Tomato Pests

I have my share of problems with chipmunks, squirrels, woodchucks etc. but I never imagined that my Sweet 100s would come under a direct onslaught.

Grey Squirrel 30 July 2014 Durham NH

Grey Squirrel
30 July 2014 Durham NH

Out on a Limb 30 July 2014 Durham NH

Out on a Limb
30 July 2014 Durham NH

Sweet 100 Pests 30 July 2014 Durham NH

Sweet 100 Pests
30 July 2014 Durham NH

Sensible After School Snack 30 JULY 2014 Durham NH

Sensible After School Snack
30 July 2014 Durham NH

I captured the initial stages of siege planning three weeks earlier:

Attack Strategists 9 July 2014 Durham NH

Attack Strategists
9 July 2014 Durham NH

They forgot the 1st Rule of physics: for every foul deed there will be a swift and righteous reprisal.

Retribution 30 July 2014 Durham NH

Retribution
30 July 2014 Durham NH

 

 

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2nd Annual Durham Farm Day

Always a hoot or moo or baaaa

2nd Annual Durham Farm Days

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Just in Time

When it rains, it pours. Just in time to save the day is Clotilde, author of French Market Cookbook, who rapidly is becoming my new best friend. Shortly I will be overrun with cucumbers and cornichons and beside trying to give them away I will find her blog quite useful.

58 Ways to Use Cucumbers

 

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Running Scared?

Who doesn’t like a load of hooey first thing in the morning? I woke up to find this in my mailbox. It seems the efforts to take back the net have had an impact. Many, like myself, filed comments that urged the FCC to do its job and place the internet under Title II regulatory control. Try rationalizing the comments that Verizon made with the assessment that Estonia (#36 on the list) has better Internet service that the USA. Thank you sir, may I have another.

A former CATV lobbyist chairs the FCC. Don’t expect to see the USA as #35 anytime soon. It is all about corporate profits. No one in Washington truly cares about unregulated monopolies. No one in Washington truly cares about quality of service. If you are very lucky, you get what you pay for. In my personal experience, having dealt with regulated telecommunications and power companies across the country; the regulated were never so arrogant nor so unconcerned over customer complaints as the CATV industry. Their corporate pomposity demands regulatory oversight let alone that they are a de facto monopoly.

Perhaps every time that we have our streaming media feed delayed or slowed down, every time we have an interruption in service we should file a small claims suit demanding restitution. Unfortunately I suspect those suits would fail as the fine print in your service arrangement guarantees that you will pay or suffer the consequences but also guarantees they don’t actually have to deliver crap.

Keep sending cards and letters to your elected representatives and the FCC demanding that you and your American brethren be placed ahead of monopolistic pricing practices and monopolistic quality of service. The USA doesn’t have to be the best but it would be nice to break into the top ten.

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More Berries

The raspberries are still coming in strong:

Encore Raspberries 20 July 2014 Durham, NH

Encore Raspberries
20 July 2014 Durham, NH

And the Blackberries start today:

Ouachita Thornless Blackberries 20 July 2014 Durham, NH

Ouachita Thornless Blackberries
20 July 2014 Durham, NH

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Berry Season

We’ve been picking raspberries for a few weeks now, the blueberries started about a week ago and the blackberries are still a few weeks away.

Chandler Blueberries 20 July 2014 Durham, NH

Chandler Blueberries
20 July 2014 Durham, NH

 

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Honest All American Shrimp

Tired of eating farm raised shrimp, processed in Southeast Asia and supporting a system that uses slave labor? If price isn’t the first thing you consider when selecting what to put in your mouth, then you do have options. Buy American.

