The Knob at Serenity Valley

Eric's Blog
Lynn's Blog
Farm Blog
2015-11-06FALL AGAIN - Well, it's fall again and I don't seem to be making these posts as often as I should. All the farm animals (chickens, rabbits, and turkeys) are doing fine. Things are going well. Turns out, we're better at maintaining the animals than we are the garden. Going to have to plan the garden differently for next year.
2014-11-03FALL. Spring has come and gone. Summer as well. Fall is here and things are winding down. We've had 3 sets of kits from the original 3 Californian rabbits. We also got 3 New Zealand Whites (2 does and a buck). We got them when they were about 3 months old, so we had to grow them out to 6 months before we could start breeding them. However, they got a bad case of ear mites and we got that cleared up before we started breeding. We now have our first two litters of kits from the New Zealands = 15 kits in total. In addition to that we have 13 Californian kits. Sales are going well with most sales going to people looking for breeders. We lost the ducks to predators, but the chickens are doing well. So well, we're thinking of getting a bunch more for next year, and may do some meat chickens in addition to the ones we have now for eggs.
2014-05-28BUSY BUSY BUSY Spring has finally sprung here on the Knob. First of all, we are officially The Knob on Serenity Valley! Registered and everything! We also have the KSV Rabbitry registered. There's so much to do with planting, breeding and raising rabbits, taking care of the ducks and chickens. All are doing very well and the farm is taking shape. We have the poles up for a pole barn. It won't be long before we move the rabbits into it. Speaking of rabbits, one of our does had eleven kits. Five didn't make it from being too small but the six that did, are growing like crazy. They are two weeks old today. The other doe should be having hers in about two weeks. We'll keep you posted!
2014-05-19Spring projects well under way. The ducks are about 6 weeks old and we've put them out in the yard. They don't seem to care about the pond as yet, but that should come with time. They're good sized and are fully feathered. We're keeping them in the greenhouse at night to keep them safe from night time predators. The chicks are about 5 weeks old and have been moved from the brooder to their newly finished chicken tractor - which is just a moveable run with an attached hutch. We have our first litter of kits from the oldest of the two rabbit does and we've bred the second doe. She should have kits in about 4 weeks. The first litter had 11 kits initially which is pretty large - especially for a doe's first time. We've lost 4 of them, so we still have 7. 7-8 live kits is what is recommended, so I think we're doing pretty good so far. All in all, things are going well. We're a little further behind on the gardening than we expected - only two of the four beds have been filled and planted, but we're working on the others. We've also started a new pole barn which will eventually house the rabbits. Lots to do, and so little time.
2014-04-16SPRING - We've been busy this spring. Lots of projects going on. Filling the 4 4x16 raised beds with good soil and starting to plant early spring veggies (spinach, peas, kale, etc.). We got 6 ducklings, 3 rabbits, and 8 chicks to start our barnyard. Needless to say, this has taken a lot of our time and made time for blogging almost non-existent. Please be patient. We'll have some project pics soon as well as pics of the new animals. By the way, ducks grow really quickly.
2014-02-16NEW GALLERY - Added a gallery for the garden beds we built last fall. We intend to do primarily raised bed gardening utilizing organic, hi-yield methods to get the most out of our beds. We hope to grow most of what we'll need for the next year. Hopefully this fall, we'll be busy canning and freezing the fruits of our labor.
2014-02-16MORE WEATHER WOES - Coming home from work Friday turned into a real challenge. It had started raining and was about 33 or 34 degrees outside. The ice had not yet melted off the hill. So, what ended up happening was that the rain was falling on the ice, and freezing on contact. This had the effect of making the ice very smooth. We had been going up and down all week without issue, but on Friday, not even the big 4x4 truck could get up the hill. We had to park at the bottom and we faced a mile walk up the hill to get home. This was exacerbated by the fact that we had stopped at the grocery store on the way home and purchased some food for the weekend. Walking a mile up hill carrying a bunch of groceries in the freezing rain was a daunting task. Luckily, our neighbors were coming home about the same time. We warned them of the treacherousness of the drive up the hill and they decided to park at the bottom as well. One of the neighbors decided to walk up and get their four-wheel drive ATV. They were nice enough to ferry us up to the house (with the perishables that we purchased). Early in the afternoon on Saturday, I walked back down to the truck to get some groceries out of the truck and see if the hill was drivable. Once again, the neighbor was going down as well to get some items from their vehicle so I got ride down and back up. The hill was still a hard, smooth sheet of ice and knew it was not drivable. I walked back down a few hours later - just before I thought anything that happened to melt might start refreezing and found the ice just softened enough that I thought I could get the truck up the hill. I drove slowly and carefully with the truck in four-wheel drive and finally got the truck home Saturday evening.
