Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Florida Dreaming

mustang bobby hibiscus
From faithful morning commentor Mustang Bobby:

It might be cruel to remind readers in the grip of ice and snow that there are places where it’s still sunny and warm, but here are a couple of photos of what I have growing around my house in South Florida.

I have several hibiscus around the house, and they are putting out blooms year-round. They are maintenance-free, although I had a friend suggest I up the iron content in the soil because some of the blossoms look a little pale. I have a black thumb when it comes to gardening – I can kill a geranium – so I have been passive about doing anything that might harm innocent foliage. In my defense I do have two potted philodendron, including one I got for my thirtieth birthday, so it is now 32 years old and still going.

mustang bobby yellow orchid

I have some orchids, too. They grow wild here in this part of Florida, and the best thing I do for them is hang them in the branches of the hibiscus where they get the right amount of sun and rain. I have two vanda; one with purple flowers and one that is called a “chili pepper” because the blooms resemble the red peppers. I also have a dendrobium that I won at a car show at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden last spring that is working on its second bloom and one that is called a butterfly orchid because of the shape of its bloom. I am sure there are Latin names for them, but I have no idea what they are. I just really like them.

Mustang Bobby
barkbarkwoofwoof.com

mustang bobby pink orchid






89 replies
  1. 1
    Amir Khalid says:

    Bobby Mustang? Surely you mean Mustang Bobby.

  2. 2
    Morzer says:

    I hope people won’t mind my dropping a link here which is somewhat related to gardens as a section of the environment. It’s a distinctly unenthused review of Jim Webb’s positions on environmental issues, which might be worth adding in to our discussion of him a little while back:

    http://grist.org/politics/jim-.....te-change/

    Webb is not so much a progressive as a populist — an angry white man who took a left turn on issues of economic justice. The appeal of that to certain parts of the electorate is easy to recognize. But nothing in his record suggests any particular commitment to protecting the environment and public health. And on climate change, by far the most monumental environmental issue, Webb may be little better than the Republican Party to which he once belonged.

    Anyway, I imagine the local posse of vitriolic jackals will make up their own minds.

  3. 3
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Amir Khalid: D’oh! — Fixed, thanks!

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Fwck you Bobby, and the hibiscus you growed in on. :-)

  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just about done cleaning up the veggie garden. I want to get some manure and spread it in the next couple weeks so it can compost over the winter. Gonna build a couple of flower beds at the end of my drive for some Dutch Irises and… Something else, haven’t decided yet.

    I was going to put in a small pond and water garden this winter but all the news*** on chickens has pushed me over the edge and I have decided I am going to start raising them. Mostly for meat but as long as I am dealing with them I might as well keep a few hens for eggs. So now I will have to build a coop and a fenced in run for them.

    I bought Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, as a primer and need to decide on how many I want to start with this year before I can even begin on the coop. I’m thinking 26 meat birds to start with, which if all survived would be a bird every other week, but I don’t want to overload myself on the first try.

    The down side of all this is chicken sh!t. I keep telling myself “Free fertilizer!” but I once spent a season working on a ranch in Wyoming and the job I hated most was cleaning out the chicken coop. 3 and a half decades later the memory of the burn of chicken shit in my nostrils has not faded one bit. Oh well…. FREE FERTILIZER!!!

    *** the news if you haven’t heard is twofold: 1, the USDA is reducing the number of federally employed inspectors at processing plants from 1 for every processing line, to one for every plant. The plant employees will be inspecting the meat themselves. Chicken processors expect to be able to speed up the lines from 70 birds per minute to as many as 175 per minute.

    The 2nd news is that the USDA has approved the shipping of chickens to China for processing and then having them shipped back. Can you say “baby formula”?

  8. 8
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Burnin and stirrin never leaves you.

  9. 9
    PurpleGirl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I remember the live chicken place that was on Broadway (in Astoria) years ago. I think I may need to investigate the halal chicken market over by Skillman Ave. It may be safer in the future to buy chicken there.

  10. 10

    Thank you, Anne, and the same to you, Ozarkhillbilly @ #4 (with love).

