Another day on the Homestead

I have been extremely busy these past few weeks. I thought I could summarize it and bring you to speed. Although, most of you read my Dad’s postings you know what’s been going on on the homestead from his point of view.

I’ve been trying to get the greenhouse ready for planting, setting up for new bees, and getting ready for hatching eggs as well. So, here’s what’s been going on.

I was given 6 hens for Fabio. He has been very lonely since his girl DB was murdered by a dog. So, I posted an ad on Homer Communications on Facebook and it was answered with 6 hens! They are very very nice too. They come up to me and dad and I can pet them. They follow us everywhere on the stead. I really really like having them.

Fabio and Elvira
Dot
New bee bench
Bess are happy to have a new home

We built the new bee bench on a Thursday to prepare for the coming of the bees on that Saturday. And the bees are in place.

New goslings

We have new babies! I thought I would try to hatch out some geese! I did and I ended up with 4 cutie pies! They started hatching on Saturday, the same day I was picking up my bees. All four are healthy.

UPDATE: I sold them to my two best friends and they are doing well.

Little happy campers

During this time, I was also trying to get the greenhouse ready for planting. We had the geese and ducks over winter in it and they destroyed the bails of hay I was storing in there. Which means dad and I had to scrape hay and poop off the floor of the greenhouse. It was about 6-8 inches of hay and crap! It took us all day to clear it out. Then, the next day I raked the rest out and then dad and I shoveled more dirt into the house. After this exhausting part of the process dad ran the tiller through the dirt to mix it all together. It smells! Smells like composted goose poop, hay, and dirt. The smell of hopefully a successful garden.

After tilling the dirt, I had to furrow it. This was exhausting! It was me and a hoe. Once I finished it was drink thirty and I was done for the day! Since, we had all that hay in the greenhouse (which was a big mistake) I am going to have to use ground cloth to grow in to keep the weeds down.

At the beginning
Ground cloth and netting

Here I have started the ground cloth but I ran out of ground staples so I had to post pone finishing. I did get my netting up for my beans, pea and cucumbers!

Here I have planted all the bean and pea seeds. Cucumbers are started in the house. I also planted the Chinese cabbage. That’s the green stuff.
I’m almost finished planting inside. Yes. I know some of the plants look a little tight, they’ll be okay. I had to bring the tomatoes into the greenhouse because I have run out of room in my house for them as I plant them in 5 gallon buckets.
Here’s what’s left that needs to go into the ground.
In the house, I have onions, lettuce, kale, and cucumbers that need to go into the ground soon.

Weather is getting warmer. We are going up into the low 50’s and with the sun out its short sleeve shirt weather! I’m hoping in the next 2 weeks we get to the high 50’s low 60’s! Tank top weather! It’s already tank top weather in the greenhouse. We no longer have snow and mud in it’s place. The mud has dried up a bit on the property so that’s freaking awesome.

Squash and cucumbers that also need to go into the ground as well.
I repotted jalapeños and basil that will stay inside

There is still so much to do! I need to build some raised beds for the rest of the winter crops that I have started. As you can see with the pictures above, I still have lots to go into the ground.

I will be making the raised beds out of old wood slabs from a saw mill. It’s gonna look really cool! They will kinda look like log cabin frames. I’m gonna make 4 of them or maybe 5. I would like to dedicate one to really nice cutting flowers. I am so happy when I’m working in the garden. It’s my happy place.

Well, better get back to work! See y’all later.

Social Distancing (quarantine) : Day 14 -16

I have spent three days repotting plants because I still can’t use my greenhouse and the outside garden. I had to go to the feed store to get more flats and pots. While I was at the Wagon Wheel, I bought some asparagus roots that look like they are about three years old. This is good, that means they will produce large enough sprigs that we can harvest. My old asparagus is one year old now and won’t be ready to harvest for another two years. I can wait that long! It’s one of my favorite vegetables. But that can’t go in until the geese and ducks are out of the greenhouse.

It looks like I am going to have to move more plants upstairs so I can make room for new vegetables I need to seed out. Otherwise, I’m not going to have kale and lettuce this summer. It must be done.

Excuse the mess. As you can see the plants have taken over the living room.
Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower
Brussels Sprouts, shallots, tomatoes and peppers
Basil, dill, cilantro and lots of tomatoes
Tom Thumb tomatoes
Three baskets of Tom Thumb tomatoes
Saw this little one while driving back from Dan’s house.

