THIS & THAT

This is one of those eclectic postings, lots of thoughts and stories all rolled into one.

Sorta like a jumbled post… you’ve been warned.

An easy up and salvaged canvas curtains protect the last two beds of tomatoes. Looks like a circus tent!

Protecting the crops with tarps and row covers

First Frost

The storm blew out late Wednesday night leaving SoCal washed clean of the grim and filth that accumulates during the summer months.

Thursday was a beautiful day – everything was fresh.  Animals and people were basking in the suns warm rays and I was marveling at the puffy cloud formations (clouds are rare here in SoCal).  From the urban homestead we could see that the San Gabriel’s got a good couple inches of snow.   Yep there’s snow on them der mountains and what a beautiful sight that is.

Coming back from our friend party (the tea sandwiches, as always, were a huge hit) as we crossed over the Colorado Bridge the glorious mountains were a glow ,basked in the purple light of the sunset and below the lower Arroyo Seco there was a ribbon of yellow colored trees.   So pretty and majestic was the scene.  It’s not often we get to see such a spectacular sight.  Makes you think back to a time before the smog and the concrete and the cars….

Of course the storm blowing out meant that our cloud cover was gone.  Meaning it was going to be a cold one.  Cold night that is.   Justin and Farmer D had already anticipated the onslaught of winter and put up the row covers over practically all 50 raised beds.

When I got back from the party Justin had the ingenuity to use the Easy Up (that thing’s been pretty handy lately) as a cover over the two remaining tomato beds.  These two beds have over a dozen tomatoes that are about 4plus feet high.

Temperatures started to dip fast as the sun set.   While Jordanne & I were putting up the animals at about 5pm Justin reported that it was already 42 degrees.   Brrrr.

It’s an icy 26 degrees this morning.  Justin was up early checking on the plants seeing if any needed to be hosed down before the sun came up.

Though a bit frosty everything looks OK.

As for the tomatoes,   I am happy report that they survived the night, thanks to the Easy Up and salvaged canvas “circus curtains,”  and will live another day.

Trying to clean up after the rains but it’s still wet and muddy – kinda hard to do anything really with everything’s so soaked.  Hopefully we’ll have a chance to dry out before the next storm blows in next week.

Hey So Cal gardeners, how’s everyone’s gardens doing.  Care to report?

More Plants

On the rainy Wednesday Farmer D and Justin when shopping for plants at one of our local nurseries.  They needed to fill in a few empty spots in the front yard with some perennial edibles.

I haven’t had a chance to see all that they got but from their conversations I overheard Bush Cherry and Honeybush.

All I know that it is excellent transplant weather – the soil is nice and moist so it’s time to move or plant what needs to be done in the garden.

Working with and edible front yard is challenging because it needs to not only productive but beautiful.  Why?  Because we don’t live in the boondocks somewhere.  We live in a neighbor in the city and we need to be responsible citizens and keep our garden looking well maintained.

The Four P’s in Front Yard Edible Landscape

Every year the front yard garden goes through revision after revision.  Plants are getting bigger or somethings just don’t grow where we plant it.

Every year we are growing along with our landscape.

News

Also yesterday Farmer D accepted a pretty big speaking engagement to conference.  I will post details soon, but like I said 2009 is shaping up to be another interesting year as our outreach work expands.

Oh yeah, and we have to like leave to Nevada City in early January.  We have a “to do list” two pages long.  It’s not easy to just pick up and leave it’s like a strategic military invasion or something.  No, seriously.

We rarely ever buy new clothes/shoes but some of our clothing had been getting pretty old and ratty and we did need a few things.  So Justin has increased his shoe collection to TWO pairs of shoes.  Yep, he got himself a pair of boots.   He normally runs around in sandals but I don’t think sandals would be too good of an idea in the Sierra Nevadas in January.

I also have some other interesting news which I can post about and will get to that hopefully early next week.

One of the Hard Truths About Backyard Farm Animals

Oh and another thing which is good to note.  Jordanne received a call from a new goat owner who was beside herself that her one of her goats gave birth to a stillborn and hadn’t expelled the placenta.    Poor goat was shaking – probably in shock.  Don’t know if the poor creature is OK, but we hope so.

This situation, we are finding, is becoming more and more common.  People get are getting caught up in getting backyard farm animals without researching where their nearest vet is or how to treat the animals on their own.    Jordanne knows that she can’t depend on local vets to treat poultry or even livestock and has built up a little arsenal of medications and remedies that we have on hand “just in case.”

