We’ve finished laying in the wood floor of the second floor in the barn apartment. We used wood planks we cut on our sawmill from the Mountainair harvesting project or from boards cut from salvaged timbers from a fire in Arizona. Everything had to planed to the right thickness (& to clean up the surfaces). This was a very long process. The photo below is of Gillian and Eric planing one of many many boards.
Wink is shown sanding the finished wood floor. We did not tongue and groove the boards for expediency so there is a lot of gapage, especially in areas where the boards shrank considerably. We used screws to secure the floor along with liquid nail. They will never move. We filled the screw holes with wood fill so it kind of looks like old fashioned pegs. Cute. After the floor was sanded it got a nice coat of hard wax on top of really stinky stain.
The next step is to get the walls up. Since this is a metal building we needed to put inÂ additional framing to secure the wall to the ceiling. Eric volunteeredÂ to dangle while Jo, Bel, and Juney exploited the concept of mechanical fulcrum to keepÂ him fromÂ plungingÂ to the 1st floor.
Bruce’s new wheelbarrow and a view of the new strawberry beds covered in white row covers. We’ve planted 20 each of Ozark, Honeyoye, Robinson, Ft Laramie, Quinault, and Allstar.
We’ve been working on building the demo raised bed south of the future greenhouse. It’ll be 25×5′ (outside dimensions) and 18″ tall and filled with good rotted horse and goat manure. We were going to make it 24″ tall but decided that the 18″ was a better height for sitting on the rim.
Aly is checking on the cold frame with the grape cuttings that didn’t do a thing. It was pretty disappointing that none of the grapes from last summer took. But that is horticulture. We needed to move the cold frame so the tractor could get to the raised bed area, we could move the water line access hole into the greenhouse area, and we could start work on the greenhouse foundation.
Wink and Aly are cutting the rebar we used to stake and stabilize the raised beds.
Eric, Israel, and Joe are putting in the first tier of the raised bed. We used the sawmill to flatten two sides of ponderosa timbers (<9" timbers) we harvested from the Moutainair State Forestry tree thinning project. The rebar was then drilled down the center of various beems in order to anchor the timbers a foot in the ground and to each other. It may not show well in the picture but we laid chicken wire in the bottom of the bed before laying the timbers down. We have a real rabbit and gopher (the furry rather than the tortoise kind) problem out here. The gophers ate through the base (underground) of two of our myrobalan plums this winter. Luckily they didn't have grafts on them ... but it indicates that they'll probably find any of our plum trees tasty.
Speaking of Mountainair … Wink fought off a very aggressive Ponderosa timber that really did not want to leave the forklift for the loading rack.
Joanne is sitting on the north edge of the first of ten raised beds. We should get the second in over the last weekend in March when we have a group of university students coming out to help.
Bruce has elected himself the family’s official birthday candle blow-outer. Mom, Auntie-Bel … whose cake needs dousing next??
Speaking of birthdays. Belinda is modeling the leather bag made by Wink. One of the many skills he brings to our sustainability project. You can put 2 3″ binders side by side in that baby
Couldn’t resist showing off one of the beautiful features of the Ergo baby sling (works with any mei tai as well). Juney fell asleep in the Ergo on my back and then I was able to lay her down on the futon and she stayed in “back formation” or “spread eagle” … however you wish to refer to it. Look for the pink socks, which nicely highlight the camo outfit, to find her feet.
Juney and Supergirl modeling their similar sunhats at the park.
[Anna] We’ve been very busy, as always.Recently Eric and I have explored the issue of how obvious the link is between posting pictures of our children and sustainability issues (the theme of this blog). We agreed that one of the main elements or strengths of this particular farm is its emphasis on the multigenerational, extended family unit. American society now emphasizes the nuclear family and it can be very difficult to follow sustainable or permaculture based values in the nuclear family because there is less labor and no shared resources (eg., two nuclear households each using 2.0kw of power is less efficient that one extended family household using 3.0kw of power). The extended family is one model to address this issue as are the increasingly popular intentional communities of friends living in close proximity. Community is important to sustainable living whether it is formed by family or friends. You can push to live sustainably in a nuclear family unit, we’ve tried it, but I think it is harder to do. Of course, there are different opinions out there on this and which can be valid for different reasons.
