Archive | July 2013

Two Little Piggies

We were informed YESTERDAY that we have 2 new piglets arriving today. While that is really cool and nifty, we happen to have been in the process of tearing down the fencing where the piglets would live! Ok. So now we have an emergency fence restoration project. And no gate.

We managed to get the fence straightened out and put back in place. The intent was to rip it out and put in a new fence line that made more sense and gave more space inside and had new fence material instead of the crippled, bent, and mangled mess that was there. But 3/4 of the fence had chickenwire attached and thoroughly and completely entangled in the grass. It would have taken days of intense effort to rip it out. So I decided to leave most of it in place, patch it where necessary, put in a couple new posts, and call it good.

Then came the gate. I am not a carpenter. I do not have much experience designing and planning out a project using wood. After a couple internet searches, and hours of staring blankly at a wall thinking about it, I finally settled on a design and ventured out in search of suitable wood. We found a very large pile of 2×6 lumber in the woods. But it was 90% rotted out. Fortunately, I only needed 5 boards, and managed to find what I was looking for after a little digging. Then I had to find a saw and a flat place to work. Up to the top of the hill where there is a house being built, and I managed to find floor space that was mostly level. The floor is dirt throughout right now. And not very level or flat. And of course, there’s no power up there except for the solar system, but fortunately the battery was charged and the old inverter was still working.

Inverter and batteries

Inverter and batteries

Anyway, after a hundred hurdles, I finally got the pieces cut and brought back down to my yard to assemble. Gopher hills, holes, and lumps aside, it was mostly an easy job to assemble the gate. Except I have no cordless drill, and the power drill has only one speed. It is not fun to drive screws with a single-speed drill!


Pig pen gate assembled

You’ll notice there is a diagonal piece. That required an angle cut. There happens to be a miter saw up in the building where I cut the pieces. But it’s a small one, so it only cuts through a 2×4. Which means I had to cut the angle board half-way through, flip the board, try to match up the angle, and then finish the cut.

Off to the install. But wait! I have no cordless drill, and the pig pen is far from the house! Does this project EVER get past “the hard part”?? A very long extension cord was finally found. Of course, the fence posts are rough logs, so lining up the hinges proved a bit of a challenge. Did I mention, I’m not a carpenter? A bow saw, a chisel, and some “customizing”, and it finally started to cooperate with me. After digging up about 6″ of dirt and sod on the inside to make space for the gate to open, it is now hung and swings very nicely. I settled for the hook-and-eye latch since that’s all I had on hand.

New pig pen gate hanging on hinges!

New pig pen gate hanging on hinges!

Oh, and there is a 1/4″ steel mesh stapled to the inside. That will keep the chickens in too, when I open their area up and let them run with the pigs. And the screen mesh looks good, and is “pig proof” too.

Piggies in their new home

Piggies in their new home

They will have to mow their own lawn

They will have to mow their own lawn

Now to solve the food and water dish issue…

— Jack


Cooking Day 9 – Tuesday May 21, 2013


  • cold cereal
  • yogurt
  • eggs

Breakfast getting less inspired? Perhaps, but people seemed happy to have something different, and to dig through and finish off several boxes of assorted flavors of cereal.


  • More leftovers!

Today it was pizza, potato soup, turkey salad sandwiches, and fruit salad.


  • Beef Roast with gravy
  • Carrots
  • Green Salad
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Dinner rolls

Curtis, one of the guys at the workshop who was gone over the weekend, brought back a bunch of great food from the local discount grocers (I love those places!) AND a grass-fed beef roast from the farm’s kitchen where he works! This was the first beef we had because I was asked to use only poultry or fish, no red meat, as the smell of it cooking was objectionable. Well, I wasn’t about to turn down a gift like this!

I coated the roast with various herbs, and browned it in a skillet first thing in the morning, and then put it in the crock pot along with onions, garlic, and carrots. I made sure to have the windows open to air out the kitchen, and the cooking smells were contained the rest of the day inside the crock. It also happened to be the day that Kim was outside and then gone most of the day and wasn’t home to eat with us.

I decided to make gravy, to go for the extra love and appreciation. Not necessary, because everyone was always appreciative of our cooking. We had two vegetarians for dinner, but they had plenty of goodies and didn’t mind that we were eating beef.


Cooking Day 8 – Monday May 20, 2013


  • Pancakes

We used some fancy flavored mixes that were in the cupboard. Served with butter, peanut butter, maple syrup.

Today didn’t require much kitchen work, so I went outside to participate in the cob building fun. I decided to help work on the remaining section of the rock wall. Steff showed me how to do it.

Steff rock wall

While moving one rather large rock out of my way it decided to roll back down the bank and crushed my finger against another rather large rock. Major ouch! After continually banging my finger against anything and everything in the kitchen the rest of this day, I spent the rest of the week bandaging it quite well.

smashed finger 5-20

It’s a little over a month later, it has grown out, and now it’s just wait-and-see if/when it’s going to fall off.

smashed finger 6-27


  • Leftovers!

Today we pulled out a pan of enchiladas, chili, soup and stew, and potato salad.


  • Beans & Rice with toppings (pretty much like our taco/burrito night, except with rice instead of tortillas)

I cooked some more beans that I had soaked and sprouted. They are just so cute with their little “tails” on them!

pinto beans

Caroline made Mexican-style rice.