New year.. New projects.. New goals..

ImagePumped up for the new year!! Michael started a project on a mini wood stove. I’ve been pouring over seed catalogs, brushing up on crop rotation. Last year was all about growing, this year we actually are incorporating a little more method behind the madness 🙂 I want to focus more on preserving this year. My mom got us a dehydrator for Christmas! Score. And I’m picking up a canning set soon with the Ball book to start reading through it. I canned tomatoes in a class last year so we’ll see how it goes..

Image We have a shed outside that is roughly 100 square feet. With the tiny home movement in our future, we decided to turn the shed into a model tiny home for us to see what it’s like. Now mind you, we don’t plan for 100 sq. ft. but it’s going to be fun to see what we can do with our shed.

Michael scored an 50 cal ammo box to project a mini wood stove we have seen on a couple YouTube videos. We had some old pavers left over to use for the corner for both protection and to help absorb and hold some of the heat. Using a Sharpie, ruler and his dremel, he cut out a door. He went and got piping. We want to make it chimney out the side if possible instead of the roof. Right now we are burning in it outside to burn off any zinc.

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More up to dates next week. Hope everybody had a great Christmas and Happy New Years!!

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Mixed Emotions..

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Yesterday was a bad day for the urban farm. One of my neighbors has a Dodson who got off her runner. She got into our chain link fenced backyard and started attacking chickens. Michael saw it first, but it didn’t take the rest of us long to figure things out as he ran out the back door yelling. By this point the dog had Pepper, our 4 month old Barred Rock, down by the neck. If it wasn’t broken, it was close. There was a terrible hole in her neck. No, this was not supposed to be happening. This can’t be happening. It was and it got worse. Michael tried to grab Pepper away and Nikki, the dog, bit him. He kicked her at this point. We don’t know this dog. His hand bit, Pepper trying to stand, blood everywhere, kids screaming.. he kicked the dog off of her and I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing.

The dog died instantly. Are you KIDDING me? This is really happening right now? The kids ran to see if the dog’s owners were home, while Michael had to put Pepper down. Her neck was broken. This is, was my favorite hen. She hasn’t even started laying yet. Why the HELL was that dog in my yard. I watched Michael hold her feet, slit her throat and hold her as the life drained away. She finally quit flapping. I mean I knew we would one day eat these chickens. We’ve been plotting the roosters death for weeks. But it wasn’t supposed to go like this. These were unnecessary deaths. Tears rolled downed my face.

Nikki’s owners weren’t home, but by now every neighborhood kid knows and a mass greeting when they did get home is exactly what I wanted to avoid. They have a little girl in fourth grade and a son in ninth. The dog was with them a lot and I knew was close to all of the family, that this would be really hard for them as well.And I just made friends with their mom, she offered to let Sydni ride to the bus stop not only when it rained or snowed , but every morning now that it had gotten cold. We had just passed down shoes, jeans and sweaters to Ashton, which worked out perfect. Why did this happen.. You know, I thought what if the dog hadn’t died. Pepper would just be dead. I wouldn’t worry they may be mad at Sydni for some weird reason. I’m so confused about this..

This is definitely one of the problems of urban farming. I grew up on a real farm and if any dog, no matter owner, even came into our yard, it would have been shot. They stress the animals at the very least. The owner would be saying they were sorry. I wouldn’t be feeling this bad. I’ve just beat myself up and that’s nothing compared to what Michael has felt. Even though his dad is one of those shoot on site and he doesn’t even have any animals. His answer is he has kids and I can’t argue with that either. And he would expect an apology for the bullet wasted as well. (He was the first person Michael called) We wanted to call animal control at first to make sure we weren’t liable for anything. I think I was just so freaked out. But then my second thought was I didn’t want the neighbors to get in any trouble because the dog was on no leash and it bit Michael. Torn.. word of the day. Why am I feeling so bad when this dog came into my fenced back yard, killed my chicken in front of my three kids and nobody said sorry to me when I must have apologized twenty times. But I do feel bad, I feel terrible and you know, I’m not really apologizing for Michael kicking the dog, but just that little girl’s dog is dead. Why was it out, geez. What a mess.

Starting a backyard pumptrack today!!

Image Yeah, we’re excited. Enough with the videos.. We have a wooded area behind our neighborhood that has been looking more and more like it wants to be a pump track for me the kids. They are already loving playing in the woods, which I love, but they can’t ride their bikes. Bingo, plus I can practice to get ready for some serious shredding.. Sorry, that was definitely a joke. We went out yesterday and kind of mapped the rough estimate. There is lots of open clay patches and a small hill already.

