Thursday, January 1, 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

May the new year bring a time of joy, hope, growth and prosperity to all.  Happy New Year form Hare Brain Farms!!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Wishing all of you a very merry Christmas from Hare Brain Farms.  May Joy fill all your celebrations, and peace fill your hearts.  Merry Christmas!!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with good food, good company, and hearts filled with gratitude.  And may we never forget or look down on those who have less to be thankful for.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from Hare Brain Farms!!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

SIMPLE OUTDOOR OVEN

If you are thinking "that just looks like a rusty metal box" you  are thinking correctly.  It is a steel box made of scrap plate and discarded bed rails.  There is, of course, more to it than that.  There is the story behind the box, and the function of the box.

The story starts a while back when Anna asked if I could make a metal box.  "Of course, boxes are simple" I replied.  When I asked how big and for what purpose, she explained that she would like one that could be used as a campfire oven.  I told her that I would see if I could find the proper steel for it and figure some measurements, and see what I could come up with.  At the time, the only plate steel I had was some 1/4 inch plate I had salvaged.  That, of course, is far too heavy for any box that has to be moved.  The weight would require two people to move it every time it was to be used.

A while later, I started working on an old brush hog which needed the deck replaced.  The deck was 1/8 inch plate, not really heavy enough for a serious brush hog, but exactly right for the camp oven.  Needles to say, I salvaged the plate. 

Now, for the record, I do not salvage everything that comes by.  There are actually thing that I throw away or take to the scrap yard.  That said, I am also a serious tightwad and salvage ALMOST everything.

I had been running ideas for the oven through my head, so that when there was time, I could make it all happen.  Running out of propane, and subsequently starting cooking on a wood fire outside, shifted priorities a bit.  Boiling, roasting and frying are no problem, but baking is another matter, so I promptly began measuring and cutting the salvaged steel, but I needed angle iron to make the corners, and I did not have near enough. 

As often happens, something turned up to make it possible.  While delivering a rick of firewood that I was trading for hay, I was offered a couple of sets of bed rails that had been discarded.  There was my angle iron, and free is a price that made it irresistible. 

Today, I finished the box and put on the door.  Time to test.  I had mixed bread dough earlier in the day, in anticipation of testing an oven.  With the little steel box sitting on top of my fire ring, I placed a couple of pieces of bed rail inside to place the cookie sheet on, built a fire and put a nice ball of bread dough in for the test.  This photo is what came out.  Yes, it tastes as good as it looks (and I have now eaten far too much  of it).

What you can not see in this photo is that the oven did not work perfectly.  The loaf was a bit overdone on the bottom (hard and black).  I will have to test another loaf in a few days to see if it was the design, or if I had the fire a little too hot.  If it was the design, it will only take a slight modification to fix it.  Family members can now stop worrying that I won't be able to bring baked goods at Christmas.

Now that I know it works, I will add handles and a door latch.  A can of stove paint will make it look a little nicer, and will also make the actual cost at least double, which lets you know how little I spent making this simple outdoor oven..

Sunday, November 16, 2014

BEAUTIFUL DAY !!!! For staying in by the fire

Yes, it was a beautiful day, cold, cloudy, a breeze and SNOW.  The kind of day that you curl up by a nice warm fire with a good book and great cup of coffee (or cocoa, or whatever you prefer), and enjoy looking at it through a big window.  Since it is Sunday, I decided that I would do just that,  OR NOT.

Seriously, the first sentence is true, but I live on a farm.  The rest of that first paragraph is my wildest
Rockwellian fantasy.  I have always heard that it is supposed to be that way, and I have even tried to pull it off a few times, but that is simply not farm life.  There is actually more outside work in bad weather than in good, and generally less time to fit it in, since the days are shorter.

