Monthly Archives: April 2009

Meet Bear

I’m still in a little bit of an unmotivated mood like I was on Sunday. So here’s my post.

Meet Bear, our 125 pound baby. You’ve seen enough pictures of his little blond sister. We call him Eeyore because that is exactly who he acts like.

Brian already had Bear when we met. Bear and I had some issues to work through back then. Brian went away for the weekend and Bear wouldn’t get off the couch. I mean really, he refused. I pulled on him, he curled his lip. Then I got smart and pulled the cushion out from under him. Still, he wouldn’t move. I finally put the cushion on the floor next to the couch and coaxed him on to it. Then, I slid the cushion across the wood floor to the doorway. Picture the big lug on an iceberg, that’s what it looked like.

In fact, he still will hardly touch the floor. He’s scared to death of it. Too slippery I guess. He actually walks on his tiptoes to get to the couch. As I type, he sleeps next to me, curled up on his couch cushion. Since we got the new (used) furniture awhile back, we got rid of the old couch. I thought the cushion would make him a nice bed so I saved it. I think it made his life way, way better. He loves his cushion.

Can’t you see it in his eyes?

P.S. He stills grumbles at me occasionally, but we’ve worked it out with some leash training. I have a slip leash in every trouble spot and if I even think about putting it on him he moves as quick as a big dog can.


Growing Challenge Check In

Here’s what I’m growing so far:

Seedlings under light:
Amish Paste Tomatoes
Green Zebra Tomatoes
Waltham 29 Broccoli
Ping Tung Eggplant
Long Purple Eggplant

In the garden:
Red pioneer potatoes- 10# – planted
Red onions – 2-3″ tall
Dwarf GreySugar Peas (hybrid) – 1 20′ row – just up
Asparagus – up and growing
Black seeded simpson lettuce – 1 20′ row – some up
Black seeded simpson lettuce – 1 20′ row planted 4/27
Sugar Ann snap pea – 1 20′ row planted 4/27
Victoria Rhubarb – approx. 25 seeds planted 4/27

Around the farm:
Heritage Raspberry – 4 canes planted 4/26
Strawberry – nice and green
Gooseberry and Currants – 2 of each – planted last year – doing great!
2 Red Haven Peach trees – planted
1 Harrow pear tree – planted
1 Bartlett pear tree – planted
1 Montmorency Cherry tree – planted
1 Gala apple tree – planted
1 Golden Delicious apple tree – planted
4 blueberry bushes – planted last year – still alive

Sunday Stroll… Sort of

I just really didn’t feel like doing much today. Yesterday Brian cut up our old rabbit cage so I could have 2 pieces of plywood for our new farm sign. I painted them this morning. Then we went to breakfast with Brian’s Grandpa. I’m pretty sure he turned 93 this year! After breakfast I put on a second coat of paint. We watched King Corn. I was really disappointed! I guess it might make a bigger impact on people who don’t farm but it really didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. I was hoping the film would help Brian to see why corn in everything is a bad thing, but it wasn’t too convincing.

After the movie Brian worked out in the shop for awhile. It was pretty rainy and cold today so I didn’t go out. I’ve been working on our website like crazy and it is almost done!! Get ready, I’m going to want everyone’s opinions of it once it is done! 🙂 Then I worked on tracing our logo on to the farm sign. I’ve got one piece almost done, then I can paint it. Anyway, since I’d really like to get back in to Sunday Strolls, I have some garden pictures to share from this week, plus one that shows where I’ve spent most of my day!

The garlic is getting so tall!

The onions are coming up!

I have been so tempted to snap off a piece of asparagus to taste…

The peas are coming up. I really thought they wouldn’t make it since I planted them so early. I’m glad they did!

This is where the cat and I have been, and I think I’m heading back there…

Head over to Quiet Country House to see who else is strolling today.

This is WAR!

I am so sick of dog tracks in my freshly planted garden…

of dog poop all over the garden (I thought I’d spare you a picture) when I’m trying to dig in it… and now… now I’m really, REALLY mad. This…

is damage to my garlic. My precious, vigorous, first-time-for-me garlic. The same garlic that is the only thing actually growing in the garden so far. Except asparagus. Anyway… THIS…

is the solution to all my doggie garden problems, or at least I hope so. The garden just happens to be next to the electric pasture fence and I just happen to have some push in posts and extra wire. I love animals, but I’ll be watching tomorrow morning as they bound out to the garden for their morning business. And I’ll be doing a victory dance as they get they get the shock of their lives. After all, this is war, and I’m hoping to win!

