Buckwheat in the front field.
August 27, 2013 – Very hot lately.

August 30, 2013 – Still very hot.  Here are the solar food dryer shelf supports ready to be assembled.

Rough layout for the new jack shaft. The v-belt portion of this setup will reduce the speed of the motor by a factor of 4. The flat belt side reduces by 3. So I go from about 1800 rpm to about 150. The mill was running way too fast. This setup may be too slow to throw the flour out the chute. I’ll have to try it to find out. But, if it is, I can readily change the v-belt pulleys and up the speed. The reduced speed has the further advantage of increasing the power to the mill which is needed when trying to grind fine.

A diversion: The mill is not operable in it’s present condition. The stones need to be dressed to make a fine whole wheat flour. These babies weigh about 500 pounds a piece and the process requires removing them, replacing them, removing them, replacing them…you get the idea. I’m not up for it so I decided to bake. First there is pizza. This is one that Roberta Tabanelli and I came up with: baked butternut squash (in the wood fired oven, of course), pine nuts drenched in olive oil (they roast up wonderful that way) and some fresh herbs. Also baked the usual 27 loaves (from 1 firing): 9 olive ciabatta, 9 onion rye and 9 whole wheat (locally grown). The rye was over proofed so came out flat. This is a result of trying to talk to my guests and manage the baking process at the same time. The baking usually suffers and rye is especially sensitive to over proofing. The whole wheat is wonderful. I would say pea sized holes in the crumb.

The farm is inspected by His Crowness

Sept.17, 2013 – It’s not all been fun and games. Added another barrel to each series of rain barrels and moved them (partially) into the greenhouse. This way, because they are tilted slightly to the greenhouse, I can leave them hooked up to the downspouts and the excess water will run into the greenhouse instead of onto the barn floor. Before, I was trying to guess when the barrels would be full, drive out to the barn, unhook the downspouts and cover the openings in the rain and mop up the floor. Easier this way and I’m going to set up a couple of barrels on the second floor and pump up to them. Then I’ll be able to shower out there.

Sept 21, 2013 – Finally we get a sunny day. The first test of the solar dryer. The rain barrels worked perfectly. They were all completely full without a single drop! of water on the barn floor.

Sept 28, 2013 – The tomatoes did not turn out well. The pieces were too large to dry completely before they spoiled.

To the right is a pic of the small kamut plot I am trying. Typically kamut or khorasan wheat is a Spring grain but I like it so well I couldn’t wait. This a plot 6′ by 171′ or 1026 square feet or approximately .024 acres. I applied 12 pounds of seed or about 500 pounds per acre. Kind of high. We’re getting some rain now so there ought to be good germination.

I’ve realized that I am trying to discover a holistic, veganic agriculture. Part of that is eliminating off farm inputs especially those from animal sources (except me, of course.)

On October 8, 2013 the new 20″ Meadows mill arrived. Dan Hemmelgarn was gracious enough to help unload AND take some pictures.

Dan, Crow, Paul Lehmann and later Marian Minor helped with getting the 1700 pound mill off my pickup and out of the crate.

Here we are getting the casters on.

On the deck but minus the hopper and motor. The motor goes where the cardboard box is.

The Reverend Gerald Crow pronounces us Man and Mill.

The next day Marian and I have lunch with Paul at his place.

My little darling with her skirt off. This mill has one of the same problems as the old mill. It runs way too fast. I figure 711 rpm. I’m going to replace the 6 1/2″ 3 belt pulley with the old 3 1/2″ 2 belt and see if enough power is transferred to the runner stone to grind some fine flour. A test with the three belt setup yielded some wonderful stuff. The smaller 2 belt pulley should slow the mill down to about 383 rpm.

The auger disassembled for painting. This will transfer grain from a bin on the floor to the hopper on the top of the mill saving the old man from carrying the 50 pound bags up the stairs and dumping them overhead into the hopper. Neat.

Belts were starting to fray with the small 2 belt pulley and the pulley was getting hot – a sure sign the belts were not tight enough. The motor was adjusted all the way back. I replaced that 2 belt with the smallest 3 belt they have (4″) and it is working fine. For comparison I show the original 6 1/2″ pulley. There is enough power with this setup to start the mill in grinding position so that a lot of cracked grain does not come through while you are trying to find the perfect distance between the stones.

Visiting artist Pablo Pickysoso executes a commission for the upcoming grand opening.

October 18, 2013 – Weekly peeve – these so called soilbuster tillage radishes are supposed to penetrate and break up hard pan while adding oodles of organic matter to the soil. You can see what’s happened. Instead of penetrating the hard pan, they are pushing themselves up and out of the soil. Can’t say I recommend ’em.

The little green balls you see at the axils are, if I’, not mistaken, figs. Amazing. I just planted this twerpy little bare-root thing this spring. Behind is a “portable” table/counter ready to go to the market tomorrow.

Crow pins letters to the canopy.

Handiwork complete.

The proud proprietor – Sunday Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market at the bus station. Do you think I’m overworking the pink shirt? Think I will stain the table for next week. (Actually sold a few pounds of flour!) Also bake a demo loaf. My test bake loaf has had multiple rounds of praise (from Crow.)

The auger grain bin under construction. The foam in the joints represents an assumption. I thought it were obvious, if the pyramid made a right angle at the base, that the angle between the sides was also a right angle. Not so. Here is a link to a somewhat accessible method for calculating the correct angle: http://benkrasnow.blogspot.com/2008/09/determining-proper-angles-to-cut.html. Too late for me as half of the joints were already glued up with 90 degree glue blocks. It’ll be OK. I’ll trim the foam and cover with wood putty.

Market table gets stained.

The autopsy (or the awbottomsee). What happens when the soilbuster hits the hard pan.

It’s now December 12th – some time since I have made an update. We’ve been busy. The garden is mowed and disced. I bought a spike toothed harrow which leveled and fined up the garden wonderfully. Also got a barrel stove kit and 22 feet of 6″ stove pipe. You might think that with a stack that tall the draft would be awesome. Not so. Our first attempt at a fix was to remove the sliding grate, drill through the end hole, open the plug and put a bunch of holes around the bottom. No good. If you burned with the door open, the barn would fill with smoke. If you closed the door, the fire would go out. Just not enough draft. Lousy design. Well, there is the 14′ of pipe going up through the unheated second floor.

Here is our second attempt at a solution. I’ve always like masonry stoves. I bake in a wood fired oven after all. Can’t afford the real thing so here is a poor man’s compromise: exposed metal for quick heat and nearby masonry to slowly absorb and slowly release heat. Also a masonry chimney for the same reason but also to provide more than three times the vent cross section as the 6″ metal pipe.