*shuffle*shuffle*

Now that we have the barn available to us, we are shifting things around. I migrated my coffee roasting operation into the barn and setup a worktable that Bea’s parents gave us that her grandfather designed and built. It is all plywood, nails and screws but it is rock-steady, using a platform as a base that puts tension on all the connected parts.

There is plenty of power in there, with a 15, a 20, two 30 (for the 220 outlets) and two 50 amp breakers. What would use two 50 amp breakers? There is also plenty of shelving and a workbench with peg-board. Now I might need some tools…

As the barn was getting cleaned out, we found several nests of mice, so I am now a little worried about the safety of my coffee beans. Do mice like coffee?

No denying it

Today I headed over to the university library with a coworker to work on an iTunes U issue. I chose to do it there in order to stop and say hi to Bea and the kids, who like to hang out a little while after Ariana’s band practice. I went down to the basement and picked up my coffee from Bea, and headed back up to meet my coworker. As we came back down, he jokingly asked if I knew them, referring to my family. I said “Nope, I have never seen them before, why do you ask?” Then Ethan piped up from their table a few yards away “Yeah, you only made us with your sperm!”

Heh.

Maybe we are being a little too open?

Ah, the colors of change


The pasture and corn field across from the jersey dairy farm on my way to work.


Winged Wahoo bushes (also known as Burning Bush) on our Sunday hike. This is an invasive species, but is still sold at most nurseries because of it’s brilliant fall foliage. We have one next to our house, and it is indeed brilliant!


A wild flower’s end of life. It was golden, Rod.


The trail is over-arched by old (and Ethan says creepy) shrubs.


A trail we did not take, yet admired.


The trail we did take.


The hay field down the road, just after dawn.

A new life begins

I must say, I love this house. Today, after mowing the lawn, and after yesterday’s cleanup of the walnut fiasco, planting supplies, and bicycles that were cluttering the carport, the place looked tidy. We have full ownership of the pole-barn (the previous owner, and our new neighbor, Mark, had use of it for 60 days), and now the mower is in there, along with one of the cars, the bikes, and the planting supplies. So now we can start unpacking stuff from the shed in earnest, since the shed is not all cluttered up with the items mentioned above.

We went for a hike in the afternoon, and picked up some chips and sausages to grill from the Hanover Market on our way home. There were still some peppers, apples, and acorn squash from local food stands, so we tossed those on with the sausages. Bea put a light up in the veranda, and we were able to enjoy our grilled meal outside as the sky darkened to deep blue in the west. Dawn, Mark’s wife stopped by, coming along the hedge-row to asked for some technical advice. She brings gifts every time she comes.

Last night, when EZ woke us up at 4 am complaining of foot cramps, we decided it was the perfect time to see if the Orionids were busy. So Bea and I grabbed a sleeping bag each and spent 45 minutes lying in the driveway, counting meteors. I saw 28, and Bea says she saw more, but can’t say how many since she was not actually couting. We would have shared a sleeping bag, but they were small. The stars here are magnificent. We have been out at night on a blanket as a family, staring up at the Milky Way, Vega, and the major and minor Ursas several times in the last month. I plan to get the kids up early tomorrow to see if we can catch some more Orionid action. [Note: we did see them, and as I write this up, we are flipping through Peter’s Stikky Night Skies book.]

On a more happy/sad note, we found out why Ginger was being ornery. One day last week when the kids went out to feed the rabbits in the morning, they found that she had given birth to 4 cubs. Because we did not know she was pregnant, the poor things had not survived. Well, except for one. So the kids thought we might be able to nurse it back to health, but Mom and Dad knew better. It was Ginger’s first litter, and she was no more prepared than we were. I buried them when I got home from work. It was traumatic for Bea and the kids, but not without opportunity for learning. Ginger has been much more docile. But Cottontail has had an eye infection and was getting pretty tired of having his eye pried open, and a syringe shoved in his mouth. His eye is looking better, but he seems to be holding a grudge…

The walnut project was primarily doomed by sheer volume. We shelled and cleaned several hundred nuts, but still had a couple thousand left in boxes, and hundreds more on the ground and in the tree. If we plan on harvesting in the future, we are going to have to have a streamlined method for processing them. Otherwise, they will end up like most of them did this year, in a pit near the border of our property, where they can “cure naturally”, but more likely be thrown into the nearby fire pit. Mark says this year was a “light” year. Oh dear.

Part of our dreams of self-sufficient living have been growing our own fruit, so when Bea found that a local nursery was clearing out all their stock due to a barn fire, she picked up 4 cherry trees, 3 apple, and one pear. I have a preference for blueberries, so I ordered 4 varieties on ebay from a guy in Ohio. Last weekend I finally was able to finish planting all 12 plants. It is odd to be doing something that is long-term. Fruit trees do not really produce much for the first 5-7 years, and the ones we bought are all 3 years old. Blueberries are similar, except they do produce, but you are supposed to pinch off the flowers for the first 3-5 years. Ours are 3 years old, so we should be pinching for at least another year. So we have just put all these plants and bushes in, but will not really see them produce for another 2-3 years. That is new for us. We have rarely lived in the same house for more than 2 years, so putting a lot of work into something that will not payoff until we have lived here longer than we have ever lived anywhere is a little mind boggling for us.