Asparagus The Movie

This one really hits home for me and I hope you will feel the same. The movie focuses on the asparagus industry of Western Michigan and how it may be negatively affected by U.S. foreign policy. You can watch a trailer for it here and find out more about the movie here. The best part is that it supposed to be broadcast free on PBS on April 29th at 8 PM. I couldn’t find that listing on or the movie’s website but it was advertised in the latest Michigan Farm News so I’m hoping it is true.

Also check out The Beginning Farmer’s latest post for a couple more good movie ideas. I’m really excited about the Food Inc. movie and it looks like it will be available through Netflix eventually.


Building An Eggmobile: Part 1

This weekend we began building our eggmobile. The intention is to use it for our laying flock during the warmer months, in conjunction with an electric poultry net. I told Brian to pretend it was a fun project. He was not convinced! 😉

I bought the trailer from my Dad for $40. It is made from the bed of an old S-10 pickup. The deck measures approx. 5′ x 8′. First, a little planning…

5×8= 40 sq. ft.
Approx 1 sq. ft. per bird = 40 bird maximum
1 nest box per 4 hens = 10 nest boxes minimum
I also calculated perch requirements but don’t have the figures in front of me…

We wanted a single sloping roof to make construction easier. I didn’t want to lose floor space so we added a 1′ overhang to the floor on one of the long sides, thus making a nice spot for the nest boxes.

First we put on a base made of 2×4’s. Brian drilled in to the metal frame and bolted the boards right to it. We salvaged the 2x4s from pieces that didn’t burn on our shed, so they didn’t cost us anything. That means I spent most of my time pulling old nails out of the boards while Brian did most of the actual construction.

Once the base was on we started to build up. The short side (with the overhang) needed to be at least 2′ tall to allow for 2 nest boxes stacked on top of each other, at 1′ tall each. The 8′ long x 2′ high area will hold 16 nest boxes total and they will each measures approx. 1’x1’x1′. Make sense?

We decided to make the other side 5′ tall so that a person can enter from that side to clean or dispense feed. We want the walk in door on the side so that we can climb in, even when the trailer is not hooked to something, without worrying about it tipping over. Picture a giant seesaw if we step on the bumper.

Then we added 2 angled pieces, one at each end. I hope the shadowing hides our gaps, neither one of us remembered much from geometry. We are not builders, and this is why!! We didn’t have a saw that would cut the angles we did finally figure, but things still came together fine.

Then we added the two cross pieces.

At this point we drug up some siding, also salvaged from the shed fire. I patched the old nail holes with indoor/outdoor painters’ caulk.

Then we attached 2 pieces of siding to make the roof. Brian used special screws with washers to hold on the siding. The pieces were the perfect width with only a slight overhang on each side. We left some overhang in the front. We also left the back long for now, figuring it will be easier to trim now that it is attached and held solidly.

That’s as far as we’ve gotten so far. I’m picturing the walk in door over that tire on the tall side, with a chicken access door to each side of that. Nest boxes along the back wall, perches where ever they will fit best. The birds will only be confined at night and during inclement weather so it should be comfortable for them. In the near future we will have about 32 birds (knock on wood), so that should be just right.

We’re planning to close the rest in with siding and possible add foam board to insulate the roof. I’d like to leave a gap open at the top to screen for ventilation but I’m not sure how much that will let in wind and rain. Plus, I don’t want the wind getting in and causing the whole thing to tip over.

Watch for part 2, whenever we get the time! 🙂

Fruit Trees!

My order from the Conservation District came in on Friday. I took advantage of the 70 degree temps (!!!) yesterday and planted them. I put them on our sideyard near the one pear tree I planted last year. Now we have 1 pear, 1 peach, 1 cherry, and 2 apple trees there. I still need to add another pear and another peach.

I also got in touch with a neighbor who graciously came and showed me how to prune our older trees. We take care of the empty house across the road and there are a few apple trees in the yard. I picked a lot of apple from the trees last year and wanted to prune them back nicely. I didn’t do a lot because it is quite late for pruning but at least now I have a better idea on how to do it.

My nice neighbor gave me a recipe for tree spray and recommended I use it repeatedly throughout the season. He insists that he tried organic methods with his and was not happy with the results. What are you thoughts on this? I hate the idea of spraying them but it did make for a lot of extra labor last year trying to cut around the buggy spots.