"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Straight to Cold

Here in the mountains of Northern Georgia, there is no "Indian Summer."  That magical period that occurs in many parts of the country where after a brief cold spell comes through with the approach of fall, a week or two of warm up occurs.

Not here.   I'm looking at my electronic thermometer on the wall next to me at the desk here.  It's a $10 rig from Wally World, but I've calibrated it and it is accurate.  It has a remote sensor out on the deck to tell me the outside temperature on the right and it tells me the inside temperature on the left.  As I write this, it is 05:40 EDT.

To be precise, the sensor is located just below the top rail on the deck baluster which sits at least 16 feet above the sloping ground level below.  That can mean a couple of degrees difference, which is why I really need to build a little vented box that will protect the sensor, but allow me to place it down where my veggies are growing and give me a more accurate read at ground level.

Last night, I picked the last of the green tomatoes because there is no chance that they are going to turn red now.  The high yesterday was about 61° F.  I also picked all the remaining bell peppers; about 9 or so.

That reminds me; we went to Blairsville on Wednesday, to the Union County farmer's market and did some trading.  We took three dozen eggs and traded one of them for a huge butternut squash.  We traded two dozen and paid the difference for a quart jar of local sourwood honey with the beekeeper himself.  This is the good stuff.  Local, not pasteurized or factory processed. Good RAW honey. Which reminds me that I need to do a post someday on why pasteurization has it's place, but it's a bad idea to pasteurize everything; including milk. That's right, I said it and I mean it.   Anyway, we also got some great red bell peppers for just .33¢ each.  We also got some of the finest, fresh apples from right across the border in North Carolina.  Fresh sweet potatoes that had been dug up that morning.  We had a couple of them that same night, and there is just no comparing them to the crap you buy in the supermarket.  We came home with about 60 pounds of food and only spent about $20.  We can't wait to go back.

Baruch HaShem ("blessed is The Name") for how He spreads out the growing and blooming of the various plants.  The yard is full of various species of dandelion and the chickens are loving it.  Even though I move the arks over fresh ground every day, I still take some time when I can, to pick handfuls of dandelion leaves and feed them by hand.  Moxie is absolutely puzzled about why the chickens would like this green stuff.  The hens have gotten used to Moxie's presence now.  This was made very clear the other day, when, after it had rained, I needed to go out and clean out the chicken feeders that hang on the wire cage.  You see, the dry food turns to mush, but the chickens seem to like it even better that way, but it doesn't work in those gravity feeders.  So I scoop it all out and put it in a ceramic dish and set it just outside the ark so the chickens can stretch their necks out and eat it out of the dish.  Well, while I was tending the other ark, I looked over to find Moxie eating out of the same dish with four of the chickens eating with her, nose to beak.  Wish I could have gotten a picture of that!

Also last night, as I was pulling up the last of the tomato vines, Brewster the rooster decided to "take care of business" with one of the hens, which always involves some commotion and noise, to which Moxie runs over as if she needs to play the protector, and I have to yell at her to mind her own business.  It is nice to know that she sees the chickens as part of the pack and seems protective of them.  A couple of days before that, when I was collecting eggs, she stood up and put her paws on the threshold of the door to Ark I and three of the golden comets were up there to get petted.  She stuck her nose in to sniff and one of the hens pecked her on the nose and she backed off.  Moxie has turned out to be a wonderful adoptee.  I've had six dogs so far. My favorites were the beagles (mother and daughter) that were so different in personality you wouldn't have believed they were related.  But Moxie has been so quick to learn and is so appreciative of her new home.  When we took her to town in the Jeep ("Elvis"  Don't ask me; it's a Twyla thing.) It only took three times for her to understand, "Get in the back."  She walks almost perfectly on the leash.  She will lay quietly on the floor near the table while we eat and never begs.  She scratches a little to be let inside and knows not to bark at us.

When we are working at the computers in the office, she just wants to lay on her little blanket that Twyla put down for her in the corner.  When I am working out in the yard, she just wants to be my shadow.  We bought a 20 foot chain to restrain her in the yard, but so far, haven't had to use it.  She might wander a hundred yards out of the yard, but only briefly and doesn't get into any mischief.  We live almost to the end of a dead end road up here in the mountain so it's not likely she could get hit by a car.

We had a blast yesterday, going to take the photos to create the new header for Twyla's blog.  Here is the first picture I took to test the perspective and decide on the positioning of the camera. It's an unoccupied house on the road up to our mountain.  We'd been thinking about using it as a background for weeks now.

In the next few days I will need to intensify my efforts at getting the wood stove in place and then putting up plastic sheeting over the screen of the front porch to turn it into a green house for the winter.  The cold weather crops are doing well and we've had some delicious salad with swiss chard, spinach, romaine, buttercrunch lettuce and sheep sorrel.  Life is good.

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