Welcome to The Pauley Principle!

The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!

Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

52 Hot Chicks on the Run! The Speckled Sussex babies have arrived.

The USPS does a great job of transporting chicks. An early morning phone call lets you know the chicks are at the Post Office and we can either pick them up or they'll deliver by truck. In no time at all, Chris was on the road to pick up his chicks. These hot chicks were shipped out the day they hatched. That's quick. 

Since the little chicks are naturally warm and have to stay that way, their brooder has to be kept in the 90's during the early days of their lives. The brooder stood waiting and ready.

The first thing Chris noted when he took the 52 little Speckled Sussex chicks out of their mailing box is that they could RUN! They seem to actually prefer running. Whether they're on their way to food, water, or to chase a fly, they run.

What makes it even more fun is that the chicks will also run to us! They actually seem friendly! 
And Chris is determined to keep them friendly.

The chicks are in a climate controlled brooder. After the brooder, they might get to live in the hoop coop since the weather will be suitably warm. Then it will still be several months before these chicks will produce eggs. After a few weeks in the hoop coop, as fall nears, they'll move into the chicken condo where they will still have the opportunity to get out in the yard for some real foraging. This is going to be FUN! What's fun that isn't also a little work? And we're hoping to enjoy having them  for many years Besides, what other pet do you know that can lay an egg?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Haystack

Chris is tossing the hay up into the haymow.

He has some great ideas for using the hay!

Whatever he's thinking, at least he's motivated to get this job done in a hurry!

This was just the first of three trailer loads! He says it will fit and he should know. He built this barn!
Making hay the old-fashioned way! When you've just got a small field and a little time to spare, it could be the green thing to do! Note, however, the absence of horses and a hay wagon. Admittedly, it's not the perfect shade of green but definitely gave a great workout for all involved!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hoop Coop

Chris completed his 10' X 20' Hoop Coop (that's what he's calling it) just in time for the ducklings' 3-week birthday.

The ducklings wasted no time trying to learn all about their new residence. Just wait til the wading pool comes!

Tarps and chicken wire over cattle panels should ward off predators but, just in case, the Hoop Coop is surrounded by electric fence. The potato patch is in the foreground.

They're looking cozy! Earlier today, when Chris caught them, they must have thought they'd met their end. He picked them up just like you should, petted them and tried to calm them but they weren't happy about it. Now they have fresh air and natural ventilation, both sunshine and shade, and all the grass, bugs, feed, grit and water they could want.
If it has to be a short life, at least it can be comfy!
(To the ducklings: Happy 3 Week Birthday!  :)  Enjoy the Hoop Coop!)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Making the Salsa Bed

Chris hated breaking his last night's promise to plow the backyard garden today. He was planning to use his Gravely. It's an antique, I think, but this would be our first experience with it for the garden so we were both excited to see how it did. Last night's 9/10" rained spoiled our plans and Chris was back on the farm instead with the Gravely doing some sickle bar mowing around the pine trees instead.

So, without any kids, without any visitors, and without the Gravely, that left me to try to find a way to get my vegetable seedlings into the ground--finally! I'd already wasted my first batch of tomato sprouts since I started them in February, afraid I'd run out of salsa before I had more tomatoes! Pretty foolish, I know! But now I had seedlings that weren't growing well because they needed outside in rich garden soil, rain and real sunshine. The first thing I did was to take inventory of the cold frame where my mix of lettuces and kale had been. There were a few stragglers, so I pulled them out, washed them up in the kitchen and allowed them to drain while I yanked out the weeds that had overtaken their space. 
All afternoon I worked, yanking weeds and preparing the soil for the new arrivals. I planted in the rain so no need to water further, I figured. I was a happy gardener, not really knowing how to go about crowding my veggies. I decided to do it a little like raised bed gardening since the veggies would have to be in there tight. The first thing that went in were the sweet potatoes. I had to have a place for them since the voles at the potato patch were horrible little monsters! They would eat them up underground and we wouldn't have a clue until harvest time. (But aha! We have now erected a raptor perch, hoping to attract hawks to find the voles since voles also eat pine roots, but I digress. The pines are a totally different topic.) Back to my gardening:

 In the very back I have yams and sweet potatoes. This frame has eight inches of topsoil and sand above the ground, so I suppose the potatoes will have room to burrow. In front of that are six yellow tomato plants. In the very front I have planted my ten little mixed pepper plants. I will dub this bed my "salsa bed".

One surprise: In with my pepper seedlings was one lonely unidentified tomato that I mistakenly labeled and treated like a pepper. So I potted it and it will become someone's mystery tomato patio plant.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Raspberry Jelly!

I have three young red raspberry vines in the berry patch. No way could they produce the two quarts needed for one small batch of jelly, so when I saw fresh California raspberries at a great price, I gritted my teeth  and latched onto enough to do it! It didn't matter that I had enough chores lined up that I couldn't see an end in sight.  I would find the time to make red raspberry jelly!

One tip, fresh from the pectin package directions: Hold back a few berries if you want a thicker jelly. I was going to anyway just because, well, they're fresh berries!  :)  I'll still watch the farmers' markets for the local berries unless my little berry patch produces a humongous amount of berries this year!

Making jelly takes a little longer than making jam but the result is a smooth spread with no annoying seeds to get stuck in your teeth. On the other hand, jams and preserves give you the pulpy sensation of fresh berries. I like them all but if you want a smooth spread, you may want to plan for the additional items needed and the time involved. The result is worth it. 
So I gathered all my tools together before I started cleaning the berries. This time I decided to use my trusty tomato presser from last year's tomato processing. This little handcrank machine (top pic on the left) would remove seeds of the raspberries instead of my mashing them by hand as the directions said or using a food mill. Using this presser is a workout and it's a little awkward to put together, but it's effective. This step cuts down the time needed to strain the clear, fragrant juice that will turn into jelly. Then, once you start cooking, it goes so fast! Have the jars ready!  Two quarts of red raspberries should produce six cups of jelly.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Just for fun, I gave them a little waterer inside a feedpan! They splashed the water out and for a few minutes there was a pool party! Just wait til they get their wading pool!

Water cooler gossip! You can tell something's on their minds. Look at the way they're avoiding my eyes. 

Hard to imagine these lanky birds are just fourteen days old. They're starting to grow tail feathers.

The Potato Patch

The leaves of these potatoes are looking really healthy, no bugs in sight!

Growing Potatoes

Over the past three years we have tried our best to be green with growing potatoes, attacking the dreaded potato beetle with our bare hands. Chris would get out and hand pick the bugs from the potatoes, not wanting to kill the praying mantis babies that we hoped would get the job done. Sometimes he would pick potato beetles for an hour, counting and one day catching more than 600 bugs over several hours, only to see more coming onto the plants later that evening. A single bug can easily destroy a plant in a day, so imagine what just a hundred could do!

One of the problems with potato beetles is that the larva is underground where you may not notice them until they emerge from the ground as fully developed bugs with voracious appetites. Our solution? Imidocloprid, sold as Nuprid. Treating the soil seems to be effective, halting the development of the larva in the early spring, prior to planting potatoes. The potato crop is coming along really well without the lacy leaves associated with bug damage.

We'd rather be green about our veggies, so if anyone has a practical solution for potato beetles, please pass it on! I hear ducks eat them and we have some ducks that go into a feeding frenzy when they see a cricket so what would they do in an infested potato patch? I have to wonder!