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Thursday, October 16, 2014

A "Reprieve" from Fall

Once again, Mother Nature has decided that it's not quite time for fall to arrive and stay and the temperatures rose to such that I am glad I had not yet put all the warmer weather clothes in storage. Once again some will get a "final wash" come Monday (which is predicted to be sunny) and this time I shall move them to storage.

Lots was accomplished this week, but as always, more remains to be done. I culled two of the first lot of chicken hatchlings...two roos that were getting very big and were hogging the layer pellets. I processed them as roasters (plucked, not skinned) and they will be transferred from aging in the refrigerator to storage in the freezer today. We have been letting hatchings 2 and 3 loose to forage during the day. The #2 crew usually end up back IN their tent, ready to be closed in against the predators however the #3 crew end up roosting next to, or on their tent but going out after dark makes "capture" and returning them to safe quarters easy... UNLESS they decide to roost under the forsythia which they did once this week. We did loose two more baby turkeys. Tractor Guy decided to rig 6 strand electric fence around the turkey pen and after that, even though he has slept more at night, we still have the remaining poult... thus far.

"House plants" - the
best kind - edible!
On the Great Door and Window Project, the majority of the work is done. Insulation has been installed and the curtains re-hung. I even hung my "The Witch is IN" sign yesterday and the basil, epazote, stevia and marjoram plants installed on a shelf unit in front of one of the windows! Hopefully, drywall will be up soon.

I have been attempting to re-work the shopping cart for the Dutch Hex Sign web site. I will be closing the account that the orders have been associated with and have a new bank account to associate with a new PayPal account, but the buttons steadfastly refuse to work. I am considering a Square store (though setting it up will require a lot of rethinking of format, on account of shipping issues). I do not have, nor want, a merchant account at the bank in order to accept credit/debit cards on line. I have seen, as a result of working with other businesses, how expensive that can be in the "off months" and would rather pay a somewhat higher amount per transaction over a monthly fee. If anyone reading this has a suggestion for an online store system that includes credit card processing, please email me at the.hexenmeister(at)gmail.com with info!

Hedge row cleared of weeds.
I also have begun attacking the standing weeds with the string trimmer and applying my cardboard and mulch hay surrounds to them.  The cherry tree, forsythia bushes and a few odd trees have been readied for winter, short of adding the "rat wire" cylinders around the fruit tree trunks for protection from mice during the winter. I got started working around the strawberry and asparagus beds, and have collected a large quantity of asparagus seeds, with more yet to get. Hopefully, this coming week will allow me to complete the weed whack/mulch job on the perennials, or at least make a good go of it. I discovered that it is much easier to cut the very heavy cardboard (3 or more layers) with my jig saw over a knife, so have been making short work of the heavy recycled stuff for the trees and bushes.

Fourth planting of lettuce and late spinach have been making
wonderful salads.
The fall crop of spinach and lettuce is doing great! I did a bit of cultivation and weeding this week and a light picking. Plans are to surround this bed with a cold frame, eventually. Meanwhile, we have been enjoying salads with spinach and the last of the tomatoes.

I cooked an "end of season vegetable soup" in the crock pot and have some in the fridge for later... the very last of the 'maters, some onions, leeks, carrots, celery, peas, green beans and herbs from the garden. Yum!

24" exterior hex sign
In the hex sign world, I shipped a 24" diameter Welcome sign yesterday and cut circles to sand, prime and paint for two more 2' signs and three 12" ones. I am hoping that the orders continue to come in and that folks don't wait until the last minute to order for the holiday gift season. It does take time to complete an order when each work of art is painted to order and paint takes longer to dry in the winter. And, to complicate matters, I am not only planning to have knee surgery late this fall, but also to take a long road trip to bring back a much needed "livestock guardian dog" puppy from a friend out west.

I have been thoroughly enjoying this week, with my commitment to stay on the farm as much as possible. Next week, though, will have several trips to the doctors office (thankfully most of them are at the office in town and only one requires me to head to Dover-Foxcroft and the hospital for a test.) No, nothing is especially amiss... other than the knees... this is a new provider getting a base line from services covered bu Medicare. I will be glad when this running week is done. It is, however, the week of the dark moon which means for me that taking the recycling and trash as well as carrying the results of this month's de-junking to a charity store, are in order as well. This will mean one trip to Bangor, which I hope to schedule on Tuesday afternoon so I can spend some time with the fiber group at One Lupine.

With the attention I have been giving to de-junking and waste minimization, and not being able to  recycle any plastic beyond #2, I have committed to seriously minimizing purchase of products packaged in other types of plastic and producing at home those products that I cannot find in appropriate packaging (#2, glass or metal). I have already made my first small batch of pancake syrup and have a plastic bottle (#1) of commercial stuff to return to the store (bought by Tractor Guy the same day I made some).  Research shows that I will also soon begin making mayonnaise and ranch style dressing on a regular basis. I did find small quantities of each, packaged in glass, at my local health food store, but not at prices that make sense to me.

And that's life in the slow lane...