It took me a while to figure
out how to make the Clarity
anti-fog wipes stretch as far as possible.
Store the treated glasses in
an airtight container to maximize the hydrophobic effect.
Every year, we seed six
plantings of sweet corn, which provide near-continuous availability of
the treat over most of the summer. And every year, one of those
plantings gets away from us.
and I are such connoisseurs of sweet corn that we only eat the grain at
its peak. I start the water boiling at the same time I head out
to the garden to pick and shuck the ears, then I drop the corn in the
water and turn each ear once, removing as soon as the color changes from
pale to bright yellow, a process that takes mere seconds. The
result is corn so sweet, Lucy begs for the cobs, which she completely
But if I miss that
peak-taste window and our corn starts to turn starchy...then Lucy, Mark,
and I all turn up our noses. Instead, I shuck the corn and put it
on our drying racks for winter animal treats. In the past, I've offered dried sweet corn to our chickens, but this year, I think the ears will go to the goats.
battery powered chainsaw
made quick work of this large Box Elder.
Some of it is already rotten,
but most of it will make good kindling material.
Several of you asked (or warned) about fencing for our upcoming goats.
I started to write a long post in reply about my complicated plans on
that front, but it seemed a little silly to theorize when I'll be able
to report on our trial and error in less than a month. However,
there is a goat-related conundrum we're currently trying to solve --- water.
We plan to house our new goats in our starplate coop,
but the structure is about 250 feet from the closest water source and
up a relatively steep hill. It was a bit wearying to carry a
five-gallon bucket to the coop once a week over the summer, so I can
only imagine how old the chore will get for goats (who presumably drink
more than chickens) during the winter months.
come up with several potential summer solutions, but winter ones will
require more industry. We can finish working up the gutters and rain-barrel system,
but the spigot is bound to freeze during the winter whether or not the
tank is big enough prevent the whole thing from freezing solid.
Similarly, we could pump water from the creek
into our IBC tanks, but our creek-line isn't buried and only sometimes
runs in the winter (and we'd still have to deal with a frozen spigot).
Gene Logsdon posted a few
weeks ago about burying rain barrels to make mini-cisterns, and I think
the idea has potential in our starplate pasture. I love to dig,
especially at this time of year when garden work is winding down, and
the starplate earth is much lighter than the stuff in our core
homestead. Plus, Mark brought a hand-pump home from the hardware
store many moons ago, thinking we might need it if the world came to an
end, and we could use that to get water out of the buried rain barrel in
order to hydrate our herd.
But I have a feeling that
I'm missing something even more obvious. Ideas? How would
you water goats located far enough away from the house that extension
cords don't really reach?
Why are we moving this ancient freezer?
To have a rodent proof
container to store goat feed near the Star Plate coop.
Yes...Anna helped push once
she finished taking pictures.
Autumn weather arrived
this past weekend and the long-range forecast suggests it may stick
around. Luckily, we're mostly in gravy mode in the garden ---
we've packed away enough vegetables to last us for the winter, and are
just enjoying eating the rest of the harvest (with occasional bouts of
tomato drying or pepper freezing for variety later in the year).
The figs are still dragging their feet and refusing to ripen, but the
blueberries are winding down and the red raspberries are in full swing.
Mom asked what I planned to do if we get an early frost and I said that,
really, we're ready. Not that I want summer to end, but when
freezing temperatures are forecast, we'll just let them happen.
One experiment hasn't quite reached it conclusion --- the sorghum plants
I seeded at the beginning of July. Just as our current cool spell
came in, the plants shot up even higher and pushed out flower heads,
which may or may not have time to turn into seeds before the
frost. I took the photo to the left with the zoom feature since
these heads are way out of my reach, making our tall sunflowers look
like midgets in comparison.
Cooler weather also reminds me that it's time to pay attention to the bees. I did a second varroa-mite count
last weekend and was extremely pleased with the results --- 2.5 mites
per day in the daughter hive and 3.5 mites per day in the mother
hive. Our Texas bees continue to be worth their weight in gold.
But are they worth their
weight in honey? Now that the humidity has dropped below 90%, I'm
hoping for a sunny and moderately warm afternoon to harvest honey from
the mother hive. (The daughter will have the empty bottom box
removed but will otherwise be left alone.) Maybe Friday?
How is the new Swisher
trimmer mower on very steep hills?
Like a dream!
The above hill took a lot of
effort with our blade mower, but today was easy once I got the hang of
letting the machine drive it up the hill. Gravity takes over when you
release the engagement lever for the downward portion.
I don't usually cross-promote books here if we publish them but they're written by someone else. But our publishing wing
has become the majority of our bread and butter lately, so I hope you
don't mind the occasional plug...especially if it comes with a
I'll start with the part
you're probably most interested in --- the free stuff! I rooted a
cutting from my father's Brown Turkey fig this year, and the sapling is
looking for a zone-7 or warmer home. Daddy is picking a gallon of
figs a day from this little tree's mother, and says that fig pie is his
current favorite way to consume the fruit. As long as you don't
live in a cold climate, fig trees require nearly no care, and can be fit
into an area about eight feet in diameter (although I hear they get
much larger in California). Why not enter to win your own no-work
What if you live up
north? Don't worry, I'll swap out your prize for something more
appropriate. You might prefer cuttings from my Chicago hardy fig --- these are easy to root and will produce fruit (with a little care) up through zone 6. However, if even that is too
tropical for your tastes, you can choose either a medley of our
favorite seeds, or a signed copy of one of my (or Aimee's) books.
And, if a northerner wins the prize, I'll pick a second winner to give
the fig tree to!
How do you enter the
giveaway? Just plug our books using the widget below. Aimee
has several new books out now or soon --- you've probably heard me
mention Shiftless, which has already sold over 3,000 copies and will be an audio book within a few weeks; Burgling the Dragon is available at a special preorder price of 99 cents through September 30; and Aimee's short story Flight of the Billionaire's Sister will make you itch to read her newest novel, slated to release in November or December. Oh, and did I mention that her short-story collection
is free on Amazon today? Once books are out of the preorder
period, you can also borrow nearly all of her books (and mine too!)
using Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited, so why not check some out?
Thanks in advance for reading and for spreading the word!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
We put together the new Swisher
trimmer mower today.
It feels like more than twice
the cutting power of our previous mower.
I'm still learning how to use
it. When the self propelled mechanism is engaged I found myself
struggling to keep up with its pace. It's better to just pump the
engagement lever a few seconds at a time to let the machine do most of
of Mom's friends gave her this unripe passionflower fruit, which she
then passed along to me. Since the maypop is edible and the vine
is often included in permaculture texts, I might see if the fruit had
gotten far enough along on the vine to produce viable seeds.
I'm always up for growing an experimental species, even though I have a
feeling that, if maypops tasted all that good, I would have eaten one
before since they're native to our region and since I grew up amid
the meantime, I'd be curious to hear from those of you who have grown
passionflowers in your garden. I know the blossoms are beautiful,
but is the fruit worth eating?
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