Monday, August 31, 2015

Wheat 2015 - Update II

Back in June, we began to harvest the wheat the Lord had graciously granted us!

The Stongers graciously offered to help, so Mr. Stonger and the boys got out there and began gathering in the wheat. We started with sickles, but found we could just pull it up by hand:

Harvesting Wheat

Still More Harvesting Wheat

Again, Harvesting Wheat

And Still Harvesting Wheat


Here I am tying the wheat into sheaves:

More Harvesting Wheat


And here's the first row done, with the sheaves put into stooks:

Continuing to Harvest Wheat


This is about a month later, mid July. Amidst all of the other projects around here, I was able to continue and do about another row before the weeds took over:

Harvested Wheat & Weeds


Then, it was time to get them out of the field and into the barn:

Wheat Sheaves in the Truck


With us unable really to harvest anymore, the goats were able to enjoy the delectable delights of the overgrown field! :)

Goats Grazing in the Wheat Field

Goats Still Grazing in the Wheat Field

Again, Goats Grazing in the Wheat Field

Goats Continuing to Graze in the Wheat Field

More Goat Grazing in the Wheat Field


And here are most of the sheaves in the barn (I had already begun to process some by this time):

Wheat Sheaves in Barn Loft

Again, Wheat Sheaves in Barn Loft


And speaking of processing, the next step with the wheat was to try to extract the berries. This is always the fun part. We've tried flailing in the past, but that just sort of ended up being a bunch of flailing more than anything else. So, this time, I thought I'd try a couple of different things.

I tried turning a bicycle upside down, pedaling it by hand, and trying to thresh the wheat in the spokes. This actually kind of worked, but not too well, and often the heads would break off. I also tried a harder rubber mallet, and that worked not too badly -- good control, just a lot of pounding. Then, for some reason I thought to try a 9 inch, 2x4 block of wood, and up to this point, this has worked the best. You can control things so the wheat heads don't bounce around, you can use the sides to cover more area, or use corner edges or even corners for more accuracy. It's a little tedious, but it seems to work pretty well.

Here is a little demonstration video of that process:




We're still in the threshing process, but hopefully at some point Lord willing it will be finished, and then it'll be onto the separation process!

We are grateful to the Lord for granting the wheat, and for being able to continue the process of it, even for the physical strength to do so!

-- David

Friday, August 21, 2015

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: 2015 Goat Kids, Rounds 2 & 3

We had some late arrivals with our goat kids this year, but we are thankful for the two more kiddings the Lord graciously granted! Below is the departure of the main herd of kids, and also some of the goat goings-on around the farm, for your entertainment. :)


The Kids

Winnie gave birth to a little buckling! She had been having quite a bit of rumen problems last year, and we think that's why she was delayed in giving birth, but thanks to the Lord she did so in health and with a healthy kid. In honor of her name, we called him Wilfred:

Winnie & Wilfred


And here's their video:




Then, it was time to ship them off with their new owner!

Here we are setting up:

Backing Up Trailer

Goats Rounding Up

Getting Panels


And here's a video of the process and saying goodbye:




We are grateful to God for providing a buyer who likes to come every year and collect our kids.


And then, thankfully after what we think was originally an aborted pregnancy, Lucy gave birth to twins about a month ago! They have their sire's oolors, with the blotches, and they reminded us of ice cream -- the light colored buckling like chocolate chip cookie dough, so we called him "Chip"; and for the doeling, we couldn't think of a good ice cream name, so we went with Jane Dough, or what we call her, "Janie."

Lucy, Chip & Janie


Sleepy...

Chip & Janie in Water Trough


And here's their video, with an intro about their mommy before she gave birth:




Around the Yard

Goats are interesting, fun, smart and troublesome quite often. So, we thought we'd share a few of those moments...

Um, yeah...

