Tag Archives: farming

More, More, More

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More HEAT, means less harvest and more canning!  The ladies kept up their kitchen wrangling and canned more peppers.  This time we used what gloves we had, which were latex, and that was our fatal mistake!  Note dear reader, that when you can any type of hot pepper, you must MUST wear gloves!  But not just any type of glove I learned.  As we started to chop, we all got the tingles in our fingers, then the tingles turned to a burning sensation.  I said “Gloves OFF!” and we went to the store to buy some blue nitrile gloves, but the damage had been done.  I whipped out my handy iPod touch gadget and looked up pepper chopping and glove choice.  Apparently the molecules of capsaicin are small enough to transfer through the pores of latex gloves, so says the internet, and my burning hands.  So, keep that in mind if you choose to participate in the fun that is canning hot peppers.  Nitrile gloves, or rubber kitchen gloves!

Our method was to de-seed MOST of the peppers, so that there would be some heat in the jar, but that they wouldn’t be so hot that you can’t taste anything for a week.  They turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.  What’s that?  You want to know the method?  Alrighty, I too had to look it up and found an ever so useful blog, where the writer said that she has not worn gloves and been fine, but when her kids want to help, she does wear gloves.  Do yourself a favor and wear gloves.  We canned in half-pint jars, so adjust your recipe accordingly if you decide to go bigger.

For half-pint jars, pack the jar full of peppers, leave a head space.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of canning salt and fill with a mixture that is half white vinegar and half water.  So for a full pint, put in a full teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons if you are canning a quart.  You process in the hot water bath for ten minutes.  It’s the simplest thing I’ve ever canned, no cooking involved!  The prep is what will get you!  So remember the NITRILE gloves.

It seems like all I’ve done is take pictures of people working, but don’t be fooled.  I was in there, educating, chopping, and…taking pictures!

I recommend that you give pickling peppers a try, it’s so easy, and they turned out really tasty!

Ozark Alternatives

It Was a Scorcher Today

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Growing up in the Central Valley of California, where summer temps reach the 110° F or warmer, I thought I knew heat.  It was mother loving HOT today.  A friend said last night that when you have a fan going in a blistering hot house that you turn it into a convection oven.  Well, I believe I’m fairly well done now.  “They” said that the temps would be between 105°-107°F, yo no sé, all I know is….what was I just saying?  Sorry, I’m a bit sun-scorched.  One day, I’ll live in a house with air conditioning, but right now I’m putting in my time, on this whole homestead thing…I’m earning my stripes so to speak.  Chime in though, tell me I’m crazy.

See more pictures, of Heidi, Laura and I doing our thing at dusk, because that’s the way we do it around hrrrr.

Visit:  Ozark Alternatives

And thanks : )

2012=Sunset in the East

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This evening, something magical happened.  I’m just going to bombard you with pictures, because I couldn’t decide on the nicest few…I was so frantic in snapping them, that as a collection they are appropriate in giving you my experience, and also a sense of how quickly it came and went.

 

 

 

The Set-Up:  

 

 

I was in my front garden watering some green beans, looking west.  I just so happen to turn my head east, dropped my hose, ran for my camera and called to my son Oliver to come and see the sunset.  When he came outside, he looked west, and shrugged as if to say “so?”  I flipped him around.  He was excited about the colors, but wasn’t too excited about the fact that it was in the east.  Until I helped him put two and two together.  Fayetteville and the surrounds, if you were not lucky enough to see this magical sight, I hope these pictures do it a little bit of justice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what it looked like to the west…not quite as spectacular.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Christmas Miracle!

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Today around noon, I was out watering some green bean plants in the heat, in vain, thinking, I should blog about this…and then thinking no, people don’t want to hear me bitch all the time.  I swear, everything I want to write about is how the weather SUCKS, and is uncooperative in the summer.  It’s depressing fighting the good fight.  It was so hot earlier, that I would spray my feet here and there, because it was too hot to stand on the dead grass.  Occasionally I’d step on a tiny pebble and jump, because the pebble felt like a hot coal.  Too hot to stand on the dead grass!!!!  We took a break around 2pm, to grab some late lunch.  Out of nowhere, clouds rolled in, then rolled through DUMPING RAIN (!!!!!!!!!!) all over this region.  Good thing I watered!  I was so happy, I almost cried.  We needed the rain.  And by we I mean for all of us Northwest Arkansas, this rain was for all of us!  Thank you rogue storm, now my rain barrels are full and the ground is well watered!

A Day of Firsts

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Yes, you’re right it is May 1st.  Happy May Day.  It was also DAY 1 of our CSA deliveries for the season (applause).  Thank you.  To top it all off, I got my first tick bite of the year.  I just found it and it was a MONSTER!  So much so, that it prompted me out of my blog slumber, to take a picture and tell you about it.

Terribly picture, my camera wasn’t focusing, and time was of the essece…and my computer stepped in.  Look at that BEAST.  It hurt pulling it out.  For all of you naturopath folk out there, would plantain help?  I went out with the flash light and picked some…someone chime in!  I have green clay on it right now, but looking for helpful remedies.

