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!)