When I stopped to fill the tank, as I always do on the way to the farm, total crowd-scene; I commented to the guy using the pump "What a zoo!"; he chuckled, saying "Hang around, you'll probably see a couple fights, maybe a killing." Five minutes later, two guys were yelling profanities at each other.
Walking to the men's room, I was so happy to be male, the line for the women's room was so long.
Harvested the first apricots to ripen; two other varieties look on track for the next two weekends.
Saw eight deer, more than the total of the past couple years; I suspect the pumas have been "managed" out of the farm's area.
While I regret the loss of those magnificent predators, I'm hoping the increased security will bring my neighbors to graze their critters on my un-used acres; the weeds are high enough now that deer are masked shoulder-high; I mean, they fenced those acres, but they've not used them for fear of predators; neither of us is getting any benefit from those acres, which seems a waste: I want them to profit, seeing our inter-dependence as mutually advantageous; it's about "community"; yes, I'm hoping to have some social currency when I'm too fucking old to go it alone, as I intend to be living there when it comes to that, in twenty or thirty years.
I noted, so far, that whatever was the problem with nectarines (made them all cat-faced and worthless) doesn't seem to be happening this year; that's good, as I do like nectarines and have several varieties.
This was a totally lost year for cherries and the potatoes seem to have unanimously failed; I have more seed-spuds, so I'll take another shot.
Whatever the feral wheat/barley is, that volunteered last year, it's spread and doing well, so I've been harvesting the heads as they dry; looks like I'll have enough this year to really trial its ease of threshing; of course I'd like it to be easy for myself, but if not, since it does well, still eventually valuable for poultry/critters, doing well without care on the farm. I suspect it's something that fell out of the neighbors' horse-trailer.
The Blenheim apricot is very sparsely fruited; think I need another variety nearer to it for pollination.
Time to start harvesting Arugula sylvatica for salad and Rumex patiencia (Patience dock) seed; must get molokhia planted; so much "reclamation" to be done before Summer-planting for Fall harvest; damned weeds in the fallowed areas are a PITA; guess I should have worked the land, even If I didn't plant it; nah, woulda just dried out faster. I'd have better hindsight if I didn't wear pants.
This may be the worst year I've seen for grass-hoppers; the toads are working overtime, judging by the quantity of horehound-slug-size scats around; if it's coming a normal rainy season, there'll be a bumper crop of dime-sized toads next May.
There'll be a glut of stone-fruit the next two weeks. I SO have to get a house built, so I can get tax-assessed before building a canning/drying shed; I don't want to try to market this stuff fresh; prolly won't ever want it for other than personal use, giftage, barter, whatever.
Just occurred to me to wonder about dried fruit in sausage; I'd been mostly thinking about it in bread, which I really like, not being a big fan of jam (too much sugar, IMHO); toasted fruit-bread with butter for brekkie: that works for me (beats the hell out of "Lucky Charms"); I think I'll be working on many veggie/herb breads; being a lazy bastard, I'd like to simplify my chow, while maintaining nutrition and culinary interest (no mean feat, these days, as I'm less interested in food or cooking); am I losing "taste"? Prolly not; arguably, I never had "good" taste, aside from women, mostly, but not infallably.
Absolutely the worst year ever for grass-hoppers; they're destroying the under-ripe peaches and plums; eating leaves on peaches, plums, apples, lilac, and bearded iris; they've totally stripped the walnut trees, bush beans, and much of the corn. I don't see lizards much; they're prolly so stuffed, they sleep all day; the same prolly goes for the quail.
I won't use chem-pesticides and I don't have a flock of poultry, so maybe it's time to get a good bug-net and make chapulines con sal, chile, y limon.
At least the farm could provide some protein, if not produce.
Post by prairiegardens on Jul 11, 2017 11:14:35 GMT -5
Saw a machine some time back invented to capture them and put them into a sort of hopper, it was extremely expensive bit of large farm machinery. I think the theory was they were trying to make cattle feed out of them, a tough proposition with the amount of indigestible material you'd think, but cattle seem to be fed everything from dead sheep, leading to the original mad cow disease, to ground up poplar and hay black with mould, poor things. I'd think a swather could be fairly easillly adapted but that would still be a tad large for you, probably. They hop up when disturbed so apparently are fairly easy to scoop up in the air. A dead grasshopper hugelculture bed? I don't know how they killed them, carbon monoxide perhaps? Saw it years ago and memory of the details mostly lost in the mists of time.
Post by farmermike on Jul 14, 2017 10:52:46 GMT -5
steev, when I lived in Prescott, AZ I had a plague of grasshoppers one year that did a lot of damage to my garden. I bought a cheap butterfly net and spent every morning and evening catching them. It made a differerence in my small backyard garden; don't know if it would help on your farm much.
I stuck them in a jar in the freezer to kill them and then cooked in the toaster oven as a snack. Not the best cooking method (though it did get them crunchy), but I was broke and hungry back then, so I made do. If I couldn't eat from the garden directly, at least I could indirectly! Beer battered and deep fried is much more palatable.
The giant western cicada is also abundant in those parts. A friend and I tried those too. Flavor wasn't bad, but again deep fried and crunchy would've been better than sautéed.
SF Bay Area, Contra Costa County -- Inner Coast Ranges, former Oak Savanna. Hot, dry summers; cool, wet winters. ~240 frost free days. Last/first frost: Mar.15/Nov.15. Avg. annual precip: 17"(432mm).
As I posted elsewhere: crunchy is palatable; gooshy is off-putting (I'll eat bark before a grilled tarantula).
I think I can easily net pounds on the farm; "when life sends you lemons..."; I'd really rather have lemons, but never mind. To paraphrase the 60's line: "When you can't be with the (food) you love, love the (food) you're with!"
Another 60's line: "If the food you have doesn't please you, you aren't hungry enough."
All things considered, I'd rather have a pond overflowing with mudbugs.
"Yesterday is history; tomorrow is mystery; today is a gift, that's why it's called the present." E. Roosevelt "If the world is to end tomorrow, I would plant an apple tree today" Martin Luther
En-route to the farm from Madison yesterday, I was passed by a Cal Fire pickup, not a good sign; sure enough, at Sites (15 minutes from the farm), a sheriff's deputy was blocking the road; fire on the grade to the pass; so I went back and circled through Willows, Elk Creek, and Stony Ford; took 1 1/4 hours, but a pleasant drive, withal; hadn't driven that way for several years; saw an awesome eagle's nest on a power-pole. Didn't see the fire damage; since it was so crisping hot, I left early and went through Bear Valley, a drive I love, though it takes longer; dry golden grass and black-green oaks: the Summer oak-savanna of countless millennia in NorCal; the damage on the pass will be there to see next week, just a flash in the pan, like me.
The locusts are maturing and flying, so prolly a second crop coming; they've eaten all sign of life from the lilac, the leaves off one side of an apple-tree (don't know what that's about, one side only sticks and apples, the other side untouched, as is another apple, twelve feet away; I have no grasp of the "mind" of grasshoppers; prolly just as well), every carrot and chard; they don't seem to like beets (a small blessing; perhaps a planting tip); the walnut that first looked to be dying is re-sprouting, so I will continue watering them; perhaps they may yet survive.
Regarding my need to build a house and the county's requirement that it have AC or the drop-in capacity for AC; while I have my own idea of cooling by running well-water (50-55F) through radiators and passively or with a small fan getting the cool air into the house, since I will only need to cool the house when I also need to irrigate, I think this will serve my needs; as for the county, I think I'll be good if I have windows suitable for "in window" AC units and outlets that can serve such; another problem solved.