Thursday, April 30, 2009

Moved plants back inside

DH has started up the woodburning fireplace insert again, since the temperature is hovering around 50 degrees. We are down to less than 1/2 a cord of firewood so will have to go and cut some more soon.

I had temporarily moved my tomato and pepper seedlings outside this weekend when the temperature was up to 80 - had to move them back in. I took a tip from my podiatrist and put some plastic film over the light fixture on the plant stand to keep the warm air around the plants. The thermometer is reading 70 degrees so hopefully they are happy in there.

Progress report on the beans - Four sixpacks - black has 5 sprouts, white has 4, the pinto one has 3, and the brown one has 2! 14 out of 24 is approximately a 60 percent germination rate, I'll give the brown ones a few more days, maybe they're just slow.

No link between NAIS and Influenza A(N1H1)

Thank goodness! See the post on the USDA web site where the Secretary of Agriculture makes it clear that "swine flu" virus is not transmitted by contact with swine, the virus is not food-borne and you cannot get the virus by eating infected meat. HERE is another link with similar statements on the APHIS web site.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Deer Fence

I worked until dark putting up 8 ft. t-post fence posts and the deer fence I ordered from A.M. Leonard. It got dark before I was finished. Some of the fence posts aren't tall enough.

I wonder if I will have captured a deer in the morning - jumped in and can't get out? I don't know what to do with it if that happens....

Drove over to Unger Farms and took pictures. See them at the Crawford County Master Gardener's blog at .

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Comments on NAIS???/

I received an email post from OEFFA (Ohio Ecological Food and Farmer's Association) that AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK SEEKS DIALOGUE WITH PRODUCERS AND STAKEHOLDERS ON NATIONAL ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM - further information would be posted on this USDA APHIS web site .

I haven't seen any further posts - but what I have seen are multiple reports about swine flu on the news this week. Just google "Swine flu" and sort the news articles by date for the most recent information - or look at this article from Associated Content. (Who are they associated with? I wonder)

Geez, am I getting to be really paranoid? How coincidental is the timing of these two events?

Giving up on mother-in-law's tomato seeds

I have given up on germinating my mother-in-law's tomato seeds (see March 29 post). So far they've been sitting around in the 72-cell flat doing nothing, and they've had almost a month to do SOMETHING. I'm going to re-use the flat for something else.

Saving bean seeds

Last year we planted several varieties of bush beans at the farm - wax, green, and purple varieties. We mixed them all together in the row, and we had VERY LITTLE insect damage. Later I read that the bean beetles do not like the purple varieties of the bean. This was the best crop of ANYTHING we've had - four long rows of beans yielded more beans than we wanted to pick by hand, for sure! We planted the week of Memorial Day. We picked at least 5 bushels while we were there for the family reunion in early August- gave some away, froze some, etc. but they evidently continued to bear. When I returned later in the year I found bean pods on the vines that had dried up and turned black. I harvested them too, putting them in an open plastic bag (to reduce chance of mildew) still in the shell, and keeping them in an unheated attached garage all winter.

Last weekend I shelled those beans and sorted them by color - brown, black, white, and pinto.

I am currently running a germination test to see if they are worth planting. So far I have 4 of 6 sprouted of the black (upper right in photo), 3 sprouted of the white (upper left in photo), and 1 showing promise in the brown beans (lower right). So far no pinto beans have sprouted. We're enjoying an 80+ degree day today here in North Central Ohio, so I've got them outside. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vanilla- vanillin

I have been studying vanilla. Did you know that vanilla beans come from a member of the orchid family? or that they only have beans if the flowers are either hand-pollinated or pollinated by a specific bee that lives only in Mexico? Or that vanillin is a natural flavoring derived from spruce trees?

Vanillin is more "hardy" in baking than pure vanilla, it stands up to higher temperatures. Some vanilla flavorings are a blend of natural vanilla and vanillin.

Other vanilla flavorings are synthetically produced, they are useful when a pure white color is desired in the finished product, as in a wedding cake.

I will be developing more information about vanilla in the near future.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Esther Ritter 1910-2009

I wrote about my grandma, Esther Mae Klahn Ritter, on this blog about a year ago. This morning she quietly passed on to be with her Lord and Creator. She had several hospitalizations this year and was struggling quite a bit lately. At 98 years old she was a shining example for all of us of how to live a loving, humble life. I love you, Grandma!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Propagation mat

The flats in the attached, unheated garage are cold... I ordered a propagation mat, which arrived today. I am anxious to see if it improves germination. I have two flats under lights, one is on the mat, the other is not. I am wondering if I should have ordered two or whether I need to switch off the flats every other day....

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