Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Heirloom Vegetables and Garden Results

The spring garden is officially over, caput, finito.   We’ve used the Back to Eden principals of gardening, which is basically laying down a thick layer of mulch, 4-6” and allow it to compost as you go.  Planting this first time was different than what was shown, but in time should become easier.

It definitely made walking around easier, no more mud bogs to suck off your rubber boots, and weeding was much easier; in the beginning.  Now they are creeping in, like most of the vegetation at The Compound with the recent rains.  We will need to either add cardboard or layers of newspaper then more mulch in the really bad areas.  Otherwise, I just need to spend a considerable amount of time pulling weeds to get things back in order.  I’ve just been too busy lately with other projects to really devote the time needed.
I really enjoyed the heirloom vegies the best.  They have a much fresher taste than the cheap seeds; they also germinated at a better rate.  Here’s a list of what we grew;

·         Tomatoes – cherry, Brandywine and Roma.  All heirloom, all germinated well, and the product was good. 

·         Cucumbers – heirloom, grew fast and provided great tasting produce

·         Lettuce – mescaline mix and romaine, both heirlooms.  Only issue was the heat, as soon as it got too hot the romaine bolted.

·         Carrots – not very good this time.  They never really grew.  They look like squashed wine corks.  I’m going to leave them alone and see what happens.

·         Strawberries – we’ve had these for 2 years now, and this year’s production was much better than last year, except when the critters beat me to them.

·         Squash – butternut, pumpkin and zucchini.  We got quite a few butternut, and only a couple of the zucchini, and 1 pumpkin.  I think it was too hot for them.  Heirloom varieties

·         Beans – bush and pole.  I will only plant pole beans.  Saves the back from bending over, and they were plentiful!  They tasted just as good to me as the bush beans.  Heirloom varieties.

·         Peppers – terrible, they grew, but no peppers.  Not sure what happened here. 

·         Watermelon and cantaloupe – heirloom varieties, the watermelon are huge, and taste awesome.  The cantaloupe, only a few grew, tasted delish, but unfortunately the bugs really liked them too.

·         Sweet corn – 3rd try for us, and again, no real success. 

·         Broccoli, cabbage – heirloom varieties.  Germinated great, but I think it was just too hot.  I was really experimenting this season, and it’s really not worth the effort.
We did actually get quite a bit of produce out of the garden, and were able to share some with family and friends.  I would have liked to have more, so I could do more canning, preserves, etc.  Maybe next season.

Other than the weeds, and the heat, it was bugs, bugs, more bugs and raccoons.   We'll get the weeds back in order, and will investigate some options for the bugs.  Raccoons will likely never end.  We’re going to try and put up some more shade screen, similar to what we have over our strawberry pyramid, to help keep the direct hot sun off of the plants.  I don’t think the books or articles about gardening really take in to account the type of direct sun we get here in central Florida.  I’ll keep you posted as I get ready to plant starter seeds in July for the Fall planting season.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Outdoor Pizza Oven - Phase 2

I’ll tell you in a few days how much we really love having Tropical Storm Debbie out in the Gulf.  But we were very happy for the cloudy overcast on Saturday, so we could complete phase 2 of our outdoor pizza oven, in relative comfort.

I want to start this post, by beginning earlier in the week.  You’ve heard the phrase; “ask and ye shall receive”.  No truer words have ever been spoken.  The Moose and I were planning on heading to the local hardware store to purchase the needed concrete blocks for our oven base.  That very morning, I took a look on Craigslist, and found a listing for 150 concrete blocks for $75.00.  We called, offered $50.00 and bought them all.  Random sizes; 8x8x8, 8x8x16, 12x8x8, some were a bit rough, but for this project perfect.
We headed out with the trailer, and watched as the dark clouds started to gather.  We actually stated out loud, how we wished that those storms would hold off until we got the blocks loaded up.  We had just arrived, and handed over our fifty bucks, and the heavens opened up!   It was actually a blessing for all the work the Moose had to do, by loading up all those blocks.  He was soaked, but thankful for the cool relief the rain provided. 
Now, we needed to sort out how we would support the actual oven itself; extra blocks, create another concrete pad, etc.  My Padre’ thought a sheet of steel would be a solution.  We were worried about the cost, and transporting the hundreds of pounds the sheet would likely be.  We found a local dealer that had product available, and wanted to charge $.73/lb.  We only needed a 4x4x1/4” piece for the actual project.  That would weigh roughly 250lbs, or $182.50.

