March Fourth, Set Back

So….our closing date has been pushed back.  To May.  We are rolling with the punches.  I have called off the CSA and cancelled my slot at the farmers market for now, and will reboot once I have the house key in my  hand.  In the meantime, my husband has built me a fabulous germination station!  This one runs on a space heater hooked up to a thermostat which keeps it at 74 degrees, but will eventually be modified to a bucket heater and a trough of water as the heat source.  It works very well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe doors are rodent proof, and pop off for access.  The shelves are too close together, we will remove every other shelf unit.  And add an automatic vent system eventually.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are Redwing onion starts.  I started my onions before we got the news that the survey would take so long….I have a lot of onion starts!

So, I have an unexpected vacation of sorts.  More packing, more sorting, more winnowing of the stuff.  I am growing a bunch of starts for anyone who wants them, hopefully I can at least make a little income this spring, instead of laying around the house eating popcorn and watching Netflix movies.

Speaking of popcorn, I grew Dakota Black again last year.  Love this popcorn, the ears are a gorgeous deep black red.  And the popcorn is delicious.  Thanks to Anthony Boutard’s book Beautiful Corn  I can now get the corn to the perfect moisture content.  No grannies!  Here’s how you do it:  I take a 1/4 square of paper towel, and soak it in a saturated solution of salt and water (add salt to water until no more will dissolve).  Wring it out until damp, place in a pint jar with your popcorn kernels, and let equalize for a few days.  The paper towel will end up feeling dry, but your corn will pop perfectly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcheers!

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7 thoughts on “March Fourth, Set Back

  1. farmerkhaiti

    so sorry about your set back—grrr! It’s so hard to coordinate gardens and businesses with closing details.
    Love the germination chamber and the popcorn thing- I always thought less moisture would lead to better pops, this is fascinating, I will have to try! I think I grew some of that black popcorn 2 years ago, not so great yield, but our gardens were new then. Super pretty kernals though- were yours kind of pointy on the ends?

    Reply
  2. spudlust Post author

    Yes, pokey kernels mostly, I have to wear gloves to get them off the cobs…you can select for smooth kernels I think, if you have several seasons and the inclination. I had some come up with shoepeg ears too. The yield is not great, but I haven’t found a popcorn that was super prolific yet either. And I have only grown a couple of kinds. What I liked also about this variety is it is pretty drought tolerant…I have grown it with good fertility and no additional water and it did fine in our climate (wet till july 4, and then no rain until the end of August). I always thought my popcorn wasn’t dry enough, turns out the opposite was true! This land purchase has been an exercise in patience. I think the property is worth it….man I hope so!

    Reply
  3. Barry

    Awww, Geeez! Been there, hated it, but we finally got’er done, too. There’s no accounting for it, other than some big bundling of loans for the derivatives market. It’s going to be May in just a few weeks, ya? Here’s hoping the extra wait makes for a smooth move-in, anyway.
    That is a whiz-bang seed-starting shed – er, station! Real genius to use a watering bowl warmer (ya?) with a trough; heat and humidity all in one. And enjoy more popcorn, the show will start soon enough!

    Reply
  4. spudlust Post author

    Thanks Barry! Yes, I figure I am banking energy and sleep right now, as I expect to have little of either once we close. It has just been hard going emotionally. The good news? We will have a chance to get some spring Chinook fishing in, and won’t need much firewood until the fall. In the meantime, I am heading out there to guerrilla plant some perennial things that I can afford to lose if I have to ;).

    Reply
  5. spudlust Post author

    BTW, here is an example of the bucket heater I mentioned (though for now the space heater works fine too!) http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=2e87c5d7-7b6a-11d5-a192-00b0d0204ae5
    My husband was thinking that cutting down an old water heater and using its built in heater element and thermostat would be the cheapest option….we may try it next year. Now I need a vole proof greenhouse! They have been wreaking havoc on my onions…

    Reply

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