Britesea - Living the good life in rural Oregon

Britesea

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We planted some peas that I bought from the nursery, to fill in the bare spots where I either didn't get any germination or the birds got the seeds. Then I spent an hour pulling weeds along one garden fence.
Came inside and finished making my Raspberry vinegar and tried it out in a shrub... delicious! Much nicer raspberry flavor than the bought stuff I had. Then I made some mozzarella cheese. Finally getting a consistent product.

Suddenly realized it's hailing outside- they are the size of marbles- and my broccoli and cabbage and lettuce seedlings are outside hardening off! Ran outside to rescue them, to find they had shaken it off like it never happened- even the lettuce which really surprised me. So now they are tucked into their nice safe greenhouse for the night.

Came inside again and started work on a 25 pound sack of carrots for freeze drying. I've got about 7 pounds peeled and sliced and came in for a short break. I hope to blanch about half the bag and get it into the freeze dryer tonight.

At our Lion's Club meeting, we decided that we probably won't be allowed to hold our annual fundraiser Steak-and-Mountain-Oyster feed this summer :( but they liked the idea of us raising another turkey for raffle again. If we don't raise some funds, we won't be able to pay for children's eye tests in schools this coming school year.
 

Britesea

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I have a whole slew of volunteer black oil sunflowers in a couple of my beds. We decided rather than just pull them out and compost them, I dug them up and potted them up (temporary). We dug a trench along the south wall of the house- about a foot or so away from the wall. I'm thinking that the sunflowers will make a nice shade wall when it gets hot later. We've had problems with gophers in that area, so I just spent some time crafting a root cage to fit the trench out of some spare 1/2" hardware cloth we had. We have it laid in there now, just need to put the soil back in, add some manure, and transplant the sunflowers. Then I'll have to put up a fence above ground to protect the from aerial attacks by gophers, chickens, dog, etc. until they get stronger.
Once that's done, I can get on with planting the garden. I've got a ton of plants ready to go in, and the peas need trellises already.

The Australorps and Welsummers are 7 weeks old now, and we've let them go out into the hen yard for the last two days. This evening they trooped into the Fort by themselves and were chowing down and settling in for the night. Soon we will have to kick them out of the Fort and hopefully they will follow the older chickens into the Waldorf Eggstoria instead, because the Brahmas have been growing and they're getting crowded in their tub. I'm hearing more indignant peeps coming out of there lately.

Managed to find time to vacuum most of the house today so it looks a lot nicer in here today.

My freeze dryer load of 10 pounds of salad shrimp is almost done; the timer says 4 more hours. They will have to go into plastic ziploc bags until I can get into town to buy more half-gallon jars and/or mylar bags. I canned the last of the carrots yesterday evening- 7 pint jars and they all sealed. They need labeling and then comes the fun part of figuring out how to turn my pantry into a tesseract so I can fit them in.

I pulled out some pork belly this morning- seasoned it with Chinese 5 spice and salt, and now it's just waiting to go into the oven. I guess I'll go out and see if I can scrounge up a salad of foraged greens to go with it; with a vinaigrette dressing I think it will balance the heavy richness of the pork belly.
 

baymule

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Your epicurean skills are delightful to read.

I hope the sunflowers do well for you. Will you save the seeds for your chickens?
 

baymule

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You have an oil press? That’s awesome. If you press oil, take pictures!
 

Britesea

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@baymule I will do that! We have never used it, because we never got enough seeds to press. This year I'm thinking even if we don't get enough to do much with them I want to try anyway.

Yesterday, we spent a large portion of the day participating in a farmers and ranchers convoy protesting the water shutoffs. I think I mentioned before that the government is only allowing 55,000 acre feet of water allotments to the farmers and ranchers so that they can (1) keep the water in Klamath Lake at an artificial high to "protect the suckerfish" and then allowing the rest of the water to flow downriver to "protect the salmon". Neither of those species is actually in any danger, but the suckerfish are the special concern of the Klamath Tribes, and the salmon are the special concern of the Yuroks. So the two groups are squabbling over the water, and the farmers, who actually DO something to help life in the basin, are being cut out. Many of them will probably go bankrupt this year if this is allowed to happen. Just for your information, Klamath County is 4th in the nation for potato production.

Today, I'm planting the sunflowers that I repotted. They went through a small amount of transplant shock but are growing strong now. I'm thinking of sticking the horseradish out there with them too. Then I want to plant more of my beds. I have cabbages, broccoli, lettuce, kale, collards, chard, onions, shallots, garlic, radishes, peas and carrots planted. It's time to start the green beans and beets, and transplant the squashes, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

I started a batch of ground beef in the freeze dryer last night. I tried to remove most of the fat, which would go rancid in storage, by first rendering it out by frying, then rinsing the cooked meat. I put paper towels under the meat, as well as on top after filling the trays. We'll see if that's successful.

I have a little over a pound's worth of the meat left that wouldn't fit in the trays, so dinner will be a cauliflower/mushroom risotto with ground beef added. Hope it turns out!
 

Britesea

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I hope it's just lack of common sense, and not something more sinister. There's been an awful lot of talk about overpopulation for the last several decades...
 

baymule

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Overpopulation has been a thing since I was in school. If that is what was being taught 45-50 years ago, what is getting poured into kids craniums now? In fact, that is why I had two children and no more. Brainwashing works.
 

Britesea

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The sunflowers bounced back very well from the transplanting. They're pretty small still, only about 6" tall; but they are fast growers. I also planted the horseradish beside the house- hopefully it won't get in anyone's way there.

Weather forecast is for lows in the 30's again starting Saturday, so I guess I'll hold off planting the tomatoes, peppers, and squashes a little longer. In the meantime I want to get some more mycelium from the nursery and dig it into the garden beds that are standing empty. I've noticed the beds I added it to a couple years ago have a lot healthier soil than the other beds; the wood chip mulch is covered with white threads where it contacts the soil, and the wood is breaking down faster. Lots more worms too. Maybe I'll buy some of the beneficial nematodes to add to the soil too; I noticed they have them for sale. Anything to keep my plants happy!

The junior chickens have integrated with the main flock very nicely, even checking out the fermented feed we put out for the adults. For the last two nights, they've trooped into the Waldorf Eggstoria with everyone else, instead of piling up in some corner out of the wind. The baby Brahmas are in Fort Clucksop with a screen door during the day so they can see and be seen by the main flock.
Egg production in the Eggstoria is way down. We have discovered 3 nests being started in out-of-the-way spots around the property. DH is keeping track of the nests, hoping that someone will actually turn broody and start sitting on some eggs. If that happens, we'll scoop her and the eggs up and put them in a sheltered, fenced spot and cross our fingers. I'm only seeing "bulls eyes" on about 50% of the eggs I open for breakfast though. Old Cogburn hasn't been doing his job, and Duke is still pretty new to the flock, though I've been seeing him pursue the girls regularly now. One of the Welsummer juniors is looking like a boy, and I paid extra for sexed chicks on the Brahmas- 2 cockerels to 10 pullets. I keep hoping to get a self-perpetuating flock going as I've had no luck trying to incubate eggs and I don't know why.
 
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