Almost 2 weeks since I last blogged, oh my stars! Well here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to during this time of massive transition…
Goodbye to our home in Woodlawn! The sunflowers, eight or nine feet up, finally bloomed on our last day (Ciao bellas!). And we took one last walk on the last evening in our neighborhood where Dan pointed out where he’d made a permanent imprint of us in a then-new sidewalk 🙂
Packed up and drove the first truck to Astoria (DIY means I don’t drive a U-Haul more than 15′ long y’all…), unloaded it into the garage, returned truck the next day and by evening was back in Portland while husband stayed behind to start building the duck run & coop. Their new run is a lovely 10′ x 20′ and 100% of the wood used was repurposed from what we found in the barn! Our only major expense beyond the hardware cloth was to get corrugated roofing and it’s already been great – there are a lot of eagles around and one tried going after the neighbor’s chicken so we know that free-ranging is definitely only when one of us are in the garden!
Along with that, Dan built this compost tumbler for me using scrap wood, used parts from The Rebuilding Center (I planned ahead!) and our old rain barrel! I had bought a metal barrel off a neighbor for $10 then realized it was not going to work for compost (AKA, rust…) so I donated my beloved barrel that I’d built and painted nine years ago at the Tool Library in NE Portland! We used this plan by the way to build it – I’d seen something similar on Pinterest and loved how you could bring your wheelbarrow right under it to collect the finished product. Along with that, we’re very slowly thinking about what next year will be like in the veggie garden, and taking a slower, more observational approach rather than just throwing down new beds, so right now in cleaning up the former owner’s stuff (i.e., tearing out the godawful annuals and non-bee-attracting flowers to replace with our own goodies we’d brought over), I’m creating mock “beds” out of wheelbarrow loads to see how it might look, along with creating some makeshift borders to see if I want to fence it in or not. I’m torn between using this small pasture for garden or bringing it closer to the house – to put it mildly, I’m not used to having SO much space to play with!!o Ashamed to admit I haven’t even walked to the end of the big pasture (first thought: I’m SO busy…!).
Weather has been absolutely gorgeous – even took a break from errands to get shrimp po boys, fish n chips and chocolate dipped cones at Custard King. YUM!
And gotta say AMEN! to Dan’s work buddy and our next door neighbor for being last minute helpers getting our bees moved out here to the farm! On our first attempt Dan had one hell of a time and got stung multiple times (so much his hand blew up like it was inflatable for a couple days) so we had to drive home without them and come back with a U-Haul cargo van which we outfitted Dexter-style with plastic sheeting to prevent any stragglers from getting to the passenger area while we drove. The hive weighing SO much right now and our local contact going AWOL the night of the move (along with my back that was no way in hell going to be able to manage the other side), we were thrilled to get the extra help (note to future beekeepers – $9 Tyvek suits from Home Depot work in a pinch for helpers!). We now have a branch in front of their entrance so they can acclimate themselves to their new home, kept there for a couple days. Yay bees!
A week into being on the farm, Betty and at least 2 others are still laying outside the coop. We had locked them in their coop for a few straight nights which got at least one of them going in to lay right near the front door, so we’ll see when the weather gets cooler and winds get whipping if they take advantage of their pretty teal hive I made ’em. As of yesterday I did let them out to free range a bit under supervision and they were intrigued but ultimately went back into their run. We don’t have a lot of shade (YET! Trees and shrubs to come!) so the cool environs of the run is pretty attractive…not to mention the kiddie pool that has turned Cocoa into Esther Williams 🙂