Sunday, April 28, 2013

goat cheese

The tiny arm is now up to 3 goats. One thinks she is a lap dog. One thinks she is a wild deer. One thinks she is a goat. Lucky for us the one that thinks she is a goat is also the one producing milk. We get about 3/4 of a gallon a day. The milk makes wonderful cheese. We have been whipping up cheese every other day or so. The creations are delicious. Not having a refrigerator we feel obligated to immediately devour the cheese. below is a picture of todays mid day snack. Organic blue chip, salter roasted walnuts drizzled with local honey and fresh farm goat cheese.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

goat cheese

Yesterday we added another goat to the farm. Brie will hopefully grow into a healthy milk producing powerhouse. We hope to make plenty of cheese from her production. Speaking of cheese, I milked Iris yesterday and we claimed 3/4 of a gallon. The process was tiring on my hands but as I got the rhythm she was relieved to have less pressure in her udder. The farmers cheese was tasty straight from the pot and should be even better today as it has had time to ripen a little. Below is a picture of the cheese.

The recipe was simple: 3/4 a gallon of milk ( goat milk) warm slowly to just below a simmering boil. This is easier to do with a gas stove than an electric one. I let it warm slowly for 1/2 an hour so as not to burn the cheese. When it was to  heat I added 1/4-1/2 cup of red wine vinegar. As I stir in the vinegar the curd separates from the whey. I removed it fro the heat and poured it through a linen cloth into a jar. This allows the curd to ball up in the clothe and the whey to pass into the jar. It is basic and smile and delicious.

Monday, April 22, 2013

our bottle baby

This weekend has been an adventure in parenthood. Biddy, has joined our family. She does not sleep, she poops everywhere, and until yesterday would not take the bottle or solid food. Today, she will eat anything especially newspaper.

Friday, April 19, 2013

plumbing gone wrong

    As it turns out I am a terrible plumber. Despite working as a plumbers assistant in college for a season, I am a terrible plumber. I might have realized plumbing is not for me while working for the plumber in college. On my first day of work we had to send a motorized wire auger contraption into a toilet drain. Lord only knows what was being flushed at this hair salon but the sewer did not like it and put a stop to the flow. I was amazed by the sight of the auger in motion. I stood looking down the open whole suited in an apron and gloves, mouth agape. I think you see where this is going. As the auger came out of the whole spraying sewer straight up into my open face the plumber looked over at me a simply said, "son, you are going to need to learn to keep your mouth shut." I have ever since had a bad taste in my mouth for plumbing.
     This week I have plumbed our water line twice and both times it has leaked. Apparently someone ran into one of our frost free hydrants and broke the water line. Thus the reason for needing to fix it. And my terrible plumbing skills are the reason for re fixing it as well as the reason for now needing to fix it again.
 post by: Steve

Monday, April 15, 2013

naming the farm

    Names, We all have them. As children we assign unknown or unfamiliar things names. God commissioned Adam and Eve to assign names to created things. It is part of us at a core level. We assess; we consider; we label; we name. So it has been asked, what is in a name? A name can conjure up memories both passionate and upsetting. A name can set a tone. If the the name is harsh or if the name gently rolls off your tongue matters.
    This weekend we attended a church service where a father was asked to name their child. It is an important task naming a child. It made me think of God, how the name of the Lord is a strong tower. I picture this hugh cliff like castle rock. This tower of stone with rough yet sculpted edges. A formidable tower, a mountain. Nothing that man could create by stacking stones but a true tower of refuge. I imagine the inside of this mountain tower to be warm and inviting. Often I think of towers and castles as damp, dark, musty with maybe an antler chandler and a bear skin rug. You seek refuge and safety in the tower but is no place for a picnic. This is not the picture I have when I think of God's tower. I do picture an impenetrable fortress but instead of an uncomfortable interior. I picture compassions that are new every morning. Mercy is abundant and never failing. The name of the Lord invokes these thoughts in me. Thoughts of strength and comfort in that strength.
It is with this mindset that we undertook the task of naming our farm. We knew that there is power in a name. There can be comfort in a name. Above all there is memory with a name.
    The process of buying the farm was definitely a providential God thing. It was a process that took a little over a month, a lot of prayer, and input from family. We bought 13.8 acres of land that was divided off a larger tract from a man that would not divide the land. We paid half the price he had to have per acre and we were blessed with the best of the land. The man we bought from expressed that he would sell us a section but is was not great land. The land was hilly, the lower area was soggy, and most of it was over grown. two years into this endeavor and the land is clear, the lower area holds promise of a large pond, and the hills provide micro climates for diversity of growth. The soil is even varied allowing great diversity of plantings.  The real bone chiller was when the man told me how he was going to draw the property lines. I had been praying over a napkin drawing of an obscure utah shape. When the man drew the lines I took out the napkin and the lines fit. It was providential to be sure. He expressed his disbelief as an atheist and could not understand how praying over a napkin drawing could be so powerful. I can, there is power when you call on thew name of God.
We have named the farm; Providence Mountain Farm because God providentially provided the land and the farm has since been blessed by God in many ways.