2014-02-09MORE WINTER WEATHER - Well, on February 2nd, we had a pretty big snow - about 5-6 inches which is big for Kentucky. We got to work thanks to the new truck on the 3rd, but then, late on the 4th, we had an ice storm. We got about 1/2 inch of ice. Normally, in this area, if we get snow or ice, it only hangs around for a couple of days. Not this time. It hasn't gotten significantly above freezing since the snow fell. This means that our driveway has been iced over for nearly a week. Given that the driveway is mile long gravel road that comes straight up a knob, it's not safe to drive it. Thankfully, we can both work from home if needed. I did get out today and talk to our one neighbor here on the knob. They've been able to get in and out, but mostly by four-wheeler (ATV). Mostly, we've just been trying to stay warm and dry. It's nice and quite up here on the knob. We've been feeding the birds and we've got dark-eyed junco's and titmice flitting around the house. It's nice to see some life up here. We also saw a male cardinal and red-headed woodpecker. I also saw some field mouse tracks in the snow of one of our fields.
2014-01-23WINTER'S DRIVE - I've posted a new gallery of pictures of the driveway during winter. We're now shopping for a big 4x4 to make it easier during bad weather. We were planning on getting one later if/when we needed it for the goats and other farming activity, but we feel like we should go ahead and get one now.
2014-01-20 CLEARING THE POND AREA - Spent some time clearing out small trees around the pond. They were starting to grow up into some of the bigger trees and were obstructing the view of the pond. It's not done, but it looks much better. And, we'll have more firewood for next year (it needs to dry out before we burn it).
2014-01-18ORDERING SEEDS! While sitting in the house, waiting for it to snow, I ordered strawberry plants, blackberry plants, blue berry plants, and tons of seeds! I can't wait until spring!
2014-01-12ANOTHER GALLERY - Uploaded another gallery - "On Frozen Pond". We had some really cold weather recently (highs below zero which is really abnormal here) and the pond froze solid. We didn't have much snow with the bitter cold thankfully.
2014-01-12NEW GALLERY - Just added a "Fall Foliage" gallery. These are pictures taken on the property during Fall 2013.
2014-01-05CHICKENS ORDERED! - 8 one day old chicks are ordered and due to ship the week of April 9th, 2014. We ordered 4 Wyandotte and 4 Plymouth Rock. All females. All we need now is the coop, run, and bedding to keep the chicks alive until we can put them in the coop.
2014-01-05GOAT SCHOOL - We definitely want to have goats up here. That was the plan when we started looking for a farm. In fact, just before we closed on the house, Eric and I met an artist that had an original painting (no copies ever made) of a gnome riding on the back of a goat. They are in water and the gnome has a paddle. Under it was quoted, ďWhatever floats your GoatĒ. Perfect! Iím sure the quote encapsulates what a lot of people think of us for doing this, plus, well it has a goat! This quote is now on our checks. Weíll probably use this painting for our logo. Because we want goats, we decided to go to Goat School to learn all we could on how to pick them out, raise them, milk them, make cheese, the list goes on and on. So we found a place in Ohio, paid for it, asked off at work (with much laughter and teasing from both of our bosses and co-workers) and set our sights on it. Unfortunately when the time came, life had other plans with several family and health issues came up and we had to back out and get a refund. But we will do thisÖwait and see.
2014-01-05THE GREAT BEYOND - Being a bit removed from civilization has another great benefit. Night time is amazing! On a clear night, we can sit outside and see more stars than we ever thought possible. Weíve even laid out during a couple of meteor showers and watched the show. Becca saw the first shooting star of her life up here. Needless to say, we now own a telescope. Iím waiting for the weather to warm up so I can use it more! I did get to gaze on Neptune the other night. Pretty cool! Actually, pretty cold. It was below freezing so I didnít stay out long at all.
2014-01-05THE TRACTOR - Negotiated in the deal when we bought the farm is an old Aliss Chalmers tractor. Itís in great shape! Although, it doesnít work like a car or a lawnmower it took Eric quite a while to figure out how to start and work it. But once he did, off to mowing he went. Until one day, when we needed to spread some gravel to fix the driveway, he ran it out of gas. You canít let a diesel run out of gas. Itís now on the side of the driveway, waiting for help. The best time so far with it, was plopping Ericís nephew on it and saying ďgoĒ. It took him a while to figure it out as well, but he did pretty well with it!
2014-01-05LAUNDRY - It just seems to fit to do some things the old fashioned way. To a degree. Iím not going to go beat my clothes on a rock in the pond, but I did hang up a clothes line! Of course I did this in the winter so I donít expect to get to use it for a while but Iím ready when the weather is. Thanks to Michaela, I now have a great recipe for homemade laundry detergent. I can now wash clothes for less than a penny a load (not including electric anyway). I also learned how to make dryer balls out of pure wool yarn. I gave it a try for two reasons. The leading cause of dryer fires is a buildup of fabric softener in the vents, and they are supposed to really work well. Iím glad to say these things are wonderful! No static, they help the clothes dry faster and best of all, Iíll never have to buy fabric softener again. I made a set of them for both of my adult kids. Super easy and well worth it!
