Thursday, July 31, 2008
This is from this editorial:
"For us to wait for legislation or technology to solve the problem of how we’re living our lives suggests we’re not really serious about changing — something our politicians cannot fail to notice. They will not move until we do. Indeed, to look to leaders and experts, to laws and money and grand schemes, to save us from our predicament represents precisely the sort of thinking — passive, delegated, dependent for solutions on specialists — that helped get us into this mess in the first place. It’s hard to believe that the same sort of thinking could now get us out of it. "
He asks the question "Why Bother?". Why, when the climate is drastically changing faster than we (as individuals) could correct it and when the oil is running out faster than we can even imagine, why bother with changing our lightbulbs or using fabric shopping bags, or biking to work, or growing a garden, or composting, or recycling? How can any of these things really make a difference? So what if I reduce, recycle and reuse. If the guy down the street doesn't, isn't he just going to consume the resources I don't? Maybe even faster, too? What's the point?Even though we are committed to this, I can't help but question this myself sometimes.
Michael Pollan does a great job of validating my thoughts for me in this editorial. We do it because maybe, just maybe, it might encourage someone else to do it. We do it because someone has to...why not start at home? We do it because when all else seems overwhelming, doing the little things really do make you feel better. We do it because we take pride in producing our own food and reducing our impact on the planet. We do it because it's important to us, to our future and to our survival (one day). And ultimately, even though it's a lot of work, we do it because we enjoy it.
In some ways, it reminds me of the ads on TV from "Woodsy the Owl" in the 70's. Remember those? Or the indian with the tear running down his face? Would you throw a piece of paper out the window of your car just because "it so small, it hardly matters"? What if everyone did that and our roadways are lined with trash and garbage? Just because 'everyone is doing it' doesn't make it right. We need to change the way we think. If I want to change others, I need to first make the change for myself.
Be the change you want to see in the world. ~ Mahatma Ghandi
And a few other posts by Michael Pollan at Amazon:
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Yes, last night, I missed out on some much needed sleep because I was determined to get the milking stand done. I'll explain why, in a minute. Basically, I bought a new jigsaw (what a joy!) and was able to make the rest of the adjustments necessary to get this sucker together. I did a lot of sanding so that Sass (and her future family members) won't get injured on sharp corners or splinters. I didn't have exactly the right drill bits, but I made do. The milking stand was virtually complete prior to heading to bed. Then this morning, I took the front head pieced out to the pasture (where we'd used the base, yesterday) and attached it. Of course, it was drizzling on us this morning, so I was very pleased that H took the time to finish off the roof of the lean-to last night! Once the stand was assembled, we got Sass up on it and began milking her. Except for one incident when she'd knocked the feeding bin off and wanted it back up there, it went smoothly. It was MUCH easier on my back (and on H's) to have her up on that thing. I think it was less stressful for her, too.
I will say, we need to start drinking way more milk. It's starting to take over the fridge! I have been slowly collecting fat skimmed off the top (not as easy with goats milk as with cows milk) so that I can try my hand at making butter soon. I have a recommended cookbook on it's way with recipes and instructions for making cheese, yogurt and ice cream with goat's milk, so once that arrives, we should be in business!
So, I stayed up later than I wanted to finishing off the stand. I did this because I NEED to get back to biking to work. The problem is time. As it is, I get up at 6:20 to make coffee, feed the dogs and cat, get something to eat and then prep the stuff for milking (creating the udderwash/teet dip, setting up the sanitizing bath & prepping the container for the milk). Then I get H up and we go out and milk Sass. Then I come back in, filter the milk, clean up and sanitize everything so it's ready for the evening milking and pack myself a lunch. Then I go shower and get dressed for work. I'm lucky if I can get out of the house by 8:20. Now, lets think about making this work on days I ride. I can prep my lunch the night before. I don't have to shower and I can milk Sass in my biking clothes (but not shoes!) easy enough. I can also skip making coffee as I can get that at work. I will still need to do all the cleaning and milking prep work as that cannot be done the night before or it'll lose it's potency. With the milking stand, one person can milk Sassafras. This way, H can milk her while I get ready/have breakfast and then while he's getting ready/eating, I can filter and store the milk. Or, vise-versa, of course. This still means a very early rise though as the commute is 1:15 and I should be showered and at my desk by 8:30 am (I need to do better with my timing even when commuting by car!). And what happens when the chickens are laying? Who has time to collect eggs and feed/water them? I guess we will, huh?
