We have had a very productive week around the homestead.
Outdoor Project Day
Throughout the winter we occasionally get days that are 45+F and sunny. These are good opportunities for us to work on projects outdoors while we can, and we take advantage of them as much as possible. We had one this week and were able to get some things done.
Our lumber was finished early, so we picked it up and used it on the projects. This lumber is from several trees we had to cut down last year and we took it to the local mill to have it made into 4×4, 2×6, and 1x lumber.
We split up into three groups, working close to each other, but on separate projects. Young Man and Sunshine built the onion patch retaining wall. It backs up to the main garden, but is on the outside of the fence since wildlife don’t bother the onions. Here is the before picture from the onion patch side:
And the after picture:
And here it is from the garden side, before and after:
Braveheart worked on our mantle log. It is a large aspen log…
…that needs to be stripped and sanded so it can become our mantle.
Mtn Man and I ripped logs, with Little Miss helping gather the wood scraps for the kindling pile, and Mr. Smiles in his stroller watching us all. The bark slabs from the outside of the trees are cut off as they make it into lumber. We find these slabs very useful for our version of a privacy fence – a Rocky Mountain solid fence. The slabs are all different widths and have uneven edges.
We run them through the table saw to get the edges mostly even so they fit nicely together. It is not a perfectionist thing…we want it to have some character, but still fit pretty well. Depending on the fence, we are more particular or less particular.
We used it to build the 3 foot garden fence many years ago.
But this week we were using it to attach to a section of the barnyard fence. We first hooked up a big canvas tarp along the fence, and then put the slabs over it. This will make for a nice windbreak for the upper corner of the barnyard.
Most of our fencing is not solid, but when we do want some that is I really like this look because it blends in with the area well. I don’t like buildings and fences in the woods that stand out from everything.
We started our incubation! We are using both of our incubators this time because we wanted to set a large amount of eggs. Hatching at high-altitude is complicated, especially when the birds laying the eggs didn’t themselves hatch at high altitude. Although studies show that hens laying at high-altitude lay eggs with less pores to make up for some of the challenges caused by the altitude. But we have found that our first generation of birds always have very low hatch rates, and our hatch rates go up as we get into the next few generations of birds that have been selected and hatched at altitude themselves. Because we had to cut our flock way back due to our son’s medical issues, we are now starting back at square one so-to-speak with our breeding and hatching program, so most of the breeding birds come from lower elevations and are our first generation. In the years to come our hatching success should increase with the second and third generations of high-altitude birds. Because of all that, we will likely have a low hatch rate. Thus we wanted to set as many eggs as possible to make up for the lower hatch rate.
We were able to fit 75 eggs in the two incubators. We have a Hovabator 1588 and a Top Hatch TH130. We prefer the Hovabator, but they both perform pretty well. And when we want to set a lot of eggs it is nice to have them both.
We will candle for fertility later this week and see how our roo is doing at his part of the job.
English Paper Piecing Quilt
The EPP hexagon quilt has come out to be worked on again. I talked about how special this quilt is and what it is about in this post last year. Because the pieces are so tiny, and it is completely hand stitched, the girls and I only work on it for a few weeks at a time and then put it away and bring it back out later. It has been almost a year since we worked on it though! How time flies around here. But Little Miss was in the mood for it so she dug it out and the two of us have started working on it again. We will see how much progress we make this time before our hands get tired of all that tiny stitching.