January 31, 2006 – Firestarter

I just purchased a new package of firestarters to help get the corn stove lit. Here’s the front of the package.

When I turned the package over, there was the following warning on the package of firestarter:

Evidently there is some chance that the firestarters may actually combust as intended and start a fire!

I’m signed up to do online surveys for cash with an online survey company. Tonight I was selected for an instant survey to the State of the Union Address. So after the speech, before the commentary and Democratic response, my answers were combined with 700 or so others in the nationwide poll gauging the immediate reaction to the speech. I even got 10 bucks for watching it and responding.

January 30, 2005 – Stored Summer Heat

As a testament to the warm winter, later this week we will use the last of the corn from the first of two wagons we use to store corn for the corn stove. Usually, we are well into the second wagon by now. January was 14 degrees above normal – warmest January since the dust bowl.

You can almost see the summer’s sun stored in these corn kernels! These little kernels heat our house in the winter.

Emptying this wagon opened up one of the wagons for its next rotation. Many farmers think hard about crop rotations – well, I’m working on a wagon rotation. The old barge wagon that the corn was in is now collecting mulch for spring mulching of trees. It’s a little bit of a pain to get it in without a loader, but it is good “off-season” work.

After our first few years on the farm when we were positively overwhelmed with spring/summer tasks, we’ve figured out which ones can be done in the winter – and gathering mulch is a winter task. When spring comes, it is mobile and ready to go where needed. After the mulch is gone, the wagon can be used to store bulk broiler feed – so there is a triple annual rotation for the wagon!

I got the new ethernet and fiber optic cables in the mail today (thank goodness for E-bay), so now the PCs are networked and the home stereo is streaming audio from the PC. Because my internet connection comes into the house via a USB instead on ethernet connection, I cannot use a wireless setup, since all the hubs/routers I found require ethernet and there is not a USB-ethernet converter I can find, even in specialty cables and networking web stores.

Also were able to get a couple of the 20 foot rafter extenders up to the attic today, so we can keep that project moving along.

January 29, 2006 -Basketball Season

We have tickets to 5 Men’s and Women’s BB game this year. Today, we had a couple of extra seats, so we could all go. Grandma Jo and Emma got the choice seats today.

Unfortunately, even though we did root, root, root, for the home team, it did not matter!

We got home just before dark and I was able to get a pickup load of nice wood shavings from the pallet company in Melbourne, very irregularly throughout the year, they have the stuff in their waste pile and it makes great chicken litter or tree mulch.

January 28, 2006 – The Season Begins

Last night it got about as quiet as it gets around here. Sent the kids to bed, went for a short walk in the thick fog (a cloudy, foggy night is very dark in these parts) and then came back and started to order seeds for the coming season.
seed order
We’re excited to try some new varieties, especially since the Grinnell Market seemed to gravitate towards the heirloom type tomatoes. So we got out all the catalogs, a bottle of wine and began. This past year we readied 150 feet for new raspberries, so we ordered 75 feet worth of blackberries, 50 feet of early fall raspberries, and 25 feet of golden fall raspberries.
This is, of course, the best part of the gardening season as weeds, bugs, and hot/cold are absent from the seed catalog photos. This year’s most mouth-watering pictures goes to the Seeds of Change organic seed catalog. As it is near Santa Fe, we checked out if they were open for tours in March when we will visit, but alas, tours are only in the late summer. Some of out other favorite catalogs are St. Lawrence Nursery for northern-hards organic fruit trees, Pinetree Garden Seeds, especially for their small seed packs that lets us try more different varieties without paying more, and Seed Savers Exchange.

January 27, 2006 – Can the Groundhog See Shadow Retroactively?

This is a philosophical question. What if spring comes before the groundhog has a chance to come out of his hole? It felt like April (the month, not the dog) again today – yesterday it made 60 and today mid-fifties – not too bad for January!

Grandma Jo is now home from Fiji. Did mundane things today like change oil, clean mud room and garage lightly. Found out that the old stereo I have in the garage picks up Sirius Radio as long as the car is less than about 40 feet away from the receiver. Good tunes in the workshop now.