Monday, July 31, 2017

Growth Spurts: Grain Bin Maintenance


Before grain harvests begin, it is critically important to check the condition of harvest equipment and bins before bringing in the crop.

Your grain crop is a major investment that needs to be protected. Grain quality does not improve in storage. At best, the initial quality can only be maintained. If you take the extra time to make sure conditions are good for storing grain, then you are protecting that investment.
   
Proper storage begins with the condition of the harvested grain, including moisture level and how it leaves the combine and then is transported and handled.

continued in Grain Bin Maintenance

Growth Spurts
Farm Supply
Farm Magazines
Artwork: Grain Bin model 1/64 scale

Rural Delivery: The Dog Days of Summer


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1997. All rights reserved.

These are the dog days of summer, a time of year when creeks run dry, the air stands still and the sun beats down relentlessly, day after day, or so it seems.

These are the days when we rediscover shade, pools, and the contents of our freezers. Cooling off becomes an obsession.

Over-heated hounds do lounge beneath porches and trees on hot afternoons, but it is not for them that "dog days" were named. Instead, this parching period pertains to Sirius, the "Dog Star," which rises and sets with the sun from mid-July until September. Sirius is also called "The Scorching One." Its lurid presence on the horizon evokes desperate memories of withered crops, raging wildfires and infernal droughts.

Continued at... The Dog Days of Summer

Rural Delivery
Out There
Nature Pages
Artwork: Dog Days of Summer Garden Flag

Farm Direct: Raising Meat Goats


Increased market opportunities have led many folks to consider raising meat goats, but many are unfamiliar with modern production techniques. And because the interest in meat goat production is new, there are few experienced goat producers in most areas to help newcomers in their desire to learn as much as possible.

In addition, importation of new breeds has stimulated a breeding industry which needs herds to produce purebred breeding stock as well as animals for exhibition.

The commercial goat meat industry is almost entirely ethnic, (Muslim, Hispanic). It is affected by the dates of various religious holidays shown below plus others. The dates for most holidays change from year to year. Islamic holidays change by 11 days each year.

Continued on the Tip Sheet: Raising Meat Goats

Farm Direct
Husbandry
Chevon
Artwork: Boer Goat

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Husbandry: Controlling Varroa Mites in Bee Colonies


Varroa mites are a voracious threat to honey bees in some areas. If left untreated, they can build population levels that will destroy a populous colony.

"There is no chemical or management procedure that will completely eradicate this pest, so individual treatment regimes must be developed," writes James E. Tew in The Beekeeper’s Problem Solver. "One method is drone brood trapping. Drones require approximately 23 days to mature, while workers require just shy of 21 days. Apparently due to the longer development time, Varroa mites preferentially seek out developing drones. You can therefore use drone combs to attract mites away from other areas of the brood nest."

Once the comb is filled and the drone brood is mostly capped, it should be removed and placed in a freezer. Both drones and mites will be killed, and the comb can be reused.

During warm months, Tew suggests performing this eradication procedure about every 18–20 days.

Artwork: Beehive Kit
Husbandry
Animal Husbandry and Livestock Books
The Beekeeper's Problem Solver

Friday, July 28, 2017

Home Grown: The Benefits of Earthworms


> By eating organic materials such as manure, leaves, grass and decaying wood, earthworms break them up at a much faster rate than would otherwise occur.

> Nutrient-rich worm burrows allow plant roots to develop faster, thus making stronger and healthier plants less susceptible to fungus, disease, or pests.

> Rainfall is better able to enter the soil when lots of earthworms are burrowing. This eliminates the water erosion and puddling which can kill young plants.

Continued in... The Benefits of Earthworms

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Worms
Artwork: Earthworms


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Home Grown: Planting for Hummingbirds


There's nothing common about hummingbirds.

They are the smallest bird, coming from the smallest egg and living in the smallest nest; their colors include metallic greens, blues and reds; they have the highest metabolism of any animal, with a heartbeat of well over 600 beats per minute; and they are the only group of birds that can deliberately fly backwards.

Their diet consists of flower nectar, sap from trees, spiders and insects, usually captured in or near flowers.

