Steve, the crocea pictures and info look very promising, thank you!
I suspect most of them have been dormant due to drought but I've been doing a lot of water harvesting and that may have been what made them start putting on leaves and berries. I was thrilled when I found them but I dont want to mess with them if they're dangerous. I found jimson weed/datura last fall and while beautiful I don't intend to touch it or put it into my primary food areas. Hopefully this one is more friendly
I've been finding lots of these cropping up on my land in the last year or so, but I dont know what they are. Before I transplant some I'm hoping someone can help. I originally thought they might be wolf berry but now I'm not sure. They get tiny red berries on them around late summer or fall but I've never seen flowers.
Pics are from mobile, hopefully they're good enough quality.
Kari those are excellent points. When we started we had an led tent light, Portable media player, cell phone and netbook. The media and computer were occasional use only. We added on as we became more familiar with what our system could handle. We also pitched the inverter and went to 12 volt and usb chargers only. That helped a lot in the beginning.
We just finished upgrading our solar setup today and I'm working on writing a detailed article about it soon. In short, it's a but more complicated than it first looks. The controller is key. Basic ones that come with the kits are PWM controllers, which do not allow you to get the maximum usage out of your panels. An MPPT is MUCH better but also much more expensive.
We used the 60 watt kit for a little over 3 years. Because of the way the controller works, we estimated the system have us about 24-30 watts an hour during peak sunlight. The new system is 100 watts and so far today - with clouds, dust and haze - we're getting about 70 watts an hour. Full sunlight will likely put us very close to or at 100 watts. HUGE difference and I'm thrilled
I'll try to post more details in the next few days as I have time.
For weekends why not just use a good quality cooler? We have a coleman that claims up to 5 days of cold that works well enough. If we fill it with ice blocks and frozen meat it keeps everything at least 3 days even in 80+ degree weather.
In the summer after the ice melts we use it for evaporative cooling. Just an inch or two of water in the bottom and leave the lid open. In 100 degree temps we can knock 30 degrees off drinks and such pretty easily. No power needed
Fresh eggs from a chicken have a natural protective coating on them so yes if you do not wash them you can store them for months. I dont have acces to fresh so I coat mine because store bought eggs are washed. I use cheap store bought lard.
When I first started trying it a couple of years ago I avoided hot summer months. My house isn't temperature controlled so it stays within 10-20 degrees of outside (it's an old camper trailer). This past summer I decided to test eggs in the pantry during 100 degree weather. They still keep fine with just the coating but the yolk goes runny after about 3 months. Some days we were around 100 inside and the pantry was warm.
To be on the safe side I always do a float test before using the egg. Floating = spoiled. I also crack the egg into a cup to inspect it visually before adding it to a recipe.
Thickness of coating is difficult to describe. Not globbed on but not as thin as possible. In my area if it is too thin it can evaporate over time because our air is so dry.
If all of the books were steady sellers then yes, that's a very reasonable estimate. Some topics are more seasonal, like gardening, and some have stiff competition. Some just dont seem to have enough of a market and some don't capture their attention.
Half of what I currently have on amazon were early experiments that haven't done so well. My natural health briefs for example are just collections of web articles I'd written over the years. My SEO and Wordpress books are several years old and likely considered "out of date" to the intended audience.
Publishing on Kindle is easy. Just write your book in Word - or in something like open office that creates doc files. Then upload it through the kdp publisher dashboard. You dont technically even have to make a book cover image but it does make a big difference with sales.
Photography is a little more tricky. Each agency has their own levels of perfection, styles and subject matter preferences. Most no longer accept nature our scenic photos because they have too many. The best sellers tend to be highly commercial in some way- I.e. teams of business people in meetings and such.i specialized in food photography after I got the feel of things.
With perfect pictures, a photographer can average $1/mo per photo. I personally don't come anywhere near that. I haven't added new photos to any of my agencies in about 4 years and I think combined I get somewhere around $5k/yr gross from them.
On signatures: I didn't think my main site was relevant enough to the board and my personal site is rarely updated.
