Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yorktown - The Battlefield Pictures

Below are some of the pictures I took while we were on the famous Battlefield of Yorktown. The Battlefield that made us free.
Replica American Siege Guns. At Yorktown they have replicated the old siege lines from the first line at a mile or so away from the British line all the way to the point blank 1/4 or 1/2 mile line.
The famous Redoupt 9. American soldiers stormed this redoupt one night with amazingly low losses.

Replication of American siege cannon.

More cannon

I will try to post more soon. I have been so busy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First Famers Maket

Our first farmers market of 2009 was on June 21st. It was slow which is not surprising considering that it was Fathers Day.
It was kind of interesting that the first market fell on the longest day of the year.
I will try to post some pictures of the market once I get some bugs worked out of my computer system.
As we were packing up after the market a man ran past us with a security guard right on his heels. I saw that the man was on the phone and I heard him yell at the security guard "let me go!" The security guard was yelling at him to sit on the ground. A few minutes later I saw him sitting down close to where the market had been and a couple of bystabders were by him on their cell phones. I believe they were calling the police because As we were leaving their was at least 4 cops there and one of them was over by the last vender still at the market (I believe he was probably asking the vender for a witness account.)
I am not sure what the guy did, but he was carrying a scateboard and it is against the rules to ride scateboards in the mall complex. Most of the time that there are scatebaorders rinding in the mall the guards tell them to get off of them and thats it that, so it is possible that them man was warned and chose to continue riding and ignore the guard.
Anyways, I will try to find out what he did and I will update this as I find out.
Remember markets are always interesting! It may seem boring for a couple weeks, but then wham! I remeber getting hit in the back by a 20'X40' tent that a micro burst sent flying like it was a kite...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Fathers Day

I am sorry I have not posted in so long.
Happy Fathers Day to all Dads!
I hope that you all have a wonderful day.
Tomorrow Is our first Farmers Market this year. Market Fresh will be held every Sunday till sometime in October at the 29Th Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado.
Come by and see us!
It is late and I still have a lot to do.
I hope to post pictures of the market in a day or so.
Till then enjoy your gardens and Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads out there!


Friday, June 12, 2009

An Indestructible Plant

Below is the textbook description of a impossible to kill plant.
The plant is known as Perennial Sweet Pea or Lathyrus latifolius.

I found this at Dave's Gardens.

Calaveras wrote the following:

On Sep 29, 2008, Calaveras from Kittanning, PA wrote:
HELP ME KILL THIS PLANT! I desperately need your advice. It has taken over a full acre of woodland in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California and is spreading at perhaps 1000 square feet per year. This is at 2800' elevation, with no rain between April and November, on a slope with a low water table, daily temperatures regularly reaching 100F, and full to partial sun. In a few years it will consume the entire property. Burning is risky in this habitat in the season when the plants are exposed. Is there an herbicide that would be effective? It's way past trowel work. Please reply before an air tanker is required. Thanks

More below.

On May 22, 2008, girlndocs from Tacoma, WA wrote:
This sweet pea grows in the neighborhood and established itself in a crack in the sidewalk by our front porch.I let it grow -- even mowing around it when I cut the grass. I don't think I've ever deadheaded it and I only collected seeds once when they happened to be ripe as I walked by. Nevertheless it's only made about 5 "babies" in 7 years. Each year it would grow to cover about 4' square feet in a loose tumbling mass before frost nipped it back.The only places I've seen it really take over are abandoned spots in alleys and so forth.It sure is tough, though. This year a lawn service both mowed and power-edged right where it was springing up and I thought it was the end, but two weeks later it was back. Now I've moved it to a wire fence in the back of my garden that hides my compost piles.

As you can see this is a very hardy plant. In the first story Perennial Sweet pea has no water for the hardest parts of the year with temperatures often at 100oF.
I recommend planting this plant if you have a lot of room to let it take over and said space is hard to get other things to grow on. On the other hand, if you just love sweet peas then just go right ahead and let it take over a large area, because I have seen them take a lot of abuse. I have also heard that old varieties (Like the ones we sell at Life Seed Co and those are Perennial Sweet Pea, and an annual one called old Spice mix, which is a mix of multi colored heirlooms.) have a lot of fragrance to them.

Have you grown Sweet Peas before? How did they do for you? Were they invasive and would you recommend planting them?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yorktown Pictures

Below are some more pictures of our trip to Virginia in 2007 for Jamestown's 400Th Anniversary celebration.

A man gives horse and buggy rides just as they used to in colonial times. Note his British red coat.

Historical Williamsburg is full of meticulously kept formal gardens. Although the picture does not show it this garden had about a dozen such triangles like 5 or so shown.