Cue the Banjos #2

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I just got back from the spot where the hoop stood.  There was a break in the rain, and I felt brave enough to see the carnage for myself.  It’s funny how you think you are prepared for things sometimes, I saw the images, I knew what I was about to see, but it still didn’t stop the fact of the gravity of the situation washing over me, and me weeping uncontrollably for at least five minutes.  I didn’t realize all of the attachments I had connected to that structure, and it all came out.

This is what I walked up to, snapped the picture, took a deep breath….trying to hold it all in, and sniff…you know the rest.

This is incredibly sad to me.

I knew the wind was strong, but to walk up to this and see the couplers twisted like this, it…..yeah.  WOW!

sniff sniff. : (

Incredible.

This image is of the pipe that anchored the whole ship to the ground, bent up, but the earth augur is still in the ground.

The North side hoop blown and twisted toward the east.

Mother Nature straight up body slammed this hoop!

The chard is still delicious!

I’d like to mention that when I said I cried uncontrollably, it was more like angry weeping, It sucked…it still does, but we must move forward!

Here is the Mothership in happier times! R.I.P.

She grew a lot of food last season, and she will be missed.

I would also like to add here some thanks: Roy, thanks for being here to be a chaperone for the kids, and you forgot the blood soup in the fridge.  Paul Z, thanks for coming over first thing and asking what do you need to do first, much appreciated.  Grace, thanks for taking pictures this morning and having nice hugs.  Cody, thanks for calling and lending your help when we need it…I’m thinking farm aid!

 

 

A little Orr-chard maintenence

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Our neighbor, Sir Richard Orr (The lion-hearted), is a certified arborist.  We needed his help the other day trimming trees, specifically the fruit orchard that we put the chickens on.  Those trees had never been trimmed and were in need of serious help.

Richard’s advice was to get Zen with it.  Here he is telling Jake about the exciting world of tree trimming.

Richard let everyone have an opportunity to make cuts.

Phone went ding*

As you can see, these trees got a TRIM!

The Master at work.

Grace is taking a picture of her feet right here.  I found it funny to look over and see this happening.

The chickens were eating the blossoms.  It looked really pretty to see them frolicking among the downed branches.

This was a different kind of tree than the others.  It had a whole new set of challenges, but remember: ZEN.

Almost done with this mad tangle of a tree: zen zen zen zen zen zen zen zen zen!!!!!!!!

And last, but not least, Isaac showed up to hold a chicken.  AAAAWWWWWWWWWW.  That chicken was very zen.

 

 

 

Big D has left the building

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Our first WWOOF’er of the season, Mr. Damian Garza, drove off today.  It was hard on everyone.  We were all so tired of each other that fresh meat did us some good around here.  Grace summed it up perfectly, even though she spelled his name wrong, so click here to read about it.  We miss you already D, safe travels.

A little here a little there, and all of the in between

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Lots has been going on lately.  So much so in fact, that I’ve been distracted, but fear not dear reader, here’s your update!

Everyone, meet Carolina Proudfoot, yes that’s her real name.  She’s a student at the University of Arkansas, who is doing a chicken project on the farm to earn a minor in sustainability.  The sustainability minor is a new thing on campus.  Our farm is on a list serve for volunteer opportunities for students, and I think that’s how Carolina came our way.  She’s a wealth of chicken knowledge and we’re looking forward to gleaning lots from her.  In this picture, she’s standing next to one of two mobile chicken coops she and her friend are building.

This is Carolina’s friend.  Sorry dude, I never caught your name.  You look pretty tough though, wielding that power tool.

WOOF-pack  planted peas.

The crew also helped Carolina and her chicken coop mission.

This one makes me laugh.  John’s face is so intense.

In other news, Paul has brewed a batch of beer, after talking about it for years.  Here is his inspiration for starting his first batch, Roy Emerson.  He’s about to syphon the beer out of the fermenter and into the keg.  Fun times, and great beer!  It was one of those why didn’t we do this earlier moments.

There was a peanut gallery waiting for the spoils.

Here we are hunting for carrots and weeding in the process.  It’s fun to work inside the new high tunnel….WINK* (ahem, potential WOOF’ers).  The roof of the structure totally changes the mood, like you’re in a room outside, I don’t know, but you can help any time you want.

We were trying to accrue 60 pounds of carrots for some farm to school meal thing.  For two days we were pulling out babies, the tiniest of tiny.  We definitely met our quota of weeds.  After the first day of picking we had only ended up with 7 or 8 pounds.  It didn’t look like we were going to make the goal, but we kept at it…for the kids.

This awkward photo of me bending over, is meant to accompany the good news that we eventually did pick 60 pounds of carrots.  Paul led the team to a different bed entirely where they were able to pick carrot after carrot, with Damian picking the monster of all monsters that weighed a half a pound.

 

Hello All

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Just a little note, Mother Earth News has taken me on as a blogger for their “Happy Homesteading” Blog.  Here is a link to my first blog post for them.  And for those of you who are finding this blog for the first time through them perhaps, welcome!  I encourage you to start from the beginning…and the rest of you for that matter.