Here, the animals need extra bedding, extra feed, warm water (at least warm enough to be liquid), and don't forget that the predators that would take the small livestock are hungry and restless too.  Added in the mix, is the fact that the garden has not yet been tilled under after harvest and the cover crop is already a month late in being planted.  There are at least a dozen other projects on the list that are at least that far behind as well.

It wasn't snowing too heavy, so I decided to till up the garden so it would be ready for me to sow rye as soon as this cold spell passes.  That went pretty well, at least to start.  The tiller started and ran nicely and the soil was only a little on the wet side of just right.  As you can see from the photo, that went pretty well, at least to that point.  Notice the considerable amount of un-tilled ground and the location of the tiller at the far end?  At exactly that point, the tines struck a rock and the drive belt broke.

Refusing to let such a trivial matter spoil such a beautiful day, I checked the price of a new belt (not as pricey as I thought), vowed to pick one up next trip to town, and went for a leisurely walk in nature to reflect on the beauty of the day.  Alright, it WAS a walk in nature.  It was not leisurely because I didn't have a lot of time before the animals had to be cared for.  My reflection on the beauty of the day was more like checking for pecans (which the wildlife have already devoured), checking to see that hunters hadn't cut fences on the back side, and the off chance of bringing back some of said wildlife for supper.  No nuts, no meat and fortunately, no hunter damage.  Still a beautiful day.

I got back in time to start the cook fire, and take care of the critters while potatoes and cornbread cooked (no meat this time).  All done by dark.   Now I am sitting here, having eaten far too much, and drinking some really good campfire coffee.  Yes, though not my fantasy day, a really beautiful day for which I am truly grateful.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

PREPARATION FOR COLD WEATHER!!!

We have been enjoying some really gorgeous days here this fall, with a little frost some nights and t-shirt weather most afternoons, but that is set to change.  They say we have a serious cold front coming through early next week.  We will certainly see if they know what they are talking about this time.

With these things in mind, I should have spent the whole day yesterday preparing for the coming cold.  What I actually did was run some errands early, then went to cut and haul some wood.  NO, NOT FIREWOOD, that would have been immediately practical.  The wood I cut and hauled was for turning in my lathe.  It then had to be sealed and today will be stored, to dry for a year or two.  That is preparation, right?  Of course it is, just not preparation for next week.

While I was getting the turning wood, I made arrangements to trade firewood for goat hay.  That too is preparation, but for a couple of weeks later.  At least it is for this winter instead of two years down the road.

Of course, while I was running errands, I did get a sack of rye seed to plant in the garden as a cover crop.  It is later than I like to sow rye, but hopefully it will be alright.  It really needs to be planted this year, since the potato crop had nematode damage and rye helps with the nematodes.  Wish me luck.  Once again, preparation but for springtime, not next week.

In fact, the only thing I prepared for the short term was a walking cane.  Yes, a walking cane.  It is made from a beautiful piece of black locust root and may very well be needed if the weather coming in makes my knees much more stiff and painful.  Besides, I had to do something while the potatoes cooked over my little cook fire last night.  And with that bright moon and the firelight, there was plenty of light to work.

Bottom line (yes, there is always a bottom line), is that I seem to always be preparing for a distant future, at the expense of the more immediate.  I will have to work on that.  After all, springtime and years away are good to prepare for, but it does no good if you don't make it through next week. 

Wish me luck and any suggestions are more than welcome.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

COLD, BEAUTIFUL MORNING!!!

It is cold this morning, not quite frosty but still and cold and clear, with a heavy dew.  Birds chirping and flying about to greet the morning, adding a wonderful soundtrack to the beauty of the unfolding day.

Watching the sun rise and turn the large dew drops hanging from the trees to diamonds was a wonderful sight.  Add to it the warmth of a campfire, the smell of cherry and cedar smoke and a fresh pot of Starbucks coffee brewing on the fire, and the morning is almost perfect. 

I am near certain that the entire day will also be beautiful.  At least It will if my attitude doesn't get in the way.

Have a beautiful day!!!!