Today is the Mad Farmer and Miss Mercy’s 10th Anniversary. To some people who’ve been married 43 years (you know who you are) that might not be as big as deal as some anniversaries but to us it’s pretty darn important!
Someone who Miss Mercy works with asked “how many of those were good ones”? We know it was meant as a joke but for some couples it’s a sad, but valid, question. For the two of us we both answered “All of them” and that is absolutely true.
It’s amazing to the Mad Farmer (that moniker was given to him by Miss Mercy, either referring to how the Farmer sometimes drives her crazy, or hopefully, it might refer to the Farmer’s tendency towards Chaos Gardening – only Miss M knows for sure) how with the right person the relationship is so easy and fulfilling that ten years flies by and you can’t wait for the next day to see how that is going to turn out.
That’s not to say that sprinkled through out the years there haven’t been an occasional day with friction – but they are typically the Farmer’s fault for communicating poorly and Miss Mercy is big on grace, so that’s a fantastic bonus.
It’s been a great 10 years and I know that personally, the Farmer is looking forward to many decades more.
One of the really cool things about Miss Mercy (there are lots) is that sometimes her casual ideas are just brilliant. The Mad Farmer was explaining (probably poorly, but at least with sketches) his idea for what the West wall of the greenhouse was going to look like.
There were several discussions about the door, what side it would be hinged on, what it would look like, door handles, etc. During the discussion the Left-Handed Miss Mercy (I’m told that most left-handed people are awesome – although I’m mostly told that by left-handed people) went in depth about why the door should open this way versus that-way and which side she would prefer. So that prompted a quick inventory of doors about the homestead. Turns out on the TSL Homestead the front door is hinged on the right, the back door on the left and the garage door is on the left. Interior doors are a whack-a-doodle hodge-podge and the basement door is on the right.
Anyway, as we’re discussing the door Miss M says “I want it to be a Dutch Door”. The Farmer was gob-smacked to say the least. Awesome concept. After a quick search on the interwebs we found a style we liked and the Farmer set about making a $500 door appear out of $20 in parts – good thing Miss Mercy is on board with the Repair, Reuse, Recycle lifestyle.
The upper part of the door is framed from the window we were going to use anyway and we decided to use a simple black style for the hinges and the connecting latch.
The Mad Farmer decided to use three hinges on the upper door because of the weight. The lady of the Manor has decided that she would like an “X” on the lower part of the door, so that will be something that will happen as the Farmer stiffens and finished the framing on the lower part of the door.
This month we are celebrating our 10th anniversary with a drink that reflects our honeymoon to Hawaii – the Blue Hawaii. Hard to believe we are rounding the corner to 10 years. What a fun journey it has been!
This cocktail was created in 1957 by Harry Yee, while he was working at the Village Hotel in Waikiki. Mr. Yee was approached by a representative of Bols (a Dutch distiller) and asked to create a drink using their liquor, Blue Curacao – and so the Blue Hawaii was born.
Blue Curacao uses the peel of the Laraha citrus fruit for the taste (think orange-ish) and color is added to make it blue. Here’s a fun video about how to pronounce Curacao
The liquor we used was Combier Le Bleu. They have been making Curacao for 180 years. Their recipe was created by J.B. Combier while serving time in prison in the French village of Nantes (Combierusa.com).
There is another blue cocktail called the Blue Hawaiian, which is a blended drink and has Creme de Coconut in it. That may be for a different show…
The recipe we used came from Imbibemagazine.com and their recipe is from The Pink Squirrel:
3/4 oz white rum – we used Barcardi
3/4 oz vodka – we used Tito’s
3/4 oz blue curacao – we used Combier Le Bleu
3 oz of fresh pinapple juice – we used Knudson’s
1 oz fresh sour mix (recipe below)
1 C water
1 C granulated sugar
Heat the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature then add:
1 C fresh lemon juice
1/2 C fresh lime juice
This stores in the fridge up to a week. I think I am going to try it in margaritas…
Mix in a shaker and strain into a glass with ice – if you have a hurricane glass, use that. Enjoy!
Wheaton Labs is currently undergoing a new book Kickstarter. The book is SKIP (Skills to Inherit Property). The book is about building the skills that are used in homesteading and looks to be well worth backing. The Mad Farmer has backed several of Paul’s kickstarters, including this one. The kickstarter ends on May 1st so get involved before then. You get a ton of really cool stuff by backing the project at any level.
Paul is also giving away a digital copy of his “Building a Better World in Your Backyard” for a few days. You can get a copy while it lasts at https://permies.com/goodies/92/fbde
The Farmer does a lot of things with Cedar pickets – I just like the look, it’s easy to work with and since it’s usually used for fencing it’s not super expensive. On all the inside window frames the pickets have been ripped down to 1″ wide (that way there are five strips to a standard picket). Then cut to 45 degree angles on the ends, cut to the appropriate length and screwed into the 2×4’s I’m using to frame the window openings. Smells great when you’re cutting them as an added bonus.
