Ultimate Fantasy Homesteading League (resource sharing and speculation on building our Ideal Homes)

Discussion in 'Make It So' started by vegacoyote, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. vegacoyote

    vegacoyote dog metaphores and pedanticism

    ... I am not entirely sure why it didn’t occur to me to look for a direct comparison... though I would have asked here either way.

    So then, you think more like $5-$6/oz would be reasonable?
  2. paladinkit

    paladinkit brave little paladin

    Honestly, yeah. It's eri silk, but all of the spinning prep labor is on your end. For comparison, completely prepped combed wool top from specific breeds can be in that price range - rarer breeds can be more. (I know a lot more about wool than I do silk, unfortunately.)
    • Informative x 1
  3. vegacoyote

    vegacoyote dog metaphores and pedanticism

    ... Oh man, I’m trying to google for potential caterpillar food and keep falling down all these rabbits holes. Look at this pretty flowers! Wanna grow some now.

    (Re: the cocoons, I went ahead and offered $5.50/oz. Will update when I get a ping back.)
    • Like x 1
  4. albedo

    albedo metasperg

    Yeah, it varies pretty wildly on Etsy, but that sounds like a fair price. (It sounds like there's actually a market for unprocessed silk cocoons as one-time-use moisturizer/exfoliating pads, which is... weird?? So that's likely driving up the Etsy prices somewhat, and isn't relevant to eri silk.)
    • Informative x 3
  5. Lizardlicks

    Lizardlicks Friendly Neighborhood Lizard

    Great for seller, sad for spinners D:
  6. vegacoyote

    vegacoyote dog metaphores and pedanticism

    Newses today! Seller got back to me:

    Yey, cocoons! Yey caterpillars! Wait, confusion, there’s actually a lot of things to think about attached to each of those.

    So, I’ll start with alive-things that have needs to meet: Gotta start getting some housing ready. Already working on food. Which brings me to news the second:


    My castor beans sprouted! The two little red sprouts in the middle. As you can see, I’d about given up on them, and ended up using their pot to put the onion sprouts in instead. (I need to find those guys their own pots anyway.)

    Later today I shall detail my Whole-Ass Adventure at the Arboretum, by way of illustrated text conversation. (In Which the Author Only-Sort-Of Accidentally Does Crimes On Borrowed Money)
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2019
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  7. vegacoyote

    vegacoyote dog metaphores and pedanticism

    Background: This month I ran out of money early, because 1) Christmas, and 2) fender bender (with a light pole.)

    I’ve been pretty sure no one around here grows privet on purpose, but since people keep saying “Privet’s an evergreen!” and I keep going, “Prolly not in Minnesota, bruh,” I decided to hit up the nearest arboretum (about 30 minutes’ drive away) just to make sure. Also I had just gotten my car back from the fender-unbender and I wished to roll around in my newly re-acquired freedom, preferably doing something that didn’t cost too much money.

    ... In my car. Which was almost out of gas.



    For the record: No, I was not supposed to do that. I confirmed this on the intarwubs after I got home.

    However, I have yet to be accosted and detained by the copspolice. I can only assume they’re waiting to get the DNA results back from the perfect little blood-drops I left in the snow under their winter roses. (I wish I had thought to take a picture of that. It was very dramatic.)
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2019
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  8. vegacoyote

    vegacoyote dog metaphores and pedanticism

    Cocoons got here!


    It’s like a whole box full of stringy packing peanuts!

    I looked up the degumming process, which requires simmering the cocoons in something like washing soda and something like lye or sodium laureth sulfate, and decided to see if I could do the thing without going out and buying anything special, so I did a test run on about 10 cocoons with baking soda and dish soap.


    ^ This is me following directions, almost.



    They’re a lot cleaner, but aside from there being a bit more stuff that’s kinda floating free, they don’t seem very degummed. Desired results should allow one to pull the cocoons apart with one’s fingers, and except for maybe one that was pretty fluffy to start with, these guys stay pretty stubbornly cocoon-shaped.

    Getting them soggy and soapy did help with getting the pupa shells out of the insides, though. That was fun. You can fill em with water and sometimes the whole thing just squirts out.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
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  9. vegacoyote

    vegacoyote dog metaphores and pedanticism

    er mah gerd unraveling these cocoons is so satisfying.


