April (week 2) 2019

 

Garden bed 2: squared up, turned over, and planted with: kale, turnips, lettuce, radishes, lettuce, carrots, and zucchini.

Garden bed 3: squared up, turned over, and chopped up. I haven’t it planted it yet.

Yard: lawn mowed for the first time. Yearly planning for plantings (trees, fruit, flowers) completed.  I’m starting to see seedlings in Ellen’s (pollinator) garden. The peach, apple, and cherry trees are all full of blossoms. We moved 14 blackberry babies from the main rows to a third row and started them around the main yard fence.

Rabbits/Chickens: Hlao-Roo is eating pellets + hay + grass + willow. We went to get the other rabbits, but they didn’t have more ready to go. We’ll try again in a week or two.

 

 

April (week 1) 2019

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Garden bed 1: dug, chopped, and planted. This is an older bed and just needed an easy turnover and to be squared up. This bed has: kale, turnips, lettuce, radish, lettuce-2, and peas.

To the south of garden bed 1 is garden bed 2. It will get turned over and planted in April week 2. We will continue to dig and plant a bed each week as weather and other tasks permit. We have 5 more easy beds to turn and 4 more difficult beds to do.

Chicken/Rabbit Run: posts are in and framing has started. This will be slow as we are just doing a bit each payday.

To the south of the chicken yard is our second compost area. Right now it’s mostly cardboard, sticks, weed stalks, and some food waste. It will fill in pretty quickly with soil, grass clippings, weeds (from weeding) and rabbit manure/waste.

This week also saw the pool area re-leveled and the pool set up, Ellen’s memory garden weeded, and a shopping trip for organic seeds.

We do all our gardening with hand tools, organically, and with a view to restoring the soil so that we may use this smaller area to grow more so that the majority of our land is left to wildness.

Hlao-Roo

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Meet Hlao-Roo.

He’s the newest edition to Idlewild Farm. He’s a 12 week old lion-headed dwarf rabbit. He weighs a mere pound and a half and will only be two pounds at full-size. Right now, he spends the cold nights in the laundry room and the warmer days outside. He’s acclimating after living his whole life indoors.

He’s eating rabbit pellets primarily (He just came home on Saturday) and I’ve introduced a tiny bit of hay. I’ll slowly increase his hay until he has unlimited access. Today he was also given an apple twig. He wasn’t sure about it at first, but I’ve seen him gnawing on it a few times.

Hopefully he’ll be joined by two more rabbits over the the next four weeks. After that, we’ll be ready to bring home the chickens.

pour over coffee

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I have found a new (to me) way of making coffee that is so easy and tastes so good. It was born of desperation. I have used a French coffee press for many years when I wanted a cup, but in December I broke mine. It went tumbling off the counter along with my newly ground beans, and 12 oz of nearly boiling water. It was such a mess.

My daughter kept a pour over carafe in the cabinet. She bought it shortly after beginning to work in coffee shop, but for the most part it just sat in the cabinet — unused. I can’t tell you how close I had come to popping it into the Goodwill bag, but I never did because it wasn’t mine.

So after the cleaning up the disaster of my broken press, I still wanted a cup of coffee. It was just one of those cold, overcast, grey December days where you just want what you want. A quick google told me to very roughly grind 1 TBSN of beans for each cup of coffee.

The grinder came back out, the beans came back out, and I got more water going in the kettle.

Beans in the basket.

Pour the water over.

And coffee! Wait, what?! No waiting? No plunging? Just grind, boil, pour, and sip?

Yes, it was really that simple. I find the coffee very smooth, light, and not as bitter.

My favorite way to sip is 8 oz coffee, 2 oz macadamia nut milk, and 1 squirt of flavored liquid stevia.

 

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What I’m reading:  The Celtic Way of Prayer, Cherringham 16-18, Educated

What I’m listening to:  Circe, Welsh

What I’m watching:  

What I’m learning: Igniting the Flame, Welsh, Permaculture

What I’m thinking about:  Paper #1 part 1 is written, edited, and ready to be turned into  my mentor. Paper #1 part 2 is outlined and rough form is copied into the outline. Now to get the ideas to flow, the words to be correct, and then edited.

Advent Observations 3

The last full week of Advent. This week we lit the third candle and relished the simplicity of these quiet evenings.

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Jasper isn’t sure about all this deep cleaning and food preparation.

