Paranoid Parrot Comes Home

Of all the things a normal person doesn’t want to see when coming home after being out for some errands without the kids, a police cruiser in the driveway is pretty much up there on the list. Imagine what it was like for Mr. Paranoid when that was what happened last night. To be fair, we don’t really have a normal driveway layout. We’re 800′ off the road, and it’s not like the cruiser was sitting up at the garage door with […]

Adventures in HVAC

It all started so simply. Cold night, cold house, and my office is as far from the wood stove as anything can be and still be in the house. I needed to burn some dead dinosaurs to take the edge off the office before the sun came up and warmed it a bit. But even after the customary minute or two for the warm air to start, I was getting nothing but a cold breeze from the register. Hmmm… We […]

Modern Witchcraft!

Last night as I lay trying to get to sleep, I heard my oldest daughter Grace (I’ve code named her Blair before, but trust me – Grace is funnier) come into the room. Mrs. P was still up reading, and through the haze of almost sleep, I heard Grace reporting that she burned herself with the hot glue gun. Now, this is like the fourth time Grace has burned herself with that liquid lava dispenser. I’m not sure what it […]

root cellar stores

Of all the typical trappings of homestead life, nothing says “prepared” like a well-stocked root cellar. I’ve been planning my root cellar for years, and just this last week, I finally got around to finishing it. My root cellar started out as a grand plan – a separate structure, built below grade into the side of a hill with a south facing door. It was going to look like a Hobbit hole, but larger, with stone floors and walls for […]

falling tree damage

And all I wanted to do was get to bed early. As usual, big mistake. Something always happens when I make a conscious effort to get to bed early. Usually the dog barks, or something messes with the chickens. Or, like last night, a tree falls on the house. There’s no mistaking the sound of a couple of tons of tree hitting the ground, and when it hits your house too, it’s pretty damn scary. The wind was howling last […]

2014 Harvest Report

We’ve had a killing frost now, and so the book closes on the 2014 growing season. Literally. I have a book. I also have a computer, and being a geek, I used the data contained in my “Book of the Farm” to take a long, hard look at how we did. Here’s my harvest report spreadsheet: * assumes conversion ratio of 5 pounds fodder to 1 dozen eggs. We put up some pretty good numbers overall, with some disappointments – […]

Not My Sunflowers!

Masked bandits raided my stash of drying sunflower heads last night. Luckily they were caught on tape: I had about 10 huge, ripe sunflower heads drying in a washtub on the porch – it gets really warm when the sun hits it in the afternoon. I figured I’d dried them down, roast and salt them, and have snacks for the winter. But this pair of raccoons helped themselves last night, and now I’m reluctant to use them. I know the […]

Fruit Forage Field Trip

Sunny, warm, in the 80s on a Sunday at the end of September – how can you not take a walk in the woods? Gear up and get in the car, kids. I’ve actually been planning this walk for a while. There’s an undeveloped state park near us, that like so many others is centered around one of the many flood-control dams built after the remnants of back-to-back hurricanes in 1955 dumped up to 24″ of rain in a couple […]

Field-Expedient Corn Sheller

I lucked out on the corn harvest this year, and got nearly three 5-gallon buckets of ears. I have no idea what the translates into as bushels, but it looked like a lot to me. The problem with a lot of corn is a lot of tedious shelling to get it off the cobs and into storage. Last year, with only a few dozen stunted ears to process, I just pried the kernels off the cobs with the side of […]