With affiliate income, you earn money in the firm of sales commissions. Much like any other commissioned sales person does. If the company you're promoting closes, or the specific product is discontinued, you cannot continue earning money from it. Instead you have to find a new product/company and hope that you kept good records if your promotions so that you can go change all the links.
With royalty revenue, you own all rights and maintain all control because someone else is licensing and or promoting your material - products, assets, intellectual property, etc.
I have thousands of photos that are licensed by hundreds of companies each month for example. In some cases I earn a mere quarter and in some cases I earn $30 or more.
Kindle materials are just electronic publications. These range from small guides of about 5000 words to technical or instructional books 10 times that size. Size doesn't matter too much. I dont write fiction but many people make a nice part time income publishing short stories or children's books.
When you write and publish your own material, you control price, availability, retail outlets etc. indefinitely. My best selling book was originally released 5 or 6 years ago, yet still trickles in +/- $10k a year.
Hope this all makes sense and I'll do what I can to answer more questions if you have them
I earned the bulk of my income from affiliate and advertising revenue for about 10 years. Too often established revenue streams disappeared when a company closed, was bought out, or restructured. It took awhile but I evolved into royalty revenue instead.
Since 2006 I've sold stock photography through about 5 agencies, and since 2008 I've been publishing Amazon Kindle materials. Starting to explore Barnes and Noble Nook and google play in recent months as well.
In the US you're allowed to camp on most federal lands for up to two weeks. You have to be a certain distance from improved campgrounds, animal watering holes and so on. We camped on blm land and in national forests for most of 2009 with just a jeep and cargo trailer.
Also used Walmart, rest areas and truck stops as needed. Not a big fan of using Walmart but it can come in handy. At the time Walmart policy was that campers/truckers were welcome at any of their locations across the country unless there was a sign posted otherwise in the lot. The only posting we found was in Sierra Vista Arizona. We assumed it was because of the proximity to the military base.
I don't get to town often but family members have started watching for seed opportunities for me. It doesn't seem like much food is grown in the area though.
I've never seen our heard of nut trees growing in the area for example, and almost never see berry bushes. Trees are planted for shade and ornamental purposes. Many ornamental bushes, plants and vines are also planted, but too many are poisonous. Fruit trees generally consist of oranges unless you go to a commercial orchard.
Food Gardens seem to be limited to standard salad fare. Weeds are unacceptable in most of the city areas and most people seem to think "water wise" means "spread gravel."
My father in law is a postman and he finds things occasionally. He dug up a small bit if bamboo for me last year and I'm slowly starting to divide that now.
He is also the one who found the olive windfall. It's not legal to buy/sell the plants here anymore (something to do with pollen) so I figured I'd try the seeds. Cant hurt and trees have to start from seed at some point in their history
I spread probably 100 olives around the start of the year at my place. I initially tried planting to see if I could get a grove started but critters came along and dug up every single spot. After that I just tossed them around and hoped. We've had a floods since then so I don't know if they all washed away. I expect to keep watching for sprouts for years just in case I got lucky
Comfrey can heal so fast that it locks in an infection. I mix it with golden seal to prevent that. Powdered comfrey, powdered golden seal and aloe vera juice mixed together is my default salve for wounds. I've used it for 20+ years. On healthy people it heals without a scar within 24 hours.
I'm near Tucson so the climate is a bit different, but I think there are many similarities. Sheltering the trees from the wind will be critical in the beginning. Animal protection is also critical. I'm still learning weaknesses in my animal protection efforts after almost three years.
On soil amendments to the planting hole: I'm under the impression that you don't add them if you're planting native trees. I didn't amend my acacia hole but I did for the plums.
On water: go deep infrequently. I make basins and water run off catches. From what I've read, you may need as much as 50 gallons a week per tree when it's hot. Do that once or twice a month during the dry cooler times.
I also found that in my area, if there are no native plants, weeds or anything else growing, then the trees will be deluged with critters, bugs, diseases and so on. Once I started growing a diverse mix of things, the trees seem to be doing better overall.
