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Ah, thanks for the info, Anna! Makes perfect sense. I, too, have heard that wild brambles' viruses can contaminate one's berry patches. In the SF area, blackberry is so common that it's normal to find it sprout up in your yard out of the blue, from bird droppings presumably.
Comment by Jennifer Tue Jun 27 09:53:14 2017
Viruses can be harbored by wild brambles and they're spread by aphids. An OSU bulletin states that you should grow your raspberries at least 1000ft from nearest wild patch. Potatoes are also susceptible to viruses spread by aphids.
Comment by doc Tue Jun 27 06:32:43 2017
Hi, I read I could feed comfrey to both pigs and chicken. I've only tried so far to feed it to a group of ducklings (one month old) and one chick and they absolutely love it (fresly cut), a bit like I would feed nettles to ducks....
Comment by Lodelodie Tue Jun 27 04:28:32 2017
Just a thought, would the viruses be present in seedlings I made from my own fruit's seed? I know that potato seeds don't carry disease with them. That would be a lot cheaper than buying new plants as well.
Comment by Eric in Japan Tue Jun 27 01:13:59 2017

I too was having very low success rate germinating persimmon seeds. About 2 in 50 would sprout. So in late fall of 2016 I collected some ripe persimmon fruit off the ground. And I picked up some, old dried seed that was on the ground probably from the previous year. I scarified some seed in vinegar for 12 hours, then put them in a lye solution for one hour, then rinsed them, finally gave them a plain water soak overnight (about 12 hours). Then I stratified them in layered soil; first 1/2 inch of sand, then a 1/2 inch of potting soil, finally a top layer of 1/2 inch of dried sphagnum moss. The seeds were planted the second layer, laid in horizontally. Then watered enough show in the sand and the moss was saturated with water and slightly wrung out. Then into the fridge for 4 months. I removed them on March 1st to put under my flourescent lights for germinating. Nothing happened for 3 months. I brought them into the kitchen for more warmth. Still no growth. So on June first, I put the little container with the stratified soil and seed in my side porch. It faces west with 3 glass storm windows. It gets to 90-100 degrees in spring and summer, very warm, good for germinating seeds needing high heat like cleome and swamp milkweed and apparently persimmon seeds. After 1 week of tending the persimmon seeds keeping them watered and such, I forgot about them. The soil had dried some. I watered them again and put the lid on the container. (The container is a clear,plastic one pint food container). A week later I found one seed had sprouted and the 3 inch long seedling was bent badly being trapped under the lid. I gently dug out the long root and the planted the little seedling in a single pot in fresh potting soil. I put the stratifing container back on the window sill to get more of that intense solar heat. Inside the container I took a temperature of 90 degrees. Much to my surpise after a few days, there were 5 persimmon seeds sprouting all in one corner of the container. I gently uncovered the seed cases to make it easier for the sprout to lift it. I put another square plastic upside down on top of the growing container, making a miniature greenhouse. Again I took the temperature, 90 degrees inside this little greenhouse. Two seedlings are now erect, lifting the seed coat vertical. They like the heat. I expect the other three seedlings to start growing vertically very soon. After the cotyledons show and 2 true leaves grow, I'll transplant to single pots with potting soil. Then under the grow lights for a week then outside to harden off, then set out to grow on.

Comment by MRE Mon Jun 26 00:06:22 2017
Now the goats want us to start taking them on joy rides. Look at what you've started! :-)
Comment by anna Sun Jun 25 20:38:17 2017
Are you going to haul goats in the new car right away or wait until the new has worn off?
Comment by Eric Sat Jun 24 21:19:57 2017

I just kind of randomly came across this. This is what I want for my party this year. Can we?




