Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Polar Vortex

It seems that this Winter we are getting a taste of future things to possibly come. I am no climate scientist but this irregular cold weather we have been having this year meets my understanding of Climate Change. It has been exceptionally cold exceptional early in Minnesota this year and it has lasted longer already than is usual. I suspect that there is more of this in the future. So I did the only sane thing I could think of and ordered peach trees for this Spring. Now Minnesota peach trees may not be the first thing that Springs to mind when I say the word polar vortex but they are connected.
   Firstly since the climate is changing it can go in either direction so for me on zone 4 that means planting both zone 3 hardy and zone 5 hardy plants. And secondly I have been thinking a lot of old Sam McGee and his home in Peach Tree Tennessee this Winter. Plus I just really love the idea of my own peach trees.
   I also ordered a pair of Paw Paw trees. As a native fruit that are hardy quite far north with a great taste I am excited about these. It will likely be at least 3 years before I get to taste a Paw Paw but I am playing a long game here on the farm.

Keep Warm
Frustrated Farmer Rick

Monday, December 30, 2013

New car

As part of our long term plan to reduce our reliance on ancient carbon based fuels we have decided our new car needs to be at least a hybrid or fully electric car. After having driven a number of vehicles and doing the math it lools like the best car for us will be the Chevy Volt. The fully electric car is superior for short trips as we can run only on electricity for the first thirty or so miles. For longer distances however the hybrids have slightly better mileage.
I  am fully aware that when we charge an electric vehicle we are most likely still using ancient carbon but future plans for us are to begin producing electricity which would completely change the equation. So for now we have decided on the Chevy Volt.

Friday, December 27, 2013

So much to tell.

It has been a heck of a long time since I started this blog. I have stopped and started it over the years and it seems I have the itch to start it up again. A lot has changed since I stopped writing a few years back so I will just go over the highlights.

 We are continuing our self sufficient and low impact lifestyle and increasing the possibilities on the farm. We have added more perennial plants in the form of some mulberry bushes and black currants. We have also made an investment in the future by the planting of two small white oaks that may provide acorns to some lucky soul in the future. We have also established a Jerusalem artichoke hedge at the south east end of the yard to help shade and act as a windbreak. Last fall we put up a small 12 by 20 poly-tunnel and we had some greens all the way into Thanksgiving this year from it. We moved the chicken coop and yard adjacent to the garden in order to use the garden as an expanded run during early and late season and increase fertility in the garden. We also fenced in a a large portion of the center of the yard this summer and have turned it over to the farm for livestock. This last season we raised a geese in the yard and it was a great success. We also started raising chickens in a chicken tractor in the yard with some moderate success. We also successfully hatched chickens last spring with our incubator. Lastly we are switching out rabbit breads due to the  difficulties we had with our rabbits to see if it was us or them.
   Ongoing projects include a smallish water retention pond located near the pole barn, a planned increase in goose numbers this year and full use of our poly-tunnel for planting in the Spring.

And last but not least we need to announce the addition of a our new farm dog Lazlo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The reason I have been away

        Well it was my intention to post every day this month and apart from a few slips I think I have been pretty good. But you will have noticed that I have not posted in some time. That was due to our annual deer hunting trip to north western Minnesota.
        I alway had an interest in hunting ever since I was a child. I remember my grandfather hunting a few times and I remember his guns and hunting clothes in the front hall. Hunting always seemed like some great and mysterious secret that men knew, or at least the kind of men my grandfather was and that was fine enough an example for me. I wanted to hunt. Sadly my father was not a big part of my life at that age and my step father had no interest in hunting at all. I satisfied my self with learning woodland skills like tracking animals, making camp fires and learning to identify and forage for plants. I also developed a keen interest in fishing as well, also to be more like my grandfather. But hunting had to wait.
       Many years after high school and my time in the Navy I spent some time in the Army National Guard as a medic and it was there that I met my hunting mentor and all around great friend James. You see he was also ex-navy and also had a love for fishing and food. I also learned that he had some experience hunting. I don't exactly remember how I first talked him into letting me go duck hunting with him but for me it was a door opening and I rushed through it. In the many years since we have hunted everything from squirrels to deer. I have introduced other friends of mine to the joys and challenges of hunting as well.  It is through him that I have met many great and wonderful people and had many fantastic days in the field. He helped me learn to butcher what I managed to harvest and even been a fine example of just what a person can do with wild game. You really should read his blog if you have not yet. Thanks James!

