Monday, February 23, 2009

River Cottage

Well I noticed somewhere in my lurkings on the internet that someone thought this show was something those of us interested in a simpler life should be watching so I went out and found this. I can tell you that I am impressed with the clips I found on youtube and considering downloading it from amazon.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Seed Inventory

I had a chance to sit down and go through all the leftover seeds from the last few years this afternoon. It looks like I have a bunch of herb seed and some flowers as well. I am also looking good as far as vegetable seeds. My plan for this year is to put some of the money I am saving from planting left over seed into a garden cart and small shed. Some of the seed I still have is from the grocery store Kabocha squash that I planted last year. Not all of those squash were true to type but they have kept well and make delicious soups. From my reading I have learned that viability does drop each year of storage so some of these are a bit of a crap shoot but the seed is free and we have the space so as long as the seed sprouts and grows I'll let it. Some of the best producing plants we have grown were mongrels of one form or another. I would probably feel different if this was my sole means of sustanance or income but as it is we don't mind.


Sunday, February 8, 2009


Well the above is proof that I am starting my first attempt at grape based wine. I purchased a relatively low cost kit that contains both grape juice and toasted oak bits as well as finings to help clarify the wine. If this goes well I may have to consider planting grape vines. I know there are a few great cultivars coming out of the U of M these days.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Don't call it a comeback!

Well I have returned to the blog. I know you may have been wondering if I had given up on this . We no I was just taking a bit of a break and now I am back.
So winter continues here at the farm. We have had a particularly cold winter so far, even by Minnesota standards. That means apart from the driveway clearing and tening the chickens not much farming, hobby or otherwise, was getting done as of late. I have spent a bit of time working on things inside the house like organizing the pantry and actually even started to work on the library again. I have also been doing lots of reading on all maner of foody, hippy and ecogeek subjects. I plan to post some short reviews on many of the books I have been simultaneously not finishing as I am finnaly able to take them off that list.
Also I am going to be starting a few more wine, beer and mead projects in the near future and plan to post on them as well. So stay tuned.

Proof of work on the pantry!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Growing power

Earlier this fall while out with a friend that I never thought would be interested in things of an organic and small farmy nature. He brought up the subject of Growing Power in Milwaukee. I became aware of the place by following Youtube links on auquaculture. I realy like the idea of aquaculture and the bootstrap nature of the place really impresed me. I guess I should give you the links now so you can get to know the system they have developed there.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

snow place like home.

Well no changes here at the farm this week. It is still cold and we seem to have snow every other day or so. Not much to blog about I am afraid. I have been slowly chopping up and removing solidified snow drift from part of the driveway. It appears that the wonderful fence around the chicken yard makes a great snow fence which causes the drift formation. Alas one solution to one problem causes another problem elsewhere. I think I may experiment with more snow fences during the remainder of this winter to help me figure out the best place for hedges as well.
Until then it makes for a great new years exercise program. Gotta stay in shape in the off season you know.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Weather Report

Well we finally got temps above freezing yesterday. It melted most of the snow which is both a blessing and a curse. I like the snow for it's ability to insulate plants and septic systems but am less fond of it for it's ability to blow into driveways and roads. I think we may get some more snow later today. Just an inch but that might be just the thing to insulate the ground and plants but not so much you can't drive over it. Provided the winds remain reasonable.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy solstice all.

Well it has been cold and snowy here for the past two days and we just stayed in for the most part. They say we might have a colder and snowier winter this year. I believe them. I did a bit of futile shoveling yesterday the wind blew it all back last night. I did get a chance to add some insulation to the coop as well. It has been a bit of a slow work in progress out in the coop but it is progress.
I gave the chickens the last of the test plot of wheat I grew this summer yesterday. I understand that is a tradition in some Slavic cultures. We also bought a box of clementines at the grocery store on Friday. I decided to simmer a handful of the peels with some cloves and cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick. Man the house smells great.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Well I bottled up 3 gallons of dandelion wine from 2007 summer last night along with a 5 gal batch of honey nut brown beer that had been siting on the table for the last year or so. I am really excited about the taste of the beer. I have dubbed it the forever beer. I also bottled up the last of the gift bottles of the nocino. All this may not help much with the economy these days but having over 8 gallons of alcohol in the cellar is still very reassuring.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Looks like we may be looking at a furnace upgrade soon. I would like to get a boiler and retrofit the house for radiant heat but if we do that we will have to wait till spring. More likely we will be just upgrading to a higher efficiency furnace this spring if we can hold off till then. That gets me thinking about efficiency but I think that will be the subject of a future rant.