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2012 In Reveiw

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This blog got about 4,600 views in 2012. Target for 2013 is to exceed 15,000 views – Lofty goal but I am going to broaden my exposure both with my reader’s help and by linking to others of similar outlooks.

In 2012, there were 90 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 154 posts. There were 379 pictures uploaded. That’s about a picture per day.

The busiest day of the year was August 7th with 76 views. The most popular post that day was Hands in the Garden – And Fishing. I will spend a little more time digging into the climate change issues, educating myself and sharing with others. Editorial remark – climate change is real, that shouldn’t surprise anyone, but we should recognize that the climate has always been changing and always will. I will continue to look into the past to help predict the future.

Coaching I have received from my better half and personal commitments for my 2013 Backyard Farm;

  • Grow what we will consume – i.e., things that the family finds yummy.
  • Do a better job of sharing the excess production – I took several large bags of Poblano/Ancho peppers down to the local farmers market in exchange for a couple of nice tomatoes – I’ll do a little more of this.
  • Log and or journal what is planted where, plant type, days to maturity, seed and/or plant source, production notes, quality feedback, soil quality notes and additions and maybe more……..or maybe zero in a few important ones from the previous list. That sounds a bit ambitious!
  • Continue some of my experiments, i.e., strawberry towers, potato barrels, sweet potato growing, canning, cooking and eating!
  • Influence others to grow for themselves and consider buying from local sources!
  • Have lots of fun doing what I do in the garden and to help others smile a bit!
  • Gather more leaves and less moss!
  • Explore keeping a beehive…..
  • Think about a grand plan for 2014!!!!!!
Look close...an out of focus  lemon blossom is forming as of New Years Eve 2012 - Northern Hemisphere.

Look close…an out of focus lemon blossom is forming as of New Years Eve 2012 – Northern Hemisphere.

That little purple dot in the center is the first true blossom forming. I saw quite a number of very small buds that will become blossoms….should I treat them like the strawberries and pinch them off or ???????? It is sure early for citrus blossoms!  I still have some lemons to pick. I made lemon curd yesterday and it is so good! Claire, when you read this I want you to know I was thinking about you with the partially filled jar. I heard your advice in my good ear….”just dip the spoon and enjoy!” So, I did and I did….great advice! Thanks

Happy New Year to All Y’all!

TTFN

Bishop

 

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Is It Global Warming?

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I really do thinks it is. What the media and those that can profit by the hysteria, i.e. the governments of the world, don’t want you to know is that we are exiting a brief period of cooler climate, very conducive to the development and flourishment ( is that a word?) to “our species”!

ICE HOUSE or HOT HOUSE?

During the last 2 billion years the Earth’s climate has alternated between a frigid “Ice House”, like today’s world, and a steaming “Hot House”, like the world of the dinosaurs.

This chart shows how global climate has changed through time.

Ice House Or Hot House? I am a geologist and subscribe to the idea that the past portends the future.

Ice House Or Hot House? I am a geologist and subscribe to the idea that the past portends the future.

http://www.scotese.com/climate.htm

My garden is beginning to see the subtle chaanges…The eight years that I have been cultivating the current plot is not even a blip on the time scale above. The curve above has been smoothed to show the overall trend.  See one of my earlier global warming posts to see the variations.

https://bishopsbackyardfarm.com/2012/09/04/global-warming-yes-it-is-but/

So here is my current observation – my asparagus has been confused by the lack of a winter and as the picture below shows, so are my strawberries. It is December gall durnit! they are supposed to be quietly building root structure and not fruiting!

Just a representative sample of what I plucked yesterday...There may be more hiding!

Just a representative sample of what I plucked yesterday…There may be more hiding!

I decided to let this little guy continue bucking the winter . Let's see if he ripens up!

I decided to let this little guy continue bucking the winter . Let’s see if he ripens up!

An asparagus stalk that hasn't got the message! It is winter - sleep!

An asparagus stalk that hasn’t got the message! It is winter – sleep! It is December!

A beautiful glossy green Poblano Pepper on December 26th!

A beautiful glossy green Poblano Pepper on December 26th! Enjoyed a few yesterday in my fried potatoes!  Yum!

We, they human race needs to plan for the future… I think I will buy land quite a bit further north…the climate chaange may drive farmers that direction, eh…..need to learn to speak Canadian….My Australian friends may need to migrate a little further south, bloody well enjoy it mate!

