28 August 2014

2014-08-26 plum 1  R

Monica brought these in – new fruits on the farm – mangosteens, she thought.  I was SO EXCITED!  Mangosteens are delicious.  I knew Austin had planted some mangosteen trees a few years back, but they are supposed to take twenty years before bearing fruit.  Wow!  Ours were so early!

We cut one.

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Well, the skin was not hard like a mangosteen.  And the flesh was not pearly over the seeds like a mangosteen – but what the heck:  this was 14 years premature!   (I still hadn’t clued in.)   I ran down to the pond with Monica to show off our mangosteens to Austin.  He broke the news to me – they aren’t child-prodigy mangosteens after all – they are some kind of plummy thing.  Even Austin doesn’t know what they are, even though he planted the tree. They are growing on our land and they taste pretty good.  Anyway, it is something new.

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REMEMBER THE HORN WORMS?  (31 July)

Austin was going to put them in a jar so he could see the moths emerge.    Well here is a chrysalis from one.

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And here is the dalo sphinx moth that emerged.   It had been in the jars several days before I got around to taking its photo, and it was flapping its wings, trying to figure out how they work.   The poor thing finally did manage to take off.

*   *   *

A CONVERSATION

Austin:  You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Me:  What do you mean?

Austin:   You said none of the ducks ever recovered [last week’s blog]

Me:  I thought they didn’t

Austin: No, some of them did.

The Upshot – the blue egret from last week is doing well, as did SOME of the ducks that got sick before.

*    *    *

ANOTHER CONVERSATION

Me:  Where’s Billy?  [the goat from 24 July]

Austin:   Oh he got well and went home.

Me:  (surprised)  Ha.

2014-08-27 sundried tomatoes 4  R

NO MUSS, NO FUSS

It’s the end of the tomato season and we bought a crate of tomatoes.  I refused to blanch them for freezing (photos from that in my blog almost exactly one year ago!) – huge bother!   So Akka, God bless him, decided to try sun-drying them.  This was yesterday morning.   They’re on a screen, see their cute shadows!

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This was yesterday afternoon.    Lovely.  We’ll pop them out for a few more hours of sun today and then they can be stored in much, much, much less space.

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I took shots of the grasslands being burned this week, only to find out that exactly a year ago (29 August 2013) I covered the burning grasslands as well.   This seems to be scheduled like clockwork!

a 2014-08-25 JuLin dawn at pineapple circle

THE FARM THROUGH THE EYES OF A GUEST

Ju-lin, a recent guest,  shared her 233 photos from here with me, and agreed that I could post them in my blog.  I chose a handful of my favorites and will share them briefly.   The one above is “dawn at pineapple circle.”

b 2014-08-25 JuLin dawn

Another shot of dawn (I don’t know where exactly)

c 2014-08-25 JuLin morning spider web

Dewy spider web.

d 2014-08-25 JuLin bananas

Bananas.

e 2014-08-25 JuLin papayas

Papayas.

f 2014-08-25 JuLin duck in its outhouse

Goose on a nest.  (Austin tells me that this is the goose who is determined to sit.  LONG story.  Maybe next week.)

h 2014-08-25 JuLin incubator

Austin at the incubator, with eggs hatching in the bottom tray.

j 2014-08-25 JuLin weird flower   Cr

Flower in a tree (I have no idea what it is – very pretty!  I must try to find it!)

k 2014-08-25 JuLin weird fruit

Weird fruit (I have no idea about this one either).

l 2014-08-25 JuLin digging ginger

Monica digging ginger – the observer is Austin’s namesake who was here visiting.

m 2014-08-25 JuLin Kiki & Beamer

The youngest member of our household helping the oldest one to walk around.

n 2014-08-25 JuLin bug

An impressive beetle.

o 2014-08-25 JuLin food

An impressive dinner, starring fish from our pond.

p 2014-08-25 JuLin toadlings

The porch of the cottage at night.

q 2014-08-25 JuLin toadlings   Cr

The stars of the porch stage show.

Thank you, Ju-lin.  It was fun to see our place as you saw it.

 

19 June 2014

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When I saw this glove, I knew I had missed the collection of the bee boxes – sorry about that.  But I did get a lot more of the honey processing.
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Austin showed off the comb of a box of wild bees he’d caught.  He didn’t have honey trays for the box, so he just used sheets of cardboard and they built this big comb.
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He opened up to this cell of pollen – which he then made me chew because he was sure it would be good for my allergies.  Not as tasty as honey.  Not close.  {{ gag }}
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This is a honey tray – full of honey.
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This is Akka using a “hive tool” to scrape the caps off the comb.
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The trays then go into this extractor – see how 2 trays are in and where a 3rd tray would go?   The trays are spun around by gears attached to that handle..     The honey is extracted by centrifugal force, running down to the bottom of this smooth-sided cylinder.  There is a tap at the bottom.
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This is a bee box with five trays in it that still need spinning.
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After all the spinning the wax scrapings needed to be squeezed in cheesecloth to get the honey from them.   That was done mostly by Austin’s brother Jack.  But my hands were all a’honey, too.   Then we took the basin out for the bees to clean.   Some of the poor bees stuck to the honey like flypaper and drowned.   By the time I got this photo, the clean up was nearly done.    We are “pre-cleaning” the extractor the same way, too.
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Nearby are some of the bee boxes in situ.   We have bee boxes in 4 spots on the property that I can think of.
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Our honey haul this time was 145 pounds of it – three and a half breakfast cracker tubs.
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Yumminess.
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UNDOING OVERBREDING
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I’m seeing chickens in our YARD which is unusual.  The half-jungly (half-wild) birds that Austin has bred are just a whole lot smarter than the imported hybrids.  Many have found a way over the fence and spend the day scratching for food in the grass.   Whenever I try to get a photo, they head right back to the chicken house, as if to say “all right, all right, we’ll go home”
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But they don’t go in…. they go by the fence, where their entrapped brethren can look on in envy.
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FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE INCUBATOR
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Nothing much new here – more hatching chicks.   Austin has 10 dozen babies to sell this weekend.
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FAREWELL
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Austin got my camera and was snapping sunsets like crazy one evening.   Though we had not heard yet, I wonder if it was related to the passing of our dear 92 year old friend Ludi back in Maine.   Ludi visited us 4 times at the farm.  She was just here last December, and it is hard to believe she is gone.   Here is a photo of her from her last October – getting to know a new friend .
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We love you, Ludi – miss you like crazy – and hope to meet again.
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