At Home in Nature

  (Agate, Colorado)
TwoInTents Blog
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Heavy or light hay?

A small bale of hay is 50 gallons of material, and sometimes, due to moisture content, density or other quality factors, the weight of the bale may differ.  Like a bushel, a small bale is a volumetric assessment.  Thus, it is often better to get “heavy” bales than “light” ones, because you are getting more hay for your money.

However, heavy bales are typically sold for more than light bales and the farmer who is buying hay must often do a per-pound analysis instead of a volumetric analysis.  If a heavy bale weighing 75 pounds is sold for $10 and a light bale weighing 25 lbs is sold for $10, the buyer of the light bale is paying an additional $1.75 per pound for hay.

Green hay is rarely sold: hay is typically dried.  However, a premium on fresh hay ought to be paid because it provides better nutrition to your animals and you do not require as much green hay as you do dried hay.  Paying twice as much for green would usually not be unreasonable.  If you buy green hay, however, make sure that it is very fresh, and buy frequently.  Old green hay that is not stored properly will quickly mold or ferment, which is not healthy for your animals.

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Ladybugs!

Coccinellidae is a family of beetles, known variously as ladybirds (UK, Ireland, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Malta, some parts of Canada and the US), or ladybugs (North America). Scientists increasingly prefer the names ladybird beetles or lady beetles as these insects are not true bugs. Lesser-used names include ladyclock, lady cow, and lady fly.

Not all ladybugs are red (other common colors are orange or yellow), and not all of them have spots; those that have spots may have one, several, or many.  The number and shape of spots indicates which species of ladybug it is.  There are over 450 species of ladybugs in the U.S. alone.

There are lots of myths around the world about ladybugs and their spots. Some have said that it indicates how old they are (a new spot for every year of age).  If a ladybug lands on you in Brussels, the spots on that ladybug tells you how many children you will have. Many farmers around the world have believed that the spots on a ladybug tells the fortune of the next harvest, if there are less than seven spots, the harvest will be good. Some people believe that if a ladybug lands on you, you can count the spots and you will soon receive dollars in the same amount as the spots.

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Russian olives in bloom again

The sweet smell of Russian olives can be noticed again, and the delicious flowers are about to set…well, not very delicious fruit.  However, now’s the best time to enjoy them on your table!  If you like the flowers, and I sure do, now’s a good time for bouquets too.

So surprise someone you love, and make them a fresh wild bouquet! Russian olive flowers, picked as entire branches from the tree, go great in bouquets with grasses.  Try picking a variety of grasses for interest, and especially look for brome grass.  If you can find some so late in the season, add some lilac branches with their wonderfully scented flowers.  The purple lilac and yellow Russian olives are lovely together. 

If you like the smell of the Russian olives, you may want to consider also making scented goodies with the flowers.  You can use the flowers to infuse soaps, candles, and other products with its fragrance.

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Insomnia has 3 cluster predictability

About this time of year, farmers begin to sleep a little better.  No risk of frost!  But there are many reasons why people lose sleep.  Analysis of insomnia by Doctors Vallières, Ivers, Beaulieu-Bonneau and Morin in their “Predictability of sleep in patients with insomnia” (Sleep. 2011 May 1;34(5):609-17) indicates that a 3-cluster predictability exists for the disease, indicating at least 3 classes of insomnia.

The Doctors explain “daily sleep diaries were completed for an average of 48 days and self-reported questionnaires once. Three nights were spent in the sleep laboratory for polysomnographic (PSG) assessment. Sleep efficiency, sleep onset latency, wake after sleep onset, and total sleep time were derived from sleep diaries and PSG. Time-series diary data were used to compute conditional probabilities of having an insomnia night after 1, 2, or 3 consecutive insomnia night(s). Conditional probabilities were submitted to a k-means cluster analysis. A 3-cluster solution was retained. One cluster included 38 participants exhibiting an unpredictable insomnia pattern. Another included 30 participants with a low and decreasing probability to have an insomnia night. The last cluster included 49 participants exhibiting a high probability to have insomnia every night. Clusters differed on age, insomnia severity, and mental fatigue, and on subjective sleep variables, but not on PSG sleep variables,” and conclude that “these findings replicate our previous study and provide additional evidence that unpredictability is a less prevalent feature of insomnia than suggested previously in the literature. The presence of the 3 clusters is discussed in term of sleep perception and sleep homeostasis dysregulation.”

