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Su Ba's Photos of Her Homestead Farm

 
master pollinator
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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I added a pig trap to the farm's inventory this week. I live in an area that has feral pigs. When I'm not using it myself I plan to rent it out--- either $10 per day or I get the caught pig. The landowner can choose which option they want. I suspect I'll be harvesting a lot of wild pork. That's just fine with me.
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Professionally made and sturdy. My own attempts at making traps were abysmal failures.
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It fits in the bed of my truck for transporting. Weight: 94 lbs. I can handle it by myself.
 
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Do you think one of those would hold a wild boar? We don't have guns and they are a pest.
 
Su Ba
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I've seen a 350-400 pound feral boar caught in one. Even though the boar went berserko, he couldn't break the trap. Luckily the trap had been strapped to a tree, otherwise that boar would have had it tumbling. With all his thrashing, the only damage was that he bowed out the trap door a bit, but not bad.

The trap is completely welded. It's pretty strong. That boar was trying to break the fencing, but the welds held.

When we approached the trapped boar, he really went crazy. My friend (who owned the trap and trapped that boar) threw a blanket over the trap to help calm the boar down a bit while she got her compound bow ready. Since the trap was near houses, she wasn't legally allowed to kill the boar with a gun....thus the need for the bow & arrow technique.

I don't know if European boars are worse than Polynesian boars, but I saw this trap survive quite a thrashing.
 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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A couple years ago I spied a really cool table at a craft show. The asking price was off the wall. Needless to say, I didn't buy it. But it gnawed at me for quite a while. I figured that just about anyone could make it. The tricky part would be getting all the legs the right length so that the table would sit level.

Then recently I came upon a man selling tree slabs at the farmers market. Cheap. They were pretty rough, but I found two that I liked that were fairly even in thickness. Suddenly I was reinvigorated to making a crafty table. The slabs were already dried, and the bark was mostly firmly attached. I decided to try saving the bark.

Many hours of sanding, sanding again, and sanding some more, I ended up with two rather nicely grained slabs. At this point, my farm handyman offered to make legs out of koa wood branches that he had. I took him up on the offer. After all was assembled, the table was coated in multiple layers of spar varnish.

It turned out beautiful. And this is just table #1. I still have the second slab to sand and make into a table.
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Side view showing the legs.
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Oblique view showing the finished table.
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Top view......and one of our kitty cats.
 
pollinator
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Location: Green County, Kentucky
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The table is gorgeous!  And I've really enjoyed seeing all the pictures of your farm.  Question -- do you, or can you, grow plantains?  My daughter and I both have celiac disease and other food limitations, and a year or two ago we started eating a lot of plantains as one of our starchy foods (bread and potato replacements).  We eat sweet potatoes, too, but I don't want them every day; it seems like the plantains are more like potatoes and my appetite doesn't get tired of them.
 
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That table is very beautiful. When people see it you will get a lot of questions about it. Thanks for sharing.
 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Kathleen...Plantains can be easily grown in my region, but I don't have any on the farm. It's not because we don't like them, it's simply because I haven't given them much thought.

We do have a type of banana that serves as a plantain. Like a plantain, it has a hard peel that is easier to cut off than peel. And it stays firm when cooked. But it has a tad of sweetness that other plantains don't have. It's what I use for cooking. This variety can be eaten as a dessert banana if I let it get mature to a dark yellow with black spots all over the peel. Then it is sweet but has a musher texture. We like it frozen at this stage and used in smoothies & milkshakes.

Now that you've put the thought into my head, I think I'll keep an eye out for a plantain to add to the farm's food inventory. Thank you!
 
Kathleen Sanderson
pollinator
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You are most welcome, LOL!  I wish we could grow them here -- they aren't terribly expensive at the store, but it would be nice if we could raise our own.

I've been rather impressed with the plantains we buy, actually.  I don't care for them when the peels are still green (taste like baked potatoes, but the texture stays too hard for my taste).  But once the peels turn yellow, they are good, right down until they are completely black (when they are squishy, and sweet enough to eat raw).  Even if they get some mold on the outside, the fruit inside is normally still just fine -- they keep much longer than bananas do.
 
