Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Here is a nice big Barred Owl that has been living in the Hammock behind the house. I hear him all of the time.
He is very large, and very tame. He was easily approached, and photographed. I am a little leery of seeing Owls. There is a notion that a visitation by an owl portends the death of a family member. An owl was sitting in the Pecan tree in front of the house in Abell on October 30th, 2010. That was the day my boy died. I noted the Owl in my posting that morning. It was not until two days later that I found out Blaine had died that morning, sometime very close to the time the Owl was sitting in the Pecan Tree, looking at me. I doubt I shall ever see an Owl again, that I don't think about that Owl, on that morning at the end of October 2010.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
- The frost is on the citrus trees this morning. Today we will have sunny skies with some clouds. The High will only reach 58F. Our low tonight could go into the high 20's. The relative humidity is 91% and the dew point is 28F. The Barometer is 30.12 and steady. Our winds are out of the North/Northwest at 5 to 10mph. Our sunrise came at 7AM sharp, and will set this evening at 5:29. We have very short days now. The frost this morning was heavy. I was up before dawn, and recorded a temperature just at freezing. I checked the bananas and Papayas (which are under cover) and they seemed to have made it. I checked the raised beds (also under cover) and it was quite warm in side the shelter. I moved the heaters from the "banana house" into the studio, so Sherry will be comfortable when she makes her way out to work.
- The citrus are pretty hardy, so I should not see too very much in the way of damage. We will see. Tonight, it is said to get colder. Next week, they say it will be even worse. How can this be? In December? An early winter, so it might play itself out before the new year. I am just happy to be here in Florida, and not up north, where it is really cold.
- I have been notified the calendars for the BRW Memorial Scholarship Fund have shipped, and will be here next week. I will have to order more, as my first printing is already spoken for . I want to look over the finished product, so I can see what I have to do to modify them if necessary. Than I only need information as to where to send the donations. I will work on this during the week.
- Time to start foiling. I have some glass work to do today. I am trying to limit my activities outside, as it is so very cold out there.
- Sherry was in studio all day and I stayed in the house foiling. I got a lot done. The wind was blowing, and the temperature never got up to 60F, so inside was the place to be . I am not working on my outside deck (my work area) in this weather. I will limit my activities to the indoors.
- Palmdale is all over the local news as the cold spot in the state. We were in the Mid-20's, and will be the cold spot in the state again tonight. We went for a walk at 4PM (the warmest part of the day). Blue caught a dillo, but we made her turn the poor thing loose. It must have been freezing to death. We completed our walk, covered up the plants, put the heaters in the veggie green house and in with the Papaya's and Bananas. They are in their own structure, covered with tarps and plastic, to try to keep them from freezing.
- We ate out of the freezer and watched the News. Palmdale is going to be cold. Temperatures are going into the mid-to-lower 20's. We will pray for the farmers, the ones who lose more than just pretty plants and dooryard citrus. We will pray the damage is minimal.
Monday, December 6, 2010
- Although we will have abundant sunshine today, it is cold cold cold. This is no great news, as it is cold everywhere east of the Mississippi. The relative humidity is 81%. The dew point is 36F and the Barometer is 30.10 and raising. Our High today will only hit 64F and our Low tonight is 31F. Our sunrise came this morning at 6:59AM and will set tonight at 5:29PM. Winds are North/Northwest at 10 to 20 mph. The chance of rain is 0%.
- The big news here in South Central Florida in general, and Palmdale in particular is the cold air mass moving in from the north. We will see severe crop damage from this one. Field crops that have been recently planted will certainly be burned. They are picking like crazy to get what is up (tomatoes mostly) in. There is citrus that needs picking, and some immature fruit that is still setting. Damages are predicted to be in the $ millions. Here is what the Ag Agent has to say:
A strong cold front will move into the region late today, ushering in cold air for most of this week. Late tonight and early Monday will certainly be much colder and blustery, but low temperatures will not yet be cold enough to support low wind chills. The center of the Arctic air mass will make steady progress southward on Monday, with highs mainly in the low and mid 60s. This sets up the first of two potential freezing nights.
Monday night/Tuesday AM:
Wind chills below critical values ALL areas as winds will remain NNW 5-10 mph overnight, except NNW 10-15 mph near both coasts.
