Monday, June 29, 2015


One of the local farmers has planted sunflowers instead of cotton this year. I'm thankful for the nice change in scenery. They are a sweet surprise when we come around the corner on the Farm Road.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Recent Reading

I thought I'd share some of the books that I've been reading. For some reason I've been in a survival mode and have read several books dealing with nuclear war and EMPs (electro-magnetic-pulse).

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
This book was originally published in 1959 but is remarkably relevant today. I think I was supposed to read it in high school but didn't remember much of the storyline. I was surprised to find out that it is set in central Florida, not far from where we used to live. Several nuclear explosions cause massive casualties and total power outages. The small fictional community of Fort Repose pools resources to survive. It had a hopeful ending which I appreciated.

One Second After by William R. Forstchen
Published in 2009, this book has a similar theme but a more modern day setting. It starts out pretty slow and it took me four tries reading chapter one before I got to chapter two. This book is set in a small town near Asheville, North Carolina after some sort of EMP event that causes power outages and general chaos. The book is divided into chapters based on how many hours, days, weeks after the event. The story follows the family of a former military man currently teaching history at the local college. He manages to unite the small community and pool skills and resources for their survival. 

The Rule of 3 by Eric Walters
This book is a newer book published last year and written by a man who was born around the time Alas Babylon was written. I think it is technically a young adult fiction - the main character is a 16 year old boy. The story is set in an unnamed midwest city (it references Chicago and Detroit) following what appears to be an widespread EMP. The mastermind behind their survival is a neighbor who is retired from the CIA. The title comes from the fact that you can survive three minutes without air, three days without water and three weeks without food. I'm currently reading the sequel called  Fight for Power.

Of course they were all fiction, but the main theme with all three books is that in order to survive a widespread disaster, small communities are going to have come together and cooperate. A community needs to establish their own sort of law that is based on justice and fairness. Disobedience is handled swiftly and harshly in order to discourage further lawlessness.  They need to pool their resources like food and fuel, talents of leadership and common sense and skills like medical and military training.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Two Strays

Two stray dogs came up to the house the other day. I'm usually very cautious about strays and watch them awhile from the safety of the house. I also watch to see if they're interested in my chickens. They were pretty and I liked them. I was hoping they would linger long enough so I could feed them or give them water, but they wandered off like they had somewhere else better to go. I didn't even get a chance to go outside, so I took a few photos through the window. Makes me wonder how many other strays might come around when we're not watching. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Piney Woods Lily

The prettiest little flower popped up in the back yard recently. I googled it and I think it's called Piney Woods Lily. Apparently its fairly uncommon, so I feel honored that it chose my back yard.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Roadside Fishing

All the recent rains caused local flooding in places near large bodies of water or rivers. Some of the local fishermen took advantage of what appeared to be good fishing alongside the road where the water had pooled in places.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Curing Garlic

The garlic finally matured and was ready to pull up out of the ground. I planted the bulbs in the raised beds so long ago I can't remember the exact date. I'm thinking it was October sometime. I know, I need to keep better records. Typically garlic is planted in this area several weeks before the first expected frost, and then harvested about nine months later (!) when the green shoots start to yellow and wither, sometime around June. I didn't realize it would take nine months to mature so I wasn't very careful about where I planted them. I'll plan better next time so it doesn't interfere with spring planting.

I had to research a little about what to do with garlic once it is picked. When it comes out of the ground the bulbs are quite soft so they need to be dried, or cured, for a couple of weeks before they can be stored or they will get moldy.

I tied 5-6 stalks together with some garden twine. They smell quite strong so I didn't want them hanging in the house to dry. I decided to hang them inside the chicken coop since it is shaded but also good ventilation for drying. I was also hoping the garlic smell would repel some of the mosquitoes living out there.

After they dry I am going to try braiding the stalks for storage.

I had about 50 garlic stalks of various sizes.

The one of the right has lost the outer layer so won't hold together well.

I used garden twine and tied loops at each end.

I took 5-6 stalks and tied them together by putting one loop end through the other loop.

I had about 10 bunches.

I used the other loop to hang on nails in the chicken coop.

I'll let the bunches hang for about two weeks.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Poor Bird

I have had several mouse traps inside the chicken coop lately because I had seen evidence that mice were trying to get the chicken feed. I didn't intend to catch a bird. I'm not even sure how I did.