Sunday, August 24, 2008

Independence Days Weeks 16 & 17

Yea, I missed last week's post, so I figure I'll do a combined one today. Last week was kind of a holding pattern, so most of what's gotten accomplished has been this past week.

Four months of the Independence Days challenge, and I can finally remember all the categories in order without looking. What I still can't remember is whether I did something this week or last. Thank goodness for a blog record! Now if I were just more reliable about writing in my journal. A constant falling off the wagon for me... *sigh* I'm so undisciplined.


Plant:

A fill-in flat of swiss chard, 7 top turnip, and spinach that will help me fill gaps in the direct seeded beds. I also planted three varieties of endive and four lettuce varieties.


Harvest:

lettuce, onions, tomatoes, summer and winter squash, egg plant, peppers, beans, corn, basil, rosemary, thyme, chives, eggs, milk, pork.


Preserve:

24 lbs of grape tomatoes in the dehydrator, canned 1/2 bushel of peaches, made butter and two kinds of cheese.


Store:

raisins, garbanzo beans, tortilla chips, refried beans.



Prep:

Washed three Navajo-Churro sheep fleeces, and we're now learning how to card the wool. Also helped the girls learn to knit, which I can't do because of my wrists, but they seem to be enjoying it immensely. My guess is this winter will be filled with knitting and felting.



Manage:

After unsuccessfully trying to control the aphid/ thrip/ cricket damage in the high tunnel with sticky traps and insecticidal soap, I ended up spraying neem oil this week to try to get things under control in time for fall and winter crops in there. A couple weeks back I'd done a lot of cleaning out, which really helped reduce hiding places. I'd been allowing some things to go to seed in there, which has the down side of being a haven for pests.

At any rate, I was able to hand pick the remaining praying mantids before spraying, and I sprayed early in the morning before most pollinators would be out and about. The neem seems to have really helped a lot, and it looks like I'll be able to harvest some spinach for CSA this coming week. Yay!

I also finally finished laying my irrigation lines and got them up and running. All the rain we've gotten this season has spoiled me, and this is the first I've really needed to think about it. Of course, we're getting dry and crunchy now that it's August, but it's been a cool, wet year, especially compared to last. Not only are the established plants starting to need the water, but also my seeds and seedlings desperately need it to get established for fall. I'm loving the drip tape. The cool thing about it, too, is that I can use it to deliver fish emulsion directly to the plants.



Cook:

This was my first time canning peaches. I got 27 pints from a 1/2 bushel, packed in a light syrup. Hopefully the kids will like these and not complain that they're different from the store-bought.


Add:

CSA delivery to 11 families. Bought peaches from local orchard for canning.


Reduce:

Farming and self-sufficiency take a tremendous amount of resources, as I've discussed other places. Figuring out ways to produce our own while reducing the amount of resources we use to do so is an ongoing challenge for me. In particular, the home dairy takes quite a bit of water, from the water necessary to the cow to the water necessary to clean equipment to the water necessary to rinse butter. Lots of water. We're on a well here, so there's no good way for me to measure our water usage, and although there's no shortage of water, the principle behind conservation is a sound one. So I find myself constantly looking for ways to eliminate waste and streamline the efficiency of my routine towards reduction. I've been able to reduce much of my water usage by reusing rinse water, for instance, as well as finding ways for sanitizing rinses to be used multiple times.


Learn:

Learning all about natural deworming, as I've been deworming our piglets to ensure their health and weight gain. I've had them on a week of treatment where they receive 2 oz of garlic powder, 1/2 oz of cayenne pepper, and 1/2 oz of thyme mixed into their milk each morning. There have been some studies as well as anecdotal evidence on the efficacy of garlic as an anthelmintic, along with both cayenne and thyme. I have wormwood growing here, but it's a very powerful herb, which I'm hesitant to use. Caution, too, should be used with regard to tansy (listed in the first link below), which can be poisonous to livestock in large quantities.

I'm going to see if I can also get my sheep to eat the garlic powder. They're completely grass fed, so I'm not sure they'll go for it. The piggies, however, don't mind the flavored milk one little bit. Big surprise. Picky pigs they are not.

Alternative dewormers for ruminants

Dutch abstract on herbal swine dewormers

Garlic as sheep dewormer

Garlic as pig dewormer

5 comments:

wasteweardaily said...

I'm just curious as to why you chose to can the peaches in pint jars as opposed to quarts? Was it because you were afraid the kids would not eat them? Are you still planning on doing a post on how you pressure canned the beans? You know I am using that as my excuse to keep putting it off. I am waiting for you expertise :-)
Cindy in FL

Carolyn said...

You have been busy busy busy! I swear I don't know how do all you do in one week!!

Country Girl said...

You have been one productive lady! Will you do the CSA again next year?

Sarah said...

You know, I put garlic in my turkeys water now and they don't seem to mind at all. I would have thought that they would have hated it, but they don't. I have to chop it up on top of my goats grain to get them to eat it.

Danielle said...

Cindy, I used the pints because I think they're better serving sizes. I don't want my hard work to go bad in the fridge because we couldn't eat it quickly enough. The kids like the peaches for snacking; if I were using them for baking, I'd probably process some quarts as well.

Kim, I'll do the CSA next year, but probably not as big. It's been a lot of work harvesting for that many people.

Sarah, good to know. Are you using the garlic to control coccidia for the turks?