It's April already!!!

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

I figured someone else would've started this already!!
time for taxes,
showers for the flowers,
my Mother's birthday
T-shirts and cloggs by the end of the month
and of course Mushrooms!!

Happy april to you all!!

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

I found a ferguson TO-30 today with a brand new factory rebuilt engine, 7 foot grader blade, 60 inch woods mower, bushhog, 4x8 trailer, 2-12 plow, 4 foot lift disc, roller, and a 6 foot chain drag all for 3500.00!!! I went to Urbana (another town in the next county) and looked at another one, but he wanted 4000.00 just for the tractor. And he couldn't get it to start. Soooooo, I got the ducats and it looks like I am going to get it. woowoo!!!

This message was edited Apr 2, 2011 7:41 AM

Richmond, TX

What a deal! Congratulations!!!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

NikB ! Thanks for giving us a fresh start in April.
We came from here and I hope not to repeat the weather from March.

Good deal on the tractor. It will be a valuable asset.
I will show my ignorance... what are the ducats?

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

Ducats = dollars, dinero, bucks, bread, cash, scratch, brass, moola, green, greenbacks, the root of all evil, I could go on, but well, you get the idea.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Well duh! I guess ya gotta have some to know what it was... lol

This message was edited Apr 2, 2011 6:53 AM

Richmond, TX

- As opposed to duckets which are, of course, baby ducks.

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

That's not right; Duckettes are girly ducks.

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

we need more ducketts

Richmond, TX

Note difference in spelling.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Whew...finally able to get into DG....I was starting to have withdrawals! Don't know what the problem was, but I could get to the home page, but not open any other page.

Thanks, Nik for opening a new thread for April. Great score on the tractor and stuff. So what are you going to do with all of it?

Going out to plant a bit today, since it's sunny and 54. Suppose to be in the 70's tomorrow. WhooHoo!.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Didn't get any planting done yesterday. It was on the cool side, with lots of wind blowing lots of dust around. Planning on getting out there today. I have 6 trays of transplants, plus potatoes and onions ready to go, in addition to about 2 dozen packages of seeds.

One of my new CSA members came down yesterday to tour the gardens and pay their deposit. The only word I can think of to describe them is "delightful". I was leary about the visit, because well, there just isn't much to see in the garden. It still has mulch from last fall, plus a few stacks of plant debris from a few weeks ago and a few of my trellis frames need to be straightened up from all the rain and wind we had earlier this spring and I haven't yet removed all of the plastic from the wind-battered tunnel, nor replaced it. (it will be easier to install the new while the old plastic is holding my ropes in place) She gushed constantly about how beautiful everything is out here! We walked the whole garden as I explained what was going to be planted where and she had a great time in the perrenial garden with all of the herbs that were coming up. They had already referred us to 2 other people who are joining us this year and they told me yesterday that when we are ready to gp the next level, to let them know, as they can get us the members. He's a doctor and she is a 4 year cancer survivor.

I don't have all of the deposits collected yet, but looks like we will have 8 or 9 members this year. We were shooting for 7. I haven't met any of the other new members yet either, but after the emails and talking with them on the phone, they all sound like a great bunch of people. Lots of energy, fun and outgoing personalities. Everyone knows I have some health problems and was in the hospital and most have rallied 'round and said they could jump in and help if needed over the summer. I thought long and hard about mentioning my health problem this spring. But since I am the first and only CSA in the this area, if something happened that I couldn't fulfil my part of the CSA, I didn't want to ruin it for someone else starting a CSA later. I sent a nice email with garden news and then briefly explained my health issues and gave them the opportunity to back out if they wanted to. Everyone wrote back saying they were staying and if I needed anything to let them know.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Wow, that's encouraging on the membership, Robin!

I had intended to do some planting yesterday too, but didn't do squat. I had been up to Roanoke the day before to meet a DG friend and swap some stuff... and lost my clutch on the way home. That's really depressing because this month is truck tags, insurance, county sticker, state inspection, and I'll need 2 tires to pass inspection. Grrrrrr...

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

Well, I have a new tractor with a whole big pile of implements with it. I also found about 2000 bricks for 60 bucks. I'm going to build my bread oven this summer! woowoo!!!! AND, I'll have a brick floor in my greenhouse!! Anyway, there is a stable down the road about 2 miles where they teach folks to ride and such. They throw all their manure into a dumpster and it goes into a landfill!! With this tractor comes a 4x8 highside trailer. I'm going to see if they'll let me just leave it there and they can throw all their manure into it and I'll pile it here every week or so. Garden gold!!! Life is good when you're Nik!!!hehehe

MsRobin I don't have a CSA, but I know what a FDA is (Family Demands their share Agriculture lol!). My sisters buy a lot of tools and such for me and save pots, canning jars, things of that nature. I give them frozen meat from my animals and canned and fresh veggies from my place. And they get to sample all my wines.

