Thursday, September 19, 2013

End of First Month

Can you believe that it will be one month that I've been here at the White Violet Center for Eco Justice ? Wow, seems hard to believe but I'm finishing up my fourth week.

On Monday, we had a new little cria born (that's what the baby alpacas are called). It was a little boy, born to Dora. He's the gray and whitececilas cria one in this video. Dora is a first time mom and she didn't take to him right away so Tracy had to take him to the vet and they gave him plasma, by way of a tube into his stomach, which helped boost his immune system. From the looks of him in this video, he sure is perky now. The brown cria was born the next day (Tuesday) and she is a sweetie. Her mom has had a cria before so she knew what to do and she took good care of her except that her body temperature was too low so Tracy (the alpaca mgr) had to put the cria on a heated dog bed with a hot water bottle to try to raise her body temp. When I stopped down after work, her temp was coming up about a degree per half hour. She was limp as a rag doll though and in this video you can see that her legs were a little wobbly. It was so neat to stand there and watch all the other alpacas come over to meet and greet the new cria. They would nuzzle them and sniff them. It was really cute to watch theirtomato hornworm acceptance into the herd.

We picked 524 pounds of tomatoes today...a new daily high since I've been here. Holy mackerel but it's a lot of tomatoes. Rusty found this hornworm in the patch while we were picking. Isn't it weird looking ? This one was maybe three inches long but they can get as long as a hotdog. I don't think I want to see one that big. And talk about damage...tomato hornworm damage They strip the leaves off the tomato plant. Look at the top of this plant. There's just twigs left on it.

Elsewhere in the patch, Rusty came across this male monarch hatching out. male monarch You can identify the male by the dot on his wings. When they are hatching out, they secrete fluid out of their abdomen. This one was latched onto Rusty's hand and it was so pretty. I hope he eats some of the garden pests.



dry beans We picked cranberry dry beans the other day and they are laid out on trays drying. Once they get dry we'll ask the sisters to shell them for us. Ann and I cut up tomatoes on Tuesday and made a big batch of salsa to give to each of the CSA members on Wednesday. All but one ingredient for the salsa came from the gardens here. We didn't have any cilantro but we had the seed heads. I didn't realize that the leaves are called cilantro but the seed heads are called coriander.I like the taste of the seed heads much better than the cilantro leaves. More of a pop of cilantro flavor than the lingering soapy taste of the leaves. We crushed the seed heads up and that seasoned the salsa.

Did you know that chickens require 14 hours of daylight to be at their peak of egg production ? We are now at 12.5 hours of sunlight so the production is starting to go down. Some chicken farmers use additional light sources to keep it at the 14 hours that is required but we don't.

This afternoon we went on a field trip to Rusty's land. His mom studied permaculture (wikipedia says that permaculture is "

Permaculture is a branch of ecological design, ecological engineering, and environmental design that develops sustainable architecture and self-maintained agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.[1][2].

They have taken their land and put in 2000 trees and a one acre pond. They did a thing called keylining, which is taking a plow anderosion running it along the various elevations to make a ditch like depression to help with erosion and runoff. Their pond has a sandy bottom to it so the water is slowly draining from the pond and into a nearby creek. Here is a picture of the erosion where the runoff from the field goes into the pond. It's pretty significant. We kicked around ideas for water retention and ways to slow the erosion they are dealing with near the pond and near the creek (they lost 25' to erosion just in the last year on the creek bank). It was really interesting to see how the laid out the trees. They have all types of nut trees, paw paw, hard woods, maple and other trees. His land is about 45 minutes from here, located in Sullivan. It was a pretty drive through the countryside to get there.

Well, guess that is all the news for right now. Our alpaca open house is coming up next week and the CSA pot luck dinner. Lots going on..temps are still warm but I'll take it for as long as it wants to last. Hope everyone has an awesome weekend !

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