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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

December 21 2012 , the world ends !

"You People" are on your own
I've been so busy playing Farmville and keeping up with American Idol  I completely forgot  we have 2 days to live ...Doh    Don't get me wrong I'm totally stoked that Mariah Carey is the new Judge  , but December 21 2012 is the end of the 13th b'ak'tun  !  wow   time flies . Yesterday  I picked up a  Mesoamerican Long Count calendar  at the Dollar store ,   no doubt  its over !   I was on the back porch smashing a few cold ones , pondering how does a person prepare for the end of the world ??  and even if you do survive good luck getting internet or an  iced caramel macchiato !   I can't disclose my secret  plan for survival , but I can  give you a few tips. 
If you find my Dog , please give her a good home . she had a dysfunctional childhood

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Purple Haze, Physical Graffiti, L.A. Woman and David Bowie

 You have to love the names given to Dragon fruit  varieties  .  I have  4  varieties in my side yard;  Vietnamese Jaina, Natural Mystic, Dark Star and Halley's Comet.
The Vietnamese Jaina is the large white fruit. I got  3 cutting's from a   neighbouring farm , The plants flower on the same day as the parent plants . The texture is similar to kiwi fruit with crunchy little seeds
Propagation is easy ; cut on and angle and stick in a pot. you don't even need root hormone . These are the easiest plants to propagate . Even if you just drop it on the ground it will likely  root  !
I always use  a premium potting mix , Tall pot and moist soil . I don't use any  fertilize for about 6 weeks ,  then light Organic 6-6-6
I get best results putting the pot's under the shade of an  Oak Tree
The  first bud's appear  in mid June
The plant produces large beautiful night blooming flowers   
I pick the fruit  after it turns this pale red. There is no benefit to leaving it on the plant longer it will not become any sweeter 
The plant is Cactus like and makes a great place for birds to nest 

Friday, July 6, 2012

weather or not

    This year the weather has been different ; We had one night January 5th very cold, frost and near freeze with selective crop damage but over all it was warm and mild . Spring was about 3 weeks early and our rainy season was early as well, I have never detected a pattern  .     We are seeing Record heat in the South and Northeast , Record Drought is killing Corn crops in 6 States and Wild fire rages in Colorado and we are having an early and active Hurricane season . I have also seen more Tornadoes this summer than ever before, The Tornadoes seem to pop out of storm clouds in the late afternoon then struggle to form , rarely touch down . Some suggest an above average Hurricane season and trouble for South Florida . What does it all mean ?  I dunno 

Thankfully these are not the F 3 or  F 5 Super cell monster  storms seen on the Oklahoma and Kansas plains 

These Tornadoes are called by some "Landspouts". . They generally are smaller and weaker than supercellular tornadoes, though many persist in excess of 15 minutes and some have produced F3 damage. They bear an appearance and generative mechanism highly similar to that of waterspouts.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

container growing

Sunday Mornings at the Farmers Market I love to talk gardening with customers and friends . If you know me , then you know  I'm not a fan of container growing for many reasons.  However Pineapples seem to be the exception to the rule.       For the last 4 years or so  I  have been experimenting  growing pineapples and has learned a few things. One thing I've noticed is that Pineapples do very well in containers; I use large  15-25 gallon pot's  filled with  premium  potting soil, a hand full of Organic 6-6-6 fertilizer and water every day. I've also found slow growing pineapples can some times sunburn so I leave the pots under the shade of a small oak tree.  The fruit harvested from these potted plants can get nearly as big as fruit bought in grocery stores.   Gardening is about results so spend the money on the premium potting soil, I do not recommend bagged "topsoil" or "50/50"



