Vela Creations is an in-depth resource for off grid living. The site documents our research and experiences, hoping that they might help others interested in pursuing this lifestyle. This blog is designed to document our day to day experiences as we build our new, sustainable homestead. If you are interested in seeing more photos and videos, we have a flickr account at the following url: http://flickr.com/photos/35090117@N05/collections/

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jacques Yves Cousteau

"The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it." - Jacques Yves Cousteau

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Friedrich Schiller

"Nothing leads to good that is not natural." - Friedrich Schiller

Monday, May 22, 2017

Elbert Hubbard

"The supernatural is the natural not yet understood." - Elbert Hubbard

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tennessee Williams

"The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks." - Tennessee Williams

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Voltaire

"Nature has always had more force than education." - Voltaire

Thursday, May 18, 2017

William C. Bryant

"The groves were God's first temples." - William C. Bryant

Monday, May 15, 2017

Robert Fortune

"One marked feature of the people, both high and low, is a love for flowers." - Robert Fortune

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Charles Eastman

"There were no temples or shrines among us save those of nature." - Charles Eastman

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

"All art is but imitation of nature." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Thursday, May 11, 2017

P. G. Wodehouse

"Flowers are happy things." - P. G. Wodehouse

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Thomas Fuller

"A good garden may have some weeds." - Thomas Fuller

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Neil Young

"Earth is a flower and it's pollinating." - Neil Young

Monday, May 8, 2017

Thomas Tusser

"Sweet April showers do spring May flowers." - Thomas Tusser

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Hannah Arendt

"The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition." - Hannah Arendt

The Amazon is not a Wilderness, it's an Advanced Permaculture Food Forest

The Amazon is not a Wilderness, it's an Advanced Permaculture Food Forest

Make A Chicken Wire Compost Brokestead The HomeStead Ep.2

Make A Chicken Wire Compost Brokestead The HomeStead Ep.2

My husband took over our garden and it's the best thing that ever happened to it.

My husband took over our garden and it's the best thing that ever happened to it.

Perennial Vegetables & Fruit: Plant a Perennial Food Garden

Perennial Vegetables & Fruit: Plant a Perennial Food Garden

Kales in swales | Pest Free Vegetables

Kales in swales | Pest Free Vegetables

Great video on how to build a pretty affordable and durable homestead green house. Seems expandable too.

Great video on how to build a pretty affordable and durable homestead green house. Seems expandable too.

FREE Pallets | Ideal for the walls of our next chicken shelter

FREE Pallets | Ideal for the walls of our next chicken shelter

Chicken Compost - Compost Ring Gardens and Amazing soil!

Chicken Compost - Compost Ring Gardens and Amazing soil!

Polycultures and Guilds - 3 - Succession design and dense food forest

Polycultures and Guilds - 3 - Succession design and dense food forest

Funny post about stopping rabbits from destroying young espalier apple trees

Funny post about stopping rabbits from destroying young espalier apple trees

National geographic short story on land restoration over 50 years from wasteland to ranch.

National geographic short story on land restoration over 50 years from wasteland to ranch.

Leggy Seedlings, Mini Greenhouses, and Raised Beds in Dry Climates!

Leggy Seedlings, Mini Greenhouses, and Raised Beds in Dry Climates!

Make A Chicken Wire Compost Brokestead The HomeStead Ep.2

Make A Chicken Wire Compost Brokestead The HomeStead Ep.2

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Johannes Kepler

"Nature uses as little as possible of anything." - Johannes Kepler

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thomas Browne

"All things are artificial, for nature is the art of God." - Thomas Browne

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Michelangelo

"My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth's loveliness." - Michelangelo

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Marilyn French

"Nature is inside art as its content, not outside as its model." - Marilyn French

Monday, May 1, 2017

John Gay

"Shadow owes its birth to light." - John Gay

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pablo Neruda

"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming." - Pablo Neruda

Friday, April 28, 2017

Pond well

In February, I did a blog about a solar pump we had bought for the pond.

In order to install the pump correctly, we had to empty the pond, which we have now done (and the orchard thanks us!). So, before going on vacation, Abe and a friend dug a hole to the side of the pond.

