Wild Plum Harvest

This is the time when the wild plums are dripping from the branches.  They are tart, glowing and fragrant.  Some trees bear large fruits, some small.  Some are red and some are yellow.  It is interesting to taste each tree’s offering, getting a different mix of sweet, tart, and bitter plum flavor with each one. …

Eating Weeds

Anyone who has known me from childhood will remember that gathering and eating weeds has always been something I’ve done.  I would run all over our apartment complex, finding edible plants to make picnics and feasts for my friends and family – and I still do!  This time of year some of my favorite edible…

The Tadpoles

We are expecting goat babies to be born any day now, but in the meantime, there have been thousands of unanticipated babies that appeared last week. Last Friday we had friends out to the farm.  The weather was so sticky and hot, we filled up a huge galvanized water trough for the kids to splash…

Wolves

This weekend we got some much-needed work done of re-locating Ethan’s junk pile (for the third, and hopefully, last time).  We came across these interesting creatures. The top one is a Rosy Wolf Snail – a predatory snail that eats other snails.  It was the largest snail I’ve seen in Florida – although nothing special…

The Snapping Turtle

    On Saturday we went to the BugFest put on by the UF Entomology department.  They had cockroach races, an arthropod petting zoo, beautiful specimens displayed, all kinds of food made with bugs to taste.  We had a good time, but the best thing was the huge snapping turtle we found in the parking…

Planting Potatoes And Sharing Beans

This morning my great uncle called.  Years ago he had passed along a bag of long beans that he had grown.  He originally got the seeds from my great-grandfather, and has been growing them ever since.  He was calling because his basement was repainted last fall, and in the muddle of re-painting, his collection of…

Signs and Portents

This is gruesome…but an interesting story.  Ethan had dropped me and the girls off at the gate on the way in to the farm, because they like to walk along and look at Star’s piglets.  They were lingering, loitering, moving very slowly, and I had a lot I wanted to get done, so I ran…

Nature Finds: Autumn Bugs

  A mama green lynx spider…. And on the other side you can see all her babies. Furious fire ants. A centipede…I see lots of milipedes of different sizes, but hardly ever a centipede. Mating wheel bugs.  You can see the wheel on their backs.  These are predatory insects, so I am very happy to…

Nature Finds: Insect Life Autumn Jambore

Giant millipedes mating in the path.  Get a room, you guys!   A daddy-long-legs orygy?  Where are the mama-long-legs? This little guy looks up to no good…. This past week I did a presentation on Sustainable Agriculture for my mom’s college class.  Just like last time, it made me lose hope for humanity a little…

Nature Finds: Spring Things

The insects and animals have been popping up all over the farm, busy, busy, busy.  In the very warm and wet spring weather we’ve had, mushrooms are sprouting up all over.  I had never seen this lovely, curly oyster mushroom look-alike.  They are all over where the hay bale was on the first line. A…

Nature Finds: Spring

 Spring is really here – a little late this year (for Florida).  Many of the plums have finished blooming in town, but the Chickasaw plum in the garden just burst into flower.  Even the shy dogwoods are white in the woods.    The late-blooming blueberries are now covered in flowers.  The bushes are so tall now…

Nature Finds: Bagworm and Wingless Moth

The insect life has mostly been hunkering down and hiding through the cold spells (which have been very long this year), but the slightly warming weather has brought a few cool nature finds out of the woodworks. The first photo was easy – it’s a bagworm.  I love the way they make their cocoons from…