Our next experiment

We’ve gotten it in our heads that our next experiment is going to be growing  pumpkins and gourds.

Hell, we already have a fairly rich stock of seeds, with more arriving every week thanks to my job. The downside to this is that much of that seed stock was buried in the muckheap of our compost pile. Our compost heap is filled with rotty pumpkins and gourds and fruits and shit, which gives it the unfortunate distinction of smelling like the runny tequila shits that spew forth from Satan’s bunghole the morning after a night of too many margaritas.

This morning, I suited up in some clothes I won’t cry over (much) if I have to burn them to rid them of the scent of Satan’s shithole and waded in. I wish I had gotten some pictures, but there’s no fucking way I’m risking dropping my phone or tablet in Satan’s tequila shits, so you’ll just have to use your imagination to get an image of me knee deep in rotty pumpkin juice and elbow deep in a giant pumpkin collecting the seeds.

While I was in there, smelling the insides of Satan’s colon, I took the opportunity to stabilize the fence panels that keep scavengers (mostly) out of our compost and condense the pile as much as I could with half a shovel and a hip injury that will never fully heal.

Of course, the minute I got done with all of that and closed the newly stabilized fence, Mr B came driving up on his big orange dirt mover machine (I mean tractor with bucket on it). I wasn’t turning down free tractor time just because I was calling myself done with the compost heap, and I opened it back up and let him smoosh and turn the pile. Some of the rotty pumpkins kept rolling away from his tractor bucket, so I had him back out for a minute while I jumped in and tossed them back on the pile to get smooshed. With no gloves on. Which would have been okay except for the damned maggot I felt crawling on my hand after I stepped back to safety.

Mr B got a good whiff of Satan’s morning-after tequila shits and filled his tractor bucket with some spare cellulose left over after his last E.P.I.C. experiment. He was on to something- -part of the aroma wafting forth from that muck hole was rotty pumpkins (which nothing can fix), but part of it was from having too much greens and not enough browns in the heap.

I still haven’t finished collecting all of the seeds. There are some gourds and mini pumpkins that I still need to split open and clean out. I’ll be damned if I was doing that without coming inside to get something to drink and whine to you guys about how awful I fucking smell right now. Besides, I need to do some quick research on how to properly prep these seeds to be stored until next spring.

Someone please send an emergency care package from Bath & Body Works, mmmkay?

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What the…

Yesterday was a work day. My hard work day. Fridays are the day I have to clean up after Hurricane Bossman made landfall and sat in the shop for days on end.

Yesterday was no exception.  I cleaned up after a week away, I moved new stock into the walk-in cooler, I got old stuff off the shelves and replaced it with new. I wound up wading through our autumn display of gourds and such to help an woman choose decor for her front porch, and noticed an rotting gourd. When I finally had customer-free time, I grabbed a shovel and a crate to go in and get the rotting pumpkin out. Because they fucking stink to high hell.

Upon closers inspection, I discovered that there were multiples. Because of course there were. While I was scraping that he’ll Ishmael mess up with my trusty shovel, the boss showed back up (making me wonder why on earth I was still seeing his face since he had been told to go home and get some sleep hours ago). 

Of course, he let me scoop up the gross mess while he dealt with customers. Weiner. 

After I had gotten that done, he decided it was ago good time to unload the truckload of giant pumpkins he had brought in. Because he didn’t think I was tired enough,  I guess.

It was a long, hard day. The only thing that saved it was being able to take a selfies with a pumpkin that we will gladly sell you for $100. And we have 3 of these big bastards.

What the hell does one even do with that much pumpkin? 

Composting class

Mr B has a friend that is pretty knowledgeable about composting. This guy has invented a large-scale tumbling composter, and he’s found a freegan spool to make an even larger version of it for me.

I can’t reach all the way to the top. That’s how big this thing is!

Side note: this guy says we’re almost composting on an industrial scale, what with all that backdoor fruit my boss sends home with me. Whoa.

I got to pick his brain about composting. He says my compost heap stinks because it’s gone anaerobic.  It’s gone anaerobic because I haven’t been putting enough brown in it. Brown is stuff like sawdust, wood chips, rotten sticks. He and Mr B had some cellulose left over from one of their product testing experiments, and Mr B and I tossed it into my compost heap. I’ve been instructed to keep my ratio of brown to green roughly equal.

This morning, I went out and added some newspaper and egg cartons, toilet paper and paper towel cores, and plain brown paper from deer feed bags to the old compost heap and started a new one with our household compost bucket contents and more of the paper products.

Sunday, when I go to work, I guess I’ll be doing my boss a favor by cleaning up all of the wood chips all and bits of bark around his firewood stacks so I can at least start trying to match the amount of backdoor fruits & vegetables I bring home. 

How does your garden grow?

As I wandered around yesterday morning before work, I noticed some strange shit happening in my garden.

Something is disappearing my corn plants. 

We think it’s dogs. Mr B”s daughter’s new doberman puppy is snazzy as hell, and just romps around wherever the urge strikes him to go.

I also noticed that random shit is sprouting wherever it feels like sprouting.

I even have corn sprouting in my row of peas.

Like, I don’t even know what some of this shit is, because it looks like nothing we’ve tried to plant here since we started trying to grow our own food.

At least my pea plants are thriving.

I guess this random shit is sprouting from seeds of whatever backdoor food got tossed in the compost heap. It’s random, weird, and interesting all at once.

Part of me wants to just spread some compost around a patch of unsowed earth to see what springs up, but I really don’t have time for that. I’ve got Serrano peppers to deal with, peaches to deal with, pears to deal with, laundry to do, and a house to build. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Final note: my boss has returned home, safe & sound. He would probably still be trapped down there or even dead if it weren’t for the kindness of a stranger named Manuel who sheltered and fed my boss and then drove him home to Dallas when no rental cars could be found anywhere. Whoever & wherever you are, Manuel–thank you. You are a shining example of the best of humanity. #houstonstrong

Monumental peach jam?

My boss dropped over a bushel of peaches on me yesterday. The texture was off on them, so he asked me if I’d want to try to make anything out of them.

I had to send out a call for help, because there was no way they’d survive the day in my truck in the Texas heat, so I radio’d Mr B.  His sister lives near my work, so she agreed to put them in her very well air-conditioned house until I headed home.

Sunshine just shook his head as he helped me get them in the house.

I don’t blame him.

This morning,  I’ve been getting my shit together to do something with all of these peaches.

I’ve got plans for some peach syrup, some vanilla peach jam, and possibly some canned peaches.

Mr B was gracious enough to come help me get the peaches peeled and sliced.

We got through about half of them before we started running out of containers and counter space. I need a real kitchen desperately! 

I’m now in the early stages of making syrup. After that, jam. Then canned peaches, if I have the energy. I do have a full day of work tomorrow,  after all is said and done today. 

I’m keeping usable food out of the landfill, and I’m using all parts of the peaches. The skins and pits are being used to make the peach syrup.  The small bits and mushy bits are going into the jam. The firm bits will be canned. If I have the energy, that is. This is a lot of fucking peaches. When I’m done for the day, everything unused (or left over) will go into our compost heap.

It’s going to be a long day. Wish me luck!