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August 4, 2011 / 74

A Day of Fighting and Learning

Wow. Yesterday was an interesting day!

First, as usual I went up the hill to tend to the chickens and guineas. No problems there, though I determined that I’ll need to do something with the water and feed situations.

With the waterers on the ground, or even on concrete blocks, the birds kick dirt into the water until it’s just mud, and they can’t drink mud. So this occasions a lot of cleaning and refilling of waterers.

As for feeders, right now they get their food from the breast of Mother Earth. (I scatter it on the ground.) This leads to waste – which I can’t afford.

So I determined to put a couple of nails in the ceiling 2 X 8s and hang the feeders and waterers. Great idea, eh? Only the waterers have sorta “D” handles with the flat side up – which means if I hang them from ONE nail, the water can will slide to hang on one side of the handle, and since they are vacuum-operated, the water will dribble out onto the ground making… mud… which the birds cannot drink. So I’ve determined that I need to find a couple of “S” hooks and hang the waterers from TWO nails, separated so as to form a “Y” with the water can as the vertical part of the Y.

Does anyone happen to know where I put those S hooks? 😦

As for the feeders, well… since they don’t have to hang horizontally, of course they have a handle with a loop at the top so that they will automatically hang horizontally. Makes perfect sense.

Then I went and picked beans. Getting down into the beans, I learned that a weed isn’t always a “weed” by the usual definition. A weed can be something as benign as a plant that you put there deliberately… like a pole bean. I planted the pole beans by accident. I had beans that I planted (bought from Lowes, BTW) wherein not a single bean germinated. So I replanted with what I had on hand – yep – the pole beans. The pole beans have been acting like the US government – they seem to be trying to take over the world! In the process, they’re also strangling and shading out the bush beans. BEAN WARS!!!

(HOW did my garden become a metaphor for US national politics – right down to the names!!! STOP it!) ;-D

Well… I was rude to the pole beans shoving them back into their own row. They aren’t making beans anyway, and I picked the bush beans that, due to the shading from the pole beans and the consequent wet, have been getting a stem rot so they break off when you try to pick them if you’re not really careful!

Out of nearly 200 row feet I got enough beans to can two whole pints. Yet ANOTHER lesson learned on the road to having a garden!

So… as a learning exercise, I broke out the pressure cooker (Beans are LOW ACID food – which means that you can’t kill nasties like botulism unless you get the food over 240 degrees F – and you can’t do that without increasing the pressure for a certain length of time.) I read, and RE-read ALL of the instructions for the pressure cooker and for the canning process and followed the instructions – so a couple of hours later, I removed the lid and there were two pints of beans – still boiling inside their jars.

They look pretty good… so far. Now we have to wait at least a month, my wife tells me, to see if the water gets cloudy or the jars lose their seals – which means I messed up. So… the process isn’t over yet – and I’m still learning how to do it.

After that, it was back to uprooting the “winter”  wheat, beating it in a tub, and making a pile of the stems for the chipper later.

Just looked at the temp – WOW! It’s below 80F! first time in about… ohhh… too long! So with no breeze, and clouds forming – that means it’s going to rain – we get these little monsoon rains here. Pours down like tipping over a bucket, then the clouds go away and the sun comes out – it’s kinda like steaming crabs or lobsters! We even get all red! ;-D

I MAY have started a new book today. If it seems to want to keep going, I may give y’all a treat and post a bit of it here.

Enough goofing off. The wheat awaits! Time to work!



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