I love collecting weather
data --- not only is it good, geeky fun, the endeavor also helps me
decide whether the garden needs to be watered and it helps me keep track
of our specific frost-free period. Unfortunately,
weather-tracking kept falling by the wayside when the tools of the trade
turned out to be shoddy and quickly bit the dust.
A couple of years ago, I solved the temperature-tracking dilemma by going completely analog, and now I'm hoping I've found the rain gauge that will survive winter freezes. The inner cylinder measures up to one inch of rain, then the outer container gives you an extra ten inches of wiggle room. In the winter, you remove the inner cylinder, bring the frozen precipitation indoors to thaw, and then pour it into the measurer.
My weather guru sent our new rain gauge along in exchange for using our farm as a weather station --- he's tracking the way a nearby mountain impacts microclimates in our region. He's had to replace two rain gauges (not sure out of how many -- quite a few) over the last seven years due to freezing, but that's much better than my previous rate of losing a rain gauge every year.
Now, to see if I can remember to thank him by keeping track of which days begin with fog....
Accross the creek and road
there is a dark patch,
likely a cave.
I feel those eyes.
Visions of Indians,
a feeling of protection,
a fighter on my side.
A collection of bears,
scales the cliffs
to get inside.
That night I dream,
passing a tree so hollow inside.
Meeting the eyes of the women in it.
Their heads thrown back in laughter.
When they offer me a pawpaw,
I look down to see I have eaten half already.
I believe in dreams.
I tell my shrink.
I tell John Lennon.
I tell my sister.
I believe in dreams.
I tell a friend in facebook.
They all agree but no one understands.
When I was manic I saw the other side.
Not of death but of consciousness.
I learned it is real over there.
You can enter the cave
and never leave.
If you find the right tree
there are beautiful women
serving you pawpaws,
Their heads thrown back, in laughter.
Today I tried putting a piece
of nylon rope
where the trimmer
line usually goes.
It worked pretty good till it got frayed, and it still kept cutting, but not as fierce.
Maybe soaking the rope in some sort of adhesive would extend the amount of cutting each piece can do before it needs replacing?
What could possibly go wrong:
So, Cloudflare can get a cert for any domain belonging to their customers, and will soon be doubling the number of https sites on the internet by doing so.
And, Cloudflare gets this cert from Comodo, which has in the past given fraudulent certificates for google.com to the government of Iran. And which was only not blacklisted from browsers because too big to fail.
Then drop the bitcoin on the ground, and track how long it takes for it to be converted back into $$
glass (ish) pie pan
Why does pumpa not let me post meme images in response to comments?
should have been more generous with the blue cheese
My second paperback has a cover, a publication date (March 3) and a preorder page! I'm not entirely sure whether I like the image, but then, I hated The Weekend Homesteader cover...until it slowly grew on me over the years so that I now find it delightful (yellow boots and all).
And Skyhorse has done a great job producing a full-color book priced at
a steal (marked down to $11.55 at the moment), so grab one while
In other book news, the ebook version of Trailersteading is on sale today for $1.99. I haven't uploaded the expanded and revised version yet (still waiting on print-quality photos from a few contributers --- you know who you are and will get email nudges next week). But if you buy now, you'll automatically receive an updated edition this winter when the new version is available, and will have saved 50% off the cover price in the process. Of course, you could also wait for the paperback, which will be coming out in fall 2016.
Thanks for putting up with a day of self-promotion. I can hardly wait to see the interior of The Naturally Bug-Free Garden, and I suspect you'll have to bear with a glowing post about that too. I promise that serious content will return shortly to a blog near you.
The old freezer
we want to use for goat feed storage accumulates water.
I think it's functioning as a solar still when the sun hits it.
Hopefully this vent hole will help to keep it dryer.
I stressed myself out
last week by playing hooky from the garden for three days while a
writing project consumed my attention. When I came up for air, I
realized that it was time to plant twelve beds of garlic and two beds of
potato onions before the end of the week --- yikes!
Whenever I get overwhelmed by homesteading tasks, Mark reminds me that, together, he and I can do anything. Add in Kayla, and we managed to get all of the winter alliums into the ground in about 9 man-hours. Time to quit early and enjoy the fall weather!
I've avoided posting
anything specific about garlic here because I've pretty much said it all
before. Type "garlic" into the search box on the sidebar and
you'll learn far more than you ever wanted to know.