2014-01-05THE MAKINGS OF AN ORCHARD - We know this is going to be at least a five year investment, so we started on it right away. We ordered five trees. Itís a start and probably not more than weíll need. We have two Granny Smith apple trees, two Honey Crisp, and one Mulberry. I canít wait to can apples and make Mulberry jelly. The trees are only about three to four feet tall now, and look like we stuck sticks in the ground, so Iím sure it will be a while. We then protected them with some corrugated pipe and fencing. We want to keep the rabbits and deer away. I am also looking forward to the spring blooms. Hopefully they will draw in some critters to help with our yellow jacket invasion.
2014-01-05GARDEN BEDS - Weíve also managed to build four nice sized raised garden beds out of concrete block. We lined the bottom with both the weed block screen and chicken wire. This will hopefully prevent critters (moles and the like) from invading the beds from beneath. We still need to fill them with dirt and growing medium. The concrete block was delivered on three skids. The poor guy from Lowes. He had to park the truck at the end of the road (a mile away) and deliver each skid on a fork lift. Of course, this took him a while. He said he didnít mind. He loved poking along, looking at the views along the drive. We gave him a nice tip. Iíve already planned out the garden beds. I even asked for canning supplies for Christmas. All I need now is patience and some dirt.
2014-01-05ERIC THE CARPENTER - Okay, Eric has really impressed me with his carpentry skills. He built, from scratch, a fantastic greenhouse. He used treated lumber and plastic sheeting. He even built a window and a door and they work perfectly! This fall we planted garlic in pots in it and moved them out when the weather got cold. I can't wait to start seeds early in the spring in there. I have a feeling he'll need to build me another one this spring. He is going to use the same type design to build a chicken run with a coop. I can't wait to get started with our chickens as well.
2014-01-05MORE ON THE HOUSE - Remember when I said the original plan was to live in the underground portion of the house while we re-do the garage into living space? We probably will change our mind. After living in the house for a while, weíve discovered that the designer knew what he was doing. With three sides underground and the remaining side facing south, this place stays cool in the summer and the sun warms it in the winter. Our electric bills are next to nothing! Iím not sure I want to ever change that. Itís perfect. We also have an awesome wood burning stove. Weíve actually cooked on it just to see if we could. It keeps this place warm and cozy with only a few embers glowing. On a sunny day, we donít even need it. The sun warms the whole place up! Hmmm, the Hobbit Hole on Lonely Mountain is more attractive than ever!
2014-01-05CRITTERS - My future daughter-in-law found a bobcat track. I wish I had a picture. But we think the dang thing liked to sharpen its claws on the cedar siding. Sometimes at night you can hear them. They sound like a woman screaming. Pretty eerie even if you know what it is! Other critters on the farmÖMy brother John is a hunter. He already has a tree stand, salt block and food plot on our farm. Because of this, during his ďscouting phaseĒ he place a few field cams around. He has some nice shots of a couple of bucks and several does. Heís also spotted some fox. Weíve also run across some wild turkeys. There were at least 14 in a group that we saw almost every day. A couple of times one would run along with our car. Iím surprised at how fast these guys are. They make me thing of the Road Runner. Driving home one evening, we ran across one very strange creature. It was bigger than a ground hog. He didnít have much of a face but he was big and round. It was a porcupine! They are very rare in Kentucky. Iíd love to find him again and get a picture. He was pretty amazing. We have some of the biggest rabbits Iíve ever seen up here. I know weíll have to fence in all of our gardening attempts to keep these little cuties out. We also have several woodpeckers. Even some of the really large ones. After setting up a few bird feeders, we are also drawing in several other birds. I hope to photograph them one day. During our cleaning up, I found a rattlesnake rattler. It was in the cabinet. I have no idea if the previous owner had it and left it there or if one actually lived in the cabinet. I hope to never meet it one day. We did find a long snakeskin along the garage door. This one appeared to be a blacksnake. That makes me feel a little better!
2014-01-05STICK BUGS I know itís crazy, but we have Stick Bugs. Weíve seen at least three different ones on our porch and we get excited about them! Itís always been rare to see them for us. We were also excited to see a few Praying Mantis. Iíd love to have more of these critters around.
2014-01-05 TEACH A MAN TO FISH We have fish in our pond! Weíve fished it a few times. There seems to be at least two different sized bluegills and bass of all sizes. Thatís a good sign. I think we may stock it with a few crappie and catfish this spring. Iíd love to be able to have fresh fish on occasion. Our pond is pretty small. You can fish the whole thing from one spot. Which is great if you donít want to carry your gear around. Not so great if you manage to get off a fantastic cast and catch a tree on the other side. We need to clear around it. We also plan on building a deck so that we can have a nice place to sit. The pond is low in the banks and you have to climb down. The dogs love it though!