Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Morning nap after a hard night's work in the barn. Twenty-eight degrees calls for a little support from your friends. How many cats do people see? I'll post a captioned version later.

Jingle sheep

Just in case you aren't already in a holiday mood.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Winter light cat

Batman, the feral tomcat, enjoying a spot of sun inside the unfinished chicken shed.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The next big thing

Livestock and poop management go together like night follows day.

Yep, yet another hill to add to the learning curve. I have gained such an appreciation for the guys who design, build, and manage human sewage treatment plants. Truly.

But this post is about livestock poop.

On the positive side, at the very least we can agree that livestock poop is relatively inoffensive. It is afterall basically semi-digested plant material. Not like dog or cat poop at all. On the other hand, even the smallest pony generates mountains more poop than the average dog, nevermind cat. So what to do with it all?

There are the standard methods practiced by folks in my area. These mostly involve ways of distributing the poop as a fertilizer for plants. Either people spread it on their own fields and gardens, or they compost it and give or sell it to the community. I admire the people who manage to get the community to pay money for it. Really. Well done, I say.

There are also the more traditional uses of it that people in other parts of the world still practice. Turning it into fuel bricks. Turning it into building bricks. Both of these seem worthwhile practices in the spirit of recycling and permaculture, but both are heavy duty labor intensive practices. Given the amount of physical labor required to care for the livestock in the first place, either practice is unrealistic at Tyche's Run. Besides, what would one build? Seriously.

I've also read about more modern heating systems that run on poop. If you can get the stuff to compost anearobically, it will give off enough energy to heat a building. The cost of these systems is comparable to a traditional furnace (um, don't quote me on that -- it's been a while since I read up on the topic.) Regardless, my house already has a perfectly good furnace, so replacing it with an anearobic digester model really isn't in the cards. Though, I admit, I'd love to kiss goodbye to my propane supplier. Sorry, I'm converting my furnace to poop.  Who wouldn't love to say that?

Anyway, I thought that pretty much covered the options for poop use.

Then I found this.

That's right -- poo paper! Paper made from recycled poop.

Now, we're talking. How great an idea is this?! Paper made from the pulped fiber in livestock poop.

This fits right into the big picture fiber plans here at Tyche's Run.  Yet another source of fiber for your artisan needs.

And I'm only half kidding. ;-)

I'm just wondering though -- exactly how bad does a pot of boiling horse poop smell?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Weaving update

Yes, I'm still working on my first weaving project. 

One afternoon a week I make my way to the arts center downtown and stake out the little loom by the door to the supply room. 

When I started I had a vision in my head of a scarf I would make. Subtle, elegant. One color warp, one color weft. A simple twill. 

Cough cough. 

I let go of that vision about half an hour after I started the actual task of weaving. 

Ha ha. I couldn't bear the suspense. The same pattern over and over and over for six feet? Seventy-two long inches. How long would that take? How long exactly would I have to wait to try another pattern?  How many weeks? At this once a week rate? Months? 

So, I cheated. Well, lets just say I changed my vision. :) 

Instead I embraced the joy of improvisation.

I started out varying the colors.  Some combinations were better than others. 

Then the patterns.  Some patterns worked better than others. 

I think I blushed like a little kid when one of the senior weavers complemented my undulating twill. 

I'm not sure how much more warp I have to go. Maybe a foot or two. It's going to be a wild, crazy, sampler kinda scarf. A little of this, a little of that. Doesn't matter, I'm sure I'm going to love it no matter what. I'm also sure I can't WAIT to try a different loom with more harnesses and more pattern possibilities. Woot.

And weaving's not even the only fiber thing going on. 

More later. :)

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's a boy!

Yes, that's right folks. It only took me 5 months to figure out that Thing 1 and Thing 2 are roosters. No, no. No excuses. It's true. I'm an idiot. It never once occurred to me. Not once.

I noticed their outrageous size.

Did that clue me in? No.

I noticed Thing 1's striking resemblance to his father.

Did that clue me in? Nope.

I noticed their chest bumping play every morning. 

Did that clue me in? Not a chance.

I noticed their expulsion by their original flock -  not just once - but EVERY tree-climbing, chick-fetching night for five months.

Did that clue me in? Of course not.

No, no. Thing 2 had to stand at my feet and spell it out in all his cockadoodle glory and STILL my first reaction was to look over my shoulder for Toaster.


Some farmer I am.

(There may or may not be a video here to see. I'm having trouble with blogger. Note the photobombing cat in the background if you can see. )