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Homesteading and Simple Living Comments

Comments in the moderation queue: 82

View the most recent comments below. To join in the discussion (or see a comment thread in order), click on the title of a comment, then follow the directions on the subsequent page to add a comment of your own.

What of wood chipper ? Chip small branches use the chips to build up the road surface?
Comment by Jim C Wed Aug 27 19:46:45 2014

That Ford 1200 weighs in at 1244 lbs. Approximately twice as heavy as the ATV, I'd guess.

It does have big rear wheels and grippy tires. But wouldn't it chew up the "road" even more than the ATV?

Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Aug 27 18:53:57 2014

Brian --- We're eating from several blueberry varieties right now: Southern Highbush, Delite, and Climax (with some from Briteblue earlier in the season and a few from our northern highbush Atlantic and Herbert yet earlier than that). I'd have to google to see which season each is supposed to be, but they're supposed to span the seasons overall. You might also enjoy last year's blueberry variety post for more info.

Unfortunately, no hardy kiwis this year after all. :-/ The few fruits that set this spring dropped, which I'm hoping is just the way many young woody plants drop their first year's try. Next year will tell...or maybe our male will bloom then and the issue will be irrelevant.

Comment by anna Wed Aug 27 17:55:52 2014

Ever since the golf cart days, I have thought you need a small tractor. I first thought of an old Ford. But some simple 50, 60, 70's design that was popular in your area and that a the local repair man/center/mechanic "loves" Here's the general idea. I found on Craigslist https://tricities.craigslist.org/grd/4625970275.html The down side of a real tractor is you don't "scoot" like the ATV does.

Comment by tom Wed Aug 27 16:54:06 2014
Canning tomatoes... and tomatoes... and more tomatoes! So far about 80 lbs of tomatoes (working on them right now). Cantaloupes unfortunately had all of the leaves suddenly die. Hoping that I can still get a few more out of the patch. Don't have a clue as to why they died. And cornworms (?) are eating up my sweet peppers! (Grrrrrr...) Peas are coming in but the fall lettuce and radishes have given up the ghost. Sigh...
Comment by Nayan Wed Aug 27 14:29:25 2014
How does this work as a firewood guide?
Comment by Richard Wed Aug 27 11:06:10 2014
How does this work as a firewood guide?
Comment by Richard Wed Aug 27 11:05:09 2014
What variety blueberry is that? Is it consider a mid or late season? Any hardy kiwis this year?
Comment by Brian Wed Aug 27 09:56:38 2014
This I can tell you,,,i did consult the list of resistant apples and still did not have luck....negatory to the Arkansas Black ...still got it and got it bad,...I will say that I have a gala that gets a little but not bad enough to worry about....I will be trying more Gala's...
Comment by scott durrwachter Tue Aug 26 19:57:10 2014
Kathleen --- I love the smell of wood smoke and never hit the point of wanting to wash it off. (Probably good I don't go out in public much.) In the winter, I do get a bit smoky when starting a fire now and then, but our efficient wood stove doesn't make smelly smoke otherwise and I never notice the scent lingering in the house or on food. The breeze carried the rocket stove smoke away from me and I don't think any got on me. Too bad....
Comment by anna Tue Aug 26 18:01:17 2014
Rolands comment made me think of another idea. I'm sure Mark could rig something up to where a hamster running in a wheel could power that generator!. LOL
Comment by Emily from Bristol Tue Aug 26 17:55:24 2014
With the new hand generator, you might be able to keep blogging as long as you can convince Mark to keep cranking. :-)
Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Aug 26 16:31:19 2014

You warm your house and are now cooking with wood. Do you ever notice the wood smoke smell on yourselves? Maybe when you venture out into the world. When we camp I don't notice the smell and even like it but the minute we are back home I can't stand the smell. Does your home smell of wood smoke? How about your food, does it ever change depending on what is burning?

Comment by Kathleen Tue Aug 26 15:17:51 2014
Ken --- He went into the Navy right out of high school. He only did two years of active duty, but that's enough to get him in the VA healthcare system and to get the Lowes discount. :-)
Comment by anna Tue Aug 26 11:17:39 2014
Is mark retired military?
Comment by Ken Tue Aug 26 09:54:44 2014

Always great to read your blog Anna. I'm considering using a rocket stove in my place when I get it.