Farm animals are cute and all but they do get sick, diseases and some do even die.  That’s the not so cute part about raising poultry and livestock.  When you decide to raise these animals you got to know how to treat them when the fall ill or mishaps happen.    That’s the ugly truth some people don’t face and go over before they rush out and get these animals because it’s now a fad to keep backyard chickens or even goats.

It’s a serious matter keeping animals and thus you need to read, read, read some more and research, research and research some more.   These animals aren’t some objects to have just because it’s fashionable now to keep them.  They need to be cared for on a daily basis.  Yep, daily basis — for years and years.

So before you rush out a get that cute little chick or kid, think on this — will you be able to have the guts and stomach to treat it when it falls ill?  You won’t – I can tell you – be dealing with pretty situations and you gotta to have the stomach to treat your own animals if no one else in your area will.

That’s something that newbie urban homesteaders and small stock holders have consider and be prepared to deal with.   This new “backyard animal” movement shouldn’t be plagued with dead, sick and dying animals.

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Comments(16)

  1. Laurie says:

    I had had my first set of hens for only a month or two when one of them became egg bound. Unfortunately, the stuck egg broke…poor thing! Although I’m a vet, I never learned much about chickens in school. But at least I had the ability to roll up my sleeves (literally) and help my poor animal with her problem. Many folks just can’t stomach that sort of thing, and they really do need to think about this FIRST before getting livestock. Take stock of yourself, and what you are able to do, and make plans in advance for how you will get help if you need it. Think about how your kids may be affected as well… I’m glad to be able to talk about earthy stuff with my kids.

  2. Laurie says:

    I had had my first set of hens for only a month or two when one of them became egg bound. Unfortunately, the stuck egg broke…poor thing! Although I’m a vet, I never learned much about chickens in school. But at least I had the ability to roll up my sleeves (literally) and help my poor animal with her problem. Many folks just can’t stomach that sort of thing, and they really do need to think about this FIRST before getting livestock. Take stock of yourself, and what you are able to do, and make plans in advance for how you will get help if you need it. Think about how your kids may be affected as well… I’m glad to be able to talk about earthy stuff with my kids.

  3. ecologystudent says:

    I agree whole heartedly that people need to research their animals before they buy them. And it’s not just with chickens and goats either- too many people go out and buy a pet (whether it be dog, cat, reptile, bird or fish) with out knowing what they are getting into. They don’t realize how much care, attention, and knowledge is needed, and the animals often pay the price.

    I was raised with the understanding that I was responsible for my animals- not just their survival, but also their happiness and environment. That means knowing them (so you can see signs of illness before it gets too bad), and knowing how to take care of them when they need it.

  4. ecologystudent says:

    I agree whole heartedly that people need to research their animals before they buy them. And it’s not just with chickens and goats either- too many people go out and buy a pet (whether it be dog, cat, reptile, bird or fish) with out knowing what they are getting into. They don’t realize how much care, attention, and knowledge is needed, and the animals often pay the price.

    I was raised with the understanding that I was responsible for my animals- not just their survival, but also their happiness and environment. That means knowing them (so you can see signs of illness before it gets too bad), and knowing how to take care of them when they need it.

  5. Shirley says:

    I am so happy about your tomatoes. It sounds like you have winter temps similar to ours here in N Florida. We do the same thing for our pepper plants and they are now 4 years old. They look kind of pathetic through the coldest months, yet they keep on producing. In the spring after they start putting on new leaves we trim the plants back as needed.

    In fact this year I’ve resolved not to pull up anything that isn’t already dead. My okra has put out new leaves and is producing from the bottom foot of the plants. They look odd with the top 2 feet bare, I’ll probably cut them back. Think outside the usual practices.

    Who knows, you could have tomatoes right up to spring, my past neighbor did. She treated those plants just like they were her children.

  6. Shirley says:

    I am so happy about your tomatoes. It sounds like you have winter temps similar to ours here in N Florida. We do the same thing for our pepper plants and they are now 4 years old. They look kind of pathetic through the coldest months, yet they keep on producing. In the spring after they start putting on new leaves we trim the plants back as needed.

    In fact this year I’ve resolved not to pull up anything that isn’t already dead. My okra has put out new leaves and is producing from the bottom foot of the plants. They look odd with the top 2 feet bare, I’ll probably cut them back. Think outside the usual practices.