    The chili pepper is putting out a second round of blooms this weekend; the photo up top is from right after I got it in September. That’s a good sign; it likes being where it is and it’s telling the bees to come hither. This confirms my gardening plan: ignore them and they’ll grow away…

  11. 11
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Fer sure.

    @PurpleGirl: If that were an option for me, I would.

  12. 12
    satby says:

    Mustang Bobby, beautiful flowers! I only appreciate the southern part of Florida in the dead of winter when the temps there are more moderate, but I do envy the idea of wild orchids.

  13. 13
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: is the USDA action another result of perpetual underfunding by Congress? I hadn’t heard that, but now I’m contemplating a return to vegetarianism.

  14. 14
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: I have not read an explanation for the move but can think of no other plausible reason.

  15. 15
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: For a more thorough, accurate, and complete explanation of the new regs you can read this from Law360.

    There are some exceptions to the maximum birds per minute rules (most are limited to 140 BPM) and there are other changes that are actually good: “Specifically, establishments must develop, implement and maintain written procedures in their HACCPs and SOPs to ensure that they are testing samples for enteric pathogens both before and after birds enter a chill tank, where they are commingled with other carcasses”. Presently, testing only begins after contamination is discovered (like when someone dies from salmonella).

    I just got done reading it and I still think they are putting the fox in charge of the hen house, but it is not quite as bad as originally reported.

  16. 16
    chopper says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Thing is, if yer raisin meat birds you’ll need a lot of em. Egg layers, only a few’ll do.

  17. 17
    HRA says:

    Thank you for the photos of the gorgeous blooms. It brings a ray of sunshine after this week of recuperating from our most major snowfall during a very short period of time here in WNY. Now we are waiting to see if the higher temperatures will bring on the floods. You all have a great day and week.

  18. 18
    chopper says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Also there are some ways of running a coop that minimize the shit stink. Maybe deep litter could work for you.

  19. 19
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That has to be the story behind the spam I got last night from Laissez Faire Club. It read in part:

    Get ready.
    Because a major scandal has broken.

    It has to do with what we believe to be a conspiracy between the U.S. government and some of the biggest food producers in America.

    This topic of this story is so controversial, Fox News banned a story on it from being aired… and fired the two reporters who covered it.

    If you’re happy with the president, do not watch this presentation.

    It’s so serious that many will look to IMPEACH Obama for what he’s done.

    This could be the one that finally brings him down.

    It amused me because of the “Fox News covers for the president” angle.

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    Chicken processors expect to be able to speed up the lines from 70 birds per minute to as many as 175 per minute.

    Efficiency!

    I say this doesn’t go far enough. Why can’t we just have the chickens self-report when they are diseased? Say NO to jack-booted chicken inspectors.

  21. 21
    Baud says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    Yes, because the Laissez Faire Club is a trusted source for information on the issue of government underregulation.

  22. 22
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @chopper: Yeah I know, but I want to start out slow. No matter what, 1 bird per week is a max for the wife and I so 52 is the max birds I need to successfully raise. As to the layers, if I’m going to have chickens, I might as well get fresh eggs out of the deal.

    @chopper: Yeah, I know and that is what I have to figure out. On that ranch I cleaned out the coop once every 3-4 weeks IIRC, way too long. I’ve already decided that every wall will be hinged so I can always work upwind.

    This is a long term project for me, so investing the money to do it right doesn’t bother me, but I do want to minimize the adjustments as time goes on and I figure things out.

    Going to work today, so ya’ll have fun and be safe out there.

  23. 23
    Schlemazel says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    In other news: People will soon be stunned by the sharp rise in salmonella outbreaks around the country. The outbreaks will be blamed, of course, on poor sanitation practices in the kitchen.

    Anyone else notice that most chickens today have a spongy texture? Thats due to their being soaked in a bleach water bath during processing in order to minimize the diseases spread by the shitty (literally) processing done. In addition to destroying the texture of the meat it adds weight to the hen so they can charge you for water. If the label says “retained water” or “adsorbed water” it has been soaked in filthy bleach water and some absorb as much as 12% of their body weight. YUMM-O

  24. 24
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud:

    Why can’t we just have the chickens self-report when they are diseased? Say NO to jack-booted chicken inspectors.

