Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sweet Corn Trials and Tribulations

I remember being so excited as our neighbor tilled our new garden in the spring.

And then we planted our sweet corn. I've always bought corn to freeze but this year it we decided to grow our own.

It was so fun watching it grow!

Finally the early corn was almost ready to pick.

This is the later variety. Getting really big and kinda heavy.

As you can see from this picture it was so heavy that it started to fall from the wind. Two days later we had a really bad storm and it was ALL BLOWN DOWN. All of it, laying flat on the ground. (sniffle, sob!)
Well.... let me tell ya something. Pick a bad emotion and I felt it. What could we do?? We had no twine or anything to tie it up with and Kevin thought it was hopeless. How in the world do you tie up 40 feet by 40 feet of corn?
Well, I was desperate and desperate times call for desperate measures.
Luckily we had our cucumbers growing next to the corn and we had put up a fence for them to climb up. (They didn't.) But it proved useful in the corn dilemma.
I grabbed the only item in our house that was long, really really, long. Strapping tape!
Kevin told me that I was crazy but I had to try it. I taped up a little of the corn and it seemed like maybe it would work! It was getting late so he said we could try something the next day.
We took a couple rolls of tape out and strapped and strapped. We wove it all along the length and then wove it side to side all along the corn, from one fence to the other, sticking it to itself along the rows in between the stalks.

It may have been a little unorthodox but it worked!

Our neighbors must think that we're crazy.

That tape has held through weeks of rain and wind.

We even had a really blowy thunderstorm a few days ago and I really held my breath, watching out the window for signs of falling cornstalks but nothing.

And yesterday we had our first homegrown corn.
Til next time,

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hatching Guineas and Eating Locally

And by eating locally I mean very locally, from our own garden. So finally, last week we were able to have a dinner made entirely from our own farm.

First we had a cucumber salad with onions. Kind of a sweet and sour salad with vinegar and a little sugar. Of course we didn't grow the vinegar or the sugar, we just grew the large items.

I picked the biggest beets, boiled them and added real butter, no, I didn't make the butter either.

So, speaking of real butter...a couple of weeks ago the son called and asked me to get milk and butter from the store. Well, I knew that I had butter because I had started buying real butter and had stopped using the cheap tub stuff after I was called back to work.

I am determined to use only real butter because I know thatit is actually a real substance and not chemically "created". For the past month or two I have kept a couple of sticks on a plate, usually on top of the toaster (the cat can't find it there). If it gets left on the other counter it ends up with "lick" marks on it.

Lick Marks

Anyhoo, when I went home, after picking up some milk, I noticed that we did indeed have some butter, soft, on top of the toaster and more boxes in the fridge. So, the next day he calls again and asks me to get some butter.

I'm a little perplexed so when I get home I pointed out to him that we do have butter and showed it to him. It slowly dawned on me (when he looked at the butter with a blank look on his face) that he did not know that there was such a thing as real butter and he did not know that butter comes in stick form.

I have been remiss.

Do not try to take a picture of steaming hot broccoli right over top of it, the steam will fog the lens (and hopefully not cause permanent damage to your camera).

Hold your camera a little to the side of it.

And for the main dish, a little butter fried venison. (It counts as home grown.) We paid a lot of money to fill our deer feeder with corn last year.

On to the Guinea Hatching.

A friend at work has guinea fowl. He wanted to hatch some of the eggs and he did not think his hens would sit so about a month ago he brought me nine eggs. At first I told him they should hatch in three weeks but after some checking into it I was very surprised to find out that guineas eggs take four weeks to incubate.

The eggs are so much smaller than the chicken eggs that I am used to that I was really surprised. It just seemed so strange that a turkey egg, which is at least twice as big as a guinea egg, will take the same amount of time in the incubator.

So finally, after the four week wait they started to hatch.

The first one after I moved to the brooder.

I put the shell in with the brooder and took a picture to give to my friend at work. He's not picking them up for a few days and I knew he was ecxited to see what they look like.
The first one hatched really quick but a second one was pipped but getting nowhere. It had pipped that morning so I waited all day but nothing had happened even the next morning, the keet's little beak was still moving around when I checked it so I knew it was still ok.

I figured that when I got home from work if it was still not hatched that I would take matters into my own hands. So, when I got home about 4:00 and there was still no progress, I picked off a little of the shell, bit by bit to check the membrane for blood in the vessels. They seemed dry so I picked a little more, still dry so I decided to remove the top of the egg and get the little guy out. As I was removing the shell the keet was peeping loudly so I knew it was strong still.

I finally got the end removed and popped it's little head out and it went into action. It kicked and kicked and flopped it's way out of the shell. The yolk sac was retracted and there was no blood at all so obviously it was really ready. I think for some reason it was stuck and couldn't turn in the shell to get itself out.

It scrambled all over the incubator, it didn't even rest for a minute, but couldn't stand up yet. One of it's feet was a little turned in. I held it up every couple of minutes so it could get it's legs under itself a little. I put it in the brooder, after only about an hour, with the other one because it kept peeping, I think it was lonely.

By the next morning the one's foot was normal and they were both doing fine, making little guinea noises and pecking around the brooder. I don't think I can even tell them apart. They were acting a little mean though. One kept pecking the other one's foot and making him cry.

Sadly, none of the other eggs hatched but at least my friend has two to grow up together.

I can see now why they need 28 days to incubate. They are crazy strong and fast as soon as they pop out of that shell. They make poults and chicks look as dumb and slow as turtles.

One does seem to be a little different in color though. Maybe slightly browner and the other one a little grayer. Cute, huh?

Til next time,