Leila, as it happens, there's a universe of difference between a fresh water chestnut and those canned yucky ones. The fresh ones are like a sweeter and more tender jicama root, with a sort of creamy richness. I really like them. I don't know how much of that yum factor will survive candying, but I'm interested in finding out.
I have seen one (genuine) Pyrex dish explode.
That was in the early/mid 70's, so obviously the older version.
My friend had just taken it out of a 350* (F) oven, and set it atop the cutting board.
We had just made some Cuba Libres, and there was a stray piece of ice on the board.
He set it on top of this small ice cube, and KAPOW! A kazillion pieces.
The thermal shock is what got it.
Those 4 cup measuring cups make the finest emergency light:
Put a candle in one. If the candle falls over, nothing catches fire,
It is wind proof,
It is see-through for better lighting, AND
It has a convenient carrying handle!
Leila Rich wrote:
It can take at least a couple of years for everything to find a balance. When I started gardening, I had all sorts of sap-sucking insects show up,
as everything was 'out of whack'.
I was going to say something like this. Here where our gardens are on land that was bare soil, the first year of each garden plot was pretty bad, and the early years in the greenhouses were desperate with aphids though we tried all those soapy-garlicky-chilli sprays to no avail. But as a couple years pass, it seems to develop its ecosystem of predators and pests in balance, and probably the soil improves year by year with adding compost, and now we don't have serious pest problems (expect the local dzo-yaks who break the barbed wire and eat everything!). You're starting vegetables on soil that had only lawn and a few struggling other plants, so there's not much of an ecosystem. If you're able to continue on the same land, you might find that some types of plants have problems this year but work themselves out next year, and others will have problems next year, but it will get better as time goes by. So this year maybe expect to lose some plants, have some be less than perfect, and some will turn out great.
Leila Rich wrote:In NZ, canning's called bottling or preserving, and standard procedure is the overflow method:
Prepare fruit and cook in a pot with water, and sugar if desired.
Sterilise preserving jars in the oven, and lids with boiling water.
Fill hot jars till nearly overflowing and seal tightly.
It's really basic compared to a waterbath, and I'm curious to know whether others use the overflow method?
By the way, I'm ONLY talking about ACID things like acidic fruit-
if the product to be canned isn't naturally acidic, as long as enough citrus/vinegar is added to make it 'tangy' (below ph 4.6), you're fine.
Botulism must have a LOW ACID, ANAEROBIC environment to grow.
I use my own method and I call it JUICING. I utilize the whole vegetable or fruit using the method. To the best of my knowledge nobody else uses this method. Here is my 2014 effort. Incidentally, I lived in Auckland for year in 1970 and toured the country in 1985 and 1995 for three weeks each trip.
Judith says : "I think that the stereotype there was, somewhat lead by television and magazines in the sixties. that is where my parents got their paranoia about 'hippies'...not necessarily from what I was or was not doing."
Years ago my nine-year-old boy had to pee, and our only bathroom was in use. He took a pint canning jar down into the basement and used it to pee in. He put the almost full jar on top of a cabinet between the joists where it couldn't be seen. It was without a lid, and stayed there for who knows how long. Finally, it began to stink so bad we thought a rodent had died in the walls of our little pantry which was in the cellar stairway. We emptied all the shelves and found nothing. We tore out the wallboard - nothing. I finally checked the top of the cabinet with a flashlight and found the jar with about an inch of jelled urine. Mystery solved. I told my son that next time the bathroom was busy to go pee on the compost pile. It turned out well, since I was able to put shelves in the spaces between the studs, increasing my storage space for canned goods..
I completely agree with Alex. We have terrible clay here. I have applied a mix of old wood, gravel and native soil throughout most of the deep hole, then mix in compost above. Then I usually plant trees, bushes or other deep rooted plants so the roots and life can get down there and stay there. It makes a huge difference in the long run.
I get the want of overall, but if people were to just see that logo, it would be hard to "get it". Is there a reason that the sun, like "our" scrolling sun is not being considered? I would be partial to consistency on this one. I love the scrolling sun, even if it doesn't spin.
A few update photos taken today.
I redid most of the signs-I have a tendency to try and squeeze way too much information on-
just tell them what it is, and stop Leila
the tiny food forest's coming along-it's finally clear that there's a 'garden' and a 'path'.