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I’ve been saving the clementine, orange, and lemon peels for making cleaner. Just fill up the jar and add vinegar. Let sit in a dark place for 2 weeks. Strain out peels and dilute with water. I do a 1:1.

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Yoga, every darn day . . . right after my walk, followed by meditation.
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Advent Observations 2

Advent week 2 passed quickly and quietly. All gifts are purchased and wrapped. We wrap all our gifts in wool tartan fabric or canvas bags (depending on the size).

As we continue this season, I find I truly love our rustic and eco-minded Advent wreath. The beeswax leaves such a delicious scent in the air. So far the first tealight candle is still going strong.

#Rough — Kelly cut this nice round of wood for me to use as the base of our wreath.
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#Wild — Our parish practiced stenciling on t-shirts and canvas bags for a big upcoming project. This beautiful heart reminds me that faith can be a wild ride at times. It also reminds me of the line “Let my soul rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun.”

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#Grow — As I grow in faith, simplicity becomes more meaningful.
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#Smooth — My inflammation buster tea. I’m seeing benefits and enjoying the tangy taste.
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#Cry — Happy tears as our son turns 30. He taught me motherhood, unconditional love, and a fierceness.
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rabbits

 

I am very excited that rabbits will be returning to our little farm this coming year. We’ve had rabbits most years, but gave them to a neighbor last year because the houses we had were very difficult for me to give the rabbits proper care. They were all metal, sat about 18 inches off the ground, and had a fussy door closing system.

Part of living small and regenerative is to think not just about right now, but how will I do this in 5, 10, 20 years, but also to think about the plant or animal.  How do they grow best? What makes them happy? What do they need to be their best at all times?

So off I went in search of rabbit information.

  • First I created a chart where I could list the inputs and outputs of rabbits.
  • Then I read Beyond the Pellet and created a list of homegrown food possibilities for where we live.
  • Then I read Food Web  and Practical Permaculture and figured out what animals/plants support and depend on rabbits along with housing ideas.

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Housing — My research has led us to a multi-housing system. We will put the wire cages in the slat house over manure collectors (which will have a 2 layer worm bin).  The wire cage will be connected by a pipe to a concrete/brick burrow area (which will have a door on top, so we can clean it, That in turn will be connected by a pipe (that can be closed off at night, in cold weather or during kindling) to a rabbit yard. I’m calling the yard “hobbiton” because it will have hills made of partially buried buckets, small trees, rocks, a watering system, and be surrounded by a thicket of willow trees.

Feeding — 

  • 75%  = willow, hay, clover, grass, wheat grass
  • 25% =
    • comfrey, crown vetch, dandelion, honeysuckle vines, trumpet vines,
    • sage, lettuce, spinach, kale,
    • parsnip, pumpkin, berries, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, peas radish, summer squash, turnip
    • trimmings from apple, peach, grape, lilac, and maple trees
  • Supplement
    • mineral block / salt stone
    • clear, clean water  — always
    • commercial pellets available during transition from other homes to here. Our kits will be fed homegrown their entire lives and we will provide educational materials for anyone who buys a kit that will help them continue the homegrown feed or will provide help for transitioning them to a pellet based diet.

Nature/Yard/Hobbiton —

  • Year 1: Plant scrub willows 6 inches apart and in the fall trim back to 2 feet tall
  • Year 1: Bury 2×6 all around perimeter with rabbit fencing attached. create slopes/mini-swales for drainage, create shelters (buckets half buried then covered with dirt, cream dirt bath area, plant with grass + clover mix, add some rocks for climbing and nail scraping.
  • Year 2 -3: Feed 1 small branch per rabbit per day, circling the yard so each tree has plenty of time to recover, and prune back each Fall.
  • Year 2-3: Each late Autumn sow grass+clover seed and cover with straw/hay
  • Year 4: continue to feed to rabbits. Attach 2nd layer of fencing to the willows for extra protection.
  • Year 4 and on — continue to reseed and cover each winter.

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What I’m reading:  The Celtic Way of Prayer, New York 2140, A Celtic Advent

What I’m listening to: The Last Star and Harry Potter 1

What I’m watching:  Doctor Who

What I’m learning in Welsh:  Lots of vocabulary, a bit of grammar.

  • animals
  • months
  • seasons
  • numbers
  • days
  • plus a ton of review

What I’m thinking about:  The practical bits of putting lots of theory into place on our little farm.