Low temperatures expected for the following areas:
Glades/Hendry: 27-30. Three or more hours at or below freezing possible.
Western/Inland Palm Beach and Inland Collier: Near freezing 30-33 (Lake shadow will play a big role in Belle Glade/Pahokee areas).
We will continue to cover up our plants today. I detest this type of weather. It is so damaging.
We continued work on glass today. Todd and Nancy came by after noon to visit for a bit. They brought along little Gavin. He got his load of bananas. Nancy wanted to see the coop set-up and check out the 'green house' over the raised beds. It was a very pleasant visit. Todd returned one book on raised bed gardening, and I sent him off with three Mother Earth News mags from the 70's-80's.
We continued working on glass until about 4PM at which time we started covering up some of the many, many plants that are cold sensitive. The weather man (during the noon boradcast) stated this is the coldest December 6th since 1937. He also specifically mentioned 'Palmdale" as being the coldest part of the state! On top of all of this, he said next week will be worst than this week! Distressing.
I began notifying folks about the BRW Memorial Scholarship Fund 2011calendars. I have orders for six so far. I have only ordered 15, so I have almost filled my first printing.
Well, as soon as the wind lays down, I will finish up covering the remaining plants. Until, I will sit in the warm, and foil.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
At 3:00PMn we headed over to the Prevatts for cake and ice cream, in celebration of Ethan's Birthday. The Grandparents, and Great-Grandparents were there, as well as Bill and his brother Mathew. Nancy makes a beautiful cake. We all jumped in and it vanished in no time. Nancy made Jess & John's wedding cake, and my birthday cake last year. I love her cake, and told her I was going to get married again, just to get the cake. Maybe in January...
Saturday, December 4, 2010
We are already getting eggs from the chickens. We got one blue egg yesterday, and two from the frizzies today.
We got the frame put up around the beds. It worked great last evening. We will see how it goes tomorrow night, when it is predicted to go into the low 30'sF.
We took our walk at the end of the day into the scrub and over to the homestead. The oranges are still not ready yet. We did get a nice Queen Palm. I think I will take the shovel over tomorrow, and get some plantings for the flower bed at the pen.
Friday, December 3, 2010
- It is brutal here this morning. The temperatures went down to 35F last night, and I am worried for the vegetable sets getting burned. Some have not yet been hardened off, so damage is likely. I will have to replace some of the more delicate ones. My goal is to get the frame for my cover built today.
- Weather wise, today we will have abundant sunshine with a 0% chance of rain. Our High today will be 71F and our Low of 35F. was already hit at 5AM this morning. The relative humidity is 75% and the dew point is 32 F. The Barometer is steady at 30.16, which is a pretty high "High Pressure". Our winds are from the North/Northeast at 10 to 15 mph.
- Our Sunrise will come this morning at 6:57AM. Our Sunset will occur this evening at 5:28PM.
- It is my intention to finish the coop today. I need to build a door to the coop, some laying boxes, and a gate for Pinky the Pigs' fenced off area. I have to get the last of the raised beds planted, and I have to build frames for them, so I can cover them on cold nights. We have another cold front moving in on Sunday, so I have to get this done, or continue to loose sets. Once this is done, I must pack for our trip to West Palm Beach tomorrow. Saturday will be a long day, but we need to try to sell some glass.
- Next week I will start on the floor system for the "Todd Shed" I have coming. We can use the additional 200 cubic foot of storage space (3'X8'X8'). This will only take me a few hours.
- Todd came by this afternoon. He lost quite a few plants this morning. He said he turned on the sprinkler at 4AM, but the damage had been done. Very discouraging, going to all that trouble, and loosing all in one night. He is dead set on doing a raised bed similar to ours, and building a cover.
- Well, here it is, 7pm Friday evening, and we just finished a wonderful meal Sherry prepared of roast chicken, sweet potatoes and peas.
- I got everything in the pen done, except the fencing necessary to segregate Pinky from the birds. Sherry got the raised beds filled, and we planted the center one in seeds (no black plastic mulch on this one) which included beets,carrots, spinach, kale, Swiss Chard, and Sherry's herbs.
