The wall project is almost too huge to write about. there are so many things that need to get done in order to make it possible. move the front greywater garden (again), move the compost (3/4 done now), buy sand, dig the root cellar hole so that we have dirt. we have bought the earthbags (thank you, Fulton-Denver company for a vergy good deal on misprint bags!) and there is lime for the earth & the plaster slaking in bins by the driveway even as we speak. We have cleared debris away from the fence line. I’ve called our arborist friend to have him trim the draping cottonwood tree that is going to make its presence felt in this process, and we’re working towards getting him down here to take care of it. This week, we are figuring out how we are going to get the root cellar hole dug to create the dirt we need — do we find a friend who can borrow a backhoe, rent one ourselves and have Rev drive it, or hire the guy down the street who does this professionally? At the moment, it looks like the guy down the street is actually the most cost-effective option that is possible inside our time constraints. backhoes turn out to be very expensive to rent, and the friend with access doesn’t have access inside our rather tight time frame.

We are, as Alan said last week, operating at a scale we have not yet attempted. I think we are succeeding, but it is certainly taking its toll. We are simultaneously getting ready for this 300-foot earthbag wall construction project, getting ready to turn a garage into a bedroom for human habitation, getting ready to get goats, and operating from day to day as a functional farm, including a new CSA experiment with a couple friends, raising lots of baby poultry and a bigger-than-ever garden, putting in a fairly usual-for-us number of new garden beds this year, and moving into the initial stages of yet another construction project, the root cellar. All. At. Once. and we have day jobs.

Thank all the gods for the WWOOF volunteer internship program. We would barely be functioning if it weren’t for the dedicated daily assistance of our three interns (and all our past & future interns, too!). We had five people here at once for a week, and that was both fabulous and draining. Overall, the program is stellar, and helps us maintain our daily responsibilities as well as moving forward on new and current projects while still (mostly) managing to get enough sleep.

the north gate seen from the porch:

north gate, seen head-on (facing east). car gate on the left, pedestrian gate on the right. the car gate is keypad operated, and the residents have clickers so we can open it as we pull in. visitors can punch in the code to get in, or park on the street and come in the people-gate. the people gate is not presently locked, but we’re going to install a keypad lock on it much like those on the house.

the peas are blooming, and i discovered one actual pea this week:

peas, lettuces, turnips, onions, brassica.

last week, we doubled the square footage of the turkey pen, preparatory to moving all 40 baby turkeys into it. they are small now, but they won’t stay that way long!

baby turkeys:

and baby chickens. the blonds are the new laying flock, buff orpingtons. they are already demonstrating how smart they are. the one with the white head is a larkenvelder, and the dark ones are our up-and-coming meat birds, dark cornish.

a rhode island who wanted her portrait taken.

a black star and a white rock. dark cornish and barred rock chicks in the back at the feeder.

progress on the compost: our new four-bin system, replacing the old three-bin system. the new system features such improvements as corner posts for stability and more solid sides and a half-height front so that compost material does not leave the bin or get on your shoes. the half-collapsed item on the far left is what is left of the old bin, which I hope to finish moving later this weekend or next week.

it also features this notable improvement– it is three feet from the property line, where the new wall is going in. this is facing east, looking over the remains of the old bin and past the back of the new bins.

looking east at the new gates from beside the compost.

egyptian walking onions in the herb garden, which is doing fantastically well.

and the big cottonwood in the late afternoon light.