Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

semi-auto mousetrap, Gen III

In response to what I have experienced as a chicken rancher, I just built my third semi-auto mousetrap. The first one had to be inside a chicken coop that had baby chicks along with adult chickens and roosters. I had to study up to figure out a way to eliminate a major community of mice who were eating chicken feed, drinking their water and, most importantly depositing mouse poop all over everything. The odds on their creating an unhealthy environment were very high. While the essence of this device came from other people, I adapted, adjust and re-invented it my own way. . . . . . . . One of the features I did not like from my […]

report from the mushrooms

I believe it is harvest time. I am not sure what I will do with them, but Here goes nuthin…

growing my own mushrooms

Through Darby Adult Education, I took a class on growing Oyster mushrooms. Chase covered A LOT about mushrooms, what they are, how they grow and more. The part we think of as mushrooms is a mere portion of the organism’s reproductive system. For reference, however, it is conveniently called “the fruit”, and the facility for encouraging its production, the fruiting chamber. There is much into the process before it is ready for the fruiting chamber. Six weeks of class got us to this stage. The first picture has a jar that was infected, ruined somewhere early in the processes. Chase suggested finding a suitable environment to plant it in, hoping the natural world would enable its recovery. The next […]

asparagus

One might assume I am a pessimist expecting TEOTWAWKI too soon to do any long-term projects. That one would be wrong. While I continue my drive to be prepared for Bilderberg-engineered disasters, I also recognize their schemes continue to be frustrated by events beyond their control. So I prune fruit trees, plant blueberries and build an asparagus bed as if I might get to enjoy the fruits of that labor two or more years hence. Yesterday it was blueberries. Today asparagus. On the north side of our year-round creek I put four roots each in their own discrete beds. This is much like their natural habitat. I’m thinking they may like it a lot … and reward me by populating […]

machete

I would guess I have had a favorite machete for over 30 years. Since our move that began in August I do not think I have seen it – Not lost, but not found yet either. However, I needed my machete sooner rather than whenever. Searching the Internet uncovers many choices, a large number of which do not understand the tool … more charitably, their customers have something else in mind. A machete is a brush hacking instrument. It may serve other roles, but first, foremost, primarily, by design, and by function it must be a good brush hacking instrument. Weight, balance, blade length, handle, edge and all factors must hold up to whacking branches, canes, saplings and such for […]

Easter Egg Chicken Ranch improvements

The bad news: A predator took out our good rooster leaving us with two lonely hens putting out a fifth of our regular egg consumption (Missy loves to include lots of eggs in our diet … fresh are particularly welcome). Though I don’t remember ever enjoying the crowing of our rooster, we surprisingly missed it right away. I patched a hole in the fence that had a trail of now deceased rooster feathers, reviewed the heck out of our game camera, but still do not know who or what took him out. I was amazed to run across an advertisement listing 9-month-old chickens, at the very beginning of their egg productive phase for only six dollars each. The going rate […]

growing garden with snow covered ground

It is a joy to putter in the garden, looking out its windows at snow covered ground. Thanks to significant time, effort and expenditure, year-round gardening is now possible in my corner of Montana. While our picnic table looks a bit shy of inviting, my spinach crop is stellar. In honor of the March 2nd full moon, and thanking those seeds that germinated in the last two plantings this year, I planted some carrots and cabbage seeds today. I also added a couple more lights to extend and brighten the days for my babies. You can, by the way, blow up these little thumbnail photos to see what I am sharing here. The aluminized thin insulation panel was an economical […]

greenhouse sprouting

My January 1st plantings have sprouted, with few exceptions. Somewhat generous for some of them should have waited for 55-60 degree temperatures, but I gave them a chance to stretch the envelope. Today I got lights hung above the sprouts. Many have been complaining there was not enough coming through the windows on these short days. Only 10 days until the next full moon. I wonder what I will plant then. A couple weeks after that I will need to add more lights. By then I will have picked a favorite or two from the light-bar sampler I installed today. […]