Thursday, September 6, 2012

(DF) MISCELLANEOUS AND SOMEWHAT RANDOM UPTDATE TO RECENT POSTS

First off, about Friday's rain.  Actually, though the morning mist was very nice and beneficial, the rain just didn't happen.  It didn't happen Saturday as forecast either.  Seems that Isaac didn't care to travel quite this far west, but did send some cool, damp weather (though short lived) our way.  By Monday, it was back above 100 degrees and has been there every day since.  There was rain again yesterday, and you probably already guessed, it was in the parking lot where I work but not here on the farm where I should be working. A RANDOM THOUGHT JUST OCCURRED; maybe if I come home, the rain will too, soon to be followed by bill collectors of course.

Remember the pumpkin vine pics I recently posted?  I believe I posted them Friday morning while it misted outside.  The next day, rabbits found the new leaves and stripped about half of the biggest vine.  The pumpkins are alright and still growing and new leaves are coming on to replace the ones eaten.  My first and most obvious question was about the why of rabbits who had shown no interest at all, suddenly stripping the vine.  The answer seems to be a simple one, though it took a couple of days to figure out.  The cool misty morning washed the leaves clean and dampened the ground enough so I didn't have to water Friday.  In the interest of water conservation, I had been saving bathwater to water the plants.  Seems rabbits don't like the soap in the bathwater.  As soon as I resumed watering, the chewing of leaves abruptly stopped.  I can't say soapy water is better to water with than rain water, but if the rabbits eat up the plants in question, the rain water won't do them much good.  I SURE AM GLAD THE FUZZY LITTLE CRITTERS DON'T LIKE SOAP!!!!

That leads to the ongoing topic of water conservation.  Yes, every drop must be saved if possible, and I continue to do so.  This leads to a water saving topic mentioned in a post recently; composting toilet system.  I decided a few weeks ago to try it out based on the methods recommended in "The Humanure Handbook". Years ago, when I lived totally off grid and somewhat primitive, I composted the cleanings from an old fashioned outdoor toilet.  The resulting compost was buried deep beneath my tomato plants (at the advice of an acquaintance who had lived in a third world country for a time).  The reasoning being that any pathogens would be underground and not come in contact with the fruit.  This composting venture yielded great tomatoes but was a smelly, fly infested endeavor.  By contrast, the methods described in the previously mentioned publication, at least so far I am pleased to say, have not produced any appreciable odor.  Likewise it hasn't drawn flies either to my facilities or the compost pile, and there have been no scavengers digging around in the compost.  The internal temperature of the pile has also been plenty hot enough to kill any known pathogen (in the unlikely event that any were present in the first place).

Back to water conservation.  The composting toilet system saves about 30 gallons of water each day, water that can be used better almost anywhere than in the septic tank.  As an added bonus, each time the toilet is not flushed, is a time when the well pump doesn't kick on.  Over the course of a month, that adds up to quite a few times the pump doesn't kick on (approximately 150 times in fact) and that should translate to some savings on the electric bill.  I won't know just how much savings until the next bill comes in but I will pass that information along later along with more details.

If it sounds like I am complaining, I'm not.  Well alright!!!! maybe I am just a bit, but in truth, the things I am complaining about, I am also truly grateful for, simply because of the information and experience I am gaining and the growth it forces.  Even the most frustrating and just down right hard things in life deserve gratitude.  May we always be grateful!!!!!

6 comments:

  1. I think with all the adversity you've been handed this year, a "little complaining" is in order. Do you think soapy water would deter the stink bugs? They stripped the leaves off all my squash plants within a week! Then they moved on to the cucumber and melons, and that's when I declared war...they are gone now, but I lost every squash plant :(

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  2. Thanks Mary, but I really don't think I should complain unless I am the only one with the problems I complain about. In reality, I know that I am not having it bad at all compared to what has been happening to others.

    Now, as for the stink bugs. Are they the short wide ones or are they the long, narrow, dark ones? If they are the long, narrow, dark ones, those are known as squash bugs and are a terrible problem. I am not sure if soapy water will deter them or not but I have noticed that I haven't seen any on my pumpkin vines in quite a while. They were there early on, so I suspect that there is a connection. Good luck with those little devils.

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  3. Yes, there is always someone who's situation makes you feel very fortunate! And yes, they were the dreaded squash bugs... Now an internet search using the proper name yielded some useful information. The soapy water may deter them, an easy thing to try next year. There were millions of them, eating my wonderful plants, so I was forced to pull them all out...then using a cement trowel I vented my frustration, smashing hundreds with each blow. I'm still a little mad about it! BTW, I should be getting my first litter of rabbits next week...

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  4. Mary, I have been overrun with squash bugs this year, too. As frustrating as it has been, it has been interesting, too. They have LOVED my Big Max pumpkin best! It had gotten up big and beautiful. Now there isn't much left. I have tried numerous things on it, but those pesky critters just keep coming back! On the other hand, I also have some squash plants that they have never touched. Not sure if it is the Perilla Mint growing next to it or the variety of squash. But whatever, I wish they would ALL go away! (the bugs, I mean)

    And that is so exciting about the rabbits! I can't wait to have some ourselves. I would gladly trade some for a Boxer puppy, lol.

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  5. Hello Anna! Glad to see you back! The article I read on the @#!$& squash bugs said they leave the butternut varieties alone as well as a certain type of acorn (can't remember which). I had about 16 Delicata squash plants and they tore them up...then moved to the spaghetti and acorns....bad, bad bugs!
    I am not looking for a doggy, but if the rabbits reproduce as everyone says....I will bring you a set. I would like to take a camping trip down your way sometime, so I can just drop them off then! Maybe next spring???


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  6. That is so very interesting about the different squash and the squash bugs! We planted some acorn squash this year from seeds we saved from Acorn squash we got on sale last winter. They turned out to be very hardy squash, lived through the drought, are trying to put on squash now, and have never had a squash bug on them! I wondered if it could have been the variety.

    I would love a set of rabbits! And I would love to get to meet you in person. Good luck getting the rabbits to cooperate, though. I use to raise show/pedigreed rabbits and the never cooperated well. They had their babies at the most difficult times, but were lax on having them when I needed them to. How about a couple of kittens or cats instead of the doggie?

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