Continued in... Planting for Hummingbirds

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Plants and Seeds
Artwork: Montes de Oca Hummingbird with Bromelaid


Home Grown: Time to Order Fall Bulbs


As summer begins to wane, it is time to decide which spring flowering bulbs you want to add to your landscape.

"You need to select good quality bulbs for planting, paying attention to size and firmness. Choose bulbs that are firm and free from soft or rotting spots, and signs of disease," says Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

There are three sources for bulbs: mail order catalog, local nurseries, and discount business.

Continued in... Time to Order Fall Bulbs

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Plants and Seeds
Artwork: Dutch Iris

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Home Grown: Lawn Care During Drought


Excessive heat and dry conditions can leave lawns wilted and browning. Watering improperly during drought can result in a less-than-healthy lawn.

The way you manage your lawn will influence the amount of water required to keep it healthy. Increased nitrogen fertilization and thatch build up increase the amount and frequency of irrigation needed.

During dry periods, raise the mowing height and mow with a frequency in which no more than a third of the leaf tissue is removed. Raising the mowing height will allow the grass to maintain a deeper root system, thereby helping the grass to find more water.

Continued in... Lawn Care During Drought

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Lawn Tools and Equipment
Artwork: Marilyn Monroe Using Hose to Water Lawn

Friday, July 21, 2017

Rural Delivery: The Northern Spy and Other Edible Antiques


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1997. All rights reserved.

A Rhode Island Greening is about as common in the contemporary American kitchen as a butter churn. It's as likely to be used as a woodburning cookstove or an icebox. Few of them have ever been microwaved.

The Northern Spy, once a standby at neighborhood grocers, is rarely seen in today's supermarkets. It's gone the way of the horse-drawn carriage and the stagecoach. Just try to find one.

The Greening and the Spy are both apples, two of the finest-tasting varieties ever to touch the American palate. But today they are "antiques," each more than a century old.

Continued at... The Northern Spy and Other Edible Antiques

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Apples
Artwork: Northern Spy


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Home Grown: Planting a Second Crop


It may be midsummer, but you can make it spring again in your vegetable garden. Don't let the summer heat cheat you out of more fresh vegetables. Go for two crops this year.

Gardeners across much of North America generally plant summer vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, sweet corn, southern peas, snap beans, cantaloupes and eggplant in March and April and finish the harvest around the middle of summer.

Much of the continent has a subtropical climate, however, and that means another round of summer crops can be squeezed in before the first frost in  mid-October or November.

Continued in... Planting a Second Crop

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Plants and Seeds
Artwork: Kentucky Wonder Organic Beans

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Recipe Archive: Puree of Asparagus Soup


from
The Historic Kentucky Kitchen
Traditional Recipes for Today's Cook
by Deirdre A. Scaggs and Andrew W. McGraw

According to authors of The Historic Kentucky Kitchen, this 1897 soup recipes packs a lot of flavor, considering how simple it is and how few ingredients are in the recipe. To make the soup more elegant and add texture, reserve the tips of the asparagus spears after poaching to use as a garnish.

2 ½ cups chicken stock
3 cups chopped asparagus
2 cups cream
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

full recipe at Puree of Asparagus Soup

Artwork: Asparagus Soup
Recipe Archive
Farm Kitchen
Asparagus

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rural Delivery: Where Oliver Found His Place


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2006. All rights reserved.

This is the 1960s, and a wife's place is at her husband's side, as Oliver testifies:

You are my wife!"

Lisa had forgotten about the Hungarian Parliament's "Big Dumb Law of 1924," which stated: "All Hungarian women have to do  whatever their husbands want them to do, no matter how dumb it is."

Goodbye city life.

And so the Haney Place becomes the Douglas Farm -- with all its clutter, fallow fields, and telephones mounted atop telephone poles -- for six television seasons. Oliver struggles gamely to make his farm a success while Lisa brings some graciousness and finer things of life to their rural experience. They stand side by side, in a parody of American Gothic,  and declare:

Green Acres, we are there!

