Author Archives: Maridy

About Maridy

Hi, I'm Maridy. I have many interests in life. Right now, my husband and I and our two girls (ages 12 and 5), along with a couple of dogs currently live in a 33ft trailer while we build our house on our homestead property in Northern Nevada (Castle Rock Homestead). Follow us on that journey to building our high desert homestead from the ground up! I also have a passion for hiking and have a blog for that, too. (Journey in the Wilderness) Join me there as I explore the beautiful outdoor landscapes of Northwestern Nevada and Eastern California. And finally, I love historical costuming. Though I haven't been able to do much of that in recent years, I'm hoping that "once the house is built" I'll be able to get back into it more. See what all we've done with that on my Yesteryear Productions blog.

The Great Potato Experiment of 2019 – Day 118

(Also the Great Onion Experiment of 2019)

We harvested the rest of our potatoes today. As you can see from the picture above, the purple potatoes were much more prolific, but the red ones grew bigger.

Overall I am very happy with the results of our “experiment”. I learned a lot about growing these varieties of potatoes. I should have planted them earlier so they could grow larger (especially the purples), and I coulda planted the rows quite a bit closer to get more yield out of the planting bed (a 3’x6′ bed in our terraces). And we’ll need to plant a ton more to feed our family for more than a few meals. And how to get those purples bigger? Also need to experiment with the long storing varieties like russets once we have a good place to store potatoes. But it’s good to know that it’s possible to grow potatoes here in the dry, high desert.

Also, can we talk about those onions?

Again, they are nothing to brag about, except that I have tried numerous times over the years to grow onions and have never been successful. So the fact that I got ANY harvest this year is pretty amazing to me! They won’t last long since they’ll be eaten quickly, but I’m rather proud of those cute baby onions.

House update: Let There Be {Natural} Light!

I remember posting on my Instagram account a picture of a little rolly cart we have in the house.

Nothing special about this freebie cart. What’s special is the amount of natural light shining on it.

Obviously, this was after we had gotten some of the doors and windows cut in.

But let me back up a bit.

Normal houses are built with the window and door openings already there, so you just gotta put in the actual windows into the openings, and you’re done.

Source: Google images

But, as we all know, our house is not a normal house.

We basically have a house inside of a house. The shell is the metal building, and there is a 2×4 stick-built house inside.

Exterior – pre windows and doors

Same wall as the previous pic – Interior – before door and window openings are cut

We chose to not have the metal building designed with all the window and door openings because we knew we’d be building these interior walls during the winter time. Because of how we needed to attach the interior walls to the exterior walls at the openings, we could not put the windows in until the interior walls were built.

Which means, if we had already had the openings in the metal building, we would not have been able to heat the house and keep working in it over the winter (which was when we were building those walls). We would have lost all that working time.

And would have been even further behind than we are now.

But we finally got all the interior framing done, so it was time to tackle the windows and doors!

We are planning on making a blog post and even a video about the actual technical method to put in the windows and doors, but for now, here’s the less detailed and less tedious (I hope) version.

The first window we put in was next to the front door.

Since it was right next to a door with a lot of glass in it, I felt like this one window didn’t make a major difference in the look of the living room or the light that was coming in. I mean, it was cool to be able to see a slightly different view, but it wasn’t a huge change.

The next opening we did was the sliding glass door in one of the downstairs rooms.

This one took a full week of us working on it several hours a day to figure out how to do it.

While we were figuring it all out and working on it bit by bit, the weather decided to not play nice.

But eventually we were able to get the door installed.

And let me tell you, this door made a difference!

The main door we used up to this point was the laundry room door (to the left of the slider in the above pic.)

Since the interior walls are all still just open studs, the light from this door not only lights up that room, but spills out into the other adjoining rooms.

It was definitely something to open that laundry room door and walk in like we’d done hundreds of times before, and be greeted with light!

Next was Pajii’s bedroom sliding glass door. It did not take us nearly as long this time to get it in as the first one. And I don’t get hardly any pictures. But I think he likes it!