We'll get better at this, eventually....right?
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday was building day. After a lazy morning watching the finish of the Tour de France, H and I headed off to the big box store for some supplies. We purchase everything we needed (almost!) to build a sizable lean-to for Sass and to build a milking stand.
When we returned, we got started right away. H started work on the floor of the lean-to while I did some maintenance work in the garden. It needed watering and I had to do another mole Castor-oil treatment. I also did some weeding in the row gardening area. I have to admit - weeding is like peeling dead skin. Once you start, it's kind of hard to stop! It doesn't help that every time I pull a weed, there's another one just inches away begging to also be pulled...and so on and so on and so on.
Anyway, by the time I'd finished all that, H had a floor put together. We moved it to where we think the lean-to should go. Unfortunately, it's probably not the permanent location. Once the final fencing is in, we'll probably have to move it...and we don't think it's facing the correct way, either. It's good for now, though. So when we start on the walls, we realize that we forgot three long boards for the diagonal part across the top. H heads back to the store while I got started on the milking stand. I cut all the wood first. I made sure that I measured twice each time...just to make sure I got it right. Then I started putting it together. The plans I was following were really good and it was going smoothly. I managed to get the entire base built up with very little trouble. Then I built the frame for the part that holds the goat's head. When I started to cut out the curved opening for the goat's head, I had troubles. The 20-year old jigsaw wasn't happy with me. It died before I got one quarter of the way done! I tried a number of other ways of getting it cut, but it wasn't happening. And, because this step is critical, there was nothing else I could do until it was done. At that point, I gave up and put everything away. I'll have to stop and buy another jigsaw after work on Monday and finish it then.
We were able to get the floor and walls and half of the roof done on the lean-to. H will finish up the rest of it and then I'm going to build a stand for the hay. I'll finish up the milking stand tonight and hopefully have it ready by tomorrow morning's milking.
Lastly, we staked out where we want to put the permanent fence. We've decided to hire someone professional to install the perimeter fencing around the entire field. Then we'll install the cross-fencing dividers ourselves. Once that is complete (the perimeter) we are going to find Sass a friend. We are thinking a whether would be the best choice. Then we can 'borrow' someone else's buck to breed her when we are ready. We don't want a huge herd...4-5 goats tops! As it is, one goat is providing more milk that we can drink. I need to start making yogurt, ice cream, and cheese ASAP or we are going to be up to our eyeballs in milk before the week is out!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Chicks in the brooder
Little leghorn chick - potentially named 'Bonny'
Today I'm working a 1pm to 10pm shift, so I was home when H got a call from the post office that our chicks had arrived. I drove down to pick them up and immediately brought them home. The brooder was ready and waiting, so I carefully moved them into it. They all started peeping contentedly once under the heat of the lamp.
H and I helped each one learn to drink. We also had to show a few of them were to find the food, but once they got the hang of it, they went to town. Particularly on the water! We already had to change the bedding because it was soaking wet in just a couple of hours. They are really cute...and all 15 made it to us safe and sound. Now we'll have to sell a few, but for now we are letting them get settled in. I didn't expect the araucanas to be so interesting looking, even as chicks. They are very pretty! The Rhode Island reds appear to enjoy sprinting around the brooder and the leghorns are the most active (so far).
We also introduced our dogs to them. Maggie (the super mutt) seemed just a little too interested. I held onto her collar the whole time...just in case. Charlie (the golden bassett mix) wasn't too sure about these little peeping creatures. He would only approach the brooder if I was sitting there, and even then would only peer into it from the safety of behind my shoulder. Our cat (Kitty) will NOT be meeting the chicks. He won't get exposure to them until they are at least as big as he is....seeing as how Kitty is so small, that probably won't be very long! ;-)
Thursday, July 24, 2008
There is just so much to do! Besides getting the goat and starting some fencing, I'd like to get the kitchen completely unpacked, get my closet unpacked and organized, get the garage cleaned up and organized and lastly, to get the laundry room in order. I may want to hold off on painting in there until after the summer weather passes us by...in the interest of getting started on the outside of the house. Same holds true for the dinning room which also can wait. Oh, I'd also like to get the base board back up on the wall in the basement office so that we can move some furniture into that room. That'll free up some room to move in the rest of the basement so that the unpacking can continue. Lastly, I'd like to buy some local blueberries to do some freezing and some raspberries to try my hand at jam. Oh, and I'd like to get to the skeet range to start my instruction on shooting the shotgun. Think that's enough items for one weekend? Man...country living is time consuming! ;-)
The South Beach diet is going well. Tomorrow is my second week weigh in. I've been eating whole grains and fruits this week, but I've steered clear of all processed food and all sugar. I feel much better than I did last week, but I'm definitely still craving sugar. I should have done two weeks of phase 1, I just didn't think I could handle it. I hope that I show continued loss when I step on the scale in the morning. Biking to work will definitely help in this arena. Unfortunately, I had an early meeting at which I was presenting this morning, so I didn't want to bike in for fear of delays. My goal is to bike to work 2 days (both ways) next week and then 3 days the following week.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
H took his bike to the house already this morning. He's going to mow the lawn while I'm here packing. Then tomorrow, we pick up the truck at 8:30 am and my brother at 9 am. The goal is to get 98% of what we own (and everything big) to the house before we have to return the truck.
