Rhoda Bruce

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since Apr 22, 2012
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Recent posts by Rhoda Bruce

I will be at a parish invited, farmer's market, Saturday. As I type, I am baking a pound cake, I altered to allow for orange juice....it formally had orange extract instead. I'm thinking I will go with about 8 boxes of fruit....maybe a little more. We can bag or sack them there. I am considering going with a few dishes, requiring oranges as samplers. If I like the Lb cake, I might make a few dozen to take along for sale. Also, I wonder if I should bring a page, photocopied, with about 7 recipes, calling for orange or orange juice.
I found a marmalade recipe I can try for longterm storage. Some of the recipes were raw to not kill the Vit C.
Well, this is what I'm doing now. I'm hoping next year I land a contract with someone, after I'm a bit more educated in marketing.
I was looking at the possibility of a lady coming down from TN with a wagon truck, picking it herself (although that was her idea, not mine) and paying for the fruit, but she hasn't been answering her phone or returning calls.
7 years ago
I wouldn't mind putting some of my chickens in the woods, but they'd be mighty protected. I'd give them a lot of space, so they wouldn't be really confined, but no way would I allow free range, unless I'd be there to babysit them. A lot of critters in the woods.
Now I remember as a child going in the woods with my parents to harvest wild grapes in late summer. Daddy made some really potent wine. I'd like to get some cuttings and put some grape on our property. It can be wild or domestic. Might be nice if I can find species that don't all ripen at once.
My sister spoke of a plant that her cuban FIL uses as a staple. She claims it looks like an elephant ear and he eats the tubers. Says its like a potatoe. I'd be interested in looking at the plant itself and finding out more, because I know I can plant elephant ears in the woods. It would be nice to have some emergency staples growing all the time in the woods.
Ditto to the mushrooms. We have lots of willow and other trees that fall down in storms. When they start to decompose, we get mushrooms. There is a certain type that gets big, ugly (shaped), and milky looking. We know that one is safe. Its a rare treat. For once we can all have our fill on fried or sauteed mushrooms. My family is really a hobbit family, with very tall hobbits; except the house and hairy feet.
Studying herbs at present, so when I get good with plant identification, hopefully there is a feast already waiting for me that I don't have to plant. I've already introduced a few wild plants into the diet. I find the subject facinating.
7 years ago
There is more than one way to skin a cat.
Change your way of visualizing a garden to include containers, raised beds, large areas heavily mulched with clipping, trellis', and whatever else you can imagine. We don't have to have the garden Grandpa had. I can't have Grandpa's garden. First off, the tractor he bought was more economical in his day and was made better to last. Then Grandpa had more land to work with than me.
Today we know about mulch and raised beds and so many other things.
I have blackjack for soil. Imagine sectioning off a 'garden' and putting as much clippings or pine needles as you can conceive of, then decide where your 'rows' are. Now every foot or so, where you want a plant, you disturb the soil a little and add about 3 cups of improved soil to get the seed or plant started good. Now put the mulch back. Do the whole garden like this and step back. Notice that most of the garden isn't really planted, but is mulched. All that mulch will decompose and will improve your soil. Be patient.
Keep a compost heap. I used to put all my table scraps in mine, but then cats started eating most of it. I used to look at them and say, if I only had chickens again, all that food would be turning into meat and eggs.........done. I also put coffee grounds in the compost. And now I put chicken droppings in the heap a few times a year when I clean up the roost. I just put weeds or pine/cypress needles under the roost to catch the droppings. Great compost. You do this and you always have improved soil to use in small spots. A lot of stuff that ends up in people's garbage, could be used to improve your soil or feed animals (which is compost, only super fast).
Raised beds might cost you some $ to get started. I guess it depends on how you set it up. I have some that were done free by just accepting some tractor tires that were too worn. I know some people are afraid of them because possible leaching problems, but it hasn't killed me yet. But the retaining wall blocks have costed me a lot. DH and I wanted raised beds due to getting ready for old age and for living in flood zones....plus you can grow a lot if you use square foot with the absolute best soil.
