Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

For fun, here's a different look at our homestead.
Google has an interesting artificial intelligence project, where they let a program interpret photographs.  It's kind of like watching an app daydream.  Google released the code for this, so that people could play with it.  This site lets you upload photos so the software can interpret them.

Remember that photo of a deer in our back yard?  Here's a machine dreaming version:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A summer chill

It's July, and after several warm weeks we turned autumnal, here on the mountain.  It's 56° F right now, halfway between dawn and noon, according to our thermometer.  53°, according to
It's an obvious thing to say, but true, nonetheless: winter is always present for us.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Summer visitors

There aren't a lot of people in our town, and no neighbors visible from the homestead.  But we do get frequent animal visitors.
This week one of the deer made an appearance in daylight.  This is below the house, just past our new potato patch:

She allowed me to get close enough for several photos, before bounding into the deeper woods.

Unfortunately, our dog didn't notice anything until late.  We fear she's losing hearing in her old age.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Apple progress

Our biggest apple tree just put forth its first fruits.  I counted at least twenty of these baby apples:
Scale: each one is 1/2 to 1"

Yes, this is the same apple tree that suffered from too much rain.  So far my brace had kept the trunk vertical.  So that's one concern.
Other concerns: disease; animals eating the fruit; limbs too thin to hold up the apples.  We watch over this anxiously.

The context: we'd like to grow fruit up here, but it's not a good climate, being so cold and the growing season very short.  Apple trees do work, so we planted one a few years ago, then planted a second (not shown in this photo; not fruiting yet) to ensure fertilization.  Ceredwyn also hand-fertilized, and planted flowers to encourage bees in their work.

This year is promising.  If things go well, we'll plant two more trees to set up a little orchard.  With luck and our efforts, apples could become a part of our homestead-grown diet.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The cost of too much rain

Our town has been absorbing a lot of rain this past week.  Too much, in fact.

We started seeing signs of it on our land.  Our biggest apple tree, which started bearing some promising fruit, suddenly started heeling over to one side.  When I felt the ground around its trunk, the earth was sodden, squishy, too soft to support a heavy tree.

So I propped it up with a piece of lumber, at least for the night:

This worries me. I'm very fond of that tree, and we have high hopes for being able to add apples to our produce.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A summer storm versus a fence

Rain and unusually high winds battered the mountain last night and this morning.  When we woke up and walked around, we found leaves, tiny branches, and shallow puddles dotting the ground.

Below the house, bigger trees pieces had fallen.  The biggest was this birch bough, actually a major chunk of a tree, which fall onto an old fence we're using to grow berries:

I hauled the thing off the fence and up to the house's back door, so I can cut it up later for firewood, poles, and other uses.

The fence is bent, and we need to straighten it up.

Homesteading is so vulnerable to weather.  It's a cliche, but a true thing.
The flipside is that we have some free firewood.