Su Ba
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Kathleen...those are great tips to know.

I checked with a local seller at our small Saturday farmers market, and she said that she would dig up a plantain pup from her farm for me. She said that she didn't have any extra plantains to sell. But at least I'll be able to get a start growing my own. It will just be awhile before I get to try them.
 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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What I harvested today for human's food (as opposed to livestock feed) :
    Pineapples - 12
    Lilikoi - 140
    Pipinola - 15
    Papaya - 2
    Tomatoes - 15 ounces of small salad types plus one Roma type
    Lima beans - 1 1/2 cups shelled
    Green beans - 2 pounds
    Macadamia nuts - 4 gallons
    Sweet peppers - 19
    Cucumbers - 2
    Zucchini - 1
    Pumpkin - 1
    Sweet potatoes - 5
    Taro corms - 5
    Carrots - 2
    Potatoes - 3 1/2 pounds
    And a bucketful of assorted greens for making soups and stews this weekend.
    Green onions and assorted herbs for those soups & stews.
    Chocolate mint and spearmint for flavoring drinks.

That's a weird assortment, but harvests vary week to week, primarily because I'm not good at adhering to a planting schedule. Oh I know what I should be planting on a particular week, but I get distracted by something, so I don't get to it. But I roll with the punches and don't get myself in a tizzy over it. So I don't get to eat kale or beets this week. It's no big deal. I'll just eat something else. Maybe, maybe, maybe some day I'll get more disciplined (I sincerely doubt it, but I can dream).
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The green peppers are getting bigger. These I will leave so that they can color up before harvesting,
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My first yellow Roma type tomato.
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My very first eggplant! It's just a baby right now.
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The Black Beauty tomatoes aren't quite ready but they are getting bigger.m
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This is salad tomato called Black Vernissage.
 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Here's some photos of what I'm harvesting lately.

I'm growing 5 varieties of sweet peppers. I don't like hot peppers, so you won't normally find them growing on my farm

The potato is a red skin, pink fleshed one. It's among my favorites. Easy to grow and usually very productive. But this time the tubers were small and not high in yield because I've been getting too much rain recently. The problem has made me think about making some sort of rain umbrella for over the potato grow boxes.
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A little frying pepper. It's an early and productive producer. Eventually it will turn red if I don't pick and eat them first.
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This is Buran sweet pepper.
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This sweet pepper grows pointing up rather than hanging down. It's just a different variety with a different growth habit.
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I haven't the foggiest idea what variety this is. The seed was in a pack of another variety. I've tasted it and it's a sweet one. Looks to be quite productive.
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Red Thumb potato.
 
Su Ba
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The sweet peppers are being grown in a poly greenhouse. That's because I have a couple varieties of fruit fly in my area which will lay their eggs in the developing pepper, ruining it. The greenhouse has screened ends allowing air to pass through, but not the fruit fly. I've tried several times growing peppers in my outdoor gardens, and although I get a few stunted peppers, most are too damaged to harvest.

I've observed that the pepper plants are taller and slimmer when growing in my greenhouse, as compared to outdoors. Not so bushy looking. Right now the plants are 2 1/2 feet tall and could benefit from some stakes to help support them. They are setting and successfully producing far more fruits per plant than I ever got when growing outdoors along with the fruit flies. So it appears that in my situation, growing sweet peppers in a screen house or airy greenhouse is the way to go.
 
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> table(s)

Su Ba

I decided long ago it's well worth the trouble to make several legs on any table adjustable. It takes some care to assemble a table with 4+ legs _exactly_ the same length and, in the end, whatever floor it sets on, a table w/more than 3 legs almost always wobbles. There are various ways to do this, bought hardware probably being the easiest. Using shims just gives you another chore whenever the table gets bumped at all.

Your new furniture looks very nice. <g>


Cheers,
Rufus
 
Su Ba
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Rufus, since I'm a raw beginner, I opted for three legs. I knew the table would be more stable that way. But thanks for the suggestion. Maybe some day I'll graduate to four legs.
 
