Thursday, June 11, 2015

Beautiful time of year

It’s that time of year that every thing is green and the garden is growing rapidly.

Rosebud is due at the end of July so we’ve dried her up and she is taking a break. Because of that we’ve missed out on the delicious spring milk but it’s also been nice to not have to milk every day.

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Our garden is up and we are anxious to start eating radishes and onions. We planted about eight rows of potatoes so think we’ll get between 700 and 800 lbs again like we did last year. We used our last box of potatoes from last year as seed potatoes for four of those rows. But now we are out of potatoes so can hardly wait for mid July when new potatoes are ready.plaster workshop June 2015 119

Tomato’s are our white whale. I plant them most years but we never get anything from them. I started them inside this year in the hopes of giving them a head start. Hopefully they’ll produce.

I also planted seeds I got from my friend in California. Big Papi sent seeds that had a heritage of Italian to Iowa to San Diego decent. They are growing and we’ll let you know if San Diego peppers grow in Canada.plaster workshop June 2015 121

Peas are doing good and carrots are barely up as well.plaster workshop June 2015 120

Now that the garden is planted we have a whole lot of weeding to do. I’m glad I have our wheel hoe and three kids.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Clay Plaster Workshop with DirtCraft.ca

We had a great two days of learning and working out here on The Simple Farm. We had Ashley and Heather come over from Penticton, BC to teach the class and work with us to apply American Clay to our home. We also went through mixing your own clay and working with clay paints. The possibilities are absolutely endless and now my head is spinning thinking of all the other projects I want to work on in the next few years. Greenhouse, cob oven, small straw bale office, outdoor shower, bath house, clay artwork and sculptures, etc. I better stop.

There were eleven students registered for the course and students came from as far as Nova Scotia, Edmonton, Fernie, and Calgary to our little corner of Southern Alberta to participate in the course.

I was very impressed with the projects, ideas, and desires of all the students. There were many reasons everyone travelled from all over to take the course. Some were planning on building their own straw bale home (even if it was for their dog, ha.), others were looking to remodel their home and wanted to consider using more natural building products in the process. It was amazing to see so many people come together from all areas of life but have so much in common.

We even had Ringo participating in the course. He wanted to make sure his room was done right. He’s a ten year old boy and we were rather nervous to let him do any finishing work but after a while I decided that it’s only a wall and it is his room so we let him have at it. it took him quite a while but the kid finished the main wall in the room and it actually looks better than my finished product. So if you have the skills of at least an ten year old boy (he is magnificent but he is still ten) than you can apply clay plaster.

Here are some pictures of the event.

We met a bunch of new friends and had a great learning experience in the mean time but I think the biggest hit of the event was our outdoor shower (everyone had a shower buddy to adjust water temperature and turn on or off the water) or the homemade whole wheat chocolate chip cookies that were devoured (I made 9 dozen cookies and they were all gone in two days).

I enjoyed seeing one of the participants boy running around trying to catch one of our chickens. I am missing a chicken so wondering if he smuggled one home in the back seat of his car. Poor parents. Our chickens eat wheat, bugs, and grass. You can keep the chicken as long as you let him sleep with it and paint his toe nails.

After going through the process of preparing for this workshop and seeing how much we accomplished in a very short period of time I’m really happy we did the workshop.

Ashley and Heather are wonderful teachers and were very encouraging in the process. We weren’t building an alternative structure such as a straw bale or an adobe home but we still felt like the project we choose was a valuable learning experience and transferred well to all the projects mentioned.

We’d love to see any pictures or videos people took during the course.

Thanks for all the hard work everyone that was at the event.

If you find my lost chicken send her home. We miss her terribly.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Construction Zone Again

We are deep into painting and preparing for the clay plaster workshop we are hosting this weekend. We are told there are ten people signed up for the event which ends up just right. Heather and Ashley from DirtCraft.ca have been great to work with in planning the event. I don’t really have any questions but poor Millie likes to discuss everything with someone more knowledgeable than me. For some reason she doesn’t trust my judgment. I keep telling her I took a two day clay plaster course two years ago so I am well qualified as an expert on the subject. That’s more training than I usually have when starting these endeavors.

To prepare for the event we have to prime all walls with a sanded primer.

From afar the house looks like this.

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Up close it looks like this.chinking 063

And this. chinking 061

We are putting on a clay plaster from American Clay. You can buy their sand to put in primer. It comes out to like $1000 for a 50 lb bag. It’s a good thing we only put a small amount in each can and they sell the stuff in gallon sufficient quantities.

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This doesn’t look all the great but we are happy we are done with the bare drywall stage as we were in that stage for about two years.

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We are also chinking the gaps between our logs and our drywall walls with a product called perma-chink. It’s pretty easy to work with and we are hoping it holds.

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I’ll take pictures of the clay plaster workshop and give a report on the event.

Wish us luck. It’s kind of scary to have a bunch of amateurs doing a bunch of work on our house. Especially when a professional like me could be doing all the work.