They put a 4" PVC pipe from inside the hole to up on top of the pond, near the solar panels. The end of this pipe is covered with feed sacks, to keep solid material away from the pump. The hole is then filled with rocks and gravel. Once the casing was all in place and secured in a couple of spots, they slid the pump into it.

We will now be able to pump water once the pond starts to fill up, and can pull the pump whenever we need to check on it.

For more photos, check out the flickr set.

The post Pond well appeared first on VelaCreations.



Pond well

Thursday, April 27, 2017

John Keats

"Scenery is fine - but human nature is finer." - John Keats

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Salsa

Abe first got Salsa at the end of 2001, when she was 6-8 months old. He found her in a pound in Austin when he was getting ready to move to Terlingua. At first, the pound hadn't wanted to release her to him, because he didn't have a house or fences on the property. He ended up showing them photos of the wild, empty land that had no traffic and no neighbors, and they finally agreed that she would probably be happy there.

She had a great life, both in Terlingua and the new place. She has always been fiercely loyal to our family, and was only ever torn over the issue of who to protect when Abe and the kids were play-fighting. She got to run all over the wilderness, and continued to hike with us up until last year. She has always been the alpha, even when she was completely deaf. She was a really good dog, and will be missed.

The post Salsa appeared first on VelaCreations.



Salsa

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Vladimir Nabokov

"Life is a great sunrise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one." - Vladimir Nabokov

Monday, April 24, 2017

Annie Dillard

"There is a muscular energy in sunlight corresponding to the spiritual energy of wind." - Annie Dillard

Easter 2017

Overall, we were gone for two weeks, but it feels like we've been away for a lot longer. I guess that's because we managed to pack so much in. We really had a wonderful time, and are already missing everyone.

Abe's side of the family

Part of the time was spent with Abe's mom in her new home near Austin, Texas. The drive took a day and a half, but it went through some beautiful landscapes - from our mountains, through the desert, into the hill country. There was lots of wildlife to see, including a ranch with exotic animals, which kept the hours interesting.

Vickie's place is gorgeous, with a lot of space to run around. The boys had a blast just exploring, swimming, playing basketball, and picking dewberries.

We got to see Abe's mom, brother, grandmother, aunt and uncle, cousin Ford, and cousin Charlie and his family. It was the first time that the boys and I got to meet the cousins, who also live in the Austin area. Charlie has two boys about the same age as ours, and they all got on really well, which was great to see. I can see all kinds of trouble that the four of them will get into over the years to come!

On Leo's birthday, we gave both boys their first ever brand new bikes (Nicky got his a little early so he could practice on it with Leo at Vickie's, which is flat and smooth, unlike our place!). We then went out to eat, before visiting a kickass fossil museum in Austin.

We had an early birthday party for Nicky before we left and that was fun too. We went to a place called Gattiland, which has a pizza buffet and a bunch of arcade style games. The boys had never done anything like this before and they loved it, especially the bumper cars.

 

Josie's side of the family

We flew to Florida for a few days to hook up with my mom, step-dad, dad, and my sister and her family. The visit was way too short, but fun nonetheless.

We all got together at Easter and had a huge meal. While we digested, the younger kids went on a treasure hunt with clues, as well as an Easter egg hunt.

We went swimming most days, and by the end of the holiday the boys had improved a bunch. At home, we generally only swim for a few months of the year, which means that Nicky loses his confidence and has to start over. Leo, however, is now to a point that he won't forget what he's learned.

One of the days was spent in Legoland. It was super fun, but very tiring. The boys were really into the rides. And, of course, they LOVED the trip to the shop that my dad treated them to.

For more photos, you can check out this flickr set.

The post Easter 2017 appeared first on VelaCreations.



Easter 2017

Easter 2017


Intrinsic herding techniques.

Intrinsic herding techniques.

