Wednesday, November 13, 2019

November? How About A Short Tour of The Place.


This is Calli. She has a new "do" because Ari the English Setter decided she was having a bad hair day. Now she looks like a cross between bed head and bad hair day or perhaps meringue peaks.

Dinner two nights ago. Why yes that is a pizza on a rack over a cast iron pan. Why you ask? When one buys a 38 year old home one expects there to be ahem, issues. Lucky for me the seller purchased a whole house policy good for one year. I can renew it if I choose to but most likely won't .  Back to the oven. I found that my oven original to the house did not cook at a consistent temperature. Burnt frozen pizza, cookies, homemade sourdough and a lasagna all crisper then needed no matter how I adjusted the temperature.  The plan is to replace the older electric oven with a propane one built into the cupboard space under the propane stove top when the electric one dives into the abyss.  So while I await the decision of if a new thermostat can be located I improvised. Add lid get oven. How was it ? Delicious!

You may remember the "goat cart" from Ash Creek and before then Redwood Valley and originally from the first country homestead on the Golden Westside of  Fresno. Found this lovely (now) geranium on the "dead and dying " shelf at a local nursery for a buck ninety nine. I think it likes it here :-)

The manual for my original Vermont Country Stove circa 1975. I was happy to find it on Ebay and will make good use of it to operate my stove and cook on it. This is going to be great fun!

A bit of this and that. A new mum which now lives in a larger pot on the tree stump in the back of this line up. 

I finally got a good photo of one of my new hummers. This little one and friends love the feeder and all the flowery treats I have put out so far on the farm.

This stock tank and another(no worries of waste they were both left here and leak badly) just like it have three kale, spinach and snap pea plants apiece. This photo was not too long after they were planted. Looking very happy and bigger since then.

This is my gate. The battery is being replaced and I am seriously considering converting it to a solar panel and larger battery soon. It is a Mighty Mule not near the caliber of the gate we had on Ash Creek. I am trying to wait until next Spring as I have a new and larger H20 heater on my Fall list plus a generator and water holding tank.  

These are five of the new coop residents. I will get another five from my daughter in a few weeks. They all should begin laying by early December.

Nice aren't they? New blinds for the whole house. 28 of 29 windows done. Number twenty nine will have a lovely stained glass antique piece cut down to a  narrower boarder to size to fit the octagon shape.Artist is working on it now and my log cabin team will place it when they come next Spring to power wash , stain the exterior and replace a few logs that need to be. I am not a wealthy woman except in family and critters but I am planning well to make this home what I feel is appropriate to it.

Old Faithful making lots of trips from the wood stack to the back porch that I will use as a "wood shed" this winter. Next year will see a proper wood shed where the stack itself is this year and apparently years past for the folks I purchased it from. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Hello Darkness My Old Friend . . .

Remember it is never the grunts but those behind them that run them that run the show. So here is to the folks who answer the phones , walk the lines and keep things running as smoothly as a large electrical company can. And they can’t ever be held responsible for what happens in the back room.

But whining and tossing around opinions aren’t going to change what it is. But let me give it a go. If you run a public utility company your top priority should be keeping your equipment up to snuff and not I repeat NOT awarding massive bonuses to the upper crust . You don’t avoid legitimate responsibilities like being sure your equipment is in good working order and then passing that responsibility down to the ones who really write your bonuses and paychecks the public.

Let us look at it this way. If my truck has faulty brakes and because I put repairing them on hold when I can’t stop and plow into a group of people I will be held accountable for operating faulty equipment and I will reap the ramifications of such. Apparently this is not the case if one is a multimillion bizillon corporation.

So here I sit lap littered with cats dogs at my feet. Munching my toffee chocolate bar and sipping red wine by lantern light.

I have added water to the stock  tank from two gallon containers I picked up at the market today. I have feed everyone and had an inprov shower. Spent the day today with a dear friend with lunch out and some thrift store shopping and a quilt store visit on the valley floor.
I knew what I could potentially be set up for when I came off my mountain and back on the grid. I was hoping for the grace of one winter to get the water holding tank and generator in place. But greed allows no luxuries except for those who create it. So until I can do my homework and get the numbers crunched we will be as prepared as possible. By the by the first warning was sent by text at 7:05 AM. The lights went out and at 2PM same day. I am assuming that PGE thinks those in the blackout areas are established and have the game plan done. Sorry PGE I am still just working on a balance of normal after the last landslide year of crazy.

Living room by lantern light. 

Friday, October 18, 2019

Doesn’t Look Like Much But Stick Around Until The End

Doesn’t look like much.  However great things often begin with a patch of bare dirt and two  pieces of wood. Day 1. 

Digging holes always a good sign. Means business is getting done. Four holes were dug.  The constitution crew consists of Jessica and Nash.

Jessica and I have been friends for 22 of her 24 years. Her family and I became friends when they answered an ad I placed to sell some Nubians. Nash will become family on November 8th. When he and Jess tie the knot. She is the youngest of three sisters.

Floor joist going in place.


Well mercy be! Do I see the beginning of  two walls?  And is that a floor I spy in place??