Our children are an important part of this enterprise. Not just because I hope (although I’m not wedded to) they’ll carry our torch and keep the farm going as we age but because we are doing this so they will have a better future and because how we raise and nurture our children as parents and grandparents is integral to living sustainably. Our belief in parenting techniques like attachment parenting, babywearing, EC, homeschooling, etc. are outgrowths and expressions of our desire to live sustainably.
The January 30th post has photos of Juney on the potty, a playmat, and in a sling with her grandpa. Supporting Juney using the potty and using cloth diapers (and the night-time disposable …aggh … to be completely honest) is a manifestation of our values regarding sustainable living. In fact, just today all her poops have gone into the potty. Yesterday she used only two cloth diapers all day because she urinated/pooped mostly in her potty. Her 82 year old grandfather using a mei tai baby sling to carry her is another expression of parenting values overlapping with sustainability values. The lovely playmat Juney sits on in another Jan 30th photo is also an expression of sustainability in that the material was recycled from another project and it was made at home by her aunt. In fact, Gillian should have been given a sustainability award for this past Christmas because she either made all her presents (mostly from recycled materials) or found items at the thriftstore. She is amazing and it took a lot of work on her part.
Knitting is another venture I’ve taken up in addition to crochet for both economic and mental health sustainability reasons. I’ve done a number of projects now but I just finished knitting up Bruce’s scarf last week and in time for it to get warm … but then we got 1′ of snow on the farm last night so maybe he’ll actually wear it. He wasn’t too keen on putting it on inside the barn. I used more of Gillian’s faux fur to create a Charlie poodle dog impression on the pockets. The ends are folded up to make hand pockets which may or may not work for him. I used a nice red merino wool since I think red is his favorite color … he hasn’t actually said but he usually picks red shirts over blue shirts.
I wanted to swiss darn his name over the face pocket but I couldn’t get it to work out (too few stitches to work with) so Nani helped me straight stitch embroider his name on.
Learning to knit and using natural fibers is another path to not only creating our own clothing but appreciating the true value of clothing and the exploitation required to sell a scarf for $5 (at a profit) at Target. I still do buy those new, cheap clothes periodically … but I am aware of the system I am supporting and I am making an attempt to escape that system by making our own clothing and by buying mostly second-hand clothing. I could go on for way too long about the potential long-term benefits to sustainable living from knitting/crochet with natural fibers which I hope will one day be made from homespun yarn from sheep, alpacas, and/or goats we’ve raised.
The bathtub and park photos below I mostly posted because they were cute but sustainable values can also be found in them. The kids are sharing their bath water which, typically, will then run into the graywater line and irrigate the frontyard plantings. The parks are for the community, paid for by tax dollars, and help provide green spaces of grass that can be shared by many and, as such, are more frugal uses of irrigation water. Parks do not tempt you into buying sodas or happy meals so you feel it is ok to use the play equipment.
Juney just started sharing the tub with Bruce. He’s somewhat ambivalent but she’s ecstatic. She actually will pull herself up on the side of the tub and when I ask her if she wants to take a bath she starts bouncing and smiling and cooing. Note the bubble beard in the second photo.
Juney and Bruce at the park with playmate “Superboy.”
What are we being sustainable for if it isn’t for our children and future generations.
[Anna] We’ve had quite a bit of snow on the farm this year. These photos were taken January 7th but I’m just now getting them downloaded. These are taken southwest of the barn.
Isn’t the windmill pretty! The compost pile covered with snow looks pretty good too Can you tell where it is?
Here’s Juney, in her Christmas dress, sitting on the faux fur playmat her Auntie Gillian made.
Is Juney contemplating her Deedee’s hat or what she’s doing on the potty?? She’s been doing really well with the EC. I’m not the dedicant I was with Bruce, but she’s a better signaler than Bruce was. We mostly focus on after nap and after meal pottying and she’s starting to go longer between urinations.
Grandpa Bob and Grandma Rosie came to visit in mid January. I was pretty impressed with Grandpa Bob sporting Juney in the mei tai baby sling.