Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rats Destroying the Vegetable Garden

My cool weather Vegetables were doing really good. Until a few days ago. I noticed that specifically my Broccoli came under attack all of a sudden. Towards the end of last season I noticed that my green leafy veggies were being ripped from the ground, leaf, stem and root; as if someone just helped themselves to my garden. I couldn't believe it! So it was no surprise that a few days ago I saw the same thing happen and needless to say I was pissed!! Because Broccoli is one of my favorite veggies to grow and eat fresh. That night I went on a hunt for rat traps to see if my suspicions were correct. I find the best bait for rats is using some sort of gooey power or cereal bar that can be molded around the copper step trigger. I used something from kashi. As night fell I set the traps. I was excited to kill something... cursing at the bloody rats hoping that I would seek redemption. After the Traps were set I walked back into the house still pissed about the fact my broccoli bed was decimated. I laid down still cussin under my breath and suddenly the ambient sound coming from the TV was shrilled with a sharp "SMACK!!" and Instantly..... A devilish grin forced it's way through my face followed by a sigh of relief as One "SMACK!!" after another continued through the night. Because I'm a big pussy there was no way I was going outside to check on those traps. I would have definitely lost all my cool points had I seen a rat squirming around in the trap (this coming from a guy who jumps out of high performance aircraft for a living)
All in all I end up killing 8 rats in 2 days. A quick way to find out if you still have rats is if there is food still on the traps. All the rats that were killed in the traps had no food left in the traps. Tonight weather pending if they will hold up or not due to the cold. We will see how many more we can Kill. But at the end of the day. I'm not happy until the last rat is gone. It may take some time but I'm determined. Life of an Urban Farmer.. Just when you thought things would get easier.. They don't and suddenly your dealing with rats!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Delicious Greek Honey Apple walnut Drizzle!!

My wife has found another winner. Everybody knows I'm a Carnivore. BUT!! if she continues to pull stuff off like this I may trade in my fangs for more of this type of Delicious Goodness. You cant go wrong with Greek yogurt, apples walnuts and honey. This is especially a delight if you happen to be fortunate enough to make your own honey, grow your own apples, culture your own Greek yogurt and Have access to walnut trees. Speaking of which I live on and around a Pecan Orchard so I will definitely try this with some soft Sweet Georgia Pecans.
I can't describe the taste. The honey and Greek yogurt combination with apple and walnut is unique and keeps you coming back for more. My wife said its like your first love. I turned around and Said "Ohhhhh Really!!" "SOOOO this is That GOOD HUH!!!" LOL!! She quickly explained laughing , saying "no nooo, not like that, but more like the innocence of enjoying your first love." Ok  Ok I guess I understand. Guys huh LOL How arrogant we must be to think our wives only loved us forever and ever. Well I will warn you fellas, If you don't want your life mate conjuring up thoughts of their first love saturated in innocence. You might just want to skip this page and buy them a beer. On further thought beer my not be a good idea neither:) 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Complex Issues Facing Urban Farmers Around the world

Sustainability, Preparedness, Micro-Farming, City Farmer, Self-Sufficiency; these are all words that many people from around the world relate to. We all have a common goal and that's to develop skills in the art and practice of being more self sufficient. Ultimately we want to live our lives in the joys and woes of being experimental when things are good, so that when and "IF" things get bad we are prepared.

 A few weeks ago I received an Email from an Urban Homesteader in India. I get real excited when I receive emails because it's like opening up a surprise every time. I never know what question is going to be thrown at me and I love challenging myself on research and providing a real answer. But this email was different. Shabeer as he refers to himself, asked me if I knew of a better way to deliver water to his 50 plus rabbits. Currently he is using watering dishes and the water gets quite messy. I thought this was an easy one. So I replied back to Shabeer with a link to Amazon showing him a Rabbit Water bottle for apprx $4 a piece. I thought, wow that was easy, I can do this all day.. Ok so whats next? Wellllllll, Shabeer Replied with a gracious thanks and said "Those water bottles would be nice but at $4 a piece that's really expensive because that's like over 200 rupees for each water bottle." I just literally stared at the screen and then suddenly the emotion of embarrassment slowly started to drape over me. Taking a deep sigh I thought to myself while reading his statement over and over how dumb and arrogant I must have sounded to suggest that a $4 water bottle would fit into any persons budget. And then it dawned on me. Yes a $4 water bottle is not expensive in my world and the way in which  I practice the art of becoming more Self Sufficient is achieved by what some might consider to be privileged. And for the first time there came to be true meaning in my quest for Self-Sufficiency.