I’ll up date you guys tomorrow with progress and pictures!!Image

Playful days, you know, I got a lot of memories…

Image We spent this weekend helping the kids build a fort out in the woods behind our neighborhood. My permaculture zones 4 and 5, mind you 🙂 It stated as a foraging trip for some fire wood to burn in the pit that night. We’ve been encouraging the children to play outside more and more, out there is fine. I grew up in the deep woods. They had pretty tight boundaries back there and were loving it.

Then the boys saw the perfect place for a clubhouse. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see these XBOX addicted boys having so much fun designing the perfect spot. I mean it’s not unfathomable, we did stuff like this every day as kids. But, unfortunately, these aren’t those kids. Technology rules their domain. They are the ones I worry about off grid. Not just off grid, but life in general. How are they supposed to have an imagination if it is always given to them with superb graphics in the latest video game. It’s hard to complete with that sometimes. The oldest prefers the artificial world. He even talks about it like it’s real life.. “Well, in Minecraft I built this or found this.. That’s just like in Minecraft, where I found..” What the…

So it was a great feeling to see not just our kids, but our whole section of the neighborhood kids, back at the ‘clubhouse’. Everybody was pumped about who’s spot was who’s, dragging up different pieces of the clubhouse. It was imagination at it’s finest! So the next weekend you can, take your kids or just yourself and hit the woods if you have any. Let your imagination go wild and make you a sacred space, encourage your children to do the same. Take in the fresh air and the laughter you are bound to hear 😀

Word.. from my mother ;)

So I actually think mom is considering the idea of us coming down there. It would be awesome. We are going to look at the land they sit on when we go down for Thanksgiving. I don’t think they like the idea of cob as much as they would a cabin, tiny home style. That is fine by me!! That would let us build both if we wanted. Set up the homestead, actually build.. All the while learning the land, setting up the garden. I’ve never even practiced with cob so maybe this is a better idea to start. I want to do an outdoor kitchen area on whatever we decide, between the kitchen and garden would be nice! I would build a cob oven to break everybody in on what it’s all about and how it works.

I’ve been entertaining the idea of a Japanese style outhouse for the main bathroom. I feel completely renewed on my inspiration. I honestly thought my mom and step dad would shoot me down on this and I think the cob, they will. But the cabin, we may have hope! She says to me yesterday.. It’s all woods back there, Kortni. Yeah, mom, I know! I talked to her about felling trees on site. Renting a sawmill for lumber, hopefully harvesting all you need from what you cut down. We talked about composting toilets and solar panels. I think she is really starting to take me seriously.

She’s at a hippie festival this weekend, so I tell her to get in tune with nature while she’s there 😉 Ask someone what they think of earth homes and off the grid living. Hopefully her and Jay come back with renewed inspiration for us too!

Michael has an interview!!

ImageHe took his cover letter and resume to GOP last week and the manager called yesterday to set up an interview for this afternoon at 3:00. We are so excited. It would be awesome for him to get this job part time. Great access to information, supplies, crazy outdoor stories, people to go biking or camping!! I’ve prayed to all who will listen and if it’s to be, it will. This could be one step closer for us, plus we could use to extra income right now.

They said they are looking for people who use the things they sale and Micheal is all over that. Due to a 10 year terrible marriage, he started biking hard core and kayak fishing. He actually bought his first kayak from this store and won 1st place in a tourney that same year. I hope they just eat him up. Plus with child support always looming, we need a job for him on paper so they can determine a proper amount.

So please wish him luck for all of us 😉 I’m going to feed the chickens

“My days were more exciting when I was penniless and had to forage around for my next meal, I’ve decided that I’m going to live this life for some time to come. The freedom and simple beauty of it is just too good to pass up.” Christopher McCandless

ImageWe get to go camping!!

Michael, Sydni and I get to go set up our camp site, gather wood for our fire, just enjoy some fresh air.

My mom asks me yesterday, tells me more or less, to go get a full time job, both of us. Keep that car. Come up with 15,000 dollars you don’t have. She doesn’t understand that it doesn’t make me lazy that I don’t want to.. I want to spend my time elsewhere. We have a car, a good one, two bicycles and a working set of legs on all of us. The less money you owe out, the less you have to bring in. I don’t need that car to make me happy. Watching Sydni swim in the lake and roast marshmellows with a smile on her face because she’s with me. That’s not wrong…

As soon as we get the land, we’ll be out of this house as well. They really won’t get that. I want to build my house with my hands. To make cob with the earth and mold the place my family will live. There can be not much that compares to that satisfaction. Growing our own food this year, making bread, sharing it with others. This lifestyle is attainable. We will prove it.