Thursday, June 30, 2011

OJD's Pretty Cool Contest.

Official OJD Contest!

Y'all go check out his contest.  You can win some really cool stuff.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

And you wonder why you can't find a real job?

So, there I was, at the Walmart this weekend, and in walks some girl with bolts in her ears, tats all over, and blood red hair.  I mean, her hair looked like she just walked in from playing Carrie at the school play.  Reeeeeed hair.  I just turned to my Beautiful Wife and said “she’s going to spend her entire life wondering why she can’t get a good job.”

Now, I know I am not politically correct.  I don’t give a damn.  Life isn’t politically correct.  Never has been, never will be.  And there is a reason.  Take the above girl as an example (I call her a girl because she is too immature to realize how her hair will affect her life.)  I don’t care about freedom of expression, freedom of speech, or freedom of whatever.  I don’t even care about discrimination.  If anyone walks into a job interview for a serious career, who in the world is going to take them seriously when they walk in with a bull ring through their nose, or hair that looks like it soaked in barn paint for a month?  They could have the nicest personality in the world, but will be passed over for someone that looks, well, professional.  If I walk into a bank, lawyer’s office, dentist, or other professional building, I would be mortified if I was greeted by someone who looks like they spent their childhood in a tattoo parlor.  Not that I have anything against tattoo parlors, but still, it does not project an image of professionalism.  Just like if I went to a tattoo parlor and the artist was clean shaven, no tats, and wore a three piece suit, I would be slightly put off.

I know you want to be an individual.  I understand your rage against the machine, your want to be special, and even your need to express yourself.  But there comes a limit to what is acceptable.  I wouldn't walk into in interview, prop my feet up on the desk, and mine for nose gold, only to wipe the treasures under the desk of the guy interviewing me.  Not that I have done that in the past.

And I can honestly say that it is not a local problem here.  It's everywhere.  In your stores, on your streets.  And it isn't going anywhere, no matter how much you hope and pray.

Although hair color aside, my favorite is the ones that mutilate themselves beyond all hope of ever competing in the workforce:  the tattoos that are impossible to hide and are almost profane.  I'm talking about the names of dead relatives tatted on your neck, the pics of your kids tatted on your chest, and bolts and spacers in your ear that just disgust and mortify polite society.

Just remember, that hair will fade, those tats will blend together into a mess of colors, but remember what Ron White said:  Stupid lasts forever.  

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's heating up around here

The air conditioner came out of hiding yesterday.  It was a shame, too.  I was hoping for it either not to come out, or for a short time during August.  But when the wind dies down and the temps climb out of the 80s and into the scary 90s, Beautiful Wife needs some relief. 

The house was built with the summer heat in mind.  Drawing off of knowledge my grandmother passed down, we threw a window in the attic during the design phase of the house.  It has paid off in spades since we elected to not wall in the attic and make it a loft.  Based off the premise that hot air rises, we have left the attic window open since the end of May. 

So basically how the system works is:  We start the day in the master bedroom, which is in the NW corner of the house, receiving no sun.  It stays chilly in there with the windows open.  Most of the time the casement windows in the living room are open, and the house is about the temperature outside (33-40ยบ F).  As the day wears on, the wind starts to pick up (a process that involves the colder mountain air sliding in and pushing the warm valley air up), so I shut some of the windows, open others to allow some air to flow through the house, keeping in mind if a sandstorm starts to develop, I would have to shut all windows to keep the sand out.  Mid-afternoon causes me to close the door to the bedroom as that side of the house is starting to heat up and the other side to cool off.  The south facing windows have to be shut or the wind will rip up the fragile tomato plants just inside.  By now, usually, the winds are 30 mph with higher gusts, predominantly from the southwest.  The kitchen window is open at the top, with the curtains providing a wind break.  Depending on the wind strength, direction, and temp, we may open the guest room window to provide a good lower draft, especially if the loft window has gotten all the hot air out of the house.  Late afternoon really heats up the bedroom, and the fan can’t move the hot air out fast enough. 

So here is the crux of our problem: No or little wind outside, full sun in our bedroom for 6 or more hours, and no central air conditioning.  We have thought about putting a small bed in the guest room to sleep, but we like the cold mornings.  We could try upstairs, but it is still to warm up there.  I just gave up and put the portable setup in the master bedroom and kept all the windows and doors shut.  At least one room is cool in the evening. 

I guess one could get used to opening windows to suit the wind in order to keep the house cool.  It is cheaper than paying for air conditioning.  At least in the fall, it is easier and hopefully cheaper to heat the house.  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weekend Gardening

So today I got the Beautiful Wife to help me week the garden a bit.  But first, some background on the garden.  The ground here is mostly sand and sandy loam with a high pH and sand.  Did I mention sand?  I picked an area just outside the south facing windows between the house and the propane tank.  I put in 2 cords of firewood to the west as a sort of wind block to keep the insane winds here in some sort of check  I then poured droppings from the goat barn and hay into the area, keeping it wet and tilling it into the ground for weeks.  The result is a smelly, wet, fertile mess.  Now I made rows and planted several crops at the top of the rows.  Beautiful wife helped by putting seeds in the ditches.  She's got a point on that, sadly.  Her seeds grew like weeds.  And now in June we had what could charitably be described as a grassy area. Which is a Christmas miracle, considering there are no grasses on the property, just sand and chico brush.

So here is the garden around the potatoes after we weeded it.  We are really proud of the potatoes and will have a raised bed just for them next year.

The grasses and weeds to the bottom of the picture is what the entire garden looked like.  The top row is garlic and onions (we think) and the center is potatoes.  We may have pulled plants that were veggies, but looked like weeds.  We will have to work on this in the future.  

Corn.  I was sad to see only a couple of stalks growing until Beautiful Wife pointed out that the garden was littered with them.  I think some of the goat feed was mixed in their hay and got composted into the garden. Or elves snuck into the garden and planted it.  Either way, it was too much corn all over the place, so we had to thin it out.  But not to worry, we took all the grasses and plants and put them under the east facing window in the hope that it will take to the ground and spread grass underneath the window.

Then we had the strawberries.  I noticed that the one plant that did well in the season was strawberries.  I think it has something to do with the sandy soil here.  Either way, I was pleased to see how well it did.  I decided to start making raised beds to help with the garden for next year.  I put in a raised bed, based off of Patrice Lewis' plans from her blog (Rural Revolution).  I think it turned out well.  The milk jugs are keeping the wind out of corn stalks and sunflowers and the wood fencing is blocking a little of the wind from the plants.

I am hoping to add about a dozen more of these raised beds, along with a 5 foot high fence, chicken coop, greenhouse and apiary to this in the next year to start producing some serious food.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Where do I begin?

Do I stand up and say “Hi, I’m Holden and I have a blog”?

Hi Holden!

“It’s been an hour since I’ve wanted to write down random noodlings and views that I must share with the world.  I’ve hit rock bottom and am ready to adopt the 12 step program to blog.  I must fight the inner demons and commenters and make amends to others for having to read this…..”

No, really, where do I begin?

I have 40 acres, 6 boer goats, 5 chickens, 2 cats, 2 dogs, 1 wonderful wife and a log cabin in the mountain desert of Colorado.  I don’t like sliced tomatoes, and I love to read and write.  I’m allergic to stupidity and I believe that society is getting close to a tipping point and governmental entitlements are pushing us over the edge.

I hope to report to you, my few readers, the daily process of trying to get this plot of land to turn into a self-sufficient homestead.  I hope you enjoy.