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Denise Cares

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since Oct 12, 2018
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Recent posts by Denise Cares

Anne Miller wrote:

Denise Cares wrote:What about potential fire danger from so much dead debris in long piles? If wind blows uphill from the pile it could drive the flames toward homestead structures. I think I'd consider a live hedgerow instead.



Are you addressing my comment about one side of my property being a dead hedge fence?

One side of my 40 acres is a dead hedge fence.  It is at least 5 feet across if not more in places.



As for my property since it is 40 acres the long pile is a long way from my house or my neighbor's house.

Since I am on top of a mountain and there is an abandoned airstrip between my house and the pile I feel we have enough safeguards in place so we do not need to worry about the fire from that pile.

Though that is a good warning for others that might be considering an easy/free windbreak hedging.


Yes Anne, the arrangement of your dead hedge was the reason for my concern. Fire typically burns uphill (toward the top of a mountain) rather than down and when driven by wind the sparks can be carried a long way. 40 acres is not so big when you know the devastation of thousands of acres burned by the blazes in the western states in recent years. It takes merely minutes to consume grassland as well as forests and everything in between. These fires have also jumped major highways (4-6 lanes), so an airstrip is not a secure fire barrier - again think of wind blown sparks especially when flames are shooting hundreds of feet in the air via the tree tops.
3 weeks ago
What about potential fire danger from so much dead debris in long piles? If wind blows uphill from the pile it could drive the flames toward homestead structures. I think I'd consider a live hedgerow instead.
1 month ago
Looking for ideas on how to catch a rodent. For the first time this year the critters won't take the peanut butter that I put out as bait. It always worked before but even fresh apple and peanut butter does not entice them.  Any ideas what I can use in a snap trap? The critter is getting bold and letting me stand close to it and watch it, so it seems to not be afraid of me anymore. It's taking charge and comes and goes as it pleases. So bizarre the animal behavior this past 3 years.  Also something is digging numerous deep holes all over the yard. They don't seem to want to bury anything an can't figure out what they are looking for as there are literally NO bugs anywhere that I've found in the soil.  Acorns are on the ground so no need to go digging for them.  Seems the animal kingdom has lost their senses.
1 month ago

Faye Streiff wrote:  Hull less  buckwheat is easy, grows in poorer soil, but have to harvest a few every day because it does not ripen evenly.  I use that to make lasagna noodles with no other flour.  

Would you be willing to share your recipe, method & equipment for making these noodles for us gluten intolerant folk?  Thanks!

Had an idea some years ago to re-use the woven bags that certain produce comes in - onions, oranges, lemons, potatoes, etc. Some are large sacs and some are smaller and some are even stretchy for small bulbs of garlic. So I saved up a few different sizes and thought to use them to cover ripening fruit to "disguise" it and keep critters from pecking at it. It was easy enough to put a bag over the ends of branches and cover one or more fruits at a time securing the bags to the branch with clothespins or ties. This worked quite well initially but there were some bags that got thrown to the ground by "smart" jays or other critters and they still got at the fruit. It might work to cover the sunflower seed heads with one of the larger sacs to keep animals from messing with it. It would still allow sunlight & rain to pass through and give room for growth to maturity.
1 month ago
Kim Goodwin, Those are lovely fat hornworms! I've seen a few that size in the past I do not see any this year. There was also a year when giant moths would visit the evening primrose when they bloomed at night. I never knew they were hornworm moths, also thank you to Mark, Matt and others explaining about the various bugs!  Am seeing few bugs at all, but many sow bugs under things where it's cool. I  have never seen a Colorado Potato beetle in these parts.  I have tons of squirrels and maybe a couple tiny grey grasshoppers but I suspect the lizards are keeping that population down. There have been lots of lizards for several years now and almost no bugs or spiders. I used to see skunk, racoon and rabbit, but rarely if ever now. Even the deer are fewer and looking thin. I suspect whatever is eating the potato leaves is really hungry. The tomato and other veggies (cucumber, pepper, eggplant, even zucchini all purchased as organic heirloom starts) are all struggling to grow and the potato vines are scrawny, so it's not a huge loss losing the leaves as there is hardly a spud to show for the effort.  There are few to no flowers on food bearing trees, vines and bushes (blueberries, raspberries, etc) and the perennials are not growing like they used to. What fruit sets on is dropping off or drying up before ripening.   I have an old huge sturdy lavender bush but this year the flowers are half the size and there are only a few (less than 20 at any time) bees enjoying the flowers where as before they covered it as a buzzing cloud. It makes me sad to see this happening, altho I have been expecting it.  Still we may feel blessed by our Creator with life and our daily labor of caring for one other and for our ailing world.  Insights abound in the Creator's Good Book - see for example Habakkuk 3:17.
1 month ago
Has anyone had the shock of finding all the leaves eaten off a potato stem/vine? My plants are in large pots and the stems have gotten quite long as I neglected to add more soil as they grew, but a couple days ago I went out to find every leaf chewed off the stems. The stems are now wilted but still green and I have no idea if my potatoes will reach a good size or not. It's too early to pick them. Does anyone know what eats the leaves as I thought they are poisonous - like tomato leaves and other nightshade leaves (also like rhubarb)??  I am also losing my tomatoes and their leaves are being chewed off/eaten up by something. I sure would like to know what is going on!
1 month ago
One more tip. I only planted one corm per large 24 -30 inch wide pot or at most 3 small ones evenly spaced. The single ones seem to do better when they are not too crowded together in the pot.  They should not be planted too close together in any case because they can get huge when they are happy!  Even my pots are separated from each other by a few inches. It's easy to water them with a hose wand on "rain shower" setting going from one pot to the next and giving them a good soak daily or every other day. I try to keep the leaves from looking wilted as it stresses them a bit but they usually bounce back if they are under the shade cloth. When not covered they tend to not rebound but will die when they wilt. Maybe it's the variety I have but they definitely like shade.
1 month ago
I planted my crowns in pots. They were first in the dirt for 2 yrs but barely surviving despite frequent watering. They became happier immediately in the pots and are now about 10 yrs old. They produced short, small stalks and leaves until I covered them with shade cloth one summer - then pow!  That is the secret at least here in super dry 7b northern calif. Just provide shade in summer. I never pick all the stalks in the fall, leave the skinny ones that are pencil size and only twist the stalks slightly around the outer edge of their growth on each corm.  If they don't twist off easily on their own I leave them.  That assures the stalks are mature, sweet and that I don't pick too many.  Picking only the ripe ones that way encourages the growth of new stalks from the middle and helps the skinny ones get thicker/longer.  Also they all die back in the frost but come back once the weather warms during the spring rains. I remove any  dried or yellowed leaves/stalks all during the summer and into fall adding them to the compost pile. Also clean up any wilted/soft ones that have frozen leaving only 2- 4 inches of clean leaf mulch over them for the winter. They like a feeding of alfalfa pellets/hay worked into the soil or other nitrogen rich fertilizer (diluted urea) one or two times/year.
1 month ago
I just remembered something. I had some small ice chests that were made for shipping perishable pharmaceuticals stored in a shed. Some of them may have been inside the cardboard box they were shipped in. Some months/years later when cleaning out the shed I discovered that black ants (carpenter ants I think) had made their nest in the walls of the styrofoam ice chests and they were overrun with ants. It was a mess to clean up having to set the chest on the ground and get the ants to leave before tossing the mess. No way to recycle what little was left. The ants were actually eating the styrofoam as they were tunneling through it. Wierd, huh?
2 months ago