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Jun 2016
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Roll out nest tray light blocking experiment.

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments on our egg eating roll out nest tray issue.

We decided to go with the light blocking experiment to see if that helps.

If it works I'll make something more rainproof.

Posted Sun Jun 25 15:14:07 2017 Tags:
Rainy farm

Despite its hot, early start, this summer has since turned wet and cool. We've seen rain for 15 of the last 30 days, adding up to a bit over 7 inches ---  nearly double our usual average.

Soybean seedling

So what do gardeners do during a wet summer? Watch plants grow slower than usual. Snip off blights as soon as they form so the fungal diseases don't spread to take out your entire planting. If you've got spare compost or manure, topdress to replace the leached nutrients. Barring that, plant nitrogen-fixing cover crops like soybeans so at least the next generation will be adequately fed.

On the plus side, at least we haven't had to do much watering this year!

Posted Sun Jun 25 06:55:24 2017 Tags:
Car

Mark will be getting home shortly from his annual visit to Ohio, so I thought I'd give him a break and post in his place. A huge Thank You! to Rose Nell and Jayne for helping him track down a 2005 Corrolla to replace our old 1994 Corrolla. And, of course, for the usual wonderful food, fun, and fellowship. We love you guys!

Posted Sat Jun 24 13:25:29 2017 Tags:
Summer harvest

I finally pulled out the broccoli now that the summer crops are coming in. Beans, squash, and cucumbers pick up speed fast once the first harvest happens, so we won't have room in our bellies for much else for the next little while. Time to enjoy the bounty of summer!

Posted Sat Jun 24 07:00:37 2017 Tags:
Celeste fig after a year and a half of freeze death.

It's been a year and a half since our Celeste Fig got too cold and died back.

If we think of something better for this spot it might get pulled up.

Posted Fri Jun 23 13:55:22 2017 Tags:
Prince Henry Tirrell

Mom came over Thursday with some old family photos, of which this is my very favorite. My great grandfather (lower left) was apparently a prep school boy in 1891. As the youngest in his house, Mom informed me that Prince Henry (yes, that was his first name; no, he wasn't a prince) was made to run errands for everyone else. So maybe the pout isn't feigned?

Dugout canoe

Fast forward ahead forty-odd years and the pouting school boy's daughter was adventuring in Panama. You can jump forty more years into the future to see the canoer's daughter (my mom) in this post. And then check out most of this blog to see the next generation (me) nearly forty years after that. How time flies when you're having fun!

Posted Fri Jun 23 07:30:29 2017 Tags:
Anna picking a bowl of berries on a sunny day.

Anna likes to clear her head from long hours of writing with berry picking.

It takes her somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes to pick a nice size bowl.

Posted Thu Jun 22 14:04:55 2017 Tags:
Hardy kiwi fruits

Look who's getting bigger by the minute! Our Ananasnaya hardy kiwi has at least a dozen clusters of fruits this year for the first time ever and they're plumping up nicely. So I headed to the internet to look up when the fruits will be ready to harvest.

Hardy kiwi clusterThe answer is that we may run into the same trouble on the harvest end as we did on the flowering end --- frosts. Depending on the source, I've seen reports of hardy kiwis ripening anywhere between July and November, but you definitely have to bring them in before hard freezes hit.

To find out if your hardy kiwis are ripe enough to pick, cut one open and look inside. If the seeds are black, the fruits are ready to pick even if the flesh is green and hard. These kiwis can be stored in the fridge for a couple of months then taken out to ripen at room temperature a few days before you want to try them out.

Alternatively (if there's time), you can let the hardy kiwi fruits ripen on the vine. Vine-ripe fruits will become soft and most will blush red. If picked at this stage, though, you'll have to eat them up quickly because they won't last long in storage. Sounds like such a hardship! I can hardly wait....

Posted Thu Jun 22 07:30:35 2017 Tags:
Trimming our goat hooves.

Trimming Aurora's hooves is easy as long as Edgar is occupied with treats.

Edgar requires me to hold him down while he's being trimmed.

Posted Wed Jun 21 16:58:33 2017 Tags:
Old raspberry patch

I never thought of raspberry patches as coming with an expiration date, but last year I realized that all good things must come to an end.

Red raspberryOur everbearing red raspberries started as a single freebie thrown in by Raintree in 2007 when we ordered several fruit trees. Now, a full decade later, that singleton has expanded into two patches on our own farm plus several in the gardens of family and friends...but the original planting is finally starting to lag. In the photo at the top of this post, the dividing line between the summer-bearing raspberries (begun as one plant three years ago, background) and the ever-bearing raspberries (ten years old, foreground) is startlingly clear.

Luckily, the solution is neither difficult nor expensive. This fall, we'll buy another single plant of an ever-bearing variety (or maybe several if I'm feeling like a spendthrift) and we'll be rolling in spring and fall berries in no time. So despite their expiration dates, ever-bearing raspberries continue to make the cut as one of our easiest and most dependable fruits.

Posted Wed Jun 21 07:01:25 2017 Tags:

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