28 September 2009

Baby Golden Sebright Bantams

We have three new family members today - baby golden sebright bantams. They are so tiny and so beautiful, even as chicks.

They grow to about 3 pounds and their feathers are outlined in black. These chicks are siblings from a neighbor's farm. After just one day of caring for them, it seems they're already family members. Guess who loves them already?

It's quite appropriate that we're caring for baby chicks now because our homeschool unit is about farms right now.

22 September 2009

Solar laundry

Our photovoltaic system has been up and running for just over two weeks now. It's working very well and it's fun to read amount of energy in kilowatts we've generated each day, usually about 36 kW. The system also tells us (for fun!) how many pounds of carbon dioxide we've saved.

Now that we check the amount of energy we're producing every day, we think more about the energy we are spending everyday. So, finally, Kevin installed the clothesline he purchased many months ago. Really, its installation was a joint venture with everyone pitching in something - digging holes, mixing cement, stringing the line, etc.

My helper

According to DOE EIA statistics, 5.8% of a household's electric use goes towards dryer use. I'm not sure what percentage of our electric bill goes towards that since we have an energy efficient dryer and a washing machine that gets rid of more water during the spin cycle than non-front loaders. Anyway, hanging laundry is fun and it's one more chore that gets us outside.

One cute baby sock blows in the wind like a Tibetan prayer flag.

This interesting website (Project Laundry List) claims that if every American line dried their clothing, it would be enough to close several power plants. Imagine that! We are looking forward to the energy savings so our solar system will make a bigger impact.

17 September 2009

Garden treasures

We still have bushes full of basil, sweet bell peppers, black beauty zucchini, early fortune cucumbers, and tomatoes. Some little creature discovered how to get through the garden fence and systematically ate all the carrot tops off. When we pulled them out of the garden, they were mostly too small for eating. I hope our melons ripen soon.

Savannah's giant pumpkins are amazing! The first viable fruit steals all the plant's resources by sending out a chemical that kills off all the others on the vine. As they wither and rot, the big pumpkin hoards all the food for itself. This is the small one about 12 inches in diameter.

This one is so large, I'm not sure how we are going to get it out of the garden at the end of October. Savannah can ride on it like a St. Bernard. We'll have to roll it up a plank into the cart so we can haul it up to the front of the house with the tractor. There's no way I could fit this one in the wheelbarrow. It sure will be fun to see it in front of the house this fall.

14 September 2009

Everyone pitches in on a farm

Savannah and Dearest mow the front lawn after dinner as the sun sets. Savannah has had enough "experience" on the John Deere that she is sometimes permitted to steer it herself. She always wears her ear protection.

07 September 2009

Wood in

Last winter we had an energy efficient soapstone woodstove installed. It provides wonderful warmth and heat to two floors of our house. Instead of ordering wood this year, Kevin has been bringing it in himself every weekend in the woods behind our house. He goes out with his chainsaw and removes the dead hardwoods that fell in the ice storm, hauls them back behind the barn and chops them into woodstove-size logs. He also removes the pines and anything else that has fallen on the hiking and snowshoeing trails behind our house.

Today I went into the barn to see the progress. Here are two rows 16-18 feet long stacked 7-8 feet high.

And another short row.

And behind the barn two more enormous stacks of wood.

Someone has been very busy this season preparing for winter. Last winter we thought the weather was fine but everyone told us it was a long hard winter for the area. I think we'll be more than prepared for the upcoming winter and I'm looking forward to the family snuggles we'll share while keeping cozy and warm in front of the woodstove as the snow falls.

The girls love to keep Kevin company when he's chopping wood. The bark falls off and the girls go crazy for the bugs beneath. Long after he's stopped chopping, they continue to eat the buggies.

02 September 2009

Four months old

Hi! My name is William and I am four months old today.

I like to roll on my tummy and suck on my fingers.

And I like to practice crawling. (It's great fun to see the worried expression on Mommy's face!)

Look! I can do them both at the same time!

Also, I like to practice yoga.

Yup, in my diaper.

I am quite the guy!