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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.

I use an old chest freezer to store my goat feed too! So far it has proven wonderfully rodent-proof.
Comment by Darren (Green Change) Thu Sep 18 01:51:19 2014

Just don't forget to put some type of ventilation to keep air flow. Roseanell

Comment by roseanell Wed Sep 17 21:02:38 2014
I agree with hairgirl...just want one for backup if power goes out...winter or can heat water and cook on some of them, too. Get the right kind of wood that will burn the hottest and longest for budget's sake.
Comment by Glenda Wed Sep 17 16:43:46 2014

Passionfruit is a cultural staple here in Australia! We traditionally grow them over the chookhouse, the dunny, the fence, or the shed roof. Pretty much any vertical structure will do :-).

You can't make a good pavlova without passionfruit! It's also used in "tropical" fruit juices and as a flavour in some softdrinks (in particular my childhood favourite, Passiona).

It sounds like maypops are a slightly different variety, but I've no idea how different the fruit is.

Comment by Darren (Green Change) Wed Sep 17 03:00:02 2014

Now I know why you rip out plants like brocolli after they give you their best. I held on to my brocolli since they have us side shoots. They got really big, and have out very little and now I worry it robbed the soil for nothing. The plants were almost as tall as me. How would you go about composting these bushes? Is brocolli mostly nitrogen, would I layer it with straw?

Comment by Kathleen Tue Sep 16 13:18:43 2014
I agree with another reader. What a great giveaway! But if folks live in a more cold climate you can still have a fig tree. Just put it in a large pot and move it outdoors during the summer and then bring it indoors when it starts to get cold. That's what I do with my fig, banana and lime trees, even though allegedly I live in zone 7. I think I actually live in zone 6 because of the microclimate I'm in.
Comment by Nayan Tue Sep 16 10:38:13 2014

Wow, what a great giveaway! While we have no room for another fig tree in our tiny Las Vegas yard, I highly recommend them for folks in this very hot, dry climate. Our young fig tree produced so much luscious fruit this year that we happily shared some with a sweet mockingbird family. The baby loved those figs! We are loving your blog and all the great tips. Even though our yard is quite tiny, we have enjoyed growing figs, pomegranates, squash, corn, sunflowers, grapes, artichokes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, mint, rosemary, cabbage, chard, and we hope to add beets to our winter garden this year! Keep up the great work, you guys! And folks with room, -register for that fig. You'll love it!

Comment by Abby Elvidge Tue Sep 16 10:00:19 2014

We have these growing on our farm. The flowers spread out across the field and are absolutely gorgeous. I follow your post and look forward to trying lots of your ideas when we build our house on the farm. I plan to grow these on trellises to shade in the summer because it dies back in the winter. The best way to get the seeds is after the fruit falls off the vine. Email me your address and I'll be glad to send you some later this fall. Jackie

Comment by Glenland Tue Sep 16 09:50:28 2014

Love maypops. infatuated with them. will it be a short term romance? I doubt it. Though i will say it is mainly lust at this time... Here is what I wrote:

Comment by Anonymous Tue Sep 16 09:50:12 2014

I tried maypops for many years, and they only managed to set fruit twice. The fruit was pretty bland. Not bad, but really not much there.

But actual passionfruits- I love 'em! I grow them in an earthbox and take them inside for winter, drastically pruning them. They semi-hibernate and then grow like mad in the spring. They will turn purple and drop from the vine when almost ripe, then just let them finish up on the kitchen counter. When the fruit gets just a little bit wrinkled, they should be ripe. Cut them in half, stir up the insides with a spoon and enjoy over shaved ice. Also goes well with yogurt, or use the half fruit as a cup- add some soda water or if you prefer, vodka.

Comment by Eric in Japan Tue Sep 16 01:05:04 2014

I guess if you saved the seeds you would get peppers :D

My views on saving hybrid seeds are that it is a fun experiment. You might get the vigorous parent or you might get the delicious parent. Or you might get lucky and get the same as you saved from. To me it is worthwhile to try.

I would also pot up the plant and bring it inside for the winter. It might work better than the tomato did this year.

