Monday, June 20, 2011

Fun with tires!

Oh, I'm finally having some fun...painting tires to be used as planters around the gardens...everywhere. I've been waiting a long time for this--nearly a year, and now the time has come to get creative. What can you do with a tire? Well...

You can make it fit into the surroundings as a nice, semi-traditional planter. This one is a huge truck tire that Richard planted with yellow squash.

You can create a row of matching tires along a path. These now contain peppers and a tomato in the middle tire.

Or, you can get a little more creative and let the child inside free.

Or, you can get really wild and give in to a Jackson Pollack moment.

And I finished another after this one with big giant purple flowers. I am loving this, totally! Should have done this a long time ago.

This is all of the house paint we have been dragging around with us for years, and now that I can't use it inside because it off-gases and poisons the kids, animals and other life forms, I have a lot of paint to play with. A lot. And I have a lot of a hundred or so. The combination is a lot of stored up creativity being released in craziness. Art baby! Tire art. It is GHETTO FABULOUS!! And perfect for a couple of ghetto farmers. My funky garden.

Recycle, recycle, re-use, re-purpose.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Planting and Writing

Upper garden
Planting like mad! We finished our upper garden area with a little help from some hired hands, although not as much as I'd have hoped. It turned out the tiller they brought wouldn't run much for anyone but I tilled the garden. The great thing is, it got done!

We planted two long rows of tomatoes, a bunch of peppers, more broccoli and potatoes, and in the past couple of days we turned my son's old crib (was recalled due to drop down sides) into trellis's for our loufas! We got some rows of corn in, and Richard planted melons. We also we planted some herbs in pots around the patio. Not too bad, but we still need to get the squashes and pumpkins going and the dried beans.

Corn rows
Crib side trellis for loufas
table on new patio

We got some more fence in here and there, but not enough to let the guineas free again. In the chicken tractor they remain.

My little Napolean is my new best friend, hopping through the 2 x 4 bottom of the field fence to run up and say hi every time I'm in the upper garden. Same story...I pet him, I hold him and then he runs back to his girls. He's a little cutie these days, and a surprise from the mean little rooster he used to be. He did peck at my son, so he can't be trusted really, but I'm enjoying the nice side of his personality.

We have been working on little booklets, that like our classes, give a hands on workshop type approach to sustainability topics. I have finished one entitled Gardening Techniques: Building a Raised Planter and Utilizing Sheet Mulch to Prepare the Bed. It is 11 pages and has detailed instructions along with color photos to guide you through the entire process.  

I am currently working on our version of a chicken how-to-guide called The Chicken Manual. Richard and I both contributed our knowledge and experience in this little book, which covers the entire subject of chickens from chicks to adult layers. Also color photos. Both are for sale...we've been peddling them at the Farmer's markets, and if anyone would like more information, feel free to contact me. They are cheap, and cover our printing costs...maybe. Anything extra goes to the farm of course.

It sure feels good to be doing something creative, and maybe one day soon I will give in to that urge to paint!

Also offering garden design consultation services in our area. Trying to work easier and smarter and less physical. So many new ideas and still so much to do here on our little farm. The critters are all doing well and the humans are getting by the best we can.

Lining up cereal
My daughter has been especially focused (between tantrums) on lining things up these days. This morning her cereal...little balls of GFCF cereal, and this afternoon, her dollhouse furniture...across the room and back. It takes her an hour to eat a bowl of cereal.
Lining up toys

This withdrawal thing has got to end soon, right? We did get an appointment with the biomedical doctor up in the Springs...for August. It's a start. Maybe they can run some blood tests and see if the kids are really allergic to gluten and dairy, or if it's something else altogether.

It turns out kids with Pervasive Development Disorders may have more sensitivities to toxins in the our house. Newer houses, loaded full of carpet and particle board cabinets and vinyl floors are extremely dangerous for people with allergy sensitivities, and in the case of these kids, the off gassing of these hazardous materials causes even more brain dysfunction.

What do I do with that? A can of no VOC paint costs about $35. We need new flooring, new cabinets, new paint, new doors, new is that going to happen? It's time to start manifesting a few miracles.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Raised beds and a trellis's time to grow

Time passes and Spring fades into's getting hot now.

cabbage and broccoli

Got the potatoes, cabbages, sweet peas, green beans, cucumbers, broccoli and carrots, spinach, raspberries and strawberries in. It is a mixed mess of sunken beds, raised beds and planter boxes, although we did manage to build two very nice trellis's.

green bean/cuke trellis
 Richard's back is getting better, in spite of a bad MRI result, which showed three injuries. Now no one will see him except the Naturopathic doctor and the neurosurgeon in the Springs, which is still a month out. Thanks to Dr. Susan and a great little book by Louise Hay called You Can Heal Your Life, Richard is making great progress and has many good days and far fewer bad days.

I think we are learning our limitations, both physically, and mentally, maybe. I know this has been one hard lesson for me and I still have yet to handle any of it with much dignity and grace, although I'm getting better as I realize it is a test of spirit and yet one more battle against EGO.

Richard is realizing that he lives in a state of resistance to so many things and is trying to overcome it, so that he might progress onward on his spiritual path. Also read Countdown to Coherence by Hazel Courteney, which is a great read and opened my mind, just when I thought I'd heard almost every theory related to metaphysics.

So we come away from this lesson in life as wiser human beings...another day in Earth school for the spiritual beings we are.

On the farm, I still battle with trying to get it all done. A couple of Co-op members came out to help for a day and we got loads of things finished. It was wonderful and we learned that they are on a similar path to the one Richard and I travel. Wonderful to meet like-minded folks...always! Thanks John and Natalia!

We have another friend here to help today, trying to get the garden tilled so I can plant the tomatoes and peppers.

Honey 12-13 weeks old
Honey is growing like a weed and the children are still "withdrawing" from gluten and casein. My little girl wrote her numbers for the first time last week (normally she just scribbles). Mostly the kids are still hyper and tantrumming every time something sets them off (wrong color cereal bowl, Daddy had to go to work, I want ice cream).

patio in upper garden

I managed to get a patio built out of the old flagstones  I've been dragging around from house to house. And I got the parking area finished...well it needs another layer of gravel, but it is good enough for now.

We have chased and recaptured the guineas ( they were harassing some neighbors who weren't too keen on their morning wake up calls) and put them in a chicken tractor, which was supposed to be Andy's (the white silkie roo) new home. Napoleon fled the coop and headed off to join the girls up in the llama barn, leaving poor little timid Andy all alone.

Napoleon finds his girls

Sometimes Napoleon follows me around, yelling and wanting to fight, so today I just squatted down and waited for him to approach, and ever so gently I reached out my hand to pet him. He didn't attack me at all, and in fact let me pet him and pick him up and cuddle him and fuss over him for quite a while. I guess the angry little roo just wanted some love. Don't we all?