Trying to make tomatoes happy January 26, 2013
This is the warm tray with the cucumbers and okra already moved into larger pots. The closest peat pods have peppers, which are just now germinating. The rest is tomatoes which for the most part germinated within a few days of being planted. The caro rich and marmande super were slower to germinate than the rest but are finally coming up now. The weather has been quite cool for the last week or so and my tomatoes have been stuck indoors. Even next to a window there is just not enough light for these full sun summer veggies so my little tomato stems were all turning purple. On older plants this could be a sign of lacking nutrients but since these do not have any true leafs yet I knew something else had to be stressing them out. After a little research I learned that lack of light or lack of warmth can cause the stems to turn purple. I decided to go back to using a heat mat and also to go buy a grow light.
I have had it for several days now and most of the purple has gone away. The new growth on the stems is green like it should be. I gave them some very diluted fish fertilizer as well, just to be sure. In addition to turning purple a lack of light can cause spindly plants with weak stems. For about the price of a few tomato plants at a nursery (about $12) I have helped all of these little tomatoes to thrive one more. It needs to be quite close to the plants so for now I am just setting the ends of the light on the edge of a taller tray and a tub of oxyclean. Nothing fancy here but it works and that is all I care about.
Cast iron skillet method for cooking rabbit January 25, 2013
This rabbit was raised by Blue Chips Farm Inc of Fountain Inn, SC. And bought by me from a lady with a habd painted sign by the road advertising everything from rabbit and bison to gator meat and bait worms. I do not recall the woman’s name but the place is on Tom Pike Lane in Summerville, SC for anyone who wants to stop by. Since I have been living in the city it has been a long while since I raised any rabbits of my own so my memory was a little rusty on just how to cook one. I decided to go with a simple recipe, just rabbit with some salt and pepper in my trust little cast iron skillet. I started it off on the stove top with a little coconut oil and cooked it just enough to brown a little. From there it went into the oven for about 45 minutes on 350. Note that this isn’t even half of a rabbit since I am cooking for one. The same method could easily be used for more, just use a bigger pan so it isn’t crammed together. Ideally you do not want them touching. You could use this method without the cast iron skillet by starting off in a fry pan and finishing it in a shallow baking dish. I like my cast iron because it is less cleaning for me since it is all in one pan that is incredibly nonstick when propperly seasoned. In fact there is seldom any need to wash the pan, just wipe clean or rinse with warm water. If you do use water DO NOT use soap and DO dry the pan immediately by putting it on a hot burner or in the oven with a dab of seasoning oil. I have found flax seed oil to work even better than the lard I grew up using . Leave it on the heat until the oil is smoking just a little and then pick it up with a hot pad and swirl the oil up onto the sides of the pan. Put the pan back onto the heat for a minute or two and then turn it off. After doing this you should be back to nonstick perfection again. I really recommend just wiping the pan out though. For those of you going ” omg, the germs” trust me, they do not survive being heated up and it hasn’t killed me or even made me sick. Given that this was the standard thing for a long time and before that people cooked on rocks and such I am quite confident that i am doing no harm and maybe even some good by using these methods.
Personal stuff and some updates January 13, 2013
I know a few people following this blog do not know me personally and I do not normally get into personal things here but I feel like I should let you know why I have gone silent for so long both here and on the revivalnatural facebook page. I caught my husband doing some rather inexcusable things involving women and drugs. I’ll spare you the details and myself the typing.
After trying to find a way for us to still be together it became more and more obvious that it was simply time for me to go and so I have. I don’t usually even mention him on here because he has stayed throughly uninvolved with my projects. I thought it was just a lack of interest in gardening, natural building etc. But I guess he had other things to do all along. Silly me, thinking he was just sitting home being lazy.
I am now staying in a travel trailer not far from the Revival project site. It is further from one job and closer to another so hopefully it will all work out. The trailer is inside of a fenced yard and there is a puppy for my dog to play with too. I have electric and today I went and refilled a propane tank so now I can cook without having to go “inside”. The bathroom has been torn out and the condition of the rest of the plumbing is unknown so no running water out here. I can go out and get water from the hose for coffee and cooking. I have to go in to use the toilet for now.
I have some buckets and a drill so I plan to make a composting toilet instead of having to go inside all of the time. I have used an outhouse before and plan to have a composting toilet in my cottage so imo it could be much worse. I plan on a nice composting toilet for the cottage, not a homemade bucket one but who knows, maybe I will decide to keep using a homemade one and save about 1,500. Time will tell. I will try to remember to take pictures of the toilet being built but often I start things with such enthusiasm that I forget all about you folks in blog land.
For now I shower inside but I might do some experimenting with making an outdoor solar heated shower.
I bought some tarps today and plan on fashioning then into some outdoor living space. I also put down some cedar mulch outside the door. I. Am hoping it will help keep sand from being tracked so bad. I know fleas and other bugs usually avoid cedar so hopefully it will help with that as well. The aromatic cedar mulch was nearly twice the price of the cypress blend mulch but if it keeps fleas and other pests away $4.04 is a cheap price to pay. I won’t really know how well it works for wiping off dog feet until morning. When the dew dampens the surface of the sand it clings on and tracks inside really bad. If it works out here my friends will try it for their home as well. They have outdoor carpet by the door now but it isn’t much help, even when cleaned several times a day.
Despite all of the craziness of fighting and moving and trying to work 2 jobs I did get to the property earlier and transplanted the garlic from the great garlic experiment into a raised bed near the ditch.
I also started a worm bin today. It started off as removing damaged leaves from my 2 avocado trees and not wanting to just toss them on the ground or the trash. There is no compost pile here and I always wanted a worm bucket anyway. For now it is just leaves, damp cardboard, this morning’s coffee grounds and some used potting soil. I bought a pack of 30 red worms to start it off and my friend’s son was having a good time finding various worms to stick in there too. They looked like the right kind for worm compost so hopefully they do ok. I know night crawlers like to migrate from place to place and do not like being confined so do not buy them for a worm bucket/pile.
I also started getting things set up to begin planting my spring veggies inside. I had been planning to do this at the home I shared with my hubby and refuse to let him cause a problem that will have a chain effect that could last all year. I will start my baby tomatoes on schedule!
I started reading the book ” Gardening in the South with Don Hastings: Fruits and Vegetables” last night. I am only on page 39 but so far it is very informative. Gardening in Michigan and gardening in South Carolina are two very different things and I am learning a ton. Hopefully this book helps take the edge off the learning curve for me.
My only internet right now is on my phone and I cannot figure out how to make updates on the Revival facebook page. I also do not see how to spell check this so I will read over it and try not to publish anything too crazy. If something slips by please be forgiving. That’s all for now 🙂