After that was one of the doors I was most excited for, the dining room slider.

This is the door opposite the front door, and was sure to let in lots of natural light to an end of the house that was perpetually dark.

Just a peak!

My nephew came over a couple evenings and weekend or two and helped put in doors and windows.

We worked until after dark on one of the longest days of the (less than 10 days before the solstice) to get that door in!

Had to finish by flashlight, but finish we did!

After that things went a lot smoother and faster. We knew what we were doing by that point.

Cutting the 1⅛” plywood that we used for the frames.

Anchoring one of the metal side supports to the concrete floor.

And then came the part I had been dreaming about since we first sketched up the design for this house.

The Big. Picture. Window.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember that back in March I posted a poorly photoshopped picture of what the view out our picture window might look like. For those that did not see it or don’t remember, here it is.

I was just dreaming of the day I could look out that window to view up our canyon. I mean, seriously, I’ve been dreaming of that literally for years!

And it was finally happening!

Another late night finishing up the job

And…voila!

I love my big window!

After that, it was time to move upstairs to the second story windows.

Flower Girl and her cousins wanted to watch the “fireworks”

We can actually see all the way down into the valley from our bedroom window!

Working on the second floor windows presented some extra challenges, especially on the one window we could not access from the outside for various reasons. So we had to get creative.

Putting my climbing skills and gear to good use

We watched some friends’ kids one day and I put their 11 year old son to work. 😁

And suddenly it was starting to look like a regular house, not a warehouse!

The side in the shade is still missing four – yes 4 – windows in this pic!

It there were several windows we had to special order because they were odd sizes, so those took a little while to arrive.

But eventually, we put in the very last window.

And now some pictures of the interior with no artificial lighting turned on. All the light in the following pics is natural.

And in some of them, not every single window opening is actually cut yet! We love all the natural light in our house!

Window in Pajii’s room still uncut (on the right). That is a south facing window, so it now let’s in a ton of light.

One of the upper great room windows waiting to be cut

You can see Hubs on the scaffold just starting to work on one of the upper great room windows.

Window in the girls’ room still not cut either

And that brings us pretty much up to date on the actual house!

As I said in my last post, windows and doors pretty much ate up June. July was taken up with a family vacation. And August has been just little things here and there.

Though we did figure out where all our outlets and light fixtures are gonna go!

Princess Girl and I installed all the boxes.

And as you can see from those last couple of pictures, it is definitely summer around here – workin’ in shorts and tank tops – when we have the energy to work at all!

If you’ve made it all the way here to the end of this post, you are amazing! Thank you for reading!

House update: upstairs framing

I last left off just after we got out stairs completed at the end of March.

April was all about framing in the upstairs.

We were so excited to get the walls up so that it would not be as easy to fall off the edge.

When my brother came to pick up his daughter whom we had been babysitting, we roped him into helping raise this wall. 😊

The peak looks even further away now!

Our guardian angel given to us by a good friend. We decided to put her in the upper perlin to watch over the building. 😊

Once we had the edge wall up, Flower Girl and I built the smaller wall all by ourselves. You can read more about that here.

Learning to measure

OUR wall

Our friend who helped on the hat channel come over again to help with the framing.

Her very first time using a nail gun.

Me thinks she liked it!

How do you build a large access door into a utility closet when you have a steeply sloped roof?

The answer is, you don’t.

You build THREE doors!

Papa bear, Mama bear, and Baby bear

This way, all areas of the closet can be accessed, no matter what gets stuffed in there.

At some point, the compressor went kaput and we were forced to use hammers.

You can see how happy I was about that!

Even knowing that we didn’t have power tools, some sister-friends came over to help anyway!

And luckily, whatever was wrong with the compressor was fixed by the hubby, cause we still had a whole other half of the upstairs to do!

And one last small wall, the short pony wall for the central loft/open area of the upstairs.

And suddenly the upstairs framing was finished!

The next project we worked on was getting all the windows and doors in (you can see a sneak peak in that last picture with all that natural light.)

