Monday, November 3, 2008

Woodstove Install- efficient cozy inexpensive heat.

"Wood warms you twice. Once when you cut it and once when you burn it."
The wood stove is in - just in time for the cold weather.

The hearth begins

The pipe install (inside)

The pipe install (outside)

Ready for fire

The pipe kits came from lowes. The stove is a Fisher Baby Bear. It's air tight and circa 1975 (craig's list is an amazing thing). The entire project cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $400. That is roughly equivalent to a quarter of a tank of propane.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pig Pickin for Heifer

The First Annual Pig Pickin' for Heifer!

Thanks to everyone who came and for the donations to Heifer International!

The cook

The Guest of Honor

So much food!

Some Pickers

Katie and Nate

Brandon and Nate

I just wish I had taken more pictures. If you attended and have any pictures to share, please send.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Taste of Costa Rica

We spent 10 days in Costa Rica. These are just a few highlights.
Coffee Plantation

I guess that's why they call it a rainforest.

La Paz Waterfall


Zancudo Town (Spanish for Mosquito... no kidding)

Beans and rice with breakfast in Zancudo

Beautiful beach in Zancudo

Into the Jungle

Howler Monkey (Eat your heart out Sam)

Morpho on Cocoa tree

Out of the jungle and back onto the beach

A dry place to sit

Flight back to San Jose

Canopy zipline tour

New Friends

Brandon (5) and Nate (2) are staying with us for a while.
We are having a great time learning from each other on the farm.
Brandon was up at 5:00 am for his first day of Kindergarten.

Nate and Brandon both love to be outdoors.

Nate is very fond of spaghetti.

Brandon's favorite is cereal.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Minimizing the Heat of Summer Sun

Matthew built these great overhangs for our south-facing windows. They do a great job of shading the windows in summer and controlling the heat, especially upstairs. Also, they shouldn't block much of the winter sun that comes in at a lower angle and is beneficial at that time of year.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Thanks for all the suggestions and comments,
It looks like the winner is Button.
Say Hello to Button!
Button eats poison ivy! Hurray for Button!
On the flip side, Button rolls in poison ivy.
Conclusion...Pet Button with Caution. :-)

Rain Barrel

Now that's a rain barrel!

275 gallons of rain saving splendor... now all we need is some rain!

More details were requested. We obtained what is refered to in industry as a tote from a local ink factory. It once contained acrylic ink so after thorough rinsing it is fine for water for the garden. We were put on the track of this beauty by a local pig farmer who has half a dozen put to as many uses.

Chicken Coup

The New Chicken Coop is Complete
I am really proud of our new chicken coop. We finished it up this weekend. Now the chickens are outside where they belong and have plenty of space and fresh air.
Plenty of roosting sites

Gang-plank door gives free access to gather bugs during the day and security at night

The coop is built from 2x2's that we ripped on the table saw from 2x24's that were milled in Waxhaw from the dead yellow pine that Matthew cut down in our yard in Charlotte last winter.

At the mill


Say "Hello" to Bar and B-Que our two new pigs.


We picked up the pigs about a week ago and installed them in the pallet corral / future garden. In the last couple of days they have started to eat like pigs. We can hardly keep the trough full. We feed them 16% protein pellets- the same than the adult ducks and chickens get- and they are happily digging up worms and roots.

They haven't shown much interest in vegetable scraps but they did like the watermellon rind I tossed them last night. No 'oinking' yet. They bark like dogs!

1 Month Later 6/23/08

One month later Bar and B-Que have rooted out the future garden and are loving the muddy hole they have left behind. I know the mud is healthy for them... but ugh!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chicks - Three Weeks Old

Chicks are a Hand Full

Three Days

Three Weeks

The Chicks are three weeks old and have doubled in size. Notice the striped wing feathers coming in. They have graduated from the kitchen to the basement- thank goodness. Three more weeks and they can go outside.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


What is a farm without a fence?

We have assembled materials and are beginning to put up the locust corner posts for the fence that will surround our four acres of pasture. We have decided on high tensile electric to keep our livestock in, and just as importantly, to keep predators out. It is lots of work but should last for years.

Walt and Wendy graciously allowed us to cut locust on their property in Fairview. Walt and Wendy, along with their son Andy, market delicious jams and jellies that they make from berries grown on their farm, Imladris. They have really inspired us in our persuit of a sustainable life style. Visit their web page at:

Thanks guys!

The posts are burried over three feet deep and tamped firm. One corner is done!
Thanks Dad!

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Sheep Are Here

Catadin Sheep Shed - No Sheering Necessary
We purchased 4 grade Katahdin sheep from Nick Nicholas in Fairview NC. Nick has almost a hundred sheep and markets lamb and eggs at the Asheville Tailgate market among others. I wish I had pictures of the sheep dogs in action but it was rainy and getting dark so you will have to take my word that they were beautiful, intelligent and very well trained.

The sheep are biding their time in the pallet corral until we get the pasture fenced. The corral will be transformed into a pig pen later in the spring and a vegetable garden next year so they are providing some priceless fertilizer also.

We obtained the pallets from an obliging apartment complex under renovation. It was not a dark-of-night operation. There were hundreds and the manager of the complex had placed an add on Craigslist asking for someone to take them away and put them to use.
Free materials kept out of the landfill? Yes, please!

Nothing Says "Spring" like Baby Chicks

Baby Chicks

We ordered 25 Plymouth (Barred) Rocks from Shook Poultry in Clairmont NC. They are only days old and require a heat lamp. They are growing very quickly! I will need to assemble a larger brooder soon to ease the crowding and move them out of the kitchen. The eggs will be plentiful this fall!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Our New Home

We Did it!

Matthew has started a new job in Hickory and I obtained permission to work from home four days a week so we have now moved to our farm in Morganton, North Carolina.

Thank you to everone who helped us out with packing and moving.

There is so much to do and we are very excited.

Come and visit, but be warned. There are fences to build!