I also found out that we were mistaken about when the chicks will arrive. They are scheduled to ship on the 23rd for arrival on the 25th. Now that we have a date, it's easier because H can just plan to work from home that day.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Day 2 on SBD - success! I also packed another 7 boxes last night while H ran to the house to water and to check for the chickens. Our account was charged for them yesterday, so they should be arriving any day now! Baby chicks!! I can't wait! I've wanted them since I was a small kid and mom used the promise of baby chicks to convince us that moving into the big old house away from my friends was a good thing. I guess we've come full circle. The things my mom was doing back then are now the things I'm doing with my husband.
Anyway, we are one small step closer to moving day. Speaking of which, I spoke to my brother this morning. He's a commercial pilot and will be in town for an overnight this weekend. Lucky him...he'll be here for moving day! We've already rented the truck, so there's no going back now. I'll be picking him up on Saturday morning and that will give him the chance to see our new house and us an extra set of hands to get the truck loaded!
Lastly, I saw some information from a salesman at a Toyota dealership about how they are hurting because they don't have enough of the cars people want. He mentioned something about the price of the Prius going through the roof. Based on research I did about a month or so ago, I was planning on asking for 18-19K for mine. I just looked them up now and I'm amazed. There aren't many - but if the sellers are actually getting the prices they have listed them for, then I need to up my asking price. If this trend continues, I may get more for this car than I paid for it! I've just made the appointment to get the 60K service done, so once that's taken care of, then I'll get it listed. The plan is to put most of what we make (over what we owe) towards paying off the Matrix. I think we may hold out about $2500 to buy an old pickup to have for emergencies, as well.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Last night, after hitting the grocery store (where we added 25lbs of rice and a case of 1/2 pint wide mouth jars to our preps), I forced myself to start packing. I spent way too much time looking for the stupid packing tape, but once I found it, got to work. I packed up 5 big boxes of stuff. Tonight my goal is another 5 boxes (I have to be reasonable - tonight we head to the house for some more painting, too!). I really don't enjoy this...particularly since it's only been a few months since I last unpacked these boxes, but it has to be done. Ugh.
The good news is that the weather is forecast to be good on Saturday for our moving day.
Monday, July 14, 2008
We managed to get quite a bit done this weekend, which is nice.
On Saturday, I prepped the kitchen for painting. I also finished up the master bath including some freehand 'fixing' of many many places where the previous owners painted 'outside the lines' with a dark pink paint. Lovely. I also finished up spray painting the brass fixtures and hung them back up. They look pretty good! The faucets and the shower door frames are still brass, but we'll get those replaced eventually. The counter tops are also still pink, so replacing those will be pretty high on the priority list. Luckily, we have a spare bath we can use while this happens sometime in the future. H worked on the chicken coop all day on Saturday.
Saturday night, we met up with a few other LATOC people. It was both educational and entertaining to speak with a group of like-minded folk. It was really nice not to have to watch what we were saying and to be 100% truthful about why we are doing what we are doing. H and I were both really surprised that compared to most there, we were really ahead of the game. Hard to believe since we've only been planning this for a little less than a year! It made us feel good about how much we have accomplished. That's a feeling I'm going to revisit when the to do list gets overwhelming!
