Sunday, March 21, 2010
Eat your carrots
It's hard to make out in the photo, but this is the old logging road.
These last few days have been the first time we've been to Falcon since it's warmed up. I was glad to get down there, to be in the country air and think about my grandparents when they would go to their land every summer and we'd go to play. After working most of the day, I'd stand looking up at the trees and try to figure out the best place to put everything. I've been staring at the house drawings for so long now I can really see it in my head. This was the first time I've been able to see where everything can fit without taking out trees of size in most cases. The house site itself will loose just a few trees, but it's the spot with the least amount of trees, the medium sized ones are good and straight and can be used in building, and most of the growth is new. The land was logged some years ago and we're trying to use the spots that they hit the most. The places for the RV's, shed, herb garden, and main garden will loose no trees other than saplings. The driveway is an old logging road and as it continues past where we'll build the house, that will be the little yard for Rufus the pig. From Judy's bedroom window there will be a huge Sycamore and Juniper tree.
We followed the logging road on top of the hill as far as it would go and found it ends up on a path at the bottom of the hill where the path from the garden comes out. When standing on the path on the bottom land, we couldn't see this road up the hill at all. It's so gradual that I told Jeffrey I could take my Hover-round down that thing when I''m old.
A neighbor told us that some "old man" they know, knew where there was a good year round spring on our property and gave us a general description. We had no idea!! So we followed his directions and found a lot of swales and then hit a nice wet weather creek bed with water seeping out of it's ledge. All Right we have a spring! So we followed the wet weather creek to see where it lead and Guacamole! we found a fantastic dripping spring with rock out cropping and a short fall till it hits rock below. Of course I didn't have my camera with me. I think it's far from the house site (we'll need to figure that out), but we can build a little holding box for good drinking water we can carry back to the house and it would be a nice place for a little guest cabin. We found 4 springs total and are going to look for one close to the house site based on vegetation indicators.
The idea in this article on milking water from the hills is good and I like the idea of a pounded well, but I think we're just going to start with rain capturing and water from the creek stored in a cistern. I'll see how far the spring is so we can consider whether or not we want to do something like this article describes. We bought a big berkey water filter a few months ago and it's fantastic. We don't like the water at the rent house and this makes it taste great! For anyone that buys it, this would replace the need for bottled water in the house when the tap water is unpleasant, plus it saves you from drinking out of plastic bottles. "BERKEY doesn't require water pipes or electricity. Pour creek, pond, or stagnant ditch water in the BERKEY water purifier and your family has good tasting, clean, clear water, purified to 99.99999%."
Jeffrey's always on the prowl for used solar stuff and found a solar installer less than a mile from our new place! How awesome to find people that like the same thing so close. We met them a few days ago and had a good time talking about different building methods and all sorts of things. It'll be nice having them so close.
Part of our delay in getting back to work on the land was a severe case of sciatica. I treated it using Mullein tincture and St. John's wort flower oil topically and Mullein tincture and St. John's wort tincture internally. The topical treatment was several drops of Mullein tincture rubbed in to the painful low back area and when evaporated a generous amount of St. John's oil massaged in. We alternated with cold and hot applications using frozen corn and a heating pad, about 20 minutes each and laying on the floor. After a few days, sitting up on the floor was added for a light stretch, some walking and warm soaks in the bath with St. John's wort oil. Within about 5 days, normal stretching was possible. It cleared up pretty fast I think and is 100% better now. It was originally better in 3 days, but then not taking it easy brought it right back on. With a few more days of treatment, the pain was gone. I've been using the same oil and tincture treatment for an injured ankle and heel. The results are much slower but it is improving.
We don't have time for much of a garden this year because we have to have 4 walls, a floor and roof over our heads if possible before winter. We did start a small garden spot a couple of days ago though. We picked up as much as we wanted of ruined and partially composted hay on a tip from a neighbor. Hopefully the pile heated enough to kill the seeds, but if not well it is what it is. I've been wanting to try the lasagna garden method and this is a good test patch for that. We put paper down on the spot and covered it thickly with this broken down hay (should have used straw). We tried to find ruined straw but weren't able to. Some of our seeds are started at home and when they are big enough and it's time, I'll use a bulb planter and poke holes in the mulch, down into the earth, put the seedling in and see how it goes. The garden will get better in time and the compost pile bigger. I wish we could have brought the 3 large compost piles when we moved and our garden, but the new owner will use it. No the house still hasn't closed yet. Was supposed to close last Friday and more delays. They say it will be this week for sure, seems like this is taking forever.
In case I haven't mentioned it yet, after studying the slip form method for the last two years, we decided to change to dry stack - surface bonded method of building. We have little time and the rebar requirements for the slip form method seem overwhelming. I still love the idea of slip form and I'll use it for other things. The dry stack surface bonded blocks are stronger than mortar and blocks especially when they are filled. We found a local man that sells the blocks for not quite half the price of Lowe's. I'll post more on that later as soon as the drawings are all done and the plans finalized.
"For complete information on the technique, I strongly recommend Construction With Surface Bonding, a USDA information bulletin available for 45¢ from the Superintendent of Documents, Dept. TMEN, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. Ask for Stock Number 001-000-03340-9." - http://www.daycreek.com/DC/html/TMEN_No67.htm
This doesn't fit in anywhere, but I have a funny nephew story. My brother and his wife were staying at my other brother's house with their kids. They took a walk down to the pond and my sister-in-law put my 3 year old nephew Charlie on a low to the ground branch and was moving it a little for him. She said she was going to sit on it too and my nephew cried out and shook his hands "No Aunt Pam, you'll break it!!" She said "Are you calling me fat?!" He said "No, your not fat...you just ate all your carrots and got big bones." It was all said in that cute 3 year old speak, he is a riot!