Sunday, December 18, 2011

just Ren


And a skunk who wants more species-diversity amongst its friends so it wont leave the CHicken Coop.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Time to Fall

Alright, here is a highly photographic update. I don't feel like typing many thousands of words so instead you are getting the pictures which are worth the same....right

So Tom, the big boy turkey was gracefully butchered and feathered. Then we saved the organs and secondary meats for a stew, and stuffed the turkey for a feast with the roomates and neighbors. We weighed the turkey before stuffing and he was a whopping 41 lbs.

THe female turkey is now mingling with the hens.

THe rabbits are healthy and happy. Growing bigger by the day.

THe outdoor Cob Oven foundation was begun:
It is an easy process of making a ring of bricks, filling it with mud (with sawdust) and old bottles saved from the summer camping trip. Up up up!

Keep going until you reach about waist height.

This is when you make a frame for the hearth and fill it with fine mud and sand then lay the hearth bricks (white ones) on top. Cool! That is where the pizza will sit and bake. Let it dry now.

Meanwhile, check out the final layer on the EarthBag Cob bench -

Pretty pretty, huh. And the cats are at home wherever they are...and wherever they go they sleep or play.

OK, now back to the Oven. I added an arch to support the tunnel and door entrance.

And to make sure we knew how to proceed from here there were 3 test ovens. One was a Half-loaf oven, two were Mini Muffin Ovens.

After some faults and failures a cooperative understanding was reached between humans and mud. So the sand form was packed up for the Big Mamma Cob oven and the first layer of thermal mass mud was layered on.

Chimney included! What a day of stomping mud to 80's music and packing it on, thanks friends!
Redeem your lost calories for a personal sized pizza at any of the following locations -

Cobtimous Prime Steak House and Pizzaria

...that's the only one. Sorry.

This oven is spectacular at night!

And since its inaugural burn ceremony, there have been many delicious pizza and pie events that followed -

Here it is with a final mortar layer for protection -
A homemade wholewheat crust with turkey egg, feta, jack cheese, with tomato and eggplant sauce.....makes my tummy say yummy -

And that wraps up this end of Summer update like a Chinese-Canadian wraps up their Calzone (i dare you to research that).

And on goes the mass of spinning earth as it falls into the colder and wetter season.

But some plants will never stop producing.

cheerio Chaps and Chicas,
Mr. Gaurdiner

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer's Swell

The heat is finally hitting and with it lots of new growth and projects.

In an abandoned and ugly part of the backyard i cleared it out and did an experimental Earthbag bend. Took a yard of dirt and some sandbags and barb wire, but after a few hours it was functional.

Then on a whole nother day a few of us got together and stomped out some cobb to layer of the Earthbags. This went very well and quick with just a little bit of hay and sand and a quarter-yard of dirt, it was all covered. Although it dried slowly it still cracked all over. Maybe mix it differently next time. BUt the book Urban Homesteading was very useful in advising how to make cobb overall.

And the first litter of Fryers were born last week. They looked like strange little aliens bundled up in their mom's belly fuzz.

BUt a week later they grew quick and now look just like miniature rabbits. Its great to see Munchy the mom take care and raise the babies without any human interference.

OTherwise, all is moving along and BillyBob the transvestite turkey lady laid her first egg.

It was very exciting to find it in the corner hid away. Bojangles, the Tomboy, is making so much noise these days and getting old that he will be dinner soon, and far before Thanksgiving. But i was hoping for a few fertile eggs before then since he's been mounting BillyBob regularly but then i found out that most domesticated male turkeys cannot properly mate since their breasts are too large! Haha! What a sad and ironic situation that we've bread these wild turkeys specifically for thier breast meet and now not only are they domestic and inadequate as a species for survival, but they also cannot have sex because their boy-breasts are in the way. I was always making fun of the turkeys and the cross-genderism but turns out its not far off.
So the egg i found today we will eat and all the rest too since Bojangles will try and try but never be able to inseminate our lady Turkey since his breasts are interfering with his ability to mount her.

ANother cool topic is that i think there is a crossbreeding of White and Red Quinoa in my garden, which has made a Pink Quionoa! Any ideas people? I will talk with the Luther Burbank Home and Garden Center for advice, since that old Geezer was the one to introduce QUinoa to NOrth America from PEru, i believe.

ANd lastly, a new pickling of Saurkraut is stuffed away and heading towards a zesty and tasty future.
And a finished batch Kim-Chee was out of this world. Garlic, ginger, peppers, mustard seed, cumin seeds and lots of veggies! Wow, and it only took a week!