Comment by Maggie Sat Jun 24 09:12:01 2017
Thank you for sharing these! I love the picture of your grandmother. Maybe that's where you get your sense of adventure?
Comment by Kayla Fri Jun 23 21:33:39 2017
I was going to ask a similar question. I'm not sure I understand the need for an entirely new stock. Could you not just root some cuttings of your current ever bearing variety, even if elsewhere?
Comment by Jennifer Fri Jun 23 10:08:34 2017
That was a funny post. I feel that way about my conversations about homeschooling. I appreciate your honesty and look forward to reading more.
Comment by Jenni Thu Jun 22 17:25:26 2017
I would highly recommend both Prelude and Ann Yellow as replacements. They've been growing strong for me for the past 4+ years for Prelude and 8+ years for Ann Yellow. They can be found at Stark Bros.
Comment by B Smith Thu Jun 22 16:53:28 2017
Our Issai Hardy kiwis ripened mid to late august. We usually have a month longer on each end of our growing season.
Comment by Brian Thu Jun 22 08:40:46 2017
i had to cull a 2 day old chick today who was in bad shape - thank you for this post, i was horrified to think about other options and this seemed the most humane. it was still terrible but more loving than letting the little thing suffer, starve to death or get pecked.
Comment by monica Wed Jun 21 17:39:25 2017

I've got raspberries from Raintree as well, about 8 years old (although I started a new bed in a better location from runner sprouts a couple years ago).

Are you saying that the plants peter out after a decade or so? Is the time reset by starting from new "runner" plants?

I understand strawberries are similar, that you need to keep restarting from runners, but do you need new genetic stock from the nursery at intervals (for either raspberries or strawberries)? If so, what are the nurseries doing differently? I doubt they are regrowing from seed....

Comment by Jim Wed Jun 21 15:31:53 2017
Maybe you could try putting something over the clear cover so there is no light on the eggs? This may make it so they can't even see that an egg is in there.
Comment by Brian Wed Jun 21 09:53:36 2017
I like the wooden egg idea! Along the idea that you are using, however, how about a longer shute for the eggs to roll down?
Comment by Merryann Wed Jun 21 01:19:43 2017
I like to go out at Solar Noon (when the sun's at it's highest, depends upon date and your location) and bask for a bit, soaking in all that "solsticey goodness"!
Comment by Trothwy Wed Jun 21 00:52:43 2017
I have 6 Australorps in a chicken tractor with just a straw nesting box. I haven't had egg eating with my hens unless I accidentally break an egg, then they go for it. However, those experiences haven't conditioned them to eat the eggs so far. What if the fancy egg chute is actually causing the aberrant behavior? When they lay it, they can't investigate it?
Comment by fwh Tue Jun 20 18:19:01 2017
Take the day off, and spend dawn till dusk outdoors, naked, relaxing in the sunshine.
Comment by irilyth Tue Jun 20 17:09:50 2017
I've read on another blog that keeps many chickens that they put a wooden egg in the nests and it deters hens from pecking. It also kills snakes that steal eggs. Don't know if you've tried this or heard of it. Thought it was interesting and remembered my grandpa, a woodworker, used to sell many wooden eggs.
Comment by Torina Tue Jun 20 16:52:58 2017

I usually try to celebrate the summer solstice just by being outdoors at sundown doing something like having drinks with friends or having a BBQ with the best peaches and strawberries, or whatever. Just something that encourages appreciation of the moment. For the winter solstice I try tod o something that demonstrates appreciation for the natural darkness of that time of year. Usually that means a candlelit dinner/evening with the light she out in the house otherwise, or watching a movie in the dark (which I never do otherwise). I like to incorporate hearty stews or soups, homemade rounds of bread, good cold-season eats.

Comment by Jennifer Tue Jun 20 15:11:42 2017
That's what it looks like. :-)
Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Jun 20 14:18:11 2017

I used to stay up late on the Solstice, into the night, lit by fireflies. But now I remember, from fairy tales, about girls who washed their faces in the heavy dew of morning, or who miraculously had fern-seed in their pockets, so could be invisible at midnight, especially, I guess in Ireland, to see the fairies dancing in their fairy ring. This was always risky, as the watcher could be snatched away into fairyland...The Sidhe (I think) were not very happy to be spied on!

The Goddess Day book I have says to jump over a ritual fire, or candle, to purify yourself, then to burn a wish in "Saules Mate's" fires, to release the wish into her care, while chanting, "Powers of fire, reach ever higher. Saules Mate, bring your light: the power ignite. Salamanders prance in the magical dance. Bu your power and my will, this sacred space fill!" This is traditionally the time to harvest magical herbs, but early in the day, since Saules Mate heat diminishes the natural oil in the herbs. Then leave an offering to the herbs, perhaps some mulch...!

