Saturday, May 09, 2009

Ahhhhh Spring

Just when I thought I couldn't possibly love the lake next to our farm any more, this spring we have a pair of young trumpeter swans which must be nesting nearby. This afternoon the handsome young couple was on the lake edge nearest our barnyard and they were good enough to pose for a few pictures.




As can be seen, I kind of woke them up by accident when I snuck down to see what waterfowl were hanging about. As always, the chicken-shit ducks were out of there first with the geese following closely behind. You'd really think they'd get used to me and my camera. I guess the swans figured they were close enough to me in size or that I was not actually a threat as they didn't even get in the water. One even went to preening itself rather casually and then finally slipping into the water, although not going far. It would seem, from the last picture in this group, that all the preening earned some mocking from the mate.





Meanwhile, back where the work is...the folks' new greenhouse showed up on Monday so we've been baking dirt and I've been building some growing beds. I was expecting the structure to be without a floor but it came WITH a floor so that meant starting again. Luckily I had not yet put the boxes together and I think this may have worked out nicer in the end. Still gotta do some painting tho.





Why have I been baking dirt is what may be being thought at this point. Well, the reason is that I have been gathering soil from barnyard on the edge of the lake which was used to bed cattle in the winter when I was young. Now, at least 15 years later this is some very fertile soil but dad is worried about weeds, and understandably so, although I took this dirt from a cattle wallow spot and nothing has been growing there. So we cleaned the stove pipes in the old house and fired up the stove and started sterlizing soil. Damn does it take a long time and a lot of minding with a 1907 wood stove.

Next project, a chicken coop for mom's 200 laying birds which should be here in a month, and a chicken tractor for the 4 old hens remaining now (hopefully they'll go broody again and can be given some eggs to hatch and raise). Have I mentioned how frustrating I find carpentry? Ah well, it beats sitting under flourescent lights all day. I just wish I had the natural touch with wood like some masters I have known. Sure practice makes one better but one either has that natural touch, or one doesn't.

Oh and Happy Mother's Day to any Mothers who come by!

Peace and comfort to all.

14 comments:

linda said...

I think your skills are well advanced actually from the looks of the greenhouse! I just wanted to let you know we have not forgotten about you! Husband is down with a bug, the one you catch because its going around in your childrens school, not the paranoia bug mind you!
Loved the swans! Question: do you do any aquaculture up there?

MoonRaven said...

Nice photos. The greenhouse looks great.

Your projects sound intense and interesting--sterilizing soil and building a chicken tractor... I enjoyed your posts on Cuba, but, unfortunately, for a city boy farm work seems even more exotic.

SoapBoxTech said...

Thanks Linda but I didn`t build the whole thing, just the planters inside. Don`t worry, I didn`t think you forgot about me. No we don`t do any aquaculture but what did you have in mind?

Thanks to you too, MoonRaven. I`ll have to try to keep posting project updates so you have a bit of the exotic. I guess I didn`t mention the pig pens that need building and the barns that need the winter manure cleared.

linda said...

I'm not sure if this qualifies as aquaculture technically but I am thinking wild rice, water celery, watercress, that sort of thing. I think the term I meant to use is aquatic not aqua culture.

Anonymous said...

Looks nice!

Why not solarize (cover with plastic to heat up) instead to get rid of weed seeds?

EJ

Amber said...

I love that greenhouse! So cute. Nice work on the planters.

SoapBoxTech said...

I would like to grow and harvest willow for the shallowest parts and edges, and from around the landfill`s sewage portion. I want to use the willow for generating hot water and methane, and eventually compost, from large compost piles, a la Jean Pain. Other than that, I don`t see growing anything edible in or around that lake, with the landfill right beside it.

EJ - Thanks for the comment and good question. I think I will answer it in a post since I find the answer I want to give is a bit involved...and I`m avoiding taxes work for a bit longer.

SoapBoxTech said...

Thank you, Amber. You will be happy to know that I designed them to use up scraps first, before buying lumber.

SoapBoxTech said...

Oh, and yes it is a cute greenhouse but doesn`t let in quite as much light as I would prefer. Plus I think I will insulate and cover the north wall interior in reflective material.

MoonRaven said...

Sorry for such a slow response here. I never meant to imply that farm work is all fun. I doubt that I'd want to do it all the time--but even shoveling manure (and I'm *not* doing that here) would be a nice change of pace to the computer work I find myself doing so much these days. I know a lot of your work is messy, smelly, and sometimes downright nasty--but it's that very work I think we need to be doing here in the city if we are going to be able to feed ourselves in the future.

SoapBoxTech said...

Thanks MoonRaven. I didn`t think you were suggesting at all that farm work is all glamorous, don`t worry!

linda said...

I forgot about your landfill issue. I'll have to look up Jean Pain. I am still new enough to all of this that I haven't touched on the subject of any compost yet.

SoapBoxTech said...

Linda, I suggest having a look at the Taranaki farms link on the blog roll. The Jean Pain method video is included on their site along with some great permaculture efforts.

Robyn Coffman said...

Wow.

Sounds and looks awesome. What great projects!