Typical farm day – nothing exciting – but each activity was successful and that makes for a rewarding, yet exhausting day. I’ll be sore tomorrow, but Panadol and Pukka tea will help me relax for a good night’s sleep. Rain forecasted for all day tomorrow, so inside work.
Son, Dallas, expertly maneuvered the tractor to level previously hauled dirt in the corral, then we laid large sheets of geotextile fabric i had previously cut, then the 1 1/2 inch gravel was piled and leveled on top. All this is in preparation for my new cattle working tub which we hope can be installed next week after these rains.
While he was finishing up (and i kept supervising), i had time to walk my weaned calves 1/2 mile from their 5 acre paddock to pasture. Grass isn’t growing very fast yet, so i hauled two square bales of hay – one good brome and one alfalfa to supplement. However, the calves are still very much more interested in grazing the bit of green. It’s a bit of work to feed the square bales since they have to be pushed off a flake at a time. Each bale weighs 700 lbs.
Back home, i spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening shoveling soil in a wheelbarrow and moving it to some containers and low spots in my garden. Then loaded about 30 4 ft old hedge posts onto the flatbed pickup to haul to a neighbour to use as firewood.
Last night hit 31 F and my garden is wilted and done. Sadly, there are several large green tomatoes which will not ripen, but not a loss – fried green tomatoes are a treat. My tomato plants just didn’t get a good early start this year; same with Zucchino Rampicante Squash. Only two are grown and large. Incredibly, last year, i had so many of these and they are such good keepers, that i still have 3 of them to eat! It was a challenging year for growing food.
Perhaps Jessica was 8 or 9 when she enrolled in the University of Missouri’s Master Gardener program. That was nearly 20 years ago! She really got a lot out of it (though i think her favorite lesson was flower arranging) by learning a lot about companion cropping, planting and caring for flowers, trees, and community involvement. One of the requirements for finishing the program was to do a community service/beautification project. Contact your local county extension agent for information about Master Gardener and other education programs available in your area.
Place wire guards around trunks of young fruit trees for protection against mice and rabbits. Last year, i lost nearly all my new fruit trees during the winter. i did have protection around them that was about 18 inches tall, but the snow drifted taller than that and the critters girdled them above the protective sleeves by walking on top the snow!!! Grrrrr…..
Continue harvesting produce.
Sow oats as a cover crop (i’m also chopping down the Sunn Hemp and laying it flat on the soil)
Winterize lawn mower. We send ours to John Deere for complete maintenance then remove the battery and store it inside so it doesn’t freeze.
In the United States, many of us automatically think of an InSinkErator, which is a brand of electrically run mechanical grinder of food which then flushes it all down the drain for someone else to deal with. It is attached to a kitchen drain and mounted underneath.
I remember when i was growing up, we had one. There was always a good respect for its power – keep fingers and spoons out of them! However, as an adult, i’ve never had one and honestly never missed it. Now, i wonder why one would ever need this type of garbage disposal. Natural processes are excellent at garbage disposal – especially food scraps and other organic stuff.
But, garbage disposal is actually just a term that describes various ways to dispose of garbage. Your location and occupation often determines your definition of garbage and how you may dispose of it. If you have too much; it might be time to make a plan to reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle, repair.
In my world, food scraps are not garbage – either they are composted, (i’m lazy and just throw them out on the garden spot to break down over time, or if i’m really energetic, i may get a spade and bury them) or i feed them to our pastured laying hens (chooks), but chicken scraps go to the dog – (i never feed chicken bones and such to chickens – it just seems wrong). Fruit from fruit trees almost always produce far more than i’m willing to preserve in some fashion, so the extra is allowed to fall, rot, and provide fodder for soil microbes which in turn provides fertilizer for the tree.
There are some amazingly attractive kitchen sized compost bins available. Here are some on Amazon, but i’ve never tried any of them. Do some research before purchasing – you sure don’t want smell and/or flies in your house!
But, by and large, we have very few scraps. Leaves from broccoli and cauliflower, for example, make awesome replacement for celery or other similar greens. This goes for nearly all greens attached to vegetables. The core from tomatoes go to the chooks; they love them! Beef fat goes to the chooks for extra protein they need when bugs are in short supply outdoors. (As an aside, if you are buying eggs that are labeled as vegetarian raised chickens, the label is either a lie or the hens are in confinement – either crowded in a floored building or in a cage.)
