Holistically Organized Multidisciplinary Endeavors Farm

Reflections on February 2024

We’ve had a few record-breaking heat days this month, along with a couple of cold snaps that resulted in a 6 foot tall snowman! As I write this, its a balmy 78 degrees. So strange for February. I’m not complaining. With the warmth and sun staying up past 5pm, my seasonal depression is lifting.

Dumpster Diving Scores

I have told you about using Styrofoam in our foamcrete, right? It takes up space and prevents collapsing. Plus its free and a waste material. Here at HOME Farm, we love taking resources out of the waste stream and using for projects. This means we take frequent trips to several dumpsters, on the lookout for Styrofoam. We sometimes find other neat thrown-out items, like this rug! It has one cut in it, but other than that, it’s brand spanking new. I have wanted a rug in our living room for some time, so this find is the bees’ knees.

new rug on tile floor of earthbag home february 2024
Our new rug

Dozer Work

Our biggest project of late is digging swales into the landscape around our house. This will be the future home of many different types of trees. Silvopasture is an agricultural practice that involves combining trees, grazing livestock, and forage production on the same land. The word “silvopasture” comes from the Latin word silva, which means “forest.” We are aiming to plant a shit-load of trees and continue grazing cattle to regenerate the land, sustain the cattle, and eventually profit from tree resources. Aaron has been super nerding-out on all things silvopasture lately, and I am getting excited to write a blog post about how all that stuff works, and our plans for that. In the meantime, I use the transit to flag the contour lines so that Aaron can drive the dozer and create lovely contoured swales. The dozer work has had a learning curve, and is fairly difficult to manuever, but progress is being made. If you visit anytime soon, the swales are going to be the biggest change. It’s quite exciting!

February 2024 Dozer work and transit
Using the transit to mark swales on contour
February 2024 Hubby on the dozer
Hubby on the dozer, making swales

Floor Progress in the Kitchen

This is where the Styrofoam is going lately. We had to pull out our old temporary floor with all the granite pieces. It was never meant to be permanent, but it is still sad to see it go. We will be laying down radiant flooring in this section of the kitchen, that connects to the existing system.

solar array julius radonseal soil cement
Previous and temporary soil-cement floor

At times, it feels like all our projects involve moving dirt around from place to place. We dug it out of the original circles to use as filler for bags. Then we brought dirt back in from outside to raise the floor, then we covered the floor with dirt and cement (you may remember we called this “soil-cement.”) Now, we are going through this more permanent process: dig the original floor dirt back out and add it to a berm outside, which will lower the floor. With the floor lower, we can lay down the plastic vapor barrier, and pour in 10 inches of Styrofoamcrete, lather on a thin cap of concrete, lay the radiant floor tubes, and cover and fill with concrete, then stain and seal.

Filling in the styrofoamcrete subfloor

styrofoamcrete subfloor
Kitchen progress

It’s slow going, but we’re getting there. It’s weird not having our kitchen table in place. Now we can be like a real American family, eating in front of the TV every night! The kids love it. Remember when everyone used to have TV trays? We haven’t gone that far, but we do enjoy binging our shows, like Young Sheldon, and The Last Airbender.

Chicken Update

These are some pretty chickens! We hired these Golden Laced Wyandotts to catch grasshoppers, which they do voraciously! And now they’re laying lovely little brown eggs. We are thinking about trying to incubate some of them. The boys have been asking about how that works. I got our trusty chicken book to give us some info on that. Harvey Ussery’s The Small Scale Poultry Flock has been indispensable in our pest-management chicken operation.

chickens of home farm
Wyandotte
chckens of home farm February 2024

Stickers

I made some stickers! They are a digitized version of an original canvas painting I did of a canyon. Loosely based on The Grand Canyon, these 3″ stickers are symbolic of my art business name; Alison Canyon Art. They are high quality, matte, weatherproof, 3 inch stickers, and they are available in The Gallery!

3 inch canyon sticker
3 inch Stickers for sale

February Books of the Month (And recommended reading)

Aaron read Water for Any Farm by Mark Shepard, all about how to capture water and use it efficiently as part of a restoration agriculture system.

Mason read Wallace The Brave, by Henry Will, a graphic novel, and Favorite Norse Myths by Mary Pope Osborne. He also enjoys a little bit of news in The Week Jr.

Kyias has been plowing through the first level of the I can Read books. I just grab several at every library trip, and he reads them to me every night before we dive into our read-aloud.

Our read-aloud this month is Ragweed & Poppy by Avi, a hilarious adventure story. I think we were supposed to start with Poppy, but whatever, we’re all enjoying it.

Lastly, I read a lovely story sent to me by a blog reader, Sara-Rivka Yekutiel, who asked me to give her book a try. Raizi and The Passover Plans is about a family living near Jerusalem during the 2nd intifada, (2002ish) and their preparation for Passover. It was a heartwarming story with very believable characters and subject matter. It is recommended for age 9-120, which will be perfect for my 9 year old, as we add more world religions studies to our homeschool. Historical fiction is my favorite for learning about other cultures. You can purchase the book here on Amazon.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the brief shenanigan update of HOME Farm. Be sure and share this blog with friends who may be interested, and as always, Happy Homesteading!

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Hey.  I’m Alison; author, artist, and off-grid homeschooling mama of three.  I love painting, exploring the outdoors, and a hoppy IPA.  My partner and I work together to bring this website and blog to you.  We hope you enjoy!