Monthly Archives: January 2014

It’s raining piglets!!

We recieved 3-4 inches of rain on Tuesday according to my rain gauage.  That is amazing for our little desert area.  The timing was perfect, as we had just planted the African expression area of the farm with millet, sorghum and sunflowers.  We had also just sown sudan grass and popcorn in the chicken yard area (put temporary fencing around it).  It is always amazing to see the overnight growth and happiness of the plants after a good rain.  The baby pumpkin plants doubled in 24 hours!  I have heard that rain water is quite different from ground water and I can see the difference in the response of our garden.  While the rain was pouring 7 little piglets were birthed and the  next day another litter showed up.   I have heard of raining cats and dogs- but piglets?!

trying to get warm

trying to get warm

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Got Eggshells?

I have spent hours researching calcium supplements for chickens and am still a bit confused.  From what I have found, the form of calcium in eggshells, calcium carbonate, is not digestible to humans.  What I cannot find is if chickens are somehow able to break it down and get free calcium.  Everyone feeds their chickens eggshells or oyster shells as a calcium supplement.  Apparently in the wild chickens do not lay everyday.

crushed eggshells

Some sources say our domesticated chickens are laying 10 times the amount of eggs they would in the wild.  That is a lot of calcium in the form of eggshells they have to come up with.  If they run low the eggshells become weak.  Most people give their chickens layer feed with calcium in it, but free ranging chickens can come up with calcium from the bugs and plants they eat.  In my research, the calcium in egg shells is freed up for absorption only with an ion exchange.

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We All Scream for Ice Cream- even the cat

Pumpkin kitty was having a rough day.  For some unknown reason he was following me around meowing and meowing.  I fed him, freshened his water and gave him lots of strokes- but he continued to pester me. Finally  I  just had to ignore him and get back to work.  My next task was to crank up the ice cream maker for our sweaty, tired work duty students.  After a few moments I realized Pumkin was no longer following me around crying.  We found him contentedly lying next to the obnoxiously noisy ice cream maker.  That was what all that fussing was about!  He just needed an ice cream fix.  I completely understand:)

waiting for the motor to stop

waiting for the motor to stop

one of Pumpkin's lazy sun bathing positions

one of Pumpkin’s lazy sun bathing positions

"whatsup"

“whatsup”

the Pickled Pepper Proposition

infected peppers

infected peppers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All our pepper plants are infested with what appears to be the infamous “pepper maggot”  This is so disappointing considering how gorgeous and gigantic the plants have grown in just 3 months.  They fruit prolifically.  We noted the infestation when the first round of fruit started dropping with discoloration.  Twice we have picked all the peppers (that is many hundreds with 20 huge plants) and all the blooms and sprayed our homemade chili/garlic/soap spray on a mostly daily basis.  So far the plague continues.  Yesterday we pulled all but 4 plants, and of those plants we pulled all the peppers and blooms.  We will try one more round of natural treatement.  This time it will be daily neem oil spray and homemade fly traps.  It appears that our future will not be including nightshades for a while.  This is extra bummer considering eggplant is also one of our happiest constituents.  In cold climates these sort of pests die off annually- but in beautiful, balmy Hawaii there is no end to the bugs.  Guess you can’t have it all!!

http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/444/444-005/444-005.html

http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/06/get-rid-of-flies-naturally-with-homemade-flypaper.htm

super happy pepper plant

super happy pepper plant

pulling out the peppers.  Very sad day indeed

pulling out the peppers. Very sad day indeed

Daniel and the Mighty Duckweed

duckweed

duckweed

 

the determined Daniel

the determined Daniel

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lava just beneath the surface

I have a dream.  In this dream there is a pond in our chicken yard where an abundance of duckweed and azolla grows.  There are also a few baby ducklings swimming around and all the birds are happily snacking on pond plants and bugs.  Daniel is determined to bring this dream to fruition.  He spent two days diligently digging when he came upon a huge rock.  Daniel has a dilemma.  Heave a pick ax until he is 80 years old or choose a new spot.  Problem is, our whole island is lava so a new spot will end with the same problem.  Thankfully our base is blessed with Bob, a jack-of-all-trades with a heart of gold.  Given some time and a few generous portions of homemade ice cream, Bob may be able to dig up a jackhammer or some nifty attachment to his dozer and make a quick job of this lava removal.  So our dream is back on track and Daniel can build those biceps by digging holes for trees instead of ponds.  We will keep you posted on the duckweed/pond adventure.  For more information about duckweed and azolla

 

 

duckweedhttp://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/duckweed.htm

 

http://www.rutgers.edu/about-rutgers/duckweed-environmental-star

 

http://milkwood.net/2012/08/06/azolla-water-fern-as-protein-rich-animal-feed/