A couple of years ago, DH had a stroke of genius. He cut bottoms out of some black plastic planters we had a stockpile of from years of buying trees and plants. He dug small holes and partially buried the bottoms of the pots and filled the bottom with the missing soil and topped it off with good soil and inserted cucs, tomatoes, bells, egg plants, squash (actually we didn't do so good with the squash). We did pretty good and he just cut grass around each plant, except for the plants that needed trellis'. Those got a quick trellis set up in about an hour. He even managed to make it look nice. I was actually proud of him.....well, more than normal. It did bring some food in the house.
Now before someone patented the term Lazagna Gardening, I had the good sense to know that cardboard would rot, in time and in the meantime, would keep the weeds at bay. So imagine if you have a large area you want to work with and have a limited amount of clippings, leaves and needles to mulch with. Save all the cardboard you can, to use to mat down the ground and use the mulch material sparingly. You can add more over the cardboard, if you have enough once you finish the job.
I haven't had a tiller in about 14 years. A relative was suffering from dementia and forgot I bought his tiller. He pulled it apart in his shed to 'fix it.' I told everyone to leave him alone because as long as he was messing with the tiller, he wasn't busting the house apart; and besides he was happy. So I've had to do some smart gardening, instead of all those traditional rows. I can't say, I've not needed to buy some produce here and there, but I assure you, we've taken care of most of our produce needs. It can be done. Just come up with a plan and carry it out.
7 years ago
The orchard belongs to my parents and they wanted the bees, because it would have been good for both of us. The problem is vandals. In all likelyhood, the vandals think I'm doing wrong by having such dangerous creatures. Of course they wouldn't be as dangerous, if the hive wouldn't be shot and knocked over. I have had so much trouble keeping bees on my parent's property. I can't see that it wouldn't be worse putting it on someone else's property. Its a big investment to put it in harms way. Besides with my fathers fractures, my husband's heart attack, homeschooling, a job, an orchard, chickens, ducks, geese, goats, gardens and studying herbology, I've got just about enough to keep my mind and body busy.
7 years ago
I read up on it lightly in Reader's Digest, Back to Basics, one of my favorite all purpose reference book. I was hoping someone in the know would respond though. We are about to take a stab at starting our spring plants....yes, in early December. DH and I weren't sure what type of soil we would use. I guess he will just buy what he thinks best, but if someone doesn't mind offering their 2 cents worth, I'd appreciate it.
But back on topic....I've seen windows set up like mini greenhouses and seems like a city dweller, had his own corn growing off a terrace. If you have proper lighting and can keep the water perfect, I'd take a stab at it.
7 years ago
Well, I'm much furthur south, so I hope I do well. Just 3 days ago my co-worker came in with a root cutting for me. I went nuts. She claims its illegal to have comfrey in our state, but I don't know that, except that she said it. Highly doubt it the comfrey police will show up anyway. I planted mine outside, in a pot, but I will take it in if its gonna get too cold. Hope I do well. I'm taking a coarse in Herbal Studies right now and I think I can fix a lotta stuff with comfrey.
7 years ago
Thanks for all the info. A lot to cover. One thing is that 200 miles would need to be increased and I can only go north. However, its confusing to go to the local stores and find navel oranges from California when there are orchards in town. Can't go south....thats the Gulf of Mexico. As far as bees are concerned, DH and I are the only people in Cut Off who keep them. We tried putting bees in the orchard 3 times with bad results. Dad wanted us to have a colony there, to help us and him. Well the 4th go round, I told him I didn't think the bees were leaving on their own. I suspected sabatage. He agreed with me and we found a safer place. It seemed fine for a while, then it somehow was turned over. Put it right and we found it full of buckshot. Showed it to the police and put a game cam.....asked his advice. Then really don't know what went wrong, but the bees left. But perhaps now that DH and I are in control of the orchard and have to spend more time in the woods, we can put a colony of bees.