Moving right along all walls and the roof in place . Inside Jess is putting  in  the railing to keep the eggs from rolling out of the laying boxes. 

Wow window trim and access to the egg boxes from the outside. Windows are covered with hardware cloth for extra safety from predators. '

 Front prior to framing with white boards but hardware cloth in place. 

And afterwards with chicken door lower right .

 Close up of chicken door while open.

The temporary coop run is the old 10X10 foot dog kennel they had in an empty stall of the "mare" motel. May make it permanent by adding another four panels and roof. Or may go with 5 foot no climb and roof. At any rate the permanent fencing won't be in until after the wedding. 

Flock minus two slackers enjoying the roost on the first night in.  

Monday, October 14, 2019

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors When You Can Get One Built.

Moving is always a chore. No matter if you are moving from a tiny house to a ranch or to a smaller space from a larger one. If you bring goldfish or Angus it will present challenges that nothing else does.

Moving from Ash Creek property in Shasta county comprised of 40 acres totally relying on totally  solar to the new farm on 3.64 acres back on the grid was no exception. Bringing livestock with me (goats, chickens, dogs and cats) presented its own set of issues. First was all the fencing needed to be replaced as it was either not Pyrenees, goat or Border Collie strong. It was old for the most part some I swear us from the time the pioneers came through. Much of one stretch is almost none existent let alone sufficient.  I cannot lie both the street side and the common fence between my property and my closest neighbor was ok. But there is more to the story on that.

So when I had to move in a "greyhound" fashion I had to plan for keeping everyone safe and healthy as I knew the fencing would take awhile. That involved improvising with corral panels left to me on the property. The previous owner had horses so to make them work for goats and Pyrs each one we used had to be reinforced with a 16' ft long 5 ft tall cattle panel. Corral panels are usually 10 - 12 feet long and are a pipe construction making them stand alone when linked to each other . Cattle panels cannot stand alone and need support from either T post or being attached to another panel such as corral panels. The photo below shows part of the area we did to give the dogs and goats a reasonable space in addition to the custom build "mare motel" that came with the property. But only temporary. 

Like all well planned parades something always goes sideways and this theory proved to be no exception. I couldn't find anyone to start the fencing prior to my taking possession of the property. In our first move to Mendocino county we were able to do so with a hold harmless clause but no one in our new area was willing to jump into that potential snake pit. I can't say I blame them as litigation has just about become a spectator sport in last 25 or so years. Then I found as I called company after company that apparently a large part of this central California foothill community had fencing done this year. So the wait time was a unheard of 3 - 5 months. With the stress of moving plus into spaces smaller then usual this wasn't acceptable.

So I continued on my search and found a seasoned fence guy but with one draw back . His real job is with Cal Fire. I was content to go with him even knowing the process may be slower but a better shot than the options. That was until the fire opps. Although he has been able to do several equipment drops the "real" job totally took him away beginning October 6th to the fire lines of the Briceburg Fire .

At this point my anticipated finish date of end of November for all the livestock fencing is realistically now the end of December. The critters are doing well even though our day to day routine is limited. With the bad western fence none of the dogs can leave the barn / pen area without being on lead. The house dogs haven't left the house without the same restriction.  The last thing we need is search and rescue on any of them. Do I trust them yes with some hesitation on the house dogs as we have too many cottontails and squirrels to make it a very tempting opportunity. So everyone gets at least one walk about a day . The house dogs have a 10 x 20  ft kennel they can use to be off lead outside and since they love me so much they like to be where I am and they can see me from their kennel if I am out doing chores, yard work and so forth.

For now we will patiently wait and continue on as best we can manage. Knowing this is not forever makes it easier and in a few months it will all be a distant memory.

Stay tuned. I am hoping to churn out a post today or in a few with the debut  of  the best kept secret of the month "Do my neighbors have coop envy?"

Friday, October 4, 2019

It Is a DIY Kind Of Day 😊

Solution. What a country girl does when a permanent solution hasn’t materialized yet. 
Clothesline 1A

First hard cheese in years. Cheddar goat milk of course courtesy
Of Miss Willa

In the Rickki Carrol of New England cheesemaking recipe book 
this one is titled “Heavenly Ricotta Cheese “ aka whey Ricotta. Although the book name is pretty accurate as it is amazing and pretty much a whole different offerings than the traditional Whole Milk

Sisters . Well not by litter lol. Just by association

Part of my bounty from last Wednesday farmers market. Beets, French radishes new crop not spiced up from heat, a cute squash, one Bok Choy and about half  pound  of the most succulent tasty green beans since our last garden. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

Adopted By A Wild Tom

As time goes on I think of blogging but my big projects I am saving to post with start to finish photos. That would be the chicken coop and the fencing. So I am left with bits and pieces a little cheese making, soap making and more. Like being adopted by this boy.

He was resting by the current chicken coop when I rounded the corner from the hay barn and sent him into a frantic burst of something between a jog and a lope if such a mismatched fellow could. He took off last night and returned sometime this morning while and the house dogs were busy doing other things. He then proceeded to cruise down the west side of the barn road taking time to grab snacks from the wild oats that I mowed down a few days ago.

