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Su Ba's Photos of Her Homestead Farm

 
pollinator
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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I added a pig trap to the farm's inventory this week. I live in an area that has feral pigs. When I'm not using it myself I plan to rent it out--- either $10 per day or I get the caught pig. The landowner can choose which option they want. I suspect I'll be harvesting a lot of wild pork. That's just fine with me.
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pig trap
pig trap
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It fits in the bed of my truck for transporting. Weight: 94 lbs. I can handle it by myself.
 
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Do you think one of those would hold a wild boar? We don't have guns and they are a pest.
 
Su Ba
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I've seen a 350-400 pound feral boar caught in one. Even though the boar went berserko, he couldn't break the trap. Luckily the trap had been strapped to a tree, otherwise that boar would have had it tumbling. With all his thrashing, the only damage was that he bowed out the trap door a bit, but not bad.

The trap is completely welded. It's pretty strong. That boar was trying to break the fencing, but the welds held.

When we approached the trapped boar, he really went crazy. My friend (who owned the trap and trapped that boar) threw a blanket over the trap to help calm the boar down a bit while she got her compound bow ready. Since the trap was near houses, she wasn't legally allowed to kill the boar with a gun....thus the need for the bow & arrow technique.

I don't know if European boars are worse than Polynesian boars, but I saw this trap survive quite a thrashing.
 
Su Ba
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A couple years ago I spied a really cool table at a craft show. The asking price was off the wall. Needless to say, I didn't buy it. But it gnawed at me for quite a while. I figured that just about anyone could make it. The tricky part would be getting all the legs the right length so that the table would sit level.

Then recently I came upon a man selling tree slabs at the farmers market. Cheap. They were pretty rough, but I found two that I liked that were fairly even in thickness. Suddenly I was reinvigorated to making a crafty table. The slabs were already dried, and the bark was mostly firmly attached. I decided to try saving the bark.

Many hours of sanding, sanding again, and sanding some more, I ended up with two rather nicely grained slabs. At this point, my farm handyman offered to make legs out of koa wood branches that he had. I took him up on the offer. After all was assembled, the table was coated in multiple layers of spar varnish.

It turned out beautiful. And this is just table #1. I still have the second slab to sand and make into a table.
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Side view showing the legs.
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Oblique view showing the finished table.
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Top view......and one of our kitty cats.
 
pollinator
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The table is gorgeous!  And I've really enjoyed seeing all the pictures of your farm.  Question -- do you, or can you, grow plantains?  My daughter and I both have celiac disease and other food limitations, and a year or two ago we started eating a lot of plantains as one of our starchy foods (bread and potato replacements).  We eat sweet potatoes, too, but I don't want them every day; it seems like the plantains are more like potatoes and my appetite doesn't get tired of them.
 
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That table is very beautiful. When people see it you will get a lot of questions about it. Thanks for sharing.
 
Su Ba
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Kathleen...Plantains can be easily grown in my region, but I don't have any on the farm. It's not because we don't like them, it's simply because I haven't given them much thought.

We do have a type of banana that serves as a plantain. Like a plantain, it has a hard peel that is easier to cut off than peel. And it stays firm when cooked. But it has a tad of sweetness that other plantains don't have. It's what I use for cooking. This variety can be eaten as a dessert banana if I let it get mature to a dark yellow with black spots all over the peel. Then it is sweet but has a musher texture. We like it frozen at this stage and used in smoothies & milkshakes.

Now that you've put the thought into my head, I think I'll keep an eye out for a plantain to add to the farm's food inventory. Thank you!
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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You are most welcome, LOL!  I wish we could grow them here -- they aren't terribly expensive at the store, but it would be nice if we could raise our own.

I've been rather impressed with the plantains we buy, actually.  I don't care for them when the peels are still green (taste like baked potatoes, but the texture stays too hard for my taste).  But once the peels turn yellow, they are good, right down until they are completely black (when they are squishy, and sweet enough to eat raw).  Even if they get some mold on the outside, the fruit inside is normally still just fine -- they keep much longer than bananas do.
 
Su Ba
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Kathleen...those are great tips to know.