    I ended up simmering them again, with More Stuff added, and it seemed to work somewhat, in that I could pull them apart with my fingers, though they were still stiff enough I’m still not sure I should have. And most of them left a stubborn little interior envelope that refused to give up its threads.

    ... Thinking about it, this content is more fiber-arty than farmy, so I went ahead and crossposted in the appropriate venue; and in the interest of maintaining a sufficiently farmy topic, here is a picture of how tall my castor plants are getting:


    Tasty, poisonous caterpillar food.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
    • Winner x 5
  10. vegacoyote

    vegacoyote dog metaphores and pedanticism

    Here’s a look at how fast my castor plants have been growing:


    (New baby one in foreground)


    (baby one not so baby anymore)


    they’re big enough now I have to move back some to get them all, and it still doesn’t really capture the size of the biggest one.


    Same day, closer look at tallest one.
    • Winner x 4
  11. Lizardlicks

    Lizardlicks Friendly Neighborhood Lizard

    It looks so happy! I hope you named it Pollux
    • Winner x 2
    • Agree x 1
  12. vegacoyote

    vegacoyote dog metaphores and pedanticism

    Disaster! My castor plants have been struck by spider mites, and my tomato plant by whiteflies!

    I tried getting rid of the whiteflies with a water-and-dishsoap spray for a while, but success there was limited. It at least seemed to slow them down a little, but also seemed to stress the plant.

    However, the castor is supposed to get fed to other insects, so any chemical solution there is right out. So I looked up predator solutions, and green lacewing seemed to be the go-to. I ordered a bottle of larvae a few weeks ago (paying for overnight delivery) and after that, well, quarantine happened and I heard nothing, so I kind of assumed I’d just dropped like $30 off a cliff.

    But today, a box arrived, marked “PERISHABLE” and “LIVE BENEFICIAL INSECTS.” Yay! Muh bugs got here! Lookee!


    Can’t really see the lil guys, but the instructions said you should be able to see them walking about if you pour them out on a piece of paper. (I read this too late; too anxious to get them out of their plastic jar. Whoops.)


    Instructions said they should be packaged in rice hulls, but I’m pretty sure these are cocoa hulls, or some other such thing.


    Look at this handsome boy!

    They got here just in time, as I just now discovered a serious scale infestation on my poor basil plants.

    I think everything in there is just super stressed from being in all winter, and then with it being suddenly all Sunny And Cheerful, stuff that was lying dormant-ish (like the scale bugs) are all like “Woot! Let’s wake up and make babies!”

    (I actually don’t know if the lacewings will even go after the scales... they seem to go after a lot of things, but the ones I was looking for specifically were spider mites and whiteflies. I’ll be doing some manual removal for them in any case. No idea how they got that bad that fast. Poor basils are getting sucked on all up the stems.) :(

    *edit* Holy crap, I’ve got volunteer tomato babies in with my scaly basil! How’d this happen?!?


    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
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  13. vegacoyote

    vegacoyote dog metaphores and pedanticism

    So last night I spritzed my scaly basil with what I thought was dish-soapy water, but was actually vinegar water.

    This morning, I found I have much less alive-basil than I did last night.


    The plant might still live. At the very least, the defoliation means I’m finding it easier to get at the stems to scrape the scales off. But damn, are the scales bad. I might end up just sticking the poor thing in the ground outside, see if full sun and wild predators can do what I can’t.

    Fortunately I have seedlings coming in and cuttings putting down roots, plus one more mature plant that’s only moderately scaly, so we probably won’t be terribly strapped for basil any time soon.

    Oh, good news, though. The castor is looking tons better since the lacewing larvae. Yays!
    • Winner x 1
  14. bornofthesea670

    bornofthesea670 Well-Known Member

    I don't know if we have a chicken or animal thread or if this is it, but my dad and step mom adopted 3 chickens (Egret, Arya, and Sansa) and dad built them a nice big coop with a mister because they live in Tucson Az and shit is hot. They're under some trees tho so hopefully that helps, along with the little shelters within the coop enclosure thing.

    I wish I could share my dad's Facebook vids cause every now and again he'll post these like...the transition between dad vibes and grandpa vibes? He's just out there with his pipe and glasses earnestly showing off his chickens. It's the cutest shit.
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  15. Wingyl

    Wingyl Allegedly Magic

    You will probably find the chickens appearing to be melting in the sun at some point because that's just what sunbathing chickens are like
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