Back At It

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As much as I needed to step away from FHB, the longer I stayed away, the harder it became to NOT write. Now that I’ve reached the end of my time away, I am struggling to get moving again. Linear seems to work for me, so I will roll back a few weeks to catch up, then explain how I plan on moving forward. If you are not a regular reader, this will probably bore you, so go read something else. This is for my 4 or 5 regulars…

 

Two Weeks….

total recall two weeks

I stepped away from the keyboard for two weeks, mostly to take a break, and try to determine how I wanted to move forward with this website. I had been feeling as though some of my content was rushed, and written solely for the purpose of having something to post. And while some of it ended up being some of my more popular posts, I don’t want to be posting crap if I don’t have a good article.

Another issue I had was some of my regulars were complaining that I was writing more often than they could read, so they would fall behind and eventually stop reading. Interesting problem, too much to read… while I’m kinda proud I can put out that much content, I am taking a bit of advice from my lawyer (ok, he a friend who reads this, and just happens to be a lawyer), and cut back on my postings. I will also be looking into alternative mailing options to try to allow a weekly notification if you prefer that instead of daily notices.

Other things that happened include picking up some contract work that may affect my articles, since it will be taking me out of state. I’ll probably still be bucket-listposting, but article content might not be my typical localized stuff…we shall see how it goes. Living on the road separates me from my little piece of the world that I’ve developed into my Safe Zone. As if I’m not paranoid enough, staying 12 hours away from home can make for added stress, if I let it.  The good news with this job is that I’ll be checking off another item from my Bucket List

 

Catching up….

Here are a few topics to bring you up to speed…if you care.

Garden Update

Weeds, weeds, dead plants, and weeds. Wind storms earlier in the summer devastated my beds. Apparently  they also dropped a limb on my sprinkler line, leaving my much abused gardens to dry out. This killed my Everglades tomatoes, among other things, so I’m currently in the process of getting more plants. Ironically, I never saved any seeds for myself…

Today I picked up replacement plants. When I went to the garden to plant them, I found….new Everglades seedlings sprouting… You just can’t kill them!

…well at least not forever…

Through all the adversity, I have some garlic chives that are doing well still, as are my sweet potatoes.I do so love producers that thrive on neglect.

My mangoes are at the end of their production, with fruit only at the very top of the tree. In a future post, I’ll be going over making and using a DIY fruit picker made from PVC that I’ve been using for several years with very good results.

My acerola cherry tree/bush is prolific, though I’m still not impressed with the fruit. My elderberries are starting to blossom, and have gotten quite tall and rangy, being located on the north side of my house in mostly shade.

Still no fruit from my pomegranate, fig, or loquat trees.

 

Animal Update

Ducks are all gone. Chickens are now, too. Some nocturnal predator worked them over, eliminating them all. I now only have quail, rabbits, and my dog (who is about to get fired for poor performance in the ‘protect the livestock’ category).

I’ve ceased quail incubation for the season, but will start up again next spring. I currently have about 24 Coturnix quail hens, providing the equivalent of 4-6 chicken eggs per day…just smaller :) My quail roosters are currently housed in the old chicken pen, waiting on their one way ticket to Freezer Camp.

Rabbits are doing fine, the Altex and New Zealand stock I have weathers the heat very well. Today was the first of my fall breedings. It is a little early, with the weather still being hot. We’ll see how it goes. My buck was sure ready, willing and able…

Word of advice for anyone raising rabbits in extreme temperatures – purchase your stock from a place that has worse local weather than you, and has had several generations in that locale. For example, I try to get all of my rabbits from further south, where it is even hotter than it is here. This gives me breeding stock that is used to the heat. If you are worried about extreme cold, find a breeder that lives further north than you, with proven cold-hardy stock.

Of course directions are reversed if your are south of the equator :)

 

Preparedness

September is National Preparedness Month. Poor timing for those threatened by hurricanes, as hurricane season is starting to wind down. We’ve been lucky here since for several years, and let’s hope we have a long lucky streak.

