Su Ba

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since Apr 18, 2013
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Retired from veterinary medicine. My second career is creating a homestead, aiming to be self reliant.
Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Recent posts by Su Ba

Two days ago I took my friend for her second shot (Pfizer). So far she has had no problems other than the typical mild soreness at the injection site.  Another friend got her second shot the other day too....Moderna. She had no problems also. Both of these friends are 78 years old.

Hubby and I are scheduled for our first shots on March 22. We are eagerly looking forward to getting vaccinated. We are suppose to be getting the Pfizer vaccine. I’ll let you know if we get any reactions.
1 day ago
Aloha!  Yes, I’ve been occupied these past months, focusing on my community. People have needed help dealing with this COVID crisis. So blogging, surfing, and my homestead farm have been neglected. But things are starting to ease up around here, so I’ve been dropping into a bit more. I’ll probably start blogging again, updating people on how I’ll be resurrecting the farm. It’s been interesting seeing what could survive and actually keep producing during the period of neglect. Some things died, others did ok. ........... So you’ll be seeing me around again.
5 days ago
I surely miss Dale too.
5 days ago
Heather, bacitracin ointment is fine.

Another thing that many rural folks keep in their livestock medicine box is furacin ointment. It works well for most wounds. Personally, I use it on myself for cuts and scrapes, too.

By the way, if your kitty were to have showed up at our veterinary clinic, I wouldn’t have stitched it. Small wounds like this usually heal up just fine and don’t leave a visible scar.
6 days ago
Lance, I assume you don’t include Hawaii when you warn about not planting  imported fruits. I see chayote (called pipinola here) producing from sea level to 4000’ elevation (maybe higher, but I don’t know of anyone growing higher). Lots of rain doesn’t faze it, but dryness will impede it. I’m at 2400’ and have adequate rain, thus my pipinola is lush. I’m  currently growing 5 different varieties but am phasing 2 out due to prickliness of the rind.  I started my first plant from am imported fruit I bought in the supermarket, not knowing any better. Since then i acquired the other varieties locally.

Pipinola is so common here that it is often used just for livestock feed. It’s considered poor man’s food, thus it has a stigma attached to it. Regardless, we eat it regularly. It makes good pickles too. And one heck of a good mock apple pie. Apples are super expensive here, so pipinola (along with frozen apple concentrate) makes a darn good cheap apple pie.

I haven’t tallied up my harvest numbers for last year yet, but I’m sure I harvested well over 1000 pipinola fruits. Needless to say, I produce a lot of the stuff. And it doesn’t take all that many plants to produce that large harvest. Amazing plant!
6 days ago
Heather, most country folks that have livestock....including cats.....keep a bottle of injectable penicillin in the frig. It’s cases like this when that bottle comes in handy. Often one injection is all that is needed to prevent an infection with this small kind of wound. It surely beats paying a big vet bill a week later when an abscess develops.
6 days ago
I can’t speak for your own place and conditions, but much of my food growing area has only 6 inches of soil. So I’d say that it all depends upon your climate conditions and your gardening methods. I grow almost all of our own food plus excess to trade, sell, and giveaway. For long rooted crops like carrots and daikon, I use container boxes.
2 months ago
Leigh, excellent observations and so true. I concluded the same things on my own journey for self sufficiency.
4 months ago
Gray, I grow most of our own food, and could do 100% if we had to. For the sake of variety and convenience, I don’t do 100% at the moment.

I have 20+ acres. I supplement that with hunting, foraging, guerrilla gardening, and trading. A few things are store bought and again, they are a convenience rather than necessity. Hubby likes his Brown Cow yogurt and Fuji apples! I love grapes! The 20 acres is not a fully closed system, basically because the land was incredibly infertile when I moved here. In order to quickly get food to feed our farm, I brought in outside resources (green waste, lava sand, manure, epson salt, lime, boron, soil microbes, etc). To maintain fertility, I still do some of that although the farm now produces much of its own resources. Some resources it cannot self-produce enough of, such as calcium. I still bring in coral sand and bones. I also bring in ocean water. But since these are gathered from within my own district, one could say that they are not imported. Thus the reason I questioned if you meant 1 acre or a 1000. People have different ideas of what “closed system” includes. Just about everything for my farm comes from within a 10 mile radius (it’s 10 miles to the ocean).

I also bring in food waste to feed to my chickens and pigs, who in turn produce manure for my food production. I could indeed skip that, but to what benefit? Just to brag that I have a closed system? The food is not only free, but I get paid money to pick it up from the local businesses. So it generates farm income. Using this waste stream reduces the need for me to work harder to produce all my own livestock feed.

So while I have a good working system, it’s not completely closed. Yes, I could close it. But I prefer to just limit what I go out and buy to bring to the farm.

One other closed system, just how closed would the purist demand it to be? Would bringing in gasoline to run garden equipment mean that the system isn’t closed? Would one need to revert to horse drawn, homemade equipment? Just something to think about,
4 months ago
That’s a tough decision....what to put the effort into, and what not to. For beginners, it’s quickly answered. Due to lack of experience and knowledge, you’ll quickly learn which crops are too difficult for you. But as others indicated, as you experiment and gain skill, you will expand into those more difficult varieties.

Personally I don’t bother growing difficult veggies that we either don’t eat or aren’t popular for trading/selling. So in my region that rules out growing eggplant, zucchini, most squashes, most pumpkins, turmeric, plus many others. I also accept the fact that some things simply won’t grow in my region —- things that require a chill, things that require higher temperatures, things that want it drier than where I am, things that want lower elevation, etc.

And you hit the nail on the head about the grains. Unless you have lots of room to devote to them, plus the ability to harvest & thresh, plus the time to devote to it, grains are better off being purchased. I grow corn, but don’t bother with much in the way of other grains,