This young buck was checking us out and moving around quite a bit when I snapped this picture of him taking a peek at us from between two trees.
These are actual cannons captured from the British at Yorktown. On several of them you could easily make out inscriptions with the royal crest. These are only 6 of at least 50 that were on display at Surrender Field. This field is so named because it is where the surrender ceremony took place and the weapons were collected.
I will be posting some more pictures later.

Blogroll Additions

I have added a few blogs to the "Blogs I am folowing" toolbar to the right.
So please welcome
clay and limestone
Organic Allotment
Tiny Farm Blog» organic vegetable gardening!

I have been reading these 3 for a while and have decided that as they post frequently and the content is good that I shall add them.
I owe special thanks to Tiny Farm Blog as they have been sending quite a few visiters my way!

On other news we have had frequent light rains and the garden sprouts are doing good.
I am still waging war with the mites and the indoor fruit fly type things that have killed more of my plants than I want to think about.
I plan on doing a fairly large post on spider mites soon, but for now that is all.

Respectfully Submitted,

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Garden update

Our garden is all sprouting up.
Our squash sprouts are doing well, as is all the rest of the market garden.
I have a tomato plant that is about 4 feet tall and it already has some green tomatoes on it.
I will post more soon.

Tomato cages

I found this post through The Sun is Killing Me.
It is a really good post about making tomato cages because the store bought ones are so flimsy.
I have excerpted some of it below.

To make tomato cages just acquire a big ol' roll of caging, then measure out the correct length to make the right diameter cage you would like (Diameter = Circumference/3.14). I made my cages about a foot and a half wide. Snip the wire off the roll with wire cutters, roll up, then bend the ends around to make hooks to secure the cage together. Then snip off some of the horizontal wire at the bottom to leave vertical wire posts(4-6 inches is good)to stick in the ground to hold the cage in place. Easy-peasy! And so much more durable than those cheesy ones they sell at the store!

I happen to have found some old tomato cages made in a similar fashion as the ones above and they are very tough.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Professor Einstein

We finally caught Prof. Einstein!
I have not posted about Prof. Einstein before, but to fill you in We had a mouse type animal get into our basement and our cold seed storage room.
Seed room+Mouse-= bad, bad, bad.

Prof. Einstein came into our basement sometime between last October and last January.
We built our cold seed storage room in December.
We first discovered that something was amiss when we were cutting some carpet for the Colorado Garden and Home Show and out of the carpet role poured out red popcorn!
After a week or two it clicked Sammy. (Sammy was a kangaroo rat we had once had)
We realized that we had a critter with several of the habits of our old kangaroo rat. However we never saw any mice poo.
Well one day we discovered some of Life Seed Companies seed packets were torn, and all of seeds were missing, and we kept discovering more and more of those packets mixed in with our seed racks.

We immediately realized that we had a major problem and took some steps to try to secure the cold room.
Later during intense investigations we discovered a small hole that went all the way into the cool room. We tried to block it but by this time I had a surveillance camera deployed to scan the basement at night, and oh my, the critter never came out the next two nights.
This was a major problem as it appeared that Prof. Einstein was living in the cold room.

To make a very long story somewhat short we tried all kind of live traps and I was continually acting on intelligence gathered from the nighttime surveillance camera.
Professor Einstein earned his name by easily avoiding all of our traps as well as shamelessly poising for the night camera. He would come up real close and stand in a frontal view and then turn to each of his side views in front of the camera. I dubbed that behavior as "poising for prison shots."
He was always up to something and he clearly enjoyed and knew what that camera was.
Example: he would swagger past the camera with his tail wagging really fast up and down as he raided a pile of popcorn, the prison shots, and all sorts of other ridiculous behavior.

Months later: brings us to a few days ago. We were getting desperate and considering poison, but before we did that we decided to try a sleeping pill. So we put out 2 peanut butter scoops mixed with a quarter of sleeping pill each. One was outside of the cool room and the other was inside. We also completely sealed off the cool room so that he could not get in or out of it. When we watched the video of the night we discovered two things. 1: he was still super active over an hour later, and 2: when he went to reenter the cool room via his small hole and discovered that he could not get in he just went nuts! He ran like lightning over to where the door to the cool room is and seeing that blocked came zipping back over to his hole and then started running all over the place for about 5 minutes. We think he was living in our crawl space, based on the most recent Intel. So we then decided to use a homemade trap using a big box and the trigger from a store bought one.
To give you a basic idea of the triggering mechanism it was a metal ramp suspended over a fulcrum with a metal flap that would pop up and block the entrance/exit hole when the mouse walked over the ramp. Kinda like a teeter totter.
Well we changed a few things like pushing the trapping flap outside of the box a little so that Prof. Einstein could not get his hands on it to forcibly pull it down (He is called Prof. Einstein for a reason. He is easily the smartest rodent I have ever seen.) We also added a little bit of peanut butter under the ramp (accidental) and were hoping that it would help it stick one the Prof. was inside the box.
Now the reason the store bought trap never worked was because we were trying to get the Prof. into a really cramped area and there was no way he was going to fall for that kind of pathetic trap.
So we tried this trap last night and in the morning we watched the video.
The Professor entered the trap and ran right back out (did I mention that a friend of ours had tried a larger professional style trap and the Professor ate the bate without setting it off.) We were Shocked!
After further analyzing I discovered that Professor Einstein had run into the trap at full speed by putting his hands and feet on the tiny rail on each side of the ramp! He then exited the same way.
By the way he must have discovered that his peanut butter from the last night had been tapered with because he did not touch any peanut butter again.

