Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Peak Phosphorus.. peak production.. over population

  Food for thought..
 While more are aware of the impending peak of oil and coal resources, another "peak" is also on the very near horizon. Peak Phosphorus. It is in a lot of products from soft drinks,  thermoplastics, metal cleaners, fertilizers, detergents, a food additive, leavening agent.. in short it is very prevalent if not typically noticed. 

 Phosphorus is a key component in plant development of roots, flowers, disease resistance, and proper cellular functions to give a cliff note to what role it plays in agriculture. While it is not volatile like nitrogen, it does move in the form of run off and soil erosion. It is one of our major mismanaged resources.

 One of the perks from the Industrial era is the creation of superphosphates, especially inregards to fertilizers. A more readily available to plant form, heck we even made it possible to sprinkle it over our crops by way of misting from planes. Huge increases in yields. Wheat for example showed a 14% increase in yields in the early days. (As with all things, balance is crucial especially with development.)  Without this element, yields in wheat per acreage could drop by more than half (as they are predicting by 2100.)

 This resource is essentially mined. It is found in ancient bone (and teeth) beds, upwelling from the depths of the oceans, guano deposits. Important enough that securing lands by means of the Guano Islands Act in our nation's more formative years. The rock powder that is dusted over gardens and fields is in limited supply. The "peak" of production is expected roughly around 2030.. or sooner. 

 Mining this element is not the only source, it is also a component in manures. Here is the dilemma.. while there is the suggestion (and indeed already in practice in some areas) of reclaiming this from CAFO's (concentrated animal feeding operations)  and our sewage.. there is a bit of byproduct problems. Namely endocrine disruptors, heavy metals, medications, antibiotics, hormones.. and some rather pesky chemicals that are illegally poured down the pipes.. that can't be filtered out. 

 Conventional farming already uses reclaimed municipal resources to fertilize. (Heck.. municipal biosolids are marketed in big box stores with a bold faced ORGANIC compost label. Irony is this is not allowed in organic farming. This manipulation in marketing is exploiting a loophole as it is not a product directly consumed.. and by "organic" they are describing it to mean carbon based materials and nothing more.)

 Now for those that think vegan will save the planet, while it would help the environment, it would help our health (as well what gets shelled out for medical), it would possibly even extend current food resources.. but it won't save us from ourselves. Literally. You can't support exponential population growth on limited resources. That simple. That applies to all animals, including people. The irony in sustainable agriculture is that it is in essence a nearly closed loop.  If we had a couple more planets like Earth, sure, we could solve this problem.. or delay it a few more generations.

 There are summits regarding global climate change, forecasts on the impact/ yield/ needs of crops, genetic technologies in the race to provide the status quo..  but it pops up like a rare blip on our social radar. Rare. Ask around, and while peak oil, peak coal, even peak gallium or uranium may be mentioned, most are unaware of phosphorus. I find that rather odd.

I know this isn't exactly a happy happy post.. but I thought it very relevant to mention. There is no quick fix.. and there sure isn't a socially accepted means to control population... or even suggest it.  Although the levels of pollution from our disposable lifestyle may actually be effecting that aspect. 

 Is anyone else mulling over these impending "milestones"? I really wish I could just wipe my mind clean and not be aware of them. 

 In a discussion, someone responded with:

"It is not the responsibility of the government to keep everyone fed. Sustainability in farming does not mean organic it simply means by methods that are sustainable. The current large scale food systems are not. They are destroying our land, water ways, and health. They alone will solve the population problem by killing us all." 

 The first problem that I have with this is that... WE are THEY. Stop passing the buck. We need to own up to this. We create the demand, we bought the product, we are the source of the problem.

 There is no sustainable conventional farming method that I am aware of. Organic and permaculture like methods are as close to a closed loop as you can get, but still we have already passed the population level that allows for sustainable existence. Beyond a certain point, the amount of resources consumed is unable to be replenished adequately resulting in another aspect(s) diminishing. As in.. pollution build up, loss of "wild" habitats, loss of other species, you get the idea. We moved beyond the balance a long time ago. 

 The government has a huge vested interest in keeping their people fed, hence welfare, food stamps, subsidies, etc. basically to avoid civil unrest. One of you preppers help me out here.. isn't the civil discord measured by a 4 day food supply? While most people right now can't fathom the concept of running out of food, I suppose I realize how close we are to the edge as my Mom lived through that type of situation.

