on the 7th day of yurting my true love built for me…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

a solid fir compression ring.

This is compression ring number 3 here at tricycle acres… this one the most rudimentary by far, in fact as we starting slamming what is now known as the man yurt or the “murt” together a week a go today, we were dreaming of a self supporting reciprocal roof rafters, built from the poles our intern Phil has been peeling by the dozens. The reciprocal method was not going to work on this yurt we discovered after pole #4, but with the help of our friend Dino… steady on we kept at ‘er and threw up a car rim up as the centre point… the poles all fit in really nicely cut using the on the fly chain-saw method of precision cutting 30 degree angles, the structure almost built itself… until it didn’t. That is to say somewhere around pole number 20 (of a planned 32) something went array and the hugely tensile rim shifted to lay less than level to the world. We hummed and ratchet strapped and tweaked, and some poles rained down on us, before Dyl packed it in for the shop to build another compression ring for yet another round pole structure!

The new ring went up today and the roof plugged together in just a few short hours (now we were really practised). So today day 7 from newly cleared very uneven sloped land we now have a built from scratch 20 foot yurt complete with solid fir lattice walls and and cedar pole roof, sitting on a plywood deck built on a super solid foam block piling system engineered with with pallet wrap and some scrap plywood. We have not used one bit of manufacture yurt parts yet… but Tomorrow we haul the skins and insulation up from the barn (which is fast walking down the hill MUST GET IT STABILIZED..and soon). Then we go recover a HUGE old satelight dish that has been given to us to make the murt roof cap! The door comes from the Thread Guild heritage building complete with antique glass knobs (my favourite) ! Ahh Upcycled yurt in a week and a bit!

SWEET.

The yurt is sitting smack daub in the middle of what we now call PERMA-CAMP. Our intern / camper / overflow / friends and family outback! Can’t wait to watch this area evolve into a little camp town. I am a happy girl…. better amenities out there mean less impact in here. This tiny space seems ever tinier by the day. Soon we’ll have a heated shower and sink in perma camp, as well as a little kitchen in the yurt. I am hoping someone will build a couple tent decks so our tenting pals have some flat land to set up on. To day we hung a hammock at the camp and are talking about building a nice bench around the central yew tree. yew sit. yew think. yew rest, here. The view is stunning up at  the camp and I am thrilled to be moving forward and crossing things off the fridge list each day.

Today the fruit tree’s got mulched heavily with wet straw and some poopy chicken straw all set above coils of soaker hose and perennial companion guilds. I have planted out a few beds so far… carrots and onions, and beets. My starts are exploding! I have the healthiest tomatoes and cucs starts of my gardening career right now! Eeee! The garden plan is in place and I am chewing away at it as I can fit it between yurting and cooking and baking.

I am looking forward to a few focused garden weeks ahead with our next intern, as we take on some raw couch grassy new land and put in some keyhole garden beds as well as the hugelkultur  bed, which we have been amassing materials for. In fact “hugel” has become a verb around here… “hugel it” we say everyday as we add to the sorted orderly piles of forest materials: burn pit, rocket fuel, hugel bed, future build pile, firewood stack.. etc.

The spring clean is on, and we are sorting and hauling and stacking EVERYTING! even the red mossy van got hauled away today! The wagon is next and soon maybe even the old ford van and truck too!

The trees are about to burst… the buds look like they couldn’t possibly stay closed one more day, and the bee’s and the swallows and the song birds are all back, as are the eagles and the bears! Oh and we have found our first mating pair of rabbits.. and are off to meet them this week! Mating, and babies, meat and fur, vermicompost, compost  tea … here we come.

Oh and moma bird looks to be a certified one hit wonder, again we only have 1 chickie. Funny we named her Madonna and yet her sister hen Cindy Lopper has yet to set but would have been a better name for our moma hen.

Yesterday I went to the annual yard and yardage sale at the Threads Guild and loaded up on sprawling flowering perennial plants to add to the “bee garden” and birch graveyard. We are drillingout old tree stumps for bee condos set amid rhododendron and bee balm and now motherwort and another 5 or so blue and purple flower plants I will likely never remember the names of!

I am so bagged… long hard days hauling heavy dirty shit around. And to think we are only weeks into it all. Living the good life.

Advertisements

gratitude

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am so very grateful today.

