Last Fruits of The Garden (maybe?)

Check out this pepper. It came from the garden.

pepper

This is a Poblano-Ancho Pepper. They are green, only a little spicy, and very good for cooking. Ch and Z devoured this four-and-a-half-incher before I had the chance to cook it as it was the only one of this species we got this year. They agreed that the pepper was delicious and I managed to save some seeds. Hopefully we will have better luck next year, and we will not have to spend too much time hiding from hail and tornadoes. Oh come on, a girl can hope!

Side quest time. Let’s discuss the current weather conditions that confuse my decision-making.

October weather is a fickle thing, more fickle than weather usually is in this neck of the woods. We are under the spell of a cool front at the moment so we are experiencing historically normal temperatures (yes normal temperatures) with a high of 68F (20C) degrees. However, we will pop back up to 80F (26.6C) this weekend! The houseplants are all sending out new spring shoots, and the trees are both budding, and shedding leaves. Depending on how warm our “warmer than usual” winter is, we might be able keep the tomato and pepper plants growing over-winter. Can you believe it!? My farmer roots are showing…

Where were we?

At any rate, we hope to construct a little greenhouse. In a hail free environment we would use UV panels and some aluminum framing, but here in Hail-and-Tornadoville, we have to devise another plan. At this juncture we think 4ml contractor plastic over a wooden frame will do the trick. After some research we learned that UV panels last about 3.5 to 4 years in our area, unless there is hail damage, then they last until the first (or maybe second) storm. Contractor plastic lasts about the same amount of time for only a fraction of the price! So now we have to decide what kind of frame we want, shed-shaped? a-frame? sloped?

Once we have a better idea of what we want to do I will post some plans, of the napkin scribble variety, and we’ll see how it goes.

Advertisements

Chickens in their new home.

Now that the weather is not so hot (most days) we’ve built the chickens a stationary run. Up to this point they have enjoyed a modified-trampoline-chicken-tractor that required moving every 7 – 10 days. I am so grateful that we don’t have to move them in a week!

Moving the chickens, their coop, electric fence, waterers, feeders, and other accoutrement had become such an unloved chore. Sam and I are so very glad we’re through with that – at least until spring. Setting up the ladies’ winter residence required the purchase of two rolls of four-foot chicken wire and a dozen t-posts. My brother came over and helped drive the posts and wire the fence (Thanks K!). Sam and I plugged holes and gaps in the fence with additional wiring and the occasional 2×2, 2×4, or h-wire. The, we ran a brand new electric wire around three sides of the coop. The fourth (and North) side is part of an existing fence with horse wire that we backed up with chicken wire. It is predator resistant, and since the coop is also covered – we’ve elected to take the risk. Additionally, the kids worked together to zip-tie 24 feet of plastic shielding along the north side as a wind shield – should we be blessed with a cold snap, or two, or more (please!).

The ladies seem pleased with the final result. Their coop needs insulation asap and a heat lamp (probably before January). Unfortunately, our best laid plan forgot about the North facing coop door. So in addition to the wind shield we are planning some kind of flap that the chickens can push through, but wind might not push through so readily. Maybe a doggy door for chickens, for

dogchicken

dog-chickens? We don’t know yet. In order to keep the girls laying they need warm nights – 70 degrees Fahrenheit or better. At this point shredded paper and nice dry grass clippings do the trick, but (hopefully) not for long.

newrun

On a side note – I was recently informed (thank you Chicken-Mama-Sam) that straw is bad for chickens, but hay and grass are good as chicken bedding because they are soft greens. The rigidity of the straw causes blockage (poor chicken) and no one wants to deal with sticky butt. (Truth!) Maybe we can find some old hay bales (mold free) that we can use as winter bedding to bolster the R-factor in the coop.

In the meantime we intend to use fluted plastic sign board inside the coop, stapled to the walls and floor. The interior roof space, once filled with old couch cushion foam stapled in place, and covered with more of the fluted plastic sign board to prevent pecking as much as for added warmth, should be nice and cozy. With a small heat lamp we should be able to maintain 60+ degrees even on the coldest of nights. 60 degrees won’t guarantee eggs all year, but that’s okay. Chickens Ladies need a little time off too.

Minimalist Worksheet

“What’s holding you back from your ideal life?”

Minimalism is about more than purging stuff. It’s an ideal. It’s about improving life, living intentionally, and for me, about reducing my ecological footprint. It’s trendy now (at least I think it is) but that doesn’t mean it will be in a year, a month, or heck – a week. But the idea of living your ideal life is ages old and applies to anyone who ever dreamed of something different.

journey

The following questions came from the 4th hint on Simply+Fiercely’s blog post, “Getting Started with Minimalism: 5 Things Not to Do.” The answers are mine because sharing sometimes helps people learn about themselves.

Q: Why did you own so much stuff in the first place?

A: Well, hmm, I guess because I felt like I needed/wanted it at the time, or because it belonged to a family member who wanted to know if I wanted the item – and I didn’t want to appear ungrateful – or see the thing go to waste.

Q: Why do you want to be a minimalist?

A: I want to be a minimalist because the more space I have the happier I am. I like a clean space and cleanliness (or some semblance thereof) is easier to achieve with less stuff.

Q: What do you want your life to look like?

A: Clean! Without waste! Original, calm, organized, simple, maybe even a little heretical (ha!).

Q: What’s holding you back from your ideal life?

A: Question number four is difficult for me to answer. I suppose I feel guilty for other people’s wastefulness and so try to eliminate all waste, thereby “marrying” all things that cross my path – even if I no longer need or want them. Being a people pleaser holds me back too… I’m learning to say “no,” but often I feel like it’s easier to say “yes” and put my desires aside. So, guilt about things I have no control over, and a lack of assertiveness are holding me back from my ideal life.

Interesting…

Answering these questions has given me some perspective on why I’m into this minimalist thing – and how I can help myself achieve my ideal life.

*     *     *

Why are you interested in minimalism?

What do you hope to get out of the minimalist lifestyle?

*     *     *

Save