Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween and birthday. New babies are here!

The weather started to warm up from that harsh cold front just in time to have the doors and windows open on Halloween. This begins the time of year when I am thankful for where I live. The highs are in the mid to upper 80's for the next 7 days and it's perfect out. No panting or shivering animals anywhere. Although we do have 20 new babies that just hatched last night and this morning and would prefer it was closer to 100 degrees. Here they are, Happy Birthday and Halloween to our most recent batch of Coturnix quail babies. Most of these little guys will be sold to help pay for feed and other things I need around the tiny farm. This brings the total of birds hatched here in 2009 to 158.

We celebrated with a batch of pumpkin pancakes, made from a native pumpkin (Mayo Blusher Squash) I picked back in July and just now got around to cooking. MMmm pumpkin eating season has begun!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Grinding corn and mesquite flour

A week or so ago I got out the dried ears of flour corn and the dried honey mesquite bean pods to make flour. You can grind corn with just about anything (grain mill, coffee grinder etc) but mesquite is much trickier. You'll mess up most appliances and mills if you try to grind the pods in them. Once a year a hammer mill is brought from Tucson to Phoenix and you can grind your mesquite and carob pods for a nominal fee but I decided to do it the old fashioned way.
When I was a kid my parents had this metate as yard decoration. When I grew up and got a house, I brought it here for practical use. Here's me grinding some corn:

I had a miserable flour corn crop and my two small mesquite trees were only planted last fall, I still got a cup or so of each kind of flour. I'm really looking forward to next year or maybe 5 years from now when I get lots. There are plenty of mesquite trees to harvest from in the area, but most of those are not the right kind of mesquite and the flour tastes a tiny bit skunky after the initial sweet flavor. The flour made from honey mesquite basically tastes like you ground up some sugary mesquite bbq flavored chips and mixed them with your flour. MMMMMMM!

Tomorrow, a generous member of the rare fruit growers club has offered to give me some dragonfruit cuttings.....