I grew up eating out of our garden and orchard. Store bought didn’t happen very often. So, I don’t have any qualms about eating less than perfect looking food. With food prices on the rise and more people gardening, people will have to get used to blemished food. (Pesticides aren’t good for you, and sometimes it is easier to just put up barriers to the pest or grow resistant varieties.) Organic wasn’t even heard of, you just gardened and lived with the pests. Since my folks and all my gardening mentors used composted animal manure, I think they were dodging the pest bullet so common in many vegetable gardens. I don’t even remember crop rotating being done, but the pests and diseases stayed away, for the most part, and if there were bug holes or, heaven forbid, BUGS, the bad spots were cut away and the good part was utilized.
They also cooked with what was on hand, some wonderful meals can be made in a snap if you have a well-stocked pantry and are able to think outside of the box. Sometimes other factors come into play when meal planning around here. In the last week the deer have been getting more and more cagey, and expanding their palate. First, the carrots, and then the strawberry plants, and now they have decided to start in on one of our little interplantings of cabbage. They are getting quite good at multi-tasking too. Last, night while dining on cabbage, they thinned some carrots and danced tromped on the Walla Walla Sweet Onions. So I guess I will make my favorite refrigerator slaw, and price 9′ woven wire while I’m at it.
I got this recipe from an old cabbage farmer, but it used too much sugar, so I have changed it to match what is usually around needing used up.
Bug and venison deer nibbled cabbage, venison deer thinned carrots, and a pepper that has sunscald because someone pulled some tall weeds.
1 Medium head of cabbage, shredded or chopped fine.
2 – 3 carrots, grated.
1 medium sweet onion, grated.
1 green pepper, grated.
1 Tablespoon salt.
Black pepper to taste.
1/3 cup cider vinegar or strong Kombucha.
1/3 cup olive oil.
1/3 cup sugar or honey.
Mix first 5 ingredients, and let sit while you: heat vinegar, oil and sugar to just boiling. Pour over slaw. Mix well and refrigerate at least 2 hours before eating. The original recipe says it will keep six weeks in the fridge, but it never lasts that long – I eat this stuff for a mid-morning snack. There is usually dressing left over and I save that and use it on the next batch.
Not tonight Deer!
This was going to be a separate post but the current weather conditions brought this to mind. It’s 100* right now, with 18% percent humidity. That’s tinder box dry! And they’re predicting 100+ for the next two days.
Being a farmer means being a jack of all trades. Plumber, electrician, vet, midwife or husband, and very important – mechanic.
Also rural areas usually have volunteer fire departments. While our fire department is great, they usually spend their time rescuing “lost” hikers and climbers, or cats in trees, and dogs that fall off of cliffs! And, they can’t be everywhere at once. So we have to have our own fire protection. The last forest fire that put us in danger, was in 1991 and we were on standby to do cat work in the nearby forest land. So we feel this is one piece of equipment we need.
We picked up this cat when an equipment dealer was going out of business. It was a trade-in and we got it for 40% off of what the dealer paid for it, so really it was like 75% off of retail. We couldn’t pass it up. It has paid for itself in side jobs. It’s expensive to hire this kind of work done, and you can never get the guy when the soil conditions are OK for cat work. And, more important it’s hard to find equipment operators that will be as careful as you are with your land. Repairs can be expensive too, unless, you have a mechanic around. I keep mine on the couch.
The drum or winch had a bad seal and wouldn’t shut off, so with a $25.00 part and a couple of hours work, the drum was fixed. This would have been a $600.00 repair job to take it in, and a 3 week wait.
We limit our cat work to the dry season, and try to combine trips and jobs in the woods.
This trip was to skid out firewood logs, and push out some invasive blackberries.
Setting the chokers on the firewood logs.
Pulling the logs out to our skid road. We use this road during the dry season to access the woods, and pastures. With the logs beside the road we can lessen our impact, and not work so hard making up firewood.
We have a love/HATE relationship with the blackberries around here! As a child there where no Himalayan Blackberries, just non-native Evergreen Blackberries and the Pacific Trailing Blackberries.
The Himalayan Blackberry is so invasive, it will grow at least 20 feet per year. They taste good, but, I can only use so many. We know people who have quit using their equipment and the berries have grown over an entire set of hay equipment, vehicles and now is encroaching on the barn. You can’t even see what is underneath, the berry vines are so thick.
We have been wanting to thin this Red Alder patch, but we haven’t been able to get to it because of the blackberries. By doing it at this time, we won’t displace any fledgling birds, just maybe a few rabbits. This land was logged in 1990, when my Mom had to purchase land from her sister-in-law, just to keep it. It was zoned at the time, farm OR forest, so we didn’t have to replant Douglas Fir, which is usually required. It is on a north facing slope and we wanted to let it naturally go through its own forest cycle on its own time table. We were glad to see in two years, a very thick stand of nitrogen-fixing Red Alder come in. Now we can thin it a little, for cookstove wood and let the other trees get larger.
As you can see the blackberries vines really add up.