Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cedar ceiling almost done

We’ve been working pretty hard over the past couple of weeks to get our tongue and groove cedar ceiling put up before it gets too cold.

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Don’t think we quite made it. ceiling tongue and groove 028

I just checked the temperature gauge and it’s –12 degrees celcius.ceiling tongue and groove 032I’m thinking it should be done this weekend which is exciting as we only have a bit of drywall to finish putting up and then it’s time for finishing with tung oil.ceiling tongue and groove 034Hope it all works out and looks nice.ceiling tongue and groove 036

What do you think?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Controlling flies on a small farm

Look what happened to fly into our little chicken coop area yesterday.

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We are not sure what they are but think Daisy, Donald, and…whatever another girl ducks name has found a new home on The Simple Farm.

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I’m just kidding about them flying in. We have been really concerned over the last year or so about the number of flies that swarm around our cows. We’ve tried non toxic stuff like making faces at the pests. We’ve tried spraying vinegar over the cows. We’ve even gone so far as to sit as swat the flies in the more horrid times of the day.

One of our farming friends says she controls flies with these beauties. These are Muscovy ducks. They are a duck that lives on land and are quite useful for pest control.

Ducks 007The chickens ran around a bit but left the ducks alone mostly.Ducks 009

In our discussion with our friend she sent over this information:


Here is an article from a study down with large operations from a while back.

This is from another article on the net -

"Another biological control is use of Muscovy ducks—a breed of meat duck that spends its time on land (rather than water) eating insects. Some small farmers claim that four or five ducks per cow virtually eliminates a fly problem. According to Dennis French, DVM (Louisiana State University), in research trials, Muscovy ducks removed adult house flies 30 times faster than fly traps, fly paper rolls or bait cards. Ducks in cages with 100 flies took only 0.6 hours to remove 90 percent of the flies compared to 15.3 hours for the most effective commercial bait devices. “In other studies, the ducks lived for 12 weeks in pens with calves, without injury or any additional feed for the ducks. They ate about 25 house flies per 15 minute observation period when fly populations were low to moderate,” says French."

This is from homesteading today site -

"I've used Muscovy ducks to control flies for several years. It works well. The Muscovies roam widely. They follow the cattle, waiting for manure to hit the ground. Then they scatter it, looking for something edible. The manure dries out and won't hatch flies.
The cattle learned how else the Muscovies can help. They lie down to chew their cuds and let the Muscovies pick flies off of them. That's the best horse fly control. You can often see a cow turn her head or stretch her neck so a duck can reach a biting fly."

I the winter I give them whole grains (wheat and barley) and 2nd cut alfalfa/grass mix hay (small amounts in a box/mini manger) plus water to drink. Care about the same in winter, but less care in summer. In summer I let them roam the yard, set out a 2 1/2 gallon bucket for water, and some screenings or some whole grain for backup feed. They eat a lot less as they eat more insects and vegetation. When first turned out they scout the yard for insects. they also eat grasshoppers, mosquitoes, moths, slugs and whatever else they find.

I lock them up at night for their safety.


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Rosebud’s only comment was:  You had me at “Control Flies.”

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Welcome to the farm our fine feathered friends. Eat up while the bugs are still out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Testing surge capacity for grey water mulch basin

After digging out our mulch basin and building up the sides we decided to test out the capacity of the basin. We first timed how long it took to fill up a 5 gallon (1.5 minutes).

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Then we sat around and read about grey water systems in a cold climate while the basin filled.

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Then we sat around some more.

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After about 45 minutes we were still at this point. We didn’t think the basin was going to fill up any more so we calculated we did over 100 gallons. We figured 50 gallons in 15 minutes so 100 gallons was conservative.

It took about 20 to 30 minutes for the water to disappear completely so hopefully that’s a good sign that the water can seep out.

We are now going to fill the basin with wood chips and mulch to insulate over winter. Also thinking about putting bales on the north to act as a shelter against the strong north wind.

Anyone know where to find wood chips?

Any other ideas on how to insulate this basin?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Electricity in a log home

These pictures are a few weeks old but I wanted to document what we did for putting electricity in our log home.


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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Guess we didn’t make it before snow flies

We were hoping to get into our house before snow was upon us but as you can see below, we fell short of our goal.

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At least we have insulation in the place.snow 029

The place looks a whole lot cosier being closed in. I guess I expected that to happen when the walls came up and we couldn’t see to the top of the rafters.

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I’m proud to say I did the scribing on the dry wall next to the logs. We are going to put clay plaster on the walls so any cracks should be filled.

I should discuss our choice of putting drywall on the walls. Originally we were going to put clay straw walls in the place but were convince otherwise after discussing how hard and labor intensive doing that method is with someone that actually did it. It was all we  could do to not feel like we were compromising ethics with the use of drywall. Alas, we faltered and justified this choice as we are going to cover the walls with clay plaster. Hopefully that covers up the drywall smell and gives us a more natural look again.

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Temporary reclaimed cabinets we got out of Doc’s office. We stored them a quonset for about a year but it was really nice to have something to put in until we can get around to getting a more permanent solution.

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The kitchen is taking form with more reclaimed cabinetry.

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We couldn’t find a piece that fit the kitchen that well. Nothing fancy but still functional.

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We are putting tongue and groove cedar on the ceilings. My pictures look faded but the cedar looks pretty nice in person. We’d love to show it off to anyone. Of course if you come to look we’ll put you right to work so only come if you don’t mind free cedar installation training.