Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Irrigation system

I rigged an irrigation system using a sump pump that I had, along with a generator I had on hand. I drilled a bunch of small holes in a salvaged plastic barrel for a pre filter, then dropped the sump pump and the barrel in the creek. I used a nylon rope to keep the sump pump turned on. I hooked the pump to a garden hose to the drip irrigation filter then to the spagetti tube. The spagetti tube is normally inside the drip tube but I pulled it out for the picture. I had 5 rows of drip tape about 150 feet long on this system. In the early season there wasn't a need for the irrigation but when it got dry, the system should have run 4 or 6 hours each day. I didn't manage to run it enough but what I did was certainly worthwhile. I realize sump pumps are not designed for irrigation. There was less than 10 feet of head and the drip system is designed for 10 lbs of pressure but will work on slightly less. Any more head or any more drip lines and the system probably wouldn't have worked. I also realize there was a lot of wear and tear on the generator. (I intend to replace the generator anyway. It doesn't have a plug in to run my 220 volt well. ) However, I got a lot of value for the actual money I spent.

Harvest status

The rain isn't doing my peaches any good. Some parts of the county have had at least 9 inches of rain this week and I suspect many parts had more. Not sure what we had at the house but suspect it was closer to 6 inches over about 4 events. That was enough to keep the humidity high. I have China Pearl and Biscoe peaches ripe now. By next week the Sweet Sue should be ripe and that will be the end of the peaches. I have picked blueberries 4 good times. I am getting a lot of bird damage to the blueberries and suspect I have picked more than I have left. I picked Acorn Squash yesterday but haven't had a chance to cook any yet. Basically, the only commercial crops I have left besides peaches are eggplant, acorn squash, butternut squash, okra and ornamental gourds. None of those crops are going to amount to very much. I am looking forward to finishing up. I will plant some collards and turnips for myself and maybe some greenbeans.

tomato harvest

This is the second year in a row that my best tomatoes came the second week of July. These were big beef tomatoes planted in a high tunnel on March 15. These 12 tomatoes fill up a berry box designed to hold 8 quarts of berries. The quarter doesn't do a real good job of letting you know how big they are. I should have used something else to measure with. You can take my word that these are nice tomatoes. You will have to take my word that they have a taste to match.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Native Lily

This native lily was given to me by elderly lady from Concord named Clara (or perhaps Claris) who claimed here husband originally collected it from Montgomery County. In my last conversation with her, I had to inform her that the voles ate the bulb of the original and I had lost the lily, which really upset her. However, one of the little bubils came up near by. Then I accidently pulled that one up while weeding. But finally another bubil came up. Now I have it growing in 4 different spots. If Clara was around to see it, I think she would be pleased.

Picture of my cooler

After picking last Friday and ready to load on Saturday morning.

Butter From the Lingle Spring

Out of curiosity, I decided to make butter from milk stored in spring branch. So I placed some milk from the afternoon milking in the spring branch. The next day I pulled it out around 11. It was still good quality sweet milk so I decided it needed to clabber a little more. I left it at room temperature until that night. The milk still hadn’t soured but I shook the milk until the butter separated. I used the butter on my oatmeal the next day. The remaining milk was put in the refrigerator and I used it on some cereal later in the week. Growing up, I never liked the taste of buttermilk. In fact, I only remember trying it once or twice and that was enough. When I learned that before refrigeration butter milk was the only way people drank milk, I thought that was rather poor doings. But if my experience is typical, the people with a good spring branch made out okay.