Saturday, December 28, 2013

USAID programs

The humanitarian trips have been part of a three part support:
United States Agency of International Development - USAID
ADCI VOCA - contractor
Farmer to Farmer - program.
The Farmer to Farmer program is within various USAID
contractor groups, such
as ACDI VOCA, Winrock International, CNFA, and
 Partners of the Americas.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The weather in Tajikistan is similar to the weather in Oregon;  lows
 around 32-35  and high 43-50, mostly cloud for the nest week.  However,
 we got 4 inches of snow  in Dushanbe last night.

Met with around 650 people these past two weeks, teaching them about
 how to prune fruit trees, how to graft and how to keep their orchards health.

I realize that when my wife and I travel for humanitarian service, that we now
have friends all over the world.  That is a truly amazing blessing.  We teach the
people, they teach us by being humble and thankful.  Many have never seen an
American and by bring pruning equipment (thanks to many who have donated
 and to Emerald Empire Kiwanis for many donations)  have given them the
opportunity to double their income in two years.  334 pruners, 337 saws, 164
grafting knives and 102 hand lens, donations of over $21 284.  Thank you
 donors.  The people of 38 countries thank you.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Post Christmas

Post Christmas - weather remains on the chilly
side.  Lows around 31 with highs around 50.

Start preparing your garden new years resolutions,
 yes, what you want to plant;  when you want to plant;
 what you DON'T want to plant; gardening to does;
gardening NOT to does this year.

Pruning is on the calendar right now for all fruit
 trees and berry bushes.

Mulch the base of roses and blueberries as the cold
 weather still has three months to affect plants in the
 ground.  Cover any bulbs that have been planted
 this fall.  Did one bulb up to see if the December
 hard freeze affected the bulbs.  Just put it into a pot
 with soil and place it near the window with sun light
and see what happens.

Monday, December 23, 2013


Christmas will soon be upon us.
It may be celebrated in a variety of modes and fashions.
Please take time to honor parents, family and friends - those
 that help to keep us sane;  to listen when we need to
whine; to help us walk in places we don't want to walk;
 to just be there to hold our hand or to just talk.

The weather will be OK, highs of 48 and lows around
or for the European's near zero C.  Mostly sunny the
 next week, barring the unforeseen rain event.

I just drove thru southern Tajikistan, near the Uzbekistan
 and Afghanistan borders, the grass is green and up
 over an inch.  March 21 is their official spring.

I will be spending the next two days, yes Christmas day -
 teaching field days to around 120 growers who NEED
 to learn how to prune their apricot and fruit trees.  Most
 trees so far have NEVER been pruned so they are in
GREAT need of pruning.  I have very mixed feelings of 
missing family but being able to help people change their
 lives forever and double their income.

I will be 9000 miles from home, sorely missing family and
friends, so please this season; share the joy with someone
 just for me. I will be sharing so please share also.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday time

The holiday time is quickly coming upon us.
A time to again be with family, friends, relatives.

Take time to be grateful for simple things as toilets -

 I am again in Tajikistan teaching people how to
grow food by pruning and orchard management.  . 
There are more cell phones than toilets in the country. 
60% of young people and children get sick from
bad water. 

It is sickening when you see a young mother
 with two young children getting water out of a ditch
which has dogs and  cattle walking and ****** into the
water;  cars splashing mud and who know what into
 the water.  I have seen housing dumping raw sewage
 into these water canals. 

There was an outhouse which was used, a lot.  After using
 the outhouse I walked back to our group.  The city water
 supply ran 3 foot from the back of he outhouse and the outhouse
has***** materials flowing over the ground.  Be sooooooo
 thankful we live where water is soooo
clean.  Where food is prepared in a safer environment.
Tis the season to be very, very, very thankful for our living
Also, the further from the cities, the small communities
 have 1-2 total hours of electricity PER day.  No more
 complaining for two weeks!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Weather review

Cold at nights for the next two nights, predicted
27 and 29.
Day time temps in the mid to high 40's.
Rain early on and then looks some sunny weather.
Typical winter weather.  Wait 5 minutes and
 the weather will change.

Winter activity

With the cold and snowy weather, now is the
 time to think about ordering garden seeds.  There
 are many good catalogs where you can order
 good quality seeds. 

Check your left over seeds
 as they start to go bad after a few years and
germination may not be very good.

Find a warm corner, usually on top of the hot
water tank, place 100 seeds between two, moist
paper towels and after a week, see how many of
 the seeds have germinated.  Count the number of
 seeds that have sprouted and this will tell you the
 % of good seeds in the package.  75% is good. 
I have still used seed at 50%, I just planted
 them thicker.

