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/

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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