There is a lot of hue and cry about being ‘green’, but as is usual, the ones crying the loudest are often the ones living the least ‘green’ and the biggest wasters of natural resources. They are the crowd who shout ‘do as i say, not as i do’ while they manipulate regulations to suck cash out of your pocket and put it in theirs.
We can all do better at managing resources – we are, by and large, a wasteful country because we are blessed with so much abundance.
Though Dallas and i recently returned from 2 weeks stay in Iceland, we did not have opportunity to visit the location where Thorvin Kelp is harvested, dried, and packaged. If i get the opportunity to go back, i will make a better effort to get there. However, it is a 3 hour drive one way from Reykjavik, so we’ll see. Driving is straightforward and fairly easy in Iceland, so it wouldn’t be difficult.
Thorverk hf. is a seaweed drying plant founded founded in 1986 on the remnants of the pioneering Þörungavinnslan at Reykhólar North of Breiðafjörður, Iceland. The abundnat seaweed grounds of Breiðafjörður have been harvested in the area since 1974 to produce geothermally dried algal meal. The geothermal heat comes from local boreholes. Thorverk is able to produce annually several thousand tons of pure, dry seaweed meal. The product has been certified as organic and sustainably harvested for decades..
Seaweed Meal Processing
Thorverk focuses on harvesting two species of seaweed: Ascophyllum nodosum and Laminaria digitata. The A. nodosum is collected between April and October using specially designed harvesting machines. They cut the plants obove the growth point. The harvested grounds are then left for regrowth for at least four years. L. digitata is harvested using a specially equipped coaster in late autumn and winter.
Harvesting schemes are deployed for the seaweed based on decades of experience and in accordance with surveys and consultancy from Icelandic and international marine biology experts.
Once landed, the crop is chopped and dried using a band drier. Clean, dry air is pre-heated to a max. of 85°C using hot geothermal water that is fed through heat exchangers. This gentle drying procedure ensures that all minerals and organic substances are preserved in the raw material. The drying heat also prevents surface oxidation and browning or burning. Its colour is therefore delightfully bright. The use of the geothermal water also means the production process is environmentally benign. The geothermal hot water flows freely from the wells and emits next to nil of CO2.
Tuesday i took another pallet shipment of Thorvin kelp which i offer free choice to my cow/calf herd as well as offer for sale to those who don’t need a pallet at a time. Thorvin Kelp is offered in 50 lb bags at $60 per bag picked up at Powell Seed Farm, Linneus, MO.
Iceland is a beautiful but sparsely populated country with natural resources including geothermal heat just spouting up all over! and the sweetest tasting just-off-the-glacier water in the world. More about our journey in Iceland in future blogs.
There was just a couple pounds left over of the Sunn Hemp and although it was a couple years old, i just threw it on my garden spot and expected it to do nothing. HA! Not only did the seed sprout (it was not even inoculated) it thrived, then took over! Needless to say my garden production suffered, but i’m just gonna let it grow and see what it will do. It is not supposed to mature and make seed in our environment. Otherwise, it could become an invasive species and though it is not native to the US, it is being promoted as a deep rooted plant which will bring up minerals as well as provide some grazing when it is much younger. The stalks now are up to an inch in diameter and quite sturdy. I plan to chop them down and let them lay as a cover to the soil. The chickens will have opportunity to winter in the garden plot and they will scratch it around and maybe eat a few leaves all the while adding manure out the back end.
What is wrong with me that i have to have some sort of experiment going nearly all the time?!!!
Here’s the one i started today: Start and plant date: 6 APR 19
Four containers which previously held Portabella mushrooms
Two containers are filled with soil from my garden. One is unamended, the other is mixed with 2 teaspoons of Thorvin Kelp from Iceland which i keep on hand for my cows. Each amount is approximately 2 quarts of soil.
Two containers are filled with ‘Magic Dirt’ organic potting soil. One is unamended, the other is mixed with 2 teaspoons of Thorvin Kelp from Iceland. Each amount is approximately 2 quarts of soil.
The purpose is to discover if the Magic Dirt is better than my soil (probably!) and if how it compares to each amended with Thorvin Kelp.