The only thing we're doing differently this year is to cut back to only growing Music garlic. It seems a bit dicey to put all of our eggs in one basket, but over the last eight years, this variety has consistently done better than all the others, and the huge cloves make cooking a breeze. Maybe next year we'll try a few other hardneck varieties...but maybe we'll say if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
worked pretty well.. planning a fig and pear tart another day. maybe with blue cheese?
Made two releases of git-annex, yesterday and today, which turned out to contain only Debian changes. So no need for other users to upgrade.
This included fixing building on mips, and arm architectures. The mips build was running out of memory, and I was able to work around that. Then the arm builds broke today, because of a recent change to the version of llvm that has completely trashed ghc. Luckily, I was able to work around that too.
Hopefully that will get last week's security fix into Debian testing, and otherwise have git-annex in Debian in good shape for the upcoming freeze.
--- Jake, whose excellent blog is currently one of my favorites. His writing will definitely be enjoyed by those who love a combination of useful facts, zany humor, and unadulterated geekiness.
Good question, Jake! I haven't posted much about our pear trees because they're mostly in the waiting stage at the moment. We originally planted a Keiffer and an Orient pear (the latter of which shouldn't be confused with Asian pears), and they grew quite well...but produced fruits that weren't worth eating. (Yes, we are snobs. Yes, if you plan to cook with the fruit, these are probably still quite good varieties.)
So, a year and a half ago, I topworked
the young trees to change them over to new varieties --- Seckel,
Comice, and an unknown variety that is supposed to be similar to
Comice. The two named varieties are reputed to be moderately
susceptible to fireblight, and I have
seen a small amount of damage from that bacteria, although not enough
to really slow down the trees. (The photo above shows the huge
number of new branches the Seckel's central leader has produced during
this growing season alone.) Otherwise, the transformed trees seem
to be immune to problems. Like most pears, our trees grow a mile a
minute and I'm kept busy ripping off watersprouts to ensure that the
pears don't revert back to their original varieties, then training
keeper branches closer to the horizontal so they don't all grow straight
for the sky.
If all goes well, we
should see several fruits on each tree next year, at which point I'll be
able to tell you whether Seckel and Comice live up to their potential
for producing delicious pears that are much less prone to diseases than
apples are. So far, except for the fireblight, our pear trees have
been pristine. Of course, there are apple varieties that are nearly as disease resistant, and we manage to grow several despite having cedar-apple rust coming in from all sides --- a focus on types that are able to fight off that particular fungus is a big help.
But, from a management standpoint, I'd say that pears have definitely
been our easiest fruit tree, followed by apples, and then trailed
further behind by peaches. Of course, the peaches do shine in terms of producing soonest after planting, so it's all a tradeoff. But, yes, plant those pears!
One of my favorite features of our black-soldier-fly bin
is the clear plastic, which lets me see exactly what's going on
inside. While this might not be quite as cool as an observation
hive (grimy grubs versus beautiful bees), the transparency does make it
easy to notice how many larvae are working inside. And, this week,
the feature helped me realize that a bunch of black pupae were
congregating in the bottom of the bin.
The instructions tell you to flood the bin with water once a week to prevent this exact problem...but I forgot. Luckily, it wasn't too late to harvest all of those yummy pupae. A couple of hours after flooding, I dropped by the bin and saw that there were pupae filling the ant moat (which I'd luckily forgotten to fill with water as well) since they'd all tried to crawl out so quickly that there was a traffic jam in the entrance ramp to the collection bin.
Mark helped me collect all of the escaped pupae, and we ended up with about three pints worth! In fact, based on how much the contents of the bin dropped in height after the crawl-off, I suspect we might have lost another pint of pupae before I noticed the great escape. Luckily, "lost" pupae will just turn into lots of adults to repopulate the bin, so it's all good.
The moral of the story? If you don't keep a close eye on your bin and need to do an emergency flooding, stand by to prevent escapes!
There's something pleasingly symmetrical about the power and information inputs both being in the form of light.
100 watt hours is 3 to 5 days power budget for me in winter... I think I did all of last January on something like 120 watt hours actually. [edit: Err, I am probably off by a factor of 12 cause I was talking about amp hours]
We've been having a problem
with our pet door.
