I'm still putting them on drying racks and Wendy is making another batch of sauce. I picked these this morning. It looks like we are nearing the end of hot crop harvest. Tomorrow we will hit a temperature of 80F and the following night it is supposed to freeze as another cold front comes through.
This is a universal remote that can act as a wireless USB keyboard and mouse. I've been using it on my Ubuntu box for the CNC. It also works on my OSX laptop. It's running on native drivers with no fiddling about required. I love how I can reclaim more desk space from the old clunky keyboard and mouse which I was rarely using. It's called the Rii Mini i6 and sells for about $40.
Yesterday I surprised Wendy with a new smoothie blend. The best part was all the ingredients are grown or fermented right here on our property.
- 2 cups yogurt
- 4 table spoons honey
- 1/2 cup soaked almond
- 1/2 cup dried jujube
- 1 tray of ice cubes
- pinch of salt
- few drops of vanilla
Our 2011 property taxes just arrived. We live on a acre of land in the middle of town and pay $278 a year in taxes. Yes, a year!
During the spaceport tour I learned that Virgin Galactic's logo is based on Richard Branson's eye. Also many details about the different companies who have been doing test launches. I've included my notes in mindmap format (created with SimpleMind+ App for iPhone).
With a first frost possible tonight we picked some, buried in some (using mulch for a layer of warmth) and tonight we're tucking the tomatoes in under wool blankets. If we get through it, we have a week or two of high temps in which our garden will be able to give up a lot more food.
We did reduce our cost of living. We grow our food, make our medicines, produce our fuel and power, and create our own domestic products. Favoring waste helps too. We live on one fifth of what we used to require for living. But we're not yet able to make that 1/5th from our cottage industry, the Holy Scrap Store. We're close!
To make up the difference Mikey's designing control systems for alternative energy companies and I'm writing. We sincerely like this freelance work and we're grateful too, but it takes us away from homesteading. Of course as I say this I realize that my whole life is homesteading: making cheese, wine, collecting grease, making bio fuel, welding busted gates add infinitum. . . it's the big projects that are slipping. The list of things that need to get done here has gone stagnant. Welding projects, laying flagstone, finishing our papercrete dome!
This November our online store will see it's first holiday season. Our fingers are crossed. I sure do miss my overalls! Sitting at my desk with a large screen in front of me reminds me too much of a life of clocks, unnecessary pressures and bad food. But this is the reality of digital homesteading in rural America, at least it is for now.
I'm not a clumsy person, but I have managed to drop my new phone several times during my first week with it. I tried a silicon tire tread case, but I do not like the extra bulk and it doesn't work with the dock. Fed up with standard solutions I broke out a roll of grip tape then sat down with my CNC and started milling open hardware logos. The logo looks great and adds a much needed bit of friction to prevent my phone from slipping off the armrest in my car or out of my pocket. We sell them in two packs now in our store.
There is a proper tool for every job. We didn't have that tool so we made some stuff up with and threw our temp controller on top. Normally when harvesting honey from langstroth bee hive frames you insert the frames in a centrifuge and spin out the honey leave thing the wax. Centrifuges are pretty expensive starting at $300 and would get minimal use from us. This leaves us with the problem "how do we separate wax from honey"? The one thing we are good at here is temperature control so once again we bust out the crock pot and hookup a temperature controller holding a water temperature in the crock of 118F to keep our honey raw.
This week we sold off our old iPhones, MiniDV Camcorder and Kindle. We are also going to hock our 12MP still camera. Why would we get rid of all this stuff? Our new phones (iPhone 4s) have proven to be a disruptive technology. We no longer need special devices for each task. We can finally take decent photos, videos and read books on our phones. It's a big deal to us as we have been desperately trying to cut down on the amount of material crap we bring into our home.
As a way to play it safe we pick daily. Today's pics include several small but yummy single person sized melons, mullein, low acid and other tomatoes, holy basil (tulsi), calendula, beet tops for tonight's dinner and a pepper.
I'm considering mulching in a variety of sturdy cold crops and hoping they survive the frost. These crops include: celery, potatoes, carrot, beet, parsnip, parsley, leek and strawberry, garlic, wormwood.
These I plan to yank before the expected frost this week: broccoli, fennel, tomatoes, loofa, cauliflower, cabbage, thyme, oregano, tarragon, comfrey, yarrow, mint and loads of gorgeous flowers!
Shortly after we moved to New Mexico iRobot started making robots that could mop floors. This seemed like a great idea to us since we always seem to have dust blowing in through the windows or just being brought into the house with daily human and pet traffic. After five years of maintaining this mopping device I've learned a few tricks to keep it running with minimal expenses.
- You don't need to buy iRobot cleaning fluid. White vinegar works fine.
- A drop or two of essential oil (orange, mint, tea tree or geranium) makes for a great clean room smell.
- Warm water will make for a smoother running robot
- The batteries will be a issue. I'm using a capacitive charger which can charge 1 to 5 batteries at a time. I run the batteries to zero between usage and take them all the way up to full with a low 150mA constant current charge overnight. While I have repacked the batteries with different chemistries (li-ion, ni-cd and nimh) my preference is towards buying pre-assembled 3rd party Ni-CD which seem to be the most robust. With proper battery charging and storage you should be able to get 2-3 years out of them.
- Ebay is a great source for used robots with "dead" batteries that sell for $10 - $30.
These digital Weiser locks have worked out pretty well for us. The one gripe I have is that the deadbolts mechanical throw tends to gum up over time as dust gets inside of it. I've contacted Weiser twice about the issue and both times they have sent me new locks. Weiser has a policy where the electronics are only covered under warranty for one year, but the mechanical parts have a unlimited warranty.
Our favorite way to eat the top of the beets is to stir fry them with some garlic, olive oil and tamari. Then if we have happen to have any tempeh and kimchi we combine with the stir fried beets and some rice. Yum....That was dinner tonight, btw.
We have passed mid-October, but shhhh...The gaden doesn't know it. No frosts in the forecasts. I'm still harvesting apples, carrots, celery and beets for our morning juice. I'm just noting this on the blog for ourselves so we can see how late the summer garden goes each year before a frost gets us. I know you are tired of reading about us juicing.
Town was packed this weekend with people arriving for the Spaceport dedication. Monday evening I saw news channel vehicles parked at various motels in the area.
As I was heading out of town on Monday to pickup Wendy from a retreat I realized our Beetle had a tire low on air. I stopped by the local tire shop (Quality Tire) for a quick patch. $12 and 10 minutes later the car was ready to go. I had a nail which they quickly found.
Last year we were harvesting worlfberries (a cousin of the goji berry) along the Rio Grande. This year I convinced Wendy to plant some wolfberry seeds in a pot we water regularly. The difference between the wild wolfberries and the regularly watered ones is significant. This photo shows our irrigated fruit which is about 4x the size and many times sweeter than the wild ones. They actually taste good :).