Whenever I get a craving for crawfish etouffée, alligator or frog legs I certainly don’t go to my local farmers’ market, I head straight for the CajunGrocer. I got word yesterday that the organic, free-range Gulf shrimp season is in full swing:

Louisiana Wild Caught Shrimp
The waters off the coast of Louisiana are home to one of the highest concentrations of white and brown shrimp. Brown and white shrimp are the most commonly caught species in the Gulf of Mexico. These two varieties account for roughly 90% of the total domestic caught shrimp. Brown(55%) White(35%). The remaining 10% are comprised mostly of pink shrimp.
White shrimp tend to be the most commonly sought variety due to their slightly milder flavor, which makes them very suitable for many different styles of cooking. Brown shrimp are known for having a stronger flavor and are suited better for battering and frying, but are also very versatile. Pink shrimp are less common in the Gulf of Mexico, but are mainly found off the coast of Florida. Pinks tend to grow considerably larger than the brown or white varieties, reaching up to 11 inches in length, and are known for being tender and sweet.

On questioning, CajunGrocer Customer Service provided the following comment:

“Our Gulf Shrimp are harvested off of the Gulf Coast and processed in Delcambre, LA, no slave labor is being used.”

Shrimp freeze well.  Buy with a conscience, Buy American.

 

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Easy as Pie

What better way to cap of Friday Night Fish Fry than with a wedge of home-grown cherry pie made with rendered local leaf lard?

Montmorency Cherry Pie 11 July 2014

Montmorency Cherry Pie
11 July 2014

This is the first year we have actually harvested any cherries, not sure who was getting them in the past but we are thankful they didn’t come around this year. Someone stripped the small set of Bing cherries and after snacking on about a dozen Rainier cherries, I decided to wait another day or two to harvest and they magically disappeared overnight. So far the tart cherries have been left untouched, there is another pie on the tree still.

We had never made a cherry pie before nor had we made a lard crust either. The analysis was an excellent flaky outer layer with a still warm sticky sweet, slightly tart interior. The trees are only 4 years old so we are counting on many more pies in our future.

After listening to my good friend Jim describe the cherry pies that he would make for his parents and friends along with the wonders of the classic Door County Montmorency Cherry, I decided to plant a few tart and sweet cherry varieties. We also have our friend Jim to thank for the Door County Cherry Pie Filling recipe. It is nice to have friends.

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Protect the Border

It is times like these, when invaders threaten to take the food from your mouth that I lose my libertarian values. I proudly don my commemorative “Stand your Ground” leather jacket. I join with our New Hampshire politicians by embracing Live Free or Die as the Tourism Counsel’s market tag line and nothing else.

It started a few weeks ago, nothing serious but nibble by nibble the sunflowers bit the dust:

Sunflower Damage 11 July 2014

Sunflower Damage
11 July 2014

They are trying to regrow leaves but we will see if they can recover.

Then in my 2′ high garden planters I noticed damage to my beets and green beans. Sunflowers always end up with the squirrels anyway so I hadn’t taken their damage too seriously but when you attack my beets you are attacking me.

Beet Damage 11 July 2014

Beet Damage
11 July 2014

Green Bean Damage 11 July 2014

Green Bean Damage
11 July 2014

We set a woodchuck trap out two nights ago with no luck. I was beginning to think that a deer was passing through the neighborhood. This afternoon I noticed some broken filbert branches and decided to go prune those before more damage occurred and as I was leaving the garage spotted a woodchuck nestled down in the beets having a snack. As I walked out towards him, granted not having a plan in mind, he jumped down between two planters assuming that if he couldn’t see me then I couldn’t see him.

I repositioned the Have-a-Heart trap on one side of the opening and with a garden rake I drove him back into the trap. Now relocated a few towns over where the property taxes are much more attractive than here.

Illegal Alien 11 July 2014

Illegal Alien
11 July 2014

 

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Pollination

Nasturtiums June 2014 Durham NH

Nasturtiums
June 2014 Durham NH

Bumblebees typically show up early and stay late on our nasturtiums. They have been flowering for over a week now and I have yet to see any pollinators showing interest. I saw a few bumblebees on the blueberries in May and moths on the blackberries but so far this year not as much activity as I would like. The blueberries, raspberries and blackberries all have a heavy fruit set. The catbirds are already attacking the goumis even though they are far from ripe and something wiped out our Rainer cherries, we had two dozen the day before losing the harvest. Pollinators have been active but operating in stealth mode.

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