Oh, and you know those stairs we had completed the month before?

So. Very. Nice!

So that brings us up to May.

May was spent doing little odd and ends, finishing up smaller tasks and getting our framing inspection (which unbeknownst to us we didn’t have everything done we needed to get done, but he said the framing looked good – yay!)

The next post will be about the doors and windows. That was June’s task.

July was spent prepping for and being out of town for a large family vacation.

August has so far been a lot of working my summer job, researching and prepping for electrical, and doing small odds and ends. Oh, and prepping for the school year, which starts the day after Labor Day.

And it’s HOT, so our motivation to work is almost non-existent. All we want to do is sit around in the shade and stay as cool as we can.

But we gotta get things done, so we do little bits here and there. Slow forward progress is still progress.

Hopefully I’ll get the post about the doors and windows loaded soon. Then I’ll have a garden update/overview to write up. And then finally be caught up. 😊

2019 Chick Hatching Update

All 4 of Welly’s eggs hatched! One had some issues and we spent a couple days nursing it back to health.

Poor thing was so weak. It couldn’t even hold it’s head up.

Doing better after warming and feeding it an electrolyte solution.

12 hours after hatching it was apparent it was going to survive but it was not as vigorous as it’s siblings, so we kept it inside for another couple of days.

We named that one Nugget. After a day or so, we brought one of its siblings in to teach it to eat and drink from the waterer. Since we had been hand feeding it the electrolyte solution, it wasn’t catching on by itself. After another day or two, you couldn’t tell Nugget from the other except that we put a leg band on it, so we but them all back in with Welly.

So now we had 9 chicks. Three of them we knew were males. Time would tell for the others.

At just 4 weeks old, the Sex-link’s combs were substantially bigger than the Speckled Sussex’s. Hoped that meant the Sussex were female – it did!

And at 6 weeks old, it was VERY obvious that two of Welly’s chicks were male, and two were female. These are the two males.

Oh, and you know little Nugget that we put so much time and effort into reviving? Yep, one of the males!

So, we ended up with 5 males and 4 females. Figures!

And one of the white females got out of her pen when a neighboring dog happened to be visiting and got herself killed. 😢

So, now we have 5 males that are bound for the stew pot this fall, and 3 females that will be added to the flock.

Right now we are working on integrating the two chick flocks to each other. The mammas are back in with their original flock. We are not going to bother integrating all those boys to one of the main flocks when they will be gone in a couple months anyway. But in the meantime, we need them all to be in the same coop/run. And soon it will be time to introduce the three pullets into their new flock.

Ah, the joys of raising chickens!

2019 Broody Hen Watch: Days 20/21- HATCH DAY! (And Day 12 for the 2nd group)

They hatched!

They hatched!

Well, 5 of them did anyway. 5 out of 9 is not the best ratio, but it’s better than last year’s hatch ratio. (2/7)

So we checked on the eggs on the morning of Day 20 (June 7th). And we found a pip!

That meant that there was a chick pecking it’s way out from the inside!

We also found one half hatched and slightly squished. I thought it was dead, so I picked it up and removed it from it’s shell to see if I could tell what kind it was when I felt it move in my hand! It wasn’t doing well at all though, so we brought it inside and tried to warm it up and nurse it to health.

But, sadly, it passed away.

But it wasn’t long until the one that had pipped earlier had hatched.

And, another was right there with it.

Still slightly wet

All told, we had three hatch on Day 20 and two more hatch the next day. There were 4 fully formed chicks in eggs that did not make it for some reason.😢

Of the five that hatched, three are sex-link hybrids and are all boys. Of course! 🙄 The other two are pure breed Speckled Sussex and we won’t know for several more weeks of they are male or female.

White spots mean boys

Overall, I’m fairly pleased that we got 5 chicks out of this hatch. I still would like to figure out what’s going on that we don’t get a better hatching success rate. I am leaning toward the idea that it might have something to do with our very low humidity here in the high desert. But five is better than none, or even just one or two, so I’m counting my blessings. I just really hope that at least one of those Speckled Sussex chicks is a girl!