 Like a large overfilled aquarium.. we can't escape our pollution and it is too much for nature to process fast enough. Resources for our conveniences are rapidly reaching their peak. Population isn't leveling off. We've set ourselves up for interesting times.. and while we will probably see the start of it, our kids will feel the brunt of it.

 What I need.. is a good thump to the head so I forget all of this. Turn the soil, collect the rainwater, save the seeds, compost and harvest. I do this mainly because it brings me joy. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but we do know what we need to change right now. With some luck, some inspiration, some enlightenment and a lot of love.. we still have time to hope for solutions and a better future. 


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Black cap season! (wild black raspberries)

 Wild black raspberries (black caps/thimbleberry) are just coming into season here. These first ones are not quite ripe, close, but still tart. Perfect for baking and jams! These are a wild raspberry (Rubus occidentalis), even though many confuse them with a wild blackberry (Rubus ursinus.. aka dewberry).  While they are related, and the berries look very similar, they are not the same species.   
   Wickedly prickly, they also seem to hide tons of mosquitoes in their canes. I will be picking in the next few days. This will be no small task as the bigger farm never got it's fields cut. An early morning adventure as it is supposed to get back up to the 90's with humidity also in the 90's. I'll be able to check on the gooseberry as the black raspberries often are found nearby. 

 Wild black raspberries don't have a very long season. It generally is only for a few weeks.. in northern IL.. basically July. Then these lovely morsels are gone.

 These berries provide a lot more than just dessert, they pack some heath benefits in their punch. A good source of vitamin A (helps with night vision), vitamin c, iron, fiber, a smattering of calcium.. and a whole lot of antioxidants (anthocyanins) and ellagic acids. If you thought blueberries packed a whollop, black raspberries pack up to 3 times more. They bring to the table anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. A serving of 2/3rds of a cup is about 75 calories (I like to think they mitigate the calories in the whipped cream or ice cream that I pair them with.. you know.. like how broken cookies lose calories with every fracture. Hence you can smash up a whole dozen cookies and make a zero calorie crunchy topping for that sundae...)

 If you found a particularly tasty cane, you can clone it by burying the tip on the cane and letting it root. In the picture above, that's how we moved this patch. Using larger nursery pots, I put them next to the canes and buried the tips. 

 To be quite honest.. I totally forgot about them until the next year. This patch is tiny and was started from 2 canes about 16 years ago. These berries were my little sister's favorite. When she was very little, it was one of the few foods she would whole heartedly devour. That was one of my jobs as a little kid.. and to get me and my next younger sister to pick enough of them, my Mom paid us $1 a pint. Back then.. and at the age of 7.. that was big bucks! Anyways.. we put these in closer to that house so my Mom could grab some easily for my sister. They are kept somewhat in check by mowing as they are right next to the field. 

 These can also be propagated by seed. The seeds do need cold stratification to germinate. These are sort of an understory plant. By that I mean they can survive ok in the dappled light, but do best on the edge of a forest setting. They need and like enough sunlight to produce fruit, but do well with a little protection from trees. They do fine in clay soils, but need drainage.  If planting in an open sunny area, make sure to water when it is setting fruit should the rain be scarce.

 While a lot of critters like the fruit (birds, raccoons, etc.).. deer, rabbits and goats like the leaves. The canes start setting fruit on the 2nd year. You can try to somewhat train/ restrain them along a fence. That would make picking the easier as they tend to make a clump if allowed to do what they will. We just let them go wild.. then whine and complain when it is time to harvest.. the whole time vowing to end the shenannigans and get them under control. Almost 3 decades of the same routine and we have yet to make the canes play nice! lol 

 So if you happen across some black caps, give them a taste. If you run across one that has nice plump, easily picked berries that taste amazing.. please consider propagating them! Most of the cultivars out there are from discoveries made out in the woods!

 (Although very hardy.. keep spacing away from raspberries. These wild counterparts often bully their way past pests and diseases.. something that the very selectively cultivated red raspberry might not be able to withstand. They can cross pollinate, but these plants do most of their reproduction by rooting at the tips of the canes. They initially grow up.. then flop over.. almost like watching nature's Slinky travel across an area. Several of the "purple" raspberry cultivars.. are crosses of red raspberry to black raspberry.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Of wild parsnips and trying to beat the rain..

 This is my husband.... trying to beat the rain.