Comment by Eric in Japan Tue Sep 16 00:56:00 2014
Brian wants to know if it can do very steep hills.
Comment by Heather Mon Sep 15 21:15:13 2014
Rebecca --- I'll admit that I only shelled a cup, and did it on a weekend when I had plenty of time to play (and didn't time myself, although I think it took less than half an hour). I shelled them by hand, just broke off the ends to get started on opening as necessary. I'll probably save the rest of the beans to dry, which will probably make them much easier to shell.
Comment by anna Mon Sep 15 20:17:33 2014
we tried scarlet runner beans this year, the pods took forever to shell and we had to get them started with a knife (cutting off one edge to open the pod) over an hours worth of work for 1/2 cup of beans. how do you shell scarlet runners, they had some of the thickest pods i have ever seen.
Comment by rebeca Mon Sep 15 15:00:16 2014
I've never grown passion fruit in the States since I live in Oregon and it's not hot enough here to get the vines to fruit. I do remember in Africa I would just pop open the black fruits and eat the tart, fragrant seeds. So yummy and flavorful!! Tons of vitamin C! They're much like eating a pomegranate in that there isn't much "fruit" to them, just mainly seeds encased in yummy bits. Delicious added straight to fruit salads or yogurt. Many people would squish and strain the pulp away from the seeds and make fruit leather or a drink concentrate to make into juice with sugar and water added, much like lemonade. Very true about snakes in my experience (green mambas were notorious since they blended with the vines), but not sure that would be a huge problem in your neck of the woods, especially with a fog and cats about. I'd say give it a try for sure!! At the very least, it's attractive shade foliage.
Comment by AmberC Mon Sep 15 13:42:16 2014
FYI: Maypops spread like crazy. Super duper crazy
Comment by eric Mon Sep 15 11:59:50 2014

Just got this fascinating comment via email: "We used to cook the seeds with just a little water and then strain out the seeds to make passionfruit syrup to put in our iced tea (or it would be awesome in just about anything) when we lived in West Africa. I live in Montana now, so we don't grow them here. :)  The vines attract snakes unless well trellised (at least in Africa they did, but based on your snake adventures, I bet they would there, too), but the vines are wonderful shade-makers and flowers beautiful."

From this, and a comment on facebook, I'm suspecting that drinks are the primary purpose of passionflower fruits.

Comment by anna Mon Sep 15 09:23:24 2014
We grow the black passionfruit here in CA, and I LOVE it! Super fragrant and delicious. It is the most low maintenance edible that we grow. It's a vigorous vine, so we just have to hack it back a little where we don't want it and that is it.
Comment by Pamina Mon Sep 15 09:13:48 2014
We have a ton here (eastern nc). They grow wild all over our ditch banks and climb up our pasture fences. The flowers are beautiful but we've never tried the fruit. Ive heard there are several varieties and some aren't edible. I haven't researched enough to know what the differences are so I'm curious to hear what you find out.
Comment by Krisann Mon Sep 15 08:31:09 2014
I couldn't get past the smell. We did plant some seeds this spring and the vines are popping up 15 feet from where we planted them. If the pods yellow this year we will try them but we have not had any make it that far.
Comment by Brian Mon Sep 15 08:03:32 2014

The metal bits on these ratchet straps are several millimeters thick. It will probably take years for them to rust through enough to be dangerous.

At a guess, it would take much less time for sunlight (the UV component in particular) to break down the woven plastic straps themselves! Basically all plastics are vulnerable to UV. That is why stabilizing additives are added during their manufacture. But they get used up in the process of protecting the plastic.


  • Always dry the straps before storing them. Water promotes rusting.
  • Store the straps out of direct sunlight when not in use. A metal tin is probably best, but an opaque plastic box will also serve.

A translucent zip-lock bag is probably not enough protection against UV. And it could trap moisture inside.

Before using an old strap, bend it a couple of times. If the outer strands part or pieces flake off, discard it.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Sep 14 17:48:54 2014

I bought one of these back in 1999 when I first moved to my property. At first it worked great, then the head kept breaking every year and that cost me about $150 to get a replacement. Finally I gave it up and decided to just get a riding mower. That works better for me and I can even mow down the blasted blackberry brambles that are taking over the universe.

I hope you have better luck with yours that what I had with mine.

