Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Let the salt flow

How about we just not?
That little box marked "Sex M/F" is permanent:
President Trump announced early Wednesday on Twitter that the military will bar transgender people from serving “in any capacity,” citing “tremendous medical costs* and disruption.” 
The announcement, which did not say what would happen to transgender people already in the military, was met with immediate outrage from gender-rights advocates in the Bay Area and beyond.
Progressive are losing their minds, of course. Outrage, outrage, outrage. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But it's funny. These folks seldom bother to mask their contempt for our armed forces and the individual members thereof. Many campuses under their sway won't even allow the military to recruit there. But all of a sudden our brave soldiers in uniform are serving honorably in dangerous places to keeping us all safe.

Perhaps they are really only referring to the 15,000 or so sexually disoriented nutcases who are affected by Trump's decision.

Personally, I suspect the other 99.9% of the military personnel will be glad to excise that particular psychosexual drama from their workplace.

* If you enlisted primarily in hopes of getting a free addadiktomy, it's going to be a long four years.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sometimes papas just gotta proud

Daughter Chili is Willy Wonka
UPDATE: A Kekistani axes a good question:
wait ... this is a trans Willy Wonka?
Not precisely. Chili just turned out to be the best man for the job:
A big change to the story is the casting of Wonka as a female. Huffman said Jaley Hoyt turned out to capture the switches from content to maniacal most convincingly. 
“We’ve been at this for two months, and I still get goosebumps at how she plays the role,” Huffman said. “I’ve seen her in multiple productions, and I knew I could throw her a role not written for a woman and she could make it her own.”

Monday, July 17, 2017

Gee your hydrosol smells terrific

Not much to show for the effort
So I broke out the distiller the other night, intending to extract some essential oil from about a trash bag full of mint leaves that I trimmed back from the sidewalk.  After 90 minutes of boiling, I poured a half liter of oil and hydrosol into my separatory funnel and got ready to recover my well-deserved bounty.

I got literally one drop of oil.  Oh, there was a little more, smeared down the inner curves of the funnel. But that thin yellow line is what I started with, and what I ended with was nothing.

After some research, I think I discovered the reason: I should have done the research first.

Basically, I just stuffed as many mint leaves as I could into the pot, added a gallon of water, and set to boiling. It made steam, sure, and hydrosol as well.*  But it didn't really extract the oil.  It just made a really nice mint leaf soup that I used to mulch some peppers.

And I suspect the reason for this is that I should have kept the leaves above the water, so rather than boiling water removing the oil, the steam would pick it up as it passed through the leaves. That's what they did in a video that I watched after receiving nothing but experience for my efforts.

So as soon as I find or make an insert that will keep the leaves above the water, we will give it a try again.  And if mint fails, we'll try oregano.

And if oregano fails, we may be done with this distilling stuff even before we really get going.

* My dishwasher smelled like a toothpaste factory.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Corn when you want none


So anyway, with the lovely and gracious Rogue on a whirlwind tour of the East Coast, I decided that in her absence I would double her strawberry beds, since other one, as they say, runneth over.  So I started a new bed, half dirt and half compost from the Chicken Composter. And lo, before I could even transfer the runners of one bed to the waiting arms of the other, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a whole bunch of grass-like shoots?

Upon further review, they are the growings of a bunch a deer corn I had added to the hens' feed but which they apparently didn't like and so left on the henhouse floor. I'm going to let them grow in the short term just to see what comes of them. Though they're probably GMO with some virus injected into the DNA, which, while accounting for their amazing growth will start a pandemic that burns mercilessly from rural Kansas* across the globe, killing millions. Including you.  Sorry.

* You know the 1918/9 Spanish Lady Flu that killed 50 million started here, right?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Maybe it's tobacco


Though since Mr. Charisma moved my signs, I can't be sure.  It sprouted about 2 weeks ago and has done nothing since...

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I know what you did last night

Look, Ma, no seeds

Raspberry jelly recipe courtesy of Sure Jell*.  The kids fussed about the seeds in my bionic raspberry jam, even as they devoured it.  So with only two jars left I figured it was time for another batch or so, this time juicing the berries and making jelly instead of the (usually) easier jam.

Ingredients needed:
Four cups of raspberry juice
One box of Sure Jell
Five and a half cups of sugar.

1. Bring juice and Sure Jell together to a rolling boil.
2. Add the sugar and bring it again to a rolling boil.
3. Boil hard for one minute, then into jars it goes
4. Boil the jars five minutes in the open bath canner.

Simple, yes?  This recipe jelled perfectly and cleaned up quickly. Just don't double it, as others have reported problems with that. If you have lots of juice, it's not hard to knock out two or three batches in quick succession.

I ended up with enough juice on hand for another half batch or so, but the plants seem to be done with their spring production, so that juice has a new home in the freezer. Here's to hoping that the bionic raspberries decide a fall season is in order. The short case I made last night won't last even close to a year.

* Which, of course, demands that you buy Sure Jell to make it.  Good thing I had some on hand.

Monday, July 10, 2017

In yer nest, killin yer beez


Actually, these are not your friendly neighborhood bumblebees, lightly flitting from flower to flower, thereby keeping the world fed.  Those black and yellow wonders of God's design are to be treasured and protected.  These are carpenter bees: solitary, territorial, wood-drilling bastages that will eventually bring your barn or deck tumbling down.  And I've finally found a way to kill 'em.

Carpenter bees love my back barn as there is plenty of unfinished wood into which they can drill lots of 6"-8" nesting holes.  I suppose I could paint over all such wood surfaces as I find them, but there is a limit to how much of your barn you can actually paint, and for how long that's effective.  And there always seems to be more bees than paint.  I also don't want to use pesticides or sprays, because my chickens eat these bees as soon as they fall to the ground.

So for a while I took to carrying a tennis racket with me on the way to the chicken cage*. It was a strange game of tennis we played: no ball, one racket, lots of swinging.  The bees would eventually tire of it and simply wait at the top of the barn for me to leave.  I could serve a half-dozen bees on a good night, but there always seemed to be the same number the next night.

However, I finally discovered a simple little trap that lets their wood-drilling obsession lead to their downfall.  As you can see above, it's a 4" cube of wood, with a tempting hole drilled in it and a canning jar attached to the bottom.  What you can't see is that there are holes on each of the four sides, and a big (2") hole in the bottom that reaches those holes, allowing the bees that enter the cube easy access to the canning jar.  Bees come in, but they don't come out.  The above is about 2 months' worth of trapping -- I figured I'd get a pic before I empty it out for the hens and re-set it.

The hens? OMG what about all that white poison in the jar?  It's not poison, it's actually food grade diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is ground up little fossils, perfectly inert and harmless to people and animals, but really hard on insects because it scratches their outer coating and causes them to dry out.  Lots of folks use it on their dogs as a non-poisonous substitute for flea powder. Others make a drink of it, swearing that its scraping qualities promote colon health. People eat the strangest things.

In either case, I dump the bees on the ground outside the cage and pour a little water over them before I free the hens, just in case.  While they might not appreciate having their food washed before they eat, they sure appreciate the meal.

* That chicken wire on the right of the picture is the cage's left edge. It is, alas, unpainted.