Sunday, February 26, 2006

Blog Day Afternoon

Yesterday we went to the Beach Store Cafe on Lummi Island. A 30 minute drive, 5 minute ferry ride, and 100 foot walk, to the best salmon & chips on the planet. We brought graph paper, our seed list, and the square foot gardening book to plan our garden while we ate. Yum! Great food, great beer, and great staff.

Today we hung the front gates. What a nice feeling to know we're safe & sound behind our perimeter. Now the dogs can roam around and poop in the entire yard if they so choose.

Time for dinner - chili, and beer, and no doubt more beer. And oat-raspberry bars for for dessert.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Work week hiatus

So here's what goes on while we're working all week. You'd think these guys would want to pitch in and earn their keep. Looks like nothing constructive will get done until Saturday, though the new big beefy posts are set & waiting for the front gates to be installed. We made some Atholl Brose, which is basically scotch, honey and oats left to sit for a few days and strained to drink. Haven't gotten to the drinking part yet, and it looks very....interesting. No wonder Scots are so hardy!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Brewsters on the loose

Sunday night. What better way to finish the weekend than bottling assorted experiments in zymurgy. First up was a braggot - a honey ale. Next was what was left of an attempted apple-jacking. The idea was to make a basic apple wine, and distill it by freezing the water and saving the alcohol left behind. An old American tradition that for some reason didn't quite work as planned. In any case, the resulting apple wine is rather tasty and should be even better after aging a few months.

The braggot is also an old recipe, using honey, malt and hops. We put priming sugar in before bottling, to make it turn out carbonated. It should be at its' best in a month.

The only brew left in the alchemy corner is Mel - a melomel which is a fruit/honey wine. In this case, blackberries we picked from our front-yard berry patch, and honey from Guilmette's Busy Bees around the corner. I need to clarify it and let it sit a bit longer before bottling. It probably won't be anywhere near ready to drink for 8 months, and not in bragging range for a year.

Otherwise this weekend, we went to the casino to help celebrate a family member's birthday, put new roosts in the chicken house and installed a thermostat & heater, stacked firewood, made 2 garden beds, ran errands, caught & brushed Lassie, and bought some things for our emergency kit. Still on the next-up list - more garden beds, fruit trees, work on new chicken coop.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cooped up!

Here's the coop. You can see one gal checking out the howdy pen, and the lure of carrot peels so temptingly placed on what used to be a goat play ramp. It's a nice structure as far as chicken houses go, especially considering the price. But we need an insulated one with a few design changes for ease of use, so looks like full speed ahead with the original plans. It will be fun to turn this coop into a goatie play house later this year though.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Three Red Hens

I don't have pictures ready to post yet, but we are now the happy recipients of 3 nice middle-aged lady chickens.

Saturday I was outside doing goat things when the nice neighbors drove up on their riding mower, towing a trailer of mill ends. They brought us 2 loads to use for kindling and offered more if we want. They also mentioned a rhubarb plant, potted up and needing a home, so I said I would come over Sunday. I must have mentioned starting our chicken coop too. Then some people who had been out to look at Julio Friday called, and headed over to pick him up. Afterwards, I walked over to get the rhubarb, and while chatting noticed three red hens in a run in their neighbor's yard. I didn't even know they had chickens....

So now it's Sunday and we're out front to install the new driveway gates so the dogs can run loose. We had just bought more materials for the coop and it was time to cut some lumber. Not so fast! The neighbor with the chickens pulls up and asks if we want her three red hens, since they're moving one town over. We tried to say no, pleading lack of housing. But her husband and two burly sons offered to bring over the coop too. Oh no, we thought, some nasty cracker box. But it's actually well built cedar, and bigger than the one we're building. They managed to get it set in the goat paddock, and we trimmed the girls' wings and locked them in for the night.

This morning I opened the coop, but no one came out. By the time I got home from work, they still hadn't come out. What could the problem be???

Chappelle. The little pesty demon goat. Every time the hens stirred out of the coop, he ran over and shoved his goofy head in and spooked them. So now they have a buffer pen that they can get out of, but no goats can get in (yet). We'll see if they come out tomorrow....

In the meantime, Julio is doing well at his new home, and we're not NOT not getting another critter until the barn is built. Lassie still won't let us catch her, but we haven't done a whole-hearted goat round-up yet. Luna wants to eat the hens more than she wants to eat the goats, and I just want a year off to get the chore list down a column or two!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New Goat City

Well I know new goat - Lassie should get top billing, but how can I ignore a face like Chappelle's? What a ham! Chappelle is the naughty wether voted most likely to be sausage, but surprisingly is nice to Lassie. Julio, on the other hand, is very determined to lord it over Lassie to the point that he is no longer welcome on the stead. We're looking for a new home for him ASAP. In the meantime, feeding time means clipping the boys to the fence near one manger and giving her time to eat her grains and hay without being hassled by wethers.

Lassie is hopefully pregnant and due in June. She's a bit matted and smells like buck-daddy Dusty, so I'm thinking her fleece is a loss this time. The shearer might not get here til March, so I need to find a closer one, because she needs a fresh do fast. She seems to enjoy watching activity around the place - kitties, neighbors, cars, etc. Strange little goatie...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A-fencing we will go!

The yard perimeter fence just lacks driveway gates now. The goaties seemed to think new fence is peachy, but just wait til they get to try new pastures when the cross fencing is done...