Monday, July 21, 2008

Garden Update

Not a big update (had Megan's wedding this weekend, plus worked on truck on Sunday).

Bought a fishing scale to get a decent estimate of harvest.

Picked 20# from the garden on Sunday. YTD: 25#.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Garden Update

Picked a couple pounds (est.) of squash, eggplant, and tomatoe today. With previous potatoes, probably at 3 pounds for the year.

Farm Progress

An excellent video from the 1930s through 1950s showing the progress in farm equipment

Killingly Mill Rates

2006 / 2007:
Killingly Town 25.8000
Attawaugan FD 2.8300
Dayville FD 1.8000
Dyer Manor FD 0.4300
E. Killingly FD 2.0000
So. Killingly FD 1.3000
Orient Heights FD 0.5700
Williamsville FD 2.2800
Borough of Danielson 4.4500

There was a re-evaluation in 2007, which means the assesments on properties (generally) go up, so the tax rate goes down to raise the same revenue. The % is the change in the mill rate.
Killingly Town 17.800 -32%
Attawaugan FD 2.0100 -29%
Dayville FD 1.8000 00%*
Dyer Manor FD 0.4500 +4%
E. Killingly FD 1.1500 -43%
So. Killingly FD 0.9000 -31%
Orient Heights FD 0.4200 -27%
Williamsville FD 2.0000 -13%
Borough of Danielson 3.000 -43%

* With Dayville being a BIG OOPS...they didn't adjust their mill rate to the new grand list. They've already told people to ignore their current tax bills and will issuing new ones.

Garden Update

4/10" of rain on 7/14 (Monday).

I picked about 40 Squash Bug egg masses on Tuesday evening. They are on all the curcubits, but showing a definite preference for the Blue Hubbards. I'm thinking I should put some bark strips by the different squash plants to see if I can catch adults that way.

No recent rabbit damage. There is a rabbit hanging out near the garden, but haven't caught her in the garden -- seems to have learned the lesson.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fuck it, I'm voting for T. Boone.

There's an old military axiom that a good plan executed well immediately is better then a perfect plan finished too late. That is true in many areas, and one of our huge national problems today is we have far too many people who want the perfect plan instead of compromising on what is reasonable. Being environmentally responsible and making a profit are not mutually exclusive -- we can exploit our resources rationally. It may mean companies can't make as much money in absolute terms, and it may mean some rare species are allowed to go extinct -- rather then trying to maximize profits or environment, we should grab the big middle ground and progress as a society.

That's the moonshot folks.

In a paragraph:

Let's build a line of windmills across the high great plains that is capable of generating 20% of our nation's electrical need, and take the natural gas now providing that 20% of our electricity and instead use it to power our cars. And have it completed in 10 years.

Ok, yes part of it is T. Boone Pickens wants his tax breaks...and no tax breaks are not good public policy. They interfere with the market in many ways, often unexpectedly and unplanned.

But the government does have a critical, and important, role to play in big infrastructure projects. Ranging from emminent domain powers to build public utility works like power transmission lines, to fast tracking regulatory approvals of new car models using CNG.

I'm an unrepentant supporter of nuclear, but with the combination of high plains winds and the long distance capability of High Voltage DC transmission which can get power to either coast I think you can see wind take over 20% of our energy needs sooner then nuclear could double to 40%. Their environmental footprint is relatively small -- you can still farm and ranch around them for the most part, and certainly they don't pave over large blocks of land like some of the recent solar proposals do.

Other parts of a new energy plan -- from conservation, to plugin hybrids, to domestic oil drilling are important too. Renovation, expansion, and electrification of our railroad network is another big and worthwhile project. Expand nuclear too, selling the coal saved to China, a nation that uses twice as much coal as we do and has only one quarter as much in the ground.

But this is the single, simple, big, bold plan that's both transformative and will goose American manufacturing like nothing we've seen in years. The boom of Reagan's military build up comes to mind, but military spending doesn't leave a lasting economic improvement -- this does by reducing our trade deficit. Suddenly several hundred billion dollars a year going to third world dictators instead is paying wages to Americans in good paying jobs...who in turn are spending it in this nation and saving and investing it too.

It doesn't need government to run the program or finance it. But it does need government help to overcome obstacles, and to make sure regulatory approvals are done fairly but quickly. No matter your politics, this is needed and needed yesterday -- for the economics of it, for the confidence in our future it would suddenly give people, for the tax revenue that's needed to pay down the debt and to pay for future government programs.

Commit to projects like this and rebuilding the railroads on a timeline of 10 years or less and watch a lot of today's market troubles disappear in a few weeks. You hear the President always give the State of Union as, "strong." And truly it is, despite our momentary gloom from time to time. No nation matches us in the combined quality and quantity of agricultural land, our fresh water supplies are inexhaustible, no one has more coal, we have large reserves of natural gas, and new discoveries of fossil and non-fossil fuels like methane hydrate are likely in the coming years. The incredible richness of our lands that we've enjoyed and that have built this nation remain very rich. There are reasons for our malaise today, but there is no reason to be pessimistic about the future.

