Homestead Update

The garden is growing. Radishes have been up for a while – long enough in fact that I will probably plant another row within the next few days. Beans and cucumbers popped up within the last few days. Carrots, habanero peppers and tomatoes appear to be poking through but not far enough to tell if the little green sprigs are what they are supposed to be or if they are weeds. Drip irrigation is going in later this week, connected to the rainwater collection system. I’ll just have to keep an eye on the water level to be sure that I don’t burn out the pump by running it dry.

The chickens are devouring about four pounds of food per day and producing an average of eight eggs in exchange. That’s about fifteen cents per egg, capital expenditures excluded. I can live with that. A few still insist on laying eggs in front of the nest boxes instead of inside them, but most seem to have figured it out. No predator issues since the pit bull incident. I did trap the opossum after it returned for a second night in a row. I intended to release it a few miles away, but it tried to chew its way out and got its teeth stuck in the bars of the cage. I couldn’t get it loose and after several minutes of torment trying, I decided that a quick death would be the kinder option.

Cat Morella consistently visits for an hour every night for food and water. I’ve never seen her during the day or in person, but I’m happy that she has stuck around. I haven’t seen Cat Clara in almost two weeks. I expected the opposite, assuming that both didn’t choose to stay. I still have the bully cat and another gray cat showing up intermittently. If either would visit more consistently schedule-wise I’d trap and relocate them as I did the first feral gray one a few weeks ago. For now, I am stuck cursing them as I catch them on video after the fact.

It has been so very dry here for the past month or more. I definitely chose the wrong time to seed the front lawn. I hadn’t captured enough rainwater to water the area as long as is necessary absent any rainfall when I put the seed down, but I was hoping for a little cooperation from Mother Nature. No way I can afford to use county water for that large of an area. The bitch had other ideas and refused to provide any precipitation. So now I still have a brown front yard and most of the straw has blown away. A few seeds sprouted (less than ten percent) just to brown out a few days later when I ran out of irrigation water. I’m holding out hope that we’ll start to get regular rain soon and that some of the seeds/sprouts survived.

I finished the last of the major grading on the yard. I’ll have to make some minor to moderate repairs to areas that get high runoff, but I plan to wait until as much vegetation as possible has established itself so I’m not just pissing in the wind. We also put in a gravel and paver stone front walkway. It butts up against the house, making less area to edge/trim. I’ve lined the tractor implements and the trailer along the edge of the back yard to keep them out of the way. Except for occasional smoothing of the driveway, my tractor use is going to be largely limited to mowing going forward. I have almost 410 hours on the little Kubota, though. I do pick up the occasional side job with it, so I doubt that I’ll sell any of the implements any time soon.

We upgraded internet service this week. The cable company changed its distance-to-tap rules recently, allowing us to get service. It’s a solid 200Mbps, compared to barely 10Mbps from our DSL connection that we’d had since deciding that satellite internet bandwidth limits weren’t worth the hassle. $50 per month for a year, then whatever the normal price is after that (currently $75). We’d been paying just over $70 for DSL, so I decided that we might as well have the extra speed even if we don’t need it. When I called the phone company to cancel, they miraculously found a plan that comes out to $30 per month including taxes with a guarantee that the price will never go up as long as there is no interruption in service. I really hate when companies do shit like that. They could’ve saved me almost sixty percent, but chose not to offer to do so until a different option became available. I wish companies would just charge a fair price for a given service instead of playing stupid games. I agreed to the change, which delayed my cancellation by a month. I’ll probably cancel the service through the cable company after the first or second month. Like shopping at Walmart, I hate the phone company but significant savings is significant savings.

I bought a cast iron skillet after discovering that the one I was sure that I had was nowhere to be found. It came pre-seasoned, but I’m doing a couple more seasoning cycles on it as I type this. I seldom cooked things in skillets the last few years, but now there are eggs… In the same order, I bought a splash screen. Because sausage and bacon. As I was unpacking it this afternoon, Wife informed me that we already have one. Oh, well. Amazon offers free returns on this particular item, so off I went. When I initiated the return, they offered a “returnless refund” allowing me to keep it while still giving me my money back. I guess the cost of the return and restocking was more than the eleven dollars that I paid for it. I’ll take it, and keep the new one as a backup. Two is one, as they say.

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