Su Ba
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Pineapple Cash Crop

I've been developing the beginnings of cash crops, in order to make my homestead financially independent. My cash demands are quite low, but reality is that the farm needs a bit of cash to keep going. Chainsaws, truck, atv's , etc don't last forever. And at my age, I need those tools to keep going on this place. I'm no spring chicken. And besides, paying the taxes requires cash.

I've been looking at crops that are easy on an aging body. Bananas are the first crop I've been developing. I've got easily over 100 banana trees planted to date, many which are already giving me bunches. And every month I go around looking for pups to transplant, expanding my banana production.

Pineapples are my latest target. This year I've planted 234 pineapple suckers and tops so far. I'm hoping to reach 300 before the end of the year. This is a crop that is very easy for me. It requires a bit of care, but it's not back breaking. If I keep the plants well tended and fertilized, I'm looking at $5 income per plant (on average). Experience tells me that the plant should last 3 to 4 years, with care, before the fruits get too small for a decent sale.

I already have pineapples producing on the farm. I'm not sure exactly how many plants I have, but it's around 100. Half are in the full sun, half are in partial or full shade.

The nice thing about pineapples is that I don't need to de-rock the soil. And while they grow faster and bigger in the sun, they will still produce in the shadier areas, but with smaller fruits. So this crop allows me to utilize areas where I normally can't grow veggies.

Oh by the way, that's grass clipping mulch you're seeing on the ground. I don't use round-up or other chemical herbicides. So it's not killed grass you're looking at. It's mulch that I apply once a month to control weeds and provide nutrients to the plants. If I were energetic, I could grow a crop of some low growing veggies between the pineapples until the plants grew bigger. I've done that in the past with beets and radishes. But I don't have the inclination to do it in these spots because the ground is dense with rocks and the soil isn't up to snuff for veggies.
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Just planted and mulched. Difficult to see but there are around 2 dozen tops planted here.
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Along the driveway is too rocky for much of anything but grass. I have 1 row planted and plan to plant another. Along the fence I'm planting taro, which the sheep won't touch.
 
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Su,  I have never tasted good watermelon grow in the tropics. Not sure if its the heat, too much irrigation or maybe they were water stressed. Variety, soil quality...? It was the same in the Philippines and Kenya. Tasteless, watery mush.

Any ideas?  You seem like someone who would not accept this situation.  Thanks.
 
Su Ba
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Dale, that sounds like a good challenge! I've only tried to grow watermelon once, and that was in the community garden where the sole melon got picked before it was ripe. All other melons had gotten destroyed by pickleworm.

Because of pests, I'd need to grow it protected. That would mean inside a greenhouse or screenhouse, or some sort of protection method out in the field. I suppose the first step would be to see if fruit flies attack watermelons. I could deal with the pickleworm, but fruit flies are more effort to combat. Once I identify the main pests, I bet I could come up with a solution for step 1 (getting mature fruit in the first place). i suspect powdery mildew might be a problem that I'd need to address. And step 3 would be to get the sweetness and flavor. I. Guessing that soil nutirition, drainage, and soil moisture would have bearings on that.

Sounds like a good puzzle to work on. Thanks for the challenge!
 
Su Ba
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Black Beauty Tomato :

Finally I harvested those black beauty tomatoes I've been looking at for weeks now. I started the seeds on June 6. So it's been 103 days. Not what I would call an early variety, for sure. But it is indeed interesting looking.

The surface of the tomato is dark.....real dark, where the sun hit it. Such a dark purple that it's almost black. The rest of it is red. I haven't sliced be open yet because I picked these tomatoes a couple days early. Yes, I was overly eager. So I will see in a couple days how dark the inside is, if at all. And I'll get to taste it.

Because of the late maturity and the fact that the plant isn't very productive, I most likely won't bother growing this one again in a greenhouse. I have limited greenhouse space and don't wish to waste it. But I will try planting it out in the open to see if it has any resistance to the fruit fly.
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Black Beauty tomato.
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The back side of the same tomatoes.
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The half & half view.
 
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