Friday, September 29, 2017

Rural Delivery: Privy to Privies


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1995. All rights reserved.

Live long enough and many of the everyday skills and experiences you take for granted become virtually obsolete, like operating a manual transmission or dialing a rotary phone.
   
Outhouses are like that. You don't see many privies any more, even on the most remote farmsteads, and few folks can claim to have sat in one.

I'm not talking about those industrial "Johnny-on-the-Jobsite" rental toilets or even the Forest Service's government-issue campground restrooms. True outhouses are homebuilt wood-plank structures with personalized features like crescent moons cut into the door or a shelf for the Sears and Roebuck catalog.

Continued at... Privy to Privies

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Farm Supply
Artwork: Billy Jacobs Morning Commute

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Rural Delivery: Yellow and Ripe with Autumn


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

The urgency of spring sprouting and the rush of summer growth has given way to a time of laid-back fulfillment. Eggs have hatched and fledglings are now on the wing. Seeds and fruits and nuts and pods are well on their way to completion. Summer is ripe and ready for harvest.

"Live in each season as it passes, breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each... Grow green with spring, yellow and ripe with autumn."

Such was the sage advice of Henry David Thoreau. One hundred sixty years later I find common ground in the truth he tilled. It is not just the crops in the field we gather this time of year, but those in our souls as well.

Continued at... Yellow and Ripe with Autumn

Rural Delivery
The Nature Pages
Outgoing
Artwork: Yellow Autumn Grass and Sunset

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rural Delivery: Boundary Art


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2002. All rights reserved.

Some people make a personal statement through their clothes or in the choice of car or truck they drive; some wear a particular style of hat or cut their hair in some unique fashion.

Other folks, particularly in rural America, express themselves by decorating their mailboxes.

Travel almost any rural two-lane still frequented by farm machinery and you're likely to come across mailboxes painted with flowers and flags and animals and astrological symbols. Some mailboxes simply have the owner's name scrawled across one side, while others are ornately decorated with bright colors or sculpted in the shape of houses, barns and old railroad engines.

Continued at... Boundary Art

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Collectibles
Artwork: Tractor Mailbox

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rural Delivery: Equinox


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1994. All rights reserved.

We lie on the brink of change. Great storms are brewing. This is the week of equinox, when the Earth stands up straight to the sun before it begins to tilt again, northern hemisphere tipping outward.
   
At this moment everything hangs in balance. The hours of day and night are nearly even. There's some powerful physics at play.

Equinoxes are times of special powers. Calendars are created around them; crops are planted by them.

Continued at... Equinox

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Holidays and Notable Events
Artwork: Precession of the Equinoxes

Home Grown: Preserving Flowers


Wish the beauty of summer flowers would last forever? Try extending their beauty for months indoors by preserving them when they are at their peak.

Some flowers are easy to preserve: baby's breath, celosia, yarrow, statice, globe amaranth, strawflower and artemesia.  But every flower responds differently to drying and preserving. Experiment to get the results you want with the flowers you have.

Start with the best quality blooms.  Make sure the blooms chosen for preserving are at the beginning or the peak of their bloom and have not started to age or decline.

Continued in... Preserving Flowers


Home Grown
Flowers
Plants and Seeds
Artwork: Dried Baby's Breath


Monday, September 18, 2017

Home Grown: Tips on Watering Trees in Fall


There's a lot of confusion as to when to water and when not to water trees and shrubs. Watering at the wrong time could increase winter damage and weaken your plants. So timing is a little tricky, but it's not complicated.

August was the time to slack off watering your trees and shrubs. Excess water at that time of year can keep the plants lush.  Plants that are fat and happy in August are too soft for winter.

But when the leaves have fallen, the tops of the plants are dormant. This is the time to water your woody plants deeply to help them survive the winter.

Continued in... Tips on Watering Trees in Fall

Home Grown
Trees
Home and Garden Center
Artwork: Boy Watering Tree


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Home Grown: Don’t Dress Tree Wounds


Many gardeners have experienced that awful moment when the lawn mower or weed whacker accidentally comes in contact with the bark of a valued tree in the landscape and a wound is created.

No matter how careful you are, accidents happen, and then you’re left wondering what you can do to help the tree repair this wound. In most cases, the answer is to let the tree repair the wound on its own.

Upon being wounded, trees begin a natural process of callusing over the wounded area with new bark and wood. In the spring, when trees are growing vigorously, this process will naturally occur quickly. During other times of the year when growth is not as vigorous, try to keep wounded trees growing as vigorously as possible by fertilizing and watering.

Continued in... Don’t Dress Tree Wounds

Home Grown
Trees
Home and Garden Center
Artwork: Tree wounds and diseases


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Home Grown: Taking Care of Raspberry Plants in Fall


Taking good care of raspberries in the fall is important for future productivity of the patch, according to University of Illinois Extension local foods/small farms educator Maurice Ogutu.

"Avoid overfertilizing and supplemental watering of summer-bearing red and black raspberries in the fall so that the canes can start hardening off. Fall-bearing raspberries can benefit from supplemental water in dry weather in order to maintain quality and size of the fruit.