TTFN

Bishop

Tomatoes – Goodbye, Farewell, Adieu – At Least Until Spring

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I finally called it quits with my tomatoes yesterday, December 25th. You’d think I lived in Australia with how the tomato plants have done this year. I actually have some volunteer seedlings that are about 4-5 inches tall that have not succumbed to the little dab of cooler Houston temperatures.

My Juliett variety was loaded with green tomatoes, a few beginning to show signs of changing color as well as some that had ripened naturally. I brought them all in to the house and will attempt to ripen the green ones. I used to work at a produce warehouse in my student days. The trucks would come in and deliver boxes of tomatoes called breakers – the tint of pink color was just beginning to break. We would stack the boxes 5 or 6 high with room for air to circulate around them and them shut the room up tight and introduce ethylene gas to speed the ripening! A few days later the tomatoes are red but I wouldn’t call them ripe! That is why the store-bought tomatoes are so firm…..they haven’t been allowed to really ripen!

The tomatoes rescued and brought in on Christmas Day. Hope to ripen the green ones

The tomatoes rescued and brought in on Christmas Day. Hope to ripen the green ones

I decided to try to ripen the green ones here at home. I don’t have an ethylene gas ripening room so it is off to plan B! Two good natural sources of ethylene gas are ripe bananas and apples. No bananas on hand but I had some apples. An internet search shows using a container, a banana and a few green tomatoes to ripen. I used brown paper sacks, apples and the green tomatoes…..I will publish an update on the process in a week or so.

The plants are all pulled up and disposed of….I try to keep the tomato plants out of the compost heap but may try running them through my shredder and just live with any of the volunteer plants….My best cherry tomato plant this past year was one of those volunteers that did very well.

Let’s see, today is the 26th of December and I hope to have my 2013 tomato transplants in the ground before March 1st!

My daughter wanted my famous fried potatoes this morning so I included Poblano peppers that I stepped out and picked while the potatoes were cooking…..Yum!

TTFN

Bishop

Dancing Flames

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It is almost cold enough to enjoy a fire but it is December and I just had to fire up the outdoor Chiminea. It might have been in the high 50’s so I was still in shorts, sandals and a t-shirt.  I had some chicken on the grill and my son’s dog Sierra working her nose into my hand begging for a scratch and a pat on the head. There is something so relaxing and mesmerizing in the flames dancing across the coals in a fire. I just love the patterns, the swirls and the pleasant smell of wood smoke. Building and maintaining a fire is my specialty. I know just how to stack the wood to maximize airflow and keep the fire burning without billowing smoke out of the chimney stack. The only thing that would make it better is for the air to crisp up and beg for a jacket, long pants and some gloves. My boys went duck hunting a few days ago and had to shed the sleeves while putting out the decoys. We need some cold weather!!!!

The Chiminea in the backyard.

The Chiminea in the backyard.

Looking into the middle of the fire.

Looking into the middle of the fire.

The longer you sit the more the fire draws you into the swirling and dancing flames, Photos can never quite capture the glow of the embers.....I love the warmth radiating out of the mouth.

The longer you sit the more the fire draws you into the swirling and dancing flames, Photos can never quite capture the glow of the embers…..I love the warmth radiating out of the mouth.

Somewhere on the horizon is some winter chill! I will admit that my tomatoes bit the dust with the freeze just before my return from California late last week. Even the Poblano pepper plant is showing some leaf burn. The strawberries have set a ton of blossoms that I need to snap off so they can have a better spring. Christmas Eve is tomorrow and I will putter a bit in my garden, do a little clean-up in John’s and enjoy some homemade Christmas tamales!

Merry Christmas to all y’all.

TTFN

Bishop

 

 

 

Murray Family Farm

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A post composed on my iPhone at 39,000 feet. What is that in meters, eh? 12,000 meters or so?

I spent another week in California working and catching a couple of short visits with family. This is such a busy time for everyone. Kids home from school, shopping, wrapping gifts, readying the house with Christmas decorations and of course baking or cooking the traditional goodies.

In my home town Christmas and fresh citrus fruits happen at the same time. My dad and grandfather always had citrus trees, Navel oranges and grapefruit. My mother in law has oranges, lemons, grapefruit and a fuyu persimmon(not a citrus fruit. It it ripens around the same time). As a child I always remembered finding an orange and nuts in my Christmas stocking.

My travel mate on this trip is a Canadian. The Canadians I work with always seem to be fascinated by the produce grown in the San Joaquin Valley, my home area. One of my Canadian buddies was amazed the first time he saw an orange on a tree in the courtyard where we were working. He even asked if it was real! I picked for him and his eyes got big.

