Monthly Archives: April 2011

Garden Boxes and Seedling Progression

well, we direct seeded some of our plants the other day..lettuce and spinach mostly cause they like cold weather..

freshly mixed with some peat to bring make the soil more acidic..the dark ones that is

the seedlings are doing great too..many of the tomatoes we planted were heirloom so its great to see them doing so well..hopefully some purple tomatoes by the fall.

mmm...fancy greencurtain' it

As per usual space is always an issue..its only for a couple of weeks..We also line our windowsills.

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Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Gardening


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New Chickens

..are in the works. Our hen has been broody so rather than fight it we have chosen to embrace it.

When we first decided to let her sit we had no idea what would be entailed..but chickens have been hatching for decades without our help..ok more than decades.  When chickens are sitting on their eggs they do not eat or drink much..they spend all of thier time keeping the eggs warm and adjusting the eggs..but they do need thier own area to grow up in saftey away from other hens and roosters. Other hens will sometimes kill other chicks so we needed a small coop at ground level. With us we wanted it to be:

  • small
  • easy to set up
  • easy to move
  • easy to dance to
  • secure
  • done quickly

..that was all of the criteria we were looking for..since last year we have had a doghouse that someone was giving away..basically 4×4..I had turned it into a Chicken Hospital last year but that plan is to turn it into a ‘hen-den’ over a couple of nights…I have 1 night completed now and 1 more to go.

I actually need to hurry up..I noticed that the other non-broody hen is still laying eggs in the box with the broody hen so its going to mess up the heat and we will probably end up with many unfinished eggs when she is done sitting..usually a day or 2 after the last chick hatches. I figure it will be done tonight and I will post something up then with how it all shook down.

Its actually funny..I read many blogs about small-time farming, off-grid and other related topics and 4-10 I read daily are doing versions of the same thing now themselves..some bought and some are going au natural…great to have so many references to go by!


Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Animals, Construction, Fowl


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Yet another sign of Spring..

didn't have a picture of a obey this toad/frog instead! All Hail the Glorious Hypnotoad...

..this is one of my the evening and into the night are the sounds of Spring..with Spring Peepers! You can hear them just begin to croak just as the sun sets and it becomes a chorus of chirping, croaking and ribbits. We have many small sources of water in and around the property but going into May many of them dry up..A* and I try to do our part to help out by taking the egg sacs from waters that will dry up and putting them into the deeper pools that stay all summer..I would spend many afternoons in the swamp as a child..leaving school in clean clothes to return home hours later with sopping shoes and brown mud stained clothing. This is really one of the last ‘signs of spring’ as far as nature is concerned…

Summer is when we see the net results..toads and frogs everywhere..they start as small fingernail sized toads and frogs and in the fall they are full sized..need to be careful where you step as the whole place is crawling ( and hopping ) with them!

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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Animals, Wildlife


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Bird house x 2

..but I would settle for some birds in one of them. A* is hardening up the tomatoes in prep of planting and I slapped up the houses..not sure about the height for mourning doves or chick-a-dees so I will adjust as I do some more research. Or never..whichever happens first. I am also testing a bulk picture upload feature. Now that I look at the order of the pictures it appears that the order is reversed from what it should be..hopefully it does not take 1.1 gigawatts to fix.


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Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Construction


starting veggies and prep work in the garden..

..we decided to plant indoors afterall..after discussing it and saying we were not going to do it we decided to do it anyway. A* started a bunch of tomatoes, basil, some ornimental grasses and such..basically 1/2 of the garden boxes have their square foot spoken for.


During the planting I noted to A* that there was a squirrel outside so she took a break to take a shot. Just to make it more challenging for her I constantly adjust the scope on the pellet gun so that it does not shoot the day you need to aim 1 tick higher..another day it needs to be 3 ticks lower..This comment should also help to show how ofter A* checks this blog.

aim high..or low..I think.

Anyway..with all the work going on inside I needed to go outside to do some work. I ripped down that piece of shit greenhouse type structure I built last worked great but without constantly monitoring it the veggies that did start to grow got burnt out..too dry and too hot. We also said that this year we were going to spend more time making sure the pH levels were all OK since it is not something we have been really aware of. We tested the levels of all the boxes and determined the average to be 7.25..or in other words too akaline. It needed some more acid to grow the veggies we want so I added some Peat Moss and tilled it in..I also added some compost from last year that had broken down..All the boxes are now DONE and ready for planting..last day for frost is by then the soil should have properly stablized..and the veggie season can really begin!

'..I missed him again!'


Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Gardening, Pets, produce


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Another Spring First


…hard to tell with just a photo..but the stove is not on tonight for the first time since November 1st..roughtly 5.5 months…summer is on the way and the temp when we got home was 16.2C..sweet. We will have some spot starts now and again but from here on out it should be smooth sailing…plus the muddy driveway has firmed up and the car has been in all the way to the house.

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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in heat


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How users got to EagerGridlessBeaver Blog

..hehe. While I was adding a draft of a post this morning I was looking at the site stats. One of the sections is ‘top searches’ other words, what words did people search on that brought you to the site. Here is mine for this week:

‘the tools they use for maple syrup, making maple syrup, how to get burned maple syrup off pots?, filter syrup through paper towel, just tap it in’

The last one ‘just tap it in’ made me laugh when I saw it. Looks like my idiotic sense of humor has scored me at least 1 view this week!

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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in fun


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Ain’t no party


Like a saturday night preparing Irish Stew while burning brush party..and cupboards. Burning, not preparing.


Posted by on April 16, 2011 in Construction


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making maple syrup from sap 12 hours to spare? you like watching paint dry? Have you ever sat outside for a day just to watch the grass grow? If you have answered yes to any of these questions then boiling down sap to make syrup might be a hobby you enjoy. We collected the sap from the maple trees and now we wanted to turn that sap into sweet, sweet syrup.  To do this you apply heat and let the water boil off leaving the concentrated maple sugar..not a complex process..heat until sugary.
The first step was to filter the sap..there was some pieces of bark that had fallen in so we poured the sap through a piece of paper towel. If we had cheese-cloth I would have used that. We are not fancy when making syrup.
wow…what a fine filter you have there!

Since we were going to be boiling the sap I wanted to make sure we had a pot big enough to hold the initial can see that there is a slight tint to the sap so it is not totally like normal water.

after filtering this is how much sap we have..the pot is about 1/5 full

Put the pot on the stove or heating source..let it boil..and boil..and boil. After it has boiled for a while let it boil some more.

the power of reduction at work for you!

The sap will gradually reduce and as it does it gets sweeter..and the color begins to get darker. When it got down low enough I switched to a smaller pot.

..after boiling down enough I switched to a smaller pot

As the liquid gets lower its viscosity also increases…I think that means that it gets thicker in syrup.

almost was sweet at this point

As it gets to the final levels you need to pay more attention..with lower levels of liquid it gets hot faster. If it boils down too much you actually get maple sugar or a burnt mess in your pan.

..almost there…

You can see how dark it is maple syrup. Super sweet!

there. roughly 1 cup of syrup

GOLDEN! The finished product. Yummy! We started with 4-6 litres and got 1 cup from it..The whole process is not hard at all..I proabably spent 1 hour in total tapping, collecting and transferring to pots then it was a waiting game and occasionally checking the process ( I monitor sap levels in the collection areas with my binoculars ). If you ever run out of maple syrup and know that in a week you will need more then I suggest this..or you could just buy some..that might be easier. Maple sap will begin to ebb now so this might be the only batch I get..I should really go into business..I could sell this syrup for $4!



Posted by on April 14, 2011 in cookstove, fun


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trellise version 2

A* and I did up a version of the trellis in the fall last year to see what it would look like..we did not spend more than an hour creating it but we had an idea as to what we wanted for it and that has not changed much..but we wanted more of a solid structure…which basically meant ( for us ) thicker wood..the idea was to use driftwood..but I don’t really have the time to go to the beach, find some suitable wood, cut it down then haul it back…so instead we opted for some old hardwood from our property that already has the bark off of it.

We already have plants in this bed so we had to tread lightly..first off was removal of the old trellis. out with the old

After this step I dug down around 2 feet in both areas. A* held the structure while I sledgehammered it into the ground further.

in with the new(er)

We then backfilled the hole with rocks to provide SOME structure and filled in the the removed dirt.

done for now! again.

It would be more of a permanant structure if we used cement but our plans change all the time so we like to have a nearly completed version that we can then improve upon..I take much of the way that we work from a SCRUM development methodology..which focus’ around having working versions that can then be improved upon..this is more like version 1 and the structure we did in the fall was a prototype. As I mentioned as well in the past we like to time-box our work when we can..not using all the time to think or to act but at least having an idea for how long we want to spend on something and not allowing that to expand too much..although projects like the chicken coop took longer at each step..but at the end of each step something was complete. We like to think that it saves us from striving for perfection when perfection is really a red-herring..we like to have things done, learn from that and move on.

Anyway, hopefully it will get us 2-3 years before the wood rots out. We still need to put a ‘front face’ on the new trellise so that the climbing plants have somewhere to go this summer..nothing to special.

No the garage is not back up for those of you keeping score at home..this was a 2 days before it blew down

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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Construction


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