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Monday, July 22, 2013

Stocking Up for Winter

51 bales of straw.  The jury is still out on whether or not that will be enough bedding!

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Upgrades...

... to soothe the neighbor's eyes (and our own, to be honest), James painted the turken tank.  Now it looks like a bunker.
Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Babies on the Acres

A few weeks ago, we had an incident in which our guinea fowl wandered into a neighbor's yard.  Said neighbor and children were worried that our guineas didn't belong out, so they commenced a three hour hunt.  One guinea was too clever to be caught, but the result was a very traumatized, skittish, and otherwise not-flock-friendly bird.  We called him PT (for post-traumatic stress).  We considered catching and butchering him but thought maybe, given time, he would recover.

'Twas never to be.   He was most likely a victim of another hawk strike.
The day after PT vanished, we found an add on Craigslist for guineas, all sizes and many colors.  James and two kids went to pick out a new flock.  I was surprised to meet the new flock... complete with a mama hen, Big Red, who will mother her ten adopted babies.  This is a much easier way than heat lamps and cold spring weather!  Eight are striped and two are white.

We hope for a longer life span for this babies!

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Potato Harvest 2013 Results

Sad, especially when I just read that a 10 pound per pound ratio is considered "normal."  I suppose not watering and minimal weeding is a fair trade-off for such a large yield, but it didn't encourage me with the results this year...

In 2010, we planted and harvested 130 pounds, for a 3.5:1 ratio.
In 2011, we planted and harvested 265 pounds, for an almost 4:1 ratio.
Last year, we planted 40 pounds and harvested 293.5 pounds, for a 7.3:1 ratio.
This year, we planted 81.5 pounds and harvested 253, for a 3.1:1 ratio.  After going back to find the earlier years, it is disappointing that this was the lowest year ever.

We also had a cold, wet spring.  We saved potato seed, and they were too sprouted to produce reliably. Also, we used our younger, less fertile bed.  All that being said, I could probably crunch numbers, but we'll just leave it as it is.

Of course, last year, we planted LOTS of onions and lost most of them.  This year, we have a rock-star performance by onions, harvesting 282.5 pounds at this point, with one more largish harvest to total. Reds were definitely less productive than yellow.

Let the numbers speak for themselves...

Type Seed Weight Yield Ratio
Russet Burkbank 5 3 0.428571429
All Blue 7 8 1.142857143
Kennebec 6 18 3
Purple Viking 5.5 0 0
Dakota Pearl/Crisp 26.5 55 2.075
Red Norland 12.5 97 7.76
Yukon Gold 12 72 6
Total 81.5 253 3.104294479
Onions
Candy 4 151.5 37.875
Red Candy 3 17 5.666666667
Vidalia 4 97 24.25
Burgundy 1 17 17


Next year, All Blue, Yukon Gold, Dakota, and Red Norland will be back on my list.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Grasshoppers

The skeletal remains of potato plants signaled for us that harvest time had arrived.
Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Yahweh Jireh Acres

pumpkin

acorn squash

not quite sure... the ink has worn off my markers!

Painted Lady caterpillar, devouring our sunflower foliage

We ate this tomato... it was fabulous!

Harvest-yet-to-be


Growing onions!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Purgatory Ranch Residents

They like to investigate whenever we come to weed...
 ... but I don't carry treats, so after some sniffing and waiting, they wander away again.
Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Day in the Life...

I found our first tomato of the year this morning!  It is a cherry tomato.  A close second will be a race between this tomato's vine-sister and a large pink Brandywine that is approaching the right shade of red.  I'm thrilled to see many large paste tomatoes on the vines, especially after the heartbreak of the herbicide (we think) damage at SecondHand Ranch.

It was 60 F when I woke up, so I baked pumpkin muffins and bread for breakfasts and easy snacks.  Yesterday, I made whole wheat bread, so we should be able to enjoy some home-baked goodness without a hot house for another week or two.  (I forgot to mention it here, but we turned on our AC on June 22 this year.  Not too shabby.  It still only runs at night, so we are doing better than in years past!)
 We also made maple ice cream.  I fear the maple may be a little too strong for our tastes, but we'll make a batch of chocolate too, and enjoy them together!
Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.