Monday, May 23, 2011

Old Fashion Organic Pest Control

Going through the garden over the last month I have spotted a couple of these weird patches of eggs.  Most are on the top of one of the upper leaves and easy to spot.  I rip the section of leaf off and feed it  to the chickens.  I am not sure if they even notice when they eat these tiny eggs.  Yesterday, I filled over a pumpkin leaf as I was tearing open a section and realized the underside was covered with these things and they had just hatched. Tiny gray insects with short black legs were swarming all over the leaf.  The chickens may have enjoyed eating that one.  Today, I went through all the plants in the garden trying to look under the leaves for these eggs.  I only found one other leaf that was covered on the underside.  Mostly, they appear on the leaves and are easy to spot. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The meat market

Saturday morning we took the kids and drove up to the Kirbyville auction barn.  It is one of the few livestock auctions left around here. A good number of the small towns around here had livestock auction barns at one point, but over the years most of them have closed down.  If you Google Kirbyville auction barn a the first thing you find is a site called Manta that says the it is estimated at doing five to ten million in sales, but somehow I can picture this place doing that kind of business.  It is easy to see this place as it must have been in the early sixties when it was built, filling up all the pens and churning through the sales, but now only a couple pens had cattle inside. 

This one is about forty minutes away and is probably the closest one left in the area.  I would guess it had around a hundred and fifty seats and on our visit probably forty people were inside.  Definintly an old school kinda place, one of the few places left where you can smoke while you do business inside.  In nineteen sixty five this place was probably packed full a chain smoking, cowboy hat wearing, ranchers and farmers every Saturday.  These types of places were the center of comerce for a rural areas, but even when this was built the small farmers and ranches were probably fading fast as businesses and really only surviving as hobbies.

We mostly came to see the goats and pigs. Both, sold for for twenty to thirty dollars each for young ones and the grown goats could go up to a hundred and fifty.  The only grown pig for sale was a boar and since you can't eat it it only sold for thirty bucks even though it was a big fella. Most people were interested in buying feeder pigs.  They will fatten it for five or six months and then butcher in the winter.  We aren't quite ready for livestock yet, and when the girls realized we were serious about not buying anything today they were not interested in waiting through the cattle auction.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The first harvest

As the girls eagerly await the first cucumbers and tomatoes of the year the squash and zucchini has exploded.  This is one day of picking and there will be at least this much tomorrow, possibly the same the next day.  I may have planted just a little to much this.  I didn't expect to get this much out of what I planted.  Next year I will stagger each group of four zucchini and squash seeds by a week so that they roll in a little more evenly.  One week I will plant a group of each kind for about a month maybe five or six weeks.  That should help spread out when things are ready to pick.  If I had much more I would have to find somewhere to sell some of this stuff.

The only thing fresher, than fresh, FRESCHETTA

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of FRESCHETTA® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Living in the deep dark woods of south east Texas we are mere hatchet throw away from a big, plate of super fried chicken and biscuits at couple dozen so called restaurants, but for pizza our options are limited to something that comes from a hut.  Since I haven't perfected a homemade crust we often consume a slice of the frozen pie.  I do like to heat it up a bit first. The good folks at FRESCHETTA were nice enough to send me a sweet coupon for one of there pizza by the slice products.
FRESCHETTA® By the Slice

They got four fantastic flavors of single slice pizza options: BBQ chicken, vegetable medley, chicken-spinach-mushroom, and the SIX CHEESE MEDLEY!!!! Since I like my chicken deep fried, dipped in butter and my veggies come from the garden, I went for the SIX CHEESE MEDLEY. Cheese is what pizza is all about and this slice-a-pie was tasty.  It's a darn good thing there was only one slice in there or this would have contributed to my overwhelming gluttony cause I could have eaten a whole big ol' pizza pie. It was tough to resist the temptation to use the second coupon they sent me so that I could get  another slice of this tasty pizza, but that one I am giving away to someone who leaves a comment on this post saying they would like to try the new Freschetta By the Slice.

What you thought this was over, no chance man, because Freschetta also sent me this six piece LaCuisine locking round storage container set.  No way! Yes way! With the gardens booming I know someone could use this to hold some of the their veggies.

FRESCHETTA® By the Slice That link your gonna need cause when your finished with pizza your going to want to head over to Facebook and give it the thumbs up.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Eating Wasp Larva

Not for me.  I watched some survival show where they ate wasp larva after they snatched the nest during a rain storm.  That was the first thing I thought about when I saw this thing a minute ago.

No way I could snack on these things unless the options where pretty limited. I think I might rather end up like the cannibals in that book The Road than slurp down some of this.

Put down the sprinkler and step into the garden

Our main garden is pretty big and we also have the raised beds, plus another little spot where the yard was all torn up big the chickens.  Normally, I hook up a couple big ratcheting sprinklers or use a couple of those that shoot up into the air and rock from one side to another,  the kind the kids love.  I think the best thing that happened this year for the garden is that the kids broke that sprinkler the last time they played with it. This year the garden is getting its water the old fashion way, with  the  two gallon green watering can.  Turns out this is the way to go.

 I planted the zucini and the squash in little groups of four and when they had come up out of the ground I mounded dirt around each group as well as each tomato, and pepper plant.  That way the water is only going right to where it is needed.  The sunflowers, green beans and cucumbers had to be planted into a row, but for these I mounded the dirt around the entire section.  When everything had come up I sprayed the whole garden and gave it good soak.  This a bunch of remaining seeds from weeds germinate and after a week or so I started to see little green spots everywhere. After hacking up all the dirt outside the little wells, I resumed only watering the little rows and the places where I had made little wells.

The result is that the weed factor is almost gone.  Everything died after I hacked it up and then withheld the water. The few things left where easy to pick from the base of the plants by hand.  I thought the drought conditions that we are experiencing in Texas would be a problem, but this is the most productive garden I have  had and I am using a fraction of the water I normally do.  It is time consuming, but seems to be paying off in zucchini.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Why Get Burned?

This is a compensated post written by me on behalf of Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.

Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products

The garden needs soil, water and sun, but the sun can do as much damage skin as it brings life to my plants so I was pretty stoked when I got a sample of Walgreens Brand SPF 50 sunscreen lotion.  Being kind of a pale guy I have to be careful not to fried when I am in the garden.  Besides being pale I can be one sweaty dude especially in the nasty east Texas heat and humidity which can wash off sunscreen in a heart beat.  With the lack of rain sunscreen has gotten more important and the Walgreens Brand SPF 50 sunscreen lotion fits the bill and has kept me from getting my usual beginning of the season back of the neck burn.  I can even go without a hat because this stuff works great on the old chrome dome I've been sporting for some time now.

Walgreens Way to Well Fund™


Besides being a good price, every time you purchase Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products it supports the Walgreens Way to Well Fund™ which helps bring wellness preventative services to local communities.  Walgreens will contribute 3 million  annually to the Walgreens Way to Well Fund which will help provide free preventive health tests and other health related services.  These services will be important to help reduce health care cost by identifying the need for treatment early and improve the overall access to wellness testing and information.



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