It was wild Alaska the other morning when something attacked and ate my hen Dead Bird II. I didn’t name her, my friend’s children did before they gave her to me. It stuck. There is no sign of her little body. Just lots of feathers and a trail of blood and feathers to the road. I’m guessing it was a dog or a coyote. It’s so sad. My rooster has been looking for her since it happened. I will get him a new hen when I think its safe.

Well, I guess that about it. Going back to work to get the bathroom finished and move plants to my bedroom.

Social Distancing (quarantine): Day 9

I got a lot done today. I put a second coat of Kilz on my stool and vanity. They are now ready to be painted with the final coat of white. Then, I can install the new crystal (plastic) drawer handle. I’m also going to paint the frame on my vanity mirror silver to match everything. It’s gold now and too warm. Since, I am going to paint the wall grey it needs to be a cooler color.

I also need to finish the wall. It needs to be sanded and remudded and then sanded again before I kilz that wall and paint it the beautiful color of grey I chose. I am very excited to get my bathroom finished. It’s getting close!

I checked on my honey bees, they didn’t survive the winter. We were so close. Well, better luck next time, I guess. This year I am going to try something different and hopefully keep my new bees safe. Honey is an income. I sure would like to have it.

I got to hang out with my girls as well. We all stood about 10 feet apart in a circle drinking White Claws! Tiana and I traded eggs. She has chickens and I have ducks and geese. So, we traded. I love that our little neighborhood can trade farm food like this. I still have some of last years honey. I wonder what I can trade fore that?

I had to repot some of my herbs today as well. They are getting crazy big too soon. I got to check that off my to do list, so that’s something.

Without repotting my dill it would have died.

Dad finished the wall in the kitchen and it looks pretty darn good!

Cheers everyone! Stay safe!

Social Distancing (quarantine): Day 8

Today was a good day! I finally started on the bathroom! YAY! I put the first coat of Kilz on my vanity and stool. I need to add a second coat and then they will be ready to paint with the shade of white I chose.

From there, I will continue to finish the wall and get that painted as well. Then, the bathroom will be ready for the shower panels and vanity top install. I’m thinking it will take me another 3 days to finish the wall and such.

I still need to check on my bees! I am going to try to do it Sunday before anything else.

This evening, I was trying to text Dan, but I kept getting someone else. It was like our wires got crossed. Every time I tried to text him, I’d get another guy instead. It was funny, because at the time I thought I was talking to Dan. It all started because I decided to text on my IPad instead of my phone. I was streaming off my phone to the tv. So instead of Dad seeing my texts blasted all over the tv, I tried my IPad. When I got a text back “Who is this?”, I thought Dan was being funny so I texted back,” It’s Summer. Your girlfriend. You have more than one? LOL”. Still, I am thinking Dan was being funny and said, “ I can’t keep track”. Then, he said his name was Jared and I thought this was still a joke, so I said, “Jared from State Farm? What are you wearing?’ At this point, I suddenly realized that this was not a joke and this was definitely not Dan. It’s my new friend Jared. I apologized and tried again. I still got him. Once I found out who he was, we have mutual friends including Dan. LOL!! I am so embarrassed. Stupid IPad!

My vegetable starts are growing extremely fast! They are going to have to be replanted in new pots. We still have a crap load of snow on the ground. I might have tomatoes and Brussels sprouts growing out of pots before they even get in the ground.

Stay tuned for Day 9. Stay safe my friends!

Self Distancing (quarantine): Day 6

Today I painted all the bee hive boxes in the living room where there is still no flooring. Good thing since I made a big mess on the floor. Lot’s of drippy paint since I had to really put on the coats to protect the hives from the elements. I choose black spruce green. It’s a really nice color. I wanted the hives to blend in with the rest of the area. Although bee hives are not an eye sore, I just wanted them to blend in more.

I can’t wait to get my new bees. They are still coming despite of the epidemic. There will be social distancing when I pick up my bees.

I feel better than I did yesterday. My heart has lightened up and I know I did the right thing by putting my drake out of his mystery. It’s a farm life and sometime you have to do what you have to do. In this case, I did right.

Dad and I were able to get the wall up in the kitchen. YAY! I think it makes the house look a little bigger. I can’t wait to add onto the house and get the living room I’ve always wanted. Then, I will have a larger eat in social area kitchen that is going to be awesome!

New wall being built in the kitchen

My upstairs bathroom has yet to be touched since the last time and I really need to get to it soon. I am hoping I can get to it tomorrow. Dad had to run the electrical and water to where the fridge is going to call its new home. So, I should have some time tomorrow to get it done. Oh, Crap!! I forgot I have to make a trip to town to help out a friend. I have to go to the store and get a few things. Then, I will get back and Lysol myself to death before doing anything else.