I checked with a local seller at our small Saturday farmers market, and she said that she would dig up a plantain pup from her farm for me. She said that she didn't have any extra plantains to sell. But at least I'll be able to get a start growing my own. It will just be awhile before I get to try them.
 
Su Ba
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What I harvested today for human's food (as opposed to livestock feed) :
    Pineapples - 12
    Lilikoi - 140
    Pipinola - 15
    Papaya - 2
    Tomatoes - 15 ounces of small salad types plus one Roma type
    Lima beans - 1 1/2 cups shelled
    Green beans - 2 pounds
    Macadamia nuts - 4 gallons
    Sweet peppers - 19
    Cucumbers - 2
    Zucchini - 1
    Pumpkin - 1
    Sweet potatoes - 5
    Taro corms - 5
    Carrots - 2
    Potatoes - 3 1/2 pounds
    And a bucketful of assorted greens for making soups and stews this weekend.
    Green onions and assorted herbs for those soups & stews.
    Chocolate mint and spearmint for flavoring drinks.

That's a weird assortment, but harvests vary week to week, primarily because I'm not good at adhering to a planting schedule. Oh I know what I should be planting on a particular week, but I get distracted by something, so I don't get to it. But I roll with the punches and don't get myself in a tizzy over it. So I don't get to eat kale or beets this week. It's no big deal. I'll just eat something else. Maybe, maybe, maybe some day I'll get more disciplined (I sincerely doubt it, but I can dream).
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The green peppers are getting bigger. These I will leave so that they can color up before harvesting,
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My first yellow Roma type tomato.
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My very first eggplant! It's just a baby right now.
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The Black Beauty tomatoes aren't quite ready but they are getting bigger.m
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This is salad tomato called Black Vernissage.
 
Su Ba
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Here's some photos of what I'm harvesting lately.

I'm growing 5 varieties of sweet peppers. I don't like hot peppers, so you won't normally find them growing on my farm

The potato is a red skin, pink fleshed one. It's among my favorites. Easy to grow and usually very productive. But this time the tubers were small and not high in yield because I've been getting too much rain recently. The problem has made me think about making some sort of rain umbrella for over the potato grow boxes.
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A little frying pepper. It's an early and productive producer. Eventually it will turn red if I don't pick and eat them first.
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This is Buran sweet pepper.
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This sweet pepper grows pointing up rather than hanging down. It's just a different variety with a different growth habit.
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I haven't the foggiest idea what variety this is. The seed was in a pack of another variety. I've tasted it and it's a sweet one. Looks to be quite productive.
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Red Thumb potato.
 
Su Ba
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The sweet peppers are being grown in a poly greenhouse. That's because I have a couple varieties of fruit fly in my area which will lay their eggs in the developing pepper, ruining it. The greenhouse has screened ends allowing air to pass through, but not the fruit fly. I've tried several times growing peppers in my outdoor gardens, and although I get a few stunted peppers, most are too damaged to harvest.

I've observed that the pepper plants are taller and slimmer when growing in my greenhouse, as compared to outdoors. Not so bushy looking. Right now the plants are 2 1/2 feet tall and could benefit from some stakes to help support them. They are setting and successfully producing far more fruits per plant than I ever got when growing outdoors along with the fruit flies. So it appears that in my situation, growing sweet peppers in a screen house or airy greenhouse is the way to go.
 
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> table(s)

Su Ba

I decided long ago it's well worth the trouble to make several legs on any table adjustable. It takes some care to assemble a table with 4+ legs _exactly_ the same length and, in the end, whatever floor it sets on, a table w/more than 3 legs almost always wobbles. There are various ways to do this, bought hardware probably being the easiest. Using shims just gives you another chore whenever the table gets bumped at all.

Your new furniture looks very nice. <g>


Cheers,
Rufus
 
Su Ba
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Rufus, since I'm a raw beginner, I opted for three legs. I knew the table would be more stable that way. But thanks for the suggestion. Maybe some day I'll graduate to four legs.
 
Su Ba
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Pineapple Cash Crop

I've been developing the beginnings of cash crops, in order to make my homestead financially independent. My cash demands are quite low, but reality is that the farm needs a bit of cash to keep going. Chainsaws, truck, atv's , etc don't last forever. And at my age, I need those tools to keep going on this place. I'm no spring chicken. And besides, paying the taxes requires cash.