Comment by Terri Tue Aug 26 07:45:54 2014
David Kline, an Amish organic farmer, wrote in his book "Letters From Larksong" that he had excellent results with using walnut sawdust in the bottom of his hives for mite control. Might be worth a look!
Comment by Dave Tue Aug 26 06:33:38 2014
Are you going to nickname it "The pig"?
Comment by Gerry Mon Aug 25 18:03:18 2014

The best bean for the money, you can eat them 3 ways.

The pretty red flowers are great in salads. Cook and eat the 'string bean'. Or let the beans dry on the vine for 'dryed beans' for soups. That is whY the Pioneer's took them out west on the wagon trains. Don't forget to save some dryed seed for next year! And don't leave ANY on the ground over winter or they will come up EVERYWHERE.

Comment by Michael Mon Aug 25 14:39:03 2014

I think you're mistaken - Scarlet Runners are, like other runner beans, perennial. As another commenter pointed out, they die back to tubers. At this point you can transplant the tubers to a different spot. But I just cut back the dead plants and put a few sticks in the ground to remind me that there's something there. This year I'm experimenting with another runner bean, the Greek Gigante bean - they look like enormous white lima beans. The flowers are creamy white, but the hummers seem to go after them just as eagerly as they go after the scarlet runners.

Comment by Rena Sun Aug 24 23:04:32 2014
indigotiger --- Kayla leans the screens up against the side of the coop when she's going into anti-predator mode. Since hawks don't have the flexibility of raccoons, the screens are enough to keep them at bay.
Comment by anna Sun Aug 24 17:48:00 2014
How could you keep the Tithonia Diversifolia from taking over your property? I worry about planting anything that's termed invasive or potentially harmful but the screening ability is attractive.
Comment by Teresa Lee Sun Aug 24 16:31:03 2014

I'm experimenting with scarlet runners this year, too. I'm interested in getting more color in my garden without sacrificing food production. Seems to be working, we'll see how the dilly beans turn out.

On the subject of kudzu, I've heard that they are related to peas (hence nitrogen fixing) and are actually edible. Being from the North, I couldn't immediately run out and try it but it's on my bucket list.

Comment by Kellie R Sun Aug 24 15:37:26 2014
It is not clear to me how screens on the ground on either side of the chicken tractor would provide protection? Do they somehow frighten away predators?
Comment by indigotiger Sun Aug 24 14:16:46 2014

Love the red runners, hammers too. 5bzone and always an annual. Beans are very tasty when young Love the site keep on trucking Al

Comment by Al Muhlnickel Sun Aug 24 13:15:28 2014

It does very well from cuttings. You just take a stick of it and poke it in the ground. Imo it's very much worth it. I just started growing it last year and I have grown tons, yes tons, of biomass. In just two summers. It's now my main plant for building up my sand, and feeding the animals.

The site is tefoe.com, It's under work atm. But anyone can contact me at T.FLfarms@yahoo for the moment.

If you'd like Anna, shoot me an email, I don't know if I still have your address written down somewhere, and I can send you a few now. I'd like to know if you think they'd be too much work after trying them. I think that they might do well in one of your damp areas. They can take the dry, but well watered, mine have grown more than I can use at times.

Comment by T Sun Aug 24 13:02:45 2014
Have you tasted the flowers? They taste beamy and are really fun to add to salads. It looks like you have plenty!
Comment by Charity Sun Aug 24 12:06:55 2014
I've read that scarlet runner beans are perennial, although they die back to a tuber. This is our first year growing them as well and they grow quickly and look great. I guess we will find out next year if they are perennial in our zone.
Comment by Brian Sun Aug 24 11:24:05 2014

Love the pics, and am looking forward to seeing more in the update.

A tip: Bands should never be left on canning jars after waterbath or pressure canning; once the lid has 'pinged,' and the jar has cooled, the band should be removed for storage. If the lid's seal fails while in storage, the band could disguise the failure, with food poisoning as a result. Same goes for stacking jars one atop another.

