Tag Archives: homesteading

Not Much…

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What I love about winter, being in this farming profession, is that it is the one time of year that you can put your feet up…for a week or so.  December 18th, we said goodbye to the last WWOOF’ers of the season, and have been blissfully schedule-free since then.  That however, doesn’t mean that nothing has been going on.  Paul has been outside combing over the landscape, planning for this forthcoming season.  The kids and I have been holed up, homeschooling, and enjoying the moments together.  The grind will start up again tomorrow, or possibly Monday, when the first WWOOF’er of the season shows up.  I’m not even sure of his name, but I think he’s from New Mexico.  Bring it on!  It’s just crazy to think that it’s beginning again already.  No break is ever long enough when you work so hard for most of the year.  So, I’ll take these next few hours to revel in the…chaos?  One other important bit of info that has happened since the beginning of the new year is that I have eliminated wheat from my diet.  So far the results are great.  I feel amazing.  I decided to do this, because I had developed allergies last year, and the more I researched, wheat seemed to be a big red flag in people’s diet that leads to allergies.  The first three days were rough to say the least.  I didn’t expect a fallout, but it happened, and it wasn’t pretty.  The other day on the Colbert Report, they did a whole bit on how kids shouldn’t eat wheat, and how bread is just as addicting as crack…this explained everything!  Google it readers, I’m glad I did.

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Wednesday is going to be confusing…

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Today we said goodbye to the last WWOOFers of the season, Sunny and Lan.  What a joy it was having them, as well as everyone else this season.  Without the help of strangers, Paul and I wouldn’t be able to do what we do.  A person can say thanks all they want, and possibly still not get their point across.  I feel like I couldn’t say it enough to prove how much I mean it.  So, I’ll just type it: thank you.

It’s bittersweet, the whole WWOOF-host thing.  All of these people who come into my life, impact it in some shape or form, and then they leave…onto the next farm, or just moving on.  Just so you know WWOOF-pack, it doesn’t get any easier, saying goodbye.  I wish you all now like I did during our ‘See you later’ speeches the best of luck.  And please, come see me.

Tomorrow is the last delivery for the Fall CSA, and Paul and I are going to be very busy harvesting, packaging and delivering food tomorrow, our heads will be spinning.  We’ve been doing the whole CSA thing for 34 weeks straight.  It’s been a lot of logistics, and long days, which turns Wednesday into Friday.  This Wednesday will be interesting, there will be no one else to cook for except my family, no casual conversation except for my family, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO!  We still have game night…(which by the way Pat and Pakis, I’ve won 5 in a row, come challenge me!)

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Penguin Peppers

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You know it has been a long season, when your plants start producing magical, yet comical fruits.  They must be saying to us, sit down and have a laugh, it’s almost over.

Not only are there penguin peppers, but peppers with funny noses:

These peppers are doing their job, showing us that plants can have a sense of humor too!

 

 

Hoop House Hoopla

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We’ve been really busy here on the farm, our main project right now, on top of EVERYTHING else is re-erecting the Mothership.  If you aren’t a 2-greenthumbs superfan, let me fill you in.  Last march our hoop house, the Mothership, was blown down in what we later found out was a F1 tornado.  Look back into my archives, there were pictures and tears shed.  But NOW we are putting a new Mothership back up, better than ever.  There were lots of hands involved in this, there are some pictures on my other farm blog Ozark Alternatives and I will add some more here as well.

 

I would just like to add that we also pulled the roof up and over!  There are no pictures of that, because all hands were on deck.  FARM LIFE!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Weeding Stops Being Polite and Starts Getting REAL

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We have encountered infestation upon infestation this season, the first time ever for us to have to battle so many wars on so many fronts.  When things like this happen, and you grow organically like we do, you need to figure out some options.  What isn’t an option, is what most people would flock to, some Sevin dust, or some sort of Monsanto product.  Us fringe wackos use things like diatomaceous earth, or neem oil, or Pyrethrin.  Things that work, but aren’t a 100% knockout punch.  This morning, one of our WWOOF’ers, Heidi, and I were weeding in a bell pepper bed, and we had scores of uninvited guests also present with us.  These pictures I am about to show you are graphic in nature, and not suitable for all eyes.

These are Blister Beetles.  When squished, or if they get on you and give you a nibble, they have a defensive secretion that causes your skin to blister.  The chemical they secrete is harvested in certain species of beetles and used to remove warts.  I wasn’t expecting this kind of excitement at 6am, but at least I had on socks and shoes.   Poor Heidi had on shorts and flip-flops.  We soldiered on, the whole time thinking “NO WHAMMIES!!!”


Not only were the beetles on the pepper plants themselves, but on all of the weeds we were pulling.  I would sweep them to the side with my glove and then pull.  What’s the saying?  Hindsight is always 20/20?  Well, in hindsight, we probably should have got the hell out of there…it was like weed pulling Vietnam.  Poisonous bugs EVERYWHERE, that harbor a blistering agent…those sneaks.

The thing about these bugs, is that there are 7500 varieties of them.  These happen to be striped.  The ones we fought off in Big Poppa (Hoop House #2) were all black…they were goth blister beetles.  AND, these bugs were not there yesterday.  Ladies and gentlemen out there in cyber-land, if you know how to communicate with these devils, please let me know.  I’d like to make peace and show them some nice and tasty weeds to munch.  Isn’t that strange when you think about it?  Mammals and insects are no dummies when it comes to a tasty snack.  They wait until it’s practically ripe even…I just blew your minds, chew on that for a while.

It was definitely a party.  I went on one of those google searches to find a picture of a blister from a blister beetle.  I found the most gentle one to share, they can really tear a person up…so you’re welcome.


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!