Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What do we want? Chicken Sh!t.... WHY?

It turns out for raspberries! So it has been a busy summer and as predicted once the sun melted the snow I stopped posting. Well I got 6 chickens this spring (more to come on them). Well I have my compost bid set up yet so I have been throwing all the chicken poop in the raspberry bushes. For the last few years they haven't been producing so I figured they needed to be replaced with some new plants and have a total start over. WELL I figured the chicken poop would burn out the bushes and other plants making it easier to pull them up this fall and by the time next spring comes the ground will be GREAT for planting new bushes.

It turns out that high levels of chicken poop DOESN'T kill these bushes! Instead there are so many raspberries that it looks like the bushes are on fire! So I guess the bushes will stay for another season at least. Good news for me. I have enough work I need to get done this summer.

Friday, February 14, 2014


As predicted February Blues is hitting hard this year. I was out blowing my driveway (which I love to do) and I took a hard look at my overfill area (the area I keep clear for blowing snow, piling snow and to allow of some extra winter parking). I cleared it but this might be the last time before my "give a damn gets broken!" I have already abandoned the mailman's path (the shortcut I was keeping open for the mailman to be nice and save him some walking). This blues is SO BAD that we are due for "Warm" (33-35 degree days) next week and I'm dreading it more than looking forward to it. Because I know all this is going to accomplish is push the frost-line deeper and ice up the road because the road commission is already out for lunch on trying to keep the roads up this winter. My goal for next week is to find something to get me out of this February induced SLUMP.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Evil Brew is now Bottled!

After one last test with the hydrometer confirmed that just about all the sugar was converted to alcohol I set about bottling the brew. I should hit my goal of 15% alcohol with this batch. I did sample some of it while bottling and it is sweet and a bit cloudy but I'm hoping that after some conditioning in the bottles that will decrease. I'm a little nervous that this batch may become over carbinated and I may even be risking some exploding bottles. Only time will tell! But to be on the safe side I'm going to start up a regular batch of cider this weekend.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The dreaded FEBRUARY!!!!!

So I'm guessing most of you are looking at me like I have a third eye right now. Some of you are even saying "WTF winter is almost over be happy!" Well unlike 80-90% of the USA in the U.P. February is on average the coldest month of the year (thank you Lake Superior!) Yes we are getting less snow by now but we have more ice, higher heating bills, and even though the days are longer we still don't see the sun much (and when we do it makes us snow blind)! To add some salt to the wound right now the rest of the USA is post and blogging about ramping up for growing season. Some people are even starting to talk about planting some of their starts already. Well not us! We are running winter carnivals and snowmobile races. This is literally 28 days of suffering. By now we have run out of place to put snow, wood piles are being rationed, stored food is being rationed, and cabin fever is starting to look like the "Shining"! Then throw in a healthy helping of tax season and company deadlines and it is amazing the December still edges out February as the most likely month to commit suicide! But I have lived up here for over 30 years now and.... ok I still haven't found a way to fully cope yet. Global Warming had such promise but thank you Al Gore for getting my hopes up (@$$hole).

Thankfully this year I have 3 kids that LOVE SNOW (the forth hasn't voiced an opinion yet) and their excitement is infectious (so are the colds they keep getting) PLUS this year I have to give a HUGE THANK YOU to my friend Kasey that is sponsoring a fun photo contest!

SO in closing RED RUM... I mean summer is just around the corner (some where) 

Friday, January 31, 2014

EVIL Brew Update!!

So I just went and tested the brew it is at 5% possible alcohol now. SO currently it is at 10% alcohol with another 5% sugar ready to be turned into alcohol (about). So I'm going to give it a few days and see what happens. I'm thinking bottling by Tuesday (ish). Of course after the taste test I don't know, that would make EPIC summer time wine and the timing is right. BUT I set out to make beer so I'm going to hold out (plus not having the chemicals to stabilize the brew so it could be wine also helps me make that decision too).

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Evil BREW!!!!

IT"S ALIVE!!!!!!!!

So it was time once again to brew up some more hard cider. Well I was in the local home brew store and they had a new yeast in. The yeast can survive in alcohol concentrations up to 20% ! This is impressive because most yeast taps out and dies at about 10-15% (if that for some). So I had to get some of the super yeast and try it out. For a little added flavor I throw in some fruit I found in the back of the freezer.
I then set the hydrometer to 15% potential alcohol and set it out to ferment! I'm guessing it's going to take an extra week to ferment all the sugar. But because I'm not sure I'm going to risk contamination and test the brew while it's fermenting.

(yes it looks gross in these pictures but after checking on it today it looks a lot better! I will post some new pics of the brew soon)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The plan is to... MAKE A PLAN!!

So this year has had an interesting start already! It has been filled with plans, than changes to those plans, fallowed by more plans. This is why I have been a little hesitant to post firm plans before things had settled down. Well things still haven't settled down but what the hell here we go anyway.

So for starts I'm using two different means to fun my farm this summer. The old stand by is the coin jar. Every night I empty my pockets into the jar. It normally no more than about $10-20 a month but if used wisely that can cover most of small scale urban farming (mostly just buys chicken/rabbit food) But I have found a fun way to save up for bigger projects. I found this cool idea on It is a chart for saving money.  Each week you put in a set dollar or coin amount (I'm using the quarter method one).
The goal for this year's collection is to be used to make a year round (winter hardy) rabbit hutch with 3 to 4 seprate living areas (1 for the buck, 1-2 for does and one for the young). My kids are also starting to raise the funds for a new play house (which will double as a green house)

I know this isn't a lot of plans yet but I'm working on it. Plus with all the snow we have around us I find it hard to plan for summer without getting just a little depressed that I haven't seen the sun in about a week. BUT I"m going to force myself to have more plans made soon.