God was again looking out for us.  I went on Craigslist, and the first post was for a sheet of steel 4x8x3/8”, for $175.00.  That’s twice as much as we needed for less money.  We offered $150.00 and it was ours.  Now, we needed to figure out how to load it, all 500lbs.  Off we went again with the trailer in tow, as well as 2x4’s, electric wench, come along, and crow bars.  The Moose and his ingenuity had that piece of steel hooked up and on the trailer in less than 10 minutes.
The only thing left to buy was the mortar, 4 bags and trowel, about $25.00 total.

Now for the fun stuff!
My Mom and Padre’ made the trek out to The Compound first thing Saturday morning.   Padre’ started by laying out the first row of blocks, three sides and a middle support.   Thank goodness he’s done this before.  I could only base it on what I’ve seen on YouTube, and who knows how that would have turned out!

After the first row was up, my Mom, the Moose and I finished the last 3 rows.  The Moose did the heavy lifting, some mortar work, my Mom made sure everything was level, and applied mortar, and I helped fill in and level off the mortar between each joint.  It looked awesome!  We used less than half of the blocks we bought, and we'll save them for another project, I'm sure is in our future.  What was more of a blessing was the individual sizes, they actually worked better than what we originally planned.  Someone was really looking out for us.
Then it was time to consider how the heck to get that piece of steel cut and placed on top of the block base.  Lucky us!  Daughter Number 1 decided to make the road trip too.  Her muscles were well used by the time she left.
The Moose and Padre’ cut the steel to 4x5, which gave us around a 1’ overhang on the front, which should help as a platform when cooking.  They said they needed a place to put their beer.  Either way, it is functional, and not something we could have done had we not gotten the larger piece of steel.  The remaining sheet will be used for another project.

It took some doing, to get the heavy piece up there, and most of it was quite ingenious.  One side would be lifted up, and blocks would be placed underneath, then we’d do the opposite side, until we had it up around 3 blocks high. This way, no one had to actually bend from the ground up.  At this height, we used 2x4’s underneath the outer edges, four of us, two on each side moved the steel over and up onto the block base.  

Reminded me of a scene from the movie The 10 Commandments where the Pharaoh was carried through the streets on his gold gilded litter by his litter bearers.   Minus the gold, fans, headdress and skirts!
Image Source Page:
We have about $250.00 into the base.  I'm including the entire cost of the block and steel, even though we didn't use them all.  Concrete slab ran about $65.00.
We sure appreciated the help!  Now for phase 3, the actual oven itself!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rat Catcher

The Moose was perusing the World Wide Web a few weeks back, looking at safe options for catching and eliminating rats.  If you have chickens, or farm animals for that matter, and you feed them, you’ll have rats.  They come hand in hand and sometimes if not monitored can become overwhelming, threatening your chickens and you with disease.
We found several options, but this option has proven the best so far.
What you need;

5 gallon water bucket(s) with 3-4 inches of water in the bottom
Dry oatmeal
Wood slats, or in our case, part of a wood pallet
Ramp leading up to the top of the bucket(s)

The idea is to place the 3-4 inches of water in the bucket, place the wood or in our case, part of a pallet across the top of the buckets, a thin piece of wood or whatever you have laying around that can become a ramp and drop in a couple of handfuls of dry oatmeal.  Don’t panic, it will sink to the bottom, and eventually it creates foggy looking water and some oatmeal floats back to the top.  This may take a day or so to happen.  The rat gets up onto the wooden slats/pallet, looks down and thinks he sees a bucket full of tasty oatmeal.  Jumps in for what ends up as a swim, and can’t keep up for long.  You are now minus one disgusting, prolific breeding rodent.

It’s gross finding one floating in there, but no poison is used, the oatmeal will not harm your chickens or other animals and no dangerous metal traps to snap you or your animals. The wood pallet in our case also creates a seating area for the chickens, which they cannot fall through.  We’ve had this system in our chicken run, and we find about one rat each week that will no longer be an issue at The Compound. 
Dealing with rodents is a never ending issue, but this has really worked for us, costs very little if anything and has proven itself effective. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Praying Mantis

The Moose came back from walking Miss Izzy and found this creepy crawly hanging out on our porch screen.  What the heck is this thing?! 

My camera doesn't capture the color, but it's a light and dark brown mix, similar to tree bark.  Any ideas as to what it is?

