Archive for April, 2010

Rain Barrel Platform

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

You may recall that we put together our rain barrel in July of 2008 and added a pump and sink in June of 2009. I LOVE that rain barrel. The pump allows me to water the garden and the greenhouse plants uphill from where the rain barrel resides. It does a wonderful job.

Even though the barrel holds 305 gallons, it was quickly filled with our very wet spring last year. 305 gallons weighs in at approximately 2400 pounds – something we didn’t consider when we built the original platform. As a result, the barrel collapsed on one side.

rain barrel repair

It still worked just fine, but it really bothered Bernie. So we disconnected the barrel from the down spouts, and because it’s been so dry for so long, I managed to drain the barrel the past week. Bernie and I decided to work on a new platform for it today. This is the barrel upside down – you can see the area that collapsed pretty clearly.

rain barrel repair

Mirrie and Georgia came out to help for a while – not with the rain barrel platform, but with clearing some undergrowth next to the woods.

rain barrel repair

Bernie laid out cinder blocks for the foundation, and then he laid down some 4X4s.

rain barrel repair

He put some OSB on top of the 4X4s and nailed them in place.

rain barrel repair

After sitting in the sun, the barrel became a little more pliable, and we were able to push out the area that was collapsed. Then we used the power washer to clean the inside of the barrel.

rain barrel repair

We put it up on the platform, but didn’t completely hook it back up. We are leaving it open to air out completely. We’ll finish it up in the next few days.

rain barrel repair

Even though I was fine with it as it was before, I’m really much happier with the rain barrel now. It sits up higher so i can easily fit watering cans under the spigot if I need to.

Now all we need is a little rain………

Georgia and Mirrie

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Each afternoon I open the entrance to the goat barn and bring Georgia and Mirrie out into the yard to play and browse for a while. And each afternoon, their first stop is the milking/storage area where Mirrie tries to get at the sweet feed, and Georgia nibbles a little hay.

goats

Today, they took off running like crazy once they got outside.

goats

They were in a great hurry to get somewhere.

goats

Ah, I see. They needed to get to this tree before it got away.

goats

Georgia struck out on her own.

goats

goats

Mirrie refused to be left behind.

goats

Good thing, too. Georgia found a tasty oak leaf.

goats

goats

And Mirrie found a small tree in need of pruning.

goats

Georgia struck a profile pose for me.

goats

And then they begged some carrots off of me.

goats

goats

Before too long, it was time to head back to the goat barn. They weren’t very enthusiastic about going back in, until I promised a little sweet feed as a reward. That got them moving.

goats

goats

It’s never easy walking away from these little faces though.

goats

First Peeps of 2010

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

baby chicks

*sigh* Nothing says Spring like baby chicks. I could just kiss their beaks right off of them.

Don’t Be Hatin’

Monday, April 5th, 2010

I know this is going to be a little controversial with some of you. Most people don’t like snakes. But I have to tell you, I personally think snakes are beautiful creatures. Bernie does too. So tonight when we were waiting on supper to finish up, I wasn’t even slightly surprised when Bernie exclaimed “There’s a snake going across the yard” and took off running to get outside. I yelled “Grab my camera!”

By the time Bernie got there, the snake had headed up a tree.

Photobucket

A perfectly harmless Black Snake – at least to humans.

Photobucket

They do eat mice and other annoying critters.

Photobucket

They are also known as Chicken Snakes. They don’t harm chickens. But they will eat chicken eggs.

Photobucket

They shy away from humans though.

Photobucket

Don’t be hatin’. These snakes are our friends. Get an extra hen or two so you can afford to lose an egg every now and again. It’s worth it. We’re about broke from buying mouse traps on the homestead.

Thank Goodness for Springtime

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

We’ve been truly blessed with some nice weather lately. Really nice weather. The kind of weather I was convinced we wouldn’t ever see again. We’ve taken advantage of it.

The goat barn has gotten a little update. Here’s a before picture of the storage/milking room:

Photobucket

Not bad. But we added a shelf, and it made all the difference – at least to me:
Photobucket

And this is looking from the storage/milking room over at the goat barn area:

Photobucket

That little wall is just over four feet tall – and little Mirrie could jump up and easily look over it. I worried she would eventually be able to make that leap and end up in the storage/milking area – with free access to hay. I have a true fear of that right now…. So, we fixed that little problem. It now looks like this:

Photobucket

Bernie added an upper door to the lower one I go into on the left. And he added a couple of 2 X 4’s to keep her from getting over on the right side.

I also built them a hay rack outside. Bernie will build a lean-to over this area in the very near future so it will be protected from weather.

Photobucket

They seem to like it pretty good.

Photobucket

Mostly Mirrie was interested in getting at my sunglasses I hooked on the door while we worked.

Photobucket

Or playing on her spool.

Photobucket

Georgia doesn’t really like getting on the spool, but she likes aggravating Mirrie when she’s on it.

Photobucket

Georgia is such a sweet girl. Just look at her precious face.

Photobucket

She’s good at finding browse in the yard.

Photobucket

And Mirrie’s good at joining in when Georgia finds good eats.

Photobucket

We also built a milk stand for them today.

Photobucket

Milking is a little way off, but this is also good to use for trimming hooves and doctoring. Once we secure the neck, we can give them sweet feed to keep them somewhat distracted while we do what we need to do.

Photobucket

Check out Fiasco Farms for detailed plans on this milk stand. We didn’t follow this exactly, but it certainly gave us the basis for what we built.

I also had some time to work in the greenhouse this weekend.

Photobucket

This was our first winter with the greenhouse, and we enjoyed tomatoes and peppers well into October with in. It also housed a few plants for me over this brutal winter. I was quite pleased to find that the vast majority of them not only survived, but flourished! Look to the right and on the floor.

Photobucket

The left shelf has the seeds I planted this weekend. I’m hoping they will do well in the greenhouse and flourish in the garden.

With the exception of the Sago, Aloe Vera, and fig trees, everything else spent this harsh winter in the greenhouse. I’m tickled at how well everything did.

Photobucket

I appreciate the sunshine, warmth, and new growth of springtime. And the opportunity to start anew. Spring allows us to do that. Start anew. Thank goodness for springtime.