Thinking of Shabeer and the question he posed to me I really started to think about what does it truly mean to be self-sufficient. figuring out Shabeers water issue became more than just a water issue. Every night and Day I have spent thinking of ways to make water delivery systems attainable and cheap for people who don't have the convenience to shop on Amazon and spend a boat load of money to support their Hobby and/or Lifestyle. When I started to think more about this issue, the world started to pan out and there I was standing on the Urban Self-Sufficientist Soap Box with a very small Megaphone. I have come to realize that people around the world need real solid solutions to complex problems that I don't personally have to deal with. But the Hell with that!! My background would never allow me to quit and persistence to find a solution is the goal. So I dug deep and I recruited the help of someone I work for in my secular life. His background consisted of spending 5 years teaching people how to survive on nothing and being able to survive in hostile areas. I knew that with his instinct and my practical application of the subject we would be able to brain storm and come up with a direction of where we want to start.

In order to understand what the needs of Shabeer would be we had to put ourselves in the mindset that even though we have items available to us, what can we develop that would be cost effective and at the same time easily replicated all over the world. After several discussions and failing numerous "What If" scenarios we finally came to the conclusion that for someone like Shabeer living in India with access to many different materials but not having the necessary funds to support his lifestyle the way that he really wants to as an Urban Farmer.. The best method for his water delivery system would have to include 1st.... a plastic bottle. The main reason... Water bottles are everywhere, They are thrown on the sides of roads in garbage heaps and you can recycle them from the stores. The Idea is to deliver water to rabbits in a safe and effective manner that can be controlled and easily maintained. This is just part of the solution, because the real problem is with delivering the water to the rabbits. Rabbits hate to be wet. So having a system that is spilling all over the place is not going to work. The Idea of the actual Small Animal water bottle makes so much sense with the metal spout. We thought of using bamboo... but there is the rabbits strong desire to chew on everything. So we thought about using car antennas because older vehicles have the hollowed out antennas... but there is the issue of finding a ball bearing small enough to fit in the cavity to not let water drip.. Finally we centered around the idea of using a nail with a wide flat head pushed through the top of the cap from the inside. The idea the rabbits would learn to push the nail to the side releasing a trickle of water.

We are still developing Ideas for Shabeer and a system that can easily be replicated in any part of the world. But thinking about this has really made me understand that average people around the world are really facing complex issues with regards to their urban farms. I want to help people like Shabeer everyday. One day I may start a non-profit to help urban farmers around the world purchase necessary items. The fact remains that even though I have a very small megaphone, I am fortunate enough to be standing on a soap box. And with any means possible I will continue to highlight the real struggles that many people face.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Buy Lady bugs online

Its Feburary and the aphid infestation is in full force from being protected in the sun room. I absolutely hate aphids!! Here in the south its an accepted way of growing that we are going to be fighting the aphid. I have tried everything from chemicals to soap water. But nothing gets rid of Aphids better than using Lady Bugs. When your lady bugs arrive follow the instructions on how to care for them and when to release them. Usually its at night. The ladies will start climbing to the highest peak they can find. As they scout every square inch of the plant they will run into aphids and start jabbing them with there sword and sucking the juice YESSS!! and when they have had thier fill they will socialize and mate and lay eggs. In a few weeks if you are successful you will see the most horrific looking larva. Something so hideous that Hollywood has yet to match it. If you think the Lady bug is bad... Wait until she unleashes Satans Spawn. I am Fortunate to be able to offer Lady Bugs as well as other Benifical Bugs for the Home Garden through my Online Store. Which saves you the trouble of asking your Local Garden Center if they Sell Lady Bugs and they reply "What do you need lady Bugs For?" True Story!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Growing Oregano in the winter

I started growing Oregano from seed successfully last year and all the plants have endured tremendously this winter. I'm not sure how they will fair in other climates lower than Zone 8, but they have been through some extreme heat and intense cold.. ok I know... it gets cold for like a week here. But still:) It's comforting to know that if Oregano is in a happy place it's going to thrive. I'm very proud of the Oregano. Hopefully this year I will be able to save some seeds from this plant and prolong it's genetics.

Buy Vegetable Seeds Online Urban Self-Sufficientist Warehouse

The Urban Self-Sufficientist site has made it easier for readers to now purchase vegetable seeds on-line through it's Online Warehouse Powered by Amazon.

I have noticed that over the years many people are really excited about starting their first garden, developing their Homestead, cooking their first meal grown from the garden. They wonder about what type of clothes hold up on the Urban Homestead, What books to read? How do I start hunting? What Gadgets would I need?

As an Urban Homesteader and a Consumer of Products I think it's important to share products and ideas with people who have your same interest. The Online Warehouse makes it easy to stream line your interest into a few catergories that marry each other well.

Many of these products I have used and have seen them used by other outfits. Some products don't quite cut the mustard but they still serve as a guideline for ideas to develop.

As trends grow and new ones develop the Online Warehouse will Constantly update. Some Products will never go away. Because these are products that I firmly believe in and have been tested time and time again. I hope you continue to enjoy your Experience on the Blog and please feel free to provide new ideas and products that you stand behind and I can share these with the community.