Monday, October 31, 2011

everything goes in

Started building a compost bin. Actually a three section compost bin as described in the Humanure Manual. Everything will go in. We had already started a low maintenance compost pile, not much more than a midden really, but will work on balancing the green and brown, making sure water and air are in the right range. Hard to do from afar, but will do what we can while we are there next summer.

When we live there, we'll start livestock, and have manure, but until then, it'll be lots of plant and kitchen scrap based compost. The garden will expand some this next year, and we plan to try winter squash as well as some sweet corn. Our very first garden experiment was a failure on the corn, since we hadn't yet put up a deer fence.
Corn takes a lot of room and nitrogen, but since we did a lot of dry beans this last year, we have several rows which will have fixed some nitrogen.

Monday, October 24, 2011


This on again, off again blog has not had much focus, but I think it will document our path toward a sustainable life on our farm. We are commiting to permaculture techniques, low energy input agriculture, and becoming part of a local food system. I'm finding websites and blogs with info that will help us avoid a few pitfalls, and recognize decision points as we come to them.

Apparently permies are people enamoured with permaculture. Others have called me a prepper or a doomer. Whatever. I'll list some of our plans and let that say what it will.

We will be planting chestnut trees and hazelnuts this spring, along the keyline ditches that are going in right now. We will have to delay livestock and other things till we move to the farm, but long term things like trees are starting now.

Finished reading both of Sam Thayer's books on wild forage foods, and I highly recommend them. We have a couple huge old shagbark hickories down in the ravine, so I gathered as many nuts as I could before the squirrels got them. I also gathers black walnuts from a youngish tree right near the house. Will practice cracking technique this winter, and hopefully get good at it.

In addition, after reading the books, I find I'm in a whole new world. Every time I walk outside, I'm looking at plants, and both wondering if they are edible, and realizing I need to pracice identification. I guess this spring, I will give the nettles and dandelion a shot, and work on from there.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

swale cutting

This past week, Our neighbor has been using his tractor, and then his bulldozer ( doesn't your neighbor have a bulldozer?) to cut the water retention swales in our field. Next spring will come the tree planting. We didn't lay out and put in as many ditches as I had thought, to leave plenty of room for equipment to turn around if we continue to do crops like hay in between the trees. If we decide we can do narrower spacing, we can always add intermediate ditches.

And on to sadly tardy updates, this was a huge year for apple tree production in our area, and we finally found out which trees had good apples and which ones were bad. We tried to harvest as many apples as we could, but since we were only up on weekends, we missed a lot. We put up over 75 pints of apples sauce, and have some more frozen slices in the freezer.

The tub planters in the sun room are working great so far. We have a lot of herbs doing well, and will see how they do this winter. This is one of the first projects we are trying from the Mother Earth News magazine. The big one will be the outdoor grill/oven. That will be a challenge.

Lost my little camera, so no photos this post.