I've been looking at crops that are easy on an aging body. Bananas are the first crop I've been developing. I've got easily over 100 banana trees planted to date, many which are already giving me bunches. And every month I go around looking for pups to transplant, expanding my banana production.

Pineapples are my latest target. This year I've planted 234 pineapple suckers and tops so far. I'm hoping to reach 300 before the end of the year. This is a crop that is very easy for me. It requires a bit of care, but it's not back breaking. If I keep the plants well tended and fertilized, I'm looking at $5 income per plant (on average). Experience tells me that the plant should last 3 to 4 years, with care, before the fruits get too small for a decent sale.

I already have pineapples producing on the farm. I'm not sure exactly how many plants I have, but it's around 100. Half are in the full sun, half are in partial or full shade.

The nice thing about pineapples is that I don't need to de-rock the soil. And while they grow faster and bigger in the sun, they will still produce in the shadier areas, but with smaller fruits. So this crop allows me to utilize areas where I normally can't grow veggies.

Oh by the way, that's grass clipping mulch you're seeing on the ground. I don't use round-up or other chemical herbicides. So it's not killed grass you're looking at. It's mulch that I apply once a month to control weeds and provide nutrients to the plants. If I were energetic, I could grow a crop of some low growing veggies between the pineapples until the plants grew bigger. I've done that in the past with beets and radishes. But I don't have the inclination to do it in these spots because the ground is dense with rocks and the soil isn't up to snuff for veggies.
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2 dozen pineapples
2 dozen pineapples
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Along the driveway is too rocky for much of anything but grass. I have 1 row planted and plan to plant another. Along the fence I'm planting taro, which the sheep won't touch.
 
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Su,  I have never tasted good watermelon grow in the tropics. Not sure if its the heat, too much irrigation or maybe they were water stressed. Variety, soil quality...? It was the same in the Philippines and Kenya. Tasteless, watery mush.

Any ideas?  You seem like someone who would not accept this situation.  Thanks.
 
Su Ba
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Dale, that sounds like a good challenge! I've only tried to grow watermelon once, and that was in the community garden where the sole melon got picked before it was ripe. All other melons had gotten destroyed by pickleworm.

Because of pests, I'd need to grow it protected. That would mean inside a greenhouse or screenhouse, or some sort of protection method out in the field. I suppose the first step would be to see if fruit flies attack watermelons. I could deal with the pickleworm, but fruit flies are more effort to combat. Once I identify the main pests, I bet I could come up with a solution for step 1 (getting mature fruit in the first place). i suspect powdery mildew might be a problem that I'd need to address. And step 3 would be to get the sweetness and flavor. I. Guessing that soil nutirition, drainage, and soil moisture would have bearings on that.

Sounds like a good puzzle to work on. Thanks for the challenge!
 
Su Ba
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Black Beauty Tomato :

Finally I harvested those black beauty tomatoes I've been looking at for weeks now. I started the seeds on June 6. So it's been 103 days. Not what I would call an early variety, for sure. But it is indeed interesting looking.

The surface of the tomato is dark.....real dark, where the sun hit it. Such a dark purple that it's almost black. The rest of it is red. I haven't sliced be open yet because I picked these tomatoes a couple days early. Yes, I was overly eager. So I will see in a couple days how dark the inside is, if at all. And I'll get to taste it.

Because of the late maturity and the fact that the plant isn't very productive, I most likely won't bother growing this one again in a greenhouse. I have limited greenhouse space and don't wish to waste it. But I will try planting it out in the open to see if it has any resistance to the fruit fly.
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Black Beauty tomato.
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The back side of the same tomatoes.
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The half & half view.
 
Su Ba
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Harvested a bit more, so it's time to show it off.......
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Two cucumbers were hiding in the greenhouse, one white and one green. Plus plenty of little sweet peppers. 4 different varieties.
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Blue Adirondack potatoes, plus several different kinds of tomatoes.
 
Su Ba
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A few pics from the farm this weekend:
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Time to clean out greenhouse #1. The cucumber and zucchini plants have died back.
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Removed all the spent plants. Pulled or cut at the soil level all the weeds. Next step-- till in compost before replanting.
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Found these 2 humongous cukes hiding between the greenhouse poly and the garden beds. The slicing type is 12" long, and the pickler is 6".
 
