Pasture Brix

July 28, 2010

The threshold of 12° Bx marks the point when insects stop eating the plants. The theory goes that if an aphid or caterpillar eats sap sweeter than that, it ferments into alcohol and kills the bug.

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Maureen the cow has joined the milking routine

July 21, 2010

We have a once-a-day milking routine at our place. The kid goats and the now the calf get penned up at night and are given back to their moms after milking is finished in the morning. The little bit of milk production we lose is made up for with the health of the young animals, and the easier chore routine.

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The thatching ant, a beneficial insect

July 15, 2010
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It turns out that thatching ants don’t like to live in houses after all. They build their own, so they have no reason to move into mine. What I found was some references about how they “farm” aphids to collect the honeydew as food.

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Finding meaningful work

July 15, 2010

Everyone was silent as I trimmed the twigs, and raised the box up to the cluster of honey bees. A quick shake of the branch made them all fall neatly in. It couldn’t have been a better performance! I left the box on the ladder for any flying bees to enter, and returned to the applauding croud. The camp director later told me she had never had so many boys silent for that long.

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Local family helps mulch our potatoes

July 8, 2010
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Kathy has a work-study program with selected music studio students who are a great help with our farm & garden work. They get a discount on lesson tuition, and we get some extra help around the farm. I think its a great deal for both people.

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In Praise of Plantain

July 6, 2010

I’ve liked plantain for quite a while. The animals eat it, it grows a deep root into poor soil, stops bee stings from hurting, and is a good wormer to help fight off parasites.

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Holistic Sustainable Agriculture from the Soil Up

July 3, 2010

There were 27 people who came out and joined us for Dr Dettloff’s presentation Saturday. I will type up the notes about local resources which we compiled throughout the day, and distribute them to those who joined us.

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A Difficult Swarm

July 1, 2010

I got the swarm call just as I was finishing up for the day. There was a swarm of bees hanging in a tree over Front St. in downtown Issaquah. I suspected it might be a little tricky when Monica, who works at the art gallery next to the tree told me: “Oh yeah, you’ll need a ladder.”

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