On Sunday, I was up early. I had some things to do in the apartment before we headed to the house. Once at the house, I painted the trim in the kitchen and on the bookshelf (part of it). While that was drying, I spent some time in the garden. I pulled a few weeds, did some watering, and built three more trellises. One of our cuke plants really needed it! I have enough piping and netting left to make one more smaller trellis for the extra pole beans I planted. I'll have to pick up the little corner pieces and the rebar on our next trip to HD. The lettuce is doing well, despite the heat. The temps are supposed to drop off tomorrow, so hopefully that'll suit our little leaves. I'm hoping to be able to harvest a few by next weekend for our first meal in the house (officially). We have one tomato that is about to move out of the 'green' zone..and the eggplant is blooming. I even see swiss chard popping up in a few spots. Can't wait until we get to harvest this stuff in earnest!
We took a break mid-day and went to the local feed store. Turns out, there are no more baby chicks available this year. We were so bummed! They had a shipment last week, but we weren't ready to buy yet and now there aren't any more. We did get a good education about feeding and watering options, so we'll be making those purchases next. We returned home, got online, and placed an order for chicks. We picked out 5 Rhode Island Reds, 5 Aruacanas, and 5 White Leghorns. The minimum order was 15 birds, so this covered it. We almost picked out some Buff Orpintons, too...but our coop just doesn't have that much room. I'd like to eventually do some meat birds, but I think we need to focus on these babies first. If all of these chicks make it to us healthy and strong, we'll have to sell a few. We really only have room for 12 right now. The next project is to build the nesting boxes and hang the perches before the coop is ready for habitation. We have time though as the new chicks will be in the garage until they are 8 weeks old anyway.
Sunday afternoon, I was able to get the first coat of paint up on the kitchen walls. It's looking much brighter and nicer already. I also discovered that I have some nice linen/cotten fabric leftover in a cute stripe pattern for curtains. I'm going to make some for the kitchen and the laundry room (the fabric works with both wall colors). I'm going to do it with big grommets on a simple modern rod - nothing too country looking for me! While I was painting, H finished putting the chicken wire on the coop/tractor. We then had to move it to where we wanted it. OMG, it was heavy! I was carrying the 'cage' side, while H had the coop side. He could barely lift it! Forearm Forklift to the rescue again! He was able to use it to support his end and we got the coop moved to where it will start out. Our plan is to move it around periodically to keep the grass growing and keep the chickens supplied with fresh grass and bugs.
I didn't have my camera with me yesterday, so I'll take pictures of the coop/tractor later this week to post. It really turned out nice! H says he's no carpenter, but he did a good job.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Our front yard - and proof of some of my work (mowing) this weekend.
Yep, I was over ambitious, once again. What a surprise!
Anyway, we did get the basement office painted, the master bedroom painted, the master bath painted & the chicken coop started. We also got most of the yard mowed. I worked for 4 hours, and only did about 3/4's of it. We definitely need to move 'getting goats' higher up on the priority list to cut down on all this time spent mowing!
The basement office required quite a bit of prep work and priming. Then it needed two coats of wall paint and three coats on the trim. We removed the closet except for the tallest shelf, and we are going to put an separate shelving unit in there (for now). Perhaps shelving the whole thing would be a good plan for the future. The use of this room is still up for debate. It'll either get foam/rubber flooring and become a workout room....or it'll get the Oriental rug that is currently in the dinning room (that I hate in there) and it'll become the office. The other room whose fate is in the balance is the tiny room upstairs that will either be an office or a tiny workout/craft room for me (in which case, the balance of the workout stuff will reside in the main part of the basement).
The master bedroom required that the trim be repainted (something we weren't planning on), so that set us back a bit. We also removed the closet 'fixin's' from this room as we don't need it for a closet (there is a big room-sized closet). We will be putting the armoire in the closet space and that will house a TV (that never gets used and I think we should sell...but whatever). This frees up space in the actual room for the bed and one dresser. The other dresser will go in the closet.
The master bath is *almost* done. We had to apply two coats of primer and paint the trim before getting started on the wall color. I'm also spray painting all the brass fixtures a brushed silver color. It's not our first choice, but it'll do until we can afford to buy something else. I'm all about using what's usable! I've painted the light fixtures already and I'll do the towel bars this week. The counter tops are still pink, so I don't know what we can do about that. I keep checking craigslist, so maybe we'll find something we can use...