Either way, Build a Kit, Make a Plan. Bad things happen, better to be ready for them, or at least thinking about the possibilities before they occur.

This is a great time to go over the year’s long term storage items. We store what we eat, and eat what we store, so have very little that sits collecting dust. This is also the time of year that canning is in full swing. If you don’t know how to can, get someone to teach you, it is so simple it is almost criminal. I’ll stand behind my statement that if you can bake a  cake from a cake mix, you can can your own fruits, vegetables, and meats. Its is not rocket science or voodoo magic. So simple, that even a Hillbilly can do it!

 

Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging

I went on my first gator hunt recently, and it was an adventure. Check back, I’ll be writing about it before too long…

a nice snookSnook season started September 1st for me. I love snook fishing…but trying to catch one in the slot is frustrating. Current regulation require a “keeper” snook to be at least 28 inches, and no more than 32 inches long. With fish ranging from 10 or so inches (the size they start to be caught) up to almost 50 inches (!), catching one in that slot is almost like winning a lottery.

I hope I’m lucky this year….

Palmetto berries are coming into season, but I’m not interested in them much. They do pay $0.75 to $1 per pound, and grow by the tons per acre in the right places, but that seems like work. I’m much more interested in them from the edibility standpoint. If you like the taste of tobacco juice and rotten cheese, these might be for you….

You can still find some Muscadine grapes, as well as fox grapes around, though season is almost over. My favorite place to get grapes is from a kayak launched from South River Outfitters…but water quality has them shut down, since  the health department has declared the water unsafe. (South River Outfitters is still renting kayaks for the lakes around the area though, call them for details.)

Blue crabs are also an option…something I neglected to do at all so far this summer. As summer winds down and waters cool, they will move into deeper water, and become much harder to harvest via the old chicken neck and a string method. Its a great way to catch a bunch of tasty crabs, and even better, an excellent social event that the entire family can enjoy.

Deer season for me will be in West Virginia, if I can arrange it. Sure it will break my heart to leave there again when it is over, but the time there is always good.

Moving Forward

So as far as future plans go, I will be trying a move subdued posting schedule. Starting with this post, I will be releasing articles Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, then Tuesday Thursday on the following week, and repeating the cycle. This cuts my posts in half and gives me time to hopefully put together a more refined product.

 

As refined as you can get from a Hillbilly with a keyboard…

Peace,
db

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11 comments:

  1. Post as often as your heart desires. Most of your topics are above my skill level anyway. I just skim for the nuggets to expand my phraseology, and I must say, “one way ticket to freezer camp” is a keeper!

  2. So glad you are back….keep writing.
    Palmetto Berries, never heard of them….if they taste so bad, what do you do with them?
    Our garden didn’t do well this year either. Just waiting for the hot weather to cool off before I will attempt a fall/winter garden. Also, give hurricane season another couple of weeks to go away.

  3. I need to catch up on your articles, myself. I enjoy them very much and always learn something. Plus, I love your humor.

    Our garden is depressing this year due to too much rain. We lost 50 tomato plants! Our squash and zucchini didn’t make it. Even some of our potatoes are rotten. We’ve put our energy into mushroom hunting this summer. We’re making a little money off it, at least. We dehydrate most of what we don’t find (or eat right away). We desperately need to get back into our weed patch, I mean, garden. Our corn and beans (which we’re way overdue to pick) did ok.

    Anywho, glad you’re coming up with a schedule that works better for you. Hope you and the family are doing well :)

  4. Had to brag….planted my first sweet potato slips in a raised garden. Harvested yesterday…….2 potatoes!! Hey, it is a start and did better than the cucumbers, tomatoes, or squash.
    Like I said, just bragging…

  5. Glad you’re back!

    I look forward to your posts and although I understand I will miss daily updates…..for the price I cannot (well, should not) complain.

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