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 »

Carb Hangover

I recently went to a dinner party hosted by some friends from my daughters’ school. As someone who leads what could arguably be called an “alternative” lifestyle I wondered what exceptions I might need to make to my diet for the evening. Neville is an excellent chef. I’ve eaten his food many times before and greatly enjoyed it. However, for the last year I have been following a very low carb diet. In fact my sole source of carbohydrates for the last four months have been vegetables. While my diet is not strictly Paleo it is sympathetic with this new/old… 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 »

Goat Power Part 1

My property is effectively divided into fourths. There’s the front yard, the house proper, the back yard and then the “Back Forty.” The Back Forty is approximately ¼ to 1/3 acre. It sits behind the privacy fence that defines the backyard. Up until now the Back Forty was wasted space. It was overgrown with privet, wisteria, briars and hackberry trees. The wisteria is so prolific that it killed one of the hackberry trees which fell during one of this summer’s storms. When we moved into the house three years ago Samantha and I hacked our way with a machete around… Read More »

Emerson’s Acre

Ralph Waldo Emerson promoted a philosophy of self reliance. He felt the highest life a man could attain was by living according to his own works and his own merit. I couldn’t agree more. This blog will be a chronicle of my own efforts to attain a higher life right here right now. I won’t define my intentions anymore than that simply because I don’t want to write myself into a box. Here’s what I will tell you. I’m thirty nine years old, married and have three daughters. My mother in law lives with us. We have three cats, two… Read More »