It's a praying mantis, and you can see it's legs, tucked up under itself, when looking at it directly, but a little hard to see in this photo. It's times like these I wish I could afford a better camera.  It's eyes/head actually follow you when you walk around.  Creepy! 

I've lived in Florida since 1994, and I'm still surprised by what I see. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Syngenta Charged - Animal Deaths from GM Corn

Just another article showcasing the push to eliminate GM food, and the possible link to the deaths of cows in Europe.

Syngenta Charged Over Covering Up Animal Deaths from GM Corn

Free at Last! - Class of 2012

If chickens had lips and teeth, the little Hooligan’s Class of 2012 would have been all smiles on Saturday.  We let them out of their coop, and they are staying out.  Although they are still smaller than their Moms and Dad, they were getting stir crazy.  Who doesn’t want their chickens to have free run?  We left a few of the hens in with them for the better part of the morning, and while the hens were bullies, the chicks started to figure out how to run or fly faster, and in the end they actually started to turn the tables a few times. 

The little ones had an absolute blast!  Running, play fighting, and flying all over!  What was cool for me was to see how the General, our resident Rooster dealt with them.  He ignored them.  Only the hens seemed to have issues.  Boy did we hear about them!  Batty old hens, with nothing nice to say!  It did not detour the little ones from having a good day.  They all went to bed in their perspective places, and seemed content with full bellies and fresh air.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Outdoor Pizza Oven - part 1

The Moose and I have batted around the idea of an outdoor pizza oven for some time now.  Do we try and build the entire thing ourselves? Do we just buy one completed and have it delivered? Do we build part of it on our own, and order in a finished oven top only?

We opted to build part of it on our own, and order in a finished oven top section only.  We've been searching for an outdoor oven for months, and we found that they can be pricey.  We're not looking for fancy schmancy.  We want a functional oven, that doesn't break the bank.  But we also want a working oven for when SHTF and of course for awesome pizza!

We thought we had found the perfect one.  Stopped by a local dealer to check them out, and got to see the product first hand.  It was exactly what we wanted.  Got a quote for around $1500.00.  OK, a little more than we wanted to spend, but still below the cost of those found on EBay in 2-3K range.  We waited a week and a half (yes you read that right) for a quote.  I guess business is so good for them taking care of quoting a customer is not important.  We had to follow up with them twice in the meantime.  Then we got our quote, $3200.00.  Response;  sorry, I quoted you our cost, and you'll need to pay the suggested mfg price of $3200.00.  NOT!  How do companies like this stay in business?!

We thought the idea was off the table at that time.  I don't remember how or where, but I came across a company called Firerock.  With a bit of negotiating, their management team will do cartwheels to make sure you are happy, we'll be ordering our unit for around $1100.00.  Much closer to our price range.  I'll have more details and pictures after the unit delivers, which should be late next week.

In the meantime, we needed to pour a slab to fit the 4' x 4' oven.  We had all the materials we needed, so it was next on our list for the day.  What luck!!!  Our dear friends made the HUGE mistake of calling to see if we were at The Compound.   Fred and Peggy were taking a "break" from working and thought they'd come out for a visit.  It may be the first last and only time they make that mistake, but their help was priceless. 

Fred can fix or build just about anything, and considering the Moose and I have never poured a concrete slab before, he and Peggy couldn't have picked a better weekend to head on out to The Compound.  Fred and Peggy work together like a well oiled machine, each an extension of each other. Neither is afraid of hard work.  It was hard work, but being around friends makes a big difference.

We started buy putting together a 6' x 6' frame, approx 4" thick, laid in some metal wire for extra stability, and got busy mixing concrete.  Around 15 bags.  We could have used 1 more to make it perfect, per Fred, but we're not going for beauty, we're going for functionality.  Besides, we didn't have the time to run to the hardware store to pick up that extra bag before everything else started to set.

We didn't have a concrete mixer, so we mixed it by hand, arms, and backs.  One mistake we made was by trying to mix more than 1 bag at a time.  It didn't cut down on the amount of time, it added to it.  Things went much quicker and smoother when we did just one at a time.

Now, we wait for this to cure/dry and get ready for part 2 - building the oven base.
We ended our night with Fred and Peggy thanking them profusely for their help, feeding them typical Mid-Westerner fair - brats cooked on an open fire.  True friends that God sent our way, just when we needed them.  Part 1 of the new outdoor oven is complete.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What Did The Roar Really Do For Society?

