Sunday, March 31, 2013

Excuse the interruption

There have been a lot of things to post, but somehow updating to the latest version of Mountain Lion, the Apple operating system, has made it more of a challenge, and frankly, I've got enough challenges on hand getting ready for a new planting without having to sit down and stare at a computer screen for untold hours. In fact, that's it: It's always an open-ended proposition when you sit down to figure out something new on a computer, and some level of frustration is a guarantee. Hell, you're already frustrated because you can't do what you used to do by just typing it in and then hitting a button.  All because you bought a new photo program, in this case an Apple app called "Aperture" so you could help a friend figure out how to do some special effect and then, after you pay good money for the program, you find it won't work unless you have a newer operating system on the computer. In fact the newest iteration is required. So you spend hours downloading the new system via your feeble 3G connection (that's life in the country) and then discover you can't post to your blog anymore because  it always come up "error" when you push the button. And to top it off, the friend hasn't taken up your offer to help with the special effects. Needless to say, situations like this are good for my land because it sends me directly outside, pulling weeds, tilling soil, thinning beets .... anything but staring at a computer screen. So if this post is up, that means I am making progress and I will try a more meaningful post tomorrow, with a picture, maybe? Cross your fingers!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

World's hottest pepper, anyone?

The Trinidad Scorpion, Butch T Strain, has the worlds highest Scoville rating.

For those who like hot peppers, the Trinidad Scorpion, Butch T Strain, is the Mt. Everest. It knocked off the Ghost Pepper a couple years back as the worlds hottest. The seeds aren't cheap but I sprang for 20 of them this winter and now they are in the process of germinating. Cross your fingers, pepper lovers! Here's what one Website ( had to say about them:

Trinidad Scorpion Butch T

In June 2011, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T Pepper beat out its competition from India and Southern England as the hottest pepper in the World. It was made official in the Guinness Book of World Records, measuring a whopping 1,463,700 SHU (SHU = scoville heat units). SHU measure the amount of Capsaicin present in a food. For the purposes of comparison, a typical Habenero pepper has a rating of 100,000-350,000 SHU and a Jalapeno pepper is rated at 3,500-8,000. That makes the Butch T a very HOT pepper!
Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to eat any of these or even throw them in a pot-roast! We will see how many germinate, then try to harvest a few in early fall. The Butch T will be one of many varieties of peppers we'll grow this year. On the sweeter side will be the Aji Dulce de Panama, a great one for making sofrito. And of course there will be some bells, pepperoncinis and quite a few others.  It could be a hot summer!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Making the most of a dry winter

Exotic pepper seeds soaking in tea before being transferred to germination trays.
You probably have been hearing a lot of farmer doom and gloom over cutbacks in water allotments and such, particularly down the valley a bit where the Sierra runoff could basically fit in a thimble and the giant agricorps continually turn a lustful eye northward in hopes of securing some of our precious Northern California water. But we need it here to keep salmon runs growing and the Delta Smelt from extinction. Even north of Sacramento, where water is fairly plentiful, farmers have worries in times like this. For one thing, some hay farmers drop seed aerially on their fields and wait for a spring rain to get it growing. No rain, no hay. And farmers on wells, like me, worry about tapping too heavily into the aquifers. But it's not all bad. For instance, in many winters most ground would be unworkable right now because it would be to darn saturated to get equipment onto it. And continued dry weather could lead to early plantings. Don't get your hopes up if it's early heirloom tomatoes you're talking about. Those plants have a mind of their own.