Early on December 4th, I stood in my skivvies with the moon shining brightly, stars twinkling between pillow plume clouds in the foreground. My guess, it is about 36 degrees this morning. I find myself wondering, standing with an armload of wood for the fireplace. The balmy high in the forecast of around 50 degrees for the day. Kinda makes me feel anxious…
I wonder as I poke the logs into my firebox… if the trees, the life outside… Are they having trouble sleeping? I am…
December 8th and old man winter has crawled his way into Mid Michigan at last. Bit of snow dusts the ground and frost seems to be working its way into the ground.
Hopefully, life in this temperate region will get its proper rest.
My own sleep patterns disrupted as I have swapped working hours with my dayshift comrade to help her through problems with daycare. I’m glad to help, but as a result… daylight for me is a rare commodity.
I am juggling firewood collection, finishing the doors on the barn and preparing a space for some new residents. A drake and two hens. Jannette, Jack, and Crissy that whom wife has named without seeing. The breed is Muskavoy and today I finished up a roosting area and a temporary run to give the ducks some area to forage and hang with the goats.
In November I set out to pursue a new tool for the stead and managed to finish with the bank just after the Thanksgiving holiday. Looks like I have committed myself to more debt… with the addition of a mini tractor from Mahindra. I guess…” Livin’ the Dream!”
The little thing (the tractor) seems to be a solid machine fitted with a front end loader and back blade to help me work this little swath of land. The salesman was quick to inform that there are a whole host of implements available for the beast and was ready to add whatever I deemed necessary to the bill. Tillers, box blades all kinds of soil privatizing equipment! I settled for a simple back blade to help me maintain the 900 feet of driveway that gets our vehicles to our living space… move snow and such. I suppose a PTO powered chipper would have been cool but it wasn’t available or my bill may have been much more.
The machine’s combination of utility, power and 4 wheel drive seems comical within its smallness. Narrow and tight turning, I think it will be ideal in my work here maneuvering between the trees and lanes in my forest manipulation, a future forest garden.
It isn’t much larger than a fancy lawnmower really. In fact, a drive on mower deck IS available for the minibeast but that sorta thing I’m trying to avoid. “Grow Food Not Lawns!” Right? INDEED!
As much as I hate to admit it, I just can’t do the work I need to do without this tool. With the time available in my day outside of my regular working hours and energy thresholds that this middle-aged body can conjure… it seems fossil fuel is a requirement. My end goal is to retire this beast with good design and tactics learned in the Permaculture community where nature is employed and nurtured to provide needs and lessen the physical workload. In the end just me and my wheelbarrow and not a wheelchair… I hope. I do enjoy the simple efficiency of a wheelbarrow. Quiet and dependable. In contact and in concert with what is real.
Today December 10th I set out and picked up the “Three is Company” crew! (80s tv reference in the names) our new homesteading ducks.
Muscovy breed is said to be friendly, ravenous insect and SLUG eaters, (may they find every last slug) exceptional mothers, good egg layers, and not too inclined to explore outside a homestead. With an added bonus… they are not quackers! Quiet conversation is a good thing when neighbors live close.
They are adjusting now to their new environment and housing today and seem to have made the 30-minute commute inside a covered carrier bed of a Chevy pretty well. I am Looking forward to establishing a relationship with these fine feather fowl and discovering the many ways we may work together in the stead, as well as pairing bacon with those eggs! 🙂