    And I get to start my day with a laugh!

  25. 25
    Schlemazel says:

    I spent a couple years on a farm during my youth & had the opportunity to process chickens for the freezer. Never had to deal with cleaning any coops but the memory of the ordeal of killing and plucking a couple dozen hens in the hot sun, getting ‘tarred and feathered’ in the process and attacked by flies is enough to make me unexcited at the thought of doing it again. But the way the meat business is going it may be that or vegetarianism which I have also done in stretches.

  26. 26
    Tommy says:

    I just got and unpacked my first package (should have taken a few pics in hindsight) from Blue Apron. I asked in a few comments here if anybody had used this service or others, and pretty much what I got back was no, that looks really cool, expensive but let us know.

    Blue Apron is a subscription service where they send you weekly fresh, organic foods, based off a specific menu, that you cook (they included very cool instructions, step-by-step guides). On the menu this week is:

    Croque Monsieur-Style Sandwiches with Bacon, Radish & Little Gem Lettuce Salad

    Yuzu Kosho-Glazed Chicken Drumsticks with Shiitake Mushrooms, Turnip & Rice Salad

    Seared Hake with Melted Leeks & Fingerling Potatoes

    I ordered the service because first off, I got a 50% discount via coupon code from Lifehacker. Also I love cooking and am a foodie. I like where I live, but southern Illinois is not DC (lived there 15+ years). I used to shop at Eastern Market and Freshfields. I got no Eastern Market and it would be about a 100 mile round trip to get to a Freshfields.

    OK, clearly not cooked anything yet, but I am frankly stunned. Blown away as I pulled each item out of the box. As I pulled out and looked at each item I couldn’t believe I got it in the mail. It was almost like, no I guess it is exactly like, I had a personal shopper walk down the aisles of Freshfields and put together meals for me.

    From pics on the site they make it look like every item is vacuum sealed, which didn’t seem that “great” nor “green” to me. Nope. Sure the meat/fish is. Cheeses. A few of the rices and herbs. The potatoes, mushrooms, lemons, a thing or two I don’t know the name for, are straight-up just fresh produce like you buy it in a store. Not sealed at all.

    Again, I am blown away. As I typed this I’ve walked back to my fridge a few times just to look at how nice it now looks :).

    Now there are issues with the service. You can only order for 2 or 4 people. Meals are $20.00 each ($9.99/person) without their intro offer I got. You can only get 3 meals per week. I’d like a single person option. Seems a dude like myself would be right in their “wheelhouse.” Single. No kids. Makes a pretty good living. Likes cooking. But also busy. Going back and forth with their VP of Communications on this via email, doesn’t seem this will change anytime soon (assume business model is complex). And why can’t I order meals for each day of the week, or at least five?

    Using PMA. Positive Mental Attitude to deal with these “issues.” So I have to cook for two when their is only me, well I will have lunch the next day :). And I’ve lived 25 years on my own and not starved yet shopping and cooking for myself yet, so even if I start to use this service weekly, well I can make it on my own.

    But I can’t stress there is nothing I both enjoy but hate more than shopping for food. I tend to like very fresh food, so I shop for food 2 and at times 3 times a week. Each time, because I have to drive almost 40 mile round trip to a “good” grocery store (not a national chain or Wal-mart Superstore), is two plus hours of my time. I charge clients $150/hour. I in fact do view my time as money.

    Or put another way, with a few changes, I want this service to work!

  27. 27
    Tommy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I can’t get my city to talk to me. I have an area of my house, that when I bought it had this terrible old metal shed. I tore it down. But it would be like the perfect place for chickens. The lady that lives behind me is a hippie liberal like myself. We have talked in detail and agreed we’d do it together. But alas I feel like I need the OK from the city. I’ve written and called them and can’t get a “yes” or “no.”

  28. 28
    Wayne says:

    @Mustang Bobby: Morning Mustang from Palmetto Bay. While walking the dogs this morning in shorts and tee shirt I was confused by the yellow light from the east. Maybe we can meet at a car show.

  29. 29
    Hunter says:

    You “butterfly orchid” is an Oncidium, probably Oncidium papilio, which does have a pure yellow form.