I was born in the late 60’s, during the second wave of the women’s liberation movement.  I do not have first-hand knowledge of their specific “struggle”, but the Moose and I were discussing what’s wrong with the world this morning.  We discussed the degradation of society, and how our country’s moral compass has been methodically chipped away since the 60’s.  I read a book by Rabbi Daniel Lapin; America’s Real War, which follows along those same lines.  Little by little we’ve given up, or looked the other way as movements took a strong arm approach.  On the outside, it seems perfectly fair that woman should earn equal pay and be treated fairly in the workplace.  But, it should be equal pay for equal work.  I’m a woman, and there’s no way on God’s green earth, that I could ever compete with a man physically.  I just can’t keep up.  It’s a fact.  We are not less smart or ambitious.  But we are different.   

One major issue I have about the “libs”, and their need for “I Am Woman” Hear Me Roar, by Helen Reddy; is why do woman continue to make the mistake of overcompensating for the fact that they are in positions of power?  I’m a woman and I can recognize it.  If you are confident in your decisions and ability, puffing up and becoming the emotional nightmare no one wants to deal with is not the way to forward the cause.  We are different.

I grew up on a block, where for most of my life, I was the only girl.  If I wanted to play outside, I had to learn how to get along with the boys; football, baseball and bike racing.  I loved it!  They would never have let me play if I had emotional fits.  I actually liked them better than most of the girls I went to school with and to date, I have better working relationships with men than women.  Hen clucking around the water cooler makes me crazy!  I also had a strong relationship with my dad, who is ex-military.  I married a no nonsense man.   Tell you like they see it.  We are different.

We can debate whether or not the workplace has gotten better for woman or for business, but I believe the “lib” movement actually hurt society in the long run.  Like many political issues; the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  We have single parent homes, because the libs said it was OK to get divorced, and you don’t need a man.  While I don’t advocate abuse in a relationship and this is not meant to condemn anyone, but is meant to provoke thought and comment, how can we/society think it’s OK to consider marriage like a bad pair of shoes, throw away?  What happens to our children, now raised by a woman trying to fill both roles, one of which she cannot replicate?  How can that be good?  What are they being taught?  If it gets too hard, just get up and leave?  We are different.  Children need the influence of both men and women.  I believe this is the strongest argument against the “lib” movement.  Whatever their intentions, did they anticipate this outcome and how do we fix it?

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders takes on Monsanto - Thank you

I'm typically not a fan of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, we don't see "eye to eye" on politics.  But if you advocate for proper labeling for GMO products, and are sickened by all things Monsanto, then please take the time to watch the video link below.   It is a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pickles and Patience is not one of my virtues...

I know patience is a virtue, but it's not one of mine, or the Moose for that matter!  We couldn't wait the recommended 72 hours before testing the refrigerated dill pickles.  The jars just kept calling to us, each time we opened the frig.

I will share the recipe, but will explain how I would change it up, for me.

4lbs of cucumbers, spears or sliced
fresh dill, enough for 3-4 sprigs per jar
jars - I used 6 quart size Kerr jars
pickling spice - 2 tsp per jar I used Ball, Mixed pickling spice, but would make my own
fresh garlic - enough for 1-3 cloves per jar, sliced
6 cups distilled white vinegar
6 cups water
4 Tbs + 4 tsp sea salt
4 Tbs sugar

Cut up the cucumbers, place them in the jar, leaving around 1/2" at the top.  Add in dill, garlic and pickling spice in to each jar.  Pack the jars tight.

Make the brine;  mix vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a non-reactive pot, and bring to a boil.  Mix so the sugar and salt are blended.  Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and cool slightly.

Add the brine to each jar, covering the cucumbers.  Cap/cover the jars and refrigerate. 

You're supposed to wait 72 hours, we waited 60.  They were crunchy, and tangy.  You know when something is so tangy your eye squints all on its own?!  Yum, that's how I like my pickles.  However, I will not use the Ball, Mixed Pickling Spice again.  There is too much of some seed, possibly cloves, and not only can you taste it, you can smell it.  It hasn't stopped us from eating them, but it is the "one" thing I would change.

Ball ingredients;  mustard seed, black peppercorns, dill seed, cardamom, cassa, ginger, coriander, allspice, chili pepper, cloves, bay leaves.

