What I’m Thankful For


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I’m not what you’d call a “foodie.”

It’s one of my favorites because it’s a dedicated time for giving thanks to God.

Today, instead of a gardening post, I’d like to simply list a few things I’m thankful for.


  1. I’m thankful for the safe arrival of our new son
  2. I’m thankful for good health in my family
  3. I’m thankful the Lord took Dad home quickly and without a long, lingering death.
  4. I’m thankful I had a Dad who loved and adopted me as his own.
  5. I’m thankful for my Mom and for the time we had together this year.
  6. I’m thankful for a good brother and five good sisters.
  7. I’m thankful that good men are starting to fight again for Western Civilization rather than turning it over to the savages.
  8. I’m thankful for the many readers and viewers I have who encourage me with their comments and insights.
  9. I’m thankful for plenty of work on my plate.
  10. I’m thankful for the freedom to worship God publically in church without fear.
  11. I’m thankful we are outside of the US and in a free country.
  12. I’m thankful for the legality of homeschooling.
  13. I’m thankful for a loyal and faithful wife.
  14. I’m thankful for a working vehicle after many months without one.
  15. I’m thankful for the ability to write well and for a Mom and Dad who took the time to teach me how.
  16. I’m thankful for the ongoing sale of my books which allows me to keep the bills paid.
  17. I’m thankful for good friends, including Rick, who hosts this website for free and fixes problems when they arise.
  18. I’m thankful that evil in high places is coming to light.
  19. I’m thankful Trump is the president of the USA instead of Crooked Hillary.
  20. I’m thankful for cooler days and abundant rain.
  21. I’m thankful for coffee.
  22. I’m thankful for plenty of writing opportunities.
  23. I’m thankful for advertisers like Meadow Creature, Easy Digging and BoonJon who sponsor this website.
  24. I’m thankful for the reach YouTube gives independent creators.
  25. I’m thankful for Castalia House, my publisher, and my editor Vox Day.
  26. I’m thankful for my friend Matthew who I can bounce crazy ideas off of without him thinking they’re crazy.
  27. I’m thankful for a safe neighborhood where my children can play without fear.
  28. I’m thankful for good in the local Agriculture Department who graciously allow me to stay in the country by signing off on some of my research.
  29. I’m thankful for a local farmer friend who shares his time and expertise.
  30. I’m thankful for my pastor and wife who have made us feel at home.
  31. I’m thankful for a landlord how has allowed us to garden and farm as much as we like.
  32. I’m thankful that it’s just the internet that is lousy here, not the electric or water. My readers in Puerto Rico and elsewhere are still without power!
  33. I’m thankful for Jesus Christ who gave His life so we might be reconciled to God. Without Him, nothing else is important.


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, friends. I got Rachel a locally raised turkey and there’s rumor we may have some key lime pie as well.

(Man, I may have to expand my list!)


Heavy Shade Gardening


I have a new post up at The Grow Network this week:


Oaks are hard to garden under, but I hate to remove them. I explore this conundrum and my thoughts on it in my book Compost Everything in the chapter on “Stupid Worthless Trees.”

I was joking when I called them stupid worthless trees, but that’s the way many people view big, “non-productive” trees. An oak or a maple or a sweetgum is viewed as worthless by many food growers because they aren’t good sources of food. Sure, you can eat acorns or tap maples, but the work involved with processing makes them a less-than-desirable source of food.

Jennifer has a different approach. She’s letting them drop leaves and feed the soil, which large trees are great at doing. They also support other species such as birds and mushrooms—sometimes even edible mushrooms—so they’re vital parts of the ecosystem.


This edible Lactarius indigo was discovered beneath an oak tree.

The problem is the shade they create. Gardening under oaks isn’t easy unless you’re growing shade-tolerant plants. I grew grape mahonias, pineapples and gingers under mine back in North Florida. Around the edges of oaks you can also grow citrus and other fruit trees provided they get enough light. It takes a lot of solar energy to get fruit-producing vegetables like squash, tomatoes, peppers, beans, etc., to make much worth eating.

Throwing down a lot of seeds is a good idea, though—Jennifer may discover some species which are more tolerant than others of the shade.