Molly in the Car

Molly in the Car Again


Here they are lounging around in the sun one day:




And then all around the camper, which they do often. There's a nice little breezeway under the camper they can usually count on to provide some refreshment and relief from the heat:




And Hannah sometimes gets some extra lettuce or kale, and then comes around looking for more. She's an expert at convincing you she is an innocent victim and has fooled us many times.... but she's probably the most wily of them all :)




We are grateful to the Lord once again for the kids He granted us this year! We had to give several of our goats de-wormer this year as some of them got pretty anemic, but God granted they get better; and we thank Him for the continued safety and health for and milk from our goats; and we're thankful for the adventure they bring to our lives here! :)

-- David

Friday, August 14, 2015

Garden - Spring 2015 - Update II

The Lord has graciously granted our 2015 Spring garden to continue. The mulch bed gardening allows us to set hoses from the cistern and only have to move them every 10 minutes, which keeps from having to constantly monitor the watering for 2 or more hours.

Here is how everything looked a couple of weeks ago, end of July...

Okra:

Okra Plants


Beans, butternut squash and zucchini:

Bean, Butternut Squash, Zucchini Plants


Here are carrots growing out of the hugelkultur bed. If you look closely, you can see the remnants of one of the bed's "tenants":

Carrots & Snakeskin on Hugelkultur Bed


More okra:

More Okra Plants


And our one pumpkin plant, and the okra again:

Pumpkin & Okra Plants


The pumpkin plant really took off, up the fence, which actually had a pumpkin hanging on it:

Pumpkin Plant Growing Up Fence


And up the tree:

Pumpkin Plant Growing Up Tree


And here are the tomato plants:

Tomato Plants


As for the produce, turnips planted a couple of years ago continue to show up!

Turnips


And here is butternut squash down in the root cellar we've been granted:

Butternut Squash in Baskets

Butternut Squash on Root Cellar Shelf


And a couple of good-sized pumpkins!

Pumpkins


Here are the few carrots we got from the hugelkultur bed, along with some okra and zucchini. The carrots were something of an experiment as I did nothing to improve the bed ahead of time, and it was just nice to see a few come out. The Lord has also granted several, but not a lot, of zucchini, and the okra keep coming in almost daily. We've been able to tuck quite a bit away by lacto-fermenting the vegetables in jars:

Carrots, Okra & Zucchini


And here are some tomatoes. We have pretty much just been eating these as we go:

Tomatoes


And here is where things are now, after about 5-6 weeks of straight upper-90 to 100-degree weather with no rains.

This is Garden 2. The okra is still going, nearly 6 foot tall; some of the green beans are still there; the butternut squash are still producing; and only 1 zucchini plant remains:

Garden 2 Mid August 2015


And this is Garden 1. The okra here is even taller, and the pumpkin plant is basically done. Sadly, a couple of the pumpkins didn't make it:

Garden 1 Mid August 2015


And the tomatoes. I had to dust them with an insect dust because it appeared blister beetles were making their way over there, and they do damage very quickly:

More Garden 1 Mid August 2015


Finally, because it appears that only soil that's covered will work well without requiring hoards of water, I decided to start mulching the rest of Garden 1, over the raised bed area, hopefully in time to plant a Winter garden!

Garden Raised Beds

Mulching Over Raised Beds Area


This week is about the last week we can do full watering because the cistern is getting to a point we want to make sure we have enough for ourselves and the animals; so if it doesn't rain, watering is going to have to be reduced.

We do have rain percentages this weekend though. But God knows best, and we are very grateful for the provisions He has granted from the garden this year thus far!

-- David

Friday, August 7, 2015

A House - Update XXXIV - External Siding - Update III

It has been almost two years since I took the first pictures of work on the external siding of the upper west section of the house, and after the upper east side was completed, I was able to just the other week finish the upper south side of the cedar fence slat lap siding, and thus wrap up the external siding of the entire upper part of the house!

Here is the tar paper, which Sue helps me put up, and window frames in place:

House Upper South Siding Window Frames in Place


And the rest of it done:

House Upper South Siding Done

South Side of the House


Whew! Now just to paint it with the wood protector I've been using on the other sides.

Thanks to the Lord for the provisions to continue on this, the strength to even perform the building duties, safety while working up there, and continued progress on the house!

-- David