Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Well, Hello Again!

Long time, no post. 

It's been very busy here, and though things keep happening, it never seems like they're newsworthy.  So here's a mish-mash update instead:

The garden is giving over to my old nemesis, powdery mildew.  I never win with it.  Once we get cool nights and damp mornings, it hits and that's it.  Now things are catching it like wildfire, and that's what'll be the end of them.  This is one of the challenges of organic gardening, I find.  I have not yet found a nice organic solution to powdery mildew.  If you have one, please give me a holler.  It's unstoppable this time of year.

Luckily, things are still producing, though the garden is not so pretty.  Today's harvest:
The white thing is an eggplant.  The flowers on top are Calendula.
The basket is full, so that's really good.  The tomatoes are coming in hard and fast, and now I'm getting the larger ones instead of just the smaller ones.  For example,

Kellogg's Breakfast

Mortgage Lifter

This is the first time I've gotten any Mortgage Lifter from the garden--they've always been green.  But good things come to those who wait, and they are heavenly!  Yes, they've gone on my next year growing list.  Along with them, my list contains Pearly Pink, Grape, and San Marzano.  I've grown the San Marzano as well as Roma this year, and though San Marzano has taken longer to ripen, they produce bunches of 8-10 meaty tomatoes on each little stemlet, and there are several stemlets per plant.  They're a very nice canning tomato.  I think they've blown the Roma away, but I'll wait until the year is over until I do my tallies to know for sure.

8 million grape tomatoes and under it all, some Pruden's Purple and a bunch of San Marzano

The Grape tomatoes are just like little machines.  They were always coming in fast, but now they're coming in at light speed.  Makes me think I'm getting the last hurrah.  I hope not!  I need some for the harvest festival!  We will see what we will see.

You know how when you homestead, you're always rigging up something?   Well, with the Calendula flowers, I needed a way to dry the petals.  I didn't want to lug the dehydrator up for that, it seemed silly, so I thought "solar dehydrator".  But you know how I love to build (ahem).   And the list for buildings is kinda long right now, seeing as I adopted some rabbits, so it's not on the top of the list.  Then I had a brainy idea.  What is a solar dehydrator other than a piece of glass or plastic, and some reflective material to catch the sun?  Well, taa-daaaa!

Genius!  It's a danish pan from the supermarket.  I think I took it from somewhere at some point, thinking I could use it, and then didn't.  It's been in the basement pantry for quite a while.  But then I thought, hey, that could work!  And it does.  Those petals will be dry in no time flat.  I'm not saying I could dry foodstuffs in there, but it works very well for these flowers.  Cost?  $0!  I like that.

As to the rabbits?  They are doing just fine.  Philip Johnny Bob and Ygraine have accepted me and are dealing with me handling them.  Ygraine is being plucked by me slowly, and I can see the improvement in her coat from it.  I do it by hand, with her on my lap.  It's actually very relaxing.  Hopefully for both of us.  Now when I'm done (or she tells me I'm done), I can put her down and see where I've done and where I haven't.  She is starting to look much better, and I'm getting some beautiful fiber from her.  Philip Johnny Bob is not ready to be plucked yet, as he's been shaved down recently, but he'll get there.  Right now he's just getting used to being handled.  He seems to be getting better.  I think the green beans are probably helping my cause alot.

And Bella?  The bunny from the garbage?  She doesn't like us.  She doesn't trust us.  It's going to be a long road with her.  But I hope we'll get to a mutual "ok-ness" someday.  We'll have to see.

And I think that's all the news that's fit to print here at Chicken Scratch.  I hope you all have a fantastic day!
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  1. I chuckled about your solar dehydrator, that's definitely a homesteading solution right there!! Very clever :)

    Good luck with the million things you have going on!


  2. How do you use the dryed calendula petals?

  3. Poor Bella. I'd have trust issues, too, if I had to live with three inches of manure in my cage and someone threw me in the garbage. Thanks for giving her a home.

  4. Mandi--Thanks! Luckily, the thing works like a charm!
    Shannon-- I will probably make soap with them, for my son, who has very sensitive skin that gets really irritated in the winter. I've already got a calenula salve going for him, made with some fresh petals.
    Suzzanne--It is completely understandable that she feels the way she does. She'll be ok. We'll keep working on it.

  5. I think it is so great that you have and are using the Calendula! The dried petals work nicely in soap : )


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