Su Ba
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Due to damage from the erupting volcano upwind from us, our roof suffered serious damage. A constant 15 years of acid rain and acidic vog wasn't kind to the metal. A roof that should have lasted us our lifetime, suddenly needed replacing. We could have patched it here and there as leaks appeared and nursed the roof along for another 5 to 10 years, but I'm not getting any younger. The time to replace it was now before I got too old. Doing it now removes a lot of future worry and dread. And right now I have the money to do it. Later on, the doctors might suck it all away. So I took the plunge and ordered materials. $8000. Ouch.

Rather than hire a roofing crew, my off & on farm handyman and I are doing the labor. Although I have to pay him for his hours, this will still save me a few thousand dollars compared to hiring a roofing firm. Plus the two of us can work around the rain showers. Right now we're doing small sections at a time so that if it starts to rain, we can easily stop and just tarp any exposed seams. And rain it has. We get a few hours each morning before the lunchtime or afternoon rain starts.

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We're changing from a brown roof to a dark green one. The bedroom roof isn't too complicated.
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The other half of the house will be trickier. We must have been insane to make such a complicated roof!
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Half the house uses 8' sheets. The other half uses 10' long roof sheets.
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The angled areas have to custom hand cut. We save the pieces so they can be used for other roof sections, thus saving the long sheets when possible.
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The corrugated roof panels we cut with a nibbler. The flashing we cut with an electric shears. Both tools are making this job a bit easier.
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The electric shears creates a spiral cutout. My mind instantly started thinking about what I could use these for. Giant earrings? Holiday ornaments? Yard art!
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Our roof dragon who overlooks the front door. We will remount him atop the new roof when we're finished.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Those curly cut offs could be added to the top of a fence if there's anywhere that something unwanted is climbing over. Makeshift razor wire.
 
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I love your dragon.

The cutoffs remind me of "drain chains" I've seen in Japan that replace gutter downspouts. I wonder if you could pull them a bit tight (or even fix them, so they are still interesting and twisted but straight enough to function) so they actually can be "streamable" and use them for that.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Wearing good leather gloves, carefully wrap the jagged metal around young trees that you want to prevent being chewed by goats or whomever. So basically I'm still looking at it as a replacement for a razor wire. :-)

It's going to heat in the sun, so leave it loose.
 
Su Ba
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Teresa, that's a cool idea. But I'll pass on doing it because we collect all our rain water. Rain runs off the roof, into gutters, through piping, and into a large storage tank.

Dale, your goat suggestion got me thinking. We have an old goat who is a master at jumping fences. I wonder if the curly spirals would cause him to be leery about trying to jump over. I'm going to give it a try. He tests everything with his mouth. The metal curly spirals may not be to his liking.
 
Su Ba
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Artistic hearts occasionally come out to play, and here's one result. A rustic clothes tree. Just take some dried tree branches, peel them, sand them smooth leaving some under bark for interesting color, apply several coats of polyurethane.  Then cobble them together using long screws.

If I ever get bored with it, in the future this could be real dry kindling for the woodstove. But for now, it's going to reside on my side of the bedroom.

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View from one side.
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View from the other side.
 
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That looks complicated indeed. Good you got some practice at the first easier bit. Whatever and however you do that bit, don't get so tired or emotional that you forget not to have the all time guard running in the background of the mind that doublechecks your every move for possible slip ups. Zen... I NEED those lovely photos of your homestead farm as Vitamin P(ermie) badly.
The second part of the roof, are you going to mark plates, take them off, copy them and screw them back on?
Wish you good luck.
 
Su Ba
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Hugo, we are replacing the roof essentially one sheet at a time. We remove the screws, those that don't break off. Then pick up one sheet and measure it before chucking it off the roof. Any broken screws are either removed or hammered down into the rafter, though removing is preferred so that the stub doesn't interfere with setting future screws. The house structure under the roof sheet is inspected for any damage that might need repair. Then the replacement sheet is cut to size as needed, manhandled up a ladder, and put into place. We put a couple screws in to hold it in place, then move on to the next sheet. When we are done with one section, we put in the rest of the screws and closure strips. We are using this system because of rain. Being on an island in the middle of the ocean, rain squalls can pop up at anytime, considering our current weather pattern. Thus we are not completely removing the roof and then re-roofing. Too much of a chance of rain. Since the house doesn't not have plywood sheathing over the roof area, if it rained, the house below would get soaked until we were able to spread tarps over the house -- a dangerous endeavor on a slippery wet metal roof.

