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How many batteries do I need for my solar panels?
Square foot gardening rebuttal
Smallest wood stoves
How to help chicks during hatching
Wood stove in a mobile home
A year ago this week:
Rooting the Brown Turkey figs
Heavy duty shade trellis
How to protect chickens from hawks, raccoons, and more
Walden Effect Facebook page
We trim the
goat hooves once a month, but let Abigail skip this month due to
her being a little grumpy about being wrangled with her extra weight.
There's a new book on my shelf...and maybe on yours as well? I braved the flooded creek Tuesday to bring my first copy of The Naturally Bug-Free Garden home,
a copy that I ordered from Amazon since the box from my publisher is
running late. It was just too hard to wait any longer to hold my second
paperback in my hands....
Do you want to jumpstart
your 2015 garden with a primer on natural pest-control techniques? If
so, you can get order the paperback here:
you can join in my launch treasure hunt and enter for a chance to win a
signed copy of your very own! Just head to your local library or
bookstore and ask if they have The Naturally Bug-Free Garden in stock, snap a photo of my book in the wild, then enter using the widget below. Or, if you've already bought a copy and want to win a copy for a friend, snap a shot of yourself with your new book! I'm letting this giveaway run for a full month so that you'll have time
to request your librarian stock a copy for even easier entries. (Yes,
strangely, I get even more of a kick out of hearing folks tell me that
they checked one of my books out of their local library rather than
buying their own copy.) May the hunt begin!
We upgraded our goat
milking stand today.
When I was reading up on
inoculating logs with shiitake mycelium, recommendations on log sizes
varied widely, ranging from 3 to 12 inches in diameter. Large logs tend
to fruit longer and to hold moisture better during dry spells. On the
other hand, small logs fruit faster and are easier to wrangle
(especially if you plan to soak logs to force fruiting).
In case you can't pick
out the sapwood in the first photo in this post, here's a labeled
diagram to get you started. This log has been sitting around for a
couple of weeks --- the color difference is even more evident in the wet
wood of a newly cut log.
I took these photos a
week ago, when snow had been on the ground for six days and I suddenly
had the realization that my poor honeybees might be smothering inside
their hive. I rushed out and brushed the entrance free, then pressed my
ear against each side of each box. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. And then --- there! --- a low buzz.
Two weeks ago, when the
snow and deep freeze hit our farm, spring ground to a halt. It wasn't
until this past Saturday that I felt like we were on the upward swing
once again. The snow is finally melting faster than it's falling, and
here and there bits of plant matter are beginning to poke above the
Hazel catkins loosening
and disgorging their pollen are nearly always the first spring bloom on
our farm. Like everything else, I noticed the first catkin just about
blooming before our snow storm...then the hazel bush went right back to
sleep. But with highs above forty forecast for most of the next week,
I'm betting the maple sap will start flowing and we might even hear frogs as our snow finally melts away. I sure am glad we don't live in the North!
I'm stealing Mark's spot
to hit up our readers for timely advice. This morning, I became
convinced that Abigail was going into labor, but now I'm not sure if
what I'm seeing counts as contractions. At intervals, I'll see a ripple
slide across her baby bump, often with a bulgy kid-part pushing out in
an ungainly fashion. Once, I put my hand there and felt a hard kid hoof.
Is this simply kids repositioning pre-labor, or do those movements
count as contractions?
Other signs of imminent
delivery abound. I caught Abigail arching her back like a cat once this
morning, she's been yawning frequently, and she seems intent upon
scratching the top of her head against the fence. Actually, our usually
standoffish goat even came over and lay down right in front of me, then
put her head in my lap asking for a head scratch. Meanwhile, Abigail has
also been adamantly chasing our little doeling out of her immediate
vicinity. Otherwise, though, she seems content to eat hay and chew her
cud as usual.
One of the soil additives
that I'm researching this year for my upcoming book is bokashi --- a
method of composting food scraps in a sealed five-gallon bucket at high
speeds with little or no smell. The jury's still out on whether this is a
trendy technique primarily of interest to apartment dwellers, or
whether land-based homesteaders should also give it a try. I suspect that after reading the book and doing a few experiments of my own, I'll be far more loquacious about my feelings on the topic.
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