The National Sleep Foundation's 2002 Sleep in America poll showed that 58% of adults in the U.S. experienced symptoms of insomnia a few nights a week or more.  The causes of insomnia are numerous, ranging from second hand marijuana to physical defects of the brain, but this study presents a new take on this common illness by reducing the number of ways that the body reacts to insomnia – either with more insomnia or less insomnia. 

Le Menu (what's cookin'?)

NEWS FROM THE FARM AND RECIPES
What a wet week at the farm!  With an inch of water puddling everywhere, the geese and ducks are enjoying themselves tremendously.  They go from puddle to puddle, trying each one.  They like the one in front of our home best because there *was* lambsquarter growing there.  They've eaten all they can without removing themselves from the puddle, and now are content to dabble in the mud.
Mud is very important for animals: it is a major source of minerals, and helps improve the flavor and quality of their products.  Humans naturally eat quite a bit of soil, too.  The dust on your veggies is nature's multivitamin!  And yes, even after being washed 5 times, there's still quite a bit of dust on your veggies.
This week, definately try YUCCA FLOWERS!  They have a very short season, but are one of the best treats of the year.  We've been enjoying them with oil, but there really is no bad way to have them.  If you're adventurous, give the wild mushrooms a try.  Lambsquarter is quickly ripening into Quinoa, and this is a good week to try GREEN QUINOA.  The FLAX FLOWERS are also nearly out of season, give them a try! 
Happy trails!
 
LOOK FOR:
>>>> New items
> Old items
 
Give us a call or an email if you want samples!  Let us do the cooking...Prepared meals available.
 
-- GOODIES --
>>>> Tea Mix
>>>> Salad Mix
>>>> Edible flowers (Alfalfa, YUCCA)
> Pennycress
> Mushrooms from Amateur Mycology farm, wild mushroom hunter friends of ours (limited supply order early!): this week, try the Bernardi, Wild Portabello, Oyster and Morrel
> Olive Oil (imported from California - olives don't grow in Colorado, silly! We make sure there is no chemicals used, just like on our farm. It is very buttery oil, very sweet)
 > Sprouts - our own special method makes these tastier and more nutritious!
> Meat shares - from the Rev. Ronald Taylor's ranch.  These meats are from a neighbor of ours, he uses no hormones, and both grains and pastures the cows on natural feeds.  He raises holsteins.  In the hard economic times, he is adjusting his prices to allow microshares.  If there is more beef than expected, you can either pay the difference or return to him what you did not pay for! 
     * 1/2 Beef Share: $800 down, $4 per pound, plus share of processing
     * 1/4 Beef Share: $400 down, $4.50 per pound, plus share of processing
     * 1/8 Beef Share:  $200 down, $5 per pound, plus share of processing
      * 1/16 Beef Share: $100 down, $5.25 per pound, plus share of processing
       * 1/32 Beef Share: $50 down, $5.50 per pound, plus share of processing
 
-- VEGETABLES --
> Dandelion (also a blood cleanser herb)
> Fava greens (eat like chard, beet greens or pea greens)
>>>> Green Quinoa
> Lambsquarter
> Lettuce
> Linden (leaves) (very sweet, sugar substitute)
> Radishes
> Spinach
> Salsify (leaves and roots and flowers)
> Sprouts (pea, bean, sunflower)
> Thistle (also a liver support herb)
 
-- BEANS --
  > Black
  > Fava
  > Jacob’s Cattle
  > Pinto
  > Trout
 
-- GRAIN --
  > Barley
  > Oats
  > Sanfoin
  > Safflower
  > Sunflower (SEED)
  > Rye
  > Wheat
 > Quinoa (GREEN)
 
-- HERBS --
  > Juniper (BERRIES)
  > Catmint
  > Garlic (BABY)
  > Garlic (GREENS)
  > Garlic (WILD)
  > Wild Onion (limited availability)
 
-- MEDICINE AND TEA --
  > Aspen (LEAVES, BARK) (antiinflamatory, pain relief, fever treatment)
  > Flax (FLOWERS) (great tea!)
  > Poplar (LEAVES, BUDS, ROOTS) (antiinflamatoryz, pain relief, fever treatment)
  > Pine (REALLY great tea!) (high in vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals - drink your vegetables per day!)
  > Willow (LEAVES, BUDS, ROOTS) (antiinflamatory, pain relief, fever treatment)
  > Yarrow
  > Yucca (ROOT, FLOWERS)
 
-- ANIMAL FEEDS --
  > Two legs 
  > Four legs
  > Six legs
  > Eight legs (?!)  :::: )
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