Thanks for wishing we stay safe. It's foremost in our minds. David is in his 60s and I'm in my 70s. So we work slowly and carefully at our age. Fortunately we have both done roofing before and are well aware of the danger. We take no chances.
 
Su Ba
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Just a few scattered photos I took recently......

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Triple banana! Harvested this oddity a couple weeks ago.
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Saved some seeds from a tomato and a lilikoi (passion fruit).
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We're about 3/4 done putting the new roof on the house. We have to work around the rain.
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Harvested the last of the mini sweet peppers, plus some assorted tomatoes.
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My kitchen cane spider. i surprised it when I came in the middle of the night to get a glass of milk. It's hunting among the plum tomatoes.
 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Green Beans:

I grow quite a few different varieties of beans, though not all at the same time. Most of my fresh green beans are either used for trading or are sold. So I grow a wide selection because people have different preferences. It's not uncommon for someone to come up and ask me, " When will the Black Valentines be ready?" ....or Royal Burgundys, or Maxibels. So I'm constantly rotating through the varieties.

All my beans are grown in my traditional garden beds or in the pallet grow boxes. If I grow them in the food forest areas or along the margins places, I forget about them far too easily. Then I miss out on the crop. Green beans are one of those crops that I find are best harvested in their prime. If they are in my main garden areas then I don't miss picking them on time.

Although I refer to this veggie as green beans, or perhaps more correctly snap beans, I grow a variety of colors. Traditional green, pink, red, purple, yellow, and red/yellow striped. Pretty neat, right? And even the flowers come in different colors, depending upon the variety. I'll occasionally harvest a few flowers to jazz up a salad. Yup, they're edible.

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Pure white flowers -- Carson
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purple -- Royal Burgundy
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Pink & white -- Red Swan
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Beans growing in a pallet box. After I harvested the potatoes, I sowed the beans. I can get two good crops out of a box before I need to till in fresh compost.
 
Posts: 559
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
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Su Ba wrote:Log Sitting Benches

Years ago, maybe 10-12 years, we made a number of log benches here & there around the farm. The various wind storms had brought down some trees, which we cut and used for various projects. But we saved the big trunks with the thought of having them milled into slabs. But alas, the person we knew with the portable sawmill moved away, so we ended up with these logs. Rather than trying to struggle getting them to a mill, we decided to make log benches. Yes, they could have been made into firewood, but we didn't need it.



I REALLY REALLY envy that dry stone wall you've got.

Wish I had stones and the ability to make one. Perhaps the best I can hope for is one made from gabions - a poor alternative in comparison.

The tree tomato looks like an interesting species - do they actually taste like tomatoes or simply used the same way?

The Chayote (we call them Choko) look nice and healthy. According to my Dad, his older Sister who I never met, could cook them in such a fashion that they resembled stewed pears - couldn't tell them apart. Unfortunately the recipe died with her. Perhaps someone on the Forum has a similar recipe?

Amongst the other things that I envy in seeing your posts is how green everything is - being in a drought, the only green things not getting regular water are the Eucalypt trees, most other plants are brown or bleaching to shades of beige!

 
Su Ba
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The rock wall exists only because I have tons of rocks I don't know what to do with otherwise. Every time I dig a hole I get rocks. Most people around here just throw them into a pile on the back of their property, but I opted to utilize them instead. Thus my long rock walls. One of these days I'm going to measure just how many feet of rock wall that I've built so far. Rocks are a blessing and a curse. A blessing -- I can built stuff with them. A curse-- it's almost damn impossible to dig a hole without using a hydraulic hammer.