Scroll down for dead deer picture.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

 Great video I found over on Cricket Bread. It is not really about crop mobs but rather a reading of the essay New Blood in the Old Body.

Crop Mob: An Introduction from Cricket Bread on Vimeo.

Lastly since I will be away deer hunting this weekend I want to present another version of somone preserving the past as a way to save the future.

There's No Place Like Here: Liberty Tool from Etsy on Vimeo.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wordless Friday

Well that didn't last too long now did it.

Last night I got to cooking and totally failed to make my promised blog post. I don't have much to tell you this morning so I guess I will tell you what I was cooking that made me miss my appointment with you. First the hens have begun laying eggs and I had been purchasing hard boiled eggs for breakfast at work so I figured it was about time I hard boiled a dozen eggs for lunches and such. Next we had some onions , carrots and celery that were going soft in the fridge so I decided to make a big batch of veg stock. We ended up with 4 liters or so of stock. Gotta love having stock on hand. Then I had some pumpkin puree I was cooking down with spices and brown sugar in the crock pot. I am really happy with it. Next I decided to see how the Musquee de Provence pumpkins were doing so I started cutting up and processing one. I roasted around a quarter of one in the oven and steamed the other quarter in the microwave. So that was last night, two stove burners, the oven, the microwave and the crock pot all rocking in the kitchen. Now I have to get changed and go to work to get some rest.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Shed dreams

So I have been following the videos of Deek Didrickson of for a while now. I love his take on reusing materials and his punk rock shed esthetic. I was also looking through the redesign of Treehugger yesterday and found this great garden house. I am thinking of trying to combine the two and see what I can get built this Winter. I am hoping to make the small guest cottage be the majority of the space with a weather tight tool storage area built into the back. I am thinking that with the proper planning I can build it in sections and move it out to the fielden this Spring and assemble it on site as soon as conditions permit. It would be great to have a small sunny space to sit out in the fielden as well as being able to keep tools and supplies closer to hand.
This evening for dinner we had Sunchokes that I cooked overnight with a rich rabbit stock in the crockpot. I have heard that a long slow cooking can reduce the "windyness" of the sunchokes. Will let you know tomorrow I guess. We also harvested a big bunch of kale and made kale chips for dinner as well.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fear Not Mortal!

Do not be alarmed. This is an actual blog post you are actually reading on Caerwyn Farm and Spirits.
Sorry I have been away a while.  Lots of things have gone on of late and I plan to tell you about them soon.
You see I am making a pledge to post something at least every day this November starting today.
So what do you have to look forward to?
A recap of our 10 year anniversary trip to the shores of lake superior.
A permaculture inspired windbreak.
All that and much much more!!!
Welcome back!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It has been that kind of Spring

We are so far behind this Summer. Crap! Is it Summer already? I have not been posting as much as before and here is why.

We have had a very cold and wet Spring. It was colder than our average except of course for the few days it didn't rain but instead went to 100F with 20 MPH winds. I guess it is better than hail.

Also this Spring I took a long planned trip to th boundary waters on the Minnesota Canada border.I had a great time and can not wait to go again next year but it also pushed back planting a week. I did catch my first lake trout, one more MN species off the lifetime fish catch list.

Then our new senior doe rabbit appeared to be gaining weight. Turns out she was just being too well fed. This combined with a previous failed breeding by the folks we got her from means she is probably too old to conceive That sets us back on this plan as well as our junior doe will not be old enough to be mated until September.

Also earlier this spring an old ash tree decided it would be much more comfortable laying down. Unfortunately for us it decided to lay down on the house. There was a fair amount of damage to the old summer kitchen and we are now getting bids to make the necessary repairs and dealing with the insurance company. So far they have been unlike a good neighbor and not so there.
We are also moving the ducks and chickens along. They have booth been moved to their permanent housing and are being introduced to the pasture today. Which mean I need to quit messing around here and get out there.

FF Rick.