recent reads

Since my post last August I read some good books, at least by my tastes. China interests me and I read Soul Mountain (a slow read in between other books) by Gao Xingjian, 1st Chinese recipient of Nobel Prize in literature; and the Wild Swans by Jung Chang, a good successor to her book on Mao: The Unknown Story.  When I travel to Australia I look for books which have not yet surfaced in the United States and I enjoyed Easternisation by Rachman - succinct and gripping.  As is the Hundred-Year Read more [...]

growing update – tomatoes and bees

I noticed the leaves of my tomato plants in the greenhouse had white blotches. It has warmed up a lot and I suspect greenhouse heat and light is too much for the plants.  I could shade them or plant them.  A quandary is the average last frost day for Canton, a town to the south, is 4/21 to 4/30 and for Jasper, a town to the north, is 5/1 to 5/10.  So on April 10, what should I do?  The forecast anticipates no cold weather for the next 10 days.  I decided to chance Read more [...]

fence repair the easier way

Some time ago I noticed  the perimeter fence was down - a post had rotted at the base and 2 8ft attached panels fell with it. I call them panels because you can buy them that way - 8 ft length with 3 horizontals and 17 attached panels for about $49.  Or you can buy 3 2x4 8ft pieces for horizontals and 17 individual panels and nail them together.  I prefer the latter - easier to transport and move and cheaper but will take much longer unless you have a nail gun, which I happen Read more [...]

my wood stove

I was thinking just a few days ago, when winter abruptly descended, how efficient and useful my wood stove has been.  Over the past 3 winters it has lived up to all my expectations and provides sufficient heat for the house except in the evening before retiring when we use supplementary heat to warm the bathroom.  Coincidentally, I received an email with some questions on the wood stove (see below): Here are some thoughts.  But first, if you are interested in the topic do read my Read more [...]

update – 1st blossoms, bees and goats

We had (until a few days ago) a very mild winter and blossoms on the pear and peach trees appeared early.  My Kieffer pear was the first to produce and the picture above was taken on March 1. We have kudzu in Georgia but in the suburbs English ivy is a bigger problem and not every one wants to use glyphosate.  So in the Atlanta suburb where we also have a house, we were intrigued when we saw a temporary electric fence installed.  Our neighbors feel much the same way we do about Read more [...]

better air in the country & my standby indicator

Air is generally better in the country because there is less traffic and other emissions.  Unless you are close to a power plant or farm spraying operation.  Atlanta has an air quality index and warnings are issued when the AQI veers from good/moderate to unhealthy and very unhealthy.  Because we have lots of traffic, air quality becomes a problem particularly in the warmer months when smog forms. I can see the difference in air quality when I walk outdoors - just look at the lichens.  Read more [...]

Georgia Organics conference – Feb 17/18 – 2017

Past Friday and Saturday I was at the GO conference.  Friday morning we visited a farm (Emory Oxford College organic farm) about 20 miles east of Atlanta.  The farm has CSA's and provides food for the campus.  The 2 managers were friendly and experienced and we also listened to the narratives of college interns and volunteers.  There is an impressive barn building on concrete pad where the harvest is cleaned and refrigerated and tractors and equipment serviced. I learned Read more [...]

replacing a glass window

My tractor building has roll-up door on one end and a 4x5 ft window at the other end.  It is insulated glass in a steel frame.  And has been fine until yesterday when I backed my Case tractor with pto chipper into it, and it shattered. Up till then I had a good morning.  My bobcat started instantly and I turned the compost heap and then I chipped a lot of small trees and branches.  And feeling good about everything I then reversed my chipper through the window.  I designed Read more [...]

tomato plants

Each year around this time I start my tomato plants.  For germination I use 3/4" soil blocks (purchased seed starter mix) and incubate, and once germinated I transfer to 2" soil blocks in my greenhouse and  later into 32 oz bottom drilled yogurt containers.  I have described the procedures in detail elsewhere on this site.  With each passing year I have become more casual with the mix for the 2" soil blocks and yogurt containers.  I used to carefully measure out the different Read more [...]

tire puncture repair

As a kid I repaired bicycle tire flats - check the tire stem is not leaking, remove tire, remove inner tube, pump and locate hole, buff the area around the puncture, apply glue, allow to tack, apply patch, reinstall inner tube and tire, and you are good to go. The tires on my lawn tractor are bigger and wider and removing the rim/bead is more difficult.   The treads are worn and all 4 tires should be replaced.  The right rear tire is always flat.  I have a portable compressor (see Read more [...]