Darius, my truck has been broke down ever since last summer with a bad fuel pump. Looks like I finally have the money to fix it now. Car was starting to smell from all the stuff the diner wants me to haul away for my chickens.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Gosh Nik... you just keep on scoring, don't you? LOL...

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

I planted another 300 feet of mangels (giant ecklandorf) before it started raining last night, and another pack of swiss chard. I have radishes and lettuce, and turnips in the ground, and today I hope to get the onion sets put down in between rains.

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

I got called away before I could really finish the above message. I wanted to say, as I was rototilling that the soil was so loose and black I hate to have to abandon that particular plot after this season. The soil is just beautiful. It doesn't look like I'll be able to get any onions into the ground today. But, tomorrow is supposed to be cool and partly sunny with only a 10% chance of rain. Great potato and onion planting weather!!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Nik, why would you abandon that plot?

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

It's under the AEPs power lines and they sprayed me last year. They said it was accidental, But they killed most of my garden. This year the garden will be about 200 yards upwind of the old one. I am putting a few spring plantings there, and then I am going to 3-sisters it. It won't be so devastating if it gets killed off this year as most of the canning garden will be in the new location. My neighbors a mile away always have extra dry beans, and meal corn for sale. And the Pumpkins are the decorative type anyway. I have more chard and lettuce in another location, too. The only real loss if the old garden gets sprayed again will be the mangles. Chickens eat ALOT, and the mangels are a serious money saver. Plus they make the eggs taste better.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Nik, would you explain the mangles again? Where do find the seed? BTW, I am totally impressed by everything you are doing and getting accomplished.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Nik, there are some remedial (and organic) actions you can take to the area the AEP sprayed. I don't remember offhand, but when I come across it again, I'll save it for you.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, it finally rained on us. We received a half inch of rain and I had two rain barrels in place under new gutters. They went from empty to full on 1/2 inch of rain. Makes me wish I had a larger cistern, perhaps a fiberglass septic tank. Maybe someday...

I spent the weekend potting up herbs, taking cuttings of two types of rosemary and African blue basil. I dug and relocated the soapwort which was in the way of a path for the GH. Way too many herb seedlings, I am thinking of selling them at a farmers market.

BTW, Cajun ~ how did your seed swap go?

MsRobin ~ sounds like the CSA will have you off to a running start again. Very promising, I do hope you are up to it.

Darius ~ I finished the book you mentioned. It is definitely food for thought. In my mind, I find that my pantry and medicines stock is woefully underprepared. I also think one thing I got from the book, is we all need to hone a skill. One that would hopefully benefit the community if needed. Definitely sets me to thinking. Thanks for mentioning the book.

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

Baker's Creek and Shumway's both carry the seeds. Mangels are a type of beet. They used to be raised alot for stockfeed before grain got so cheap to produce. They are also used in sugaring and when young can be used like a vegetable. I raise them every year. Some of them can get up to 30 lbs. The biggest I've ever had was a little over 25. They are usually advertised as capable of weighing in at 18 lbs. I average about 22-23 lbs. Hogs love them, as do cattle, and horses. goats will eat them and I think sheep will, too. I put one on a stake in my chicken yard and the chickens will peck at it for about 2-3 days until it's gone. It cuts way down on my feed bill.
They like real loose rich soil, and are heavy feeders. You plant them the same time you would beets or swiss chard (which is another type of beet).

As for what I am getting accomplished; I am a bit better off than a lot of folks. I retired from the Navy (28yrs, 4 mos, 16 days) so I have a decent pension. I was fairly smart with my money and when I retired I had no debts, and had saved enough for a very good down payment on my steading. I make double payments and will be paid off in just a couple more years. But because of all that, I don't have to have a job, nor do I really have to make the place pay for itself. I also do NOT watch television. Don't even own one. I read a lot of books, scific; how-to, history, and military fiction.

And I like to make things. Most of the things I know I have taught myself by reading books, or looking up info online. But one the the biggest things is that I have been preparing myself for the homestead all my life. This is what I have wanted to do since I was knee high to a short sheep. I wanted a farm since I was in grade school.

But I also trust in God to prosper my efforts and I thank Him everyday for showing me what I should work on today.

It's been working pretty good so far.

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

Yes, I know there are some things you can do to cleans the soil after it has been sprayed. But I think the new garden location is better anyway. Easier to keep an eye on it, closer to the house, further from the road. I am sort of moving everything back furthur. My hogs, chickens, garden, the whole works.

