growing activities 082411

Just returned from a 7 day vacation on the west coast. My neighbor's daughter cared for the two flocks in my absence - released at 7.30am each morning from the coop and re-cooped at 5pm each evening with plenty of food and water. All 14 were in great spirits when I greeted them this morning and enthusiastically beaked down their yogurt probiotics. My rain gauge said 0.5" of rain during the past 7 days, so nothing had died off and I gave a good watering (500 gals) to the vegs, berries and fruit tree Read more [...]

San Francisco – from food market to food truck

Saturday, August 20, was a good day to visit San Francisco foodwise – first a visit to the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market and then the 3rd annual La Cocina Food Festival in the Mission District. The Ferry Plaza market is considered one of the top farmers’ markets in the country.   The market is organized by CUESA (the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) which envisions a food system that is environmentally sound; socially just; humane; and, economically viable. Large Read more [...]

Salinas, CA

On the way from Monterey to San Francisco we paused in the Salinas Valley. If anything can trump Carmel Valley it is this valley, known as “the salad bowl of the United States”. Salinas was the hometown of John Steinbeck and the national John Steinbeck museum brings to life his books on the region. I chuckled on his comments when he revisited Carmel later in life: “And Carmel, begun by starveling writers and unwanted painters, is now a community of the well-to-do and the retired. If Carmel’s Read more [...]

Monterey and Carmel, CA

It seems to me that the areas north and south of San Francisco are ideally located for organic growing – excellent growing conditions and the wealth of San Francisco provides great consumer demand for the more expensive organic produce.   My son lives and works in the San Francisco area and on previous trips we visited the redwood forests and organic growing areas of Marin county to the north of San Francisco.  This time we headed for Monterey with its striking, natural and unspoiled shoreline. The Read more [...]


Highway robbers did holdups – stopped travelers under threat of violence to lighten their possessions. I was heldup for several days and only today was I released and able to continue my blog journey. The ethereal robber slipped through the internet highways and abruptly hijacked my laptop. It was not a baldfaced “stand and deliver” instead a more nuanced demand for protection money – the intruder announced it had identified serious virus threats and upon activation and payment of a ransom Read more [...]

2nd chicken coop done

Arrival of the egg laying chicken My neighbor offered me her 6 chicken and nesting boxes and metal waterer for a reasonable price and, because of the age and size difference between her mature egg laying chicken and my youngsters, I built a second chicken coop to receive them as well as a separate fenced outdoor exercise and grazing area. I refurbished a horse stall into a chicken coop using scrap lumber and wire fence leftovers.  I used screws rather than nails since it is easier to undo Read more [...]

the perfect loaf (of whole wheat bread)

How we achieved the perfect whole wheat loaf After considerable trial and error we produced a perfect loaf of whole wheat bread.  Previous iterations experienced fallen tops or were short and heavy.  Here is the recipe: Add to the baking pan of Zojirushi (model BBCC-S15 which has capacity of 1 loaf of approximately 1.0 to 1.5 lbs with height 6" to 8"): 1.5 cups warm water (not too hot); 1/3 cup pure canola oil including a dash of olive oil; 1/3 cup raw honey; 2 tsp salt; 1 free Read more [...]

supplementary feeding

Usually in the middle of the summer season some of the tomatoes begin to flag and need supplementary feeding.  At this stage I like to add some bone meal.  The roots of tomato plants typically grow vertically (unlike my muscadines where their roots head out horizontally and, like the vines, seem to extend for considerable distances, to suck up the nutrients intended for neighboring plants). My tomatoes are enclosed in tomato cages and are mulched with layers of newspaper and tree chippings Read more [...]

lifting things

Heavy items can be a challenge to lift when you are single handed and no longer in your 20's or 30's. Installing an island oven/range hood I recently had to install an island oven/range hood - this is the hood which fits above an island range in a kitchen. If the range was located against an exterior wall it would be a simpler matter to install a wall vent. However, an island range hood is more complicated because the hood has to be suspended from the ceiling. I cut a hole in the ceiling Read more [...]

trying to get smarter

A few evenings ago, after locking the chicks in the pen, I heard an unusual noise and went to investigate.  The coop is divided by an inner partition.  The two Golden Comets were on the one side on the roosting perch, which didn't surprise me since from the get go they were ostracized and even though now they appear to be accepted, they still act independently.  On the other side of the partition I saw an unusual sight - the other six chicks appeared to be shoving and tugging to get into a corner Read more [...]