Tuesday, March 27, 2007


One of the dogwoods burst open today (that's a birdhouse built by Roger the step-pop). Made me stop in the middle of the franticness of spring to take a look...

Notice Roger's craftsmanship versus mine on the coop. Even a college degree can't help me turn this one into beauty. Gonna need a whole lotta paint and camouflage to save it now.

Monday, March 26, 2007

bottlin' the cheap stuff

This happens to be my first attempt at making beer. A pilsner to be exact. A friend's pop got one of these brewing kits for christmas and never got around to doing anything with it. The ingredients were so old the powders were bricks. The yeast expired in May 2004. Maybe that's how it ended up in my hands. I figured it would be a good test run before starting my brewing for real (got a 6 gallon kit from Northern Brewer while up in St. Paul MN a couple weeks ago). If I screwed up along the way, oh well, it was free. As the goofy group Da Yoopers sings, "The greatest beer in this whole land is the one you get for free." And, as proof in the pictures, the flavor's turned not so bad either.

They only include enough bottles for making one six-pack at a time (ingredients for 4 rounds). A lot of work and time for one or two buzzes, I'd say. I was able to squeeze a seventh bottle in, sort of a bonus bottle of bottom sediments, of which I put maple syrup into. In 10 days I'll let you know how it went.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

spring scramble

Spring's time for growin'-buildin'-raisin'-makin' stuff. I think there needs to be 4-5 hours tacked on each day to accommodate. We're raising chickens and vegetables, building an apartment and a coop, making violet syrup, dandelion syrup, and beer. These are just a few on the list.Making a shed out of scrap lumber involves a lot of creativity, patience, wrestling skills, and screws. Warped, twisted, chopped, knotted, all combine to require a good paint job and landscaping to cover up the various grotesque imperfections this method includes. But hey, a shed 5'x10' should cost several hundred dollars...mine's free.

The little ones are now 6 days old, down to 48 of the little poopers.

The list is long on the aspirations of a garden this year. Seedlings started so far include:

Tomatoes: druzhba, peacevine cherry, black krim, amish paste, fox cherry, brandywine, cherokee purple, golden jubilee, red pear, yellow pear, black from tula, golden zebra, thai pink, black plum, dad's sunset, roman candle, black cherry, purple russian

Peppers: japone chile, new mexico chili, sweet mini, toro rosso, red ruffled pimento, tangerine pimento, purple beauty, sweet chocolate, red marconi, and red bells from the local produce stand.

Others: sugar snap peas, cascadia bush snap, oregon sugar pod, black beauty zucchini, waltham butternut squash, golden marble scallop squash, straightneck squash, tomatillo, early purple broccoli, bush sugar baby watermelon, vienna kohlrabi, purple of sicily cauliflower, black eel zucchini, caserta zucchini, lemon squash, thai yellow eggplant, rougevifdetampes squash, rainbow chard, lucullus chard, red chinese long bean, yellow beets, dark red beets

Whew. Hopefully the deer, birds, turtles, chickens, dogs, hornworms, aphids, and whiteflies leave us a few.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New tenants

The whole place is in an uproar from the new little ones.

All huddled up and chirpin' the first day, they're mad-dashing to and fro today. There are 50 in all, half for the freezer, half for egg production, but man-oh-man, that's a lot of chickens. Hopefully I can keep up. In between 4 and 8 weeks from now, we'll have a killin' and grillin' shindig with some of the fellas. At that point we'll find out if we turn vegetarian and have 25 pet roosters, or have a freezer full of homegrown goodness...
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