Tree tomatoes are an oddity. Most people don't bother growing them. No, they don't taste like tomatoes. I'm not particularly fond of the flavor except if I make jam and use sugar. So once a year I'll make a few jars of jam, enough to last me until the next harvest,

I find the chayote to be very versatile. They make a great mock apple pie. Apples cost a fortune here, so I use chayote (called pipinola in Hawaii) instead. They are also great stewed in chicken broth with a bit of soy sauce, sugar, and ginger. I bet bet if I took the time I could come up with a recipe like stewed pears. Now that you've got me thinking, I going to see how they taste when cooked with allspice or maybe cloves.

Green, green, green. Yup. I've been getting rain pretty consistently for the past 4-5 years. So much rain that we are sick of it. We were used to having cyclic droughts, but that's history for now. The constant rain has made everything green and lush. But the rain has its downsides.....mold everywhere, rotted root crops, hoof rot in the livestock, everything metal is rusting, and we're tired of rain. Hubby complains that his feet never dry out, so I liked the cyclic droughts better even though it was a challenge to grow food and pasture.
 
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Posts: 559
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Su Ba wrote:The rock wall exists only because I have tons of rocks I don't know what to do with otherwise. Every time I dig a hole I get rocks. Most people around here just throw them into a pile on the back of their property, but I opted to utilize them instead. Thus my long rock walls. One of these days I'm going to measure just how many feet of rock wall that I've built so far. Rocks are a blessing and a curse. A blessing -- I can built stuff with them. A curse-- it's almost damn impossible to dig a hole without using a hydraulic hammer.

Tree tomatoes are an oddity. Most people don't bother growing them. No, they don't taste like tomatoes. I'm not particularly fond of the flavor except if I make jam and use sugar. So once a year I'll make a few jars of jam, enough to last me until the next harvest,

I find the chayote to be very versatile. They make a great mock apple pie. Apples cost a fortune here, so I use chayote (called pipinola in Hawaii) instead. They are also great stewed in chicken broth with a bit of soy sauce, sugar, and ginger. I bet bet if I took the time I could come up with a recipe like stewed pears. Now that you've got me thinking, I going to see how they taste when cooked with allspice or maybe cloves.

Green, green, green. Yup. I've been getting rain pretty consistently for the past 4-5 years. So much rain that we are sick of it. We were used to having cyclic droughts, but that's history for now. The constant rain has made everything green and lush. But the rain has its downsides.....mold everywhere, rotted root crops, hoof rot in the livestock, everything metal is rusting, and we're tired of rain. Hubby complains that his feet never dry out, so I liked the cyclic droughts better even though it was a challenge to grow food and pasture.




In regards to tomato jam, decades ago when we had a glut of normal tomatoes, Mum made jam out of them with different combinations of other fruit e.g. tomato & pineapple, tomato & passion fruit, plain tomato. By far the nicest was the tomato & passion fruit - REALLY good stuff.

Yes, reckon you're onto the flavour combo with allspice and cloves. Suppose there's not much difference between stewed apple and stewed pear when really comparing it - just a small flavour tweak. Could you provide the apple recipe when you've time please?

Tropics and mould! Yeah, rain is good when it comes, washes dust off things and fills tanks. Just don't stand in one place too long, with that soil you've made you may just sprout roots and become a permanent fixture!



 
Tereza Okava
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Su Ba wrote:I find the chayote to be very versatile. They make a great mock apple pie. Apples cost a fortune here, so I use chayote (called pipinola in Hawaii) instead. They are also great stewed in chicken broth with a bit of soy sauce, sugar, and ginger. I bet bet if I took the time I could come up with a recipe like stewed pears. Now that you've got me thinking, I going to see how they taste when cooked with allspice or maybe cloves.  


They make an excellent cucumber substitute in pickles as well, for these wet tropical years when your cucumbers just dissolve into a mess of ick. Extra bonus, they usually stay nice and crispy.
 
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I love your homestead! Your pictures are great!
 
Su Ba
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Coffee picking season has started for my location. My shade grown coffee comes in a bit later than the sun grown trees in my area. The crop will be a heavy one this year, most likely due to the frequent rains.

I'm trying a Hawaiian landrace lima bean in the greenhouse this year. In the past limas didn't produce well on my farm. I suspect it is because it's a tad too cool. So I tried growing them in a greenhouse this year and I got a nice crop of Dixie Speckled Butterpea and Jacksons Wonder. Based on that, I'm trying the Hawaiuan type. Today I found the first flowers. Yeah!!! Now if they will set beans in the pods, I'm onto a good solution.

