Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cow Butts

Left: Beef, Right: Dairy

Fleece Drying Table

This handy dandy table was made from scraps around the ranch: 4 thick beams, two long pine boards, two short ones, and a couple of pieces of old fencing. The top is covered with plastic bird netting. Mom and I built it in about thirty minutes and it has made the washing and drying of fleece much easier.

Big Rattler

There is construction going on to the west and east of the ranch. That always stirs up wildlife and gets them on the move to new places. Unfortunately for this big guy, taking up residence underneath my camper where my dog naps was not a good choice:

He was 5 feet 2 inches long without his head and he was pretty scary. Max let us know he was there and knew enough not to get bitten. I have never seen a rattlesnake this big in my life and to have it right beneath where I work every day was unsettling to say the least.

Pallet Privacy Screen on a Budget

In recent months my neighbors have not been as friendly as when we first took ownership of the property. They like to watch me. A lot. And talk about what they see to each other--not in a nice way. (Since this post, one has moved and the other has been evicted. Another has their property up for sale. I suspect their displeasure has more to do with the failing economy and how it has affected them. A a man of authority told me not long ago that when the economy goes bad, many neighbors look for a scapegoat to blame their troubles on or to commiserate about. Lucky me.)

One of our ramadas is used to host private barbecues and gatherings from time to time and since I don't enjoy people staring at me or my guests, I decided there needed to be a privacy screen installed. I'm always on a budget and I have a lot of leftover pallets around that came in with hay deliveries over the years, so rather than take them to the trash, Mom and I repurposed them into a country style privacy screen for the party spot.

This screen was created using 8 pallets, some leftover wood to fill in any gaps, and a few fence boards to cover the seam. I was going to leave the screen plain, but Mom suggested a false door. That made me think it ought to look like something of importance that would give the curious neighbors more to ponder and discuss. (Perhaps that would take their mind off their own troubles.) So I set up a General Store for all your old fashioned necessary sundries.

How to Hot Compost on a Budget

Poop management is a daily job here at the ranch. One of the best ways I've come up with to keep on top of this beneficial chore is to hot compost all the animal waste that my critters make for me.

Dark brown, crumbly compost is an excellent growing medium for your garden. If you have farmy critters that make you fresh pies and beans in the form of their doodoo, try this easy method to get that stuff transformed into soil--fast.

What You Need:
35 gallon plastic/rubber trash can (preferably black) with lid
Drill and large drill bit
Animal Poop and/or hay/straw/plant waste
Sunny Spot

Directions: Drill vent holes on the bottom and sides of your trash can. Fill with poo and plant waste, place lid on top, set in the sun to cook down. This process goes fast here in the desert heat. The manure will cook down to half its size within a week. You can build raised beds with it, add to existing beds or mix with soil. I've been using it to build up my experimental hugelkutur beds in the Three Sisters Garden and it's making pretty fast work of covering up a lot of wood real estate.