    The Vanda is certainly a hybrid — the flowers of the species aren’t usually that full.

    Gods, I miss my orchids! Had to give up my collection a number of years ago when I moved into a space that couldn’t accommodate it. I envy you being able to grow them outdoors.

  30. 30
    Elizabelle says:

    @Tommy:

    I say go full metal backyard chicken, and you will hear from the city. If they cite you, you can share your log of repeated attempts to clarify the situation.

    Blue Apron’s a great concept. A little pricey for me, but I can see where they have a market with others. (Besides which, lots of groceries, specialty stores, and farmer’s markets near me. If not, they would be more of a bargain.)

    And they’re kind enough to share recipes. Their online cookbook on site.

  31. 31
    Elizabelle says:

    @Tommy:

    Did you see our discussion, maybe 7-10 days ago, about your beloved Silver Moon Cafe in Baton Rouge?

    It burned down a few years ago, but Mama Seabell’s written a cookbook. We’re waiting to hear when more copies become available.

    Fort Geek is on the cookbook hunt.

  32. 32
    Josie says:

    @Tommy: Cities I have lived in have municipal codes that address how many and what types of animals you can have in the city limits. Some will be forbidden; others have to be housed a certain distance from human habitation. If you look online at your city’s website, maybe the municipal codes will be included there.

  33. 33

    @Wayne: That would be great. Drop me a note via the blog.

  34. 34
    Morzer says:

    Well, unlike you Socialist Kenyan Vegetabalians, I only eat chickens that the invisible hand has personally strangled, plucked, gutted and anointed with essence of Reagan before grilling them over a free market fire provided by self-chopping libertarian trees.

  35. 35
    Tommy says:

    @Elizabelle: Blue Apron is pricey for me as well Elizabelle. Without the discount, it is going to be $60 for three meals. I can cook some amazing stuff for $20/meal. My gut is it is something I’ll do every month or two for a “change of pace.” They tell you the menus ahead of time and at any time you can choose not to receive the package.

    As for the chickens. We got a game plan. Start going to the City Council meetings and just complain. We know what is going on. It is just nobody knows because it is the first time somebody asked. We are also going to talk to all the people that live around us and get their buy in. And push. Technically I live in an unincorporated part of town. Not even sure they could tell us “no” but as OzarkHillbilly noted it will take time, effort, and money to do. We’d like to know we won’t get shut down.

  36. 36
    max says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yeah, I know and that is what I have to figure out. On that ranch I cleaned out the coop once every 3-4 weeks IIRC, way too long. I’ve already decided that every wall will be hinged so I can always work upwind.

    Yeah, as a veteran of shoveling tons and tons of horseshit, I’d think you’d want to clean it at least once a week to reduce fermentation which should reduce the smell. If I was doing it, I’d think about getting some of that thick sheet plastic (at least 6 mil) and laying it out in disposable (or washable) sheets so it could be simply pulled out if possible. (You’d have to rely on laying the support beam along the perimeter of the coop so as to make it easy to lay sheets.

    Also I’d think I’d start off by letting the hens age and then picking them off fairly slowly when they get old and tough – old hens make great (and tasty) stewing chickens precisely because they’re tough. (You’d have to special order them at the butcher to get them otherwise these days.)

    I have three or four days of non-freezing weather so a bunch of plants are going to be have to hauled outside. I can’t get the mower out without moving them anyways, and I need to suck up the leaves for my compost pile.

    max
    [‘Winter sucks.’]

  37. 37
    NotMax says:

    @Schlemazel

    In other news: People will soon be stunned by the sharp rise in salmonella outbreaks around the country.

    Not too much, so long as the birds are handled and cooked properly. Industrially processed chicken should be treated by the purchaser/cook as if it carries salmonella, regardless (and chances better than even that it does already).

    Not a big market in this country for chicken sashimi.

  38. 38
    Tommy says:

    @Elizabelle: No I didn’t see that. So sad. Some of the better meals I’ve ever had in my life where at the Silver Moon.

    @Josie: That is the only reg on the books we are aware of. Number of animals. It is in fact three. I know that because the people that live behind me to the left got thrown out of their house. Had something like 15 dogs. They let the house go, lived in terrible conditions I hear. I didn’t call the police/city, but clearly somebody did. But I think it was the conditions more than the number.

