out to help you.  Well, for one thing that seems like a very mercenary reason to be a member of a church and in many, if not most cases, when someone finally finds there little piece of heaven, it isn't amongst people they grew up with. Entire congregations don't usually show up to do a barn raising for a stranger.   Mr. Salatin is farming a farm that he got from his dad.  That is a huge advantage.  There is no reason why he should even have a mortgage.  There is so much I could accomplish if we weren't paying a rather large mortgage payment.  Regardless, a year or two ago, Mr. Salatin got my feet wet on what some of the possibilities for the micro farm can be.

Recently, I found a youtube video called, "A Farm of the Future".  The original program was broken down into five ten minute sections, which makes it easier to stream out here in the country.  It posed some problems that I hadn't thought about before. The show comes from the UK and I hadn't given thought to what it was like financially to farm there when they pay more for a liter of fuel then we do for a gallon.  They gave statistics of how much  fuel agriculture takes.... and it's a lot!  How long will the gas keep coming?  How will we feed people when it's gone?  Okay, so those are some of the problems.  We won't moan and groan about them because the solutions are much more interesting.

This program got me to looking at permaculture more closely.  It isn't all sinking in yet but it does seem as if there are different kinds.  The program  interviewed some people who specifically dealt with forest gardening.  You don't actually need a forest.  You create a plant "guild".  You start with the tall stuff.  Usually apple or nut trees.  They form your canopy.  Then you want to form your understory.  These can be dwarf fruit trees... cherries, peaches, etc.  Next to the understory will be the shrubs.  Blueberries for instance.   Next will be shorter still, herbs, possible annuals.  Then up under the canopy you can plant vines to climb the trees.  Pole beans for instance.  The variety is endless.  Not all of the plants need to be fruit bearing.  It is encouraged that some of the plants be pollinators, some should be good companion plants for the over all health of the garden, some should fix nitrogen.

I have a lot more to learn.  I have some books I want to look at.  One by Martin Crawford and he also has a number of youtube videos.  Lots to learn.  That's good... it keeps my mind busy while I am digging fencepost holes.  Which should be what I do, as soon as I get dry and warm again.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I have been adrift and I am having a bit of trouble finding my way back.  Odd how that works.  I can't quite seem to get in tune with anything I am trying to accomplish.  Mental roadblocks... money roadblocks.... that post is so damn heavy there is no way on earth I can move it roadblocks.

I have decided that frustration dulls the mind.  That seems to be the only decision I have been able to come to.  I thought things would be different and as we got into fall I would be able to get some things done.  Money that was suppose to appear, hasn't.  Cooler temperatures.... cool enough to allow me to work haven't  actually shown up.  Yesterday was 92 degrees, I believe and there was a wind from the south that about knocked me off my feet.  The ground is so baked hard even people with augers on tractors are waiting to get some rain before making post holes.

It's kind of funny.  I met with my Entrepreneurs with Disabilities counselor the other day.  She thought I needed to see a mental health professional  for some anti-depressants.  No I don't need brain drugs... I actually need solutions.  Solutions would make me very happy.  Other people see solutions differently then I do.  They have a different mind set.  I have a survival mindset.  I spend a lot of time thinking about food, mostly for my animals, but also for us.  Window trim would be very nice, but we had a drought this year and I will be needing about 120 bales of hay to get through the winter.  At the price small square bales are going for right now, that would cost me over seven hundred dollars.  I don't have seven hundred dollars, so what I need is rain.  Putting me on pills and dulling me down to a mass of drooling dimwittedness will do nothing to change my truths.

My coping mechanism for being able to do nothing has been to learn.  I have been throwing myself into what ever I can find on the internet about agroforestry, forest gardening, nitrogen fixing plants, permaculture, absolutely anything about pasture management and good passive farming designs.

There are just sooo many things that I can't do right now and I really need to stop looking at that.  Okay, what CAN I do?  ( sigh..... I'm thinking.... I'm thinking)  What I can do is call the lumberyard and get some prices so I know what I need to budget for.  I can convert the chicken coop to skids since it doesn't look like I am going to have the money to  put wheels under it.  I can start cutting rebar into four foot lengths to use for temporary electric fence posts.  I can make manure tea.

You know the old saying.... how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  Well, it's a start anyway.