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Boat trip!

Posted on Sep 28, 2015 in Blog

We bought this boat in January from a young fellow who lives on the Mississippi. Who buys a boat in January and expects it to work? Such is the wonder of Craig’s List – making you trust in people even when there are so many bad ones out there.  Well, it’s a great boat and except for one little hose problem, which could’ve come about from sitting outside the rest of the winter. It works just fine. At least that’s what our friends Lori and Glen told us, after an aborted birthday (Glen’s) trip when we couldn’t get the engine to keep running. Thankfully the boat was just hanging off the trailer at that point, not entirely in the water. That was months ago. And Glen found us a new hose. Then Paul asked me what I wanted for my birthday (September). “A ride on my boat in the river!” He tried, valiantly, to make it happen…but the Fates conspired against him. Then, this last week, we took the plunge. We picked a day we knew no one would be waiting for us to learn how to back a trailer into the river and we did it. Slow and steady and in she went! After some hard pulls – OK enough to make me...

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Orchard Progress 2015

Posted on Sep 8, 2015 in Blog, Sustainable food production

The edible savanna takes shape! To recap – We’re building an orchard on the former farm terraces at Draco Hill. We removed 215 trees – mostly box elders, cherries and ash, using the wood for firewood, and the slash to help with soil erosion on two long roads elsewhere on the property. Our neighbors used the stumps to slow down erosion in the creek on their property as well, so just about all the solar energy of those trees stayed on or near the place. Then we hired a backhoe to shape two swales out of one 45-degree terrace in two places and one swale along the farm access road at the bottom of the hill. Between these terraces is a prairie restoration project (converted from corn/bean production). We know we’ll be burning the prairie, but plan to mow very wide fire breaks around the terraces. We also know the prairie will inevitably seed the floor of the orchard. Still, we want to see if all this can work together somehow in a nature-friendly food production model. Why? We’ve dubbed it an “edible savanna” and hope some day a young farmer will be able to mob graze the prairie, harvest the fruit trees and farm prairie strips on our best flat land near the river. Someday,...

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Visitors in our dome

Posted on May 26, 2015 in Blog, Wildlife

OK, so there’s lots of news about our orchard planting but we haven’t taken enough photos, so that’ll come later. For now, we just have to show you our friends who’d made a home in our dome. We came upon them yesterday. The first one was startling, but at least we could see it sitting on the wood chipper. I coaxed Jackson the Wonder Dog into the dome to deal with it, but instead he tugged on the trash...

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Spring sunrise

Posted on Apr 7, 2015 in Blog, Featured

There’s something in the air, air that is a little wetter and a little warmer than it’s been in a long time. The sunrises give it away. Now we start getting ready to plant our new orchard, our vegetable gardens. Now the guineas start laying eggs again and racing around the garden. Now green things start popping up out of the ground… Be Sociable,...

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Spring chores

Posted on Mar 23, 2015 in Blog, Sustainable food production

Until today’s ice storm, spirits were high and we were getting a lot moving at Draco Hill. So in the hope that Spring will return any day, we’re posting our work from the weekend.  First it was time to get busy rebuilding the compost pile. The art of composting has eluded us. The math is 3:1, browns to greens and yet our compost usually just sits there. Not enough green, right? But I’d rather have that than slime, which...

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