Running Hen Microfarm : Two non-farmers' experiment in sustainable living in Shepherdstown, WV

Check out new permaculture pages!

February 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Ruth @ 5:19 pm

We’ve added pages (at left) where you can read some of what we’ve written for the permaculture course.

We are taking a permaculture course!

February 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Ruth @ 7:30 pm

We are taking an online permaculture course from Australia!!  Here is the link:

http://www.permaculturevisions.com

Check out our page about permaculture (link is to the left of this page)

Snow AGAIN… with fowls

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Ruth @ 7:11 pm

OK, this will be the last of the snow pictures this winter!! Any more will have to wait until next winter!!!

This is the super snow-blowing machine that we finally had to hire after 3 other trucks got stuck trying to plow.

This is the view out the front door on Wednesday the 10th…after shoveling the front walk and cleaning the car, it snowed over 10 more inches!  And then started to blow around!!  We decided to stay home…ha.

The path to the chicken and duck house

Can we stay inside today?

Food! Food! There are no bugs!

Where's our pond? Where's the food?

Potatoes from snow

February 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Ruth @ 2:38 pm

potatoes are in there somewhere!

Here is Mike’s chronicle of retrieving potatoes from snow.  They were originally planted in the large garden, but in the fall he dug them up and buried them 3 to 4 inches deep next to the porch. He then piled straw on top as insulation to keep them from freezing.

a path is dug

a pile of straw!

potatoes!

Enough for dinner!

Snow, worms, potting soil, power outtage

February 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Ruth @ 5:24 pm

Lots more snow today!  We have maybe 3 feet.  Also, we woke up this morning to no power…so, first thing, Mike made a fire and brought in some snow to melt on the woodstove to make coffee…after all, no power means no heat (even the geothermal runs on electricity) and no water (electricity needed to run pump) and no cooking on the gas stove (ignition works by electricity)…not very off-the-grid, is it?  But at least we have this alternative…thanks be for woodstoves!!  Fortunately, the power came back on around noon.

An indoor chore for today was to work on making potting soil, a several step process.  Today I removed the middle tier of the worm farm…there is wonderful, dark compost within (see photo)!!  However, there were also MANY worms.  Ideally the worms were supposed to migrate up into the top bin in search of new food, but most of them hadn’t made it up yet (I gave them at least 3 weeks and tried bribing them with lots of garbage!!).  So, I spent about an hour sitting on the floor pulling worms out of the finished bin and putting them into the top bin.  Of course I didn’t get them all…sorry, worms, but some of you will have to be sacrificed for the cause of compost…be reassured that most of your relatives will live on for generations…

Megasnow II

February 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Ruth @ 6:59 pm

Here are two pictures from today…one outside with the deer crossing the yard, and the other inside with a steamed applesauce cake made on top of the woodstove!  (I googled “steamed” and “applesauce” to get the recipe which was developed by some Boy Scouts for cooking over a fire.)  In the back is some frozen pumpkin I am thawing to make “pumpkin gnocci with sage butter”.

Worms, Part Two

February 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Ruth @ 1:07 pm

Worms need bedding…usually we use strips of newspaper, but in this case we had some shredded paper packing material from a Christmas gift of Vermont cheese.  Kitchen scraps are saved in an open bucket by the sink (I used to cover it, but it actually smells less and composts better if you don’t cover it) and maybe once a week or so bury the bucket contents in the shredded paper.  Then it is misted with water…the contents of the worm bin should be kept moist but you don’t want to drown the worms…the holes in the bottom of the upper tiers should keep it drained.

In the photo at right you can see the worms that were hiding under the bedding.  You can also see some tiny white insects…these are (I think) fruit fly larvae, which actually do aid in composting, but are also a sign that the compost is on the acidic side.  So, in addition to the water misting bottle, I also keep a jar of lime pellets nearby, and once a week or so sprinkle about a tablespoon on top to adjust the pH.  That seems to decrease the larvae.

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