  39. 39
    NotMax says:

    @Tommy

    First blush is that it sounds a lot like those record clubs from which it was next to impossible to extricate oneself. Plus my natural untrammeled skepticism looks askance at the handling and condition of the packages once in the hands of the shipper.

    But then again, I’m an oddity in that average around $25 per week on food, and eat quite well.

  40. 40
    Poopyman says:

    @Tommy:

    Technically I live in an unincorporated part of town.

    Then no, they can’t tell you what to do. Look for the regs at the next (township? County?) govt level.

  41. 41
    tybee says:

    @Tommy:

    if you live in an unincorporated area, it’s the county gummint you need to be annoying, not the city.

    and beaten to it by poopy. :)

  42. 42
    Tommy says:

    @NotMax: It feels a little like that. I only wanted the first package to see if I liked it. Somehow because of Thanksgiving, I couldn’t opt out of the second because the delivery date was Tuesday and not Thursday. It is on me to opt-out. Seems the better way would be to opt-in, choose to get a shipment. But I assume they make more than a few sales for people that don’t do this.

    As for $25 week in food. Wow. I spent under a $100 easy and eat well. Not sure I could go to $25.

  43. 43
    Tommy says:

    @tybee: I guess I am stupid, but didn’t know that.

  44. 44
    MazeDancer says:

    Gorgeous flowers. Florida has its lovely aspects, weather prominent among them. My wimpy inability to live outside the bluest of blue states has its drawbacks sometimes.

    Because industrialized chickens lead such cruel, miserable lives, I have long sought chickens who have been raised in happy conditions and had as Mark Bittman puts it, “one bad day”. In your bluest of blue states, finding ready-to-cook local chickens is not difficult.

    But recently, I have discovered “Happy Chickens” whose lives were so happy their taste is at a level of delicious even I, an experienced happy chicken consumer, have never experienced. Here is the current blog of that farm if anyone raising chickens would like to browse their philosophy and practices in their early archives: http://reisenshinefarm.blogspot.com/ (Scroll down for viewing some happy pigs as well.)

    The farmer is a former leftie activist, so you will not find any politics you don’t like, either.

    Yesterday, I cooked a breast of one of their Happy Turkeys. Transcendentally spectacular. Apparently treating your livestock with care and respect really matters on every level. Truly, I had no idea, even after years of eating “Happy Chickens”, there was even more delicious and “happier” chicken possible. Yes, it’s pricey, but we all get to decide where we’ll focus our spending.

    Raising and harvesting your own meat is a noble and wise thing to do. (And the free fertilizer is good, too.)

  45. 45
    Josie says:

    @Tommy: Usually the regulations distinguish between domestic animals (cats, dogs) and farm animals (chickens, goats, etc.). I know this because I researched it carefully in preparation for raising chickens in the near future. Then check the next organization up from city – what Poopyman said. I think you are correct in thinking it is the mess that gets you cited. If you run a clean operation, no one will have reason to complain. Good luck.

  46. 46
    satby says:

    @NotMax: I’m in that camp too, but a balance of locavore because I’m in farm country and making everything from scratch means $25 / week (for me, the animals cost $50) is plenty. For instance, tonight I’m having the curried pumpkin someone mentioned last week, with a nice red wine and either pumpkin brulee or banana bread for dessert.
    Pretty luxe… but you have to like pumpkin ;)

  47. 47
    Poopyman says:

    @Tommy: The one surefire way to determine who to talk to is to check your tax bill to see who at the local level you’re giving your money.

    It’s always about the money.

  48. 48
    Big ole hound says:

    @Tommy: FYI my city= 6 hens or less and no roosters (noise), so eggs for personal consumption only.

  49. 49
    Tommy says:

    @Josie: The regs don’t reference the difference between a domestic or farm animal. Three total is all it says. That is where we are confused. I think why they are confused. As I said in about my first comment about this they don’t know because nobody has asked before.

  50. 50
    NotMax says:

    @Tommy

    Purposely used the word oddity in describing my food costs, as the last time I ate breakfast or lunch was 1964. (That’s not to say don’t occasionally have what would more traditionally be fare served at breakfast or lunch for a dinner meal.)