    Who knows, you could have tomatoes right up to spring, my past neighbor did. She treated those plants just like they were her children.

  7. Maureen says:

    Well, I was just out taking pics of our garden to put on my blog after last nights freeze…first thing in the morning covered with frost and then by noon perked up and none the worse for the wear. We haven’t ever used covers tho we are considering it for next year. I worry when it gets cold, but except for a few plants in 1997 we have never lost anything to frost….and we are in the Central Valley. Maybe it’s because we limit what we grow (brocolli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, peas, onions, lettuce and spinach) or maybe just dumb luck (stress dumb). We hear the wind machines going (for the citrus) all winter but our little garden goes it alone. Do you think the cold affects harvest also? Do you cover every night or just predicted frosts?

    thanks!

  8. Maureen says:

    Well, I was just out taking pics of our garden to put on my blog after last nights freeze…first thing in the morning covered with frost and then by noon perked up and none the worse for the wear. We haven’t ever used covers tho we are considering it for next year. I worry when it gets cold, but except for a few plants in 1997 we have never lost anything to frost….and we are in the Central Valley. Maybe it’s because we limit what we grow (brocolli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, peas, onions, lettuce and spinach) or maybe just dumb luck (stress dumb). We hear the wind machines going (for the citrus) all winter but our little garden goes it alone. Do you think the cold affects harvest also? Do you cover every night or just predicted frosts?

    thanks!

  9. jengod says:

    We had a little frost too! Kind of exciting. Just the new raised bed (which has no mulch and so much moisture after the rains) and the chaise lounge. Photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21314081@N00/sets/72157611419411066/

    Everything seemed fine and healthy–and a lot of veggies are supposed to be tastier after frost, so hopefully this will just be good for broccoli and kale.

  10. jengod says:

    We had a little frost too! Kind of exciting. Just the new raised bed (which has no mulch and so much moisture after the rains) and the chaise lounge. Photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21314081@N00/sets/72157611419411066/

    Everything seemed fine and healthy–and a lot of veggies are supposed to be tastier after frost, so hopefully this will just be good for broccoli and kale.

  11. Linda says:

    Well, my garden is still wet and mucky – I’m going to leave it to dry out (hopefully) before I wade in and start work. The collards just look happier and happier the more frost we get, but the tatsoi not 4 feet away doesn’t have a whisper of frost on it. Weird. The lettuce is happily tucked under my makeshift row cover – I’m going to have to take a picture of it, because the row cover is a very old single bed sheet. How old, you ask? It’s a Snoopy Disco Fever sheet, if that tells you anything 🙂 So there is Snoopy and all the Peanuts gang doing their 70’s thing in my garden, whilst warming the lettuce. Wonderfully funny!

  12. Linda says:

    Well, my garden is still wet and mucky – I’m going to leave it to dry out (hopefully) before I wade in and start work. The collards just look happier and happier the more frost we get, but the tatsoi not 4 feet away doesn’t have a whisper of frost on it. Weird. The lettuce is happily tucked under my makeshift row cover – I’m going to have to take a picture of it, because the row cover is a very old single bed sheet. How old, you ask? It’s a Snoopy Disco Fever sheet, if that tells you anything 🙂 So there is Snoopy and all the Peanuts gang doing their 70’s thing in my garden, whilst warming the lettuce. Wonderfully funny!

  13. PhoenixJen says:

    Hmmmmm….I would love to see disco Snoopy and the gang on salad warmup duty!

    PhoenixJen

  14. PhoenixJen says:

    Hmmmmm….I would love to see disco Snoopy and the gang on salad warmup duty!

    PhoenixJen

  15. Stacy says:

    My sis is a vet, and I refuse to acquire any animals without researching them to death, first.

    For those here in Los Angeles, my neighboring towns of Shadow Hills and Lake View Terrace have some of the highest numbers of agricultural land in the county, and I highly recommend stopping in at a feed store in the neighborhood and asking for references for veterinarians.

    Oh, and when I checked my garden this morning, everything seemed to have come through fine. Here’s hoping!

  16. Stacy says:

    My sis is a vet, and I refuse to acquire any animals without researching them to death, first.

    For those here in Los Angeles, my neighboring towns of Shadow Hills and Lake View Terrace have some of the highest numbers of agricultural land in the county, and I highly recommend stopping in at a feed store in the neighborhood and asking for references for veterinarians.

    Oh, and when I checked my garden this morning, everything seemed to have come through fine. Here’s hoping!

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