It's the moonshot. And it's time we start the countdown.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Connecticut Agricultural Value

Playing around with the National Agricultural Statistics Service and some of my other reading recently (for shade tobacco):

2007 Connecticut, Rough numbers, wholesale pricing:
Hay $350/acre
Broadleaf Tobacco $11,712/acre
Shade Tobacco ~$30,000/acre
Sweet Corn $2,160/acre
Tomatoes $6,000/acre
34 Vegetable Mix $2,160/acre

Which is why market gardeners need retail sales or Community Supported Agriculture in order to make it. Even then the market gardens often are combined with other enterprises or off-farm work to make ends meet for a family.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

General Garden Updates...

Rabbit damage is under control. I've identified at least three litters from Momma based on their size -- Momma and the other I shot (whose sibling has wised up and moved out of the garden it seems), plus I shot another smaller then those. Saw one real little one earlier this week, not much bigger then a chipmunk. We'll see if she lives long enough to be a big enough target.

Weeds are growing like...weeds.
The Sunflowers & Pole Beans look like a failure, as well as a lot of the bush beans, thanks to rabbit damage. Rabbits even ate the flower buds off the daylillies in the vegetable garden!
Some 'maters bursting from their cage:
Weeds not eaten by the rabbits are doing good:
This corn is a bit short for the variety; the right row is maybe 6" low which isn't bad, but by the left is real short. It's setting tassles, which jives with my notebook that says around the 2nd week in August I should have corn from these.
First Kiwi Gold raspberry of the season. They get sweeter, but I don't mind 'em young :)
Yellow squash is a bit spindly from growing under the row cloth, but seems to be recovering nicely.
It's an eggplant!

Squash Bugs

Today I found the first three adult Squash Bugs in the garden.

I know they've been active for about two weeks, having found a few egg masses like the one in the picture. This evening I covered about 1/2 the curcurbit leaves and removed about a dozen. They take 10 to 14 days to hatch, so if I can cover the whole garden every 7 days it'll help control them.

I'm not sure what to do about the Remay floating row cover next year. The summer squash outgrew the cover before I could use the Blue Hubbards and others as a really good trap crop. However, I found no egg masses after inspecting 1/3rd the summer squash. They definitely preferred the Blue Hubbard & Connecticut Field Pumpkins.

Maybe I'll plant a later row of summer squash under the cover next year? Decisions...decisions...


Started blooming this week. Here's the first three.
I've long lost the names. This year I'll be dividing them.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Tiger Lillies

(Photos to come...)

I have two distinct plants known locally as Tiger Lillies.

These are a daylily,Hemerocallis fulva, referred to throughout my region as Tiger Lillies:

These are American Tiger Lillies, Lilium superbum. Like other lillies, they're fairly slow growing but as they they get big!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Poor Idiots

This is actually an extract from a post I made elsewhere, but I kind of like it:

To go back to colonial days, some of the most fascinating reading can be found in Larned’s History of Windham County. Fascinating for both themes that continue to reverberate today in their parallels, as well as noting what has and has not changed. God bless Google Books (even though I have a recent reprint):
The 1745 murder of a bastard child, from a secret pregnancy, and subsequent execution of Elizabeth Shaw (p. 288);
Dr. Hallowel’s performing an abortion, resulting in the death of the woman, in 1747 and the subsequent trial and jail escape to exile in Rhode Island (bottom p. 362);
Or my favorite, the 1726 issue showing that in nearly 300 years our government bureaucracy is just as inept and politicians just as good at playing hot potatoe — that being the case of the poor idiot Peter Davison. He lived in an area, Mortlake, that was outside of a town’s jurisdiction and who was responsible to pay for his care came to involve at least Pomfret, Norwich, Plainfield, Mansfield, the New London County Court, it was the very first case on the docket when the Windham County Court was established, the General Court, and the Governor & Council. (pages 213, 267, and 344…it was quite a story )

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Got the Momma

In the waning daylight got the adult rabbit. 2 Down, I believe 1 to go. The other young one strategically hid under my mom's camp trailer.

That's a cottontail, not sure if it's an Eastern (most common) or New England variety. In Connecticut they have litters from March to fall, normally 2-4 litters of 3-8 each. About 1/8th of the young survive till the next spring on average.

They eat primarily at night, and hide in dense brush during the day. The raspberries in my garden were providing them excellent cover it seems. More info here.

And the classic Duck Rabbit, Duck!

Garden Update

Photos to come later.

-- Tomatoes doing well.

-- Corn doing well.

-- Beans took a big hit from the rabbits, so I'm short on developing bushes.

-- Beans & Sunflowers likewise took a big hit.

-- Potatoes looking good, but I suspect most of them are growing underground instead of in the straw :(. I got the BT San Diego in the mail, really fast shipping! Came in Priority Mail for Saturday. Now, if I just have a few days it looks like it won't rain!

-- I took the row cover off yesterday. Plants were way too crowded underneath it!

-- It's July 1st and the first hybrid daylillie opened!

-- It's also July 1st and I have yet to see a Squash Bug...BUT I found a bronze egg mass today that indicates I have some around! I'll have to plan tomorrow afternoon to spend an hour doing a plant inspection seeking and destroying the eggs.

-- Also need to get the bird netting over the blueberries, and take pictures/document which bushes aren't pollinating so I can order mates for them for next year.

-- Flushed one rabbit, but it went in a direction I couldn't shoot. Will try again later.