H started on the chicken coop. It's looking pretty good! He's made a few mistakes, so we have a few more pieces we need to buy, but he's been able to use a lot of scrap wood in many places. The siding we used is the same wood we used to build the garden beds, so there was some overlap there. We hope to get that finished next weekend. I'm going to reserve a truck for the following weekend for our moving in date - and we want to get chickens as soon as possible after that.
The garden is moving a long. I didn't get more corn planted, but I hope to do that tonight. My body just can't take anymore painting for a few days, so I'm going to work in the garden. I need to give my new plantings a little TLC. I have two good sized tomatoes happening...and a few new Roma tomato 'babies'. I also need to get up the additional trellises as the beans are growing like gangbusters! Lastly, the row garden needs some weeding. I don't know how much physical labor I'll be capable of (I'm sore!), but we'll see how it goes.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
So I've been kind of randomly kicking myself for this little 'sustainable' error on my part. I can't exactly not use this paint as that would be the ultimate in wasteful. I can't return it as it's all custom colors. I had resigned myself to donating the unused paint to either a local drama club, habitat for humanity, or some other local operation that could at least put it to good use. I'm even considering researching the companies that recycle paint to see if they need donations.
What I am also finding is that I was actually really good at estimating quantites. For the three rooms where we changed the colors pretty drastically, we have very little paint left over. In one case, less than 1/4 inch in the can. My plan is to put this leftover paint into glass resealable jars for touch-up use over time. The cans I plan to dry out and either recycle them if our local place will take them...and if not, I'm going to make things from them. Planters for decorative plants (with a liner as paint is toxic to plants, too), storage bins for non-food items...etc. I heard of one idea where the cans were stacked in a pyramid (on their sides), painted or covered with contact paper, and then used as storage for office supplies or other non-food items. Sounds cool, huh?
Anyway, with all these ideas rattling around in my head, I feel a little better about using new paint to renovate our home.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
We had a productive evening last night. I got the herbs planted, I emptied the clothing boxes that I could find, and I removed the last of the wallpaper border. H primed all the dark green paint in the office. That's a big ole CHECK on the to-do list!
I don't know if we'll be heading over there tonight or not. I was exhausted this morning, so my brain wasn't functioning properly. I did not get anything prepped for dinner tonight before leaving for work, so I'm not sure how this will work out.
I'd like to get the balance of the garden planted. I still have a few of the seeds that I'd planned out on Tuesday to get into the ground. I'd also like to get another row of corn planted...and maybe some beans as well. That is a pretty big job though as it'll require some weeding/tilling of the area under the black plastic, so perhaps that's better left until the weekend.
I don't like having things so disorganized. I feel like I'm spending too much time spinning my wheels because things are EVERYWHERE. In fact, I think that one of my goals for this weekend will be to set up an area for 'yard sale' items. That way, I can feel like I'm getting organized as I open boxes and stuff. Ugh - its so overwhelming.
I think we need to decide which weekend we want to rent a truck and make the final move. I guess a lot of that is dependent on how much work we get done this weekend and next week. I know I posted this before, but I'm doing it again to make me feel better!
Goals for long weekend:
- paint office
- paint master bedroom
- prime master bath
- paint kitchen
- paint laundry room
- build chicken coop
- plant more corn
- build compost bin
- set up yard sale area/pile
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Not quite, but sort of. Last night we opted to not make the journey out to the house for once, and we tried to get a few things done at the apartment. I did dishes, laundry and a tad bit of cleaning. We made a run to HD for some irrigation system parts (and to price counter tops...holy expensive, batman!).
After we'd gotten home, I sat down and went through the unplanted seeds. I still have some open spaces in our SFG, so I wanted to pick what I could plant. I opted for the Swiss Chard (which I'd already planned on), some parsnips, another zucchini variety, more onions, more garden beans and some herbs. I also planned out the herb boxes on the deck. We'll need to build an extra trellis for the extra beans, but other than that, I'll just be utilizing space that's sitting idle. I can't wait until we start harvesting!!
Tonight I need to open some boxes of clothing. We have lots of them and they can get in the way. Since the master closet is the only thing in this house that is BIGGER than the previous house, unpacking it should be super easy. All of my summer clothing has been packed away since February, and if I don't get it out soon, I'll miss the season for wearing it! Also on my agenda for the evening is to plant the seeds mentioned in the previous paragraph. I'd like to finish removing the wallpaper border in the laundry room and get started on priming in the office. I may be thinking overly ambitiously again...but I like to plan big sometimes.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Potato plants - just peeking up from the soil!