GRAFTING LESSON #1, The Possbilities, Grafting = Freedom! (and it's fun)

GRAFTING LESSON #1, The Possbilities, Grafting = Freedom! (and it's fun)

Homestead and Farm Resiliency: Adaptive Land and Infrastructure Systems for a Changing World

Homestead and Farm Resiliency: Adaptive Land and Infrastructure Systems for a Changing World

11 Years Living Off-Grid in an Earthship Style House

11 Years Living Off-Grid in an Earthship Style House

Old Trailer Renovated to New Off Grid Home

Old Trailer Renovated to New Off Grid Home

Homestead Tour inside the Cabin — Off Grid Sweden

Homestead Tour inside the Cabin — Off Grid Sweden

Gathering wild (invasive!) oysters with a bucket

Gathering wild (invasive!) oysters with a bucket

Permaculture Plant Potting

Permaculture Plant Potting

How to Start a Mushroom Farm

How to Start a Mushroom Farm

Preparing vegetable beds and HUGE plants

Preparing vegetable beds and HUGE plants

Grafting, A Skill Every Homesteader Should Have! Series in Progress.

Grafting, A Skill Every Homesteader Should Have! Series in Progress.

Making a Bottle opener + Screwdriver 😀😀

Making a Bottle opener + Screwdriver 😀😀

Sunday, April 23, 2017

O. Henry

"We may achieve climate, but weather is thrust upon us." - O. Henry

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Malcolm de Chazal

"The flower in the vase smiles, but no longer laughs." - Malcolm de Chazal

Friday, April 21, 2017

Don Marquis

"Pity the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." - Don Marquis

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Rupert Brooke

"Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill, Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass." - Rupert Brooke

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Fresh air is good if you do not take too much of it; most of the achievements and pleasures of life are in bad air." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Edouard Manet

"There are no lines in nature, only areas of colour, one against another." - Edouard Manet

Monday, April 17, 2017

Robert Delaunay

"Nature engenders the science of painting." - Robert Delaunay

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Elias Hicks

"The fulness of the godhead dwelt in every blade of grass." - Elias Hicks

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Martin Luther

"God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars." - Martin Luther

Friday, April 14, 2017

Douglas Wilson

"Use plants to bring life." - Douglas Wilson

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Alan Hovhaness

"I've always regarded nature as the clothing of God." - Alan Hovhaness

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Roy Rogers

"What's a butterfly garden without butterflies?" - Roy Rogers

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ray Bradbury

"We are an impossibility in an impossible universe." - Ray Bradbury

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bill Watterson

"If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I'll bet they'd live a lot differently." - Bill Watterson

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Max Beerbohm

"To destroy is still the strongest instinct in nature." - Max Beerbohm

Friday, April 7, 2017

Clarence Day

"Ants are good citizens, they place group interests first." - Clarence Day

We built a polytunnel from scratch.

We built a polytunnel from scratch.

Perma Perspectives: Why Growing Food IS Political a.k.a. 'Responding to Negative Internet Comments'

Perma Perspectives: Why Growing Food IS Political a.k.a. 'Responding to Negative Internet Comments'

21 Photogenic Trees Gallery

21 Photogenic Trees Gallery

Three Seeds to Sow in April | Pumpkins, Spanish Flag and Kale

Three Seeds to Sow in April | Pumpkins, Spanish Flag and Kale

Finishing the HUGE bed

Finishing the HUGE bed

Morel Mushrooms!: Took the Family On Mushroom Hunting on the Homestead

Morel Mushrooms!: Took the Family On Mushroom Hunting on the Homestead

Mapping a Site

Mapping a Site

Chicken Compost - Spring 2017 Update - Compost Rings and Worms Galore

Chicken Compost - Spring 2017 Update - Compost Rings and Worms Galore

Be Great at Anything By Being Great at Simplifying

Be Great at Anything By Being Great at Simplifying

The Pleasure Ceiling--a practical explanation for why it's better to go with the 'simpler' version of things.

The Pleasure Ceiling--a practical explanation for why it's better to go with the 'simpler' version of things.

Propagation - Easy Stool Layering Technique

Propagation - Easy Stool Layering Technique

Chicken Compost - Spring 2017 Update - Compost Rings and Worms Galore

Chicken Compost - Spring 2017 Update - Compost Rings and Worms Galore

Roasted mealworms with chili and garlic with lots of salt & pepper

Roasted mealworms with chili and garlic with lots of salt & pepper

Super simple and easy Chicken Auto-Feeder holds TWO 50 pound bags of grain!