Okee Dokee,

peace, love, and burritos,
The Gardener

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Turkey for 5, Please

There once lived three happy domestic white turkey's named Billy, Bob, and Bojangles. They pecked, flapped, and gobbled every day in the sunlight. "Bliss" could have been their last names if turkeys were legally required to retain such lineage....but it is unessesary as the "White Broadbreast" term is clearly enough to identify and categorize these majestic birds into our rigid human system of zoology. But! they would have been of the "Bliss" heritage if they had a last name.
And bliss they lived in for many months here at the Big-Betsy Homestead. Billy was the friendliest turkey. Bob was the quite one and prone to gambling. And Bojangles would just stare at you with his big red gooobly bird bits in full dangle (properly known as a "comb and wattle"). These big white Turks even made friends with the 7 Chicas living in the coop nearby. It was a cozy life they had.

Then Thanksgiving came early,
with the oven turned on, surely.
Tonight, our tummy's needs would be met,
a table for 5 was set.
With much humane respect and adoration,
and thanks the Lord, plenty of salivation.
All friends gathered close and united,
and Bob was indeed invited.

So now there are only 2 turkeys on site here, and the livestock population still remains strong overall. I don't mean to always be eating birds when i write on this Blog but its Spring! What do you expect? Everything is in full flushed bloom and there a wondrous amount of plant and animal life to enjoy in the backyard. And happenstance, enjoying it all means more than an adorning glance through binoculars. So Bob, the White Broadbreasted Turkey was led out from the rafter and into the open yard where it grazed joyfully on all the spring greens. Then with a pellet rifle, cutting board, and knife his life was taken and turned into a feast for five.
It started at 4:30PM and we were eating by 9. The feathers came off easy with a dip into boiled water. The feet and certain organs were saved in the freezer for a soup. The legs and wings also frozen for another sunny day's BBQ. And the breast meat was placed onto a bed of vegetables with sweet potatoes and a vegetable broth, then into the oven for a slow cooking. It was a delicious meal and all were well fed and Bob's life was much appreciated.

In other news, the Pakistani Mullberries are off the charts delicious! Its a small tree but produces so much already. Next will be the Persian mullberries and one day the White ones if it fruits. In the main garden there are lots of new little quinoa sprouts finally popping up. The buggers didn't nibble them to death this time. QUinoa (chenopodium) is a great plant to grow in summer. Its well worth it for asthetics, but then you can eat it like a spinach. Crunchy and fresh or sauteed. The harvesting of the seeds is still tricky business but i will try again after summers over and i get my chlorophyll quinoa-fix first!
Lastly, there are two new batches of Saurkraut bubbling away. I've been using big glass vase' from Salvation ARmy with nearly perfect fitting pots and plates that are great inset lids to hold the cabbage below the brine level. Its easy-peasy to do. Just get cabbage and salt then your ready! This is worth a watch
But tomorrow I'm getting a propper Crock Pot to try out. It is ceramic and has stone weights that slip inside.

Okey Dokey,
Garden-on, brothers and sisters!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

BBQ Blue Jay

So here I am, living on a 1.5 acre homestead. I have been for almost 3 years now, but never thought to wright about it until my sister made me so inclined.

For starters, you should know i've tried many things during this experimental trek into self-reliance and yummy homemade food products - many of them being unorthodox - and today I ate a Bluejay. It was actually the common Scrub Jay that is very loud and always happy to invest its time in your fruit trees munching down on whatever is in season. There are so so so many of them and I feel like they are similar to deer in the sense that there is a natural limitation for thier population and the Scrub Jay as a species has somehow far exceeding its carrying capacity in NOrthern California and especially my i shot it with a pellet rifle and respectfully cut it into meaty peices of legs and breast then fried it in ghee. It was about 4 chopstick-full servings of rice in overall portions. Had some chew to it but was tasty and i plan to hunt thier kind further and prepare a proper dish of Scrub Jay grub one night for myself and any lucky woman who can appreciate a home cooked and foraged meal. Or a lady who just likes surprises.

Anywho, it was a good day overall. I have 7 hens that i have put into a new scratching area consiting of 2 terraces along the hillside. THe 3 White Broad Breasted turkeys have the old 2 upper terraces to themselves now. They don't use much of the space anyway and didn;t mind the hens, but the hens needed a new top soil to scratch clean and fresh new greens to glean as well. And boy where they happy! THey loved it. I will let them stay down there for a few months then cycle them back up to the other terraces. Fukuoka style!

Also, I inspected my 2 Bee colonies. Both are looking good for month old Nucs. A medium Langstroth and a Deep. After the inspection i added a second Super (box) to each hive then topped off thier sugar-water mix for the early Spring supplementation. Got to get the bees off to a strong start this Spring since its been crap weather and bees all around are in a crisis already. Be kind and bees be kind in return.

OK, more to come soon about the lovely QUinoa sprouts growing, my perennial garden, the greenhouse that got the goosebumps, and how aphids stole my girlfriend.