  The posts are from the old barn, which had a tree crash through it in the last big storm. As they are well over 100 years old (actually over 150), time has left them a bit twisted. The area is sloped, so what you can't see is that it is excavated. Meanwhile he is battling the best he can to plumb up the posts and get the concrete in before it rains tomorrow. It is threatening to rain right now, but so far so good..

 See that tall spracky plant with yellow flowers? Here's another picture of it.. wild parsnip.
  Wild parsnip, poison parsnip.. it has a lot of nicknames, but it is regular old parsnips that escaped cultivation. You do NOT want to get the sap from this on your skin. The sap reacts to sunlight and the results are chemical burns (phytophotodermatitis). The burns turn into massive blisters. I've been nailed by jellyfish before, and while that does send up impressive blisters.. parsnip takes the cake.

 They are flowering right now (obviously) and in about a month or so the seeds should be ready to collect. Oh yes.. I will be collecting them. Parsnip seed is notoriously short lived so getting the most fresh seed is important if you like them as much as I do. 

 Parsnip is one that needs it's own patch.. away from kids and critters that might mistakenly mess around with it. The first year or two it makes a rosette, and when the time is right it blooms. It has the best flavor after extended exposure to a freeze. One to harvest in the winter or spring.. the root converts starch to sugar. Make sure you are wearing long sleeves, pants, and gloves. The roots are fine, but the plant (stems, leaves, flowers).. that's the risky part.

 Now here's to hoping the rain holds out just a little while longer....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

View from the porch

 Thought I'd share the view from the small farm's backyard.
  The field was baled a little over a week ago. Wild grapes are going crazy along the fence of my Mom's former garden. It is the ultimate weeding nightmare with grasses that instantly fill back in tilled areas and henbit galore. 

 Can you spot the onions? lolol I will get more pictures so you can laugh, and suddenly feel better about what you have to weed. 

 As the soil is heavily clay, smothering the garden areas without having the compost (mountains of compost) to amend it is not a good idea. In this case the weeds help retain the moisture and keep the surface from drying out into a concrete like swath. I weed around the tomatoes, beans, squash, etc. but let the rest go. It gets hand trimmed back (I need geese!!!) and tossed into the compost pile. The weeds right now are also retaining the soil.

 Tiny garden compared to what I wanted to do.. but a huge project nonetheless, especially when you consider that most of the ground breaking and hacking back of waist high grasses was done by hand. Insane I know.. but we didn't have much choice! So the squash patch is on hold until next year.. by then hopefully the tiller will be fixed and good to go!

 Some of the birds braving the bugs to run out and say hello to us.
  To the far right the red and black hen is Izzy, the barred rock to the left of her is Timmy, Kate the white keet, then Terry the black & white hen. Those 3 chicken up front are incredibly mellow and friendly. They love people, especially people with treats. The one in back flapping is Karen.. coming in for a landing and using her buddies to soften the impact. She's considerate that way.

Terry..  I'm trying not to have favorites.. but she's beyond sweet.

 And another picture of the stinkers.. many won't deal with the bugs and hang out by the fan. The keets sound the alarm when something scary is around.. like those man eating hummingbirds.

 This is what the fly strips look like after an hour. 1 hour.  We have 4 up that we swap out almost every hour. Black Flag fly strips.. 4 for $1.. longer than the other brands we have encountered. The fan is on the opposite side of the run so it blows air quickly across the area where their food and water is.. and the entrance of the coop. This keeps the buffalo gnats out of the coop, lets the birds eat in peace.. and this side we have the shade cloth up. The gnats seem to be attracted to the scent of the birds.. which wafts out from this side.. so the fly strips collect up the cloud of gnats that gather here.

  The birds have discovered stink bugs are nasty.. regardless of who is brave enough to run around with one in their beak. Lightening bugs are also not tasty.. june bugs are scary.. worms and grubs are divine.. flies are delish and ants are also yummy.

 Off to the farm I go. Trying to make tomato cages still and attempt to contain the plants. We have post holes to dig, and as well dig out the area where the coop will be as it is a sloped area. Should we have a moment.. we still want to round up mulberries from the bigger farm and check on the blackberry patches and gooseberries. That takes several hours as it is a pretty good hike to zigzag over 80 acres of overgrown hilly terrain. Hopefully we remember to avoid the poison ivy! lol 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mulberry season

 Mulberries are in season. They ripen at different times and a little wind sends them dropping all about. The easiest way to harvest them is to spread out a large sheet and jiggle the branches. The fruit will drop mostly on to the sheet, unless a strong wind comes up or your hilarious spouse shakes the branch over your head while you are not paying attention. They are delicate and will stain the sheet, your hands.. and your carpeting should you forget to check your shoes.

