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Feb 2019
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Hispanic produce

Mark and I are enjoying our blogging vacation...and yet, I couldn't resist sharing some intriguing, store-bought fruits with you!

Cactus fruits

We got to explore a Hispanic grocery store on Black Friday, and I of course gravitated directly toward the produce department. I didn't try any of the cactus leaves that were available in several different forms, but I did sample one of three kinds of cactus fruits.

After some research at home, I'm pretty sure all three of the fruits pictured above are from prickly pear cacti, which grow wild in Mexico but also in plantations. There are hundreds of varieties out there, so even though I wasn't a big fan of the one I tasted (the red one in the middle), I clearly need to try this fruit again. The seeds are large and I spat them out, not knowing they were edible. The taste of the one I ate (perhaps a cordana?) was very similar to that of an unripe banana.


Much tastier, in my opinion, were the papayas. I was spoiled on papayas by eating them for four months in Costa Rica, and I've turned up my nose at grocery-store papayas ever since. But the ones in the Hispanic grocery were big and delicious (although my fellow taste testers were less impressed, suggesting papaya may be an acquired taste).

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a Black Friday as inspiring as ours!

Posted Tue Nov 27 14:21:37 2018 Tags:
Mark and Anna sitting in a Kubota x900.

Anna and I talked about the future of the Walden Effect blog this weekend and have decided to take a blogging vacation to to decide if we have enough homesteading activities going on to keep the blog alive.

If you want to be alerted to any random posts we may write in the interim, please scroll down the bottom of the sidebar and sign up for email alerts. Thanks for reading along!

Posted Mon Nov 19 12:48:49 2018 Tags:
Recyclables conveyor belt

In addition to being wowed by the combination mechanical and human-operated sorting system, the biggest takeaway from our tour of the local recycling facility was what was best not tossed in the recycling bin.

Our tour guide prefaced his warnings with the statement that every recycling facility is different. And single-stream facilities like theirs (where you deposit all of the recyclables in a single container) are more particular than ones where the consumer sorts their own trash.


With those caveats out of the way, here's what I shouldn't have been recycling:

Don't bag your recyclables because the line workers will have to tear the bag apart before the machines can start sorting. And, whatever you do, don't put your recyclables in a black bag --- they workers will assume it's trash and throw it out for safety reasons.

Hand separation of recyclables

Anything smaller than a business card tends to get lost in the shuffle. That means shredded paper is a no-no. Plastic bottles should be crushed then the cap should be screwed back on.

Similarly, heavy scrap metal just doesn't work on the assembly line. Our guide told us about the metal from a ratchet strap that got caught in the line and messed up a $40,000 motor. Yikes!


Tanglers are also trouble. That's anything like string, cords, or rope that will wind around various materials (and parts of the assembly line), clogging up the works.

Finally, don't stuff different types of recyclables inside each other (like filling up cardboard boxes with plastic bottles). The materials won't get separated properly and will result in contamination in the finished product.

Disassembly line

All of that said, a non-profit like our local recycling and trash pickup facility manages to salvage 91% of the materials that go on the assembly line, finding buyers despite the fact China no longer wants our waste. Great work, Athens-Hocking Recycling!

(And one final piece of fun trivia --- did you know Mark wanted to be a garbageman when he was a kid?)

Posted Sat Nov 17 06:00:41 2018 Tags:
Recycling center conveyer belt.

We celebrated National Recycling Day by taking a tour of the local recycling facility.

Posted Fri Nov 16 06:00:40 2018 Tags:
Selfie with tree roots

Jenn and I celebrated our one-year friendiversary with a visit to Old Man's Cave.

Mosses and liverworts

Well, okay, I'll be honest. I meandered so much peering at mosses and liverworts, rocks and roots and rushing water that we didn't make it to the cave in question. But we saw just about everything I supposed that oversight is just an excuse to go back!

Worn down stairs

Despite temperatures hovering around freezing, the park was crowded with sightseeers. To me, this staircase says it all --- so many people have trod here that the standstone steps have worn away. (The flat ones have been replaced with concrete.)

Rock cliff

There was still plenty of beauty despite the crowds though. This shot almost captures the grandeur of the rock formations...but not quite.

Posted Thu Nov 15 06:00:56 2018 Tags:
Close up of skitake mushroom with snow.
Our first snow of the year brought a new flush of shitake mushroom fruiting.
Posted Wed Nov 14 06:00:53 2018 Tags:
Hard freeze

Fall flirted with us for three glorious weeks. Then the barely-almost frosts disappeared with multiple nights in the 20s --- our first hard freeze.

The last green peppers escaped me but I picked broccoli side shoots frozen solid and cooked them before they thawed. Now we're down to lettuce, kale, and (possibly) brussels sprouts harvests out of the garden for the rest of the winter. But that's alright --- I'm looking forward to snow!

Posted Tue Nov 13 07:15:24 2018 Tags:
Installing new window in a trailer.
Installing a small window to increase the natural light costs about 50 dollars.
Posted Mon Nov 12 06:01:04 2018 Tags:
Crocus bulbs

The biggest reason I rushed to harvest my carrots is because I had that spot earmarked to turn into a flower bed. Two bags of crocuses have been waiting for months to go into the ground there. So as soon as the carrots came out, the crocuses went in.

Black cat

Huckleberry "helped" with the project, which means he sat on the carrot tops and made it difficult to use them as mulch over my crocus bulbs. I eventually got the job done anyway.

Well, except for deciding what else to plant in my new flower bed for summer and fall color. Ideas for useful or at least low-work perennials to plant in a very deer-trafficked spot?

Posted Sun Nov 11 06:00:35 2018 Tags:
Running Honda mower dry for the Winter.

I almost forgot to run the Honda mower dry before she goes into Winter hibernation.

Posted Sat Nov 10 06:00:57 2018 Tags:

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