Sunday, May 1, 2011


In case you're wondering why these photos were posted with no commentary, it's because we've been having trouble with our FairPoint DSL, and were cut off again, for the fiftieth or sixtieth time, after the pictures were saved, but before the commentary was saved.

Consumer alert: If you live in Maine and have a choice of Internet service providers, don't get FairPoint. It's certifiably crap service. Worse even than British Telecom, and that's saying something.

We didn't have any choice. FairPoint is the only DSL provider in Jackson. We could try satellite, but it seems expensive and the reviews say you can't stream video. Our FairPoint disconnects us at least once every hour, but it does stream both NetFlix and the BBC.

(What would I do without all those BBC iPlayer documentaries?)

Aimee's on the verge of launching one of her righteous crusades. I've never known anyone like her for high dudgeon. It's almost as if she were British and someone jumped the queue. She will, if need be, write personal letters to very single officer of a company that's wronged her, for years and years if necessary, badgering them until she gets satisfaction. She never gives up. FairPoint doesn't know what it's in for.

You don't want to cross her.

But it is very annoying to pay $44 a month for what should be reliable service, only to have it break down so constantly.

Anyway, these were just some nice Sunday night pictures to show you what we'd been up to this weekend.

Saturday itself was a dead loss for me work-wise because of the Maine State Science Fair, but Sunday proved dry enough, after enough other dry days, to do a vital chore that badly needed doing, the cleaning-out of the pig sty, the building of next year's compost pile for the garden, and the tilling of the year before last's compost into the garden.

When we first got on this sheep-pig-compost rotation, we thought we could compost the material just for a few short weeks each spring, before tilling it into the veggie garden. But after a couple years of very heavy weeding, we realized it takes a whole summer of hot compost to kill all the weed seeds, especially the hayseeds.

It is mostly old hay after all, so I should have expected it to have a high load of weed seeds once composted.

So weed the soil, not the plants. These days I turn and pile the material up for a second time each spring, let it go for a whole extra year, and then till it in.

The '73 twelve horse Kubota tractor with its proprietary front-end loader and rear-tine tiller works pretty well for this chore. The loader only takes about six cubic feet of material at a time, but since that's easily two hundred pounds of manure, it's a lot easier than using hand tools. The tiller is superb, by far the best tiller I've ever used or seen used, and the tractor-tiller-loader combination together is well worth the six thousand dollars we paid for this rig.

That was nearly six years ago now in any case that we paid that, and I'd venture to say that there hasn't been any visible deterioration or wear to the equipment in all that time. It's all certainly built to last. The tractor itself will be 40 years old the year after next.

Then there's a couple additional shots, the chickens in their new prison-pen, and the daffodils finally getting ready to bloom, two weeks behind the daffodils down at sea level.

The chickens are not that happy to be cooped up in such a relatively small yard. Their grain consumption has only gone up a little, but now they fight over the nicest bugs they find, and one particular bird has taken to jumping up and down at the fence line anytime a human passes by.

I imagine she's asking to be let out, although that would be a pretty smart chicken-communication attempt, wouldn't it?

I expect that next year's birds will be less bothered by it, because they won't have know anything else.

On that note, wifey ordered me to sort out the chick brooder, which I dutifully did.

Chicks arrive Thursday.

The last picture is of lazy sunny dogz on the porch. Mary, the southerner, likes the sun; Haggis, from Aroostook County, Maine, likes the shade. That's a Shenzi-cat bum peeking out from behind the milk churn.

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Welcome to our Farm Blog.
The purpose of this blog is for Aimee and I to communicate with friends and family, with those of our students, and other folks in general who are interested in homesteading and farming activities.

The earliest posts, at the very end of the blog, tell the story of the Great Farm, our purchase of a fragment of that farm, the renovation of the homestead and its populating with people and animals. Go all the way to the last post in the archive and read backwards from there to get it in chronological order.

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