Monday, December 16, 2013

More winter weather

Some people are all ready starting to talk about
 planting new crops for 2014.  You just have to
 love optimism.  Just remember here it is only
December, and winter has jut begun, with at last
part of December, January, February and part of
 March before we can plant outside; in most cases.

Crazy weather is one reason why we have indoor grow
 lights, heated greenhouses, and modified cold frames
for growing food ALL year long.

Some cold-ist weather predicted for this week.  Watch
 out of the few days under 32 degrees again.  Without
 the snow, the ground will start to freeze again.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

More cold weather predicted

Another Cold One?
 Long time patrons know The WxCafe (TM) strives
 to provide a 'heads-up' whenever nature may bring 
on weather patterns that can have impact. The current
 Arctic Event was "seen" early by wx models with a
 frequency that warranted prognosticating.
 Well, for the past couple of days, models have hinted at 
yet another ARCTIC type wx episode. (Gee, we haven't
 even cleared out the current cold air yet). If this event
 takes place, the transition back into the freezer will be Wed 
or Thur NEXT WEEK. The air will be an Arctic shot & 
sub-freezing again, and will either last until Sun Dec 22 or
 beyond. The most recent model run progged wintery 
conditions all the way through Christmas, with periodic 
snow showers dropping in from the northwest.
 For now, simply be aware of the possibility for another 
round of cold weather starting later next week. By Friday 
morning we will have more definitive information as to
whether or not this scenario verifies.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Warm weather is coming - hopefully this weekend.      
Be prepared for any broken pipes   As the weather warms,
be sure you know where all of the turn off values are located.

Fortunately the buds are still dormant.  If this happened
in February, there would be a lot of young leaves that
have freeze and/or bud damage due to the 9 to -10
degree weather.   

Monday, December 9, 2013

From Rufus

Monday December 9
 From below zero temps in Eugene (with 8" snow) to 7F in Portland,
 it was a bitterly cold weekend. Conditions this morning aren't much
 better, with single digits up to 16 around the Willamette Valley.
You'll recall expectations last week were for warmer, wet systems to
 knock on the freezer door as early as Tues. Well, that has now been
 pushed back to sometime Thur, or with the latest run, into Fri. Many 
of us want warmer temps, as already the heating bill for December will
 cut into disposable income in January. Anyway, the Arctic event will
 hold for most - with incremental bumps up in daytime temps - through
Wed or Thur at least.
The weekend will be damp, with temps in the 40s and mostly cloudy.
Many folks will find out late this week if their plumbing protection
 program worked, as the great thaw of December 2013 begins.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Next few days

The next few sin  Oregon and much of the US will be
 seeing a slightly different weather pattern.

Monday the day time temps will rise above 32 and
Wednesday the evening temps will be above 32 degrees.
Back to more normal winter temps.  Yeah, I can finally sleep
 the whole night and not check pipes and outside temps
Be aware that rooms next to unheated areas, such as
 laundry rooms need to be heated or run the washer, both
 hot and cold several times a day.  Place a thermometer
 in cold rooms next to the un heated area/walls to make sure
the temps are ABOVE 32 degrees.  The cold has been creeping
 into the unheated rooms and I had areas just above 32 degrees
 with water courses.

In out buildings, we are seeing a LOT of frozen pipes. 
Since it is ONLY December, this is a wake up call for the
 rest of the winter. 

When using heat lamps for thawing, place them very
carefully near the pipes.  In small areas, an incandescent
 light bulb works wonders.

If there is no heat, the dripping faucet works very well.
 If the laundry room  or out side rooms are getting close
 to 32 degrees; use the washer to run small loads; or physically
 turn the water on to keep the pipe water moving.

Since many outside pipes MAY be frozen, turn the water
source off today (or try and find where the pipe turn off valve
 is located) as Monday, the pipes should  unfreeze, and water
 coming from the broken pipes.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cold weather

In  the snow areas, knock the snow off of
 arborvitae, box woods and other small bushes

Remove the snow from off of the cold frames,
but more important, from any large cold frames or
greenhouses as the weight with 4-6 inches is a lot.

Snow on the ground is the best thing to help keep
the deep groundwater pipes from freezing.  Two days
ago the ground had frozen to about 12 inches.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


With the cold weather and below 32, pipes
 become a big worry.
Drain all garden equipment with water ASAP..
Empty hoses and drain irrigation systems.

Turn on house or barn faucets to just beyond drip.
and let it run all night or until weather is above 33 degrees. 
 Make sure the faucet is the furthest from the water sources.

Open up cupboards on cold walls to add extra heat to the piping.

Cover the vents in the foundation.

If you know to where the water pipe is buried, cover the
 area with leaves, straw or snow for added insulation.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Have a good evening.

Have a better week.

Have a great month!!!