Thursday, September 10, 2009

COOP Disaster!!!!


Sorry radio silence... busy

I was working on our backyard. It has been down for a few years as we have done remodel after remodel and ultimately not been able to use the backyard for for entertaining or simply hanging out. So, after realizing everytime my kids walk by the windows facing the backyard, they cried.. I thought I'd better do something about it.

So, in a pile, I have tumbled aged bricks... these bricks used to make up my front path. After much deliberation and caving-in, we've decided to reuse these in the backyard courtyard. So, as I was running back and forth with the wheelbarrow, I left the gate to the garden and chickens open. (keeping in mind - dog has not discovered said opened gate)...

As I was laying bricks, I hear a cacophony of clucking. Similar to my in-laws talking loudly over a big pasta dinner.. so it really didn't shock me... until I realized it was our chickens, the gate was open and Fudge the Maniacal crack pot dog had made it back there. Fortunately the chickens were in the coop. However, when a chicken has never seen something, and it sees it for the first time... OH MAN. It is like a schoolyard of kids seeing an alien land in their playground. GOODNIGHT!!! Anyway, Fudge ( I DID NOT NAME HIM)... was running around the coop like a lion circling it's prey, as I make my way back there to command (loosley used term) him away. Upon raising my voice to the level of the space shuttle launch he bolted to the other side of the gate and waited for me to shut it. I return to the coop to see nothing but feathers flying...water turned over and the feeder completely jacked up and bent.

Other than that it was a restful time placing bricks.

More to come tonight...

Monday, September 7, 2009


So, we hit Santa Cruz yesterday and surfed what's called "The Hook"... If you google 41st Avenue in Capitola, CA and work your way down to the coast, there is a parking lot and a nice little point break there. There was just enough surf to have some fun. It was in the low 70's, sun was shining and I got to surf with my daughter!!! How cool is that? My neice, nephew and brother-in-law where out there as well. Nothing like exhausting yourself for some greasy pizza afterwards!!!

Anyway, this surf spot was unusual because the kelp was everywhere...literally so much so kelp that when you went to paddle for a wave, your leash or foot would be tied up in the kelp. Which got me thinking about kelp as a fertilizer. I have heard over and over about the benefits of kelp so here it is...

The immediate benefit obtained from kelp can be attributed to the release of auxins, cytokinins and gibberellins. These plant growth hormones, required in small quantities, are essential for cell division and cell elongation, basic functions of plant growth. Increased levels of plant hormones can result in enhanced seed germination, early emergence, stimulated root and shoot growth, increased fruit set and decreased fruit drop.

When used as a fertilizer supplement, kelp is an excellent source of chelated minerals necessary for proper plant growth. Kelp meal acts as a slow release fertilizer, slowly breaking down and releasing its nutrients. The potential benefit of a kelp fertilizer supplement increases each year as it contributes to the soil organic matter.

The following application rates are approximate and may vary depending on the climactic region, soil type and soil fertility:

  • Garden - 3lbs per 100 sq ft
  • Field – 200 to 400 lbs. per acre
  • Row – 20 lbs. per 100 feet
  • Orchards – 1 lb. per inch of tree diameter
  • Compost – 6 oz. per cubit foot
  • Turf – 10 lbs. per 1,000 square feet
  • Seedbed - ½ to 1 lb. per 100 square feet
  • Potting Mixes – 2 to 3 % of total volume
  • Bedding Plants – 1 oz. per tray
  • Fertilizer Mixes – 5 to 10% of total volume
This information is by Canton Mills... .

I am grabbing a handful next time, or simply take it off my leg and bring it home... dump it into my compost pile and allow the attributes to add to my garden.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Life On The Farm With No TV!!!!

So, I wrote the other day about raising kids without outside influences. Outside Influences are defined as TV, iPods, cell phones and computers. The other day, I lost my marbles, when my two kids were in the back of one of our cars cleaning it. I was in the kitchen making some dinner. Wife was running errands. I looked out the kitchen window only to witness - fist flying, screaming and crying. Now..please understand this happened between a 13 and 7 year old!!!! How? How in the world can these two go from cleaning a car to wanting to end each others existence? I quickly stopped it and had the eldest come in and explain how it happened. I then asked the other to come in and explain what happened. I then did got my calculator, built an excel spreadsheet determined the probablities of fairness and wisdom and decided to administer the penalties as such;

No TV for a week
No iPod's for a week
No computer for a week (unless there is a paper due for school)
No texting for a week (the eldest only)

What has ensued has been one of the most peaceful weeks in recent memory. Our kids are calm, the pets are fed, the coop is clean, the garden has been tended to and the attitudes are a bazillion times better. There is no fighting, they are playing together. There is no sour faces, no poor pathetic me stomp-offs... it has been AWESOME!

I am convinced, outside influences on kids can be dangerous and with science pointing to low brain activity and higher blood pressures in kids due to these influences, it is painfully obvious, our kids need us, need to use their minds and use their bodies and in doing so, they may have a chance to be normal people. Shoot, remember having to change the channels manually? What a pain, but what a blessing, nothing on the 5 channels you got, cool go outside and play and that's what we did.

So, with modern society ripping around like they need to accomplish all of lifes goals right now, and the influence of the media making us believe our kids aren't safe walking out the front door, TV has become the "Go-To" babysitter and entertainment. Therefore, I must submit - get a garden, get chickens, plant flowers, build a pond, get an aquarium (salt water - I will speak to this later as I had one for 5 years and am going to put another up soon)... but get your kids hands dirty, use their muscles, have them read, talk with them, love on them but extract these influences and use them in complete moderation.

Sorry to be preachy, but my kids brains blossom when these influences are removed...I bet yours will to.

Off to surf Santa Cruz...!!!! with my kids of course