 The darkest berries are good to eat fresh, juice, or jam. The slightly under ripe berries are a bit more tart and are good for baking (toss in muffins, cobblers, etc.) The white ones I'll toss into the compost. I'll be making juice, jam, syrup and cobbler. 

 Mulberry is one of my husband's favorites to snack on so he was quick to have found the better flavored berries. One tree behind the small house in town is particularly good flavored and sweet. Some of the trees on the bigger farm are incredibly tall and out of reach. No doubt he try to find a way to get some of those too! It took us maybe 30 minutes to gather these up. 

 Mulberry trees start producing fruit at about 10 years of age. If you want to try and grow some from seed, plant the mulberry drupe right after you pick it. The trees can be cloned, something to consider if you find a particularly tasty one.

 Here's a link to some nutritional information about mulberries. 

 The ones we are picking are the red mulberries. They are quite common around here and often considered a weed tree. Birds also like the berries (guess what color my chickens' beaks will be!).. and what goes in.. comes out with a purple vengeance. As in.. don't hang a laundry line near the tree! 

 My husband is thinking about making mulberry wine. I think he should. I also think he should try to make some mulberry vinegar! (Fig vinegar has to be my all time favorite, but I like various ones.)

Tossing more batteries into the charger.. I am hoping to get some chicken and farm pictures. I named many of my chickens after my friends. Granted.. I am now discovering that the names are a bit off, but I rather enjoy the fact that I have a hen named Dave.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Variety chart of produce seeds

I found this very interesting. There are a lot more types, but you do have to hunt for them.. and many of them cling to existence only because of a devoted backyard gardener.

Friday, June 17, 2011

bird free bathing resumes

 Chickens have been moved out to their temporary pen. The keets paved the way to the waterer and food trough. The bravest of the lot is a little barred rock roo. 

 The buffalo gnats were and are intense, so I put up some shade cloth to create a more bug proof area. The birds are quick to snap up a gnat on a light colored buddy, but the dark ones are not so lucky as the gnats are hard to see on them (and the gnats quickly wiggle in to their feathers to feast... my poor chicks!) We put a box fan out before the converted doghouse coop, so they can escape the bugs. So far it seems to be working. 

 I spent last night awake, the whole night.. checking on the birds frequently. I got bit by a gnat on the eyelid and it has swollen almost shut. My husband got bit on the lip and it swelled huge too. All that is missing is my daughter getting bit on the ear and we are the "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" trio.

 The birds are a bit more freaked out about... grass. If you have ever seen a baby's first barefoot experience in grass, you know exactly what these birds are going through. They also are brave when we are near by, but race back to the coop should we step away.  

 The keets discovered their voices and stand in the grass complaining, then someone finds a bug and the race is on. One will pick a bit of grass and the chase begins.. through all the grass.. just to get the 1 blade in the mouth of another.

 Still the keet jockeys insist on a ride and the pecking order is still being figured out. We have a lot of roosters. A lot. You get the same ones facing off all the time.. yet at night they are snuggled next to their sparring partner. The chicken jockeys.. are mostly hens (judging from their significantly smaller crowns and the fact that they aren't the ones squabbling). They go for a ride, get unceremoniously dumped, then go drown their sorrows of rejection in the feed trough.

 I watched the sun set last night, and the sun rise this morning.. but what I am really going to enjoy right now is a shower sans poultry. No more ninja keet poop to worry about from Kate the white keet (who likes to sneak out when you are in the shower.. leave you a present.. then hop back in the box.) Our toothbrushes can now go back to that bathroom as I scrubbed every inch of the room. No more need to check behind the toilet paper for a keet. We can use the toilet in peace as the cheer leading chicks have been removed (even though they are only birds.. and not very bright ones.. it is still unsettling when every time you drop your pants, reach for toilet paper, "make a sound", remove clothing to get into the shower... they all freak out. They do this with everyone, but still it is hard to not take it personally when your nakedness just inspired chaos and panic in 3 dozen birds.)

 I will probably spend the night there again chicken sitting. I may do that a lot until the real coop is built. I really hope the gnats go away soon as it is supposed to get into the 90's again and weeding with a bug burqa is hellish.