Now about planting beans to grow on the trees....well, I have to crawl to get to the base of the trees. But the family has been having trouble keeping the orchard cut and clean in the summer, so DH and I are talking about putting our ducks and geese in charge of grass control. Pasturing them in different sections, as we need a trim. Thinking that if we keep them in an area long enough to get rid of all grass, might be able to grow some pumpkin and melons......maybe make 2 really long rows between rows of trees to plant beans.
Someone on Sufficientself suggested me getting into a co-op. I can try and find one furthur north and see how that works for now. By next year I think I will be much more educated about my current problem and will have several permits and official looking papers, because I just can't run things like Mom and Dad....well, not unless I happen to get fired.
7 years ago
I live in the deep south, in Louisiana. I can grow almost anything. I've always been interested in various farming activities, but never got overly involved in one single project. I mainly would plant or raise what I thought could take care of my family and then a little extra to use for bartering or favors. Well, my parents did things a bit different. When they did chickens they weren't happy, unless they had about 2,000 birds. They did pigs and I think they had about 80 at a time. Then they turned some of the woods into an orange grove and they must have planted over 200 trees. Can we talk about oranges??? I just don't know what to do. The local market is flooded with citus, which probably won't sell, because people can grow all the orange trees they want. They only way to know for sure I can sell the fruit is to completely leave this area and go up north, but really I have a job, family, small farm projects and 2 elderly parents....one of which is in a hospital bed. I am trying to negotiate a bit of a barter with a lady from TN who will be trading some russet potatoes and possibly apples for satsumas. But really, I have no idea how I can arrange for all this produce to be marketed on an ongoing basis. Mom and Dad did this like a small business, all themselves right up to the selling at roadsides. There has got to be an easier way to do this. In all truth, when DH and I realized that my share of the estate was going to include the section of the orchard in the woods, we were blown away. This was no where near the idea we ever had in mind for self-sufficiency. We more always tried to do various projects to take care of multiple needs. As it stands now, we talk as if we won't be replacing any trees that die or freeze, unless we can figure out what to do to make a success of the orange business. It seems ashamed to have something valueable and not be able to take full advantage of it. I tried making a deal with one of our local grocery chains, but that never happened. Can anyone tell me how farmers go about selling their crops? I sure would hate to see the fruit wasted. I'd really like to find a way to get something out of it while my parents can still profit from all their hard work. There was a local man that bulldozed his orchard and my mom has nothing good to say about that incidence, but in truth, all I can see is a bunch of land that I could be planting greenbeans, potatoes, corn, peanuts and half dozen other things, but I can't because its full of orange trees and the family is no where near big enough to eat all that fruit. My momma is super smart and my dad had enough nerve to pull off anything, so the oranges were a good idea for them. I just wish I could continue what they started.
7 years ago
I've assumed the responsibility of my parent's orchard, but unlike them, I cannot set up shop at roadsides. I already have a full-time job and a family to take care of and educate.
At present, I have satsumas that need to be harvested, but I can also now pick the grapefruits, navels, mandarines and lemons.
If any of you here on the forum does a little side-line farm market type business, you might want to consider citrus, esp if you live furthur north than my home town of Cut Off. I imagine that the furthur north, the more it would be worth.
I did obtain some Louisiana Citrus boxes, because I was possibly going to do some local business with a grocery chain, but that fell thru. Well, the boxes costed more than I'd have liked to pay, so if I would need to part with the boxes, I'd want some of my investment back. Still if someone has their own crates, I wouldn't mind selling just the fruit.
Please be aware that I live very close to the coast and have seafood most of the year, so if you can do a little business with shrimp, I can make a few calls to get prices for you to make it worth the trip.
There are a few things that can't grow here, due to the heat.....fruits, vegs, herbs and game....therefore, let it be understood that I might not mind if someone wanted to buy a bunch of crates, I could barter for a portion of the boxes.
Please be aware that this is my families business and I"m only getting a share for deals and harvesting. Parents still own property.