—————————————————

On June 9th (Day 12), we candled the eggs from our other broody hen.

There were 11 eggs remaining (one went missing) and it was very obvious which eggs were developing and which were not. There were a couple eggs that were just not fertilized. As I thought, Uno the rooster just couldn’t get around to all the ladies all the time.

Unfertile egg.

There were also some that had developed a bit but then died of for unknown reasons.

Blood in the fluid, no visible veins

If it had been day 5 or so, I would have said this one looked normal. But at day 12, it should look quite different, as you’ll see in a moment.

The black spot at the top was a developing embryo in the very beginning stages when it died.

There were 5 eggs that looked like the following pictures. Notice the obvious veins/blood vessels.

Because these eggs had white shells, the blood vessels were very easy to see with the light. We could even see the movement of the fluid inside as the chick moved around! Check out the video below!

That was an awesome experience!

A day or two after candling, another of the eggs got broken, so we are down to 4. But Welly is being a good broody Mama, so we are hopeful to get some chicks out of theses ones, too.

Her hatch date is tomorrow!

2019 Broody Hen watch: Days 16 & 5

No, the title is not a typo. We are on day 16 AND day 5.

How, you ask?

This is how.

Yep, that’s another Broody Hen.Welly the Welsummer went broody once or twice last summer, but we weren’t successful in getting her to hatch the eggs. Or either of her Welsummer sisters for that matter (Summer and Suntime). But we learned a lot from our mistakes last summer and are very hopeful that she’ll come through this time.We have her set up in a large dog crate and think we have taken care of the mouse problem we had last time we had a hen be broody in this box (by getting cats and by not leaving food in the crate over night).

We put a dozen eggs under her 5 days ago after we moved her to the box and made sure she was dedicated to being broody. The eggs we put under her were laid by our White Leghorns who are in with a Speckled Sussex roo. While the genetics are not right for the chicks to be sex-link hybrids, they should lay great eggs when they grow up. IF they hatch, of course. We will candle the eggs in about a week. We’re hoping there’s at least a few that are fertile considering the roo has 17 hens to share his attention with.

Now, on to Day 16 with Bluebell. We candled on Day 12 and we have 10 developing eggs.One egg had not developed, and one was missing (probably got broken). One of the remaining eggs will most likely not develop much further as the air sack is not in the correct position. Unlike in the picture above, the air sack is on the side, not at the end like it’s supposed to be. So, at most, we’ll get 9 chicks from that clutch, IF they all hatch. Considering last summer’s abysmal failures, I’m not counting my chicks until they hatch.

We’re starting to get close, just 5 more days!

The Great Potato Experiment of 2019: Day 29

Edit: I wrote his post at the end of May. I found it in my drafts in August! I am backdating the publishing date so hopefully it will show up on the blog in order, but for all my subscribers who will get an email notification about it, that’s the reason why it’s old news. 😊

Last week, on Day 29, the potato plants had grown enough that I “hilled” them up. Essentially, I just pulled in that dirt I moved to the side when I planted them. I forgot to take any pictures except for the ones in the pots.

So I was all excited that this seems to be working so beautifully, when I came across a fact that had me pondering if my potatoes are going to do as well as I had hoped.

Basically, did you know that there are two types of potatoes: determinate and indeterminate? And that you plant them differently and treat them differently according to which kind they are?

I had no idea! I thought a potato was a potato when it came to planting and I hadn’t ever even heard of any method of planting and caring for them other than variations of the hilling method.

But I was wrong. The hilling method, where you keep adding soil or mulch as the plant grows and more and more potatoes will grow in the new areas you buried, only works for the indeterminate varieties. I’m not sure what kinds are those varieties, but I can tell you which ones they are not! Red Norland, and Purple Majesty!

Yep, the two varieties I planted are determinate, which means that they will only ever set potatoes in the first layer of soil where they are planted.

Awe well, learn something new every day. I still have hopes that they will grow and give us at least a few potatoes.