Monday, November 1, 2010

monday's mountain musings-leaves n stuff

as the dogs were eating dinner the deer were 15 foot from the door
 What a beautiful weekend we had here! Chilly nights, warm afternoons  and  the manthing was feeling spry enough to actually get out and help  for a while. I think  the one thing I miss most now that he is back to work is doing most everything all of the time on my own when for two years, he was  here to  all the time. It is not that I need him here for most things  or that we even work together when he is here, it is more a motivational factor, I think.

Since he was home and the ground had dried out enough from our rains last week, he worked on the drainage ditch, aka hillside runoff and goat poop collector. Twice a year the ditch needs to be  tilled and shoveled out. While it does provide us with some very nice easy to  extract soil, it is a tedious job.  For those thinking hillside runoff! ?! , erosion control is not something that can be remedied overnight unless you have the budget of a state highway department. It is a slow, step by step process  or a bigger mess is created in the  end.

While  manthing  played dirt remover and hauler, I worked on a few  of the beds  that needed more soil build up so that I could plant them this week. With what was removed from the ditch, we rejuvenated three beds  and made them  look pretty again.

I guess  leaf peak was here  after all last week. Many of our leaves are now falling to the ground, some trees are bare already and the colors are fading quickly. For me, it means my favorite  chore begins and raking of the forest can commence. It also means  putting beds to rest for the winter with their blankets of leaves, filling the chicken coop and goats sheds as full as I can get them  filling all the compost bins,  heaps and barrels up as well as stashing some away for winter bedding touch-ups. The goats also  love to snack on them. Our girls would rather eat a pile of dried crunchy leaves than a bale of hay any day.

Today, I will be planting garlic bulbils and doing a reseed in the green house  of the lettuce. This should keep us in enough salads for  the winter that we will be sick of them come March. Contrary to  popular belief,  lettuce and salad greens are late fall and winter food  when grown naturally. They are not summer fixings as most  lettuces do not do well in hot, dry conditions. Later this week, I will be planting some Egyptian walking onions  and begin digging holes for  the orchard trees, which we still have not gotten. Though I really wanted to go and get them  on Saturday,  I needed manthing around and able to think clearly to get his thoughts on where to plant them  and to be sure I was not getting in over my head trying to dig 20 holes on my own before it gets too cold. I think he forgets he is gone from home 60-70 hours a week and when he is home he is too tired to get out and work.  Or maybe he just forgets that I gave up my super woman  role.


  1. What do you fill the chicken coops with? Extra leaves? This is our first winter with chickens and so far have plans to install a light to come on abt 4 am.

  2. . For all of the animals bedding needs we use a system called deep bedding. The whole concept of deep bedding is that you don't clean out the old bedding but just keep adding more bedding on top.

    For an example I will use the chicken coop. I clean it once a year in the spring. From this point forward I simply add more bedding through the summer. When fall comes I "stir" the coop floor around with a fork and let the chickens scavenge a bit for treats. I then add as many leaves as I can to bring the level of leaves to 3-4 foot deep. Don't worry it packs down over time and we haven't lost a chicken in the leaves yet. The chickens then kick through it,keep it scratched up and it decomposes. As it decomposes, it creates heat. The heat relieves me of any duties of heating the coop through the winter. I continue this through til spring.

    By spring , the pack of leaves is pretty well broken down and in a usable state. We spread it on the garden beds , till or work it in and leave it for a few weeks. This prevents any damage to crops while eliminating the needs for a larger compost heap. If one so chooses you could then move this to the compost pile and finish it off and use either later in the year or for the next seasons starter batch for compost.