It's been a month and a half since I planted the pineapple and taro starts. It looks like every one of them survived, and they have increased in size. So far, so good.
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Coffee picking season has started. These are the first cherries to get red enough to pick.
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My Hawaiian landrace lima beans are growing well.
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The very first flowers on the lima bean vines. What a lovely pastel color!
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The pineapple starts and young red stemmed taro are coming along nicely.
 
Tereza Okava
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I was wondering how your pineapples were coming along! Everything looks great.
Do you process and dry your coffee yourself? Here many people have coffee trees in their yard, but from what I hear it`s probably been a good 25 years since people actually made their own coffee from them, now they`re just treated as ornamentals in yards (and they make a heck of a mess). The process of drying, shelling, etc is just too much.
 
Su Ba
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Teresa,  most people around here don't bother to grow their own coffee, but I do happen to know of many who do. Some folks process the beans for themselves, while others just let a local coffee grower come over and pick the trees in exchange for a bag or more of roasted coffee at the end of the season, depending upon the number of trees. Some landowners just pick the cherry and sell it to the local coffee mill. I do know of 3 properties where the coffee isn't harvested and is left to waste, but that's not the usual case around here. People are are more apt to let their oranges or bananas go to waste than their coffee. I guess that's because Kona coffee is just a big deal and always being promoted.

Processing coffee from start to finish isn't all that difficult. It can be done at home with a little work and time. Plus it helps that we have a full service coffee mill in the area. So if a person has too much coffee to process at home, it can always be taken to the mill for finishing, though that costs money of course.
 
Su Ba
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Mulch

Grass clippings are my number one go-to mulching material. I'm a big user of mulch. I try to never leave soil bare. The tropical sun and tradewibds can dry it out to bone-dry in one day. And besides, decomposing mulch provides nutrients to the soil and plants.

I can grow a good portion of my own grass clippings. But I also have permission to mow two other nearby properties. Plus I mow the grass along the road in front of my place. It technically belongs to the county, but no one cares if I keep it mowed. Most neighbors keep the grass mowed along the street in front of their place.

I use both a self propelled bagging mower, and a riding mower with a bagger attachment. I only use the riding mower if the land is level and rock free. Thus the push mower gets lots of use. Yes, I live in the land of rocks!

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Harvesting mulch along the road in front of the farm.
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Mulch applied to an area where I have 46 young pineapple plants and six very young pumpkin plants growing. In a couple months the pumpkin vines will fill in the area.
 
Su Ba
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The photos below show a little section along my driveway. Originally it was a pile of rubble left by the bulldozer that cut in the driveway. The pile was mostly fractured lava chunks with a bit of dirt mixed in. This area is exposed full sun, plus is dry. It's tough to get much of anything to grow in this spot.

I'm in the process of transforming this spot into some sort of production that will benefit my homestead. I haven't devoted a lot of time on it, but I've put a few hours into it about 3 times a year. Initially I moved the rocks around to create some sort of terracing. Then I spread a bit of compost and covered it with mulch. Eventually I planted some excess stuff I had on hand ...... Society garlic, garlic chives, sweet potato cuttings, and cactus cuttings. Each time I worked this project, I'd weed out the few volunteer ferns and grasses, try to scratch in some compost, add a few more plants to replace the ones that died, then mulch it area. As I mentioned, this has been done several times now over the past few years.

Presently I noted that I'm making progress. The society garlic and chives are actually thriving. The cactus took root and are slowly growing. The sweet potato vines are barely making it, but their roots are helping create soil. Bromeliads and pineapples now call this place home, and since they both can handle dry poor soil, they are surviving.

I could get this spot into production quicker, but I don't have the time. So I am content to let things be as they are. The soil is gradually being created. The plants are capturing and holding wind blown tree Ieaves now, helping even more with soil creation. And the spot is looking nicer than just a pile of bare rubble. Since moisture will be a problem in this spot, my plan is to grow plants that can tolerate the dryness. The sweet potato vines should help shade the soil from the tropical sun.

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