When Huckleberry squeezes through he rubs against the locking tab and pushes it into a position that blocks the door from opening back up.
I drilled a hole through the tab so we could plug a wire through it to keep it open.
Since we've been averaging about half a cup of black-soldier-fly larvae going to the tractored
hens every day (plus they get all of our food scraps), I decided to run
a color test on yolks from our pasture versus from our tractor. I
hypothesized that the latter would have the most bright-orange yolks
due to all their treats...but I was wrong!
Instead, the orangest yolks came from the pastured hens (although the leghorn egg was paler --- those flighty critters aren't as keen on scratching for their dinner). It seems that even a daily offering of insects and pepper tops isn't enough to make up for the hens' lack of space to run around.
I should have thrown in a store-bought egg to make this comparison really perfect, but I can tell you from past experience that those yolks would be significantly paler than even the Leghorn eggs. So, yes, you will be improving over store-bought with a chicken tractor, but for absolutely tip-top eggs, you need to use rotational pastures and to choose those varieties wisely. Enjoy your orange yolks!
I think I'll be able to improve the type error message some too, along the lines of "Couldn't match type PortConflicts with SanePorts"
I'm just astounded that a) this can be done, type level unique list checking and all and b) someone did it in response to a 5 minute question and c) at the beautiful beautiful type error message
Couldn't match type 'False with 'True Expected type: 'True Actual type: ServiceTypes.UniquePorts '[443, 80, 443]
Hey dude, you can't run a tor bridge and a web server on the same host (given their default configurations)
We're truely living in the future of programming... well, some of us are, some of the time. Rest of us are patching bash.
type-level prevention of port conflicts, here propellor comes!
pond has a different look after one year.
It seems to be most popular with our bee population. They often use the duck weed cover as a safe place to land when they need a drink.
Our first fig ran nearly three weeks late
this year, ripening up on September 18. Even then, we only had
the one until today, when I hope to bring in enough figs to make it
worth our while to roast
some. Good thing that possible frost passed us by or this would
have been a one-fig year! Instead, with autumn warming back up
through the beginning of October, we may get to enjoy gallons of them.
The blueberries are finally slowing down, but another row of raspberries is ripening to take their place. It's a bit odd how our two plantings of red raspberries act entirely differently even though they are all clones of one Caroline plant. The row closer to the north-facing hillside (meaning they get a lot of shade, even in the summer) ripened up their fall berries nearly a month before the sunnier row, but the shady berries were considerably smaller. The berries turning color now are huge and copious, promising a bowlful per day for our favorite dessert.
What fruits are you enjoying this week?
How tall did our sorghum get this year?
Most were close to 9 feet, but the tallest was a little over 10.
It's the first year we've grown it. The plan is to see if the chickens will eat the seeds and save the stalks for our future goat population.
needs more port 443's
I'd like to put in my
order now for a May 2015 with no hard freezes to nip our apple
flowers. Because our high-density trees have grown remarkably over
the last two years (2013 in the top photo, 2014 below), and I suspect they could give us quite a few fruits if the weather holds off.
It's a bit hard to get the full effect from photos like these, but trust me --- you feel like you're in a miniature forest when you walk by the row nowadays. Mark's already talking about snaking the tops of the taller trees (see left) so they don't grow too far above his reach, and I'm itching for the leaves to fall so I can set out our second high-density row with this year's graftlings. I wonder if I'll get as much joy from eating the fruits as I do from watching the trees grow?
Dali helicopter burning giraffe, robot emperor of the galaxy, for realsises? Watching "Jodorowsky's Dune" right now, and I don't know if all the craziness in it is made up. Is this a movie about a tragic failure to make a movie, or an alternate history in which SF much more interpenetrated the arts than it does in our timeline? All I know is, I don't want to know for sure... It's too much fun not knowing.
The instructions say to go
from 4 to 2 strings if the mowing gets bogged down.
Discovered today that our lawn of weeds cuts faster with just 1 string once you get the proper cutting height figured out.
Unusually busy weekend
around here. I drove myself to town (horrors!). Mark cooked
himself supper without me (extraordinary!). I met one of our blog
readers and a couple dozen of her closest friends and family in the
flesh (hi, Emily in Bristol!). Mom showed off the one-year-old
daughter of our Chicago Hardy fig tree (impressive!). Lost 'seng
hunters wandered into our yard (unusual!). My weather guru warned
of a possible frost Monday night (yikes!).
