Sunday, May 29, 2011

Concrete - a week later than expected

The excavation didn't go quite as expected last week (rocky rocky rocky soil) and required a lot more hand work by Bill. He had to further hand-dig out the 4 sections to set up the forms.

Saturday of Memorial Day brought 5.5 yards of concrete.

Bill is one hell of a carpenter, but concrete is h-e-a-v-y and has lots of mass. Unless you deal with concrete every day, you tend to underestimate it's strength.

We had a couple of blow outs. Look at the right corner - the concrete split the corner out.

This form split on the left side.

Overall, we had just barely enough - even though Bill ordered extra - to make it to the top of the forms. We had to do some "concrete rearranging" - i.e. also known as shoveling from one form into a wheel barrow and transferring to a different one that is low.

A finished form full of concrete

I was asleep by 8:30 that night. It was still light outside.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Concrete is coming...

A neighbor at our church/house has access to a small backhoe so we've hired him to do the excavation for the new buttress supports for the barn. Bill will then build the forms. Concrete truck comes on Saturday!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Plowed fields

This is the field that has seasonal creekbed spill and fines from last year when the culvert was replaced. It is topped with compost. We will put our over 100 pepper plants here. First, since my seedlings are late this year - a quick smother crop of buckwheat that will get incorporated in mid June when we plan to plant. (Late... I know...)

When Bill pulled a tarp off of a compost pile he found 5 more Milk Snakes.

This is Field 1 and Field 2. Bill plowed today. He also got #3 done. I can't wait to see them - I go up on Thurs night but won't get out there until Saturday.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Milk Snake!

While doing some clean up last weekend at the farm, we happened upon a snake sunning itself in the driveway.

It was about 3 feet long, no rattler on the tail

Round eyes

Didn't strike at the stick

After some internet research, we've decided that it is a Milk Snake. Milk Snakes are often mistaken for a Bull Snake (which is an endangered snake) as they have somewhat similar markings. Milk Snakes' markings are very saddle shaped with a dark outline. They have round eyes - I learned that round eyed snakes are not poisonous. They don't have a rattler, but they often shake their tail when disturbed and it can sound like a rattle if there is leaf litter nearby. Preferred living conditions are valleys and farmsteads where there is water (our farms perfect!). They eat mice, voles and insects and kill their prey via squeezing it until it can no longer breathe a/k/a constricting. Once their prey is dead they swallow it whole. They lay cluches of eggs numbering from 6 to 20.

Farmers gave these snakes their name as they believed that the snakes snuck into barns at night to steal milk; when actually the snake was more likely to be after the rodents associated with milking barns. Unfortunately this belief resulted in many of these snakes being killed.

Milk Snakes are also very popular with the snake-as-pet population. We were happy to see it - especially once we discovered it ate rodents! - but we certainly won't be inviting in the house.

It spent about 10 mins sunning itself on the driveway and then slithered off.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bucket remover and plowing

As I mentioned in a previous post, Bill devised a way to get the bucket and arms off of the tractor by himself.

It is pretty nifty. Without the weight of that implement, the tractor is much easier to manuever. He can simply pull up, line up the connections, put the pins in (or out) and off he goes!

Here is a movie of some experimental plowing. We were trying different depths. After turning a row or two, we decided it was too wet.

We laid out 3 planting fields. Field 1 and Field 2 measured 80 x 100 and Field 3 is 80 x 60.

That old plow is not fooling around. We will use it respectfully on our soil. Upon turning the soil, it glistened - sandy loam! PERFECT for garlic farmers.

Yep, we installed a ROPS (Roll Over Protection System) - it is hilly there!!

1st pass