Ted’s essays

dam + ladder

Beagle Brain, aka: Scooter, our Beagle/Lab cross, the BLAB, inherited the beagle willingness to follow her nose wherever it leads, whenever she can. Our containment fence was not up to the task. She would challenge it. I would fix it. Rinse and Repeat. FINALLY I shut her exit down while the rented backhoe was available with a dam and its backwater flooding where the fence crossed the creek. Yay! Success! BUT The tiny dam I rebuild every spring to enable my irrigation to draw from what little bit the upstream irrigators leave in Bunkhouse Creek posed no barrier to the little trout living in the year-round stream. My Scooter dam and culvert, however, did make a barrier… One I was […]

building pad adjustments

My equipment operator skills returned quickly, but my foundation layout talent never existed, and did not magically appear. Said another way, my first shot was off a bit. I had to rework it before the concrete partners did their job. Part of my weakness is not having the cool tools that the real guys use, like a laser-transit and two-man tape measure. Watching them work had me forgiving myself for incompetence where I was outside my skillset and toolset. Thanks in part to a great community, the recovery was quick and not overly expensive. The track hoe I rented was just as cool as I remembered from past experiences. The first phase needed the loader bucket of the back hoe, […]

chicken art

My chickens produce this art. They do this work for chicken feed. We unceremoniously eat their art work. This is the third iteration of my Easter Egg Chicken Ranch. Pictured below is a two-day collection. Then there is the supply in our fridge… numbered to insure we rotate the supply.

hanging out with young chicks

I had a heckuva fight going on for several days with a hen who set her mind on raising a brood of chicks. NO. I have enough for now. No more this year. YES. It is my turn. I took to wearing my heavy leather gauntlet arc welding gloves to remove her from the nest. She graduated from pecking my hands and arms to flying at my face. I figured she would give up eventually. Then I thunk again. What is the problem? Don’t have enough eggs? No. Got some problem with free chicken dinner? No. Can’t give away excess birds? No. So I let her set on them. This afternoon was the coming out party for momma and […]

January tomato and pepper

I have never watch my tomato or pepper plants with such interest. My window-sill garden is growing well… much to my amusement. With this macro-watching perspective we can observe the flowers I pollinate with a paintbrush as they grow into pepper and tomato shapes. Next year I will start a month or two earlier. I am ready for those fresh fruits NOW.

first flower of spring

Okay, January 4th is not quite spring, but my first flower from my windowsill pepper and tomato garden has opened up.

pepper flowers

It is January first in Montana (yeah, kind-of everywhere today ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) with temperatures ranging from the morning low of -1 to a high of 20 degrees Fahrenheit. When I raised the thermal drapes this morning there was ice six inches up the south windows. The one tomato plant and one of my sweet bell peppers on my studio bench are starting to bud into flowers! I think I planted the seeds in pots on the October full moon; the 24th. I definitely planted lettuce, spinach, basil and oregano in the greenhouse on that day, but can find no mention in my notes of pepper planting anywhere. I think I remember doing them then. The greenhouse lettuce and spinach […]

bells – bronze age relics are still valuable

In researching for this article I ran across a site diffen.com. I was looking to to clarify the difference between brass and bronze. What a cool tool they provide… there vs their … flu vs cold … ethnicity vs race … mold vs mildew … and so much more. Check them out. I bookmarked the site in my search/research tab. Among their differences are that bronze came from around 3500 BC, the beginning of “The Bronze Age”, or when this batch of humans figured out how to make things from metal. That was a pretty big deal. Around 3,000 years later came brass. I have dabbled with brass trombones for 60 years. I love the sound of ringing brass […]

semi-auto mousetrap, Gen III

In response to what I have experienced as a chicken rancher, I just built my third semi-auto mousetrap. The first one had to be inside a chicken coop that had baby chicks along with adult chickens and roosters. I had to study up to figure out a way to eliminate a major community of mice who were eating chicken feed, drinking their water and, most importantly depositing mouse poop all over everything. The odds on their creating an unhealthy environment were very high. While the essence of this device came from other people, I adapted, adjust and re-invented it my own way. . . . . . . . One of the features I did not like from my […]

report from the mushrooms

I believe it is harvest time. I am not sure what I will do with them, but Here goes nuthin…

growing my own mushrooms

Through Darby Adult Education, I took a class on growing Oyster mushrooms. Chase covered A LOT about mushrooms, what they are, how they grow and more. The part we think of as mushrooms is a mere portion of the organism’s reproductive system. For reference, however, it is conveniently called “the fruit”, and the facility for encouraging its production, the fruiting chamber. There is much into the process before it is ready for the fruiting chamber. Six weeks of class got us to this stage. The first picture has a jar that was infected, ruined somewhere early in the processes. Chase suggested finding a suitable environment to plant it in, hoping the natural world would enable its recovery. The next […]

asparagus

One might assume I am a pessimist expecting TEOTWAWKI too soon to do any long-term projects. That one would be wrong. While I continue my drive to be prepared for Bilderberg-engineered disasters, I also recognize their schemes continue to be frustrated by events beyond their control. So I prune fruit trees, plant blueberries and build an asparagus bed as if I might get to enjoy the fruits of that labor two or more years hence. Yesterday it was blueberries. Today asparagus. On the north side of our year-round creek I put four roots each in their own discrete beds. This is much like their natural habitat. I’m thinking they may like it a lot … and reward me by populating […]