Sometimes you can strategically remove limbs and open up the canopy to keep things growing underneath(…)


CLICK HERE to read the rest!


Peak stupidity is when you can’t kill vermin

Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 11.16.37 AM

And people wonder why I left the US…


TAVARES, Fla. – A Central Florida man was arrested on suspicion of caging and drowning a raccoon because the animal killed some of his chickens and damaged his home.

James Miller, of Tavares, was arrested Friday on animal cruelty charges.

According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, a woman called authorities and said her neighbor took a caged raccoon onto his pontoon boat and dropped the cage into the water.

The woman said she told her neighbor that drowning an animal was inhumane and he should instead call animal services, according to deputies.


The whole story is here.

I don’t know which is worse: the stupid neighbor woman or the cringe-worthy police who arrested a man for drowning a raccoon. Though ought to have given him a good neighbor award. Think of the chickens! Was the raccoon cruel to them?

Besides, don’t people believe in science anymore? If you let stupid raccoons breed instead of culling the herd, they’ll never evolve to the next level.


It is insane to arrest people for killing raccoons and this sort of overreach is just one of the reasons I went to a place with bad internet and nice beaches.

I’d rather deal with a crummy ISP than have cops show up and arrest me for defending my birds. It’s also better than having idiot neighbors who think it’s their business to call the police on people. Animal services indeed.

My ancestors nailed wolf heads on the wall of church buildings every Sunday and collected bounties from a group fund for doing so. Children used to be snatched and devoured in New England, as did various farm animals.

And now you can’t even get rid of a raccoon without a stupid neighbor getting involved.

A pox on her and her house.


I think I’ve got a YouTube solution


Yesterday I was considering The YouTube Question.

I don’t want to give up the channel; however, the time involved hasn’t justified the returns.

Yet saying goodbye to 28,000+ people? That’s just sad.

So I was thinking: I receive gardening questions almost every day and sometimes multiple times in one day. What if I sat and answered gardening questions instead of doing the more complicated videos I currently create?

It would be funny, to the point, and take me a lot less time on production.

Plus it would engage with my audience. Heck, I could produce daily videos if I approached it that way, thereby building the channel, helping people out, and cutting down the time involved.

What do you think?


BTW, as I type this I’m borrowing the internet connection on my phone. The internet is down yet again at my house. On Monday a representative of the ISP said they’d call me back that afternoon about fixing our problems. Yeah, about that…


*Image at top via viZZZual.com. Creative Commons License.


Dialing back on YouTube


I posted this yesterday:

My biggest issue is terrible internet. My second is the time/money ratio. It just barely pays to be on YouTube, even with a good following like I have.

My third issue is actually a good thing: I am so busy with paying work right now that I simply don’t have time to make many YouTube videos.

There’s a good chance I’ll get back to filming in the future but the next few months are truly nuts with how much I need to get done.


Papaya Fruit Fly on Your Papaya Tree? Here’s What to Do!


Michael spotted a papaya fruit fly (AKA papaya wasp) on a green papaya and has well-founded concern for his fruit:

“Quick question about papaya wasps. I was checking out my plants this past weekend and spied what I believe was one of the adults on an immature fruit. How worried should I be? We live in Hillsborough County in the Forest Hills area. The cold is more tempered in this area due to several large lakes nearby, so I’m not worried about the plants freezing, but I am a little worried about the wasps now. I haven’t seen them before on my trees.”

The Strange Papaya Fruit Fly

Though they look like wasps, the papaya wasp is actually the papaya fruit fly. They don’t look like any fruit fly you’ve ever seen, however.

papaya fruit fly papaya wasp

Illustration from the Division of Plant Industry

You can see why they’re often called the “papaya wasp.”

They’re really an attractive insect for such a pain-in-the-neck pest.

Michael is correct to be concerned – these are a huge problem for papaya growers.

Why is it after green papaya?

If you see a papaya fruit fly near your immature fruit, chances are that fruit is going to be filled with maggots when ripe.