    Strictly personal choice. I joke that it is the vampire diet, as don’t eat anything until dark.

  51. 51
    Mike E says:

    My govt here in the capital city is a strange amalgam of muni, county and state…the Hagan FAIL election here had a bright upside of a local Dem wave that rinsed out all the Repubs from the county commission, and institutional obstruction can theoretical be lifted: General Assembly may stay out of our bidniss since there’s nobody here to provide cover; the G.A. is incompetent; they bit off more than they can chew in the last couple of sessions and saner judiciary is set to clock in; and, we’re a shining economic engine that McCrory wants/needs for gettin’ reelected.

    Of course, the rest of the state is screwed :-(

    eta moar clarity

  52. 52
    NotMax says:

    @satby

    Good on you, and nice to hear that. Have a killer diller recipe for curried eggplant (make a big pot, as it gets better and better each day) if you’re at all interested. Yummylicious over rice.

  53. 53
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mike E: I used to go there for business when Wake County was dry.

  54. 54
    NotMax says:

    @Mike E

    One thing unique to the state of Hawaii is that, while there are towns and villages and such, there is no government whatsoever below the county level.

    Each viable county* is headed by a mayor.

    *Put it that way because there are outliers like the former Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) colony at Kalaupapa which is technically its own county but for political purposes is folded into the larger surrounding area.

  55. 55
    Tommy says:

    @NotMax: Brother in arms here. I don’t ever eat breakfast. Lunch rare, and if so late in the afternoon and more of a snack. Big dinner. It has been that way for 20+ years. I might steal “vampire diet” as my own.

    As for your other comment you have for dinner what others would have for breakfast, that is kind of my point of wanting to raise some chickens. I eat many nights a nice veggie omelet and some hashbrowns as dinner. Makes me happy. Like to get them out of my backyard.

  56. 56
    MomSense says:

    @MazeDancer:

    I’m really spoiled because I can cross the neighbor’s side yard and take the path through the woods to the farm and buy eggs hot from one of their “wandering hens”. They provide my vegetables and I could also order lamb, chicken, and duck. I wish I had more space at my house because I would get some chickens just to eat the damned ticks.

  57. 57
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @MazeDancer: The farmer is a former leftie activist, so you will not find any politics you don’t like, either.

    But neither will you find any clue as to where he is located.

  58. 58
    satby says:

    @NotMax: I would be, I love curry!

  59. 59
    Mike E says:

    @Gin & Tonic: They’re still out there, but dwindling. Charlotte/Mecklenburg is coming up on their 30th anniversary of allowing “liquor by the glass”…less than 20 years ago somebody actually said to me, “We don’t take kindly to strangers in Stanley Co.” They’re no longer dry, which makes the moonshiners just shrug their shoulders.

  60. 60
    NotMax says:

    @satby

    Easy peasy. Was fairly certain has posted it previously. Turns out was correct.

    Enjoy!

  61. 61
    Mike E says:

    @NotMax: State govt intervened here in city/co. jurisdictions when local voters or councils wouldn’t let privateers take over a water supply (Asheville) and an airport (Charlotte). The G.A. has a veto proof Repub majority.

    Thank god for the judiciary.

  62. 62
    Corner Stone says:

    @NotMax: That’s about $3.50 per meal. Either you eat a lot of cheap rice or a majority of the vegetables are homegrown. Or both.
    As a guess, what percentage would you say is grown by you or some kind of communal effort?

    I have weeks here and there where it would average out at under $50 for just me, but not sure I’ve been around $25 for a long time.

  63. 63
    Corner Stone says:

    @MomSense:

    I would get some chickens just to eat the damned ticks.

    I’m sure this was an autocorrect misfire, but just in case I am missing something?

  64. 64
    NotMax says:

    @Mike E

    The county government here seems like the ultimate in both petty and abysmal.

    Until one looks at the state government.

    :)

  65. 65
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mike E:

    wouldn’t let privateers take over a water supply

    Probably just wanted the water supply to see if they could reclaim the pollutants back out of it.

