Monday, May 4, 2009

The Week in Rabbits

If this rabbit could speak....

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rain Catchment

Our local feed store was selling these barrels. I tried to ask a few questions about converting this solid barrel into a rain barrel but they couldn't fathom it. They are for planters, not holding liquids, appearently.

Using the plans at
Life is Good in Penticton, including buying the tap, we were quite successful at converting this $65 planter into a rain barrel. I think we'll continue to use the tap as we continue to set up rain water harvesting in our aired climate.

As we "tapped" the barrel, the fumes made my eyes water. It's going to have to be flushed out.

Friday, May 1, 2009

My new Steed

It has arrived. It is strong and glossy and ready to take me places and haul things. It challenges me, it asks me to be more than I am. It allows me to go car-lite.
I started out with a beach cruiser, but after a few days riding I knew that it was not going to work for me. I found out that I didn't really ride well in a skirt getting a step through was holding me back. The guy at the LBS was great and took the cruised back as a down payment on another bike.

I worked with the brand they carried and even then the choices were overwhelming: urban bikes, crossovers, road bikes, mountain bikes, cruisers... This is a major purchase and will be with me a long time (God willing). I have chosen a Trek FX 7.5 - it is beefier than a road bike, so like a commuter bike. I kept the 700 wheel in front and put a knobby tire on it, and then put a 26" wheel in back with a narrow tire to better take the load of what I put in the bags and get me sitting upright. I'm waiting on disc brakes and fenders. The xtracycle turns the regular bike into a long bike that can haul amazing things.

I have a 23 year old mountain bike I bought in college when they were brand new. I took it with me when I worked for and lived at a state park. I gave it up when my girls were little,having hung myself up on a fence at 8 months pregnant, but later it was my on-campus transportation in grad-school. I've had it out again as I attempt to get in shape again for the xtracycle. It is very heavy steel and I have big knobby tires on it. It's still good for the trails here. I'm feeling some old injuries that have turned chronic and invasive. I may just have to deal with that. I don't want to be sedentary.

flu thought: I had a lunch with a nurse yesterday who had studied flu before. I already knew that flu travels in waves, but she pointed out that the Spanish flu of the early 1900's had a spring wave and a fall wave. The spring variety was relatively mild and those who got sick and recovered were then inoculated for the deadly fall wave. It is the fall wave that we think of when we remember the Spanish flu 1918.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Preppers note

I really want to write about my new bike/ car lite, but in light of the world health organization moving this outbreak to a 5 out of 6, I thought I'd address the issue in terms of our family's preparedness.

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am a prepper. There was a time I was a preppie but that has been many years ago.

In the last year we have made many preparations, and continue to fill in the gaps for what we think will be hard times with peak oil. However these preparations also work for natural disaster, and pandemic.

Over the last year I've blogged about first aid, alternative cooking and heating, food storage and several other areas.

Is there anything I'm adding or doing differently? Well, as a community leader I've downloaded and printed out some materials from .gov sites to hand out, and I will again publicly speak about food storage. But for my own preparations, I have picked up a few things: disinfectant wipes, nose tissues, and ginger ail. I had not really focused my preparations with disposable items in mind, but for this particular situation, I think it could be important. The Ginger Ail is because that is what our family wants when ill. It's all about comfort. We have chicken and chicken stock and turkey soup and even soda crackers, but we hadn't stocked was what we serve to the bed bound.

My prayers are that all are well and that this is of short durations and limited affect.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring Updates

It really truly is spring, it's just that some parts of spring are really cool while other days are lovely warm. We have had much needed deep rain, but it has frosted the last couple of nights - nothing that would take out a daffodil or a pansy. I'm dressed in long sleeves with a wool vest looking out to a day that can't decide if it will get over 45 degrees or not. It's hard to get motivated to be outside when its so wet and chilly.

I decided on the location for the two espalier trees and planted them, but the spot really calls for two more so I'll picking those up soon - darn they're expensive though.
I'm going to plant raspberries today - Mr. Greenjeans is hurt (dislocated shoulder) so he is not able to be much help and not at work. I still haven't built the potato condo because the drill is too big for my hands to operate. I'll have to see what I can cobble together.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

We're in the milk again

My friend's milk cow has calved and the time of colostrum is done and that cow is producing enough milk for several calves and two families (she is Jersey x Brown Swiss). This is her second year and she is much better at milking - no kicking or fussing and the milk comes much easier. I milked out a half gallon and my only trouble was that my hands got really sore.

The calf is very cute. They are already making excuses not to have him go to the freezer. His daddy is a beef variety, however. I missed pictures of the bummer lambs - so cute!

I came right home and made yogurt and have been reading up on cheese making. Ummmm. Good thing I'm out riding the bike - that fresh milk and all the things it makes is dangerously yummy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Plans for the edible front yard

The time has come to address our front yard. We sort of fell into this house - I wasn't thrilled when I pulled up out front the first time - though we like the inside and backyard. We've never lived near town center before - even if it is a small town.

You can see from the photo how drab and empty the front yard is. My excuse is that last summer was our first summer here and it was spent hand gardening a 1/2 acre. Now I did pull out shrubbary before this photo, but trust me, it wasn't great. This a before photograph, published here for that purpose of documenting a make over. This is the before pictures of our lawn's liberation. You can see the trees haven't even started to leaf out here.

What is awesome is that I went to the local plant nursary and asked for an Espalier fruit tree not really expecting that they would have any, but the owner said, "wow, these came off the truck and I said, "what the ... I didn't order this!" So, we bought two Espalier gala apples - they were destined to be ours. When Mr. Greenjeans met the Espeliars in person, the light went on, and I believe we will be forging full speed ahead into Espalier trees.

I am fairly paralized about the big picutre. The front yard is north facing but we have great east and west sun and the side yard does get southern sun.

Today Chibi and I planted Gladiolas (yes the flowers went in first while I'm plotting the big picture), I top dressed the soil where the shrubs were evicted with rabbit manure, and DH sawed wood for the potato... house.. er condo... I'm going to try the potatoe feature that I learned about over at Rob's world. We want raised beds, and as much fruit as we can get in the ground these first years (last year we planted 4 fruit trees and 3 survived) as well as neighbor appeasing landscaping. I want to work with the neighbors so that instead of being put off by the strange and new approach to landscaping, they too may consider planting useful and edible things.