- The forth and last bed was planted in potatoes, broccoli, and red cabbage. After all of this was done, I built "A" frames, attached them to the beds, and stretched clear plastic over the whole works. This will keep the frost off, and we are getting frost. I received an email from the ag-extension agent this evening: Beginning Sunday, and through next Thursday night, we will be getting some very cold weather. I will leave the beds covered until this passes, and probably through the first of the year, as the plants need to be hardened off.
- We had a nice walk at the end of the day, and stopped by Maureen's to collect some tangerines. She has a really good tree that is throwing quite a crop. I have to make it a point to get over to the Homestead next week, and collect those oranges before they start to drop in the cold.
- I am happy to have the pen/coop completed. The chickens seem content. Pinky the Pig seems to be enjoying her new digs. The raised beds are planted and under cover.
- The yard is cleaned up, and the platform for the Todd Shed is my next project.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
The old girl is protecting her litter. She continually rushes the fence, trying to keep us from her little ones.
Here is Pinky the Pig in her new home. She went straight for the chicken feed. Sherry fed her up on Papaya, corn and pizza, as well as the laying mash Pinky got to before the chickens found it.
Here is the Donkey we met while collecting our chickens and a rooster at the Gateway Farm, which was little more than a trailer, a corral, and a make shift chicken coop. I was lead to believe I would be able to get some straight run poultry. No chance. We got an Old English Game Hen and Rooster, and two Cochin's. This was $30.00. Normally, you would pay no more than $20.00.
As soon as we got home, Sherry left for the farm store in Lake Placid to purchase the three chickens we saw yesterday. She got all three for $24. This bunch consisted of a Polish, and two Frizzy's (a cock & a hen). A much better deal then we got from the "Gateway Farm".
This is an Angle Trumpeter Sherry planted last spring. It is one beautiful flower!
The Beds are in and being filled as time permits. Sherry planted two of the bed today, with starts we started on November 15th. The third bed will be completed tomorrow, and we will plant this one in cole crops and potatoes. While Sherry worked on the beds, I completed the pen. Tomorrow we get our piglet and our chickens.
- And here is Sherry's very first papaya! She has been trying for three years now to get fruit. This is the first, as all of the others fall prey to the coons or the cold. It was really very tasty, a cross between a melon and a peach. We hope for more soon! Sherry collected the seeds, as she thinks this strain is cold hardy.
- I am up at 4:45am this morning, thanks in large part to a massive 'Charlie horse' in my calf that had me dancing around the bedroom, whimpering like a baby. Oh the pain! Fortunately, I could 'pound it out', which gave me some relief.
- Two nights ago, we went to look at the new addition to our farming operation. The Shoats had escaped from the pen, and were running loose around the place. Todd said they liked to get out and eat the "a-kerns" (we have a great crop from the Oaks this season, and the acorns are everywhere in great numbers) and 'wall-er' in the creek mud (there is no water to speak of, as we have had no rain in a month or more). The sow is confined to the pen (a 16' square structure of heavy gauge wire with a kick board along the bottom which is designed to allow a toe-hold to 'jump out' should the hog come after you). Todd was explaining the construction of his pen when Bill L. showed up to ask Todd along on a hog hunt that evening. Bill L is a very large man who works for the local electrical co-op and lives on the outside of town. He and Todd are the same age, and are great friends. So there we are, examining the sow and watching the children chase the sloats around the yard. Todd comments on the fact that the sow pig is "mean as a snake". Bill made the observation that "...you can piss on their face... and they won't be so mean, seeing they got the smell of a Man on them...". Ethan ( who just celebrated his 12th Birthday), pipes up and says "...it don't work. I pissed on that sow a dozen times and she's still mean...". Bill, taken aback at being contradicted by a youngster, shot back "...I said Man piss. You ain't nothin' but a boy...". The exchange was interesting, if not humorous.
- Well, I must get started on my coop this morning. It should be done by tomorrow, as I go to pick up the fowl. We hope the piglet will come tonight. I have much to do to prepare for the operation. I have learned over the years that the biggest mistake anyone can make with chickens and livestock is to 'put the cart before the horse' and not have the pens and shelters in place and ready to receive the birds/livestock. Varmints are a huge problem here, and building pens to protect against these pests is fundamental to successful animal husbandry.
- Well, enough of this. It is time to get started with my day.