Otherwise, the recipe is a keeper.  Definitely deli style pickles. On a scale of 1-5, they're a 4, but only because of the cloves.

I found the recipe online at

Monday, June 11, 2012

We do more before 8 a.m....

The Moose and I are early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise, kind of folks.  The Moose walked the dog, took out the trash,  cleaned the patio, it rained a dog and a cat last night, 2-1/2 inches and left us with wet rugs, and some dirt, we ate breakfast and drank our morning drink, Diet Mt. Dew and I made pickles!  All before 8 a.m. this morning!

I’ll follow up later with the recipe, these are refrigerated dill pickles,  but I want to test them first, before recommending anything.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dry Chickens, Raised Roof on the Pond and Home-Ec

We spent the night at The Compound Friday.  We had some rain, but did get a chance to mow a section of the yard, and insert a plastic sheet above the Hooligan's roosting area to help keep them dry at night.  They decided some time ago, that sleeping in their coop was out of the question, and we've finally gotten around to eliminating the issue of rain while they sleep.  The Moose unhooked the green cloth overhead, and inserted a sheet of white plastic and the reattached the green cloth and plastic together on the overhead chicken wire.  They were all very curious Friday night, but I'm sure were grateful for the dry feathers come Saturday morning.

We spent Saturday, trying to resolve the sinking of the orange fencing material over the pond.  We think birds were landing on it, and caused the twine to stretch and the material to sag.  If left alone the birds would have the ability to reach through the holes and continue to fish for Tilapia.  So we headed to the hardware store, and bought 3/16" wire cable and stretched it across  the pond, under the fencing, and raised it all back up again.  Hopefully this'll do the trick!  We seem to learn something new each weekend, mostly by trial and error. 

Finished mowing on Saturday, picked another basket full of veggies, and took care of the Hooligan's all 30 of them!  The Class of 2012 are getting restless, but are too small to mix with the older ones. 

I took sewing lessons a few months back, part of my Home-Ec goals for the year,  and decided to try a larger project.  I've made a pillow or two, and this project is my largest to date.  I had some left over fabric, from the curtains we used inside the camper.  We got the curtains at Ikea at $4.95/pair and they were 96" long.  I had to cut them down for the windows in the camper and was left with 6,  48" x 54" pieces of beige fabric.  I pinned them together and sewed the sections together, to create one long, 27' piece, and created an opening on each end to hold a piece of 1/2" PVC pipe.  This pipe is to help keep the fabric weighted down and in place.  Here's what I made;

A shade cover for the deck.  It gets awfully hot under the sun this time of year, and we need a place to go for shade, still enjoy the outdoor view and breeze.  This should do the trick.  I have the fabric held up along each beam with more PVC pipe and hooks. 

Fabric:  free, left over from previous project
PVC - 4 each 10' pieces 1/2" $3.55  total of $14.20
Hooks - $4.46 for a box of 25, needed only 10, or $1.70
Thread - $2.30, used around a 1/4 of it $ .57
Total - $16.47

Knowing you did it yourself;  priceless

The bees are doing well, I took a peak through the window and see more capped brood, which is a very good sign.  We should see a noticeable increase in the population in the next week or so.

We had a good time, hot and sweaty, but good.  Glad to be home, and already starting to think about next weekends project list...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Garden Update and Tilapia Release

Just a quick update on the garden.

The tomato plants are about done.  They are dying back.  I have a decision to make;  leave the green tomatoes to ripen, and risk the raccoons getting them, or pick them green and ripen off the vine at home.  I'd like to make some tomato sauce, but haven't had enough at any one given time thanks to the furry bandits.  My cherry tomato plants, planted later, are just coming in, and boy are they good!

I am getting more cucumbers each visit to the garden.  Between the Moose and I we can not eat them fast enough.  I'm gathering recipes for making dill pickles.  I like my dill pickles a little on the tangy/spicy side.  Any recipes you'd be willing to share?  I will be trying one my Great Aunt Marceille in Wisconsin just gave me, but trust me, I have enough cucumbers that I can make more than one recipe to find my favorite. 

The watermelon, cantaloupe, butternut squash and pumpkins are also doing great.  They just keep expanding out, and it's hard now to walk around the vines without stepping on any. 

Lettuce is done and started to bolt.  Temperatures are just too hot now.   I'm still getting green beans from my run of pole beans.  I pick enough for 2 meals for us, 2 times a week.  I continue to freeze them, as we can't eat enough, fast enough of the veggies we get each week, and I'll look forward to the beans later this fall.

