September 01, 2013

CANNING CRAZY SEASON

Well this year i have been busy with the garden over the summer and so far it has been a very decent gardening year here in Sempronius New York.

The garden itself is now fenced as we decided to go totally free range with the ducks and chickens and THAT meant we needed to fence the food garden from their 'helpfulness'.

Good year for pumpkins, summer squash, tomatoes and herbs like basil and parsley especially. Not so good for eggplants and capsicum.. lots of gray days and rain seemed to slow them down a lot.

But right now i am getting a head start on processing apples. We are going to have a MAGNIFICENT crop and that means.... getting an early start with some of the older apple tree's from around the property before the orchard apples hit peak ripeness .... which is usually after the first frost but i suspect this year might be a little earlier.


The Apples  - I rinse and put whole into the steam canner.




Boil up the water and start collecting the lovely yummy juice.



Canned Apple juice.... (when you open these mid winter you can have it hot or cold and mix with 2 parts water to one part juice)... Sunshine in a Jar!

Once finished collecting the juice i then put the pulp leftover seeds and skin and all into the food mill.....



The bottom is filled with lovely thick apple pulp that i then can cook and spice for apple butter or just put straight into the dehydrator for fruit leather...with no added ingredients -. the seeds and skin waste goes to the chickens.


Wrapped to stop it absorbing moisture i put it in a container in a dark cupboard or freeze it for extended periods for mid winter snacking.

Thanks for reading.


June 09, 2013

Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

A clear and authentic treatment of the biggest crisis of our planet that is not being talked about in the mainstream media.

Probably one of the most logical and concise treatments i have read for a long time now. Just a little light reading.


http://collapseofindustrialcivilization.com/

Spring 2013 has was a very strange time in the Finger Lakes NY.



Probably like most people that grow - the weather becomes a second job.....and as such is a primary informant of getting ready to plant. Sometimes, like this year it also becomes a constant reminder of the fragility of the planet's biosphere and the habitat we humans need to survive.

One of the most significant changes is the temperature extremes.

It has been a roller coaster of extreme heat and cold flowing right through from the end of winter, which lasted seemingly longer until the beginning of summer.

Actually apart from a few warm day's summer hasn't really started yet.

We DID have a semi decent maple syrup season but time was short.... i would have loved to have more hands on deck but one does what one can with the time available. It is never enough.



I recycled the old gallon glass wine jugs to hold the maple syrup after extensive boiling down on the woodstove..... usually i do it outside because of the moisture but the weather was so incredibly dry and cold that the extra humidity created was actually beneficial to the inside atmosphere so...inside it was done.



On these clear crisp spring days one can look up and see the Canada geese returning.... the cycle is visible.




Looks like this most of the time down the back part of the property especially.....

But if you look close.......



At least the daffodils are waking up.






still cold enough for some interesting sky rainbows or troposphere arc's in April......




The deer start to move around and the snow finally melts off the lawn and the flowers start to show.


Of course while all this is going on outside i am planting seeds and working out what to grow for the season..reviewing what worked well and what i want to repeat and what i want to AVOID this year.... its a constant ongoing learning experience. Then comes another storm and the ground is again snow covered.....time to put out some seed for the birds since they cannot get their usual food supply...... i do like having them around..






 The new crop of chicks - a mix of another 6 white 6 red 6 speckled..... i am waaay past breed names....



We added 6 new Khaki Campbell ducks to our flock this year....... eggs and meat birds..... will keep a breeding pair through the winter....





May comes with a hard frost but the temperature stayed around the 30 mark.....so i am still hopeful of a good apple crop....... between the rabbit damage and the frost it has been a little bit of a tense time.




So after soliciting some advice from my wonderful friends in Occupy your Garden (a facebook group of great earthy knowledge) i watered down some white water based latex paint and sealed all damaged tree's........ there were probably 6 or so badly damaged tree's.... right now it is finger crossed time as a fair few of them were completely ring barked... not sure how deep they went but it seemed to me worth a try. If they are going to die it will take some time..... but for now they seem to be doing great. There are 40 tree's in total.

Attention now turned to relocating the chicken coup CLOSER to the human habitation part of the property as last year was a bumper year for predators.... mostly foxes and racoons.... though we did have a spate of mid winter possums to deal with too.....

Using the tractor and a little judicious use of muddy ground we pulled the chicken coup UP closer to the barn and the house where there is a line of site for us to keep an eye on them and a large area of open ground around it..... and no sloping land that predators can use to hide.





Repainted! With the guard cat Artex in attendance... the chickens are free range at this time.... get locked up at night....


April 05, 2013

Food Inc: Monsanto




You can't protect yourself. Monsanto gaining control of food. This is how it works now.








July 05, 2012

Old House and the mysteries they contain

This summer one of the biggest jobs on the house we are doing is the renovation of our eldest son's bedroom. It has ALWAYS been the coldest room in the house and it is significant a job to repair.It is on the second floor....which makes re insulating it a question of doing it from the INSIDE... which entailed him to move out of his room temporarily.

So now the summer holiday's are here the job has begun. It is already turning up some interesting discoveries and as we thought .... the explanation for it being so much colder is revealed.


Packing up his equipment to take it out......




The tear down begins and the crowbars go into play........ Drew and Patrick attacking the sheet rock.




Well now..... isn't THAT interesting! Looks like a squirrel nest but one can never be really sure.... ewwww.




Not only evidence of rodents of some description but also BEE'S.... no creatures it was an abandoned hive... but we saved all the bee'swax to reuse for different projects in the future... there was quite a significant amount.





Behind the sheet rock and the decomposing insulation  there were holes to the outside vinyl siding!!!! Yeah that would DEFINITELY explain the lack of tightness in winter. Now it can be repaired.


The boards to the outside are wide - about two foot ..... amazing.

So with all the sheet rock removed..... then the internal insulation such that it was removed outside and bagged up..... the next stage was to remove all the old nails and staples and repair the external wood.

Once that was done..... it was time to insulate and we had some two part spray on insulation foam for the job.... not only does it insulate but it provides a barrier to animals and insects and..... it was free. So we used it.


Now we have an air tight and structurally sound external wall.... today we begin the second outside wall.... 

June 22, 2012

Redreaming Blinky Bill



I have  begun a spoken word project to read Blinky Bill and record it for my grandson Hunter.  HERE is chapter 1. If you haven't heard of Blinky Bill before .... go here

http://soundcloud.com/wendy-bandurskimiller/blinky

While telling the adventures of Blinky Bill, a naughty little boy in the form of a koala, the stories also present messages of conservation. Blinky Bill is known for his mischievousness and his love for his mother. His friends include his adopted sister Nutsy, his kangaroo friend Splodge, his platypus friend Flap, Marcia the marsupial mouse, and his mentor Mr Wombat or Wombo, as Blinky prefers to call him. In general throughout the stories he does things that are realistic for koalas as well as things that child readers would like to do. Wall tells the stories directly to the children and Blinky often interacts with the readers in an introduction. Her dedications are often to 'All the Kind Children', with her own son Peter and other common Australian names of the 1930s appearing. The books are also fully illustrated by Dorothy Wall herself.

There is also a copy of the book for those interested at project Gutenberg 


I will add subsequent links for the next chapters on this page or follow me on soundcloud.