Super simple and easy Chicken Auto-Feeder holds TWO 50 pound bags of grain!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

John Ruskin

"It is written on the arched sky; it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature; it is that which uplifts the spirit within us." - John Ruskin

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Samuel Daniel

"The stars that have most glory have no rest." - Samuel Daniel

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Joseph Conrad

"The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness." - Joseph Conrad

Monday, April 3, 2017

Mark Twain

"In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours." - Mark Twain

Friday, March 31, 2017

Victor Hugo

"What would be ugly in a garden constitutes beauty in a mountain." - Victor Hugo

Painting roof

When we first made our concrete roof, we covered it with a fabric mesh and waterproofing paint that is supposed to protect the concrete for 5 years. That was 8 years ago. So, we figured it was high time we put another couple of coats on the roof, and that's what I've been doing while Abe was digging hundreds of holes for trees.

Instead of using the mesh again, we used a waterproofing paint with added fiber, applied with a big broom-like brush. I did two coats, each painted on in a different direction from the other (the first coat had brushstrokes going up and down, the second with the brushstrokes at a 45 degree angle from the first). The trick (aside from being on a bright, white roof in the blazing sun!) was in the shingling. You start each coat at the bottom of the roof and work your way up to the top. That means that the top part is painted on top of the layer below, just like shingles. Now, this wouldn't be a problem with a normal roof, but ours is a little complex. There are several levels of roof that all flow down to the same gutter downspouts. It meant I had to position strategic ladders before starting to be able to get down from places other than the main access point.

The post Painting roof appeared first on VelaCreations.



Painting roof

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Planting out

I love this time of year. As it warms up, everything has started to bloom and leaf out (we already have tons of tiny fruit growing on various types of plants!). The only downside with the season is that it means a LOT of work! There's planting, transplanting, watering, mulching, etc. And it's all made a million times worse by the fact that Abe has been seed crazy ever since the cows got into the property last year. He has literally planted more than a thousand seeds this past year, and they all have to be tended.

So, this week, he decided to get a friend to help him. Between the two of them, they transplanted hundreds of trees and shrubs, repotted a few hundred little saplings, and planted several hundred more seeds in cone-tainers. The work was made a little harder due to the fact that it is starting to get hot, and we're not quite used to it yet. Still, the reward is apparent every time you walk through the orchard, circle drive and animal pens. This place will be truly amazing once all this stuff gets big!

The post Planting out appeared first on VelaCreations.



Planting out

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

James Agee

"This continent, an open palm spread frank before the sky." - James Agee

Saint Augustine

"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature." - Saint Augustine

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring party

On the 21st, there was a party at school. Moms brought different food and drinks, and the kids dressed up in costumes.Nicky wanted to be a bear, and Leo went as grapes. The latter regretted his choice, as it was a lot harder to play when covered in 40 balloons, something that had sounded so much fun to him in theory. Still, we took it apart after a little while and he handed out the balloons to everyone.

 

 

One of the most surprising events of the party came from Nicky. Our local kindergarten has now reopened (there wasn't a teacher for the first few months due to an accident), and the kids came to the party. Nicky played mostly with them, and he had a blast. He later declared that he wanted to return to kindergarten. I was a little hesitant at first, because there aren't any other kids his age (they are now going to school in the nearby town), and because he is easily keeping up with first grade work and so might be bored. However, as the days passed, he didn't change his mind. He said, "I've never been the big kid before", and that actually makes a lot of sense. He's the youngest brother and is by far the littlest/youngest in school (being only 5), so I can see it might be enjoyable for him to be the big kid.

I talked to the kindergarten teacher and to his current one, and we're going to try it out for a couple of weeks. If he likes it, fine, if not he can always go back to Leo's school.

Sucks for me - I was enjoying having them both attend the same school, as it meant only one set of meetings/fundraisers/cleaning, etc. Oh well.