The bulbs have finished, the apples are blossoming, the strawberries, mint, clover, dandelions etc are pushing through the mulch.
The kids have planted tons of sunflowers, and beans by the ugly new fence-hopfully they'll swallow it up soon!
I'll plant tomatoes by the stakes next week.
Digging out all the dead, dry, wormless commercial 'soil' was a real pain,
but the amended native clay soil stays moist and has heaps of fat pink worms
The brown piles are used coffee grounds. 'Spread thinly' is not a concept kids understand!
One end is garlic, we'll plant tomatoes at the other.
And I'm not bothered about a table now-kids love climbing on the stump.
Recently there has been stuff that has come up about youtube and possible copyright violation. My position on that is that youtube is diligent at removing content that violates copyright. Therefore, I feel okay posting anything from youtube.
Sometimes there is something that seems like a copyright issue, and later you find out that it was the copyright holder posting it to youtube in an attempt at some sort of weird marketing.
So, I am just stating my official position: feel free to post anything you find on youtube.
The original trees were planted four years ago; of course I don't have photos.
I've shuffled lots of things around since, and I think this is the final configuration.
Note to self: please remember to take before, during and after shots!
Winter 2012 I'd moved the espalier pear and basically poked it in beside an apple while I worked out where to put it.
Brand new experimental hugel in background which has now gone;
above ground gardening doesn't work for me in my dryish, sandy environment.
Spring 2014 The pear finally has a permanent home
Pears come from reasonably moist, temperate climates and I try to guild plants that enjoy the same conditions.
Nearby is: summer fruiting raspberries, currents, rhubarb, Florence fennel, Egyptian walking onins (they grow anywhere...),
a gazillion bulbs, including Amaryllis belladonna which flower in summer,
Lettuces, landcress, daikon, calendula and purple mustard, dandelions, nasturtiums, clovers, etc etc always appear everywhere-there must be quite a seedbank...
July/August 2014 I'd just moved everything and chucked a load of prunings around-mulch not down yet
October 2014 The dead stuff is shrubs I took out from eslwhere and strapped to the fence for my runner beans to climb
The Mediterranean peach guild has globe artichoke, yarrow, lavender comfrey, sage, thyme, honeywort, alyssum, bulbs, garlic chives, short bearded iris...
and of course lettuces, landcress, daikon, calendula and purple mustard, dandelions, nasturtiums, clovers, etc etc
I really like American persimmons. They can grow tall and spindly and still produce loads of fruit without having to stretch way out. They're also so beautiful, delicious, and easily preserved. We have self pollinating varieties here on my farm and nursery. They are one of my top 3 favorite trees to plant (chestnut and mulberry are the other two).
Thank you for this excellent post of processing pigs. The wife and I are going to be adding some Guinea hogs to our list of animals on the homestead next year. We are going with Guinea's because of their being just the right size for our needs.
Meryt Helmer wrote:I am currently collecting pretty glass bottles to use in building a shelter for ducks. so I guess that is another thing I will be reusing. that and the bicycle wheels I plan to get more and build some trellises and arbores out of them. I really love how bicycle parts look. maybe i should contact some shops and ask them if they get any bicycle frames in that are no longer safe for riding on and I could use those in some nice trellises as well!
Ah you've reminded me that I'm saving all of my wine bottles to make a hot bed.
I've also got windows from my work and my house I'm going to use to make my green house!
alex Keenan wrote:I guess I look at raising chickens differently from most of the folks on this discussion.
I see my flock as part of an ecosystem, not pets. To be a valid component I need enough birds so they can randomly breed. I have found that a flock of at least 30 birds with only five males works. Currently I have a couple groups like this. The birds forage by day and are locked up in their roost at night. My ecosystem has a number of predators so I will lose some birds every year. Mostly I lose old and first years. I deal with predators when they become an issue. For some predators like skunks I tend to just pepper spray them if they try to get into the chicken house. A raccoon or possum will generally have to be dispatched. Great Horned Owls I relocate if I really have to. I would just feed a big male if my wife would let me keep one around. The small hawks and owls we try to keep around. We had a small hawk nesting in a tree right out the back door for years before the tree died and had to be taken down. So when I look at bird I try to see what part they need to play and what I need to create so they can play their role in my ecosystem.