I am grateful for the sun back in our lives, for vitamin D and the warmth on our skin and plants. I am grateful for the renewal of energy we are all feeling and for health (again). I am grateful for the internship opportunity we opened ourselves up to the lessons we are learning, and the great enthusiasm that Phil is bringing to out little slice of mountain. I am grateful that our family is all on board with this whole crazy adventure, of living this more difficult yet more rewarding life. I am grateful for the new food bursting from the ground. I am grateful for the new tiny little lives beginning here. I am grateful for this special community we found.

ah.

THE FIRST BABY CHICKIE OF THE YEAR HATCHED TODAY! Not that I am counting my chickens before they hatch, I learned that the hard way last year (funny how applicable all of these old antics are these days, as we live here on and with the land)…  Madonna is still sitting on a nice little pile of eggs, so we’ll see if more hatch in the next day or two. I did the nesting mom thing today and cleaned the old coop up for her and the babies, picked up chickie feed and did a little baby proofing of the waddle and daub coop, where moma and babies can live in peace as the other birds are all in the new forest coop.

I managed to get the cold frame filled with greens, and the plants seems to stretch up toward the sun in gratitude for their new home. I enjoyed a few sunny warm hours in the garden today cleaning up beds, finding new surprise onions bursting from the earth, along with the 150+ garlic’s I planted in the fall all perky and bright green, reaching for the blue sky.

The guys we’re busy filling old tires with old plywood and old chicken wire along with a cement mix full of wood pulp fibres from our chipper. The old cement mixer fired right up after living in the garden all winter. The tires will be yurt footing, I think I already mentioned that. I have a vision of this second yurt being all things upcycled. I am dreaming of pallet furniture and maybe even a pallet board walk, we plan to repurpose an old satelight dish for the yurt cap. Hoping some of our interns will have some good waste stream diversion ideas to make their accommodations even better!

I have to say we are just loving having an extra pair of eager hands around here. Phil is keeping Dylan on track and working hard, projects are coming together rapidly. And I truly think this 2nd yurt will actually happen in the next couple weeks! How great is that?! This whole process is taking some getting used to; sharing space and time, responsibilities and obligations. I am having to keep Phil fed with hearty food at reasonable hours… trying to get a regular schedule together on the meal front. It is much easier to put off feeding the family at regular times, but when you have someone so diligently sweating it out fuel is super important! All things doable and manageable I am certain.

The garden plans seems so much more real these days now that I can see the earth again! The biggest food task will be turning the hill side above the existing garden (shown in slideshow, yurt in background garden fence posts on left, lots of tree bits and mulch piles, where food will grow soon). Grain crops this year will be barley and corn.. both in large volumes (large by our standards that is), I plan to do more buckwheat too, but likely just to enjoy as micro greens.. mmm missing those tender crunchy bits these days! Looking at adding keyhole gardens and hugelkultur beds in this area as we are drowing in wood chunks and brush looking for a new purpose.

give a girl a cock

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My backwoods moma girlfriend Kathy of blissbeyondnaptime up the valley has been without a little cock on the side for some time (poor girl) and as I have more cock than I know what to do with these days, I had to share with her (return of surplus: permaculture ethic). Her husband was on board with the new cock coming to stay so long as he wasn’t viscous like the last dearly departed one they had on the farm!  She was after a gentle good looking rooster with just enough strut in his step to keep her harem of hens happy, and I think we found just the cock for her… GILGAMESH, a stunning display of a Speckled Sussex heritage breed.  We introduced him to his new coop and home and her dexter calf MEATBALL trotted over right away to inspect the new cock of the walk. Her hens were all pretty lively and cautiously interested in the new rooster!

I think the chooks round here will be a little happier with the needs of one less little man to consider day to day. Speaking of those chooks, they are all so chickenness-of-the-chicken happy in their new forest home!  The first few nights our little bantam birds slept way way way up in the cedar trees just the two of them and I mean 20-30 feet up! After a bad descent which lead to yet another dog chase, I had to get proactive and herd them into the coop and lock ’em up with the other birds for the night, just to be safe… and mainly to keep them from the Odin side of the fence in the wee hours of the morning! Hopefully I don’t need to corral the birds each night, and a night of sleeping under the feather wings of ELVIS will keep them coming back into the coop for more hunka hunka burning love!

