Rotted hay mulch in place, I pose for a glamor shot. January 17, 2013 – turning out to be another largely warm January. Turns cold Sunday for a few days, though.

January 26, 2013 – A few hours of sun warm enough for just the T-shirt. Starting on the bottom sheets. Notice the missing vent section. We ran out of Lexel adhesive.


The county, with my permission, removed the trees, fence, poison ivy, beer bottles, etc. from beside the road on both sides of the creek. This gives a line of sight around what was once a blind curve and changes entirely the nature of the secluded wooded lot that was the east side of the property. As part of this upgrade, they will also surface the road with magnesium chloride which will eliminate the dust (or so they say.)

Here is some of the wood that came out of this project. Plenty of oak and walnut to be split – sometime.

February 17, 2013 – Greenhouse complete

That’s water in the red can!.

March 2, 2013 – A whole lot of wet, heavy snow has slid off the barn roof onto the greenhouse. It survived in tact

The same day inside. Crow readies the greenhouse for planting.

The rain barrel hookups. I used 1″ schedule 80 threaded nipples. The holes were made with an inch and a quarter Lenox hole saw which makes a hole just big enough for the pipe. The down spouts have been removed because we were expecting more rain and the barrels were full. I first thought to empty them and bought a small pump at Harbor Freight. This pump is way too small thus the down spouts were removed and flashing placed under the gutter openings.

Another configuration with the middle barrel high. I’m trying to maximize the exposure of the barrels to the sunlight so they will store heat. The water from the gutter comes into the high barrel in both configurations. It drains off about a foot below the top of the barrel to give a buffer in case of a sudden surge of water coming in.

Close up of the rain barrel fittings. The nuts and washers are for electrical conduit. Once I had a hole drilled, I set the barrel next to it’s neighbor and drilled through that hole into the neighboring barrel. I then started out with a nut and washer as pictured, applied bathtub calk to the washer and pushed the pipe through the hole. Then I gunked the washer for the other side, fitted it and tightened both nuts. This made a very good seal. No flatening of the barrel was necessary.

Apr. 4, 2013 – Getting a start on the cold room. You can see the opening for the air conditioner in the far wall. The cardboard looking stuff is 1 1/2″ polyisocyanurate insulation. I have enough for three layers maybe 4. We’re in a bit of a rush as the weather is turning warm and the greenhouse really heats up the barn. If the grain stays at 60 fegrees for very liong, the bugs will hatch and I’ll have 12,500 pounds of compost.

April 14, 2013 – Coldroom doors gooped up.

Inside the coldroom with the air conditioner in place.

Closeup of the Coolbot. Set this device to the temp you want. It has a tiny heating element taped to the air conditioner’s temperature sensor which it uses to fool the AC into believing it is warmer than it is in the room. So far no problem keeping the room at 52. Another thermometer at the other end of the room bears this out.

June 1, 2013 – We have had some rain. The flooded road is the usual, most direct way to the farm from town. The gravel road going to the farm is just to the right. Been having to take the long way around lately. The creek near the house is over its primary banks but not out of its bottom.

June 11, 2013 – The gardens are finally in. Plenty of mulch ready to use thanks to neighbor Garland Russel. I’ll plant some more corn in a couple of weeks. The rows are ready already. Through the fence row you can see the rye ripening. I am having a hard time finding a combine the right size and price. The Chinese have knocked off a great Kubota small combine but it has no EPA certificate so doubtful it can enter the country. Kubota will not sell its machine in this country!!!????

I very foolishly transplanted every other okra plant from the row you see to the row under the cover in the morning instead of the evening. The transplants immediately went into shock so I covered them. Let’s hope it’s not a funeral shroud.

June 29, 2013 – First onion.  Don’t know why this makes me so proud but it does.  We’ve had a tough time with onions bolting this year.  Maybe that’s it.

My newest toy – an Austrian scythe. About half the weight of an American scythe, the thing is actually fun to use. The blade is sharp as a razor. First day I mowed everything in sight (just about). I’m thinking that, since there appears to be no way to harvest the rye by machine, I may as well try it by hand. There are several other people interested and one also has an Austrian scythe. Harvest party.

OK. So the transplants have been set back a bit. They are still going to make it by gumbo time.

Corn and beans.

Corn and beans from above. You can see some of the squash off to the right. There has been a terrible infestation of squash bugs this year. I’m trying diatomacious earth but was too late to save some. The covered mound is a late planting of potatoes. The two half rows on the left side are cici beans. The deer don’t seem to be the least interested in them so I may focus on them next year. I have been using urine to keep the deer off the green beans and that seems to be working fine. You need to reapply after each rain.

Okra in front. Mostly tomatoes. Awful brown rot. I applied some dilute masonry lime hoping I wouldn’t burn the plants. I haven’t been out yet today to check. To the left of the tomatoes, two more mounds of potatoes. In making the mounds, I found the hoe would penetrate the soil to about 4″ then it was like scraping it along a table top. I don’t think it’s a hard pan in the usual sense – just the way this silty soil behaves. At any rate, I’m going to have to get a ripper. You can see in the pic of the corn above how uneven it is. I’m thinking this is a contribution of the compacted soil also the tomatoes might not be so susceptible to brown rot if their roots could go deeper.

Aug 19, 2013 – Some tiny purple potatoes going in next to the existing new rows. So far, no sprouts visible from the new rows but you can see the sprouts already on the ones in the bucket. I couldn’t find any seed potatoes so I used store bought. I have been told they have a anti-sprouting coating. We’ll see, no?

Harvesting okra, beans, squash and PLENTY of tomatoes.

Detail of solar dryer Ollie and I have been working on. Two by four sides, luan back, corrugated metal roofing painted black. A left over piece of polycarbonate from the green house will cover it. This is just the collector part. This part is placed at a 45 degree angle and fits up under a table that the drying tower rests on. This tower will contain 2 x 2 drying shelves of screen on a wooden frame.

Wider view of the collector.

It can be pretty out that way.