Of Peduncles and Pannicles

The date is May the 26th and the soil temperature has finally gotten above 60 degrees F. I have been waiting to get these seeds in the ground so I can get on with the grand experiment.

First to find a place to plant them, getting water to them could be a problem, but “they say” these plants don’t need irrigation. Well, maybe not if you live where it rains, at all, during any part of the year. However here on the Tyhee flats if it aint irrigated, it don’t grow. I also read that this plant can be grown in “marginal” soil. Check!

I decided to further experiment by planting each variety in a different spot, which is recommended if you don’t want cross pollination. And planting each in a different orientation. so I planted the black amber variety in rows north to south. This plot I also did a bit of soil prep with compost and a harrow. The rows I furrowed with a hoe and dropped the seeds by hand and stepped them in. I then tried using an Earthway seed planter with some beet seeds to try and calibrate for the other variety. It did not like the coarse texture of the compost augmented soil.

seedbed for black amber sorghum

Next was the Cane Sugar variety. I used the Earthway seed planter set to 3/4 inch depth and using the plate intended for beet seeds. I did not plant these the recommended number of feet apart so cross pollination will likely occur. This bed I oriented east to west and having about twice the number of seeds as the black amber I decided to plant 4 rows after I ran all of the beet seeds out of the planter. I did not harrow or compost the soil which left it as “marginal” as possible.

seedbed for Cane Sugar sorghum

What Happens next will astound you! (totally not click bait)

For the next 10 days I checked everyday to see if there was ANY sign that they would grow, then on the 5th of June… There they were! Not only did the sorghum sprout, but the beet seeds which were packaged for use in 2015 were coming up too! The beets have been delicious by the way, I only used them to try and calibrate the planter, but that they grew is still boggling my brain.

New sorghum sprouts, are they really there? So small

Fast forward a couple of months (almost) I have a few observations, but first the pictures…

Black Amber Monday Jul 26
Cane Sugar Monday Jul 26
Today July 28 2021 first seed head

I know that there is still a ways to go until I can harvest either the seed or the cane or the leaves. The seeds will be for next years crop and to see if this is a sustainable feed for the chickens and ducks.

The leaves of course will be fodder for the goats. The cane if I can figure out how to press it without a press will be processed for syrup and the spent cane for goat fodder as well. We still have to get there though and the weather this year is not cooperating. We have not had a significant rain for about 2 months, so I have to constantly irrigate this and the hay fields. The variety that was composted is doing so much better, both need more water than they are getting.

When I planted, the seed plate I used was way off and through a bit more research I think I have a better one. For the Cane Sugar variety nearly all of the seed was “dumped” in the first half of the first row. I did manage to move a few of the canes, but growing in unimproved soil has not given them a very good start. I’m not sure I want to thin them as much as I think they need, I hate killing plants that are growing even if it will help the remaining ones.

Well, this seems to be quite long and I think I will end this article here. I will try to keep this updated

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The old server is dead, Long Live the New Server!

Just a quick note : The weather page is back up and running !

There is still  no wind info since that particular component of the weather station is broken, but the rest of it is reporting. The page has a slightly different format, but you should be able to navigate it with no problem.

 

ENJOY!

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General update

Well, it has been about 5 and 1/2 years since I have done anything with this site.

let me sum up…

2015-2016

  • diagnosis -Myasthenia gravis not good, got worse, surgery “fixed” it.
  • While the insurance is good, why not fix the shoulder too?
  • worst winter in a decade, shoulder in a sling, good thing we have a new tractor.

2017

  • Daughter married
  • grandson born
  • lots of new chickens, ducks, and goats

for the rest of the time I just try to get back to normal.

Somewhere in there we got rid of two bucks, right now Phoebe’s kid Apollo is the buck for the near future.

this spring (2021) I sold off 6 does and their kids, lost Abby and Skeeter and I am struggling to keep ducks and chickens laying in the high temps and drought.

Next month I expect 12 new ducks, they have been on order since may.

Also this year I have spent  a lot of time just fixing the irrigation so I can use it. Nearly six weeks of digging and clearing pipe, it works for now as well as it ever has, but if I want to improve it that would be EXPENSIVE!

well, not real detailed, but …. I’m back. I will try not to get lost again.

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Things as they are now

So, let me start at the beginning. If you have been following the weather page here, you may have noticed  some odd readings in the wind direction graphic. For a couple of months now the wind apparently only comes out of the south.

I am running an Ambient Weather WH1080  station that my children bought me for my birthday 5 years ago. Over the past five years various parts of the outdoor instrument cluster have failed and now it was time for the wind direction indicator to seize up and it just happened to do so while pointing south. I need to order a replacement unit, but in the meantime……

I also run Ubuntu Linux on the laptop that reads the weather station console data and then pushes it up to this website. I was doing just fine running  Ubuntu 12.something long term support until the last update when my web browser of choice “informed” me that there would be no further updates to the chrome browser as this version of Ubuntu Linux is no longer supported. Boogers!

I thought that I would be smart to avoid cascading application failures by upgrading to the latest Long Term Support version (Ubuntu 14.04 trusty). In doing so I broke the weather station software. Well, that’s not quite accurate, the linux upgrade does not touch third party software. I run quite a bit of that, and the weather station software is one of those. the only problem is that I was running the wview software which has not been updated for  Ubuntu 14.04.    Boogers!!

