Well being stuck on the homestead with almost no gas has actually been kind of good for us. We got a lot accomplished.
A friend of ours from town gave us a lot of leftover building materials, including plywood, some of which were treated or painted on one side, a few 2 by 4s, a couple of galvanized metal sheets, and dried bamboo that is taller than me. When we get a chance, we’ll go back to harvest some of the living bamboo to transplant from his yard to our land. Bamboo grows fast and can be an excellent building material. We can use them for trellises, for fencing, for the walls of the outdoor shower we plan to build at some point.
We used one of the plywood boards and metal sheets, as well as pallets that we had savaged elsewhere, to build to a three-sided shelter that we were originally thinking was going to be a goathouse. But now we are considering adding roosts to the inside, a door, and stapling chicken wire to the outside to make it a house for guinea fowl. Whichever way we end up going, it’s the beginning of our animal shelters, the first we have built. It was very satisfying to have finished it. It was a hot day, and we wanted to be sure it would be good shade from the sun. So when we were done, Alex and I crawled underneath to test it. I’m not going to put my animals through something I’m not willing to try myself. It was surprisingly cool.
On our last trip to Rolla we stopped by the composting facility to see what biomaterials we could salvage, and hit the freaking jackpot. 6 straw bales! Straw is so versatile. It’s invaluable for layering in the compost, for mulching, for lots of things. We haven’t even used it all yet, and until we break them open they make great seats outside. For some reason I felt like I real country girl sitting on a straw bale. Speaking of compost, its coming along excellently. We built it from three oak trees that were in a triangle shape, cutting them down at shoulder height, and wrapping chicken wire around the stumps. They will eventually be composted themselves, but it’ll take at like ten years or so, it’s a hard wood. The center of the compost pile is 140 degrees. If I dig down, I can’t even put my hand it long, it’s so hot. It’s going to be beautiful soil next year.
Alex also used another of painted plywood boards to build a nice counter/table along the one wall of the room of the cabin that serves as our living room and kitchen. It’s not the prettiest looking thing in the world, but it works and that’s what’s important. We still want to turn this cabin into a workshop one day so everything we are doing has a double use, or can be easily repurposed.
We also got a couple of nice bar stools from the trash near the college in Rolla. All the college kids are going away for the summer, and they just throw away their perfectly good furniture and then buy new furniture in the fall. So now is the time to drive around town, especially near the college, and look for anything good they may have thrown out.
As I write this, I am sitting inside the cabin, as it pours rain outside. Almost torrential rain. We are at a higher elevation than Rolla, so sometimes we get hit by some big storms. In the next couple of years, a root cellar is going to be a really important thing to build. Not just for food storage, although that is definitely one purpose. We are not in the worst part of Tornado Ally, but we can still be impacted by them. Thankfully right now our solar-powered emergency weather radio (a necessary item out here!) says there is little chance of a tornado this week, although there will be moderate to severe thunderstorms all week, with possible hail. I ‘m hoping the hail will not hit us, because I think our fruit trees are still a little young to handle it. Although a few of them have grown several feet, one of them is two feet taller than my brother now. (EDIT: the hail did pass us. Yay!)
We also built another raised bed out of post oak before all the rain. We planted sunflowers and cucumbers. Hopefully the cucumbers will climb up the sunflowers like a trellis. That’s what we are hoping. After the week during which it rained almost every day, they just germinated yesterday!
Still so much to do. I actually don’t have much time. I am at Mcdonald’s and have to get home soon. Signing off!