Well guys! I guess that’s all I have for tonight! Will talk to you tomorrow. Stay safe and disinfected. Good Luck!!!

Social Distancing (quarantine) : Day 4

I didn’t get a lot done today. Just a bit of here’s and there’s. It was a tragic day. It all started with my slippers. Yes, I know, they are just slippers, but they are needed here in my home. There is no running barefooted in this house and I want my feet to stay warm. Betsy, as you all know had some sort of skin irritation that led to her being on steroids. Well, it made her tummy all sick and messed up. She ended up having bad stomach problems that led her to have a poopagendone all over my beautiful shag rug. Well, I stepped in it with my fabulous favorite slippers that I’ve had for about two years. Yes, they were starting to stink and they were leather. So I couldn’t really put them in the washer.

I woke up with Betsy making noises and she pooped on the bed. I thought that was all she did until I stepped in her rug mines. I was so grossed out by it and had to changed my covers that I just ripped off the slippers and left them in the hall with another soiled little rug. They sat there for almost a month until now. I decided that I would finally clean my slippers only to find out that the crap on my slippers chemically adhered to the rubber on the sole. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get that crap off because its now part of the sole. I had to throw them away. So long favorite slippers!

I also replanted some tomatoes as well. My friend Tiana is asking what I’m feeding them. I just used two different blends of potting soil. They are looking so wonderful! I am kind of worried about some of my plants because they are growing in an accelerated rate! The ground isn’t defrosted yet and there is still a lot of snow on the ground. I can’t put in the Brussels sprouts into the ground yet! They just keep getting bigger. So, I am just going to repot them again when it becomes necessary. Everything is growing faster than it should be. I might have to rethink my potting mix.

Tomorrow, I will be painting my new vanity that Dan made me and while I’m in the painting mode, I will go ahead and paint my bee hives as well. Then, I can work on the bathroom wall and finish it. I want to be able to prime and paint ASAP. At this point, Dan will be able to put in the shower walls and my vanity top all in one day. I am super excited about this! It will be so nice to be able to shower upstairs on my own floor.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely excited that my seeds have exploded like they have. I might need to sell them if I cant put them in the ground soon.

My gander (male goose) Lucifer, tried to kill one of my drakes (male duck). He was pretty busted up. So busted up that I knew I couldn’t heal him. When I figured out that he couldn’t be saved, I had to break out the 20 gauge. It took one shot and he was out of pain. It broke my heart. I couldn’t use him for meat due to adrenaline. I guess that’s part of farm life. It is what it is. He went over the rainbow bridge today and is out of gruesome pain. These geese need to be fenced in ASAP when the ground defrosts. My heart is broken, I hatched him out in my incubator and raised him. He has a twin sister and she is alive and well. I plan on breading more of this cute hybrid of peaking and well I don’t want to give up all my secrets!

It’s about that time and I’m tired. It’s time for bed. Good night and enjoy your time off if you have it. Thanks again for my friends who are truck drivers (Shana the Bad Ass), and all others that are still working to keep America getting mail, packages, and food!

Are we there yet, Spring?

Weather is as unpredictable as usual. It warmed up and then it snowed, then it warmed up, and then it snowed and now its pretty chilly and sunny. The weather this week should be sunny and cool (highs in the 20s). Yesterday was warm around 33 or 34. It started to get really melty and difficult to drive in. I’m sure you read my Dad’s blog about his encounter with the water truck and him getting two vehicles stuck while I was at work.

Speaking of work. It was a challenge to walk through sticky, melty and mushy snow. The dogs really didn’t care, but I was walking around like I was a staggering drunk. The roads were melting and it was really really slushy in places. You kind of slide around and look like you are drunk driving. Then, the road starts crumbling into deep pothole filled with melting water. So now, you are dodging deep potholes and yet again you look like your driving drunk. If you can’t dodge them and you have to hit them you are only make the potholes worse. Good Times!

The ducks think it to be spring. They have started to lay eggs again and I have found myself with a surplus of duck eggs. I have made gathering eggs a game. Due to our below freezing temps in the morning, you have to get to the eggs before they freeze and then crack. Then they are no good.

This was Sunday morning and I haven’t gather eggs yet and I was just thinking to myself that the geese should start laying as well. So, after coffee and such I went out to the greenhouse to check out the situation. Low and behold, the waterfowl finally made a nest! The ducks just lay their eggs where ever they are standing up to this point. So, someone got organized and the rest have followed. I walk up to the nest of hay and start digging around. I find 3 duck eggs and guess what?!?!

