Monday, May 9, 2011

I think Idaho is trying to break my spirit




9th of May.

In happier days (i.e. last week) Many more things were getting done. I transplanted tomatoes. In the greenhouse. Oh yeah! we bought and erected a greenhouse! Potatoes got planted! I dug all the trenches by hand! (ugh.) Its... been a while since I posted anything of content, other than a celebration of beards, I guess.

Tomato Transplants in the greenhouse!
Potato Rows, dug by my BRUTE FORCE
Ah, the first Spring Crop of Field Rocks! So fresh!

Sister Jenni is at the farm, between contract from Holland America Cruises, where she performs the duties of Stage Manager for the onboard theater productions. She's got all kinds of projects. First and foremost, she's in charge of Baking and canning. Cookies, Gingerbread, Pies, Jams, Salsa, Preserves etc. That is only a list of the TYPES of things she's made, with multiple variations of each being made throughout the month she's been here. Talk about not helping me get my Bowflex body...

In addition she was in charge of building the patio to put the Pergola on that my parents bought. However, as of, oh, about 10 minutes ago, we are now informed that she'll be going out on her next contract for Holland America within the week. And its supposed to be Rainy here all week. So.... Guess who gets to finish that project!!!? (If you guessed "Jon and Mike Essinger", you would be correct).

Jenni with the start of her hole, to put the patio on, for the pergola

Another thing that she wanted to do before she left was make another beer. So, using ingredients I already had, we came up with a recipe. I call it Dark Matter IPA, named because it is 1) very hoppy, 2) darker in color than most IPAs, and 3) I've been reading about astronomy recently. Did you know that Dark Matter accounts for 23% of the mass-energy density of the observable universe!? And you know what dark matter is? Well if you do, you'd better let some physicists know, cause they have NO IDEA! how's that for spooky? 23% of the KNOWN UNIVERSE is UNKNOWN!!!!! anyway, I was going to write something about how this beer is a testament to still undiscovered what-have-you's in general, how its special because of something-or-other, but really, its just beer. And it was nice to brew again (Even if I only did get 52% Mash Efficiency! How lousy is that!?). We bottled it last night, and should be ready in a few weeks, but unfortunately, not ready while Jenni is still here at the farm. However, we're having a labor day/ retirement party BBQ for my dad at the end of the month, so if you're coming here (as I know some of you are) for that, It'll be ready to drink!

The chickens are doing swimmingly (literally with all this rain and snow!! ZING!), and we got the fence for the chicken yard up, and the mobile chicken coop in place! The chickens are learning how to exists outside the box, how to scratch and peck and not be cooped up. They're doing alright, but they don't like to be out in the rain for some reason. They have a coop they can hide under! What else could they even want!?


Just a good shot of Henry, happy outside in the sun!
Now, Last but not least, The goats are doing great. Here's a picture of Jenni and the kids:

The boys are absolutely huge, at only 2 months old tomorrow (May 10th). The next paragraph is going to get pretty graphic talking about castration here:

The boys' Balls have dropped (June Carter Goat is still just as cute as ever, though!). The boys need to be wethered before they start impregnating something and everything. They're doing "domination games" (I guess that is the best way for me to describe it?), They mount each other (doesn't matter who, they mount everything, horny little goats!) but they just don't know what exactly they're doing. They'll soon find out, though. And we need to nip that in the bud before they impregnate Abby. We'd like to breed Abby sometime, but she's so small, if she gets impregnated by a big goat, it would kill her and/or the kids. We don't want to do that, we like Abby. The young bucks can be fertile just 3 months after they're born. We're using a method called Elastratration, where you basically take a special tool called elastrator pliers, and these rubber bands that are similar to, but much stronger than, rubber bands for braces. You slip the band on the tool, open 'er up, drop down whatever you want to die off, and snap it shut. The testicles die and fall off in a  few weeks. The tool is also used to dock tails on animals, and can also be used to de-horn the goats, which we might use as well (Though I've read some reports that it is messy when the horns fall off from this procedure). Before this is done, however, Dad's calling our vet for any pointers. Most places that talk about this type of castration say you need to give the goats a tetanus shot. I'm willing to believe it, and it costs only $3/vial at the animal supply store, so we might (probably will) be giving some injections prior to castration.

In addition to my own farm, I've been helping out over at Ladybird farm, which is more like they're helping me out. They're being great information sources for local growing, and since I don't know exactly what I'm doing with all this farm stuff, I can generally use them as a compass for when to plant out things, and how to treat local weeds and weather. So far, I've helped put up a high tunnel for season extension, helped them put peppers, basil, and eggplant in the ground, and they've given me a flat of tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillo varieties I didn't have! Their setup is pretty nice, more sophisticated than my ramshackle butt-hut, but hey, they've been doing this longer! They have more materials to allow for a longer growing season, but I think I can adapt some of my materials (see the failed first greenhouse for some of them) into season extension techniques. Mostly, I think I can do some smaller tunnels in the field to help with thermophilic crops like peppers and tomatoes, and with limited cost.

until next time,

-Jon E

Saturday, May 7, 2011




Henry Beard
Haggar the Horrible sez: you like my beard? Maybe you'll like my dance!
Funky Chicken Dance Beard
Haggar the Horrible Sez: "I knew you'd like that dance" beard

Mrs. Featherbottom Beard (It wraps all the way around her head!)

Beardo Photobomb Beard

Connie's got a beard

Connie is teaching June Carter all about growing beards

June Carter Goat is trying SO HARD to grow a beard right now! (Everyone's doing it!)
Rosie can't grow a beard, but she's got a winning smile...

And the "last but not least" beard...
That's all for now.

-Jon E