Just remove the band, rinse and store the jars in the pantry, and rinse and store the bands (extra benefit - you can use the bands on a later batch, and don't need one band for each jar you put up, just a new lid).

Comment by Rich Sun Aug 24 10:10:39 2014

Roland --- I wish I could capture what it feels like to look out the window into the jungle of foliage and flowers (and hummingbirds). Definitely the highlight of my summer. :-)

T --- Intriguing! I'm less keen on things I have to grow from cuttings, since that means extra work keeping them alive over the winter. But I might experiment with some this coming summer. Do you have a website? How should folks contact you if they want to buy cuttings?

Comment by anna Sun Aug 24 10:00:45 2014

"Tithonia Diversifolia. A beautiful perennial plant that will reach 10-15(up to 20 at times) feet tall. It has large dark leaves and throughout the cool months produces masses of large yellow "sunflowers" that smell like honey. Its a must have for any gardener; it makes a beautiful hedge or wind break. It grows very fast. It also makes a very good mulch for garden beds. Use it as fodder for livestock, or the leaves for chickens too. Its highly nutritious. The flowers can be made into a tea as well. Plants are sterile so they wont seed everywhere."

I grow this here in Florida. I don't know if you've heard of it. It is a sub, tropical plant, but it grows so fast. You could keep small plants going in wither inside then plant out and still get what you want for mulch and compost. I cut it back by 2-3 feet every month in summer for my goats to eat. Nothing bothers it either. Which is a huge plus here in FL, and the south. If you're interested, I do sell cuttings.

Comment by T Sun Aug 24 09:51:02 2014
Wow
That top picture looks really beautiful.
Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Aug 24 08:18:22 2014

So when your walnut trees begin to bear and you want a gift to give away... ;)

http://botanistinthekitchen.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/walnut-nostalgia/

In general I think you might enjoy her blog.

Comment by c. Sat Aug 23 22:57:51 2014
Would love to see more!
Comment by Rys Sat Aug 23 11:22:02 2014
Good ideas! I'm going to send that to my neighbor. He's got two dogs (both inherited) but they're 1) old and 2) L-a-z-y!!!!! Another neighbor now tells me that she has problems with possums getting into the henhouse and eating the birds. Who knew possums did that???
Comment by Nayan Sat Aug 23 08:40:53 2014

We've had issues with raccoon predation before. It is not fun. They always seems to be interested in the younger birds. Not super little (since you'll be watching them close in the brooder) and not too big, but usually right at the point where it will cost you the most time, feed, and emotion. At least in my experience.

We moved even further into the woods last year, and while I second the opinion that a decent sized dog or two is a must there are some easy, cheap structures that may work better for you. Bot can be seen here: http://www.therewasafarmerhadablog.com/2014/08/pppp-report-week-8.html

"The Box" is 2 hog panels with a bit of cheap plastic mesh. An additional hog or goat panel roof could be clipped on at night for 100% locked down protection.

The third photo on that post is a new structure. 2 cattle panels arched over a 8x10 frame. When the young birds move on to the main coop or freezer I think it will get a clear skin and be a mobile greenhouse.

I would be happy to respond to comments on the blog (or emails) with questions about what we're doing here or how to build these things if you need, or if there's something I didn't explain well enough here.

Comment by leos.mike Sat Aug 23 08:38:47 2014
Your cat doesn't seem so impressed with your efforts. The expression on it's face cracks me up!
Comment by Ghislaine Fri Aug 22 21:53:25 2014

Hmmmm Coon Hound ,any large terrior type dog (try the local pound ) ,.22 rifle / 410 loaded with buckshot .

Comment by diogenese Fri Aug 22 19:13:23 2014
I don't know how to get to the link for an individual Facebook post, so I posted the link to my FB page.
Comment by Sherry Fri Aug 22 17:06:21 2014
I always know that I have nuts and that they are ready when the squirrel s turn up.They are always really difficult to find but worth the effort.I cottage for walnuts and chestnuts, both are ready about the same time as the hazelnsuts.
Comment by Chris Fri Aug 22 16:42:25 2014