 We've also been dealing with the discovery that our place in CO was trashed and many things were stolen by "the jerk". He took the washer and dryer and a lot of other things. Still struggling with that situation which wastes so much of our time. Our home will be set up for a short sale and our amazing friends are truly a blessing as they volunteered to do what they can to clean the place up.

 Our daughter is going to my sister's to help her with the juicing. Scrubbing the veggies and juicing them is a lot of work and it has to be done pretty much every hour in certain combinations. While it does have a significant impact, she unfortunately needs a miracle due to the advanced stage. It has gotten very aggressive, and the delay the doctors, insurance, etc. completely screwed her over. Her oncologist is going on vacation... again. Limited options who she can go to.. but this jerk off needs to switch careers because these antics have fatal results. 

 For now my sister is doing all she can. My daughter is excited and proud to help on the front lines with this war on cancer. My daughter is also realizing how important it is to eat the right food, but mostly she cherishes every second with my sister. My kid is amazing and I am very proud. Her goofy self is distracting in a good way.. always jokes, always some odd pondering, always a vat full of odd facts. She takes the focus off the cloud of cancer and my sister laughs and for the moment it is just a normal day with the enjoyment of good company. 

 One day at a time.. one foot in front of the other.. and not taking what I do have "right now" for granted, no matter how trivial. 

Peeps out.  :)   


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

the urge to garden

Mycobacterium vaccae...... a common bacteria found in soil that is found to trigger anti-depression and anti-anxiety reactions. So quite possibly the need to garden can be similar to the cravings for a certain food. The urge to garden, to be outside suddenly seems like a logical, natural craving in current times.

 Just an odd thought I had.

 Meanwhile the field at the small farm has been cut, dried, rolled and wrapped in huge round bales, hauled off and today.. the neighbor spread literally tons of aged manure all over it. It is raining right now, so the fields should perk up very quickly with fresh lush green growth. Tractors are toys for grown boys who like lots of nifty attachments.

 I made a chart of the fruit trees that I planted. Tomorrow I will make duplicates and include variety information. After a couple of years I'll probably put in metal identification tags with the variety name and date planted etched into it.

 I hear the buzzer on the dryer. That would be my cue to say "Good night Gracie" and head to bed. Take care all... 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

and you shall be named Maverick..

 The temporary home should be done today and my little peeps will be moving out. This will probably take multiple trips to get them to the small farm. I am really hoping this works because I am really attached to these stinkers.

 One of the gray keets is named Maverick. Which gray one? Well.. ummm.. they are rather hard to tell apart. There is one that is rather daring, always getting into trouble, and as my daughter discovered yesterday.. prone to trying to perch on your head.  So Maverick.. is the keet that runs at you when the other 2 are hiding in the corner.

 Although it will be nice to use the bathroom again without 15+ pairs of eyes watching you, I will miss their "chatter". If you go by attitude and posturing.. we have more than a few roosters in this batch. I am really hoping the guineas have a few less males... but... only hearing 2 make a 2 part noise (it's supposed to sound like buckwheet). The vocalizations the keets and chicks are making is hilarious, and someone has taken an artistic twist because it sounds like parakeets are in with them.

 They are "conversing" right now. Quiet chicken chatter of the recently fed. Right after nap time comes the chaos. They can get loud.. someone will get irritated and cheep their outrage. The baby roos are starting to test each other..  the birds need more room to roam. The guineas need to learn where "home" really is, so later when they are allowed out they know where to return to to roost.

 I am waiting for a patch of chickweed to finish setting seed.  While I have offered tiny bits of lettuce, cabbage, beet greens, etc. the birds like chickweed the best. (Sap must be clear as there is a look-a-like with milky sap that is NOT edible.)

 I am currently rounding up phlox seeds. When phlox blooms out here it is lovely. The drive to the bigger farm on either side you go through a section of forest where the phlox makes a purple carpet. It perfumes the air with a light sweet scent that I just love.

 Chives.. always chives. You'd think I'd have enough of them by now, but no. I don't know what my deal is that I am so obsessed with planting more and more of them. The old patch sets out a ton of flowers, but little in the way of greens. Much too crowded, so I have another area started.

 It's time to put on some coffee and start getting ready to head to the small farm. It has rained a bit the last few days causing the weeds to completely go nuts.I'm hoping we move the birds today, and to be able to tackle the weeds. Tomato cages are still being built as we need over 60 of them at least.. and many of the tomatoes have set out flowers.