Friday, June 22, 2012

Redland Rambles ( re-post) thanks Marian



Giant pineapples revisited

One year old plants which started from hapas.
Recently, farmer Margie and I were invited over to The Lettuce Farm to pick some pineapples. Really! Farmer Tim Rowan has all kinds of fruit growing during the summer, when it’s too hot for lettuce and cabbage.
Whenever you visit a farm for the first time, the farmer will take you on a tour of all the significant plants and features of his or her place. Tim pointed out Tommy Atkins mango trees loaded with blushing round-shouldered fruit, ribbon-like dragon fruit cactus vines ready to bloom and complete with an abandoned bird’s nest, passion fruit vines thick on a trellis, and quite possibly the area’s largest compost pile running the length of his property. The field where he grows lettuces and cabbages in winter was covered densely with elephant grass as tall as our heads, and home to twittering birds.
Farmer Margie learns the fine art of picking pineapple.
But what drew our attention and curiosity were the large raised beds, loaded with pineapple plants, which ring his modest house. In the west bed, all the plants were two years old, fully grown from green tops cut off pineapples, and they were loaded with fruit. Each plant produces only one fruit, which grows on a stalk at the center of the plant. The fruit were very large, and the ripest ones were peeking out golden through long leaves. In the east bed were plants bearing slightly smaller pineapples, which looked like they would be ready in about a month or so. Those plants were a year old, originally hapas (or slips) that sprouted from the bases of the older plants. Last summer Tim had snapped off hapas and planted them in their own patch. Each mature plant sprouted one or two hapas. Plants grown from hapas bear fruit in one year, but plants grown from tops bear in two.
More hapas potted up. These will be transplanted to a raised bed.
Tim let us pick our own fruit. He pointed out the ripest ones, and told us what to do. Picking a pineapple is fairly simple. Grasp it firmly with both hands, give the fruit a snap to one side and a small twist, and it easily breaks off the stalk. I was once again surprised by how heavy and substantial it was. After picking, Tim aimed a hose at the base of the fruit and washed off a bunch of ants. They are attracted to sugar in the fruit, which start to ripen from the bottom.
Hosing off the ants.
The pineapples we picked were amazingly heavy. Out came the scale to check weight. One was eight and a half pounds and the other was nine. (I haven’t weighed the ones you can get at the store, but they’re about half the size and weight.) Must be the special soil mix and organic fertilizer that Tim feeds his plants! The ripest fruit was ready to eat, and its sweet aroma tantalized us on light breeze, as we chatted on the back patio. Tim’s feisty Chihuahua jumped from his lap onto the table and sniffed at the fruit, which easily dwarfed her. It can truly be said that on that small farm located at the edge of the Everglades, pineapples grow as big as a dog.
Tim’s chihuahua is dwarfed by a giant pineapple.

Monday, June 18, 2012

opportunity for a learning experience

 When my daughter has a bad  day or bad experience I always say to her ; This is an opportunity for a learning  experience  or spiritual growth. Today is my turn, it seems some of the pineapples are getting a bad case of sunburn. The bad sunburn can range from  superficial  to causing the fruit to rot. Solution;   I cut up an old  floating row cower and wrapped them to see if that helps .





Monday, June 11, 2012

vacation tips

Yahtzee ! the outlets are 6 feet apart, and have a hedge for concealment 
If your last vacation was as memorable as a Ben Affleck Movie , you might want to save this post on your favorites.  I've just returned from a truly memorable exciting, affordable vacation adventure !  All you need for this a 100ft. extension cord( and power strip) and 100ft of garden hose, because  most Foreclosed homes don't have  power or water. No hassle check-in  just use a lock pic or an open window.  Plugging into the neighbors power and water is exciting , and  in Jacksonville Beach  they speak American  and fire warning shots
It's rare when I can't talk my way out of a Felony Breaking and Entering charge , so just a reminder, you can't bribe someone with a Visa Card, so take some cash.  and save money eating Ramen  noodles , Mosquito repellent is also effective against bed bugs. I would also recommend sleeping with a head lamp and shoes on 
" OMG that homeless guy is staring at us !"
"Those chick's are totally checking me out"

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hurricane Preparedness guide ?

    Today is the first day of the 2012 Hurricane Season  and   I just returned home from grocery  shopping, the Cashier put a “ Hurricane Preparedness guide” in my bag. I was appalled at their so call tips . We are talking real life Emergency and that’s the best they can do . The only thing I took away from it is that I’m in the wrong business , I should be selling bottled water .  I took it upon my self as a Public Service to bring " You People" up to speed , I just hope I’m not to late .. First of all I survived Hurricane Andrew , and when a tree fell on the house  I didn't reach for a bottled water . So Tip #1 is stock up on Alcohol !  A tree limb through a window can break glass, so  I prefer Vodka in  plastic bottles and twist off caps . I’m going to finish my Preparedness tips with captioned  pictures  ..   be  safe South Florida

In the event of a direct hit from a storm, please go check on my house !  I'll be 1/2 way to Nebraska

First thing don't Panic !  you might  spill your beverage

Time to  get in line at Home Depot for plywood , by the time you get home the storm will be over .

Stock up on Medication , It could be 3 days before FEMA shows up to save your ass, and you could run out of Prozac, ,Xanax  and Vagisil

Make sure you have supplies for at least 3 days .  A flashlight  will help you look for you Homeowners Insurance Policy , the  pages of worthless paper can be used for toilet paper  after all the Insurance  Companies declare Bankruptcy

  In case of post storm looting,  I have a ferocious dog to protect my life and property

