Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Better late than never...

Just realized I hadn't posted anything for the month of August. OOOpppps... I don't think anyone is crying about it, but I have been slacking on what's up.

Pretty much not much. Everything was too dry, too hot... Then we got some rain and it was catch up on just basic stuff. Did some traveling that ate up days. Been bummed a lot of the month.

Anywho... Pretty much the only thing guaranteed to come out of the garden this year will be some gourds and a few pumpkins. NOTHING did well in the square foot plots, I think I just didn't keep up on watering enough so everything was stunted and puked out. Next year we will have a couple boxes made with some watering system help so hopefully next years garden will be more of a success.
But at least the gourds are doing well. Well enough that I now have an idea of what to plant beyond luffas for the drape over the kennel/prelim for figuring out the hops pagoda plan.
Lol, I won't be able to save and use any of the seeds from those gourds though- I planted a bunch of kinds together, so I'm sure everything is all cross-pollinated. But I can open up a gourd or two off the vines and hope their seed is distinguishable enough to pick some out of the seed mix stock I do have.
The herb garden has been doing pretty well though- except my wooly thyme. The one plant I was really hoping would turn out to be a naughty one seems to have been the least naughty of all. 

Been doing food prepping for winter. Thank goodness for my dehydrator, I need more of the things. But they are soooo expensive and haven't had a speck of luck finding one in the second hand store. So now we are thinking about how to build solar, and if we can adapt something for the solarium windows.
Lately our favorite local grocer, Hardings, has has some sales of pound bags of frozen veggies, 10/$10.. So I get 10 bags and slowly dehydrate them up. I completely screwed up a couple bags of mixed veggies overloading trays, but now I've kind of fixed that. Now we have full jars of mixed veggies and corn dried on the shelf. Each jar holds 7-9 bags of veggies in the space of a single bag in the freezer or the space of a couple of cans of the same veg. I've started in with peas and carrots/peas to stock up on next. I've been using recycled pickle and kraut jars for this.
I've also been snagging fresh mushrooms on clearance when they have them. 99 cents for an 8 oz package- I bring them home, slice them up, and dehydrate them. Got a couple big jugs from purchased dried mushrooms that I use for storage. And what a deal that is- 4 oz canned mushrooms around here run 79-99 cents a can, and you only get a couple ounces of mushroom once it's drained.
They also sometimes have the GLORY greens on clearance 99 cents for a pound bag of gallon size- three of those fit into a single gallon bag once dried.
Been picking up slaw mixes too when they go on clearance- just the veggie part, not mixed with dressing kind.

I have finally finally used up all my frozen stock- the last bag from last thanksgiving's turkey and the last of the pork stock I made up this spring. Whew- stuff lasted forever!
So now I get to finally bust out with some other freezer goods. I have a duck that's been sitting forever- gonna roast that up for duck fat, meat, and the carcass for a batch of stock. And all the pork bones I've been saving up will see a trip to the smoker before I make stock out of that too. I think this time I'm going to take the time to simmer it down into concentrate and freeze into smaller portions that will take up less space- pints instead of quarts. And I'm betting I can get the thanksgiving carcass again this year- only this time instead of burbling up separate batches of stock and broth and packing it all and yadda yadda I'm going to bust out with my loves big brew kettle and do one huge batch of stock and then condense that too.
There's some sweet corn going on sale around here too that I want to take advantage of- oven roast dry the kernels, I keep those separate from the frozen corn I dry in the dehydrator. Then take the cobs and make corn stock- just cover those bad boys and simmer for an hour or so. That will get tossed into the freezer too.
Hah, I think over the next month or two I will become a master of how to handle my stock situation.

Tippy and friends:
Well, my love saw an unusual snake off our back patio door- turns out it was an Eastern Fox Snake, a threatened species.
Turkeys- I was on the back 40 the other day checking out the wild blackberries (they were a null) but I spotted to mature females with three juveniles in the tall grasses. And I found a couple pretty turkey feathers while on my walk- good mojo that is, and I'm grateful to Mama N for letting me find them.
Then a few days ago my love calls me to the patio door with a "What's that?" and it was the same family of turkeys wandering through the back yard.
The McSwanums are doing well... For a couple weeks now Ma and Pa have been taking their 3 kids flapping back and forth across the pond to strengthen their wings. And the two younger cygnets have finally been shedding their brown down in favor of their white feathers. Today for the first time all of them flew across the surface of the pond instead of just flapping across it. It was truly a majestic sight. All five of them glowing white in the sun, skimming the air over the water.

Bugs are fucking icky. West Nile is up this year, and yes, we are a state that has reported cases. Some new mystery disease apparently from ticks has popped up in Indiana, joy. I'm sick and tired of having to DEET suit myself every time I want to go outside. Have I mentioned recently how much I dislike ticks? Because I do, quite a bit.

I've started finalizing plans on how I want to set up my Groboxhill Plant Bible. Geez there are tons of little tidbits all over to pull together. And I suck at formatting, haha. But after this year, I finally have enough notes and stuff to make it worth starting to put together a bible. Or at least putting all my scattered stuff together into a comprehensive electronic format :) My ESoF plans are still on hold- my thoughts are still way to scattered about the whole project.
Found out my local library has a rather nice selection of planting and gardening books. Some of them are actually pretty useful, haha. A lot of them kind of are not, lots of repetition.

Tec Front: Raspberry Pi is really cool. Like really really cool. It is a tiny computer- pretty much a lil board with some out/inlets on it. But my love has been testing it on a lot of the doo-da's we got around the house, and it's working all over the place. Recently we have been watching Tedtalks on our regular TV through the thing. 25 bucks if I recall right.