We dropped the new 200 Tilapia into the pond this week.  This time, we received a variety of sizes, some as large as 3-4" in length.  Hopefully, we'll be able to harvest some in 4-6 months from now.  Better us, than the storks and egrets!

At this point, there are no major projects on the list for this weekend.  But there is still a couple more days..  I'm sure we'll come up with something!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

GMO Sugar Beets and What We are Giving Up

Here's a link to an article, about a "pending" approval for genetically modified sugar beets.

Genetically Modified Sugar Beets

This is an ongoing issue many of us read about, blog about, try to work around in our daily lives by planting heirloom seeds, and not buying products made by the manufacturer, of these gmo products.  While it appears farmers are already using the gmo beets with limited regulation, do they really understand what they are giving up?

5 million farmers in Brazil are suing for the right to use seeds from last years production, without paying a special fee or what they are calling a "private tax on production".

Do the beet farmers understand what they are giving up so they can have a larger production?  Have they read the complaint by the millions of farmers before moving forward?  I guess, it's show me the money.. and I'll be happy to look the other way. 

Then there's Bloomberg in NY.  When did he become king?  Do New Yorkers even know what they've given up, when they allowed him to change the term limit rules and run for office again?  Now private citizens can no longer take a smoke break, on their time, anywhere in Manhattan.  Now he wants to limit soda to nothing more than 16 oz drinks.  What's next chocolate consumption, or you have to have blond hair and blue eyes?

When is enough enough?  When do people take control of their own lives, make decisions and live with the consequences?  It's called free will and frankly, I'm tired of politicians,  and the media thinking they know better.  They're the arrogant nut jobs that got us in to this housing debacle, and perpetual recession to begin with. 

When will we stand up?  After we start to glow in the dark, grow extra appendages or when more of our children end up with diseases and learning issues generations before them never faced.  Oh I forgot, our politicians are flooded with lobbying dollars by these companies.  They are paid to look the other way. 

Is your integrity for sale? 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tilapia Protection Honey Bee Larvae and Capped Brood

When we arrived at The Compound Saturday, there were only 2 smaller fish eating stealing birds.  They snuck in under the bottom of what the Moose had put together earlier in the week.  We knew this would likely happen.   Here's what the Moose did by himself while I was home with the foot up.

He used an orange fencing material, ran them east west, stapled them to the wood stakes, and then zip tied each run together.  Then, because the material wanted to sag in the middle, and if you leave it that way the birds would just land on top, and still be able to fish through the holes, he strung rope through in 4 different areas, and pulled it tight using the posts from the garden fence.  We needed it up enough, that the birds could not get access, and we need room to stand underneath so we can fish out the grown Tilapia.  We're also debating on whether or not we'll try some hydroponic gardening.  It's a thought...  We finished getting more material wrapped around the bottom to close off any access the smaller birds would get.  I wonder what they're thinking today!  The new Tilapia have been ordered.

We are also re-rethinking the idea of getting ducks.  Since we don't live on the property, and I'd want them to have access to water without predator attacks, this might be a good solution.  Maybe build a house of sorts, with access on one corner for them to get into the pond at their will.  Have any of you had experience with ducks?  Do you think this might work?  Any issues with ducks and raccoons?  I don't want to protect them from flying predators, and not work out the raccoon issue.  Are raccoons just as viscous to ducks?

The pond covering took the better part of our day, along with caring for the Hooligans.

Then, before we left for the day, I took a peak at the Sopranos.  I'm so excited, I have bee larvae and even some capped brood.  That's the sign I've been waiting for!  I was able to actually see worker bees feeding the larvae, and spotted the Queen when peering in the window, which was awesome! They've also built out 6-1/2 combs, along with little pools of honey and pollen.  Once the honey has cured to just the right consistency, they'll cap it as well.  Busy little bees..

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Retreat Locations

The Moose found this article today, by one of his favorites, Zero Hedge.  If you have the time, take a look at this article.

The Realities of Choosing Your Survival Retreat Location

200 Tilapia

Well, since the local community of storks, and egrets spent time at The Compound's pond buffet line, where it was standing room only and kindly cleaned us out of fish, we are ordering 200 more Tilapia fingerlings.  The Moose created a cover over the pond which should help keep the birds out.  I'll have more details on what he came up with for a solution, later this weekend.