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

crossing


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
-- Mark Twain




SS Sapona

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_19
We  had no control of the boat , John and I quickly dropped anchor after I cut the engine .  We had drifted next to the reef but didn't hit it , The design of the Trimaran had saved us again . The waves that night  were a light chop, wind light and variable  our dumb luck had saved us again,  we had a good laugh and proceeded to get the spare tiller out of the hatch. The guy we had bought the boat from had planned to do the very same thing ;(Sail the Bahamas)  but a Wedding ring  cut of his circulation, Dam ring is more dangerous than a Hammerhead ,   thanks Robert for the spare tiller !   Luckily we had a full moon and a candle  so I could work on the tiller.                                                                 With the sound of the  waves crashing on the reef  20ft away  we made repairs , the cable was rigged to hold the old tiller strait and the back-up tiller was dropped in place .   After  determining our position we realized that we had sailed 70 miles over the "Banks"  and  landed about a mile from Cat Cay using only a  compass the size of a baseball  . We then came up with the plan , motor  around the reef and drop anchor near the shore of South Cat Cay.  ,also our plans had changed for safety reasons    instead of leaving at first light we would  carefully go over the boat all day, even scrape barnacles  and make sure it was seaworthy and good/safe condition for the Crossing.    Crossing  is short for crossing the Gulf Stream, usually the most dangerous and difficult  part of a Bahamas cruise . When ever sailors meet up in Bahamian ports they question each other about  it, from  where did you depart ?  where did you land ?  how many hours ?  sea condition  and so on , the 5-7 knot South to North drift of the Gulf  Steam is your biggest variable                   We slept  late , the sun was already up  I started checking the  boat,  John and Mary went ashore to explore , beach comb and look for cigarette butts,  After a while I noticed them quickly returning to the boat , when they got aboard  , they explained   that we had stumbled on to drug runners !    With out pointing they showed me where to look, I could see a guy  in the tree line , he was standing next to what looked like a car sized cache under a tarpaulin , the guy was pacing back and forth  nervously, this would be a good time to (act normal)  and slowly pull up anchor and leave the area !   We would have to go a little more North than  preferred , the idea was hit Florida as far south as possible , I did not know of any  safe channels  North of Government Cut  ( where the Cruise ships leave) If we missed Government Cut  we might end up in Ft. Lauderdale.                                                               We motored up to Gun Cay   and anchored  200 yds from  the  SS Sapona  (a cement ship that wrecked in a 1926  Hurricane , also of  the famous Flt 19 of  Bermuda Triangle lore)   .       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Sapona    Oh I remember   Flt 19 the planes that made a practice bombing run on the SS Sapona  then headed for Florida and were never seen again   , how reassuring !  No joy on the boat that night ;out of cigarettes, vodka and  with drug runners in the area and   deciding to not clear customs , dinner that night was Spam white rice and warm water.  Sleep was impossible , I would sit on deck in the full moon and stare at the ghostly image of the shipwreck and wondered if our luck would hold 24 more hours .            The next morning it was all business with very little conversation  we were underway before sun up, (all wearing life preservers)  the heading was Southwest as long as possible , by late morning the deep 6-8 ft.  swells forced us on a more Western tracking . If the sea condition stayed as is  we would hit Florida late afternoon but where ? We  rode the deep swells all day  safely  with out incident and no hint of trouble in the sky,  late in the day conversation is always  "shouldn't we be seeing land ?" That's the most anxious time of the trip,  and the first sight of land is a big relief,  and every one's spirits are lifted , the next topic is speculating on landmarks as the land slowly develops and takes shape. We spotted land late in the day everyone started to relax and joke about food.                                                    The best case scenario was  find Key Biscayne and take  the channel near " Stilts-ville" . What appeared to be Key Biscayne light house was quickly to our South, the Gulf stream was hot that day likely a 7 knot Northerly flow ,and the swells did not allow   coarse correction. However an hour later we were a mile off Government Cut , the seas allowed us a head strait for it  at full speed we motored towards the Cut ,  no choice but to  burn precious fuel,  just when it seemed we might make it..... a Cruise Ship  came out of the Cut forcing us North.. I only knew of Haulover inlet and a fixed bridge over the inlet , would it permit  a sailboat  mast ?  we had no choice but to go and see.  The entrance to Haulover  inlet is very rough , we quickly determined  the fixed bridge  would not allow us, and made a turn in high sea swells  , a real  low point ,   no choice but motor  back to Government Cut.  It was now dark off the coast of Miami Beach motoring  full throttle  with no running lights in heavy boat traffic  we prayed a power boat would not slam into us.    Low on gas we would make Government Cut or die trying  ,  full speed ahead !  when we rounded the jetty to the "Cut" the  water was like  glass     the city lights shown brightly,    We made it !  Slowly motoring  South towards Coconut Grove,  we looked up at the condominiums and talked how great it would be to have "Creature Comforts".. TV, refrigeration, hot showers , cold beer and pizza, Well some day maybe. We were called many derogatory things in those days  "The boat people" is one of the few I can print, we had a different lifestyle,   is different wrong ?    for many months before and after today,  we had  taken a road less traveled ................  The End               I have to get back to farming now, maybe next summer I'll bore ya with some more old stories