Sunday, November 18, 2012


Today was another fairly productive day. I'm certainly loving this weather. Temperatures in the 60s isn't what I expect in November, but I'll gladly take it. I did notice today that the sun is already directly overhead this time of year by 11:00 AM, and by 2:00 PM it starting to get blocked by the trees on the hill behind us. This helps me to figure out the idea time to get out and work if I want to do some while its warmest.

This morning I worked on getting to, and sorting through, a pile of brush. When we were clearing the land originally, before moving here, I made a big pile of brush so I could later chip and/or burn it. Its been over two years, and I'm just now getting to it. The pile was badly overgrown, with briars that were as much a 12' to 15' tall. I used a brush axe to cut through the briars, and piled them up off to the side. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them, but at least they are out of the way for the moment. Once I was able to access a portion of the brush I began sorting it. Much of it was too big to chip, so I loaded it into the RTV and hauled over to garden with the rest of the stuff to be burnt, or used for the hugelbeds. I piled up anything small enough to be chipped, but so far there hasn't been a lot of that.

After lunch I went back out and worked on the brush pile a bit more. I was able to cut enough briars that I can now access almost the entire pile. I ended up hauling 4 or 5 loads in total over to the burn pile. This project is actually going to serve multiple purposes. Not only am I going to be able to generate wood chips for mulching, and possibly biomass for creating biochar and/or hugelbeds, but the area I'm clearing is also going to, hopefully, be used soon. After looking at several possible locations, we've decided that the area where we'll build a chicken coop this spring is around where the brush pile is. If I can get it cleared now, that's one last thing that will need to be done when we're ready to build.

I also finally remembered to take soil samples from the garden today, so we can do a ph test. Of course this should have been done before planting the garlic and cover crops, but I kept forgetting. I took two samples, one of the area that had been amended with compost, and another of the area that had nothing added aside from the organic material and leaves that were there when I tilled it. I haven't tested the soil yet, but will try to remember to post the results when I do.

This evening I decided to start the online renewable energy course that I signed up for yesterday. I completed the first two lessons, and really haven't learned anything so far. I'm hopeful that I'll learn a few things by the end, but I'm not too confident in that. I'm afraid that the course might be more introductory than I was hoping, but we'll just have to wait and see. I do believe that there is always something to be learned, even if we think we already know the information being covered, so hopefully that will be the case here if nothing else.

This evening I was also able to see how Luke would respond to someone coming onto our property after dark. I heard a car, and looked out and saw headlights coming up the driveway. When I went out to see who it was both Luke and Jack were in the yard. Luke was right at the edge of the driveway barking and jumping, and keeping pace with the car as it came near the house. It turned out to be someone looking for someone I didn't know, so they apologized and left. I suspect that had I not gone out, they would likely not have gotten out of their car, with two large black dogs barking at them. This is actually what we had hoped would happen.

Lastly, I should mention our mice problem. It isn't a new problem, as we've had problems with mice since we moved here. It seems to be worse this year that normal, however. Today, when a mouse came right out into the middle of the living room floor with both Andrea and I sitting there, we decided it was time to take a more pro-active approach. I hate killing them, but since Kitty isn't being a very good deterrent, we don't know what else to do. I set three traps earlier today, and have already caught one mouse. I actually think that I heard another trap go off just a few minutes ago, so I'll go check on that one here in a bit, after I'm confident there will be no surprise movements when I check.

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