Richmond, TX

Yea NikB! I thought I was the only person alive that did not own a television set.

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

I haven't had a television in over 10 years. I have some friends in town and I occasionally go to their home for dinner and they'll have the idiot box on. I am also a member of the AmVets post 39 in Lakeview, OH. I go there to watch the World Series and the Superbowl.

The rain finally stopped for a while. The 1/2 inch they predicted turned out to be 2-1/4 inches and everything is flooded now. The doglodyte and the sabertooth housecat wanted back in 5 minutes after they went out. Wimpy critters. I had to feed the chickens, they didn't even go mousing. No more gardening for a couple weeks as it's supposed to rain even more tomorrow. I wish some of it would hold off till July. We'll really need it come July.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Hey, just popping in!
My brother and his girlfriend have been here for over a week. She is a teacher in Bangladesh. I was worried about having enough to feed them. All the things we have an abundance of, spring greens, dairy and pork are all the stuff they can't get they think they are eating like

I got the corn planted and *if they make it, I hope for at least 500 ears. I planted 1/2 pound of green beans. We finally received some rain and wishing we had a cistern, but the tanks are full!

I weaned the calves and I've gone from a gallon a day with scant cream, to 5 gallons, with 1/2 gallon of cream a day. That should go up as they get comfortable with the new routine.

38 degrees and waiting for daylight to see if the tomatoes will be alright..I think they will be, the dips make me nervous tho.

My company is headed to Austin to visit some friends, so I can get out and get some gardening done today. Should be a beautiful day...hope it's the same where you are!

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Ah, and a quick question for Porkpal. Are pigs efficient at clearing up sedge grass nuts?

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Glad to see all the updates!

Nik, thanks for all the info on both the beets and yourself. I did google fodder beets and mangle beets, but couldn't really find much info other than how to plant and that they were put up for winter feed. I'm interested in how much to feed cows, pigs and goats. Cool idea for the chickens. I'm planning on growing extra vegetables specifically for the animals. So if you have a source of info on how to feed the beets, I'd appreciate it.

Porkpal, what all do you feed your pigs? I've read chestnuts and apples are good for supplemental feeding.

Darius, how are you doing? Inquiring minds want to know...what book did you recommend to Podster? Hope you didn't get washed away with all that rain that pushed through.

Podster, amazing how much water can be gathered from just a 1/2" of rain. I was sure wishing I had something bigger and better set up yesterday after all of our rain. DG member Rentman has a photo of several 55 gal drums piped together and painted to match the wall behind them.

Cajun, come on...we all want to know about the seed swap.

Lulu, you've been busy too! Got lots planted and having a great vist with you brother! Yeah!

We were up in the 70's Sunday, so got all of our seedings in the ground. Didn't bother trying to plant seeds, potatoes or onions then because of the projected heavy rains for yesterday (received over 2") and it's only suppose to be in the 50's today, so will wait until tomorrow to plant those. Temps are suppose to be 70's the rest of the week.

I'm a liitle nervous about doing the CSA with my health problems. I feel pretty good right now and most of my problems so far have always been in the early spring. Now I am actually being treating for and taking prescription medicines specifially for COPD. Previously, I was only being treated for short-term issues with pneumonia and asthma-type symtoms. We changed our fee schedule this year and are only collecting the membership fees for one month at a time, just in case something happens and I am unable to provide the CSA service. That way, if I have to quit, we won't have so much money to refund. All of the members are aware of the situation. Six have paid their deposits already, with 2 more that I am fairly confident will join us.

The garden looks good. I think all of the extra work last year on pulling weeds paid off, and using mulch over my soaker hoses, I expect the garden will require somewhat less work. I'll just have to see as the summer progresses how well I do.

Hope everyone has a great day!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Gee, sounds like the old Robin is back amongst us... Yay!

I'm doing fair to middlin'... but house-bound. Grrrr. My clutch died on the way home last Friday from picking up the small wine chiller FruitoftheVine gave me to use for blue cheeses. A tow truck cannot get under the roof of our bridge to tow it so I'm stuck. Mechanics don't make house calls, LOL.

I made up a bucket of seed planting mix yesterday, and I'm trying to get some seeds started today. The creek is really rushing from all the rain but it's only over the banks about 2 feet so far. At the moment we are having wet snow mixed with rain...

If it warms up later this week, I plan to start cleaning out the root cellar, shelves and all, and whitewashing the interior... before re-doing the shelves. I bought a 50# bag ($7) of hydrated lime, which I estimate will make several gallons of whitewash. All I need now is bulk salt and water... and dry, warm weather.

