Monday, October 26, 2020

No More Mosquitoes! The Farm Report 10-27-2020

No More Mosquitoes!

The Farm Report 10-27-2020 

This is what I woke up to yesterday morning. My outdoor thermometer said we had 25F (-4C) for the overnight low. Tonight, we're supposed to get down to 18F (-8C). There are some unappreciative types who live around here who head out for the winter at the first sight of this. They like to go where it is hot. Then they come back here for the summer, when it is REALLY hot. I don't get it. If I had the spare scratch, I'd buy a place in Canada for the summers, and stay here the rest of the time. You can't grow good tomatoes in Canada though. There's always somethin' I guess.... Our AFS son, Carlos, tells me I should just move to Costa Rica where he lives and it is about 75F (24C) all the time. Hmmmmmmm

I like outdoor things, and wood cutting and heating is one of my favorites. I don't do axe work - I like machines! Annie likes to supervise me and she likes Ranger rides more than just about anything.

It is a 'guy thing' I suppose, but there is just something super satisfying about watching and hearing a giant hydraulic ram push a log through the splitter wedge. Pure destructive power. Gotta love it!

Annie would drive the Ranger if she had thumbs. She doesn't, so I drive it for her. She's always ready to go to the 'next' place - where ever that is. "Hey Tim, let's get this wood into the boiler and go for a run!" Annie runs at the full gallop about 3 or 4 miles every day. She just absolutely loves to run!

Some veggies are better when it is cold. Tomatoes are NOT among them, but broccoli is.

Cauliflower likes to be chilly, too. The best sweetest heads come after a frost. See Above: We HAVE HAD FROST!

Eliot Coleman says, "Sugar is Mother Nature's antifreeze." Carrots left in the ground until after it gets cold are the best, and the sweetest you'll ever taste. "But isn't a carrot a carrot," you ask? NO! Like tomatoes from the grocery store or the garden, the same goes for carrots. Once you've eaten one from the garden, the grocery store ones are just a polite reminder of what they really can be.

And don't believe everything you read. My soil is heavy and hard. I like Royal Chantenay carrots for their flavor, and they're stubby too. They do fine in my non-sandy soil. "Oh, they're so much work," people moan. Not when you've got equipment, and I have equipment.

This is an insert belt I made for my Harbor Freight Cement Mixer/Spud and Carrot Washer. You put it inside the cement mixer and it washes the veggies for you. Let it run long enough and it will peel them, too.

"Tim, buddy! I just KNOW this thing will use water when we get it going." Annie likes water - and things that use water.

How to? First, you take out the mixing paddles that come with the machine for mixing cement.

Then you stuff the belt inside and fasten it with two little bolts. You can see the heads just behind the line if you look carefully. The white belt is made from a section of a throw away plastic shipping drum. The fingers sticking up are rubber chicken plucker fingers. I found a deal on them when I made my Whizbang Chicken plucker and had spares left over. Now they're veggie washing fingers.

All set up and ready to wash. Add veggies and water. Turn it on. Stand back and laugh while it does it's thing. Red Green would be proud of me!

It really does work though. Promise!

And that's how we wash our carrots out here on Oakdale Farm.

Beets are ready to put up, too. I don't remember what variety these are, but whatever they are, I won't grow them again. I think I must have believed the catalog copy that said they would be superior. Fooey! Next year I'm going back to good old Detroit Dark Red beets, and I'll let the chickens make eggs out of these.

Time to clean off the pepper patches, too. These are Jalapeno.

These are my favorites. They are Anaheim. Big on flavor, low on heat. I put them in when I cook a roast or a chicken. Delicious.

Of course it is more fun when you have another homemade machine. This is my homemade adaptation of a giant dryer. I actually made this for drying paint brushes and heating picture frame 'compo' ornaments back when I was teaching professional furniture restoration classes.

It is just a Harvest Maid round dryer adapted so the drying box can sit on the heating unit.

I just cut the guts out of one drying tray and fastened that to the box. It lifts off and stores away when I'm not drying big loads of stuff  or paint brushes.

I made trays that go on the runners inside. These peppers are cayenne.

Anaheims washed and ready to go in.

It is really hard to get peppers to this stage where I live. It is an accomplishment, and I'll probably jink something by bragging on myself, but ain't they pretty?

Bell peppers get a different treatment here.

I chop them up and actually dry them on the trays as the trays were intended to be used. A disappointment for you, I'm sure. But sometimes a guy has to go along with the crowd - much as that goes against my nature.

I don't know why I do this: red n's on one tray, green n's on another. I mix them all up in the same storage jar when I'm through anyway.

Ah well, so while I'm polishing off the garden and getting ready for the next (much more pleasant!) season, this is how it is actually supposed to look out here in October, but you never know.

I also had a bit of luck growing some popcorn this summer. Not much, but some. When this is dry and ready, I'll pop some and enjoy it some blizzardy night. Annie and I like popcorn; O.J. doesn't much care for it. We'll all enjoy being in where it is warm thinking good thoughts for the next adventure though. Take Care! All is well at Oakdale Farm. Vote early and vote often, as they used to say when I lived closer to Chicago!