As if having this big guy was around wasn't enough of up close and real wild life Sherman and Yarrow began about one in the AM to go off like fire crackers. I tried to ignore it think it would (whatever it was ) pass by and we could all go back to sleep. I was the fool as it continue on momentum increasing. By the time I made my third trip to the back porch that is in close proximity to the barn it was apparent something was somewhere near and wasn't leaving any time soon.

I know my dogs pretty well but ever so often when I can't see or hear another dog in the valley barking or coyotes singing I kind of question their sanity. But after a few minutes in the barn with the goats looking at me (must of been my Owl jammies) as if to say "it has finally happened those two fluff balls have lost it". That I took my third trip around the whole barn scouring  the west side but when I finally turned my gaze and flashlight skyward I had a moment and looked again. The oak tree closest to the barn had eyes. Three sets to be exact. This is about two feet from the barn side and in an area that isn't sheathed with plywood yet. then the eyes had faces. OMG we have bandits in those branches.

A very ample adult (most likely Mom) and two older juveniles about ten feet off the ground and weren't leaving the safety of the tree for nothing. I knew sooner or later we would encounter the bandits of the forest as we have a seasonal creek at the bottom of our pasture and everyone knows where there is water there are raccoons.   I shut down the light and went back into the barn killed the lights there and waited about ten minutes. Walked around the side just in time to see the adult (this critter hadn't missed a  meal lately) pacing the bottom of the sagging , loose really old three foot field fencing looking for a space that would accommodate her girth. The kids (yes they were darn cute) kept poking their little faces out between the leaves. But even with me tossing sticks at them they weren't budging. They had a good look at the Pyrs and I can say I would of probably would have paused to think on that option myself.

So back to the barn calling Sherman and Yarrow into the tack area and shut down the barn lights again . The three of us with Tubby Tabby the barn cat waited about a half hour. I was hearing twigs and acorns hit the roof and finally slipped back out the door to check if any progress had been made by the young ones. Scanned the tree and the immediate area to find they had made their escape and were most likely with Mom waddling down to the creek or neighbors cat food.

I only heard from my two fluff balls a few more times before the sun came up. And when I did it was accompanied  by  multiple other dogs in the valley or the coyotes up the hill in the cow field. I grabbed a few more hours of sleep and the Pyr's? No worries there they have been snoozing all day. 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Domino Effect

Tubby Tabby in front of empty food bowl. Don't buy into that pity party look. Today she has already had a half can of wet food, an ample saucer of fresh milked goat milk and out of the cameras eye is a good sized bowl of Taste of The Wild dry food which is never let to diminish past a certain level. It is feline drama at its finest.

The domino effect is in full force at the farm.  While there are still a considerable amount of  boxes in the garage aka shop quite a few have  been unpacked, broken down and are now currently waiting to be take to the transfer station for recycling. Apparently finishing one task around here is going to constitute the birth of another job. That is the domino effect.

Another example is the fence building is reviving up for the beginning it too comes in bits and pieces. First we had the fence guy come out estimates made and offered and accepted. Next he will come out and do a layout on the dirt with bright orange spray paint. Then the next time he comes he will have gotten 1/3 of his contracted fee with materials in hand and commence to sink some post. Then on his next day off from his full time job (that would be working for Cal Fire) he will continue on. After fire season is over , about the time the fat lady sings, he will be out on a more consistent schedule and hopeful it will be finished by end of October  or earlier.

That fencing most likely has the largest domino effect. When done the goat area will have increased in size exponentially meaning much happy goats but especially Pyrenees. They aren't suffering but it isn't their normal size and they don't get as much exercise as I would like to see.  Also it means the Ari and Callie can go off lead and have their own area with house access. Did I mention that we have a herd of cottontails here? Well we do and between them and the ground squirrels (altho not as numerous as on Ash Creek)   I can only imagine what a race would be on with them off lead.

Another domino effect. The weather has been warmer and with warmer weather plus winds the fire risk has risen. With a cooling trend on the way the risk will be lower and I can now with confidence and a long hose start string mowing the dry weeds from the last growth down. This will be helpful in the domino sequence with the fencing as getting those small dry weeds down will help in keeping the fire risk low during periods of welding on the fence.

Next consideration is in a few weeks I will leave midday and end up in Shasta county to pack the truck and part of the trailer with as much of what was on Dallas's trailer as possible. Get some sleep and the next morning loading up the boys and delivering them to yet another half way home but only an hour from the new home,

After dropping the boys off and heading home I find myself full circle on the Domino effect. As I unpack the trailer and add to the existing boxes to those from the latest pickup run.

Flame on the left a red sex link in the center and Mr. Paul Newman on the right.  All of them plus those out of camera are excited to hear that the "real" chicken coop may be breaking ground sooner than anticipated. And we all know  what that means. Get the coop up the chickens moved and the ply wood can come off the walls exposing the stall and with a bit of fencing for a run maybe Longfellow and Sundance may come home sooner then we thought. 

So put your left foot in and your right foot out and you might get the domino effect.


Since everyone is very busy with wrapping up summer the drawing for our first month anniversary will be put on hold. So now y'all need to read the next installments so you won't miss out!