Powered Up!

I have a couple of pieces of news to share with you on this fine Saturday – should the power come back on and allow me to upload this post! I must invoke the spirits of WAPA…

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Unexpected flowers on my little Surinam Cherry bush.

Firstly, I’m super excited to be going to Puerto Rico in a couple of weeks! I’ve lived next door to this purportedly gorgeous island for many years yet have never made it closer than the international airport, so now’s the time! Flights are cheap, and I’m in desperate need of my first vacation since moving back to St Croix. I’m looking forward to a Mojito or two in Old San Juan, then several days exploring the mountains and most remote parts of the island – some chilly weather, fresh scenery, and Puerto Rican coffee should cure all! I’m open to suggestions of off-the-beaten-track must-sees. Due to my trip, there will be no baking on May 6th, so be sure to stock up your freezer.

Zuchinni starts! Maybe this time the ants won't destroy them all...
Zuchinni starts! Maybe this time the ants won’t destroy them all…

Sadly, my sourdough starter is experiencing some problems currently, and I may have to start a new one from scratch – a process of 2+ months. In the meantime, rather than depriving you all of wholesome, wood-fired artisan bread, I’m going to be making the very same recipes but with the addition of standard baker’s yeast. The flavor will be a little different, but the loaves will still be flavorful, crusty, and chewy – a little less dense than the sourdough loaves. The dough will still be risen overnight for a lower gluten content. Please give these options a try while I work to get the sourdough culture back on track!

Potatoes!
Potatoes!

A few weeks ago I was given some “seed” potatoes – sprouting potatoes to be divided into multiple pieces and planted. I was skeptical, for aren’t they a Northern crop? Nonetheless, I cut them up, let them dry for a day, then threw them in some small pots to see what would happen. Low and behold, after about a week sprouts were showing, and now, after perhaps two weeks, the largest is some 8″ tall! Apparently potato plants don’t mind the heat at all. So today I set out an experimental potato “pile” with a few of the plants: a wire cage, 24″ across, 24″ high (approx), filled most of the way up with partially-decomposed leaf litter from the forest. I then made a few holes, added some soil, and stuck the (very well rooted) potato plants in. We shall see if this entirely no-dig potato planter works! The idea is that as the plant grows and the leaf-litter rots down, more organic matter can be added on top, making the pile taller and denser. For harvesting, hopefully the wire cage can be removed, and the entire pile gently pulled apart to expose the potatoes! That is, if I’m successful in keeping the plants alive. The remaining plants I’ll probably put in slightly more conventional beds, and then struggle to harvest the end product…
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The other new and “exciting” addition to the homestead are Red Wiggler Worms to be used in a vermicomposting system and as supplemental protein for the chickens. For now their abode is an unassuming cardboard file box, until their population has increased enough to be worth building them a more substantial habitat and composting system. Have you ever done vermicomposting? Tips, tricks, suggestions?
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Don’t forget to stop by my Wednesday roadside market stand 1.3 miles up Mahogany Road on the Left side, 2:30-6:30pm. This week there will be several kinds of Artisan wood-fired bread, along with jam, chutney, snacks, fruit, fresh eggs, and more. Cheers!

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One thought on “Powered Up!

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  1. Things are certainly growing and more and more vegetables. Have a wonderful trip to PR. you certainly deserve a break and to see the beauty of that Island. Have a great time not too many Mojitos !!!

    Can’t wait to and see pics of your trip.

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