Saules Mated, which is Indo-European for "sun", crosses the sky in a carriage drawn by yellow horses, then travels t he wat ers by night in a golden birch boat, hanging a red scarf in the sky.

Comment by adrianne Tue Jun 20 14:13:28 2017

Solstice Bugs

Something crawling on my neck yet my instinct not in killing a tickling itchy bitty spec I cup in palm because I'm willing.

With a bad history with tick and Lyme thank goodness a lightening bug is the insect that I find alive preserved protected, smug.

Midnight champion of the moon for moments you gate my hand I hope to see you soon when you vanish, flashing wand.

Comment by Maggie Tue Jun 20 08:57:43 2017
If it fits, it sits.
Comment by Stephen Tue Jun 20 08:19:52 2017
I wonder if Edgar's peeing on your stuff is more like a male cat "marking his territory"!
Comment by Nayan Sun Jun 18 08:35:34 2017

Hi Love the idea of the coloured marbles in the bowl with the water. I have just been using water and stones in my bowl. I have a question. I have a community garden plot. The bees drink it down quickly in the hot weather. I have another bowl at home I used for crafts before. I could have two bowls there. Does anyone know anything about benzoin. I used this when making salt dough sachets. All the ingredients went into a bowl and then you roll it out and cut it with a cookie cutter. One of the ingredients in the bowl was benzoin. It has been washed, but does anyone know if the bowl is safe to use for the bees or should I toss it. Thanks.

Comment by Carolyn Sat Jun 17 18:34:01 2017 Thickness hinders the process, BUT IF IT WORKS FOR YOU, tell us all about it.

"Better Is The Enemy of Good Enough"

Comment by Ryan R. Young Sat Jun 17 16:17:37 2017
I'm surprised that you're seeding fall crops already. I thought that shouldn't be done until mid-August at the earliest. Am I wrong?
Comment by Nayan Sat Jun 17 13:09:45 2017
Karen --- If the heads are big but they look like an onion --- one big bulb instead of individual cloves --- then you've simply harvested too early. It's not until the last month or so that a garlic bulb breaks apart into smaller cloves (in preparation for reproducing).
Comment by anna Fri Jun 16 15:46:15 2017

It might be that this flock was used to foraging in the woods and now feel cramped but they have plenty of space with the extending tractor design.

Yes....that makes sense that the days there is not eating are days when the troubled egg eaters are on a day off of laying.

Yes....I've got some ideas about extending the tray portion...more on that in a future post.

Comment by mark Thu Jun 15 14:57:35 2017
What about a design that has a soft drop pocket like a pool table has, for the balls to drop into? And then the eggs would roll out from the pool ball-type pocket gently to a more secure area?
Comment by Jennifer Thu Jun 15 14:50:08 2017
Pulled my garlic about a week ago only to discover it did not clove. According to my search on the internet, I am assuming that the warmer temps this winter is the culprit. Any suggestions as to how to avoid this from happening in the future?
Comment by Karen Thu Jun 15 13:43:04 2017

Isn't the roll-out tray supposed to prevent this? Is this one of those trayss with a spring? What about the design should change to prevent the hens getting to the eggs? I'm interested because I'm looking for one too, not so much for egg eating (though it does happen once in a while and I would like to prevent it), but for when we go away for a while. Thanks!

Comment by Kaat Wed Jun 14 22:17:03 2017
Wonder if the egg-eater is laying every other day and is only eating when she lays?
Comment by Jennifer Wed Jun 14 19:27:42 2017
Do you think maybe it's due to stress from their new confined quarters in the chicken tractor?
Comment by Anonymous Wed Jun 14 15:50:27 2017
I've always found weeds beneficial, in that after I pull them up, I use them as mulch over what I'm planting. That way, I don't have to buy mulch. It gets so expensive after a while.
Comment by Chris Wed Jun 14 06:37:27 2017

We paid a little extra to get a bigger engine with bigger wheels..not sure how much horsepower that equals.

It came with a bag but we don't use it as it mulches the grass nicely.

The easy starting is awesome. No pumping bulbs or adjustments...just pull the rope slightly and it starts each time.

Comment by mark Tue Jun 13 15:30:22 2017

I think my Mom gave this to us and she found it at a yard sale.

The rain barrel is resting on the top of the metal antenna pole.

Comment by mark Tue Jun 13 15:15:39 2017