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 Relaxshacks.com 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.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Update on Spring happenings

It has been a while so forgive me if I ramble a bit.
First the weather. Following one of our colder and wetter Winters, we are now starting on a cooler and wetter spring than normal. This has made it a bit tricky to get into the garden but with a bit of diligent help from my darling bride we have managed to get almost half of last years garden expansion planted up.
Next came the rabbits. We had been thinking that rabbits would make a good addition to our homestead for some time. Our friend Jamie had a chance to taste and fall in love with a rabbit terrine at Corner Table. He was very supportive of us getting the rabbit project off the ground so we thought now was the time. We decided on champagne d'argent. We were able to find a local breeder and meet up with them in a gas station parking lot. It was all quite cloak and dagger. We brought them all home and set them up in the garage and they have been doing well.

Then we have been looking to get a flock of layers back on the farm. We ordered 15 silver lace wyandottes and 5 araucanas. We received those on Monday and set them up in a brooder in the garage as we have been seeing freezing temps at night. We also got a few indian game roosters for future meat bird breeding stock.

Lastly we also ordered ducks again this year. We decided to try a Rouen ducks. We plan to raise them in the orchard again this year. They also arrived this week. We had to pick them up this morning. We brought them home and placed them in a second brooder in the garage.

Well that is enough for now. We have also begun composting in a big way. More about that later.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Season extension works

This past Saturday while it was out in the yard I decided it was time to peak under the low tunnel and see how things looked. It was high 40's and breezy and I had to shovel nearly a foot of snow off the tails of the poly to get access to the tunnel. I was amazed by the hot wet waft of air that hit me as I stuck my face into the enclosure. I was quite happy to see the mustard, spinach and mizuna all looking great. And I had my first taste of fresh home grown greens since November right then and there, on my knees in the mud. It was fantastic. The ground outside is still frozen hard but under the cover it was soft and moist. I ran my hands through the soil just to remember how it felt and was even more surprised to watch a worm pull away back into the soil. That sold it right then and there. We will have a hoop house constructed as soon as finances and conditions permit. I have been reading Eliot Colman's book Four Season Harvest and am quite excited about what we could produce with even a small greenhouse.

Will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No worms part two for now.

I decided the other day that, as we have just had our worm bin for a short time I would probably just increasing the noise about the issue on the Internet with a follow up post on the subject. I guess I don't like doing "how to" posts. I would rather share with you what we are doing and whether or not it works for us. That way you can decide what works best for you.

We have a couple of other irons in the fire at the time.
  1. We currently have some maple taps out and I hope to produce some of our own syrup this year.
  2. We have started looking for breeding stock to raise meat rabbits this year and acquired some cages to house them in.
  3. We have ordered ducklings and replacement laying hens for the season.
Lastly we have submitted the paperwork to the secretary of state's office to become incorporated. To me that is a big step toward making the farm a legitimate business enterprise.

Busy, busy, busy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Worm Bin Part 1

This winter my lovely wife let me set up a worm compost system in the kitchen. I had dragged her to enough lectures on vermicomposting so she was on board but you have to recognize just how awesome she is.

So why compost with worms anyway?
Well first of all you can compost kitchen waste all year long. For many people this may not be that important but for those of us up in the frozen north being able to compost during the winter allows you to produce more valuable compost. The compost you get is also said to be superior to conventionally composted material. Plus you also get worms that you can either use for more composting operations or even take fishing with you.

So the bin we built started with two plastic storage containers. like this one.

The first thing you need to do is provide a way to manage the moisture in your bin. Worms exude moisture during the composting process and the food that you add also has moisture in it. That means that if their was no way for water to leave the bin your worms would soon drown. So we made a bunch of holes in the bottom of one of the bins. I have been told that quarter inch holes are small enough to avoid plugging but large enough to keep most of your worms from leaving.

It is also important to make sure that the worms can get enough oxygen so I drilled holes in the top of the bin as well. The lid also helps to keep light out of the bins as the worms are also sensative to light and we don't want to stress them.

Lastly I nested the bin that was drilled into the un-perforated twin. The second bin will catch the moisture that comes off the bin.

So that is the bin. later I plan to tell you how to set one up and how well our first one is working out for us.

Frustrated Farmer Rick