Also during the upgrade the Apache webserver I have been running locally (on my computer) was updated and re-configured. That means it no longer can “find” the weather web page data.  Double boogers!!!

At this point I have found and installed a different weather software and have it running on my laptop. Fortunately it recognizes my weather station hardware and it is accurately  reporting what the console shows me. I still need to re-configure the web server, tweak the layout of the web page, and set up the FTP  session to  update that information on this site.

NOW…. to all you young punks that will say ” Oh, I could have that done in an hour or two.” It has been several years since I was employed as an IT worker and I think I am doing well to remember any of this at all!

In other happenings…

I did get last years egg and milk production totals figured. I don’t have them in front of me right now, but the quick figures are as follows:

chickens – somewhere abouts 1800 eggs
ducks – somewhere abouts 2100 eggs
Goats – somewhere abouts 300 gallons of milk

On a more personal report, I had a nuclear stress test last year, recommended due to my brothers death and my older sisters heart attack. I was cleared for normal life activities and exercise. then about the first of December I started having an odd double vision that is still bothering me today. I have been to 2 eye doctors and back to my doctor and they all say the same thing, it can resolve itself.

I am waiting for a change to my glasses that will help in the short term, but it seems to be taking forever to get that in place. In the meantime, closing one eye or wearing an eyepatch helps.

Well, that is all for now. I will try to have the new weather page up by the end of the week. I will also try to do at least a weekly post here. Try being the word.

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It has been a challenging year

So let me begin with a summary:
At the first of the year I had 18 chickens (2 roosters, 16 hens), 22 ducks (not sure how many drakes…maybe 9 or so) and 10 does, 1 buck (Hank Jr.) and 2 wethers (Fathead and Rusty). Continue reading

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Only a day late for 2014

I know, I know! Its 1/1/15 and I was going to post last night, but got sidetracked with the wild and crazy NYE celebration here at StoneFace Farm! Continue reading

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the almost final post of 2014

I have been both very busy and very distracted for the past month. though it does not seem as though a month has past, I cannot deny what  the calendar is telling me. Time to close out the year, tally the up the good, the bad, and the egg-ly. So, here we go Continue reading

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Week of 11/16/2014 thru 11/22/2014

Having completed the new buck pen with shelter and all the next wind that came along reminded me that I still needed to secure the roof of said shelter. Rascal and FatHead seem to remember that they are friends, but the new buck has developed the scours and I think it is related to the change in his feed, but I’m not sure how to heal him.

I am trying to be patient, let the last thing I tried have a chance to work, but it is difficult to watch as he mopes around the pen and poops water. I finally found an electrolyte that he seems to like. Hopefully that will help keep him from dehydrating.

If he is not better by the end of the day tomorrow I will try probiotics to get his rumen functioning again.

I was finally able to start and move both the rototiller and the lawn mower into the shop on Saturday the weather was JUST warm enough to spin the starter. Of course I had to charge the mower battery after leaving the key on for a week, but the equipment is under cover at last.

Egg count for the week of 11/16/2014 thru 11/22/2014:

  • Collected – chickens 45, ducks 12
  • Sold – chickens 6 dozen
  • Cartons filled – chickens 4, ducks 1

And that should bring everything up to date until next week.

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week of 11/09/2014 thru 11/15/2014

Stayed home to start digging post holes for the new buck pen (for Rascal). Actually had to straighten some existing posts that were solid but leaning. The ground in this spot is about 3 inches of good dirt followed by a foot of clay hardpan then gravel and rock. even with the powered auger, getting through the clay took some hand digging with the pry bar. once we were through that layer the rocks were too large for the auger to bring up and we had to dig those by hand as well.

We did get most of the posts in the ground, but the delivery of the new buck goat interrupted that project and I had to move this years babies and put the new boy in with next years mamas.  I’ll post a picture when I figure out where I downloaded it.

Monday Adam came out to help dig the rest of the posts and then he and Angela built the corner braces. the weather turned bitter cold, I finally got the water buckets plugged in and turned off the water to the far hydrant. We stretched fence in the rain and snow and sub zero cold. Once the fence was finished I re-built a gate that I liberated from the old pasture fence and once that was done, Rascal came off the tie out, and FatHead moved in with him to give the new buck some room to woo the ladies.

Egg count for the week of 11/09/2014 thru 11/15/2014:

  • Collected – chickens 46, ducks 25
  • Sold – 0
  • Cartons filled – chickens 2, ducks 1
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Week of 11/02/2014 thru 11/08/2014

We took all of the cabbage to church and gave it away. Came back home with only 4 heads, not sure what we took in to start with. The small ones and the leaves/trimmings went to the goats for a treat.

Continued moving compost, had the pile completely moved by Saturday. Started working on a rudimentary shelter for Rascal. The weather is still nice enough, but threatening to turn wintery.

Egg count for the week of  11/02/2014 thru 11/08/2014:

  • Collected – chickens 45, ducks 28
  • Sold – chickens 3 dozen, ducks 7 dozen
  • Cartons filled – chickens 4, ducks 2
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