In the above picture you can see we originally had the big window going in the top and were planning to add shelving to the lower left wall.
We ended up finding that some of the frame on the larger window we were going to put on top of the West wall had some wood rot and we could either remove the glass and build a new frame or change the plan up some. One of the reasons the Farmer likes working with wood (and the main reason I use screws) is that when a plan changes it’s relatively easy to adjust. In this case the West wall was re-framed to add in the two smaller windows on top that open horizontally and the larger window was framed in as a non-opening window on the bottom.
When we changed the window framing plan on the wall I had to remove the existing window frames I had already built, move a vertical stud over a couple of inches and then create new frame spaces for change in window layout. It’s always super handy to have a variety of clamps in various sizes and types around to hold things when you are missing that third hand. In the picture above I’m using a C-Clamp and an adjustable frame clamp to hold a new spacing stud in place while I screw it in. Way easier than trying to hold it with one hand and run a drill with the other.
Miss Mercy liked the way it turned out and was willing to lose the planned shelf space we were going to build in on the lower side of the wall. With a lower shelf planned for under the sixteen foot planting table we are building against the South wall we probably won’t miss the few feet of shelves and we gained a pretty cool look for the wall with more glass than originally planned.
Overall, a pretty productive couple of days, even with the change in plan. That’s why they call it a project…
So the weather was mostly good on Easter weekend. On Saturday we started to install the re-purposed windows on the South wall of the greenhouse. I think it’s been mentioned more than once that the Farmer is a novice when it comes to fine framing. You would think the rather relaxed tolerances of a greenhouse build using recycled materials would be right up my alley – you would be close to correct. I’m sure there are super easy ways to install hinges into windows. The Renaissance Dude says there’s “a trick to it”. The Dude forgot to mention what that trick was so a good chunk of the day was spent installing four windows into the South Wall.
The windows we were using came with some hardware attached, but it was incomplete and in the end it was easier to just go to the box store and get some standard hinges. One of the interesting things about the Farmer’s builds (and possibly why the moniker “Mad” is associated with them) is that usually there is a picture in the the mind, a sketch on paper (may or may not be super detailed) and then there is the meeting of the vison and reality. It’s the last part that seems to cause the most trouble. When the planning is happening in the mind everything fits, everything is level and gravity does not seem to impact anything in any meaningful way. In reality none of those things happen the way they do in the mind.
The good news for the Farmer was that after several fits and starts the windows were finally in place and, wonder of wonders, swung open and shut like the vision in the mind. I will mention that the one area that is a constant struggle is making things too tight when framing. The Mad Farmers’ father spent a lot of time working in metal. He was a masterful welder and his projects were usually straight, clean and beautiful (we won’t mention the cussing, re-welding and sweat that went into those projects – didn’t matter when they were done). I think the reason the Elder Farmer didn’t like working in wood as much was it’s usually not straight, it warps and always seems to shift at the last minute. Which is why the Mad Farmer mostly builds with screws (more on that in future posts).
Wood has a smell that you don’t get when welding. There are folks who think using dimensional lumber is “cheating” or just prefer roundwood timber structures. The Farmer does not judge, but he does work with what is available and dimensional lumber is available in the suburban homestead world. We do try to re-use and re-purpose as much as possible and it’s very satisfying to recycle materials (also sometimes cheaper, but not always). Anyhoo, the South wall rough framing, including working windows, was finally completed.
Easter Sunday was a bright and sunny day. The Mad Farmer and Miss Mercy are Lutherans (think Catholic “lite” – if you are super interested just look up “Martin Luther” on the interwebs and you can read all about it) so Church and fellowship is important to us. We went to church (not the Sunrise Service, the Mad Farmer is not that devout apparently) and then went out to eat at the Farmer’s Mom and Step-Dad’s house. It was the first time we had seen the Homestead Daughters (weird how when children grow up they get their own lives) since Christmas and the Renaissance Dude and the Swamp Gardener were also in attendance. A good time and good food was had by all and then we returned home and went back to work on the greenhouse.
One really cool thing that did also happen on Sunday was a fellow attendee from the Jack Spirko TSP Fall Workshop that the Farmer attended in 2020 was in town and was able to drop by the TSL Homestead and spend some time. Chris (the Permaculture Architect) was in town for a family event and was able to come by and spend some time at the homestead. Chris has a blog at Alt-Ark.com. Chris is “Making Architecture More Permaculture” so please go over and take a look at his blog. It’s well worth the time you will spend.
When it was all said and done, the weekend was over and the Mad Farmer and Miss Mercy had a cognac on the Pond Deck, looked at the progress being made on the greenhouse and other projects around the homestead and were thankful to enjoy the journey that urban homesteading provides…