I've lived on my land since March 2010 and this year I finally saw good old fashioned bees. The poppies started blooming profusely in July and one day I saw a few bees enjoying them. Within 3 days bees were everywhere! I was thrilled
I have newly sprouted buckwheat for them, that will hopefully provide for several more months. I also planted lemon mint and am still waiting for those to sprout. I hope to keep enough blooms around to make the bees want to visit regularly.
I'm curious where they come from though. Do they travel far for nectar/pollen sources? If I keep them happy will they nest nearby?
Our nearest neighbor is it least a quarter mile away and this is a desert scrub area other than the slow progresses I've made.
We discovered the Tucson libraries started a seed swap type of program this year. I haven't had a chance to try it out much yet but I think you can get several packs of seeds each month from them, and drop off your extras for other people to take.
You're probably right Tyler, this area collects water well. I'm hoping it can collect enough to sustain the plants for the entire season. I have another basin on the other side of the driveway with corn and squash about an inch tall right now.
The pumpkin and beans are another story.
Despite being in a basin, the pumpkin cant handle temps above 100. The parts of the vines that are under bushes however, seem to be hanging in there but they prefer extra water.
The pole beans can't seem to survive at all without protection. With a little shade though, they're doing fine even though they're not in a basin and not getting extra water.
I'm definitely learning tons by trying stuff in. different areas
I'm not sure where else on the board this might go so I'm adding it here. A comparison of two corn stalks. Both sprouted about the same time.
These pictures were taken a little after 5pm yesterday. It was 105 for the high. The last 3-5 days have floated around 105-109. We've had possibly 1/8 inch of rain in the last 3 weeks and these get no supplemental water.
The first is in great shape. It's planted in the first rain garden pictured in previous areas is this thread. It's in full sun and has a small pile of wood shavings around the base.
The stressed one is in a filtered shade area of dead bushes. It has no wood shavings but a living mulch of sorts. The covering is sparse.
So is the first one sheltered from the heat more due to being in a basin? Even though it gets the full force of the sun? Do the wood shavings make the difference?
Thank you, those are great suggestions for when I'm ready for larger projects For now I'm breaking up hard packed dirt, slowing and sinking water when we get it, scattering seeds, watching, and learning. My budget is $40/mo until we get a well, then I can start expanding.
We're south of the catalinas and west of the tucson mountains.
Thanks Angie It is a challenge but there are worse places. In far west Arizona they only get 3 inches of rain a year! This place is cheap, remote and private, but still close enough to family. Plus I can grow things practically year round
I have very little wood to work with unfortunately. Just small twigs and branches from young creosote and mesquite. I'm leaving the dead ones standing to provide shelter for the new stuff until it gets established.
I've also taken a break from fencing attempts for now. I don't have the funds for much and everything is breached by one thing or another. Javelina and jack rabbits knock it down, bunnies jump, ground squirrels climb, quail slip right in. I don't like bird netting because it kills the lizards. So I'm trying the decoy approach. Hoping that with enough natives all over, they'll all have a harder time finding my stuff
I am spreading mint and other misc things for the ground cover, pest benefits and drought tolerance.
This one may be too small. An acacia willow and other greenery are now in the yard area where the pallet garden was.
Poppy, struggling sugar melon and various wild grasses are in this area. Recently planted corn for attempted shade, along with buckwheat, mint, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, desert willow and strawberry seeds. This area does not get much water runoff
Good point Tyler, the cell phone pics are low quality. This area is surrounded by native "weeds". Some is Amaranth, some I think is purselane. Small creosote bushes on the left and right.
Corn and pole beans are scattered throughout the bed. The corn is close to 3 feet high but the beans are still small compared to others I have growing in the shelter of dead shrubs. Several of the corn were knocked over by wind but the roots held and they still look healthy so I stood them up last night.
This bed also had a scattering of lettuce, turnip, onions and misc other stuff I can't quite remember.
I'm going to try and follow the excellent lead of others here. It may be slow going because I use a cell phone for internet access and high heat limits my electronic usage at times.
This picture is of my first rain garden. I dug this down roughly 10 inches and it is watered by runoff and rainfall only. We get about 10 inches of rainfall each year so most of my projects are focused on water harvesting so far.
(grrr. Just remembered I can't attach pics on the mobile site. I'll add that in a few...)