The post Spring party appeared first on VelaCreations.



Spring party

Friday, March 24, 2017

Wildlife

We have been here for almost 10 years, and during that time, the land and soil have improved significantly. We still have a lot more to do to get the place to where we would like it, but at least we know we're on the right track, judging by the significant increase in local wildlife. We now have whole flocks of birds (including several cubbies of quail) that live on our place that weren't here before, there are lots of deer tracks throughout the lower half of the property, and the increase in horny toads is astounding. We're on our way to creating an oasis.

The post Wildlife appeared first on VelaCreations.



Wildlife

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Plowed

The pigs have been working: plowing and leveling two new rows of the orchard. They actually did a fantastic job, and could probably have accomplished it faster if we'd have moved them more quickly from section to section.

Once they had done their job, we sent the kids in to move a few rocks to the retaining wall part. Abe then installed irrigation, which consists of a couple of pipes that span the length of the rows with drippers every couple of feet. They planted a bunch of plants for the rabbits, including parsley, alfalfa, and chia, and then covered everything with a thick layer of mulch. Many of the little plants are starting to sprout.

A little later in the year, we plan to add hundreds of Mulberry and Black Locust trees. We will coppice these and feed them to the rabbits. We are calling these two rows of the orchard our Fodder Rows, as they are exclusively for the rabbits.

The post Plowed appeared first on VelaCreations.



Plowed

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dog Waterer

Our old dog waterer was a five gallon bottle inverted over a bowl. It worked great, but we were having to fill it up every few days. Not a big deal, I know, but we do ever strive for efficiency!

This new one is a metal basin that is filled from a hose. It has a float valve built in to maintain the water level at half full. Right now, we have the hose connected to a 30 gallon tank to test it out. We'll eventually connect it to a larger tank and gone will be the days of filling up dog water!

The post Dog Waterer appeared first on VelaCreations.



Dog Waterer

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides destroy soil, ecosystems, and a third of the crop is still lost to pests, just as in the many millennia of farming before chemicals.

Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides destroy soil, ecosystems, and a third of the crop is still lost to pests, just as in the many millennia of farming before chemicals.

We can’t vertically farm our way into a techno-utopia

We can’t vertically farm our way into a techno-utopia

$150 Greenhouse - Can it handle a blizzard!?

$150 Greenhouse - Can it handle a blizzard!?

How Geoff Lawton Helped Me Understand Why I love Permaculture!

How Geoff Lawton Helped Me Understand Why I love Permaculture!

Kudzu—it's not just for goats anymore.

Kudzu—it's not just for goats anymore.

Google: 4 out of 5 US homes have solar power potential

Google: 4 out of 5 US homes have solar power potential

How To Drill A Well In Your Own Backyard!

How To Drill A Well In Your Own Backyard!

Rabbits: Cute, Cuddly, and Capable of Feeding Villages

Rabbits: Cute, Cuddly, and Capable of Feeding Villages

Monday, March 13, 2017

Anatole France

"Nature has no principles. She makes no distinction between good and evil." - Anatole France

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tom Allen

"While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best." - Tom Allen

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Laurence Sterne

"God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb." - Laurence Sterne

Should Agriculture Be a Required School Subject?

Should Agriculture Be a Required School Subject?

Top 10 question to ask Before Going OFF GRID

Top 10 question to ask Before Going OFF GRID

We need farms that support farmers AND the environment

We need farms that support farmers AND the environment

Sap To Syrup

Sap To Syrup

How to make your own bokashi composter

How to make your own bokashi composter

March Homestead Tour

March Homestead Tour

Here Are the Three Main Challenges Facing U.S. Agriculture Over the Next 50 Years. Luckily, there's an inexpensive and easy-to-use solution: soil.

Here Are the Three Main Challenges Facing U.S. Agriculture Over the Next 50 Years. Luckily, there's an inexpensive and easy-to-use solution: soil.