Here's some of my cheese in the aging bin yesterday, after I took them out and washed the mold away with vinegar and salt... plus cleaned the container. I'd show the "before" with all the mold but it would freak out everyone except cocoa_lulu who makes cheese and understands it's normal! One small one has thyme incorporated, and one of the 2 pound wheels has lemongrass.

Thumbnail by darius
Richmond, TX

I don't know whether pigs eat sedge or not but there is none growing where the pigs pasture and there is quite a lot of it on other parts of the farm. I feed my adult pigs corn. The young, growing ones eat a pig starter ration. I usually feed Purina. Everyone gets as much free range forage as they want.

I am in awe of you ambitious cheese-makers!

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I think I finally got rid of the nut grass... laboriously pulling it up piece by piece before it could seed. What a chore. :(

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Yes, I am feeling so much better!

Porkpal, I agree about being in awe of the cheesemaking divas. It's something I'm interested in trying sometime in the future, but I've got way too much on my plate now.

Darius, way to go! Yep, totally impressed with your cheese making skills! So what's the plan for the truck? Do you have someone with a tractor or pickup nearby who could maybe pull you out to the other side of the bridge?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Right now, Mike plans to come over with his wheeled floor jack on Sunday and jack it up so someone (him, not me!) can get to the part that I think is leaking. Sunday is the soonest he has time. :(

Hopefully he can bleed the clutch slave cylinder, and I can start it and drive it out. If so, I can avoid a $75 or more tow charge, and just owe Mike a few bucks. Bad enough I'll have a repair bill for wherever the leak is... I'm suspecting the new slave cylinder put on last fall has failed... and of course it's past the warranty!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Ouch! Always something, isn't it?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Yeah, it's always something... but ya know what? As tight as finances have been sometimes, I've never had to sleep outside in the cold and rain (except by choice, camping) nor been really hungry (as in no food for days). I've never had my house swept away from under me, nor my house blown to bits by a hurricane or tornado. I am very fortunate and have no cause to complain.

(I just grumble!)

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Yes, most of us have much more to be grateful for than some others.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Absolutely, I find myself counting my blessings every time I feel there is more I should have or have done.

Robin, I think your customers are very fortunate to have you as their CSA connection. They know exactly what to expect, good or bad. That goes a long way with trust. Hopefully, *if you needed their help, they would understand it does indeed benefit the community :0)

Darius, cheese is looking gooood. Naw, mold don't scare me I've got a few washed curds drying and restocking butter. I actually have been buying butter for the last month, because I didn't put enough up. doh, I know better now. Hope the truck can be fixed on the cheap.

Porkpal, thanks! I'm taking that as a good sign that the pigs will eat sedge. I figured they would eat just about anything, but my luck with the sedge is so bad I wouldn't be surprised if it was the one thing they wouldn't
We want to feed the pigs skimmed milk, whey, eggs and garden produce. I feel confident with the dairy girls. Between looking at their shortribs and their production, I have a good idea if their calorie needs are being met. But the pigs..I have no idea. I would guess if their ribs are's a bit too late. Are there subtle signs to whether a pig is gaining or loosing weight.

Podster, you need to sell those herbs! I paid 3 dollars for a common sage, yesterday!

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

I read an old farmer's journal once concerning fodder beets. When the beets were ready in late summer he turned his draft horses and the family milch cow loose into the beet field. The beets grow about 1/2 out of the ground. The horses and cow s would eat the beet tops and the part of the root that was exposed. After they had eaten those he turned the pigs loose into the area. They rooted and ate the remaining part of the beets while preparing the soil for next year. The cow, horses, and oinks all added their manure to the mix, and by spring the area was ready to plant with little work. That area would become the family garden. Last year's garden would be planted in Mangels for a late summer/early fall fodder crop.
I wish I still had the journal, besides the mangels it had lots of other really good stuff in it. The man was a farmer in 1830s Kentucky. He had a 1/4 section of ground that he worked with his wife, 3 sons, and 2 daughters and later his MIL. His next door neighbors were free black and the 2 families worked a couple projects together. He mentions "shareing a jar of corn likker with Jerome on the front porch of an evening" I had about 3 years worth of the journal. But I lost it in one of my many travels about 20 years ago.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Nik, that's a lot like the plan we have going this year. We plowed a new field..where the sedge Corn, winter squash, cowder peas, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Each is planted in that order. The dairy cows are getting the corn, pea and sweet potato forage after harvest. Then we are rerunning the electric fence and the pigs will get the field and clean and till, until spring planting. Of course, things don't always go as

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