"Do not prune any raspberry cane at this time unless it is seriously damaged or diseased."

You should only apply fertilizer and lime based on a soil test and plant tissue analysis. Some sulfur- and magnesium-containing fertilizers such as Sul-Po-Mag or Epsom salts can be applied at this time so they can be leached to the root zones of the plants.

Continued in... Taking Care of Raspberry Plants in Fall

Home Grown
Berry Plants
Plants and Seeds
Artwork: Raspberry Plant Seeds

Monday, September 11, 2017

Home Grown: Adding Color to Autumn Landscapes


As the summer wanes, so do most of the plants in the garden. Whether you're looking at a foot-wide container or 100 square feet of landscape bed, your thoughts turn to the yellows, oranges and reds of a typical autumn garden.

Mums are plentiful at the garden center at this time, and they're terrific old standbys. They've certainly brightened many a fall garden.

But mums aren't the only word in fall gardens and landscapes. There are some other wonderful plants that can add splashes of color to your fall...

Continued in... Adding Color to Autumn Landscapes

Home Grown
Plants and Seeds
Flowers
Artwork: Asters


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Recipe Archive: Tater Pigs


from
The County Fair Cookbook
by Lyn Stallworth and Rod Kennedy
Hyperion Books, 1996

The Twin Falls County Fair began as a harvest festival in 1916 and has evolved into a six-day event with three days of rodeo. Tater Pigs were introduced in 1975 by the Twin Falls Magichords, a barbershop quartet singing group. The recipe goes as follows:

4 Idaho russet potatoes, 1/2 lb. each
4 frozen pork link sausages

full recipe at The County Fair Cookbook

Recipe Archive
Farm Kitchen

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Home Grown: Planting Fall Flowers


Chrysanthemums, pansies and ornamental kale can add color to a drab fall garden.

Chrysanthemums have been cultivated for more than 1,500 years and come in a wide variety of colors and types. They flower in many variations of yellow, gold, pink, white, red, bronze and purple. The flowers can be smaller than one-inch buttons or two-inch pompoms, but can grow as large as six-inch decoratives. These flowers also come in many shapes, from daisies to round, many-petaled balls.

These plants can grow as compact 10-inch mounds to plants that are several feet tall with stems suitable for cutting and placing in a vase.

Continued in... Planting Fall Flowers

Home Grown
Plants and Seeds
Flowers
Artwork: Chrysanthemum

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Home Grown: Fall Lawn Care


Early September is the time to take care of your lawn before the winter.

Apply broadleaf weed control during the fall while the weeds are still actively growing. Such applications will target both established weeds as well as new weeds that germinated and grew in your lawn since spring.

Since fall weather favors desirable, cool-season grasses, it is also a good time to lay down sod or re-seed. If you are re-seeding, use a blend of hybrid grasses that have disease resistance. If you use sod, it is typically already grown using these hybrid varieties.

Continued in... Fall Lawn Care

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Lawn Tools and Equipment
Artwork: Lawn Mower on Green Field


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Book Stall Review: Red 4WD Tractors


"All the colors of tractors and the people who made them have good stories, and those stories share a common thread: innovative farm boy geniuses who built solutions to a problem rooted in the growing American farm," writes Lee Klancher in his introduction to this substantial history of high-horsepower four-wheel-drive tractors manufactured by International Harvester, Steiger, J.I. Case and Case IH.

This history covers six decades from the winter of 1957 -- when Douglass and Maurice Steiger converted a Cat DW-15 scraper into a high-horsepower farm tractor in their dairy barn in order to make their Minnesota family farm more efficient -- to the present day.

by Lee Klancher
Octane Press, 2017
continued in The Book Stall
Reviews Archive
Tractor Books
Tractors and Tractor Parts
Artwork: Case IH Steiger 620 Quadtrac Tractor

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Home Grown: Pruning Lilacs


The common purple lilac is a tough, reliable shrub that may reach a height of 15 to 20 feet. Unfortunately, as lilacs mature, the shaded lower portions of the shrubs usually lose their leaves. As a result, large, overgrown specimens are often leggy and unattractive.

Old lilacs can be renewed or rejuvenated by pruning. Home gardeners can choose between two different pruning methods.

 1. Cut the entire plant back to within 6 to 8 inches of the ground in late winter (March or early April). This severe pruning will induce a large number of shoots to develop during the growing season...

Continued in... Pruning Lilacs

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Growing Guides
Artwork: Cultivate Hope by Annie Lapoint


Friday, September 1, 2017

Rural Delivery: New Neighbors


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.

All across the country, in rural places from Maine to Mendocino, there are terrible conflicts raging between folks who have lived in these places all their lives and newcomers who want to change them to better meet their expectations.

Some novice ruralites want to look at cows grazing in a pasture without having to smell them. Others expect farms to operate without machinery and harvesting to occur on bankers' hours. And a few even want to recreate our small town business districts with boutiques and tourist attractions.

Continued at... New Neighbors

Rural Delivery
Out of the Past
Where Oliver Found His Place
Artwork: New Neighbors