Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bonus garlic

  We arrived back in Cinci at the end of last August after a summer of fun out at the homestead only to find that the garlic we had planted the previous fall was waaaay overdue to be harvested.  We kind of figured that this was going to be the case but dug right in anyhow.  All of the plants yielded up handfuls of individual cloves which were a real stinker to handle.  I suspect the bulbs lose their integrity after so long in the ground.  We gathered up all that we could and I ended up drying them in the oven.  The house stunk to high heaven and even made us feel a little queazy...but that's another story.  As you may have guessed, there was absolutely no way we were going to get all those individual garlic cloves out of the ground.  The result?
A whole patch of volunteer garlic!!!  We dug them up today and some of them were real beauties.  It was really too early but we are about to move and don't need to be bothered with this at the last minute.  I got the bright idea that I was going to braid them for ease of transport but had no luck whatsoever.  It was a total mess.  Hey! I was a sailor...what gives?  How different can it be from ropework?  After a little research, I discovered that you need them to "cure" out in the sun for a week or so before braiding to let the plant stems get nice and pliable instead of all fat and juicy.  Live and learn!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spring homestead pictures

  Just some quick pics from my blog from 21 May as I'm getting more used to Linux on my computer...

The posts are set in front of the coop for the chicken run / solar panel mount.

All of the posts and plates are up including the center king post.  It's a little overbuilt but it's going to have thousands of $$$$ riding on it.

All the rafters are up and we're just getting to the planks.

This is where we had to quit since we ran the small town lumber store out of planks.

Grinding the faucet off of the kitchen sink due to horrendous corrosion.  Who knows how old it was and it was a wreck where the connections needed to be made.  Sure was nice to have running water back...even if it was only the cold.

Bonnie and her two new friends.  She's getting along with the mini on the right but not so much with the one on the left.  It's an alpha mare thing I guess.

That's all the pictures that I managed to snap on my cell phone but we should have many more when we get out there.  Thanks for visiting.

Monday, May 21, 2012


  I've been gone for soooooo long.  My computer was hit by a nasty virus back in January and during my hammer-handed repair efforts, I finished what the bug had started.  Strangely, as time went on, I found it easier and easier to live without the infernal thing.  I had almost completely recovered from my addiction when...*A*'s number one son came for a visit.  He works in the high end product support division for a computer company we all know.  He convinced me to wipe my crippled machine clean and try a Linux operating system.  I've heard the good and the bad in the past but figured "what the hay" I'll give it a try.  So far it seems to be working alright so keep your fingers crossed.
  I just got back from the homestead in ND last week.  All in all, it wasn't in bad shape.  My dad spent almost the whole two weeks with me and we got quite a bit done.  My sister, brother-in-law and mom came out and helped as well.  Our accomplishments included...

  Most importantly, we got our horse Bonnie trailered out there.  She did the trip fine but was REALLY sad for about a week.  She went from a whole stable of herd mates to being absolutely alone.  She eventually perked up and is now waiting at my dad's place with his two mini's.  The pasture was an absolute disaster since there have been no animals on it for a good 20 years.  We mowed about a quarter of it and raked all of the dead grass off.  It looked like a sad dirt hole when we were done but little green shoots were starting to pop up by the time I left.

  On my trip last fall I drained the water lines and fresh water tank in the house.  The pipes are an unimaginable tangle of corroding copper.  They weeped and seeped even on a good day.  I thought I'd drained them well enough but evidently not enough for sub-zero Dakota winters.  We hit the valve and it looked like the Great Flood in the basement.  I'd had enough of nursing this garbage plumbing along so we cut out the copper and ran all new CPVC to the kitchen sink and upstairs toilet.  We also left stubs for the shower and bathroom sink.  This officially gives us more amenities then we had at the end of last summer.

  The biggest job was adding a 20' x 20' chicken run to the front of our 20' x 20' chicken coop.  Seems like a lot of work for our future chickens but we have an ulterior motive.  The coop has the only south facing roof on the whole farmstead and we need someplace to mount our twelve 230 watt panels.  This now gives us plenty of room with even more space for expansion if needed.  We got almost everything finished but ended up running the closest lumber store out of the wood we needed.   An afternoon of work and we'll be able to install the metal roof and then the panels.  Very exciting.

  Last but not least, I polished up the 12V system a little.  It's now almost up to the task of running both the inverter and our new DC fridge.  Sadly the batteries are old and just don't store well anymore so we had to run the generator every day for a while.  We're bringing the set out of my old sailboat in June which should be quite a step up.

  Everything is on track so far for the big jump next month.  We're really excited even though there's a mountain of "to-do's" beforehand!  Sorry about having no pics on this blog.  Just trying to get back in the computer swing of things.