Comment by Nayan Sat Sep 13 21:11:22 2014
Anonymous --- Frost will kill the plants, but won't hurt the seeds. However, sunflower seeds are like candy for wildlife, so if you leave them out in the garden, chances are something will eat your stash before the chickens get to them.
Comment by anna Sat Sep 13 15:24:35 2014

I cant believe that after 20 some years after what happened to my cousin and I that this story is living on. I stumbled across this page after looking for something else. But I can tell you with 100 percent truth that the story of the bridge is true and im here to say the original story of what happened at the bridge happened to my cousin and I about 22 years ago. How this whole story took place would take way to long to type on here but I can tell you the lady that died down at the bridge name is Ellie but what we seen that night was not a little ghostly old lady. Would love to tell exactly how everything happend but I will say this, spirits are real and demons are real and if you go looking for them you will find them. This thing at the bridge came up to me and I stood toe to toe with what I can only describe as black spirit that had a man build and I watched as it keep getting closer and closer ,

appearing and disappearing as it got closer and closer until it finally took one last step and was standing straight in front of me. Theres so much to this story but ill just end it by saying theres something besides us, theres dimensions besides what we see and ill argue with anybody that says different, my cousin standing beside me seen everything I seen and it really opened my eyes to that other dimension and after that night I dont ever have to wonder again.

Comment by D Sat Sep 13 14:49:08 2014
Will the seeds be harmed by frost? I have quite a few sunflowers that aren't dried yet and I want to feed them to my chickens eventually. Will the frost harm them? Should I just leave them alone until they are dried on the stalk?
Comment by Anonymous Sat Sep 13 11:38:24 2014
You won't regret having dairy goats. We started a year ago with 2 Nigerian Dwarfs and added 4 more several month later. Right after that we bought 3 American Lamanchas, one already in milk when we got her. She gives a solid 3 quarts of milk daily, it's almost identical to cows milk and has no goaty taste at all. It's the only milk we drink and is very popular at our local farmers market. Cheese you say? Raw milk cheese from your own goats is amazing! We rotate them around the pasture/woods using standard 48" high electric poultry netting, a 1 joule energizer, and a car battery. They do not challenge the fence one bit and it keeps the occasional hunting dog that wanders onto our land at bay. The only containment issue we've had was when our 2 Nigerian bucklings reached maturity and we had to put them in their own pasture. They'd repeatedly beat down the netting (ignoring the shocks of course) in order to be with the girls on the other side of the property. Had to build a permanent area for them using wood posts and wire goat mesh, and that seems to be working just fine.
Comment by Doug in Savannah Fri Sep 12 12:01:04 2014

I've been growing open pollinated Chocolate peppers for years, but I usually buy the seeds from one year to the next. This year I planted California Bells and expected to get a good crop well before the end of October, but this year I ended up with some kind of worm eating them before they got red on the outside. (grrrr...) I love my sweet peppers because I roast them, remove the blackened skin and keep them in the freezer for putting on top of portabello mushrooms when I grill those like a mini pizza. Also, I used to make Armenian Pepper Paste (APP), which should, technically, be made with hot peppers but I'm only now getting into "spicy" food. Then I take the APP and fry up some green beans using the APP as the "sauce" and oh my! is that delicious.

Haven't tried saving seeds from one year to the next, but intend to do it this year to see what happens. I also planted some Cajun Beauties in a pot which I will pull into the house when it gets cold so I can have some peppers over the winter. My living room looks like a greenhouse!

Comment by Nayan Fri Sep 12 09:53:09 2014

I have been growing them for years. My wife and I stuff them with various standard things you stuff peppers with. We have found that they do not reproduce as well the next year on saved seeds (about 1/2 the yield - just a guess).

Since I buy seeds most years anyway, I just make sure that is one of the ones I get if I am running out of the original seed packet. I typically do 6-9 plants a year. They are a bit hit with the neighbors as well.

Comment by Mark 0 Fri Sep 12 09:06:12 2014
Those peppers look delicious. I grew too many hot peppers this year and I am wishing I had more sweets. I will certainly consider growing some lunchbox peppers next year. Thanks for sharing.
Comment by Adam Cortell Fri Sep 12 08:58:40 2014

I use the Davebilt "Suite Nutcracker" on hazelnuts, pecans (northern and southern), English walnuts, and acorns. It works a treat, especially if your nuts are sorted for size.

