Monday, December 29, 2014

The Market

Baby turnip, daikon, water chestnut,
galangal, quince, tangerine, turmeric
I like to go to Asian markets and buy things, especially fruit, that I've never seen before.

When you go to the grocery store you always see the same stuff, no matter what month it is. That's nuts!

They rarely, or never have much in the way of root vegetables. So when you start seeing turnips, kohlrabi, parsnips, rutabagas and the like at the farmers market but the grocery store has the exact same produce it had in May, you know something is out of whack. Out of season produce is just weird.

Here's what I found lately in the photo. In the picture the yellowish-green fruits are quince. They are a lot like an apple but definitely not an apple. Almost like a pineapple crossed with an apple. Fantastic aroma.

I've known about quince for a while , but I've never come face to face with one before. The french know them very well and they make 'pate de coing' out of them. (pa-tay  day  kwa). But they think that we don't grow them here because they don't go to the Asian markets. In Spain they make something similar called "membrillo". (mem-bree-yo) or if you're Argentinian (mem-bree-show).

Monday, December 22, 2014

El huevo primero

The first egg came on Dec 19!

It was only about 3/4 the size of a normal egg. We think it came from Blondie.

So it's been a little over 18 weeks since they arrived.

I didn't expect any eggs just yet, not until next month. None of the others are laying yet, that we know of.

On the right you can see how small the yolk is compared to a normal egg.

La rubia

Monday, December 15, 2014

Oyster mushrooms

Lately we've been getting some oyster mushrooms from the logs that we inoculated back in the spring.

These were from a poplar that lost a huge limb last winter. It was probably a good six inches in diameter at it's largest and probably at least fifteen feet long.

I cut it up into about five three foot pieces. It took about a little over an hour to inoculate all of the logs.

The oyster mushrooms are not as tasty as the shiitake mushrooms are, at least they aren't to me. They are a little harder to clean as well. Still they are pretty good sauteed in butter.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Caught on camera!

Last night I confirmed what we've been suspecting for a while, we have a mouse!

I bought a game camera earlier in the year and it does a good job.

When it senses motion it snaps 3 pictures and in the dark it has infrared. The date and the time is wrong but the temperature is correct. This is the basement. The wire is there to keep the dog away from the furnace, where she likes to lay on top of the plenum when it's cold and chew off all of the insulation.

I'm not sure what I will do yet. He/she is living in the wall in the downstairs bathroom.

We have a cat that would happily remedy the situation in one night but it seems cruel to contemplate terminating something so small.

Permaculture says the problem is the solution, so I'll need to cogitate on this one for a while...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bushy's home, for a while

Bushy Tail went into the wild a couple of weeks ago. The garage was nothing more than a large cage for him.

I set him out on the deck and after I walked away he was away with his own kind. That lasted for about five days...

About five days ago, around dusk, I found the dog acting weird underneath the deck. After a while, when she wouldn't give it up we went under there to inspect. Sure enough, there was Bushy Tail.

He was sick.

He was dehydrated and needed to come in for a bit. The first day he barely moved at all. Over the last few days he has improved enormously and once again the garage is way too small for him.

Today I took him out on the deck and he took off into the yard and over the fence.

Once you start trying to find one small squirrel out in the yard it's then that you realize there are a lot of small squirrels out there and they all look about the same.

It doesn't take very long for your eye to improve however and you start to notice the subtleties pretty quick. Still, without any glaring features to i.d. Bushy, it's hard to tell who's who. Really the only true way to know is proximity. Squirrels don't like to get very close to people but Bushy jumped onto my shoulder from a tree limb one evening. He knows us better than we know him.

Squirrels are mechanical masterpieces. Their hind ankles will pivot past ninety degrees so that they can go from sitting to hanging down without needing to reposition their feet. When they walk it sounds like more than one four footed creature because their toes are so long that they strike the ground after the palms/heels do, so every foot fall is doubled. It sounds like drumming when they move.

Their front feet don't have thumbs either. Their thumb is just like the first knuckle of our thumb. Only one joint. So when they hold something they press it between the two joints of their pseudo thumbs, where there are only pads. They have the full digit on their rear feet, so their rear foot is much more like our hand than our feet. They are built to climb. I think they lost the thumbs because they either interfered with climbing and it may have been getting caught up on things or it's entirely mechanical and affords more strength to the forearms so they can pull up easier.

When I started going to the gym years ago I noticed the real body builder types, the big guys, never wrapped their thumbs around the bar. It was always on the same side with the fingers close to the palm, "open grip".  I asked a guy one day why he used that grip and he told me that the thumb over the bar works against you. After that I tried it and I've used it ever since.

 I don't know if that's why squirrels don't have full thumbs or not but it makes me wonder. ..