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Date:10/31/2014 4:22:32 AM
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First snow
I always have more to do when the first snow comes. It imparts an urgency to finish up outdoor projects. This year I have some more equipment maintenance to do. I can do that in the unheated barn. At least I am out of the wind and snow. Now, if only the steel tools would not stick to my hands! I am also very unhappy that I lost the race with the snow to put up a 260' long 'fan dipole' antenna for my HAM radio. Winter is a good time to talk on the HAM radio, but I will not be going on a snow covered roof to put up the antenna. All I have is a short wire antenna. I guess I can talk to some locals ayway.

I collected seed to plant next year for field corn, pole beans, tomatoes, garlic, and squash. I have switched to open pollinated varieties of most vegetables and just started seed saving. I bought some dissacants that change from blue to pink as they absorb moisture from the seeds. These are reusable by heating them in the oven or microwave to release moisture and turn blue again for the next use. The seeds are dried for about a week and then put in air tight containers in the fridge or freezer. I am using the fridge because I plan to use the seeds next spring. If you want to save the seeds for 10 years, then the freezer is better. So, this year we incubated our own eggs for chicks for the first time and next spring we will plant about half our garden with seeds we have saved. The goal is to increase seed saving each year.

This was our second year of raising two feeder pigs. The pork is delicious and soon we will make our sausage as we did last year. We alternate two fenced areas of about 1600 sq ft each. One year the pigs are in an area and the next year the garden goes there. We also have three chicken yards interconnected so that we can alternate our sweet corn plot and chicken runs. We usually can manage a winter rye green manure crop in the fall to be turned under in the spring for planting. Along with our compost pile, we handle much of our soil fertility needs. I have no problem with commercial, non organic NPK fertilizer when needed, but the manurer supplies trace elements and humous that a good garden should have.
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