The Nosy Monster’s Big Brother

Every time I throw the Nosy Monster outside, it can’t handle even the best cut grass. The wheels just don’t cut it. So I finally splurged and got a Wild Thumper from SparkFun.

There’s a million things I’d like to do with it, and I don’t know how many I’ll get to. But at the very least, I’d love to have the vehicle able to go outside. WiFi goes pretty far around the house, and it so it would have a nice range of operation.

I’d love to set it up so random people on the internet can pilot it. Maybe via some sort of voting system.

I’d love for it to be energy autonomous with a solar panel.

And I’d love for it to be able to take some rain and snow.

The later is unlikely to happen, the rest very well may over time. Ultimately, this will be a better setup allowing for more development.

The Nosy Monster will remain in its current funny form. We’ll need to find a cool name for this new one, but I want to see what it looks like when it’s done first.

Plants All Around

I’ve been meaning to catch up on all the exploding plant growth happening all around us. Preceded by the efforts of Nicole to make it all happen. I don’t document half of what’s going on on the homestead as it’s spearheaded by my other half. This post means to fix at least the agricultural part which I used to be at least somewhat involved in, but haven’t touched this year.

The orchard is producing non-stop and is bound to keep doing so well into August. We picked plant species which produce at various stages of Summer to keep the supply spread out.

Watching the berries turn blue.

Ok time to dig in.

That’s just one day, the abundance is incredible. And while we experienced it in previous years at various pick-your-own orchards, it’s something else entirely when it repeats every day at your doorstep.

Just one more…


Zero clue how lucky she is.

Nicole is experimenting with transplanting, the currants took easy, the blueberries are notoriously hard. But… one of them made it! And even with a high failure rate, it’s very much worth it as they are expensive otherwise.

A friends gave us extra hazelnut twigs years ago, and the plants are finally well established. In fact this is the first year they bear fruit. I’m excited I haven’t had any in 3 decades, I remember busting them open with rocks as a kid.

Nicole dug up and planted several flower patches this year. There’s too many flowers to list but she knows them all, what they are and how they grow.

A bazillion pollinators work in the flowers.


Later in the day, the flowers are clear of pollen.

She made bouquets and put them for sale at the end of the driveway. We sold 1 and gave 4. Since she knows everyone in the village, people stop by to buy one, and of course leave with a chat and a free bouquet. It’s a great way to get people to stop by and catch up.

The garden is monumental this year, having more than doubled in size. We’ve been generous with compost and wood chips. The soil is very healthy. This spot is right between the house and the sugarhouse, the soil was better to begin with and it’s much harder to forget about the garden when it’s visible at all times from the house. This is the most successful one we’ve had, and I didn’t do anything :).

In the old garden/compost spots, volunteer squash and tomatoes duke it out with weeds. We leave them be, why not get a few extra everything for no work?

We had a broody hen again this year so we gave her 20 fertilized eggs to take care of. Only 2 made it, some weren’t really fertilized, some didn’t make it to the end. Such is chicken life. The broody hen is always more voluminous and talks to her chicks non-stop. She introduced them to the rest of the flock today. Esther wanted to pick a chick, and she was sternly reminded not to.

Gratuitous sunflower pic, they’re just gorgeous.

Very Berry

This year is the year we have been waiting for. Dessert is a walk in the orchard, and we can absolutely gorge ourselves with berries and barely make a dent in what’s out there. We know that this is step one, and that next season we’ll have more than we know what to do with, even with canning. And the following, we’ll have to figure out a way to sell the surplus. We’ve hired teenagers for weeding these past couple of years. There’s still plenty of work, but it’s an enormous help. It’s nice to walk in and not feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that is falling behind. It’s true both because of the help, but also because the plants are now well established and not frail sticks easilly overtaken by competition.

Red Currants start the season, we started transplanting them.

On the colder days, Nicole fires the cook stoke and makes jam. She uses the opportunity to bake everything under the Sun. It’s very nice to work from home on these days.


The blueberries are well on their way.


And after a good rain they all started turning blue the same day.



It’s nice to have made it to abundance after years of sweat for little reward.