Friday, February 27, 2009

Week in retrospect

I noticed this morning that the tomatoes started sprouting from seeds. Yes!!! We had to sedate Coyote this morning to clean his surgery site. It is not looking pretty as the skin seems to be dying off. That means that it will all get filled with scar tissue (which is fine) but it will take more time.

Weather has been strange, cold at night and in the morning but warm(er) throughout the day. We are looking at a cold front next week, no freeze though.

Dacia is working this weekend, I think I am taking my parents to the Morikami Japanese gardens for a visit and lunch.

Monday, February 23, 2009

It is Monday

Weekend was fun. Did a lot of work around the yard - planted the first of the raised beds, planted New Zealand spinach (2 rows), cherry tomatoes (1 row), radishes (1 row) and butter lettuce (1 row). The bed was prepared by first removing a layer of soil, leveling it and then putting down a weed barrier. We then put some aged horse manure on top and then a lot of cow manure, topsoil and potting soil. The mix was then leveled and the seeds planted. Let's see how it goes...

Coyote is not doing that great. Yesterday we noticed that the skin next to his stitches had split open and there is liquid oozing out of it. We are supposed to be cleaning it and putting swat on the area but as you can imagine, he is not happy to be touched there....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Coyote is back home

We brought the horses back home last night. They appear to be fine. Coyote is on antibiotics for the next 21 days. He looks good and healthy but the next few days will be critical.

We got the strawberries, grapes and the cherry tree. They have all been planted. This week the raised vegetable beds are next.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Coyote's surgery

Coyote is out of surgery. It turns out he had a cyst in his sinus, filled with hardened pus. The vet said it was a cottage-cheese texture. The cyst was cleaned up and he should make a full recovery. I just went to see him and he was standing and looking alert. Poor guy.

Backyard work

We finally got around to making a nice gravel path around the barn. It was a day of work but we got a weed barrier going and gravel and dirt on top. The dirt parts will be used as flower beds. So, this way when the rains start in the summer, the feeding trip to the stall will be a bit easier to cope with. Here are some "before and after" photos.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Android is cool

I have been playing with Google's Android and Eclipse. As much as I don't like Java, I must confess that it is a pretty nice setup, Eclipse and all. Android looks to be a very well thought out platform. I am itching to just go and get a G1 from T-Mobile but I think I will just wait until Android takes more hold on the market. So far iPhone looks to be the king but I am not happy with the fact that you need to fork out $1200-$1300 to buy a Mac, then $99 more to be a developer and then all the hassle of asking Apple to allow you to put apps on your own phone... Apple sucks...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Self-sustained lifestyle

We are subscribed to Mother Earth News at home and I have to say, it is an eye-opener. People do all sorts of interesting things in their gardens and homesteads to ease their footprint on the planet as well as eat and live better and cheaper. Dacia and I have always been pretty independent people and we always wanted to be self-sustained. Our yard is about 1.3 acres and it seems only logical to try and grow our own food. We live in south-east Florida so the planting season is really any time ;).

The plan for the path to self-sustenance is:

1. Plant a vegetable and fruit garden
2. Build a jungle/rain forest room
3. Build a solar water heater
4. Switch the house to an off-grid solar electricity source
5. Buy a bio-diesel processor and produce our own fuel

These are costly plans and they will take time to reach. The jungle room is basically our patio turned into a rain forest environment and screened so that we and our birds and lizards can enjoy it permanently. To do that, we need to cut out and remove the concrete patio, level the ground and plant trees and plants of choice. After it has all been done, we will screen it and create a nice little green-house nook. An added benefit will be that the lush vegetation will act as a temperature leveler - in the winter we will be warmer and in the summer, we will be cooler.

The solar water heater is not difficult to build, it would appear. Mother Earth News had a few articles about it and they can found online. The cost of a new water heater is about $300 for a 50 gallon tank. We need to build an insulated box for it and find a sunny location to put it on. Finally, a plumber needs to connect the thing into the water system. I estimate the cost of this project to be in the $600-800 range. For comparison, a roof mounted solar water heater runs at about $4200-$5200 with state/federal rebates bringing down the price to about $2500. Still a bit pricy!

Switching the house to off-grid solar electricity is a major cost. I am estimating at least $35-40,000 minus a lot of rebates but still in the $20,000+ range.

We are awaiting delivery of six grown strawberry bushes, a grown cherry tree and three producing muscadine grape plants in the next few weeks. It will be so much fun to plant these and watch them grow and bear fruit.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A tooth abscess???

Well, Coyote is going to surgery on Monday, Feb 16th at 08:30. Dr. Reid and Dr. Casas will be doing it. It turns out Dr. Reid looked at Coyote's X-Rays and thought it could be a tooth abscess after all. In that case, it could be a smaller hole and just punching the tooth out. We'll see....

Monday, February 09, 2009

Coyote news (not so good)

Well, they found out what is wrong with Coyote and his constant discharge out of the right nostril - he has a mass on the right side of his face somewhere in the sinus space. A surgery will be required and we are pushing for it to happen as soon as possible. The prognosis is good so far. He will require at least a month of rest until the skull bones heal back so this put a wrinkle in our training.

This weekend we went back to Bradenton for some for horsemanship training, in particular bridle work. Both Coyote and Flippee did great and we think we did too. Here are some photos. Took my parents with us this time too.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Crazy weather!

Yeah, it had to happen, our second hard freeze of the year! This time the windchill temps are down in the 20s. How far down south do we have to move to escape this stuff???

Equines are doing great - we don't believe in blanketing, they have grown their hair so we just stalled them and left plenty of hay to "fuel the internal furnace".

Coyote still has a runny nose, tomorrow is his Dr's appointment and skull x-rays.

Got my proporta.com Nokia N800 hard case and portable electronics bag. They kick ass - very good investment.

My first programming gig is moving on great.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Update (Feb 3 2009)

Well, lots of stuff is happening these days. I upgraded one of my Nokia N800s to 32GB of RAM! Now I can store all the maps I need ;) and all the music and videos I ever wanted. Got a car mount for it too. Should be fun to use around on trips. I am trying to get my employer to add a data plan to the phone so I can connect to the Internet from anywhere.

I have also gotten my first programming gig as a contract programmer. Not bad pay too.

What else? Yeah, got a new truck! A nice 2006 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Diesel. It tows! It is all pimped out too, leather inside, nice wheels, tires, tinted with a spray in bedliner, 6 CD changer, On-star etc. I love it.

Dacia quit her job today. I say good for her. She needs to find something she really likes doing.

My parents are still in town, until March 27th. It has been a fun visit with its ups and downs but such is life with family.

It is tax filing season. Depressing.

New manure/compost bin and garden work

Finally finished the work on the new concrete manure bin! My dad was instrumental in setting it all up. We are making various improvements to the property. The next one will be to make a gravel path behind the house, by the stalls and decorate around it with nice flowers. Will post some before and after pictures.

We are also getting ready to start our vegetable garden. Homesteading here we come! Photos to follow.

Coyote/Flippee training

We worked with the guys last Sunday, got to ride them a bit. Coyote is still a bit weird with the halter. This weekend we will be in Bradenton again, working on various things. Can't wait!

Coyote will get a skull X-ray this Friday, hopefully it is a sinusitis that is easy to treat.