He proceeded to pick a few more and immediately peeled and ate one. The timing was perfect. The orange was at its peak of sweetness and flavor! His eyes lit up like a little kid on Christmas morning! I busted out a big smile as I heard him call his wife. Picture this, she was home in Alberta with several feet of snow with many minus degrees outside. He told her about the picking of the orange and the amazing flavor of the oranges he had just picked. I am not sure his wife was able to see the event through his eyes.

My workmate on this trip had done his homework on the local offerings. In fact, on a previous trip he found a family farm store located east of Bakersfield at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills, Murray Family Farms. So off we went one evening after we had finished out work for the day. We arrived in the dark, 20 minutes before closing time. We had the store to ourselves. Most of the offerings came off of the local farm. There were also offerings from regional growers. The citrus and persimmons were grown right there. Pat, my travel mate grabbed a number of items to bring back to his family in Calgary, Alberta.

I shots a few photos with my first generation iPhone inside the store. Quality is ok, but the new iPhones are so much better. The oddest citrus fruit offered had to be the Buddha’s hand fruit!! Maybe Mrs. Claus will surprise me with an upgrade!!
TTFN
Bishop

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The Buddha’s Hand Fruit is amazing. The scent is very citrusy!

Fuyu Persimmons. Amazing flavor

Fuyu Persimmons. Amazing flavor

 

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Frost on the Pumpkin

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This morning was one of those mornings…..just a little of the frosty white crystals on the edges of the leaves on the ground and the blades of grass.  I wonder how many people actually slowed down enough in their hurry to even notice. I was a little slow getting out of bed this morning, the sun still had not popped over the horizon but the early morning glow was starting to wipe away the darkness of night.

Rather than ride my bicycle down for coffee this morning I chose to fire up the car and drive. The energy flowing out of my neighborhood was crazy! huge batches of cars seemingly bound together all rushing down the road. I wonder how many of the drivers even noticed how nice this morning really was? The frost, the golden glow in the sky, the leaves that have finally turned color and the crisp bite of the air as you inhale. There are times when I think most of my community has lost touch with the quiet, with the beautiful gift that lies all around us every day.  It is far too easy to get caught up in the race that seems to have no end if I am not careful. The shiny new BMW driven by someone in a much bigger hurry than I am is anxiously trying to find a gap around me. The car whips around me only to catch the red light and there we sit side by side. The light changes and the exhaust sends out a huge billowing cloud of steam and off to the races again….but not for me. I ease on down the road seeing a little more than those poor souls. The bridge across the river near my house is an incredible vantage for sunrises, water, clouds and trees all lend themselves to making my morning so much nicer!

The December sun coming up over the water.

The December sun coming up over the water.

The trees along the lake back-lit by a wonderful early morning sun.

The trees along the lake back-lit by a wonderful early morning sun.

One of the winter pelicans in the early morning  that grace our lake. Wish I had caught it with crisper focus!

One of the winter pelicans in the early morning that grace our lake. Wish I had caught it with crisper focus!

Thanks for slowing down, stopping by and sharing the morning with me.

TTFN

Bishop

 

 

Tomatoes – Hasta Luego en Espanol und Bis Spater auf Deustch

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The freeze or near freeze last night put the hurt on two of the 4 remaining tomato plants.  The Juliett plants showed significant freeze burn on the extremities and my potted patio plants have begun to droop. Some of the droop is due to the large number of tomatoes ripening and trying to ripen.  I picked quite a few today and will get the remaining in tomorrow. I saved some so my little buddy Caleb two doors down can pick some. During his last visit to the garden I had to do some coaching concerning what was ready and what needed to wait….poor little guy, there wasn’t much that he could pull! Tomorrow he can pick large and small tomatoes, Poblano peppers, Meyer lemons, turnips, carrots, radishes and some leaf lettuce. If his mother approves I hope to capture his joy and smile in some pictures to include in the near future.

A large mixing bowl with at least double that remaining. They may have to sit in the widow sill to finish ripening.

A large mixing bowl with at least double that remaining. They may have to sit in the widow sill to finish ripening.

A closer look at the tomatoes and a few radishes.

A closer look at the tomatoes and a few radishes.

December 11th, 2012……I will have to wait about 90 days before I can put my transplants out for 2013. With a little bit of shelter I might be able to get these tomato plants to over-winter, hmmmmmm, another potential experiment !

TTFN

Bishop

 

 

 

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