Comment by Emily Thu Sep 11 17:51:57 2014
Stephen --- We plan on winter doing all the work for us. If you plant oats or oilseed radishes in the fall in zone 6 or colder, the cover crops naturally perish before spring. The tops of oats provide a light mulch, and the oat roots and whole oilseed radish plants rot into the soil.
Comment by anna Thu Sep 11 13:13:36 2014
Are you planning to till it in, or do you just cut it down in place?
Comment by Stephen Thu Sep 11 12:11:11 2014

Sweet! I know I'm gonna love reading your post about the goats. I know a few have mentioned it, but " Fence Fence Fence fencing!!" They will climb, crawl, jump to make sure the garden is safe for you to eat out of. Don't let things people say cloud the fact that goats are just Amazing animals to keep though. They'll save you from those poison apples, if you have witch problems. Fencing is the only thing that needs to really be looked at. I don't like dehorning either. If you're just to keep girls, and you work with them so as they're not unruly things, it's something not to do imo. They set up their herd order and thats that. The reasons given for dehorning don't hold well with just a few goats. And that Tithonia you'll be getting in spring is Great to feed the goats. It's a large part of my herds diet. I don't feed any commercial feed to mine, and that plant helps a lot because it can grow so fast. But I think you will be surprised how fast they can clear out everything green. Just imagine an entire tree, but then see it as chewed and moisture removed. Thers not much mass left. I started with 2 goats and the food situation hit fast. That's also why if you're going to do the work of having 2, they both might as well be worth it. A wether is just a mouth to feed that's not giving much. Good luck getting everything done the way you want. I'm really curious for your post and updates about this.

Comment by T Thu Sep 11 00:04:36 2014
Having raised 100's of goats..a few should be able to get all the milk you need from one doe, assuming a smallish family. Better to get a wether as company for doe and less expensive to feed than doe. (No grain).also would suggest leaving horns intact...much healthier. Good luck and have fun!
Comment by Gina Brooke Marcell Wed Sep 10 22:05:20 2014

Congratulations!! I hope you will love your goats. I second your first commenter on your main challenge: fencing. That, and deworming. All the other stuff will come. If you get in a pinch re: fencing, you can tie them. There may be a chorus of disapproval about that. But sometimes you just have to make due until your fence is secure. In some cases, you may want to fence the goats OUT of what you want to protect, if that is easier. You have a lot to protect. We used to have a big garden and fruit trees, before we got goats.. BUT we got them before we were really ready for them. In our case, we would have never been ready if we didn't just go for it.

Anyway, congrats again!! -Suz in VT

Comment by Suzanne Wed Sep 10 14:56:47 2014


If your goat\s have free access to green brush and weeds you won’t need to supplement with much additional feed. The biggest reason I fed a little grain once a day was to count heads to make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be. The second reason was so they would come to the bucket if I needed to move them or put them back in if they got out.

We let our goats horns grow but we decided to dehorn our calf this spring for safety reasons. I tried the disbudding paste for the first time this year with good results. It was easy and I didn’t have to worry about cooking the animal’s brain with an iron.

Make sure you keep your animal feed locked up because a goat will eat itself to death. We almost lost a kid once that found a container of bird seed. A trip to the vet saved him. Lesson learned. Lock up all grain so they can’t get to it.

Good luck with your new addition.

Comment by Ned Wed Sep 10 12:07:50 2014
what special equipment do you need for hoof trimming? We always just used a pocket knife (also did that with sheep and goats when I was in Peace Corps.) horn debudding? Not sure what you are thinking of for castration. Obviously you can use a very sharp pocket knife, but if you are going to get an elastrator for making wethers, then you might just want to do elastrator dehorning as well. Save on equipment. We always had lots of goats around.
Comment by Charity Wed Sep 10 11:50:48 2014
I, for one, am very excited to read about your experiences with goats. I feel like a lot of the large scale permaculture people (so far, I've heard, Greg Judy, Mark Shepard, Darren Doherty, and Grant Schultz) all get very uncomfortable when people mention goats because of bad experiences. It seems like when you can give them a bit more attention they will behave a little better? or maybe that they won't be able to misbehave as often? Anyway, I find goats very interesting, but would rather you learn how to work with them first :)
Comment by Stephen Wed Sep 10 08:22:22 2014
Having raised goats for 30 years, I can tell you your main issue will be fencing. It needs to be Fort Knox tight. I've had goats (the Boers, in particular) that spent the entire day walking our 2 acre fence line looking for a way they could get over or under. I now raise pygmies. They never challenge the fence, but if I leave the gate unlocked for a nano second, they seem to know it and out they go. :)
Comment by Julie Wed Sep 10 08:12:26 2014
If you'd make a simple cross-cut sled (to keep the brances perpendicular to the saw so they won't bind on the blade), your table saw would make short work of those branches, I think.
Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Sep 9 18:49:32 2014