You guessed it! Two goose eggs! YAY! I’m so excited! I’ve never had geese before and let alone goose eggs! I think I’m gonna try to make a custard out of them in celebration. I took some pics so you can see the difference in the size duck versus goose. Now, these geese are first time egg layers so the eggs should get bigger the more they lay.

Today, I was in the store. There is no Toilet paper in the stores at all! It feels like this mass hysteria and people are prematurely panicking. Today at the local supermarket the paper toilet/paper towel isle looks like this.

All that’s left is crappy commercial TP that will eventually be bought out when the entire U.S. runs out of TP and we will no longer get shipments into our little town. It’s ridiculous. I’m not going to panic until I absolutely have too.

I searched Amazon for my favorite TP only to find the price gouging has started. So freaking ridiculous!

Worse case scenario when the toilet paper runs out, we can always install one of these!

Thursday was a pretty good day. The snow is slowly melting and hopefully break up is near. My geese are trying to destroy my car nibble by nibble. They have chewed the plug off to my block heater on Zippy and have proceeded to do damage to my front bumper by the fog light. They must be fenced in ASAP! Come on break up we need you!

Thursday night we had such an amazing sunset!

Friday was such a lovely day to work (walk dogs or more like hike). The sun was out it felt warm due to the sun reflecting off the snow. It has been so warm that I have started shedding my major winter gear for more lighter stuff. It went from Arctic Muck boots, to Keen winter boots and gaiters. Well, the gaiters were getting too hot and not letting my sweat leave my legs. I had to come up with a better solution. I needed something that would work like gaiters but would allow my legs to dry quickly.

It’s been getting so warm on my hikes that wearing fleece lined Carhartt pants were too warm. So, I have gone to Carhartt leggings which work just fine as long as I don’t have those sweaty gaiters on. Low and behold! LEG WARMERS!

Yes, people! I’m bringing them back as the number one winter accessory you need for post holing through snow! My legs stay dry and the synthetic material keeps the snow on the outside. I recommend leg warmers for those knee deep snow days. Besides, they’re cute! I’m pretty sure Dan thinks so too!

We found another leak in our water system, AGAIN! We found the leak, but have to survive without water for the rest of the weekend. Thanks Dan for the use of your shower, yet again! Monday we will have a water filled again. It really sucks, what a waste of money when the water just drains out all over the snow and under the water house. My duty for today is to shovel snow into the Homer buckets and melt it on the wood stove. Something to last us all weekend. It’s already Saturday so it shouldn’t be too much trouble to go one more day without.

Then, it’s time to start some spring cleaning. I really need to stop hoarding clothes and such that I’m never going to wear. I also wish I had time to try to finish my quilt. Maybe I will finish it by next winter. LOL

Okay. It’s time to be somebody and do some work around the stead! I leave you with cute pics of my dogs. So long readers and stay disinfected!

Dad’s Alaska

March 4, 2020 Wednesday

Got up at 9:30 AM, after getting to bed at after 3:30 this morning. Missed seeing Summer off to work as she was leaving as I was crawling out of my warm bed. Doctor’s orders to take it easy today. Not sure exactly what his definition of “take it easy” is. But with the temperature hovering around +5F, I’m not in a big hurry to go outside anyway. It is another one of those cold, beautiful, clear, bright sunny day that lift the spirits. Spirits are best lifted by standing near a warm wood stove with a large cup of coffee.

Yesterday was ‘Stupid Tuesday” or, perhaps, better described as ‘Socialist Tuesday’. There were no Capitalists on the menu for yesterday. Two really old white men (one extremely angry and the other not exactly sure where he is) dominated the day for the Party of Diversity. There is no amazement here considering that the Party of Diversity has trashed all of the minorities and women candidates. Yeah, I know Warren hasn’t dropped out—YET. I am always amazed at the hypocrisy of these people. Don’t get mad. I’m an equal opportunity critic. The decades of RepubliCAN’T has been roundly criticized and jeered by me. I am for that which is Constitutional and best for America not some dumbass political party only interested in their power to piss away our money..

