Sunday, October 30, 2011

Working Disorder

I think if the Moose were born or growing up now, he would have been diagnosed with some disorder for someone who can't seem to get or come up with enough work.  You see, it was 5 a.m. this morning, and any other normal person would have been sleeping in after the work we did at the Compound on Saturday.  Not him, he's up, walked the dog and came back in and spent about 15 minutes trying to solve a problem we've been putting off at the Compound with the pond.  Since he came up with a solution, our day was planned. We would have been out the door by 6 a.m., but he was out of luck as the big box store was not open until 8 a.m.  Lucky me!  It gave me just enough time to feed the bird, feed us, pack a lunch and drinks, fold two loads of laundry, help pack the car, shower and get out the door at exactly 8 a.m.

The problem:  The pond had a bad case of algae, as the water sits stagnant.  Now that there are thousands of tiny fish, and we're sick of looking at the slick green snot that grows on top, we needed to come up with a solution.  To most, that sounds easy, but we have no electricity.  It's not as simple as putting in a pump and plugging it in.  We are totally off the grid.

The Moose decided to use two pumps, one as a fountain for aeration, the other to pump the water through a filtration process of sand, rock, etc.  But before he could complete this part, he came up with a plan to get a good amount of the pond scum out of the way.  He used some left over screening, stapled it to two pieces of thin wood, and made what ended up being a 3' x 8' pond skimmer.  It did a great job.  Totally transformed the entire pond. 

While he was in the pond in waders, he decided to try and get rid of The Fart.  The Fart is the odd bubble (s) in the pond that happen to show up now and again.  You have to actually gradually walk them over to the side of the pond, so the smelly gas (hence the name The Fart) leaves from under the liner.  It's really foul smelling, rotten eggs hundred fold!  Yuk..

Here's what it used to look like:

Well, the fountain and pump/filter both work as intended.  We already have an array of solar panels that we'll use to run them both.  We just need a larger inverter to handle the electrical requirements.  This way, they can run even if we are not there.  We'll set them up on a timer, so the12 volt batteries can keep up with their charge from the solar panels.  Now we're considering Talapia for the pond.  Anyone had success raising them?

Here's the fountain set up, and if you'll notice NO FART!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Back to Eden Experiment - Central Florida Part 1

The day started with a light rain, and lasted of course, until we were done with one of our weekend projects.  Our main project was to lay down mulch in the garden 4-6 inches thick, per instructions from the Back to Eden film we watched a couple of weeks ago.  Boy, will we need more mulch.  Now I know why Paul from the film had so many piles delivered to him.  Our mulch isn't as pretty as his, but hey it's free!  Here's where we started:

Here's where we ended:

Doesn't seem like much, but it took us about 2 hours to get this laid out.  We figure we'll need at least another 8-9 loads to complete the entire garden area.  There are some plants peppered throughout, that we started a couple of months ago, but due to the rain, and poor soil conditions haven't done very well.  We're experimenting at this point, so we left them in to see how things progress.   What you don't see is the muck!  It has rained again, and the ground was already saturated, and this new rain didn't help but get our boots stuck in the mud.  We look forward to the layer of mulch, instead of mud.

We'll slowly work on mulching the rest of the garden over time.  We're not in a rush, except to finish this main garden area.  The other areas are for back up, experiments with crops, etc.  When shtf we'll have additional growing space already prepared.  We look forward to seeing how this progresses, and we'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Honey of an Idea!

I've decided to go for it! I'm going to start a hive at the Compound. It'll be one of my next big projects. Since springtime seems to be the best time to get the new hive up and running, I'm going to study up as much as possible, and purchase the items that are needed between now and then.

When I ask people what they think, their first and only response is; "you're going to get stung"! I'm sure I will, but from what I can tell, it's not life altering, and as long as you are methodical, and calm, the number of stings will be minimal.

There are so many benefits to having your own hive; of course honey as a sweetener, beeswax for making candles and lip balm. It's also been used as an antibacterial application for wounds. You'll also get a higher yield from your vegetable garden, and help save the honey bee population (they are dying off by the millions each year, thanks to pesticides). Did you know that by consuming raw honey from within 50 miles of your own home, you'll actually reduce your overall allergies to pollen when the season strikes? The honey contains pollen, and helps your body build up a tolerance. I learned that from the "Beekeeping for Dummies" book. I'm sure my family will get sick of hearing me talk about bees. As much as they did about chickens when I got started with them.

I find the topic interesting, and after spending time working in our own garden, reading articles about GMO's, and systemic pesticides, the benefits are endless. Seems like a win win. Advice anyone?

Picture from the National Geographic:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Houston We Have a Problem

We have an egg eater(s) amongst the Hooligans. We'll try to get a camera up in the coop this weekend to see who the culprit is. What a shame, but someone has got to go. Along with the vandal, Monkey will likely make the soup pot as well. He keeps attacking the Moose and I whenever he gets the chance. You'd think he learn, but no. Sorry Monkey..

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bath Time!

