Sunday, April 1, 2012

Down on the farm today....

I have a delicious case of spring fever once again, and after continuing a deep cleaning and re-do of my bedroom, I went to my southeast bed out back, revamped recently after the donated 5 foot tall goat fencing at last kept the chickens out, and pulled up easily 200 more seedlings of balsam apple vine, which last year consumed the Persian Lime, Meyer's Lemon and Ponderosa Lemon. I carried about 8 bags of oak leaves dropped off by kind neighbors and spread a very thick layer beneath and around those trees in hopes of stopping more seedlings from germinating. I WILL keep that damned weed from choking out that bed this year! Since my teens I've loved eating the sweet red pulp inside the orange fruits that form in late summer and fall, but not enough to let it grow ANYWHERE in my yard anymore. I can always gather then and the medicinal leaves in the wild. The Surinam Cherry at the south end of that bed is blooming  so yesterday for the first time in years I fed it and gave it a deep watering. Once I take out the last of the empty 4 inch pots from the south end of that bed, and chop up the branches chopped from the Brazillian Pepper in the yard behind me, I will throw in some logs, cover each with a bucket of soil, then cover the whole area thickly with leaves as a form of hugel kultur mulch. Once they are big enough to move, about ten papaya seedlings will go into that bed to create a light shade canopy while boosting my production of both green and ripe fruits.

In this oddly early heat my arugula and nasturtiums are fading fast and quite prematurely. The upside is that I got a 100% strike rate on the green sugar cane cuttings I brought from Dad's yard, am seeing widespread germination of self sown seedlings of Molokhiya and Celosia spicata, and such early sprouting of aerial tubers of Purple Yam, Yellow Yam and White Yam that I can now pot them up in 1 gallon pots for sale in several weeks. And while this heat caused a sudden emergence of the Spanish Needle 'Bidens" I so loathe, it is decimating the Florida Pellitory (that all these years I thought was Chickweed until Andy Firk set me straight)....I am daily pulling up both to feed to the poultry out back, which should do wonders to thwart seed production this year so I can eventually ELIMINATE them from this lot.

For weeks now I've been enjoying blooms of both our native Iris hexagona, and a few Louisiana Iris that are hybrids of it and other Iris species native to swamps in the southeast U.S. Sure they don't have the heady perfumes of the Bearded Iris I grew in Denver, but their colors and forms are lovely.

 Iris hexagona
 Louisiana Iris 'Hurricane Party

Today I again took cuttings from the wonderfully sweet juicing orange that my wonderful but sadly deceased neighbor behind me, Bill Yarawski, planted in 1961. I tried a few years ago and failed....IF these root I love the idea of me and his kids growing them in our gardens as living remembrances of him. He had SUCH a sense of humor, revealed in the pic he had me take years ago in his back yard with his wife Theresa. Good folks to the core and THE best neighbors I have ever had.

The chickens are laying like crazy, but for a few weeks I will be a little less generous, and sell a few less dozen, and freeze a few tubs to enjoy next winter when they are not laying. Here is the easy method I learned in Denver in the early 90s:
Crack enough raw eggs to nearly fill your blender, add a teaspoon of sea salt, buzz, let sit a few minutes to be sure the salt has dissolved, buzz it again and let it sit a few minutes for the foam to settle down, then pour into recycled and cottage cheese tubs for quiches. For one person servings, pour into small yogurt cups, label and freeze.

As ominous signs about the global economy mount, let's Occupy our gardens and homes, pay down debt and take on no new debt, put up food for long term storage, try to save up some cash, stockpile non-GMO seeds, and WHEN Usrael attacks Iran, let's NOT "Support Our Troops" and instead do our best to not feed the soulless machine of an economy based on wars of choice for profit based on lies started by the 1%. They are rich enough already and don't deserve our money OR the blood of our sons and daughters.

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