Continued at... Where Oliver Found His Place

Rural Delivery
See the Movie, Read the Book
Farm Supply
Artwork: Green Acres Poster

Monday, July 10, 2017

Rural Delivery: Flown The Coop

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.

Nowadays, I'm hard-pressed to find a chicken coop. We have no chickens. None of our neighbors keep chickens. There are chickens around and eggs for sale someplace nearby, I'm sure, but I couldn't give directions.

We've talked about raising chickens. Every spring, as the slugs rise to gnaw on the strawberries, my wife says, "We ought to have chickens." Free-ranging hens are an effective deterrent to slugs, grasshoppers and many other insect pests. They'll also keep down the weeds and add nutrients to your soil if you manage them carefully.

Every time I trim the fat off a fleshy store-bought chicken I'm preparing for the grill, I tell myself, "We ought to raise our own chickens."

Chickens convert feed to meat efficiently. Most broilers will gain a pound of weight for every two-and-a-half pounds of feed. If a bird is allowed to free-range, not only will it be less fatty, but nearly half of its feed will come from foraging grubs, weeds and worms.

Continued at... Flown The Coop

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Husbandry
Artwork: Chicken Coop at Eugene O'Neill House in Contra Costa County, California

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Rural Delivery: Folks


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1997. All rights reserved.

Grayce grew up on horses. By the age of seven she was riding alone. At 18, she drove stage teams for her uncle up to mines in the Ochoco Mountains. She'd ride up from Prineville, stay overnight at the stage station, and return the next day. One day up, one day back, day after day. It was great work.

"My mother wanted me to be a lady. That was always a bad word with me. I just wanted to be me," Grayce explained.

For a time, she lived with her mother in Portland, working at a dimestore. But soon as she could arrange it, Grayce was back in Prineville. There were two problems with city life. First, there were no horses. ("Horses were my first love.") Second, she didn't like the people.

"I don't like people," she said. "I like folks."

"What's the difference?" I asked.

Continued at... Folks

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
The Corral
Artwork: Oregon Summer Cowgirl by Paul A. Lanquist


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Rural Delivery: Full Bloom

by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1996. All rights reserved.

Have you ever wondered why the tulip drops its petals just as orchids are unfolding and while pansies and petunias go on blooming? Is it the heat of summer that makes them fade? Or some aversion to longer days?

Blame it on plant genetics. Flowers don't die off; they are deliberately strangled by the rest of the plant.

A tulip's bloom, however beautiful, serves one purpose to the plant: pollination. A lingering flower saps the energy a plant needs for bulb and seed development. Once pollinated, its beauty is a useless distraction from unpollinated flowers, and so it dies like Desdemona at the hands of Othello, its life tragically cut short.

Continued at... Full Bloom

Rural Delivery
Out There
Growth Spurts
Artwork: Tulip


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Here's How To... Cook With a Dutch Oven


When baking with a 12-inch Dutch oven, generate bottom heat by placing five or six hot charcoal briquets in a circle between its legs. To generate a higher temperature place 18-24 briquets "next to each other around the outside flange of the lid, with two or three spaced evenly around the lid handle," Welch advises.

For roasting, generate heat the same as for baking, but if the dish has cooking liquid in it increase the number of briquets beneath the oven by 50 percent.

Follow the link to... Cook With a Dutch Oven.

Here's How To...
How To Do It
Artwork: Dutch Oven



Home Grown: Sun Protection for Tomato Skins

To prevent sunscald, maintain a healthy foliage cover. Keep plants well-watered and free of pests and diseases that can reduce foliage. Don't prune your tomato plants and place them densely enough that they can benefit from mutual shade. Keeping the soil cool with plenty of water and mulch helps, too.

If you let your plants sprawl on the ground, don't turn them to expose the underside of the fruit. That's a common cause of sunscald.

Summer heat can also cause cracking in tomatoes. Radial cracks are most common, starting near the fruit stem, and developing down the sides of the fruit wall. Concentric cracks sometimes appear as circles around the stem end of the fruit.

Continued in... Sun Protection for Tomato Skins

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Plants and Seeds
Artwork: Better Boy Tomato