Today we reset the trap and poured a bunch of seed in there in the hope that in one of the Prof. many trips to get to the seed he would set off the trap. I also added a quarter to the rail in hopes that as he ran up it would fall onto the ramp and trip it.
When my dad went downstairs to check on it at about 10:15 P.M. (about 15 minutes after I put the money in) he discovered that we had caught Professor Einstein!
So We checked to see just what kind of mouse he was and to my utter surprise (based on the night vision videos it looked like a larger mouse) the Prof. was a Deer Mouse!
We let him go about a mile from our house to use his amazing skills in the wild and I will be on a sharp lookout to make sure there are no other mice around.
So that is the shortened story of our acquaintance with Professor Einstein.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Attractiveness of Beer & Fermentation products to the Gray Garden Slug

Below is the link to the full report done by CSU.

I will give just a couple of highlights here.

All trials were conducted in a heavily vegetated yard in Fort Collins, Colorado during April and
May 1987. Attractants were evaluated based on slug captures in a commercially available slug
trap (Slug Saloo#, American Quality Products, Denver, CO) that measured 9.5 cm in diameter
and was covered to exclude dilution by rainfall and irrigation. Approximately 180 ml of liquid
were placed in each trap during trials, which filled the containers to within 2 cm of the container
lip. Traps were placed among vegetation, arranged in a randomized complete block design with
4 replications. Individual traps were separated by a minimum 0.75 m. Traps were collected 48
hours after placement, unless otherwise indicated. All data were subjected to analysis of
variance (ANOVA). Means among the treatments were separated using the multiple range test
of Duncan (1955) at P < 0.05.
Attractiveness Comparison Trials of Commercial Malt Beverages. Trials were conducted to
rank commonly sold malt beverages for attractiveness to slugs. Treatments included 12 brands
of beer, one alcohol-free malt beverage, sugar water/baking yeast, one brand of wine, and tap
water. Comparisons were made during a series of trials involving three treatments against a
standard beer (Budweisera) that was used in all trials. The ratio of slug capture in treatments
was then calculated against the (Budweiserk) standard to establish overall rankings of
Beer Flattening/Alcohol Fortification Trials. The effect of beer flattening and alcohol
fortification on slug capture was evaluated with two beers (Budweise?, Pabst Blue Ribbo$). In
both trials, beer was flattened by decanting into a bowl 48 hours before the initiation of the trial.
To further help define the importance of the ethanol in beer to slug capture, additional treatments
were conducted involving fortification of the baits with ethanol. Ethanol was added at the rate
of 6% by volume in the form of 95% ethanol.

And the results

A wide range in attractiveness occurred among the various malt beverages tested (Table 1). The
non-attractiveness of alcohol, demonstrated by Smith and Boswell (1970), was emphasized in
this trial since greatest attraction occurred using the non-alcoholic malt beverage Kingbury Malt
BeverageR. Among tested beers, there was a three-fold range in attractiveness with the brewer
Anheiser-Busch products (Micheloba, Budweisep, and Bud LightR) attracting the greatest
number of slugs to the traps.
Several volatile components associated with beer have been identified by Selim (1976) as being
attractive to slugs including acetoin, diacetyl and dihydroxyacctone. The range in attractiveness
of various malt beverages are likely due to differences in the concentrations of these attractants.
For example, Meilgaard (1975) reports a three-fold range in diacetyl exist? among typical United
States beers.
The single wine tested (Gal10 Pink ChablisR) was not attractive to slugs, although Smith and
Boswell (1970) reported that unfermented grape juice was a moderately attractive to slugs. Use
of fermenting sucrose solutions to which baking yeast was added produced capture rates similar
to beer. Selim (1974) had previously reported sucrose fermentation byproducts as attractive to

Mite Update #2

My attemps to destroy the mites have been only partially sucessful.
I have kept their numbers fairly low, but they have killed several of my marigolds in the last couple of days.
I am rather upset. Those marigolds were over 2 months old.
In other news we have had a lot of rain lately, which is really nice in our dryland climate of northeastern Colorado.
One of the dificult things about having clay soil is that when it rains hard the plant leaves become caked with mud. Depending on the severity of the caking and the size of the plant this can be fatal. I have lost more plants the last two weeks to this than I care to remember.