Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bees and Playin' with the machine!

Saturday Barbara and I put four of the hives up at the new place.  Within about 10 minutes the little girls were bringing in pollen, I think they will be happy up there.  Once you get to looking around you realize how many nectar and pollen sources are within their flight area.  We have about half an acre of blackberries on the north side of the place, there are a lot of big leaf maples close by, lots of dandelions and other field flowers, and a fair number of fruit trees.  A few of the little girls got very protective of their new home right away and me, being the dumb ass that I am, didn't have my protective gear on.  It was amazing how fast I looked like I had gained about 100 pounds in my neck where I got stung.  I did fare better than the bees did though.

I figured that I had better get the goat locker/sheep shed/dog house/chicken coop up pretty soon since Barbara already bought the goats and the dog.  She actually bought them before the offer on the property was accepted, I guess she was pretty set on getting out of Barney Lake.  The original reason that she decided to move was because the fine city farters (not a typo) came to the conclusion that chickens are the source of all evil in the universe and have said we have to get the flock out of here.  Besides being a very business unfriendly town, unless you are Wallmart or are a silly council member, Barney Lake is doing just exactly the opposite of what every real town in the country is doing regarding sustainable living.  Even in Seattle our lot would be able to have a dozen hens and three goats.  To misquote the Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles:  "They are common folk, the salt of the earth, you know - morons."

I got to use my new PhD to dig the holes for the six 6x6 posts that make up the supports for the pole building.  King County actually used some common sense regarding agricultural out buildings, you don't need a permit for a building that is 200 square feet of floor space.  This is perfect for the multi-species condo.  Chickens, dogs, and goats sleeping together, I think that is one of the signs of the Apocalypse.  Well they won't exactly be sleeping together, one end is the coop and the other end will house the dog and his bovidaen buddies.  It is tall enough to get the tractor in to clean the place and I think it will be large enough to store goat stuff.

I don't know if you know this or not but a tractor mounted post hole digger is one of the coolest things on earth if you have to dig a post hole.  I was able to dig those six four foot deep 9" holes in an hour or so.  I can't even remember what it was like digging holes by hand, I know that I did to set telephone poles but I'm pretty sure that the nine rings of hell were hand dug with a long handled shovel and a western spoon

Gene Morris came out to look at the site so that he and Barbara can start on the house design.  It sounds like Barbara wants Gene to design something along the lines of a long house where the kitchen is part of the living area.  Since cooking and wine is so much a part of how Barbara entertains, and she seems to like watching me do my scullery duties, that will work out pretty well.  I still need to get an area set up for my quarters in the barn, it already has a wood stove but no plumbing yet.  No not the goat locker barn, the big one with the tractor and my tools.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The dirt is ours!

What a quick trip from initial offer to owning the land.  Just 39 days from first looking at the place.  Big difference if you don't have a house that needs all of the inspections and an appraisal.

I'll get more pictures as we go. But, for a guy there isn't anything cooler than this:
A big pole barn....

 An absolutely empty barn!
 12 feet to the bottom of the rafters
48 feet by 20 feet!

I know it is just a pipe dream, but I think about the possibility of keeping it free from piles of junk.  I think that if it were just me I'd build a little place inside the barn, the hell with a real house.  I'll let the dream live for a few weeks anyway!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Another Project to keep me busy

So the city of Barney Lake told Barbara that she can't have all of her hens anymore.  Taking a step back from what every other city/town is doing regarding small farm animals was the final blow to Barbara wanting to live here.  My "nice guy's cabin" will now become a rental once more and I have been tasked with building a new house on 2.07 acres on the Enumclaw Plateau.

Mt. Rainier from the new job site.

2007 satellite view of the property
1936 aerial view of the property
The offer was accepted and Barbara signs tomorrow.  The place will close at the end of the week and I have already started getting things lined up.  The perc test has been done and the designer is already working on the septic design.  We had a consultant out to verify that there aren't any wetland areas and I'm trying to get a geologist out to verify that there isn't any problem there.  I have already spent a bunch of hours talking with the people at King County that issue permits and so far they don't see any issues.
Kubota B2920 stock picture

There is a large pole barn on the property and the community well is in order.  There is power to the barn and the boss has already set me up with a tractor and implements that I need to start taking care of the property.  I even receive my PhD next week.

As far as the hens Barbara has decided that she will keep three in Barney Lake and the others up at the new place.  Since the place is on the edge of a thousand acre natural area there are coyotes, bears, and cougars in the vicinity so she bought a Maremma guardian dog.  Since the maremmas don't bond to people, only to the livestock they guard, Barbara thought it would need some companionship other than the chickens.  She found a goat rescue place out in Maple Valley and bought a couple of rescue goats to keep the dog happy.  So far with the land, the dog, the goats, extra fencing, the tractor, the outbuildings that I need to build, and the house for us I figure that the hens cost about $55,000.00 each.  Oh well, they make her happy and it gives me something to do.

I will move the bees up to the new place as soon as we take posession and I get some fencing up to keep the curious critters out of the apiary.