Sunday, June 29, 2014

our driveway

getting used to the new computer, learning to manipulating files, images get applications ("apps") to do what I want. So here is the first post with the iMac.

This is our driveway, looking up toward the road. I had started mowing the driveway along the sides, when I noticed that the honeybees ( feral?, from some neighbor I haven't met yet?) really digging the birds foot trefoil. I decided the center of the drive could wait a while. And besides, it's quite festive. This plant really likes marginal soil. Hard, gravelly areas are where it seems to thrive. Reminds me of how the chicory loves the side of the road, which is usually gravel around here.

Dogwood, and maybe you can see some sumac on the left, apple trees on the right, and up in the distance, some box elder and some more wild apple trees. We are slowly replacing less desirable with trees that like the climate but are of more use to us humans.

I've finally started taking more photos, and will probably be blogging more about the farm and our permaculture transition after our move to the farm in a couple weeks.

ok- one more

All our brassicas looking good; kale, broccoli, collard greens, brussels sprouts and cabbage. Actually, the whole garden is looking great so far. This red cabbage is just starting to head, and only very minor bug signs. For those of you wondering what all that grass is doing in our garden, we are on a slope, with easily eroded soil ( so our neighbor farmer says, who tilled this area many years ago). In another part of this field, you can still see the remains of washed ruts, slowly filling in and stabilizing with sod. Level ground is hard to find on our farm, so we just till in the rows, (perpendicular to slope as much as possible) leaving the sod in place. So far, it has worked ok. The true width of the row will be more apparent once this is weeded again. The rain so far this summer has been great, but as we all know, the weeds like it too.

Monday, June 16, 2014

going up the country

Well, the water doesn't taste like wine, but it tastes pretty good. ( Canned Heat, for the younger of you ) The move is next month, and we have been busy with house selling, move planning, and as I've mentioned, the garden is twice as big this year, so needs a lot of attention. Finally gave notice at work, and it did feel odd, after 35 years. I kind of feel like I'm finally stepping toward my true calling,  or coming out of the closet, since I don't share a lot about my views on sustainability and the problems my employer contributes to. There are only one or two that I can truly explain where I am coming from, the rest are from another culture, to them it would not compute.

And also because even though we've been working toward this for five years, it really made it feel real in the here and now since we have a hard set date. Fellow workers are a bit surprised that I'm retiring, "only" 58, worried I'm sure if I will have enough money and security? Maybe make them wonder if their retirement will be secure, no matter how long they work?

In addition to all the fun projects I listed a few months ago to do in the workshop, we have tons of more pressing things to get done.

A very partial list
trench and run power to the pole shed
modify main panel, open up room for circuit to the barn/shed
install lights, outlets, wire up the pole shed
finish the deer/rabbit fence in the north garden
build gate for the north garden
start replacement of the south garden deer fence with the permanent one, complete with gate as well
build terraces and herb garden next to the house
build the rest of the removable covers for the upper terrace garden
complete the upper terrace gardens
mow and hand trim around the nut trees in the field
trench and insulate the top foot of house foundation exterior
fix the north downspout and drain tile
fix the gutter covers and clean gutters
start the barn mods to make a coop out of one end
build stairs to the west loft in the barn
(barn, shed, interchangeable terms according to mood and who you are talking to)
paint, caulk windows on house
fix garage door opener
chip the sumacs we've cut down, spread around as mulch for fruit trees
modify the deer fencing around the fruit trees, make bigger
mount the rain collection IBCs in the loft, run the piping from the roof to them, and set up overflow, first flush, outlet to gravity drip irrigation hoses in garden
reinforce the loft framing to take the water weight
mud the drywall joints, paint, trim the workshop
finish hanging, trimming the double door in to the workshop
build shelves, work benches in workshop
split firewood laying in yard
build more wood storage racks
finish the shade garden pavers and sitting area
cut in tees and valves to upstairs plumbing so we can drain and shut off upstairs in winter.
build stairway cover to shut off upstairs in winter
build shelving in downstairs library/bedroom closet
begin building first hugelkultur mounds with the rotted elm, oak, pine
cut down, cut up, split three standing dead elms for next winter
build the second composting toilet

these are all in addition to weeding, watering, harvesting, processing our garden veggies.

I'll be trying to get pictures up next time. So far, the garden is looking the best yet since we started five years ago.