  66. 66
    Corner Stone says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    The 2nd news is that the USDA has approved the shipping of chickens to China for processing and then having them shipped back.

    I think you said you were headed out, but does anyone else know how in the holy hell it can be cheaper to ship chickens to China and back than process here?
    It can’t be due to absent codes or regulations in China facilities lowering the cost below those in the USA? They essentially run a phantom no regulations industry right here and now.

  67. 67
    WereBear says:

    We get our eggs from a local farm because happy hens make much better eggs.

    I’ve lived on rice and beans but these days it would tip me into diabetes and that’s a lot more expensive.

  68. 68
    Corner Stone says:

    @Schlemazel:

    If the label says “retained water” or “adsorbed water” it has been soaked in filthy bleach water and some absorb as much as 12% of their body weight.

    Oh, that sounds freakin’ lovely, thanks. I’ve gotten where I just about can’t buy chicken anymore. I know any of the processing of meat or poultry these days is out of control, so it’s not just chicken. But the prices are astro-freakin-nomical for chicken these days. I’d almost always rather buy a “good” cut of beef from the manager’s specials bin than pay the same or more for a pack of chicken.

  69. 69
    NotMax says:

    @Corner Stone

    As a guess, what percentage would you say is grown by you or some kind of communal effort?

    No need to guess. Zero.

    Trick (if that’s what it is) is that I’m one of those folks who has no problem with eating the same thing for many days in a row (I really enjoy my own cooking).

    And I don’t generally eat deserts.

    Neglected to mention that nearly every Saturday I go out for a free meal at our little social group’s weekly gathering, so the weekly cost is really for six days. However, I do cook for the group from time to time as well (but don’t include that in the weekly personal budget costs, as that is cooking a full meal for from 12 to 16 people).

  70. 70
    MazeDancer says:

    @MomSense:

    Chickens eating insects is another excellent “free” by-product. Chickens can also be quite cute. Especially the colorful unusual breeds. Which is not necessarily a good “by-product” if meat is your goal.

    Gin & Tonic:
    They’re relocating to a farm in even more upstate-r NY. Post on one generation of farmers passing farm to another: http://reisenshinefarm.blogspo.....oving.html

    The non-existent search function is a downside of that blog. (I had to use Google and direct it to the site for learning things I wanted to know about chicken life.)

  71. 71
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    That should be desserts. Although as a rule I don’t eat deserts either.

  72. 72
    Corner Stone says:

    @MazeDancer: Ah, chickens so they can eat the ticks in the area.
    We don’t have that around here so no connection occurred to me.
    Thanks

  73. 73
    Steeplejack says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Had to go to the Google to find that his farm is in Copake, New York.

  74. 74
    Schlemazel says:

    @NotMax:
    There have already been large outbreaks in the US & as processing gets shittier & shittier there will be more. You don’t need to eat it raw. These outbreaks were much less frequent when chicken was inspected and processing was not done at speeds designed to destroy workers.

  75. 75
    WereBear says:

    @Schlemazel: It’s my theory that they are driving down the price of food-like substances to let people avoid the reality that they are getting paid very little.

  76. 76
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Recently l mentioned here that Red Lobster had just opened in KL. There ensued a conversation about where the KL outlet sources its seafood, and among the possibilities mentioned was that the seafood is caught in the US, flown to China for processing, flown back to the US for packaging, and flown to Malaysia (where we already have plenty of fish) to be turned into mediocre seafood for the local petite-bourgeoisie. Yay global economy.

  77. 77
    Corner Stone says:

    @Amir Khalid: Around here an entree at RL is roughly between $10 to $15 USD. What spectrum does it run there?

  78. 78
    NotMax says:

    @Amir Khalid

    Fro whatever boneheaded reason, some time back Red Lobster chose to open the largest eatery in their franchise here, seating over 800.

    Needless to say, did not stay in business long.

    No soaring praises nor deadly putdowns on the food, as only ate there once. However, as it was a group of maybe 20 who decided on the spur of the moment to go there after an art opening by one of us (Red Lobster was only several steps down the street from where the art show was being held), it was nice to be seated immediately sans reservations. Place was maybe one-fifth filled.

  79. 79
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Steeplejack: Thanks. I actually know that area pretty well.