tiny house power

    Power is one of those things that some would say is a luxury and other claim as a necessity. While I feel it is not a necessity it does offer a degree of expeditious opportunity and comfort in a number of situations. Our current power ( no pun intended) is provided by a quiet generator located near the house. It is cranked for a limited amount of time to run tools such as the circular saw, drill or blender. While all or these tools have non electric ancestors, which we also own, they are the best tool: time implements. 
    The generator is run on very limited occasions and some weeks it is not even considered. That said, the generator is still run too often for my liking. It is a gasoline powered monster that roars, despite it being the penultimate loudest on the market. I inevitably spill some fuel on my hand and then I smell like a mix of gas and me. I would rather only smell of the latter. These issues push to a head the need for an alternative power. 
In terms of alternative power we have discussed several options. 
     Solar, classic. This option harnesses the energy of the sun and converts it to usable power. An excellent option but for our limited roof space maybe it should be more of a backup option. 
     Wind, the up and coming alternative. Wind power has been around for all of time. It has powered boats, pumped water, ground gain, amidst other uses. We have considered wind due to the constant breeze that the mountain offers. It is quiet and comparable in price to solar. The big drawback is raising that tower. 
      The current option in mind is hydro. Hydro power is often used by municipalities as an axillary power. They use power to pump water into elevated holding reservoirs only to release it and produce power when there is a high demand. We would not be pumping water into a reservoir but collecting water from runoff or seeps. The water we plan to utilize would be rain water off the roof held in a tank and released by a valve. The water would turn a turbine down the hill from our home and produce power when we need it. The valve could be turned on/off much easier than starting the generator. The power is clean, quiet and more affordable than solar or wind. Rain permitting and assuming a hill for added head pressure, hydro seems to be the optimal option for our needs. 

While my drawing is basic, it is the general idea. Please read it backwards. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Outdoor shower Done

The outdoor shower is done, mostly. Here are some pictures of the shower. I will add a little mortar to better the drainage and possibly hard plumb the water line at some point. Those things aside it is done. And yes, I am still working on the indoor concrete shower for those whom have asked.

access to tiny house

make shift stairs are in. The old cinderblock we were using to get up to the deck is gone ( used in a pier to make the deck addition) I can not tell you how many times I fell using that cinderblock. My wife has sure been a trooper, as I know she has not enjoyed the block system. none the less the new little stairs are a nice way to come home.

grey water

grey water is happening. Yet to be completed but the grey water system is under way. This will be a dark grey system. Which is to say it will not contain solid waste but will not be something you want to recycle. That statement will make more sense when the new indoor plumbing designs are released. Essentially, this system will be a nice way to drain liquids from the house and into the forest below.

quail tractor at the farm

     The quail tractor is built. We built a little quail tractor to roll around the farm. It will mate up to a small "yard." We plan to use netting over hoops to create the yard. The idea is to raise the quail in a safe environment in a wire cage but also offer grass, dust and insects. The mix of safety and things that quail love ( dust and bugs) hopefully will yield delicious eggs. Tiny as they may bee quail eggs are reputed to be 3X healthier than chicken eggs. I can attest to them being tastier.
    Side note: most quail are raised "on wire." this means they are always in cages and go not have the environment they were created for. Quail naturally live in woodlands and prairies. They take cover in the tall grasses, clean themselves with dust, and fly straight up and away at the first sign of danger. They do not domesticate easily like chickens. They must remain contains or they will fly away.
    The quail tractor will function like a chicken tractor only it will have the "yard" function to keep them safe from hawks and contained. The tractor will allow for transporting them on the farm and keeping them safe from dogs and coons at night. Heres hoping it works.

farm table

      Well, The tiny timber house has a new piece of furniture. The farm table is built. We completed part of the deck and immediately adorned it with the farm table.
      A year and a half ago on our honeymoon Donnelly and I timbered a tall cherry tree. The tree was suffering from invasive English Ivy. We fell the tree and rolled it down the hill to our truck. There it sat to dry. As it turns out dry or not cherry wood is heavy. We set up a ramp of logs and a lever system of logs and outsmarted the cherry. It ended up in the back of our truck and off to the mill. Lemowen, our master man of the saw, cut the tree into beautiful planks which have become shelves and other things around the house but the original purpose of the wood was for the farm table. That purpose was realized this weekend.
      Lemowen had an old barn that was falling in and he gave us the beams from it. With these beams Donnelly planned to build a table for guests to enjoy farm fresh meals upon. As she began assembling the materials for the project I slipped away to the wood pile where I had been curing the cherry. When I returned she had the legs ready to go and we assembled the top. I think it turned out nice, my wife has excellent taste.
     The farm table bench, also her idea, is made from old barn wood. The heart pine is sanded down to reveal the old saw marks. It is gorgeous stuff and comfy too.