Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What a difference a month makes



Whoo boy, where to start? My last post mentioned that I was on my way to Alaska, and I am happy to say that after over 1 month on the road, from Juneau to San Francisco, I am back in Idaho safe, resting up, and getting to work on some of my projects for winter. If you wanna see photos from my trip (I didn't take many) then you can see them from Alaska (these are mostly of either Michael or the Mendenhall Glacier) and Oregon. Sorry friends from Washington and the Bay Area, I didn't take any photos while visiting you, and therefore you are left out... but we'll always have the memories right!?!?

By the way, I think my pictures of the Mendenhall are wayyyy better than those on wikipedia, just saying.

Also, I want to express my deep and loving appreciation for any and all friends that I stayed with, saw, met up with, and generally had a good time with. This trip down the coast was incredible, and I have my wonderful friends to thank for that. So again, Thank you so much, everyone I saw, and everybody that was willing to put up with me for the time I was with them. Thank you for putting me up and putting up with me.

I arrived in Salt Lake City at 3:45 AM and was graciously fetched by my sister and father. They made the 6-hour round-trip trek that meant I didn't have to bum around downtown SLC for 4 hours until the next shuttle came back to Pocatello, for which I am eternally grateful. If I didn't make it clear enough then, thanks you guys, that was a pro move.

By the end of my trip I started to feel lugubrious about the fact that I wasn't back on the farm getting things done. I took that as a sign to skip town, not because I needed to get out of there because it was unpleasant, but because, for some reason, though I've only lived in Idaho on the far for a month, I felt kind of drawn back here. There was so much work to be done before winter really set in.

Well, in that respect, I was incredibly lucky. I got back, and was really only worth anything in regard to work on the farm, a few days after the beginning of November. I had one main goal in mind: Plow and till my garden plot before the winter freeze set in. The weather stayed pleasant for a good week after I came back and I'm happy to say that I got my field plowed (Ifyaknowhaddimean...).

Field Pre-Plow
Field Post-Plow
Believe it or not, those two pictures were taken less than a week apart from each other. Notice the Leaves on the trees above the house. Those fell in probably about 2 days. The field you are looking at there used to be a horse pasture. It is about 60'x100' in the area that I plowed and tilled. It was full of grass and weeds, and was a pain in the ass to plow and till, mostly because all of the old grass, roots, and rocks that were in the ground. The good news is, when you till up the earth where theres lots of rocks, you find a lot of them! Then you can throw them out of your field. Theres a little Farming 101 for you. Professor Farmer Jon's farming basics class!.

Anyway, I'm glad I got all that done with the field, but it wasn't all my work. we got some NEW GOATS!!! Don't worry,  they're nowhere near as cute as the first goat we got, but They're way bigger, which means we can put them to work. we staked them out in the middle of the pasture to graze on the weeds and grass that was out there before I plowed it. They were mildly helpful, I think it would have been better if they could have been out there for a week or so, but I had a time crunch before the weather turned for the worse, and I decided to plow in the rest of everything. I'll be good for the soil consistency anyway, and allow all the roots and grasses to break down and supply nutrients to the soil over winter. Anyway, Pictures of goats!

Rosie the riveter

Connie, or "con-tron" as I call her
The new goats are pretty cool, if not a little bullish at times. They push around Crabby, our little goat, mostly because they're about 3 times bigger. However, bigger means I can put them to work. Crabby is more like a "hobby goat", whatever that means. I just made that up. She's just so little and cute, I don't know what actual use she'll be except as a mascot or something. I'll make t-shirts.

We bought the 2 new goats from a family down the street who didn't want to raise goats any more. I think Rosie is a great name for a goat, but when I heard the other's name was Connie, I thought to myself: "Myself, that's a terrible name for a goat!". Luckily, I have a good friend named Conner Jefferies whom we call Con-tron, or on occasion, Con-Job. I decided, in honor of Conner, I will be calling Connie Con-Tron. You're welcome Conner.

The New Goat Pen!
In other news of stuff I didn't directly contribute to, while on my travels, my dad leveled and fenced in the area behind the garage that was just roofed. This is how we are able to get more goats! Lets hear it for progress! Also, theres the little cute goat in this picture. Also my dad, everybody say "hey dad"!

For a little perspective, I'll show you what this used to look like a mere 2 months ago:


Its almost as if we've made progress!
Wow, Thats a big change, and the area is so much more usable. Especially since Mummycat has now stopped haunting that area and taken up residency elsewhere (Read: Dad threw it in the potato cellar).



I also have started a bitchin' compost pile. Within the first week it was nice and stinky, with lots of visible decay and steam when I stirred it. That'll be good nutriments come springtime for some lucky garden of mine. All the leaves from those trees you saw in that picture of the field I plowed are going to be compost or mulch for some gardens.

Without getting into too much minutia about activities (Which i feel like I'm treading the line of already), I have various other projects, including, but not limited to:


  • Learning how to, without too much effort, bake my own bread. My friend Micah has become a fairly accomplished baker, and he suggested this book to me by Peter Reinhart called Artisan Breads Every Day. I won't get into details, but it helps me to, hopefully, make delicious home-baked bread without having to take all day or wake up way early to do it, leaving me free most of the other times to do my other numerous projects. Right now, I am in the process of making my first French bread b√Ętards, and also I am trying to catch a wild yeast using his method for making sourdough. 
  • Sprouting seeds and lentils for fresh vegetables and stuff during the long, cold winter.
  • Working on my plans and building a greenhouse/cold frame for extending the growing season in the spring. as it turns out, I'm trying to build it out of PVC and plastic sheeting we have lying around the farm. I'll keep you posted, it could turn into a huge hassle.
  • Starting to exercise. This is something I've long been avoiding, in fact, the entire time I lived in Seattle except for a very short period of time in college when I had a free gym membership. I've been doing 30 minutes on the elliptical every evening, and whatever manual labor I have to do during the day. My mom also bought a Wii fit board when I brought my Wii here. The Wii fit is very mean.
  • Video Games and Movies via Netflix. I can't believe I actually get anything done based on the pure volume of content that I have available to me for only $9 a month. Seriously, how is this not the best invention ever? I just discovered that Strange Brew is now streaming. Hallalujah.



Take off ya Hosers,

-Jon E