We stopped out late last night to check on the Hooligans. The Moose felt sorry for them so he let them out for a short time. They were so excited, and ran as fast as they could to escape. I just love to see their little bodies run! Most of the girls decided it would be bath time. If you've never had chickens, they don't wash up in water, they take dust baths. They really get to throwing dirt around. When they get up and shake off, it's much like Pigpen from the Peanuts; a cloud of dust! See if you can tell how many are actually in that pile together..

There's 6. The others were over at the camper screen door begging for grapes. Of which I had none yesterday, but it's crazy how quick they learn. Needless to say, it was a chore getting them to go home. The weather here is perfect. Highs in the lower 70's and lows in the middle to lower 50's for the next few days. A welcomed relief.

I won't post much this weekend, we're basically taking it off to spend with Daughter Number One and Daughter Number Two at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. It should be a blast, at least the parts where I bother to keep my eyes open!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chainsaw Massacre!

O.K. Halloween theme here! Couldn't help it, I know corny, but it's my blog.

After last weekends storm, we had a tree down in the drive coming in, along with the damage to the roof on the Tiki Hut, and all the debris mother nature could puke up on our lawn, we were on a mission to get it cleaned up. (see photos in last post of the mess)

The Moose started by getting the fire pit lit up, getting out his chainsaw and letting the Hooligans out (which is more like mob rule). I had made extra oatmeal for breakfast in the morning, and brought left overs for the Hooligans.

We were expecting some company, so I set out to get organized and ready.

My parents and Daughter Number One came out to the Compound Saturday. My Padre couldn't resist the chainsaw just sitting there. Let the massacre begin! He just started cutting down branches and palm fronds. I'm not sure he even took the time to say hello before he got started! He was like a kid in a candy store. Padre also cut off the bottom branches of the oak trees that line our drive, so I could mow underneath without loosing my hat!

My Mom and I spent the better part of the morning picking up and raking yard debris, in between laughing at the Hooligan's and their antics. By this time, Daughter Number One drove in, and we had lunch. I'm not sure what it is, but there is something about the atmosphere of having lunch out in the fresh air surrounded by your family, I'd call sheer joy. I don't think it would matter what you had for lunch, it would taste good.

The Moose and my Padre finished cleaning up the yard. I wish I had taken pictures of the amount and size of branches, limbs and palm fronds those two burned. The fire pit was always ablaze, and it went from 8am until 4:30pm before it was finally a pile of hot burning coals. The yard has never looked this good.

Then one final task before the end of the day; fixing the Tiki Hut roof for the second time this year. Thanks to 70-80 mile/hour winds. But it seems no challenge is too big or too small for the Moose and Padre.

My parents headed home. We stuck around for a bit with Daughter Number One, cleaned up, chit chatted and then corralled the Hooligans in for the night. There's always one lone hold out and this time it was The General. Daughter Number One had a good laugh at our expense.

I'll leave you with a cute photo, I don't know what they were all looking at.

Monday, October 10, 2011

O.K. Enough Already!!!

The Moose and I decided to run out and make sure the Hooligans were OK, as we had wind gusts between 60 and 80 mph and nearly 12 inches of rain out at the Compound. We had all of that and then some! What a disaster area! We lost the roof on the Tiki Hut Again! Take a look at these photos showing the mess. Looks like we'll be burning on Saturday. The Hooligans are just fine.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wash Out!

It's been a washout this weekend. As of 9am today, Sunday, we've had nearly 11 inches of rain. Folks that's only Saturday and Sunday, and it's not done raining yet!

Other than feeding the Hooligan's nothing much could be done. Spent Saturday night at Daughter Number 1's house having dinner and playing cards with the Moose and my parents. It was a great time!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's Sunday morning and temperatures are anywhere from 10-15 degrees cooler than yesterday, and does it feel wonderful! It won't last long, but it's a very nice break as we haven't had temperatures this cool since May.

If you haven't had a chance to visit MDR's blog at the Modern Day Redneck, (his link is on the left side of my blog) than you are missing out. (MDR - I hope you feel better soon!) We've been following each others antics for some time now, and recently he posted the following link:

It's very interesting, and I learned a lot, and not just about gardening. The Moose and I decided we're going to give it a try, as we are continually trying to alter the soil, dealing with too much or too little water, too much or too little nutrient levels, etc. It's been a struggle. Not to mention removing weeds, which out at the Compound are never in short supply. We also want to get away from using fertilizers, and soil amendments.

So we headed over to our local landfill, and picked up our first load of mulch. We don't have wood chips here, and the mulch is free so that's what we'll be working with. That's as far as we got. We'll put it in gear next weekend.

We did finish the screened in deck! We couldn't be happier!

Here's the shower/greenhouse area;

Sherman (resident 12-14' gator) was no where to be seen. The Hooligan's are doing well, and I avoided them when possible, so no attacks by the General.

We're taking the day off from the Compound, but do have some actual business work to take care of this afternoon. After a little shopping with daughter number 1. Have a good week everyone! Thanks for following along on our adventures.