  80. 80
    ruemara says:

    @Tommy: That’s why they aren’t answering. You need to go in person to the county seat, talk to someone in planning and get either a code breakdown or submit a question to your county supervisors meeting. Since you’re unincorporated and your neighbor would be ok with a joint project, you’re halfway to your own flock already. Decide on birds, type of coop and if these guys are going to help you garden. Work out a plan in writing before you head to the county offices. They can answer what looks illegal faster than they can determine what to do for issues they haven’t had before. 7 years watching local government have not gone to waste.

  81. 81
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Corner Stone:
    This is the review on the hungrygowhere website that l linked to. At about RM3.20 to US$1, you’ll see from the second paragraph that their prices here are pretty steep.

  82. 82
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @NotMax: An operation that never made any sense situated close to salt water.

  83. 83
    Corner Stone says:

    @Amir Khalid: The reviewer didn’t seem to care for the experience. What’s funny is that from the pictures, it looks just like the sort of offering I saw the last time I was at a local RL, years ago. Why I haven’t been back.

  84. 84
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Corner Stone:
    All the American commenters said exactly the same thing. It’s only one train stop from where I live, but I don’t think I’ll bother going. I just wonder how come it’s a success anywhere.

  85. 85
    Newdealfarmgrrrlll says:

    Beautiful orchids! I am consumed with zone envy. Although, I am really enjoying the winter birds foraging in the withered remains of my native-plant rain garden. I have a feeder station set up on the far side of the garden; it’s fun to see certain types of birds only willing to eat what has fallen/bounced into the shelter of tangled stems.

    In other news, putting pine cones in my pots of rosemary I’m attempting to overwinter lasted three days as a cat deterrent. The rascals decided pinecones make a Preferred Toy. So now the plants have moved to a wire shelf in front of a south window; each shelf is barricaded with wire grids that Teh Kittehs haven’t defeated … yet.

  86. 86
    Corner Stone says:

    @Amir Khalid: You may or may not be aware, but the story of RL is a typical one of American chain restaurant “success”.
    When I was much younger going to RL was a treat. Like put on your best jeans and comb your hair, your uncle’s taking us all to RL for his birthday. For working class, lower middle class, those groups, RL was something you saved up for and enjoyed the experience. Because the food was actually pretty good.
    Then to make a long story short, they fell victim to their success, over-expanded, the MBA culture took over through several re-orgs and a bankruptcy, and they now serve Long John Silver (a very greasy low quality “seafood” fast food chain) type offerings, except on prettier plates with perky youngsters dropping off your biscuits. Which, I have to say, I used to really enjoy.
    But the one in my area seems to stay fairly busy, just like the Olive Garden and Johnny Carino’s (sp). So, I guess, what do I know?

  87. 87
    Elizabelle says:

    @NotMax:

    Unhand that recipe for curried eggplant. Yum.

    PS: I recorded Larceny, Inc. and a bunch of stuff on TCM. They have a Hitchcock Day coming up; think it’s this Wednesday. Recorded last night’s Dario Argento movie too. Have never seen any of his stuff. TCM does some cool overnight programming.

  88. 88
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Argento is okay. He’s not one of my favorites — he tends a little more towards the “torture porn” philosophy of horror movies than I like.

    I prefer Argento’s mentor, Mario Bava. Try Black Sabbath or Black Sunday — they should be fairly easy to find on DVD.

  89. 89
    dance around in your bones says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Chickens are cool. Just ask Betty Cracker!

    I think I told a story here once about living on a big ol farm in San Diego, which had exactly 3 houses on the 3000 acres. Anyway, my girlfriend/neighbor and I built a chicken coop after failing to interest the guys in the project. Chickens have personalities! They never tried to rush your bum as you were bending over to spread their feed (like the fucking geese). Plus, they picked all around the yard and ate all the bugs and things they could find.

    Plus, my girlfriend had a window over her kitchen sink that looked over the chicken yard. She’d just toss leftovers out the window and boy howdy, did those chickens ever come running!

    We didn’t really eat THEM, only their eggs – which were muy delcioso, the best I’ve ever had.

    That China story and chicken processing thing sound awful. Gads.

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