Saturday, May 22, 2010

co-existing with nature . . .

More wild animals visiting the farm. It is a such a treat to see so many different types of wildlife here. Beats driving so long to get to the Zoo and fighting the crowds of people. (and seeing all the animals in cages with a pretend background) Here, they are co-existing with us in a natural setting and we seem to be sharing the place together.

One week and three days and it is all over for this school year. And WOW what a different school year it has been compared to last year! Last year, after teaching for 20 years, I almost threw in the towel. As I mentioned in past posts, it was a horrible year of teaching students. I probably have not had a worse year ever in my profession. Fast forward to now. I had a fun, easy, creative year with the two schools I taught. Actually, I am already looking forward to starting the next year with the same students and building on the training I gave them this year in art. At the beginning of school I will be able to start creating with them right away since I have already taught them for an entire year. The only new students I will get are Kindergarten, and of course the transfer students.

Today we are limited to our work outside. Over the last few weeks it has rained close to 3 inches, if not more, and our garden soil is still soaked. The hope is that next week it will warm up a LOT and dry the ground so we can till it and plant. Our goal was to have the plants in the ground by now, but as long as we can get them in before the second week of June we will be fine.

As a side note. For years I was the yearbook adviser for my schools. Teaching children how to design pages, use technology, and to write captions for pictures was all part of it. Now, for these three years of blogging, I am still using the same format for my post titles. I still really enjoy coming up with "caption" kind-of titles for the posts I write.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

never a done deal . . .

It's just about the season of the year where I can wake up in the morning, finish milking chores, and then decide what I want to do for the REST of the day! Did I mention that I like being a school teacher for that reason? It's not like I spend the whole day sleeping, or here on the computer, but it is nice to wake up, spend some time leisurely in the morning, and then work hard all day with my hands. I really enjoy manually working. So much of my work at school is mental, and when I am working here at the farm, I can relax while I work because it is just a mundane, slow, enjoyable type of work. HARD work, physically, but enjoyable.

Animal update . . . The gosling died, and Macy buried it in the woods. One morning it had just keeled over. Apparently for no reason. Since then, the children have had some other wild animal experiences. While we were cutting a Disneylandish path through the woods, the dogs attacked an opossum that was carrying four young ones. Two died on the attack, Asher and Macy rescued two of them from the same fate. They cared for them for a few days but were unable to keep them alive. Also, they attempted to keep a young chipmunk by giving it to the cat that just gave birth to a litter. He ended up scurrying away. Our two female cats both gave birth this past week. Nine kittens in all. One has past since this post. Fly, the flat coated retriever, got to it. And we now have three mallard ducks added to the mix. They are young still, and they are slowly being introduced to the pond. We don't want the two-foot catfish eating them! :) And yesterday was the coming out party for the meat birds. Nolan and I finished repairing the chicken run that was partially destroyed but a huge rain last year, and then added a few changes to the design. It is a movable play yard where the chickens get fresh grass daily and are sheltered from the sun and rain with the tarp. We'll see if it works out. That's one thing we are definitely learning here. Nothing is truly ever a done deal.

And lastly, a housing update as well. I am finished with the master bath minus a couple TEENY details. There is a small vestibule of sorts that has a closet, and the room has a 9 foot ceiling height. I chose to paint it the same Buckwheat color that I used before since it is a neutral, versatile color. I re-finished an old outdated vanity painting it black, and distressing it a bit. And I married a little modern look by adding a metal magazine/book rack to the old country feel of most of the items in the room.

Two weeks left of work until I get to stay home and work on the farm. Lots to do . . . and I like it that way.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

filtered water from the sky . . .

Justin and Dave, who happen to have the SAME brown hoody I have, have been somewhat regular visitors to our home in the five short months we have lived here. We are on a fun first name/story basis. :) This last visit they came to replace the sand filter that had a faulty backwash function. It was as cheap to by the whole tank and regulator as it was just to buy the regulator. Now, we are UP-TO-DATE . . . in code . . . and drinking FRESH water from our pond. "POND WATER?" you ask. Yep, we drink the water that falls from the sky!

The well water we have here at the house is horrible to say the least. It smells of rotten eggs due to the large amounts of sulfur content. The sulfur isn't necessarily bad for you, but it does have a rotten smell, and it does damage to items in the house after being exposed to it for a long time. The owner before us had a pond dug and were also using it for their drinking and washing water. However, they, like most people around here, used chemicals to "clean" it. As you are probably thinking, I'm not sure how clean it was though. Anyway, wanting to have a natural water cleaning system, I had the guys install a series of filters to clean the water before it reaches us. It has had some bumps along the way, but today they installed the last piece to keep us up and running for a long while.

Here's the breakdown. The water gets pumped from the pond using the small blue tank. (there is a filter on the hose in the pond to collect some of the debris wanting to get into my children's mouths) It then goes through a sand filter first collecting most of the gunk that ponds grow naturally. It then passes through the charcoal filter that takes virtually ALL the smell out of the water. Then it is drawn upwards to the two filters pictured to collect the remnants of pond life before it is sent to the ultra-violet tank to kill off the micro organisms. At that point, it is ready for our use in the house for all our water needs.

The system has a backwash built in that causes it to flush out the junk each night (around 2:00 am) and send all the stuff collected to the septic. There for a couple of months it smelled a little pondy when we drank the water, and taking a shower was sort-of like having a pond sauna, but all is good now. Water . . . from the sky to our home. It's beautiful.

And for the barn animals . . . they get the well water. (they don't care about the smell)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

geese from the sky . . .

Yesterday a fellow teacher and her family came to supper and to visit the farm. The children rode the horse, fished, and since it was fairly warm, played in the pond. Little did we realize that we would also have another guest visiting today.

One of the boys who was visiting found a Canadian Gosling by the wood shop! Now you are probably thinking the same thing we are still thinking . . . why would a gosling be by the wood shop? I know, it baffles us as well. There is not a nest in sight, and there are no other goslings around the area, and we have no idea where it came from. We do have geese that stop by and visit our pond on their way to the own shindigs, but none have stayed around for even an hour.

Macy put it in with the chicks that are a couple of weeks old, and today they have it in the house playing with it. :)