Rabbit Resurrection

My 1975 VW Rabbit came home rejuvenated from the shop today. (As I wrote in an earlier post, restoring my 33-year-old Rabbit, which has been in my family since it was new, is the method I’ve chosen for achieving better gas mileage). Its main problem was that it had about a half-inch of rusty sludge in the bottom of the gas tank. This (and the underlying problem of water finding its way into the gas tank) had caused a variety of problems. The good people at the Independent Auto Werks in Corvallis cleaned the tank, blew out the fuel lines, did a partial rebuild of the carburetor (including replacing a clogged idle jet — no wonder it didn’t want to run!), and now the car is running better than it has in years, maybe decades. Read more...

Scratch One Bobcat

I found a bobcat in one of my snares yesterday, which was Day Three of having snares out. It was a big male — 26 pounds. Most my chicken losses are consistent with how bobcats hunt (dawn or dusk, with a short chase, a quick kill, and the chicken carried away without being dragged), but I think I’m losing chickens faster than can be explained by a single bobcat, however big, so I’ll keep up my anti-predator efforts. Read more...

Rural Trade-Offs

Living in the country requires trade-offs, and so does farming. Taking vacations in February instead of August, for example.

Sometimes the trade-offs seem like a good deal. Corvallis has an excellent fireworks display every Fourth of July, but we are so far north that the city waits until it’s fully dark at about 10:15 PM before starting the display. After it’s done, there’s a brief traffic jam and then (if you’re me) a half-hour drive home. Read more...

Didn’t there used to be more hens around here?

I recently fell into the free-range chicken farmer’s nightmare: missing hens. A few scatterings of feathers where hens had been nabbed, but obviously a lot more hens are missing than that.

Couldn’t happen at a worse time — during the upswing of the farmer’s market season. Demand for free-range eggs is increasing and I have a sharply reduced supply of hens, and therefore eggs. Read more...

“Slime” Tire Self-Sealer Works Great

There’s a tire sealer called “Slime” that works like a charm. On my lawn tractor, the sidewalls on the tires were horribly cracked and the tires were obviously shot. On a whim, I bought a bottle of “Slime” and poured it in according to the instructions, and the horrible tires actually lasted another season with no trouble! Read more...