Re-purposing Wood

When we bought our land it came with a few extras (and not, I’m not talking about the mice or snakes or lizards) it came with piles upon piles of construction waste, debris and general garbage. Now we were fully aware of the “baggage” that came along with the land (we did however not count on them leaving a basement full of junk, but that is another story) it was one of the reasons we were able to afford this place and we fully intend on cleaning it up and taking care of this place. Some of the items are just junk, they can’t be used, piles of ply wood that have been sitting outside for ten years are ruined, pieces of vinyl and other small odds and end just need to be hauled off to the dump.

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However, there is some wood that can be re-used and re-claimed and as time had gone on we have found many uses for the naturally aged wood that is lying around.

IMG_5071 (a group of poorly build out buildings and sheds that need to come down, we are re-using everything we can)

IMG_5072 IMG_5073 (One example of the numerous piles of stuff just lying around)

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Dadzoo has been slowly cutting and stacking the smaller pieces of wood to use as fire wood next winter when we have a wood stove.

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I have also had my eye on a few pieces, and since I love all things rustic and old Dadzoo was able to build me some shelves and a cabinet for the new bathroom and laundry room.

IMG_5077Sometimes junk, is just junk, but sometimes it can become treasure too.

 

Drying Onions

We had an awesome onion harvest this year, more than enough for our needs. The big onions are being stored fresh in the basement (I had intended to braid them up all cute like, but it just didn’t happen), for the little onions I decided to try something different.

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I had about a half bushel of smaller onions, they had a really good flavor, but I just didn’t want to mess with little onions, to me they aren’t worth the effort to cook with them. BUT, they are still good food and it would wrong to just discard them.

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So I decided to was going to dry them. I used dehydrated onions a lot in my cooking. I tend to get a little lazy at times and instead of chopping an onion I will throw a handful of dehydrated onions in soups or ground beef.

IMG_5064I was very simple, I just sliced them about a half inch and threw them in my dehydrator.

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I set the dehydrator outside, I didn’t want the smell of onions to fill the house, and boy they were strong smelling too.

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It took about twenty four hours and they had dried crisp and beautiful, perfect for throwing into a pot of soup.

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They are stored in a gallon size glass jar in my pantry, a simple, easy way of storing and preserving onions.
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The Web of Protection

This winter has been a tough one for the chickens.

When we planned the chicken coop we tried to think of every way possible to protect our bird during the night from predators, knowing that there would be plenty out here.  We hoped that we had given them enough protection from hawks and eagles during they day, by giving them places to hide, and for the first several months things worked really well.

IMG_5136Then things started to go down hill, quickly.  The chickens figured out how to get into the dog kennel, which didn’t end well for the chicken and eventually for the dog.  Then we started to lose chickens at dusk, that time between when the chickens started to gather toward the coop to roost and we went out to shut their little door.

IMG_5154After a couple chicken kills, we happened to hear the ladies going crazy one night, as we rushed out a big barn owl flew out from under the coop where it had cornered one of the gals and had attacked. It was interesting to see the roosters try to defend the hen, they were super hero roosters.

Sadly the chicken didn’t make it.

We really want to allow the chickens to free range, to produce the healthiest eggs possible, but how do we do that and fully protect our birds?  Fully enclosing the chicken yard would work, but then we might as well just get rid of the chicken and buy organic eggs, it would be less money and less hassle.

Dadzoo installed predator lights,
and they seemed to work…

IMG_5137Until New Years Eve.
I stepped out on the back porch for something and I heard the chickens, once again, going crazy in their coop.  I yelled to Dadzoo as I ran out there, with a broom in hand, he followed quickly behind.  Dadzoo burst into the coop, the chickens were all scrambling into the nest boxes, the roosters were on attack as a big barn owl sat right in the middle of the floor, when it saw Dadzoo he flew up on the wall, clinging to the side with its huge talons and rotated its head to look right at Dadzoo.  They were about 18 inches from each other, face to face, at eye level.  The owl had flow onto the ramp and walked into the little door the chickens used to go in and out during the day!

Oh how I wanted to shoot that bird!
(now don’t go turning me into Fish and Game, I won’t shoot it, I know its protected)

Dadzoo knocked it off the wall with a broom, and then shooed it out of the little door.  The owl sat there stunned for about a minute, then flew off silently, its wing span was about 5 feet.  It was beautiful, and frustrating.

IMG_5142After the “Great Owl Attack” Dadzoo and Chocolate the Chicken Whisperer searched for another solution.

IMG_5141They created the amazing invisible chicken saving web.

IMG_5143Together they strung fishing line from the top of the chicken coop to the fence posts around the chicken yard in a loose grid pattern.  The theory is that the owl will swoop down, feel the fish line and back off, but since it can’t see the fish line it doesn’t know how to get around it, or what it really is, so eventually it will stop trying.  This, we figure, will give the chickens enough cover at dusk for them to get settled and in the coop and for Chocolate to get out there and shut the door.

IMG_5138If you look really close you can see the fishing line shinning in the sunlight.

IMG_5147The Web of Protection has been up since the first of January and so far there  have been no owl attacks, despite the fact we have seen and heard the owl since then.

IMG_5153So it seems our girls are safe
at least for now!

Seasons

I’ve been thinking a lot about seasons lately. Over the past year, our first on the farm, I have been watching and noticing how much seasons affect us, more so than they did before.  I have always been a season watcher and I’ve wanted to be able to live life more in tune with the seasons like our ancestors did. Our modern world prevents that to come extent, we move from heated homes to heated cars to heated buildings, while we do break out the winter coats and boots, no longer do we have a need to stockpile wood and get out the winter quilts.  There is something nostalgic about the idea of moving and living our lives according to the seasons, living within that rhythm, honoring those cycles.

Here on the farm I am seeing that our lives are coming to revolve around the seasons more.  Spring brings renewal, new growth, vigor and vitality.  Summer is active, hard work, seeing the buds of spring mature.  Fall is maturity, winding down, cleaning up, slowing down.  Winter bring sleep, quiet, slow, resting for the burst of spring to come.  Spring, summer and fall are very busy times on the farm, there is a lot going on, different thing for different seasons.  Winter brings a blessed rest from all those activities where we can focus our efforts in other directions, the land isn’t screaming for our attention and we can enjoy the fruits of all our spring, summer and fall labors.

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While I am always working on some type of handiwork, winter brings about a burst of activity in that area, I love cozy winter nights stitching away sitting next to Dadzoo. (Hopefully next winter it will be in front of our wood stove!)

I decided I was going to learn to do lace work, my first project, a crocheted lace doily, next will be snow flakes for next years Christmas tree.

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And, as always I have a baby blanket in progress, this one is ear marked for someone special.

IMG_5157 IMG_5158In what ways do you move and change with the seasons?