After finishing my coffee I decided to bring in firewood. We had burnt every single piece of firewood as the temps had been at or just below zero for most of three nights. In a little bit of effort to abide by the doctor’s advice, I moved lighter loads. Had to move several extra loads in order to accomplish the task. We’re into March and, hopefully, toward the end of winter. Also, hauled water out to the geese/ducks and dished out feed. Filled seven Homer buckets with snow to generate more water for the animals and for flushing the toilets until I can get the water unfrozen. Earlier this morning the water was flowing from most of the faucets inside the house. Around about 1:00 PM, I decided to finish reloading the dishwasher and clean the kitchen and found that the water had frozen. The temp outside had risen to 15F and yet it all suddenly froze. Inspection revealed that the heat tape had failed.

I was going to unfreeze the piping but it just seemed more trouble than it was worth. I just don’t have the energy or will to drag out the jet heater, unwrap the supply pipe, thaw it out and rewrap it with insulation.

My fingers are tired. So-o-o-o goodbye for now.

Dad’s Alaska

February 26, 2020

Somewhere there are people that live where nothing ever goes wrong and every project goes perfectly. That place ain’t here and I’m certainly not one of those lucky people. After we got the water drainage situation under control, and the weather warmed up enough that the downstairs shower was again operating, the damned fresh water is not leaving the water house. It seems that the water delivery man may have bumped the heater that was the secondary method keeping the pipes from freezing. The heater has a very sensitive tilt switch and when I looked into the problem, I found the heater had turned itself off. The heater being off would not have been a factor except we had a single night of +5F temp. If the temp stays above +15F the heater in the, heavily insulated, 500 gallon tank keeps everything flowing. The tank is kept at a constant +40F. I tried to thaw the piping out yesterday afternoon with no positive result. This morning I will attempt to defrost the piping again. I left the heater running overnight. I’m thinking that the pressure switch may have failed in the interim. When I’m sure that the supply line is thawed and the pump doesn’t work, I’ll change the pressure switch. I guess I’ll get my shoes and socks on and get after this aggravation by putting the jet heater to work. If there are frozen lines anywhere, it will thaw them. However, my most important job for the morning is taking 4 dogs to the groomer to get the toenails clipped. I know that this seems very weird under the circumstances.

Started the jet heater blowing into the water shed while the truck was warming up. Diesel engines really don’t like temps below +20F so I really wanted to make sure that it was warmed up properly before hitting the road. After the truck warmed up some, I loaded all four dogs into the truck. The water had still not thawed so I left the jet heater running with the hope that I wouldn’t return to a burnt down shed.

At the groomer I hauled the dogs in one at a time. Taco, the Chihuahua, tried to bite the lady trimming his sharp toenails. All of the other dogs went through the process with no more drama. Back at the homestead the heater thawed out the piping. I returned to find that the water as flowing again. I surmised that the problem was that the supply pipe to the pump was freezing because the heat tape had failed. Heat tapes are my enemy. Had to rethink the insulation and how to trap the heater’s output in a way that heated the water supply line. Built a bulkhead that covered the lower 1/3 of the door and held insulation above the heater. Anyway, the heat should stay around the supply pipe for the pump. Hopefully, the water problem is solved.

Third project of the day was to get the Range Rover running. It had been sitting dead for nearly three months. The battery had died and I just didn’t have the time to bother with it. The first thing I had to do was dig my way through 15 feet or so to get to the car. The snow had accumulated to 2-3 feet deep around the car and there was 12-15 inches piled up on the hood and windshield. All of that had to be removed before I could raise the hood to install another battery. Got the hood up after about 20 minutes of shoveling. Removed the old battery and installed the new one. The darned thing started right up. I was amazed. I let it run until the ice was melted off the windshield and then backed it out into the street. I ran it back and forth several times to make sure that it could be driven out of the snow bank whenever we want.

Next project was to fill six 5 gallon Homer buckets with snow, The water from these will be used to water the ducks and geese. I just set them near the wood stove and they melt down in a few hours. It isn’t one of the difficult projects but it has to be done daily. A bucket full of snow becomes about 4-5 inches of water. Four buckets of snow fills a 5 gallon bucket to about 2 inches from the top. The need is for two 5 gallon buckets of water on a daily basis. Not heavy labor but a constant need.

The sun has been out all day. This has melted the snow off the south roof of the house, the big tent and other buildings on the homestead. Since the temperature was still well below freezing the dripping water was freezing into icicles. Falling icicles are a dangerous hazard. With that in mind, I knocked some large chunks of ice and icicles off the roof that were hanging over the back door. A couple of them weighed near five pounds. Some were big enough to send you to the hospital with a bleeding head and a concussion, if they didn’t kill you outright.

That was the last of my projects of the day. Time for vodka.