We are having some serious discussions about Odin’s future round here, just yesterday he jumped out of a moving car to chase a run away llama down the road! Much to my neighbours delight. Seems his hunt drive is in full tilt, and maybe he needs to find a new home OFF the range! We are sadly humming over this all 😦

Meanwhile Dylan built me some beautiful solid cedar wooden cold frames using old storm windows and mill scraps… so sweet! Tomorrow they will get filled with salad greens as they harden off and get ready to go in the ground! We have begun deconstructing the old chicken coop, are still waiting for the chicks to hatch, and have starting making concrete pilings inside old car tires for the 2nd yurt footing! Big old compost pile on the go and lots of sunny warm days to keep us busy outside! Whew.

I have been spreading the word about POTTING BLOCKS as I am mad in love with this new seed starting technique! Thanks to Rob from Verge Permaculture for getting me onto them… and my girlfriend Renata from the Red Snow Shoe followed suit shortly there after my ravings of happy block making… she is having great success’s too, read about her blocking adventures here! My window is full of fresh green life, growing steady and strong and straight! The few investments I made this year are all ready paying off dividends! We will be eating salad greens next week!

easter chicken adventures

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Seems like we have been at a bit of a stand still the past few weeks, what with a trip to Alberta which had us hauling home all sorts of deals and materials for repurposing, oh and a nasty bug that beat us all. We were welcomed home with a week of dreary rainy grey sky complete with coughing and aching. UGH! Luckily we had two shinning bright sunny days to remind us just how great life can be out here, when your working without the rain pouring on you.

Right before we left we welcomed our friend from Calgary and first permaculture intern Phil, He is making the transition from urban to rural life and we are lucky to have him and all his drive to figure out this mountain life of building with trees, which as we well know by now is awfully idyllic but full of sweaty tedious dirty chores from; sighting the tree, falling the tree, de-limbing, hauling, peeling, storing, and milling or chopping the tree, all before you even get to hammer a nail into it! Phil has been reading a lot of Rob Roy, and is very well educated on the process, but like anything doing is so much different than reading about doing! He diligently trudges on though, and is making great work of the newly fallen birches; chopping and stacking, and the cedars we felled to clear a small building site… these poles nearly 40 of them have almost all been peeled by hand by Phil! I think he is perfecting his technique, and as he dreams of his own cord wood home he now has a good understanding of the magnitude of each of these tasks… something we still often forget.

Soil blocking has become my new past time.. I am loving my soil blockers and can’t believe how healthy and strong my starts are this year! Just the other day I transplanted beautiful cucumbers in their 2″ blocks into the maxi  4” soil block… what fun! We have salad micro greens nearly ready to eat now!

During our 2 days of sunshine the guys took a break from the drudgery of pole peeling, and we set to work making the new chicken coop (version 4.0). The coop started with a 6 pallet deck at the base of a great stand of ceder trees, we then quickly assembled the used shed we purchased a few weeks back, dug a number of deep fence posts and tamped in some of the biggest newly peeled ceder poles. The days were full of joyous successes and practical use of waste and local materials. The chickens will be OH SO HAPPY in their new forest home, protected by great trees and solid fencing (FINALLY)! Using ceder mill scraps we executed a lovely nesting box / rousting bar fixture, and today the guys are fastening the wire fencing and afixing the lovely garden gate Dylan made for me for Christams! I think our lovely ladies will make the move tomorrow to their newest and bestest home yet!

Speaking chickens… I put my flock to work the past couple days in the garden and green house, cleaning and turning the soil, weeding and debugging to their delight! How easy cleaning the garden is when you have over 2 dozen eager volunteers! Unfortunately the days ended poorly for a couple of our animals, as Odin (the puppy) after behaving himself for nearly two whole days, took after a bantam bird… who luckily escaped… but we discovered yesterday he had nabbed himself a hen on the sly and sadly we lost a good layer. Odin has proven himself a loyal and sweet smart and lovely boy… but his chicken prey drive is deep routed. As we humm over his fate he is wearing “the necklace of shame”. We took the advise of many an old farmer and tied the poor dead bird around his neck, and he is dragging that carcass around with him and sadly is out of the pack today. Hopefully this changes his opinion of chicken hunting… because he is on strike 3. Not sure my future dreams of ducks and a fish pond will work with Odin around 😦

Brighter skies ahead I am sure.

For more of our mountain side adventures check out Phils philosophical blogs (likely more artfully written than my own!)

http://i-ching-guidance.blogspot.ca/ 
http://allthingsindigo.blogspot.ca/ 
http://phils-natural-building.blogspot.ca/