 Here's to hoping the chick like Four-lined plant bugs... as I am battling billions of them.. and flea beetles (which have devoured the eggplants!) 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

use of right wrist optional

 Not sure how I did it, but I woke up to my right wrist hurting extremely badly. Not cool. Unable to pick up a coffee cup, this is going to make things interesting today. I am hoping I can find my wrist brace.. I know I packed it somewhere.

 Last night it stormed fiercely. The temperature plummeted to a blissfully chilly 70 something. YAY! Gusts of wind were so strong that the huge maple ruthlessly beat against the roof. I am pretty worried about what it may have done to my tomato plants at the farm, but happy to be here. For a long moment this morning I thought a tornado was coming, so I'm just happy there wasn't one, and that the maple is not in our living room.

 Today I am going to get some baking done. My neighbor is a saint. She brought over dinner a couple of times on those sweltering days. To not have to cook when it is blazing hot was fabulous. 

 Still working on tomato cages.. still "debating" about the coop design with my husband. 

 We are still hoping and waiting for my husband to get a call for a job interview. Just need a break, a bit of good luck...  

 I'm laughing because my husband just asked what I am tackling today. He is quite aware that my wrist hurts.. and that I wanted to plant yet more seeds. To which he was like "well, just drop 'em in with your left hand. That way it will be like a stranger is doing it."

 Hilarious dear..  o_o 

 Planting is out of the question, but if I could just find my wrist brace I could tackle some baking. Not even a minute later he's back with it. 

 I'd better get started, as they are now putting in requests.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Egads... mayflies!

 It is 2:30 am.. still sweltering hot and we have just been blessed with the arrival of Mayflies by the billions. 

 Getting pelted from every direction.

 I need... an anti-bug bubble. 

 Old school style screens are just not cutting it.. too gappy on the sides (not inset into the frame).. it has become the unofficially official Beetle-Ant-Gnat-Whoknewsomethingthatbigcouldfly expressway. 

 It would be much easier to sleep if I wasn't so concerned about what just tried to fly up my nose....

 Less than 4 hours until sunrise.. then off to water trees and the gardens..

Monday, June 6, 2011

of coops and cages

 The apple saplings are settling in very well as are 2 of the 3 plums. The cherry are trying.. and we are hoping they hang in there. The pears and apricots didn't break dormancy, so I will see about getting new ones. I think Arbor Day has a guarantee so I'd just have to cover shipping for the replacements. The elderberry are doing well, and so is the hazelnut.. but they were smaller and the location has a good amount of clay.. so we have to check them daily as well.

 Just the 2 forsythia and red maple left to plant...  of the trees/ shrubs anyways. Still a lot more planting left to do in the garden.

 Today we make tomato cages and hunt the old barn for wood. It's in the 90's and the ever lovely humidity abounds.

 Did I mention we don't have air conditioning? Whee. 

 The birds.. must.. move.. out. I admit I totally hovered over their cuteness in an over-protective way. They are feathering out now, and honing their escape skills. The guinea keets in particular are like Houdini.. with feathers.. and fluffy butts.

 This morning for example... while on the "throne".. I had the bejeezus scared out of me. You see.. the toilet paper is on a metal stand, with a rack on the bottom for a few extra rolls. This rack never gets refilled unless I do it.. and well.. too darn tired to have loaded it up the other day. Anyways, when I reached for the paper.. it moved. I had assumed my kid or husband was last in there and left a long tail on the tp (you know what I mean.. unrolled by about 10 inches). 

 Keet Richards was on the rack happily unrolling the toilet paper. I hadn't realized they escaped.. yet again.. from the "further reinforced.. by gosh these birds will not escape now" containment extras my husband created.

 He created the lid when during his shower he had 4 little guinea visitors perched on the shower curtain rod. They had wandered over to say hello and look out the window. Curious little buggers get into everything. The first lid didn't work... as demonstrated by Kate the white keet hanging out in the cupboard. She keeps trying to get into the cupboard because there are shiny things there... and  cotton balls are EXCITING. MUST... RUNNN... with cotton baaaaallls!! 

 So off we go to check out and sort old planks from the ancient barn. Not much left to work with as the elements are now able to nail the wood from 3 sides.

 Buffalo gnats are also a problem.. I worry they could kill my little peeps.

 Off we go.. wish us luck finding enough decent materials to get these birds their own home.

Peeps out.