(Bet you can't add more parentheticals and exclamation points in a 88 word post.)
Just had a "have I been to Vienna?" moment and had to go all the way to git memory to work out that no, I've only been to Graz.
seems a little crazy to have two giveaways running at the same time,
but we're overflowing with fun items at the moment and it seems like we
should share the bounty. You've still got a couple of days to
enter our fig giveaway, but in the meantime, why not also try your luck for a just-released farm memoir?
I reviewed The Call of the Farm a few months ago, and was surprised to get another copy in the mail last week. It turns out, the publisher used my blurb in the front of the book (a first for me!) and sent a more polished copy as a thank-you.
But I don't need two versions of the book, so one lucky reader will take home this fun farm memoir --- use the widget below to enter! The entry options are a little different than usual, but email list subscribers still get an effort-free entry. Thanks for spreading the word, and I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I've added bar oil to the Oregon
battery powered chainsaw twice now.
Both times resulted in some overspill, which can be a problem if it drips down and makes contact with the sharpening stone.
The next time I plan to refill the original bar oil container it came with first, that way the amount will be exact and I won't feel like such an amateur.
seems like there's never as much honey in my Warre hives as I think
there is. I went out to rob the mother hive's top box on a sunny
afternoon this week...and found that there was nothing to steal.
The fourth box was empty, the box below contained a good bit of honey
but also some capped brood (meaning it had to be left alone), I didn't
dig into the third box (but I hope it's also full of honey and brood),
and the bottom box consists of partially drawn comb (photo above).
So, instead of stealing honey, I took away the empty top box, and will
probably remove the bottom box later as well.
Of course, you don't really expect to harvest honey if you split a hive, so just having enough bees and stores to get the mother hive through the winter is good. Luckily, two boxes full of brood and honey are supposed to be enough for a Warre hive, according to the experts, unless you live in the far north. Since a Warre hive box is only the size of a shallow super, that seems counterintuitive to those of us who started with Langstroth hives, but I'm willing to bow to wiser beekeepers, who report that the superior insulating ability of the Warre hive allows the bees to thrive with fewer stores.
daughter hive is also not doing as well as I'd hoped, and they may
actually be in trouble. I removed the third box (empty) and
finally got a look in the second box,
which turns out to be full of drawn comb but absolutely empty of life
(photo to the left). That means I need to feed fast to get the
bees through the winter.
More troublesome was the presence of wax moth larvae under the quilt when I peeled back the final piece of burlap. Wax moths are usually a sign of a hive in decline, since they mean the colony isn't strong enough to patrol their entire territory. I hope that feeding the bees will be enough to let them bulk up and defeat the moths, but realize that there's a good chance the daughter hive might perish over the winter.
While I'm thrilled that my hives seem to be bypassing varroa mites without chemicals, I'm still not sold on Warre hives being the way to go --- I'd like to harvest some honey sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, my past experience has been Langstroth hives with conventional bees that produced honey but perished without chemicals or Warre hives with chemical-free bees that don't produce honey but do survive in a natural setting. Time to shake things up next year, maybe trying out chemical-free bees in a Langstroth hive on foundationless frames to see if those would give us a harvest in a natural setting. I'd love to hear from other beekeepers who have figured the puzzle out, in case you want to save me a few more years of trial and error!
In fact, I had a debian and a git-annex sticker on mine and I took them off.
proud to be part of bretolius's lid!
Best thing by far at the festival was not on the schedule, a loud, sloppy, sweaty set by 49 Winchester in a tiny record studio the size of my living room.
They had to go out in the street and pull 20 random people in to fill it, but wow, we had a good time. Arrrr!
EmmyLou Harris has won 14 separate Grammy's. Obviously a few people will come to see her. The stage was put in a good place for a small venue like Bristol, facing several empty blocks of street.
Good so far, so why put a mixing tent right in front of the stage, 100 feet back? And bleachers for 50 next to it. Thus blocking the view entirely for 90% of the people trying to attend the concert.
I'd understand if this wasn't the 15th year of this festival, and if they hadn't gotten it right before..
Switched to firefox after apparently too long on chromium. When did firefox become such an awesome browser?
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