Links & Pics

Sharon Astyk may be restarting her Independence Days Challenge, which is a public challenge to perform and report back a weekly check-in on the following:

  • Plant something
  • Harvest something
  • Preserve something
  • Waste not
  • Want not
  • Eat the food
  • Build community food systems

The point of the challenge is to encourage folks to keep up with their homesteading skills, whether one lives in the country or in the city. I did it for awhile (see/click "independence days" tag on lower right), and am considering doing it again.

Oh, and the SOPA and PIPA bills have been temporarily shelved! Hopefully the bills will be re-tooled in such a way that artists will be fairly compensated for their work while also protecting Fair Use and access to the Internet. Profile pic text courtesy of http://www.blackoutsopa.org


A disturbing development, and if the theory is true, our climate is in for a world of hurt. Basically, "global dimming" (from the way pollution particles interact with moisture in the atmosphere, reflecting "out" a percentage of solar energy) may be not only temporarily holding back some of the worse effects of global climate change, but also diverting weather patterns. A one-hour documentary from the BBC, available for viewing via YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8RyNSzQDaU

Okay, now we need something to smile about. The other week, one of the geese let me pick her up, so I brought her inside the house for a quick photo shoot. Here's me and "Dr. Girlfriend" (so named due to her honk). I've been using this pic as a new avatar/profile pic on Twitter and Google+.

Dr. Girlfriend nibbled on the keyboard while I was mousing open the PhotoBooth app. Didn't crap on me at all. A very calm goose. They usually are when you can get them away from the rest of the gaggle...

A girlfriend who got to know Miss Cecily while Miss C was convalescing in our house was so touched by the goose's personality, she commissioned a painting by an award-winning folk artist to commemorate Miss C's (aka Squeezlegoose) life. Yes, I cried when I saw the artwork. Thank you Ms. Katie, from the bottom of my heart.


Anti-SOPA & PIPA Blackout Starts Now

No chickens, geese, ducks or dogs: today's farm post is blacked out in protest of the current SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP) bills that are currently being considered in Congress.

SOPA: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h3261/show
PIPA: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s968/show


Fixed: Project: 2x4 Basics "Easy-Up Enclosure" - Greenhouse Version

When I last wrote about putting together this small greenhouse project in early December 2011, an important piece had busted in the process, leaving me flummoxed as to how to repair or salvage the project. Spouse to the rescue! While I was out running errands one day last week, he put on his thinking cap and fabricated a part to replace the busted piece. He used a scrap of flashing, duct tape, some screws, and mitred two of the 2"x2" boards to align with the roof peak board (I know there's got to be an official name for this part of a roof - I'll figure it out someday). He then planed down some of the other 2"x2"s so that he wouldn't bust any of the other pieces like I did. Smart. He put it all together, and it was waiting for me when I got home. *swoon* I think I'll keep him.

The metal part, with screws and duct-tape (duct-tape holds the universe together):

The actual greenhouse roof connectors. The plastic connecters allow you to use un-mitred boards, just put the square boards into the square plastic openings. There are screws underneath to hold 2x2's in place. Easy peasy (if the wood is sized properly. Hmph.)

 The side roof-to-wall connector:

Tough to see, but the bottom connector is down there. 

The greenhouse cover is zippered on both sides, and the material is fairly sturdy. I don't know what percentage of light it lets through, however, so when I start seeds I may install a full-spectrum bulb to ensure proper germination. If you're interested in putting together one of these structures, you can find the kit and the greenhouse cover online (nope, I don't get paid for this review or for the link). Do some shopping around, as price varies. Amazon still has the greenhouse cover at a discounted price, but no longer appears to carry the connector kit at this time. And remember to factor in that you'll need to purchase the lumber. I think it's a good deal for the size of the structure (8' high x 8' long x 6 1/2' wide), but you could probably find a smaller greenhouse that's sturdier for the same amount of money. I also like that this structure is moveable (Spouse and I carried it with relative ease), and we can re-use it for different purposes in the Summer. 

In another flash of brilliance, Spouse remembered that a dark barrel filled with water can act as a passive solar collector/heater (if it gets enough sunlight during the day). Picked up a used 55-gallon food-grade barrel at the local feed store, and filled it up. Bonus: this will also act as an emergency backup water supply. 

Next: moving all the over-wintering plants into the greenhouse. I can take down the rigged wood structure under which our plants currently reside, and put away the overnight tarp. Yay!!!

Of Mice and Various Snakes and new Duck Feed Station

As mentioned in the previous post, our region is experiencing a near-Biblical plague of mice. "It's due to all the moisture we had...