The Winter Cover Crop Part II: Green Manure

The Winter Cover Crop Part II: Green Manure

SCOBY Fruit Leather, Kombucha & Kale Smoothies, Warm Kombucha Cider, and Kombucha Nut Smoothies

SCOBY Fruit Leather, Kombucha & Kale Smoothies, Warm Kombucha Cider, and Kombucha Nut Smoothies

Hand Digging Ponds - In-Depth Discussion

Hand Digging Ponds - In-Depth Discussion

Friday, March 10, 2017

Jean Giraudoux

"The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life." - Jean Giraudoux

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Saul Bellow

"A fool can throw a stone in a pond that 100 wise men can not get out." - Saul Bellow

Monday, March 6, 2017

Piglets

We had been expecting the piglets for more than a week, as poor Potter's milk had come in and her belly was dragging on the floor! Every day we would go to the barn hoping she would finally push them out, but nothing. And then, on Saturday, it was clear she was going into labor. We checked on her every half hour, and on one trip there were 3 piglets already out!

In all, she had 9 piglets - 6 white, 3 black. Overnight one of them died (the last picture). Not sure if he just got away from the others and got too cold, or if he got squished. It can happen. The rest all seem to be making it around fine. Another couple of days and the risk of losing one will greatly reduce. They are all cute as can be, and so small.

The post Piglets appeared first on VelaCreations.



Piglets

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Orison Swett Marden

"It is like the seed put in the soil - the more one sows, the greater the harvest." - Orison Swett Marden

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Mary Shelley

"The very winds whispered in soothing accents, and maternal Nature bade me weep no more." - Mary Shelley

Comfrey Planting, Dividing, Expanding!

Comfrey Planting, Dividing, Expanding!

It's March! Sowing panic sets in! Got my first beets and spinach in today. :D

It's March! Sowing panic sets in! Got my first beets and spinach in today. :D

Depression Era Tactics for Self-Sufficiency

Depression Era Tactics for Self-Sufficiency

Like start-ups, most intentional communities fail – why?

Like start-ups, most intentional communities fail – why?

Teen Entreprenuership and Farmer's Markets with Amber and Morgan Bradshaw

Teen Entreprenuership and Farmer's Markets with Amber and Morgan Bradshaw

7 Essentials TIPS for Raising Chicks

7 Essentials TIPS for Raising Chicks

Millions of Americans facing 'megadrought' as Colorado river shrinks to alarming low

Millions of Americans facing 'megadrought' as Colorado river shrinks to alarming low

Mini Jersey Cow - The Perfect Miniature Family Cow

Mini Jersey Cow - The Perfect Miniature Family Cow

Long-Term Conventional and No-tillage Systems Compared, 25 year experiment.

Long-Term Conventional and No-tillage Systems Compared, 25 year experiment.

In nature’s lap: These five Indian families gave up their city lives for the rural dream

In nature’s lap: These five Indian families gave up their city lives for the rural dream

Very small scale water harvesting with swales.

Very small scale water harvesting with swales.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Luther Burbank

"We must return to nature and nature's god." - Luther Burbank

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Pierre Bonnard

"Art will never be able to exist without nature." - Pierre Bonnard

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Edmund Burke

"We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature." - Edmund Burke

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Virgil

"As the twig is bent the tree inclines." - Virgil

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Philip James Bailey

"Simplicity is natures first step, and the last of art." - Philip James Bailey

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Edwin Way Teale

"For the mind disturbed, the still beauty of dawn is nature's finest balm." - Edwin Way Teale

Friday, February 24, 2017

Archibald Alexander

"Nature never makes any blunders, when she makes a fool she means it." - Archibald Alexander

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Snow!

We have had an extremely mild winter this year. In fact, we had tomatoes still growing outside until mid-January, and it was getting up into the 90s in early February. We figured that we were passing straight from fall to spring.

The day that Abe was due home from his trip, the boys and I woke up and got ready for school. As I was getting a few chores done before leaving, it started to snow. Within minutes, there was a full blown blizzard and everything turned white. School was cancelled (not being prepared for the sudden turn in the weather), and so the kids instantly went outside to make snowballs.

They had a blast, and the only thing that detracted from their joy at the snow was the thought that "Papa won't want to come home if it's cold!". I told them not to worry, that he was already en route. Still, they needn't have worried, a couple of hours later all the snow had melted and the sky had turned blue again. Abe came home thinking that I must have photoshopped the picture I'd sent him!!!

