Covered Feeder

If you’ve been following my sporadic postings you know that the goats, Honey and Harriet, have eaten most, if not all, of the privet and wisteria available to them in the area I brought them back to clear. That means they’ve eaten all that they can reach or all that they’re willing to eat. A goat’s reputation for eating anything is, I’m sad to report, somewhat exaggerated. This reputation, I think, stems from their willingness to eat things other ruminants won’t. Cows and horses and sheep prefer pasture, grass. Goats will live off pasture but what they really like are… Read More »

Weekend

I am so glad to be back into my routine. The holidays are nice but travel can be disruptive, especially when there’s a mountain of work to be done. Traditionally I take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off. We usually stay home and I use the time to spend time with my family and work on projects that are equal parts fun and necessary. This year we traveled to Tennessee to spend time with my Dad’s family. Since he died last Spring I’ve made a concerted effort to visit more and maintain closer ties with what remains of… Read More »

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays everyone. Before we get too far into Christmas and New Year’s at our house I wanted to revisit a favorite holiday of mine, my birthday. It’s December 9, if you want to mark it on your calendar. Technically it’s a “Christmas birthday” but it’s far enough out I can raise enough of a fuss to make a clear distinction between the two. The Christmas tree does not go up until after my birthday. This year I turned 40. Leading up to the day I spent some time contemplating on just how best to celebrate. When I turned 30,… Read More »

Jailbreak!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMFYs3gfgis] “Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak…” Sunday was Bronwyn’s twelfth birthday. We spent the afternoon at her favorite spot, the horse barn. She gave her friends the grand tour. They spent time grooming and then had a contest over the most decorated horse. That meant braids and ribbons and all kinds of foolishness. I didn’t fully understand it, but I don’t have to and luckily the horses didn’t seem to mind. We got home for wheat free carrot cake cupcakes (Bronwyn has a wheat sensitivity. You probably do too but that’s for another post) and presents. Afterwards I suggested… Read More »

As promised…

Okay, so I’m slow in getting these up, but here are some photos from building cold frames two weeks ago. Here’s the back of my house in all it’s redneck glory.  The cold frames are snugged up against the south side of the house to best catch the southern tilt of the sun during the winter months. So far I’ve constructed three frames.  Two are planted with spinach, leeks and chard.  The third is waiting it’s bed of rich compost to make up for the clay and rock substrata you see before you. Here’s a detail of the swan door…… Read More »

Vacation

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vH3KAh-Emk&feature=related] Here’s hoping everyone had a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving (raises coffee mug in toast). I’m sitting here with Samantha on the balcony of our rented condo in Gulf Shores, Alabama on the first real vacation I’ve taken in four years. Granted I’ve had a few few pleasurable work trips but this is the first time off I’ve taken with my family in a long time. It’s only as I write this do I realize how shameful that is. Four years? That’s really too long. That’s also one of my grandfather’s faults. In the forty years that I’ve been around… Read More »

Cold Frames II

Sunday morning I got up and made breakfast. Sunday breakfast is best because it is then that I have enough time to devote to making a proper breakfast. Monday through Saturday I get up early for work and breakfast is usually a protein shake and a handful of vitamins. Sunday I sleep relatively late, make coffee and set about to feeding my family properly. This past Sunday’s breakfast consisted of free range organic eggs, spicy pork sausage and sliced tomatoes. Once properly fueled I set about the day’s project, the much anticipated cold frames. Last weekend I made a start… Read More »

Cold Frames

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WqazleR3FE] Fall is officially here in Alabama. And while the temperatures are not cold yet (remember we are in Alabama and cold is relative) the leaves have turned and the days are noticeably shorter. We have lettuces, brussel sprouts, and some braising greens growing in one of our ten by ten beds but we’d really like to extend our growing season and keep fresh produce coming into the house year round. Enter the cold frame. If you’re not familiar, a cold frame is a mini green house. Usually it’s a smallish box with an glass top that can be adjusted… Read More »

Goat Power Part 3

The goats spent the week in the trailer in our garage. Rob wasn’t available until Friday and I wasn’t about to risk a repeat of Bonnie’s escape. Every day the goats got fresh fodder and corn. The fodder I cut from the overgrown areas of the backyard and the corn was left over from Bonnie’s brief stay. On Friday Rob came over and we trained the goats on the collars and the invisible fence. We then released them to the back yard and allowed them to forage. Sophie was much less responsive than the other two but seemed to have… Read More »

Warm and Toasty

Last Friday marked the first fire of the season. We might have pushed it a bit but there was enough of a chill in the air that at the time it felt justified. Two winters ago I bought a used woodstove and had it installed in the chimney of the main family room. It came equipped with a blower and for the past two years has effectively replaced one of our two furnaces during the winter. In the next year or two I’d like to install a second stove in the other half of the house. I love everything about… Read More »

Goat Power Part 2

Even though my first attempt was an utter failure.  Even though it made me the subject of ridicule and friendly ribbing.  I knew the “goat idea” was a good one and I was determined to see it through.  Providence, I believe, agreed with me. Some months after Bonnie had made her bold escape I got two new clients, a married couple who would come to weigh heavily in the future success of Emerson’s Acre, Rob and Stephanie McDonald.  Rob is the owner of a local Pet Stop franchise and his wife Stephanie, in addition to being the mother of two… Read More »

Holy Cow

  **This post is a re-print from my other blog Agoge Fitness Systems** Last Sunday marked a milestone in my family’s journey toward greater health and wellness. We purchase ¼ of a grass fed cow. Specifically this cow came from 2733 Ranch and was a grass finished cow, meaning that it was allowed to forage and live off of grass, a cow’s normal food, it’s entire life. Feeding my family clean, healthy meats has always been a priority. Cost has, however, always been prohibitive. Just check the meat counter at Whole Foods and you’ll see why. Grass fed ground beef… Read More »