We turn five this summer and are celebrating by getting together and making stuff! To learn more visit our Facebook event page or email us at dachaproject at gmail.
These are photos of just some of the things made recently here on the homestead.
1. Spatulas, made from cherry wood blanks on the band saw, finished with linseed oil.
2. Onesies, dyed with turmeric and annatto seed. Find the how-to guide on our website.
4. Maple Syrup, Grade B .vs. Grade A, a collecting and boiling labor of diligence and love. Yum!
Have you ever been to a baby shower and thought hey aside from these cute cupcakes this has very little to do with new life? I have thought this exact thing while munching on a delicious cupcake. I won’t do it, said I to myself! Then as I was sitting around wondering how I can possibly get done all those things I want to this spring a train of thought hit me, and it went like this. I like my friends, I do want to celebrate with them, I/we can use some serious help in the garden, and my friends want to come get sweaty outside after a long winter.
After a bit of planning here at the homestead we invited framily from near and far for a Saturday of epic gardening. That day we crossed off of our list these things: prepping old garden beds, digging many a hole through tough soil, pounding black locust posts in for a new garden, clearing out trees for a baby fruit tree orchard, planting fruit trees, building trellises for peas, and planting early plants directly into the garden. We ended up getting that done and more. Other things that got done: bonding, new friend making, fixing tools, maple syruping, bon-firing and a ton of cooking.
Thank you to all who participated. It made all of us here at the DP feel so warm and fuzzy to celebrate a new life coming to the homestead with all of you. Like, Monica Fanya, one enthusiastic participant said, “It’s like planting baby food, just in the early stages.” So true!
Please enjoy some photos and videos of the event.
What’s better than plain homemade yogurt? That’s right, little-bitty 8 ounce fruit- on-the-bottom maple yogurts that you can take to-go.
Here are some extremely easy and fast instructions on how-to make six jars of this stuff. Thanks to our very own Danila for this very useful innovation in the well-established field of cottage yogurt making.
SO EASY, YOU’LL FLIP!
First into a measuring cup measure out 2-3 tbsp of already made yogurt. You can use store bought yogurt, just make sure it says somewhere on the package that the yogurt contains active live cultures. More
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Our friend Ali brought over a couple white baby onesies and some fresh turmeric, wanting to try out dying cloth with natural food dyes. I was like, “Right On! chemical dyes are all toxic and gross, let’s do it, and do it now!”
We also had some annatto seeds from the tropical achiote tree, which I had plucked off of a tree just some weeks ago on the Big Island of Hawai’i. So we dyed some fabric with them as well. Originally I gathered a bag full of these seeds to draw with, but I heard it works on fabric too. Since these are used often in natural food dying, you can order them easily online or get them in the international section of a supermarket.
Here’s how you do. approximately. You scrape the annnatto seeds out of the pods. Most likely though, you’ll have the dried stuff already in powder form, so you can skip this step and the next. Then you grind them up in a coffee grinder and mix it with water in a stainless steel, ceramic or pyrex pot. Smells really great! We used about 1 tbsp of powder to 3-4 cups of water. Note- as with the turmeric to follow you can add more or less to intensify or soften the color.
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I wanted to make a quick post about a super easy and super cheap woodshed we built back in the Fall of 2011. Using mostly materials we salvaged from the trash or re-used, we threw up this shed in a little more than a weekend. It has a capacity of around 8 cords, but we use it for much more than just wood storage, and it now keeps our tractor out of the elements, provides storage for straw bales, and houses miscellaneous items that needed a home. Think of it as an open-air barn.
We’re planning to have a party Fri the 2nd of Nov, Halloween style, with a night time walk through the woods where we will entertain guests with giant beasts and whatnot. Whatnot? Let’s make some of that – I’m talking giant paper mache creatures, interactive scary installations that we can set up among trees and brambles.
Come to our house and help me make a vision for the walk. Bring craft supplies if you have any. If not, we can use cardboard, fabric, wheat paste, sticks and whatever else we find. Get creative, have a whole woods as your stage. If you can’t come on this day, just get in touch and we can meet other times, too. Bring scissors if you have them, fabric, paint…anything you think might be useful. Bring ideas and friends, too.
It’s fall and we dacha squirrels need to start organizing our nuts. We need your help as we finish up some dacha projects before winter. Come toil, take a tour, and have lunch with us, maybe play some horseshoes. Possible projects include plastering, building a small structure out of pallets, berming and putting a small roof on the old tent frame. We can use power tools! If you have rakes, please bring them with you. Come either Sat the 22 or Sun 23 or both. We’ll be here all day. Invite your friends, your family, and strangers or strange friends, sure.
The details: Sat and Sun Sept 22 and 23, 10:30 am – 6 pm
Bring rakes or hoes if you’ve got them.
It is no secret that here at the Dacha Project, do-it-yourself (diy), is often our preferred method of getting the things we need. Our latest homemade adventure is building our own solar panel mounts. Why would we do such a thing? It’s three to five times cheaper, which is significant given that often the mounts nearly equal the costs of the panels. In all honesty it can be a bit complicated to securely attach the mounts, but our effort has been worth it in cost-savings alone.
Building our own also allows us to add any amount of panels at a time. Our latest addition includes two new solar panels that we named Lapland and Lucy. I just made those names up, but feel free to refer to our solar panels by those names anytime. This will result in a total sum of five solar panels. With our new battery bank, and the addition of Lucy and Lapland, we will run the Jenny (our beloved generator- real name) way less. Read the rest of the post for some more specifics on the materials used. More specifics are included below, but please note that this is not meant to be a comprehensive guide on how to do this, but a general description to inform of this very real possibility.
Specifics: We are building the mounts out of 1/8 inch (beefy) slotted struts, otherwise known as unistrut, and simple hardware that can be bought at the hardware store. This is easy to assemble, once you know the dimensions of your mount. The unistrut can be cut with a cut-off saw, and you’ll want to make sure to smooth out any jagged edges.
When mounting the mount to the roof make sure to include cross-braces (not pictured below), these can be made out of thinner gage struts. You have to make sure that you brace it enough that the wind doesn’t catch it and blow it off into the yard.
One day our roof will be covered in solar panels nestled into homemade mounts, put up two to three at a time!
So here at the Dacha we have a septic system. As we were planning to have a number of guests for the weekend we decided to check it out. The person who installed our septic predicted that we would need to pump it out after all this time (about 3 years) but we weren’t so sure, so we uncovered the tank…
There are two parts of the septic tank. The first section is where everything including solid waste goes. The idea is that it breaks down into a liquid and then enters the second section. If the tank it full of solids to the very bottom then you may need to pump it out. This is what we saw (please prepare yourself):