As UF states in an article on the papaya fruit fly:

“The female is capable of producing 100 or more eggs. The female fruit fly oviposits in the green immature fruit by thrusting her ovipositor through the flesh of the fruit. She then deposits a group of 10 or more long, slender eggs in the papaya’s central cavity where the young larvae feed on developing seeds and the interior parts of the fruit. As the larvae mature, they eat their way out of the fruit, drop to the ground beneath the plant, and pupate just below the soil surface. Flies emerge in about two to six weeks, depending upon humidity and temperature of the soil.

Eggs are usually laid in small fruit, about two to three inches in diameter, but they may be deposited in smaller or larger fruit. However, unripe papaya juice is fatal to the larvae so the fruit must be ripe before the larvae begin to eat their way out of the inner cavity. Eggs hatch approximately 12 days after oviposition and larval development in the fruit lasts about 15 to 16 days.”

In the southern part of the state and warmer regions along the coast, the papaya fruit fly is a serious pest. I never had trouble with them in the Ocala/Gainesville area due to the freezes, but in The Great South Florida Food Forest Project they are a repeating problem.

I remember the first time I picked a beautiful ripe papaya for mom and opened it up to find it squirming with papaya fruit fly maggots.


Papaya Fruit Fly Control

Though you could probably hire a crop-duster, a better approach is to manage papaya fruit flies without pesticides by being pro-active.

My advice: keep an eye on those fruit. If any fall off, burn or bury them deeply. If they ripen, be prepared for a maggot fest – and again, don’t just compost the fruit or toss it somewhere – kill those maggots! Sanitation is key to papaya fruit fly control. The last thing you want is hundreds more of them buzzing around your neighborhood.

If you have very young fruit you can bag them to prevent infection. For fruit that are already larger, just watch them. It’s probably too late to bag.

Good luck. I’m sorry they found you. Keep a close eye on your trees, destroy infected fruit without prejudice and bag the little ones – and pray these obnoxious pests don’t come back.


Raising Meat Chickens with Marjory Wildcraft – Free to Watch!


I received this from my friend Marjory Wildcraft today – definitely worth checking out for those of you who aren’t fans of factory-raised chicken. I’ve raised my own meat birds before and the flavor and cost were more than worth it. Much easier than raising hens for eggs, in fact.


unnamedOver the years, I’ve met a lot of people who tell me they couldn’t raise their own livestock for meat because they don’t have the heart to kill the animal for food when it’s time.

When I hear this, I remind these folks that this is what community is for.

You don’t need to do these things alone.

Marjory Wildcraft’s new documentary film, “Raising Meat Chickens,” shares a great example of this.

In this film, you have the opportunity to shadow Marjory around her property for eight weeks, as she raises a flock of meat chickens, from egg to table.

She walks you step by step through the entire, often entertaining process…

And near the end, she introduces you to her community approach for processing the birds.

Because as she wisely points out:

We all have hunters in our family.

Even if we’re not hunters ourselves. 

So not only is this film a perfect starting point for anyone interested in raising their own chickens for meat.

Marjory shows you, step by step, how she raises her own organic, free- range chickens.

It’s ALSO ideal for anyone on the fence about raising livestock for meat.

Watch it with your spouse or family or neighbors or friends … whoever might be interested in raising a flock of meat chickens “in community” with you.

And see how you can share the work…

… And the reward!

In my opinion, raising livestock with community is the most honest, humane way to eat meat.


Watch The FREE 72-Hour Screening Here.

At the very least, it’ll help you better understand what the process of raising meat chickens on your own property could look like.

Just sign up to watch here, and you’ll be emailed access as soon as it’s available.”


Borrowing Net!


I’m out at the local resort today, borrowing the internet and getting work done.

The situation with our internet has been endlessly frustrating. I’ve offered to pay for running a new line a mile up our road so the system can be modernized, yet no one ever gets back to me. “That sounds good,” I’ll hear, “we’ll call you!”

And they never do.

You know how bad monopolies can be. Now imagine a monopoly that operates out of a different country and has no local number you can call. That’s what we’re stuck with. They simply don’t care if your service is terrible. They’ll kick the can, tell you different things from week-to-week, apologize and give you a credit, then turn around and cut off your service for non-payment despite supposedly giving you a credit – it’s amazing. Absolutely abysmal.

I’ll work around it, though. Just part of life.

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