Saturday, September 27, 2014

2014 - End of Summer Summary


Well the first day of Autumn is here and it brought with it some much needed rain! I have been on vacation out of the country for a couple of weeks so wasn't able to do any posting about the house since I wasn't there. So this a quick round-up of where things are right now as we head into fall. (Which I hope is rainy and leads to even a wetter winter!)

Greenhouse - Aquaponics
The fish survived while I was gone but the water was so low from evaporation there was only about 1 foot left in the tank. I am going to down-size the system for the winter and try and get the greenhouse insulated a bit more. Great bounty of tomatoes and lettuce though when I returned and they just tasted amazing!
Greenhouse plants!
The tomato plants look like they are done, and the cantaloupe and spaghetti squash plants just keep vining along but never setting any fruit. I think next weekend I will rip them out and move to 2 beds for the winter.. just growing winter greens like lettuce and kale and chard.

Deck Project
I have been painting on the railings and made some progress there, in fact I should be able to finish them this weekend if the sprayer holds out. 
Starting out with the raw wood and some newspaper to protect the siding

Half and Half shot so you can see the different color

This section is done!
The deck flooring is another matter all together.. need to find the time and muscle to get more of the rotting boards replaced and then paint them. One additional wrinkle is that the bats are back under my deck... so I have been trying the metallic streamers and the high frequency noise maker to get them out of here. I can't really paint over them! I hope they move on..
While I was working on the deck last weekend, 3 peacocks were sitting on the playhouse deck watching me for a couple of hours...
My supervisors
It was strange but they have been hanging around eating the birdseed I put out. (I will do another post of the critter cam to show you.) HOWEVER - I came here last night and this morning my main deck is covered with peacock droppings. So I am not really happy about that... need to see if I can figure out a way to keep them off of there.

Bees and Honey
The beekeeper had to move more of his hives onto my property due to a fire in the area. We have had a bad summer for fires and this one was about 50 miles north of my house and he had hives there he needed to move. Even if they didn't get burnt there isn't any vegetation for them to feed on after the fire is out. He brought me another gallon of honey! This honey is one from his friend in Washington state and is wildflower honey from up there. Need to start selling this so if you are local and want any let me know!
That's a lot of honey!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hotel Leger Special


I am in Norway visiting our ancestral home but I did get an email from Amazon local that I wanted to  share. If anyone is interested in visiting here, the Hotel Leger is running a special on Amazon.

Hotel Leger Deal

A hidden treasure nestled in the heart of the scenic California Mother Lode region, Hotel Leger is the perfect base from which to explore the area's scenic natural beauty, historic gold rush sites, and myriad wineries. Featuring quaint turn-of-the-century architecture and decor, this celebrated inn offers plenty of simple amenities and a classic feel. Whether you're touring the autumn scenery during grape harvest or hunting the ghosts of days gone by when gold prospectors ruled the region, this rustic getaway makes the perfect vacation spot.
What You Get
  • For $149 ($321 value), enjoy a two-night stay for two with Sunday–Wednesday check-in
  • For $199 ($377 value), enjoy a two-night stay for two with Thursday–Saturday check-in
  • Both options include a welcome bottle of wine and gift basket, daily breakfast, $25 food and beverage credit, and the use of a Paranormal Investigating Kit
What to Expect at Hotel Leger
  • Rooms feature antique decor and furniture, comfortable bedding, and more
  • Feast on delicious seasonal fare at the award-winning Whitewater Grill & Saloon
  • Stroll the historic grounds, where hopeful prospectors from all over the world gathered during the days of the Gold Rush, or relax in the tree-lined pool courtyard
What to Do in the California Mother Lode Region
  • Explore the Sierra Foothills wine region and find your new favorite wine
  • Plenty of outdoor activities like hiking the Calaveras Big Trees State Park
  • Tour the many Gold Rush museums and learn everything there is to know about this fascinating slice of American history

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bees, Honey, Hops and Beer - Sept 3rd, 2014


I have an interesting intersection of random items that have come together into a finished product and it is really exciting! Here are the basic building blocks that have been transformed 

1- Bees 
Leo has brought his bee hives to my property, about 60 of them. I have enjoyed watching them work and wish we had more flowers for them! 

Some of the hives as they started to be brought in
2- Honey
He is paying me in honey for the rent of the land. Since we can't harvest anything this year due to the drought, he gave me a gallon of honey from last year! A gallon of raw, organic wildflower honey!! I put it into pint jars and sold one to my friend and kept one for our use. But the other two went to Nick for his beer.
Love the color on this and man it is good!
3- Hops
The hops are growing but aren't ready yet to be used in beer. But I wanted to include them so you can see what is happening now and for the future...

Bagged up first batch

Which brings us to ... beer!
The recipe that my son used is one of those that you use as a base to build out your flavors. But I have to say it was pretty good on its own, very dry with a clean taste. Here is the recipe he used:
-3.5 lbs of Light dry malt extract -2,5 lbs of LOCAL HONEY -1.5 Ounces of Cascade hops (for boiling) -.5 ounces of cascade hops for finishing

And here is the finished product - yum!

This is the first time I have something that was created from raw ingredients and could actually make sense as a source of income. We are going to build a larger hop yard to grow a few more varieties and sell them to craft beer folks. The craft beer hobby has taken off and there is a shortage of hops available for them and the larger corporate breweries. And with the emphasis on locally grown items, it could be a good income stream.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Greenhouse and Aquaponics - Update Sept 1st, 2014


My family and I are leaving for vacation and I will not be going up to the house for a few weeks because of it, so I did something stupid and bought another feeder for the fish and tested it out last week.
Pet Feeder... bad idea!

What a horrible failure! I got in the green house and it smelled so bad and the water quality was terrible. I had to dump 1/2 the water to get it somewhere closer to habitable and I haven't seen the fish, so no idea if they lived or not. (No dead bodies either so a little confused.) The plants are doing good though and the cantaloupe finally got a little fruit on them!

Tomato plant is going a little crazy!

Tomatoes on the vine

Tomatoes picked - had to pick some greenish ones because I won't be back for awhile
Cantaloupe baby!!

Bell Pepper in the tank
The real question is how will everything do while I am away? And what am I going to do in the winter time with the whole setup? I need to put a better roof on it because right now the plastic tore and I  have a temporary tarp on it.
Roof is all ripped up!
I want to put the poly panels on it and then put up racks for dirt planting as well, and then try and insulate it for the winter... not sure if I can do all of this! But will give it a try! Any volunteers?