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A holiday weekend

Lead Summary

HCP columnist

I woke up this morning to the rooster’s early call. It was not quite light out. I looked out of the loft window before I went downstairs. I paused.  
A gray fog was spilling through the trees, up the hill from the creek. The rooster called again. It seemed that the morning fog had dampened his call, but still, he was right.
It was time to get moving.
I went out onto the front porch to flip the inverter switch that turns our normally twelve volt battery system into 110 volts.
With only 388 square feet of inside living space, Greg built an outside cabinet on the side deck to house our solar charged batteries, charge controller, and inverter. Our inside space is just too small, and in truth, even on the coldest of winter days, it is pleasant to step out, for just a moment, to turn the 110 power on or off.
As soon as the goats heard me open the front door they began to bleat. I watched them dance over, with their precise goat prance, to the people gate. I opened the utility cabinet, flipped the inverter switch, and turned to go back inside the cabin.
Once the goats saw that I was going to ignore them, they increased their cry. I called to them to hush, and by the time I was back inside, they were once again doing their goat morning thing, nibbling at the early fall leaves that were just beginning to gather on the ground.
I pushed the small electric button, and the little blue light on our new 110-volt coffee maker, glowed happily. I could still grind our coffee beans, and then put them in a special wire mesh cup to brew, but this electric maker bubbled and did its thing, making one perfect cup of coffee at a time, in only two minutes.
I could enjoy my cup of light roast as I got the rest of our breakfast together, and then make Greg’s preferred, stronger, dark roast. A pretty nifty electric gadget, indeed.
We lingered briefly over breakfast and a second cup of coffee. The rooster still called, now from up on the hill. The chickens periodically returned to their portable coop to lay their multi-colored eggs. They proudly cackled after each success. But we did not linger long.
The goats, chickens, pigeons, rabbits, bees, and even the worms, all beckoned to us to get moving. The goats needed a fresh circle bale of hay moved up by their yard.
The old layer of straw needed to be forked out of the chicken coop and taken down to the compost pile with the backhoe. The pigeons also needed a fresh layer of straw spread across the floor of their gazebo palace.
The rabbits needed food and water, as always, and it seemed to be about time to shovel out the nitrogen rich droppings from underneath their cages to add to the ever hungry compost pile.
And the bees! It was also time to get their late season honey off of the hives, and make sure that each colony had sufficient stores to last through the coming winter.
But as I thought about it all, it occurred to me to just start with the worms. On last check they seemed to be almost ready for a new layer of damp newspaper across the top of their bin, and it was time to add some fresh vegetable scraps, buried in each corner.
I really enjoy the worms.  They never complain. They dutifully turn their food into rich compost castings that I add to my perennial herb, asparagus, and strawberry beds.
Then Greg reminded me. … This was a holiday weekend. Perhaps I will simply tend to the easy needs of the worms, and then maybe we will take the rest of the day off. Maybe ...

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at

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