I have a similar thing going but on a scale of 1-2 males and 7-12 females. The main predators who put pressure on my birds are Hawks and cats. Out of 10 chicks predators will take about half or more before they mature. I have had to take care of possums, but not raccoons in my area. It was a learning curve accepting predator losses and realizing that the cats picking off those young weaker birds meant that the ones who survive would be the smarter and faster ones.
My chickens are much more sustainable than my dogs. My dogs are part of the family and they protect and serve as much as they can, but are mainly for company. They have no niche or ecosystem. They take physical resources. My chickens just live outside in the ecosystem that I set up for them and supply eggs and poop. They also produce enough chickens that I can cover extra feed cost by selling some of them off. Or I can eat them.
I found a great recipe in Food and Wine magazine a few years ago and have made it many times. It is so delicious and anyone who has tried it loves it. You may need to make a double batch. I looked online to see if I could find the recipe. Here is a link Turkish-Style Leeks.
If using saline water to irrigate non-saline areas is imprudent -- as I understand it to be -- how about this? Try to find a salt-tolerant species that produces.copious foilage, then use that foilage as a green mulch for the areas you want to irrigate. This will contribute a quantum of moisture, but also reduce evaporation and make the irrigation water (from rain or whatever) go further. (This assumes there are salt-tolerant plants that make non-saline foilage, which I believe but have not researched.)
In other words, leave your salty groundwater where it is, but try to make it a resource.
I often buy spelt bread and other breads that make a tough loaf, for half price at the organic store, when they are ready to expire. Some are rather dry. I make French toast that is then frozen. The stiffest loaf is softened. This could use up a surplus of both eggs and bread, without special processing. It goes into the toaster for a healthy, instant meal.
If it gets on fuzzy leaves like borage or oregano, it really sticks. Most disease issues with manures, have to do with it being splashed onto leaves by rain or sprinklers. I gathered 6 more buckets today.
It's cold and wet now. Soon the snakes and lizards will move under the hugelkultur for the winter. Coffee will be my only slug protection for the winter crops.
A solid band of filters is used to smother grass and provide a slug barrier.
Every year I try to focus on a plant I can't grow.
This is the year of the aubergine/eggplant.
They either need a much longer and warmer summer than I can give them, or extra help.
I use 'retired' perspex slot machine screens as mini greenhouses.
I drill holes in the corners and wire them together.
I'm very fond of this plant: mignonette It doesn't look like much, but it smells fantastic and insects are mad for it
I don't know what sub species this one is, but it's in its second season after I brutally hacked it back...
I was about to say I've never seen a sloe, but wiki says it's naturalised here so I probably have without realising!
I will check around in sloe season.
As the alcohol is the the preservative and I'm never in a hurry (sugar speeds these processes right up), I'd reduce the sugar to suit my tastes.
Also, no need to prick the fruit if your freezing them-
freezing expands the water in cells, bursting the cell walls and doing the work for you
For the past 4 months I've been using an organic seaweed spray on them. I came across that when working out why the hedge plants look so ill (yellow and brown with curled up leaves with the occasional red spots!). I figured this must be lime induced chlorosis even though the plants are suited to alkaline soil (which is what it is around here), they are probably deficient in nutrients because of what they were planted in. The main ones being magnesium, calcium and iron which are in the seaweed. Ever since starting a strict regime of 15ml seaweed to 5 litres of water applied as a foliar spray every Tuesday just before it gets dark (yes that strict), the plants started producing healthy looking leaves and became less ill looking. By the time it gets to the next spray day they are looking ill again. I think this spray contains all the nutrients they get and it seems like they're dependant on it so as soon as I get some soil in there the better.
It freezes here in UK zone 7. My order of 18 trees and some other plants will arrive in December when it's likely to be frozen and I'm planting them all by myself *brrrrrr*. I think the poor hedge will have to be replanted at the end of December when dormant. I would wait a few months more but I'm not sure if that would be good for them.
The seaweed is supposed to be applied during the growing months and I'm not sure if this applies to this situation. At the same time as providing nutrients it is making them grow extra fast and be healthy but the down side is that they are becoming bigger and less manageable for replanting. Do you think I should stop spraying them this month or continue?
Elaeagnus is supposed to be invasive in some parts of the US so hopefully they will be vigorous enough to make a full recovery!