Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Farewell June

I didn't think I'd do another post so soon, but I'm starting to see opportunities for the blog posts again while I work. I also realized that the "instagram-ification" of sharing pictures has sunk into my consciousnesses as I notice "oh hey, there's the pet food lids" on the windowsill or, "look at all those crumbs on this dishcloth." I find it interesting that I'm noticing it when a few years ago I would have never noticed it. The purpose of the blog is really to send out little dispatches on life on the homestead as they happen. If you learn something or find it mildly entertaining that's cool. It's also a nice writing exercise for me despite the typos. Let's start with Food. I bought my first black diamond watermelon of the season on Friday and as I type it's pretty much already gone. It wasn't as sweet as I hoped but still good. Maybe they will get sweeter as we get really into season. Few seeds, very juicy and deep red. Bowling ball shaped and also known as the "cannonball" I buy it at a local produce stand in Urbana. And this means...watermelon toner: It's a bit of a hassle to use on my face at night as I have to walk downstairs to get it out of the fridge. I won't make this with every watermelon or maybe any others this summer. I'll move onto cucumber toner later one. I don't make this year around, it's just the thing I do when they are in season. Here is a preview to another blog post: Beautiful, juicy, sweet black raspberries. My favorite food. Despairingly short picking season. I travel far to get them. I try to pick 20 lbs a year with a family member and freeze for pies and eating from the bag throughout the year. I got these at the farmer's market. I was worried with all the rain, that they would be waterlogged but these were beautiful and just right. I'll take pictures of this year's haul in July. Now, to critters, mostly insect life. I intentionally set the watermelon rind/shell/husk outside for a few hours, just to give the chickens the added treat of ants. They ate the ants first. There are lots of descriptions on egg cartons these days right? Cage Free, Pasture Raised, Free Range, Natural. There are many good internet sources on what all these things mean but in the meantime let's talk about "vegetatian feed." Chickens are not vegetarians. They are omnivores. They eat plants, bugs, worms, and a mouse if they can get a hold of one. I've hand feed the chickens tomato worms and lots of chicken treat includes meal worms. They are ace foragers when they range. The more varied the diet, and the more protein in their diet, the better the egg tastes. That's just a fact. Try it sometime. Get the cheap grocery store eggs with shells super thin and compare to a pasture range or farmer's market egg. You will notice a difference in shell, yolk color and taste. Other bug life includes: Seems like this year and last year have shown a better turnout for lightning bugs. And I snapped a picture of one busy spider's work in the new gravel. Sometime soon I'll be writing about broody hens and black raspberries and whatever else.

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