Rain, rye, and roosters.

DSC_8388Mandy’s shiny new tin roof has seemingly caused WIFI signal loss (see, tinfoil hats really do work!)…and thereby blog post loss! So here I am, not fallen off the end of the earth after all, but merely sitting in a lawn chair in the middle of the garden trying to stay connected. And ordering 50 chicks! Not all for me – Cynthia at Cruzan Gardens is joining me in poultry expansion, so together we are getting 25 pullets for the coming laying season and 25 males for the pot. I’ll be keeping 10 of each, to supply a larger egg market in the coming season and to have some healthy, home-raised meat this fall. Fond as I am of my Ameraucanas, this time I’ve opted for Buff Orpingtons, as a practical dual-purpose bird with high production of large brown eggs, and a table weight of around 6-7lbs – significantly heavier than an Ameraucana at maturity. They should be arriving late next week, so brace yourselves for cute chick photos!


Moist earth after rain
bugs stirring, lizards feeding
there is life, again.

We had a little rain yesterday, at last. It was an all-to-brief respite from our months of drought, but appreciated nonetheless as it did settle the dust a little and the clouds provided a chance to water the garden deeply with less evaporation than usual. Between the heat, drought, and summer bugs I am struggling to get seedlings to take, even the heat-loving sweet potato, okra, beans, marigolds, and bokchoy. The water hyacinths continue to abound, so at least the chickens have their supply of greens – without which they make such a fuss about neglect, squawking at me whenever I come near, demanding their due in return for eggs.

Rye “shampoo”.

Our lack of rain has made me particularly aware of what (chemicals, unwanted substances) may be washing down my drains – straight into the garden. Usually everything from the shower and kitchen sink (grey water) would be diluted by rainwater, “flushing” away any substances that might otherwise build up. I fear that we’re now in that “otherwise” situation. Dish soap and regular soap, I cannot do without…however, I started thinking about what I could change. I already use essential oils or all natural bug repellents…natural soaps…but I have been getting through at least a bottle a month each of shampoo and conditioner – you don’t even want to know what’s in those. I’ve tried baking soda (as shampoo) before, and it just didn’t cut it. So, I looked up alternative products (ran across way too many granola-girl “no-poo” articles, blog posts, and you-tube clips, people who haven’t “washed” their hair in 10 years…) and eventually came across the idea of a rye-based “shampoo”. Now, I love flour, I’m a baker – but flour in my hair? Eww. Nonetheless, I had a couple of cups of rye flour left so I figured I’d give it a try. Amazing! This time of year, working outdoors a lot, I’m always caught in a dilemma of dirty hair versus dry, breaking hair from washing it every day. With this, I can use it every day, feel clean, and not do any damage! Plus no noxious chemicals down the drain. The magical recipe? 1 cup of rye flour, 1 cup of white vinegar (you could use ACV), and a few drops of essential oil (to not smell of vinegar). Mix in a jar, scoop out as needed. I’ve yet to find anyone else mixing with vinegar, but I have hard water (well water), and knew that rye flour mixed with water would grow mouldy in a few days in our climate. The first day it was a mess – hard to apply, hard to rinse out. Thereafter, it’s been great, having reduced to a creamy, smooth consistency that applies easily, doesn’t tangle my hair, and rinses out in seconds. Before you go trying this and getting your hair all matted up with flour I must disclose: I have short, straight hair. I’ve no idea how this would work for people with long, curly, or crissy hair – but it might be worth trying (sometime when you’re not in a huge hurry and will have time to rinse properly). For myself, I’m glad to buy one less thing at the store, and to have a few less plastic bottles to throw out each month – not to mention having no pollutant hair products going down the drain.

Another way to reduce packaging and save (rather a lot of) money: homemade oat and almond milk. Delicious, and leaves you in complete control of how much sugar it contains. More on that another week, including a “how-to”.
Tortii 1, 2, and 3, all happy and healthy.

With that, I leave you for the week! Don’t forget to stop by the Nidulari farmstand on Mahogany Road this Wednesday between 2:30 and 6:30pm for your fresh weekly bread, eggs, jams, and more. If you didn’t get your fill of mangoes at Mango Melee, try our green mango chutney! If you’d prefer to pick some of our products up at Cruzan Gardens on Wednesday, be sure to place your order online, thank you!

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