Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hugelkulture Light

Hugelkulture is a type of sustainable, more or less organic gardening that is starting to find a lot of converts.  I'd read up a bunch on it, and this year, finally had some inspiration to try it out.

What happened was one of my older stump planters rotted and disintegrated.  So, I had my rotted wood base layer.

It was a rare, shirtsleeve day up here the other day, so I grabbed the shovel, and deconstructed one of my beds.  Over all the years of working with the soil, this was an easy task, right until I got down to the layer of clay.  I called it right there, as the hole was pretty deep, altho not as deep as a true Hugelkulture hole should be.  But I was going for 'Light' to start with anyway.

I then dumped the wheelbarrow full of soft, soggy, spongy rotted wood pieces on top of the clay, followed by the contents of the entire tomato/pepper bed, marigolds and all, from last year, with some other dead or pulled up plants I had lying close to hand.  Then, it was time to reduce the mountain of dirt I had piled up on the adjoining bed and cover up my 'lasagne' style Hugelkulture Light bed.

For this year, I will probably make this bed the brassica bed.  In the fall, I'll add more soil and debris.  I don't plan to make it a true, 5'-6' tall Hugelkulture bed anytime soon, but raised beds have worked very well for me in the past, so I'll be keeping with that theme.

 Rosie in the 'shallow grave', Sybil by the mountain
 Rotted wood layer

 Garden debris on top of wood
 The mountain moved back to its original home

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ethan at 2 Days

Like big brother Cyclone, Ethan show a lot of promise already!
Roar and Millie are a match made in heaven.  Their kids are consistently awesome.

 Gold medalists in the Synchronized Head Turn competition


Ethan (black) was born Thursday early afternoon.  Enzo was born late last night.  This morning, the two half brothers met for the first time.
Joy only had a problem with the chickens.  Millie didn't want Enzo anywhere near her son.
The usual calving season chaos!
 'Now son, you just stay away from these fowl.  They're bad news'
 'Go on, don't be shy'

 'Ethan, you are NOT to play with that boy, do you hear me?'
 'Get away from my boy, you troublemaker!!'
 'Maaaa, she was mean to me!'


Yep, watching too much of the Barratt-Jackson auction action these days.  Couldn't resist a shout out to perhaps the most famous supercar designer in history, Enzo Ferrari.
Joy waited until it was late, dark, cold and wet to get the job done.  At least she got it done quickly, once she started the serious part.  And, she also waited to pop until we were between some heavy rain showers.
This morning, the little guy was up and running; at one point, Joy was lying down, licking his face, when he decided he needed to be on the other side of her, so he leaped over her head.
Like half brother Ethan, Enzo is very nicely put together, and would make a fine heifer bull with his low BW of 72#.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

Best 'Laid' Plans

I needed to pitch another bale of hay down off the top of the stack.  But, the hens had a nest in the line of fire that contained the day's bounty.  So, I plucked the eggs out of the nest, calculated where the bale would make landfall, and set the three ovals of deliciousness down safely out of the drop zone.
Or, maybe not.  For some reason, this bale decided it wanted to go further than one pitched from that height had ever gone before.  It wanted to be all it could be, and then a bale length more.
From my vantage point at the top of the stack, probably 20' in the air, there wasn't a durn thing I could do but watch and go 'nononoNONONO!!' as the bale gleefully tumbled, end over end, landing on top of the eggs.
I climbed down off the stack, prepared to clean up a mess of broken eggs.  What I found, you see below - the very end of the bale landed on the eggs, but only smashed one.
Sometime, you get kinda lucky.

Decorating the Gate

Rick Morgan of Ramworks Metal Art in Colorado, was at Nationals this year (wife Teri and he are Carolina/Calais Aussies), and so we got him a coupla pictures to work with, and here are the results!  Awesome job, Rick!
We did figure out that we need to put a backing plate on them, because otherwise, the gate bars kinda make it hard to read, so those are in over at Hurd's in Harrisburg.  We might even at a future date powder coat the backing plates a contrasting colour.
People noticed, and commented about how great they look.  We agree!

First Calf of 2017

Good old Millie.  As usual, at breakfast she showed zero signs of impending delivery.  Except that her rear teats were enormous.  That was enough for me. 
Sure enough, around noon, she went to the fenceline in the maternity pasture, behind the round pen, and started her routine of lying down, getting up, turning around and repeating the process.  A bit later, the tail was out and the mooing started.
At 1315, the waterbag went.  At 1345, she started the serious pushing.  Just before 2, she went down one last time, stayed there almost motionless, and from my vantage point I heard the squooshing gush that meant there was a new calf on the ground.  In the few moments it took me to walk to and around the back of the roundpen, Ethan was already trying to get to his feet.
It was funny to see Ruffie (black) and great grandson Danny, lying on a hill in the north pasture, watching the show.  Ruffie would moo every time Millie went down, sort of cheering her on I suppose.  But I couldn't resist the shot of the peanut gallery.
Mother and son are doing fine; as soon as he gained his footing, Ethan was off and running laps around momma.  This is why all Millie kids get names like Speedy, and Turbo - they are bovine gas molecules.
Ethan's registered name is Expresso, BTW
 The peanut gallery in the north pasture
 Just as I went to take the picture, he flopped back where he landed at birth
 Try #2 'Just stretchin' those hips a bit'
 I meant to do that
 And, try #3.....

 .....and he's up!

 This morning, fed and feisty

Winter Break

In the depths of winter, some cheerful colour to brighten your day
Yes, it looked like this in the garden when the following pictures were taken

A volunteer marigold, in January!

There is lobelia everywhere, in all shades of blue and white
The geraniums are so happy, they are blooming like mad

A sweetly fragrant nemesia is covered in blooms
Below is one of my all time fave petunias, showing all the different stages of colour


 The succulents are blooming too
 This is either the Meyers lemon or the dwarf orange, covered in buds

A 3 gallon bucket of frozen water, and some snow covered beds