The post Snow! appeared first on VelaCreations.



Snow!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

D. H. Lawrence

"The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its roots in earth and manure." - D. H. Lawrence

Monday, February 20, 2017

Andy Warhol

"Land really is the best art." - Andy Warhol

Papa-less

Last week, Abe went to stay with Vickie in her new house. They spent most of their time setting up utilities and buying furniture, but they still got to enjoy a little of the new scene. The area, near Austin, sounds pretty cool, with a lot of museums, activities, restaurants, etc. Plus, it is all so green!

The house itself is gorgeous, with a small forest to enchant Abe, and a treehouse, pool and basketball hoop to excite the kids, who cannot wait to visit.

As for us at home, it was the first time that the kids have ever been apart from their dad overnight, so it was weird. In fact, it's one of the very few times that he and I have been apart since we got together. Still, Leo and Nicky were good as gold, which made everything easier, and the time flew by.

The post Papa-less appeared first on VelaCreations.



Papa-less

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Henrik Ibsen

"A forest bird never wants a cage." - Henrik Ibsen

Friday, February 17, 2017

Paul Dirac

"Pick a flower on Earth and you move the farthest star." - Paul Dirac

Over 3,000 Bakers Are Now In Business, After Minnesota Eased Restrictions on Selling Homemade Food

Over 3,000 Bakers Are Now In Business, After Minnesota Eased Restrictions on Selling Homemade Food

Comparing growth and harvests in adjacent strips, dug and no dig

Comparing growth and harvests in adjacent strips, dug and no dig

Hog Killing Time (excellent longread)

Hog Killing Time (excellent longread)

This is how we dry & use wild Lambsquarter

This is how we dry & use wild Lambsquarter

The Compost King of New York

The Compost King of New York

Herbs: History,Types, Uses, and Cultivation

Herbs: History,Types, Uses, and Cultivation

Why nature restoration takes time: fungi grow 'relationships'

Why nature restoration takes time: fungi grow 'relationships'

Trees, forests and water: Cool insights for a hot world

Trees, forests and water: Cool insights for a hot world

Do Trees Have Feelings: The Hidden Life of Trees in 4 Minutes

Do Trees Have Feelings: The Hidden Life of Trees in 4 Minutes

Permaculture Keyline Water Systems: Don Tipping @ Seven Seeds Farm

Permaculture Keyline Water Systems: Don Tipping @ Seven Seeds Farm

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lao Tzu

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." - Lao Tzu

Monday, February 13, 2017

Pamela Hansford Johnson

"The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire." - Pamela Hansford Johnson

Solar well pump

During rain season, our pond collects a vast amount of water; when full it holds about 300,000 gallons. However, we lose quite a bit of this over the rest of the year to evaporation. Although this loss should reduce as trees and water plants increase and provide shade, that may take a while. In the meantime, we are looking for ways to make use of the water before it evaporates.

We have just bought a pump that runs on solar. It can pump about 600 gallons of water a day (more in summer when the days are longer). Our eventual goal is to build a huge tank on the top of the property, which will then be able to provide pressurized water to the whole hill. For now, we will be watering the orchards and gardens directly, as well as filling up the current irrigation tank as it goes down (it's full at the moment).

We plan to hand-dig a hole just off the side of the pond, which will act as a well. We will be able to pull the pump up the casing if maintenance is needed, and add filtration measures to the well itself. The only problem with this is that we need the pond to dry up in order to dig the well! So, we are currently trying to use up the water. We put the pump inside a PVC pipe and wrapped it in a feed sack as a basic filter, and then just sunk it in the middle of the pond, which is currently about 4 feet deep.

We have four months left until rain season begins, so we should be able to use up the water currently held in the pond (evaporation will help us out too). What it means is that the trees we currently have planted will be receiving a LOT more than we usually give them, and we will be planting out the hundreds of little trees and shrubs that we have had growing in our little greenhouses (we would normally wait until rain season to plant them out).

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Solar well pump

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