Saturday, January 29, 2011


Community was a concept we were very interested in when we first moved to the farm. I thought when we first moved here we would get a visit from the area "welcome wagon" and maybe someone would stop by with some banana bread or some other treat, shake our hands and introduce themselves.
Um yeah, that didn't happen. Not to say we didn't have support, my family is the most supportive group you can imagine, and there are so many of them nearby, that maybe folks just figured out who we were through the rural grapevine and didn't feel the need to know more. Regardless, before too long our theory that we were pretty much out here on our own, (socially, politically, culturally) felt pretty well confirmed. (in all fairness, we didn't go out of our way to introduce ourselves to many of the neighbors either, figuring that local grapevine had already taken care of it.) There were a couple of exceptions here (thank you Ruth family!), but not too many.

It took a couple of years really, to start meeting some slightly more distant neighbors who were a little more like us. Doing more alternative agriculture ventures and conversant on subjects that we were excited by. This was promising! We have learned to stretch our physical concept of community to include not only the people with whom we share a mail carrier, but to all edges of the state and beyond to anywhere the internet can connect us with other like-minded folks.

Enter the Blogosphere! Through writing this blog and following the blogs of so many exceptional people we have become connected in a very real way to people whom we might never meet in the corporeal sense, but who undoubtedly know us better than many of our neighbors. We have learned new methods of gardening, cooking, animal husbandry, fiber processing, beekeeping and I could go on and on and on. It is so very exciting, and yet it has become so ingrained in our daily lives that we have started to take it for granted. (until the power goes off or it snows hard, since we are on satellite internet).

I was just reminded of this wonderful phenomenon by my amazing friend Cathy who did an interview for a local magazine on just this subject. You can read the story here. And thank you again, Cathy for including us in your list : )
The networking that occurs through these online communities is simply amazing. How all of these connections are made between this crazy electronic maze of people from all demographic genres is really rather mind-boggling. I think it was best summed up by our dear friend Malinda who said (in absolutely the most positive way possible), "Freaks Flock." And so we do!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicks Worshipping the Sun

No really, no skin shots, no skimpy bikinis, no tanning oil. Just two-week-old chicks, silhouetted in the winter sun. And boy can those chicks revel in the sunlight!
: )

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pasta Making Lesson #1

Get all of your ingredients and equipment together...

 in the location you plan to make and dry the noodles. In our case I hauled them down the hill to my parents' cabin which is prime pasta-making territory.
(Just to clarify, the dog is neither an ingredient or equipment, just a gratuitous cute pet cameo. )

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Kids, New Digs

The chicks continue to do well and are growing at the rate that only chicks can! They are now about 11-12 days old and already shedding their baby fluff in exchange for feathers.

Check out those new wings!
We started them in three tanks in the sunroom.
But already they have graduated up to "The Chick Corral"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

They're Here!

The post office called at 6:15 Friday morning. The chicks had arrived! Though we have done it nearly every year since coming to the farm, it still tickles me to pick up chicks from the post office. It tickled me a little less this time, though. We've never ordered chicks in mid-January and it was COLD!  Day-old chicks don't withstand cold very well and when we opened the boxes, there were at least 15 that appeared dead. I hate it when that happens, its not unusual to lose one in transit, but 15 was more than a little depressing.

We got them home, hand-dipped each little beak into the waterer so they would understand what that "stuff" was for and tucked them into their pre-warmed tanks in the sunroom. As they warmed up, some of the apparently lifeless birds began to stir a bit so we quickly got them under the heat lamps and hoped for the best. (lesson learned...when its this cold, always get even the limp ones warmed up, you just never know.)

We spent the next 24 hours, hand-watering all those weak little birds, hoping some would make it. So far, some have rallied and others were just too far gone. As of today, we've lost a total of 10 birds from the shipment...better than the original 15 we thought were dead, but still far more than we are used to.

The remaining 120+ birds are doing well, peeping, pooping, running about and sleeping. They are oh-so-entertaining at this stage. Tiny little, beady-eyed fluffballs on toothpick sized legs.

Sorry about the red tint, that is the light from the heat lamps, and using the flash to lighten it up scares the begeezus out of them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Let's Start at the Very Beginning...

No, we are not talking about The Sound of Music...or The Sound of Mucus (as it is referred to in some theatre circles). We are talking about a chicken coop. After some delays, the building of the replacement coop is finally underway. This is a good thing as the day-old chicks are due to arrive on Friday!

Here is the stack of newly purchased lumber complete with tools all ready to become a 10' x 16' mobile range coop. It will be moved around the pasture with the tractor.

 The cutting of the skids is underway. These are 18' long, treated 6 x 6's.

The skids are trimmed up and framed in square and the first of the floor joists are in place. Note the increasing snow on the ground and the fancy wind break in the background. Our timing might be a little less than perfect.

More to follow when we get it dug out from beneath the snow...

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Philosophy to Live By...

Words of wisdom, found on the office door of our favorite bakery, the Pagosa Baking Company
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and endless plans.
That the moment one definitely commits oneself then providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred.
A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe