Florida Urban Homestead Update Summer 2013

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This is one of those boring “Here is what I am doing now” articles. Some folks enjoy them, others hatethem, but they set the tone for the regular readers, so if you are just passing through, the cliff notes version is this:

“It is freaking HOT in Florida in the summer and I don’t have chickens or ducks anymore.”

The longer version, for those who care, or are reading this on the clock (why not get paid to read my stuff?) is :

Due to predation, I do not have to worry about getting rid of my ducks or my chickens as I downsize and streamline my operation.

As I was moving my Muscovies to TK’s place (he offered to adopt them all), I lost about a dozen young ones to some unknown predator. One day, they were just gone….and while I’m saddened that they were taken, I don’t have a clue as to what it was that got them. And not knowing bothers me. (I think it may be skunk apes, those wily buggers!)

Fast forward a couple of months, and my mango tree starts dropping softball sized fruit from the excessive winds. I released my chickens from the their Softball sized Manogoes

secure cage to free-range for a couple of weeks and act as a mango cleaning crew. About a week into the mango gorge-fest, I woke to find all 6 chickens gone. *POOF!* I found a few feathers in a small pile at a roosting spot, and nothing more.

I now have my desired end result- rabbits and quail only. However, I’m not happy with the method of achieving my “success”.

On a brighter side, I have four breeding does, one of them a black New Zealand from Jeff and Barbara at Bogles Bunny Farm. This will start yielding me colors so that RidgeRunner will be tanning hides other than pure white….(not that I have a great demand for tanned rabbit hides, but it does get down into the 60s in winter here :P)

I also have two pens of female quail, one with egg production in full swing, netting me 8 eggs a day, average. The other pen is just starting to produce, and should produce another 14 or so eggs per day. That is about the same egg production (by weight) as 6 chickens – the number I had. I’ve placed all of the roosters (male quail) in the old chicken pen until I find time to harvest them.

And, I am feeding the roosters the old chicken feed, since I don’t like waste, and the males don’t require the higher protein amounts since they are NOT in the egg producing business. There is a plus!

acerola cherriesMy acerola cherry tree is starting to produce, and I’ve now had the opportunity to taste them. This leads me to a Florida Hillbilly Tip (haven’t seen one of them in a while, have you?) FHB tip #10 – Be sure to taste test any food tree you plan on growing BEFORE you plant it! I find acerola cherries that I am growing to be rather bland :(

Sugarcane is doing well, as are the sweet potatoes. Pretty much anything that thrives on neglect is doing well…call it good planning on my part :)

Summer is starting to wind down, the kids go back to school soon, and the weather will finally break. For those of us that live in south Florida, this is like springtime when the weather finally warms up – there will be a flurry of outdoor activity as we get ready for our “growing season” – winter.


What an wonderful, yet odd place I am living in!


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  1. My acerola cherries are also rather bland, however, they are very high in Vit C so feel there are worth it. They are planted in pots and sit on either side of the front door.

    If you’ve never been to ECHO Farms in N. Ft. Myers it’s worth the trip. They specialize in easy to grow nutritious plants mainly for 3rd world countries but most grow very well here. They are extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

    It’s where we got our acerola cherries, katuk, red and green malabar spinach, seeds for winged beans. Google for the website.

    1. They don’t seem sour enough to contain much Vit C, in my opinion, but its planted now, I’ll keep it….

      I’ve heard lots about Echo, and many of my friends have been there, but I’ve not yet. I’ve had samplings from many of the plants that were propagated there, even…Visiting is on my Bucket List…along with eating manatee 😛

    1. “tartness is not an indicator of Vit C content”

      Your source please, because I disagree.

      Here is my hypothesis (and references for each fact):
      1. Vitamin C is ascorbic acid. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_C)
      2. Sour is the same as tart (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tart)
      3. Acid registers on the human tongue as sour (http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/T/Taste.html#sour)

      Therefore, tartness(or sour, depending on personal palate) IS an indicator of the presence of an acid. If there is NO sour taste, there is very little acid, and therefore little or no Vit C.

      At least that’s how I see it :) By having a strain of “sweet” (or at least bland) acerola cherries, I have a strain with less Vit C.

  2. Barbados cherry makes an absolutely wonderful wine as well as jam.
    The wife likes them for cherry infused vodka.
    Just saying.

  3. When the vodka is ready, 2-3 weeks, save the cherries for cherry nut bread.
    No point in letting the little fellas go to waste.

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