24 March 2012

New Kid on the Block

An unexpected phone-call from Deborah next door a few mornings ago. "Do you want a Rooster?" A bit of discussion needed, there...

On the one hand our flock really does need a Rooster to look after them after the Tragedy On Honey-Badger Hill that resulted in the loss of our trusty knights. On the other, we've really been enjoying the peaceful mornings undisturbed by the crowing!

14 March 2012

GMO Scam Followup

Quickly: A short article on how Monsanto's biotech maize which is supposed to be resistant to corn root worm attack, is "losing its effectiveness".

The article is pretty vague on just why this "effectiveness" is being lost, and Monsanto are naturally trying to spin this is "small numbers, minor incidence, easily managed". But I think it's pretty obvious what is going on here, don't you?

08 March 2012

Alternative Energies

Energy is the defining measure of sustainability. For any organism, not just for 21st Century humans.

For the past 130-odd years we've been surfing a tidal-wave of energy gathered and stored in the geological past, and the party is finally coming to and end. The chief question is how we humans will manage the coming energy descent; the emerging opportunity to redefine our relationship with the universe.

06 March 2012

Seed Screens/Making Sun-dried Tomatoes

It's seedy season. I'm in the midst of harvesting Lettuce seed, and something I've been lacking for a very long time is a good set of sieves for separating out leafy trash from the seed. Not just for Lettuce seed, but everything else, too.

Tomatoes drying on the roof. Fine seed-screen aft.
There are manufacturers of seed-cleaning machinery who would be happy to sell me a set of seed-screens, but they're very expensive. I've made do with something much simpler.

I made up a couple of wooden frames and scrounged around for various sizes of plastic mesh. Lettuce is a particular challenging when it comes to Right Sizing a screen. 1mm mesh is just a tad too small, but I've been unable to find anything with a (say) 1½ or 2mm gap.

Cleaning Carrot seed has proved to be  too hard on the plastic mesh, and tore gaping holes in the mesh, so I swapped it for a metal Mosquito mesh - also about a 1mm gap. But even that can't take the pace when it comes to Carrots. I clean the Carrot seed heads by rubbing them (gently!) around on the mesh, and the seed falls through, mostly leaving the burs and stalks behind. I quick threshing in the breeze gets rid of the dust, and Carrot seed is done.

I find it funny that people who have never saved their own Carrot seed don't realise that the seeds are prickly. They've only ever experienced machine-cleaned Carrot seed which has had the burs rubbed of in the process. I was there, too, once upon a time. In fact when I tried to send some seed to a friend in Australia some years ago, they never arrived. Instead he received a short note from the Aussie customs to say that the seed was "contaminated with unknown weed seed" and had been burned. I guess we can't really expect customs officials to be seed-recognition experts, too.

Like everything else in a self-sufficient permaculture setup, we aim for "every design element to support multiple functions," and so it is, too, with the seed-screens! We're presently using a couple of the screens to sun-dry our surplus Tomatoes on the roof during hot days. A wide mesh supports the Tomatoes, keeping them off the roof, and the fine mesh forms a lid to keep bugs off while the Tomatoes dry. It takes about 2 or 2½ good, hot days around this time of year to get the Tomatoes good and leathery, though we're experimenting with slightly thicker slices, so this batch might take a little longer.

01 March 2012

Black March

I like this idea. It doesn't speak much of self-sufficiency, but does speak to several issues at the heart of the self-sufficiency movement. Since it is allegedly already on Facebook, I assume it might reach a wider audience than here, but I guess every little bit helps to spread the meme. Please copy, paste, link and quote. (I've taken some liberties with the wording; the intent remains the same.)

Thursday, 12 March 2012 to Saturday 21 March 2012

You might also like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...