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Farm For All - A Journal Of Sorts

 
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Location: Oregon 8b
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I was looking through some of the boots' threads and really loved the idea of creating an ongoing account of the work I'm doing, in part to track my progress over the years, as well as to get insight from others. Also just needed a place to share bits and pieces (photos, videos, observations, experiment results, or bits of philosophy) that just don't seem to warrant a whole thread of their own or don't make sense anywhere else. It's really just for my own reference, but if you see anything you like feel free to drop a reply.

Here are a few things to get the thread started.




From How Many Of Each Plant To Grow As A Percentage Of Total Calories

This coming season I want to redouble my efforts to grow all of my own calories while I wait for the forest garden to take off, and I've been trying to nail down how many of each plant to grow. To that end I've built a simple spreadsheet that considers what percentage of your diet you want to come from different staple crops and then calculates how many plants you should grow to achieve that based on expected (usually minimum) yields.

This is about growing calories, not nutrition. It should not be assumed that whatever mix of crops you choose is in any way balanced or that they provide adequate nutrition. It's merely a tool for determining how many calories you can expect to grow with a given mix of plants. Nutrition is a different spreadsheet... {READ MORE}








From Overachiever asparagus

Found this guy when I went to water my asparagus seedlings today. Of the 20 or so that have germinated so far, this is the only one that has sent up multiple shoots. I'm not sure yet if this is the result of some kind of damage or if it's some kind of genetic proclivity. I suspect that it might be the former, but I'm excited to see if out produces my other asparagus as it matures. If I'm that lucky, hopefully it's a female. That'll make it easier to get that trait in seedlings going forward, and will be respectable enough to divide those crowns and spread them around as is... {READ MORE}








From Hugelpathβ„’

I was planning to do a whole post on the Hugelpath once I finished setting it up and had some time to test it out. It's definitely theoretical at this point, but I'm hoping that theory will pan out as I do some testing. Basically, I'm trying to combine and maximize the benefits of a number of different designs will minimizing the negatives for my climate. Namely, it's inspired by hugelkultur, terra preta, ollas, worm towers, deep mulching, and a lot of Elaine Ingham's work (plus probably more techniques that I'm spacing on at the moment.) I think the only thing that's missing here would be to set them up on contour, but that might be excessive. I'll try to break down how the Hugelpath relates to each of these other technologies.

The relation to hugelkultur is probably obvious, even if "Hugelpath" is a bit of a misnomer since it is indeed not a mound. But since "hugel" has pretty much become synonymous with wood, it made sense. The problem with hugelkultur in my climate is that they don't maximize water harvesting; being a mound, in heavy rain events they will shed water in excess of what they can absorb and that water will run off of the property (or hopefully into other water catchment strategies.) By inverting the shape, water will shed INTO the hugel rather off of it. But with 8 or 9 months of nearly non-stop rain, even though I want to capture and hold onto that rain for use during the drought, I don't want it directly in the root zone of my plants where it can cause root rot. Instead, like an olla, this mass of spongey material will wick water into the adjacent beds as the plants use up water and dry out the soil relative to the hugelpath... {READ MORE}












From Self-Medication W/ Salix By Dogs: Potential Route For Human Acquisition Of Pharmacological Insights

I've observed cats and dogs self-medicating with grass for upset stomachs before, but I recently witnessed a behavior in my dog that I'd never witnessed in a dog before. In response to getting a thorn in her paw she chewed on some willow branches to extract the salicylic acid for use as a painkiller. Only after the willow kicked in did she lay down and pull the thorn out with her teeth... {READ MORE}








From Permaculture Methods To Prevent Pea Bandits (And Other Seed Stealing Garden Pests)

Went out this morning to check on the garden only to discover that something (likely birds, but possibly voles or other small rodents) have been digging up the peas I have that are just starting to germinate. I'm trying a combination of techniques with urine and sticks to deter the would-be thieves. I need zero budget natural solutions to my pest problem. I'm including a video of what I'm trying so far, but I'd love to hear if you have any other solutions that I might be able to employ... {READ MORE}








From Potatoes: Pull Sprout/Sprout Jacking--Have you done it? Grow potatoes from peels.

The Pull Sprout/Sprout Jacking methods are techniques for the rapid propagation of potatoes, especially for novel varieties grown from true potato seed (TPS), or in areas where seed tubers are difficult or expensive to acquire. I first learned about this method from the Cultivariable page on Andean potatoes. I haven't been able to find a lot of information on this method.

Has anyone used this method? Any tips or general process?... {READ MORE}










From Ultimate low maintenance unirrigated annual calorie production while the food forest establishes?


One of the major focuses of my study over the past few years has been in increasing the efficiency of dry farming/gardening on a home/homestead scale. This year I set out to design a bed that could, in addition to a dozen chickens, provide all of one's calories for an entire year without irrigating and with a minimal footprint. The point was to create a system that, once set up and planted, you could completely walk away from to go install food forest on your property knowing that that system would provide you with enough calories to eat in the meantime.

I don't have yield data yet, but so far this bed has performed better than expected. The growth is lush and green with no signs of moisture stress. The corn is tillering readily, which is a sign that it has the moisture and nutrition it needs to support the extra growth. I have not had to irrigate (and couldn't if I wanted to, on account of not having a functioning well-pump at the moment), and the lack of irrigation has meant that few new weeds have been able to germinate, though I have had to pull a few of the more pernicious perennial weeds, like Canada Thistle. All-in-all, I would estimate that I've spent less than 10 minutes a week weeding this bed, and expect to do less as my living mulch establishes... {READ MORE}







Unfortunately, between wildfire evac preparations, bean mosaic virus, deer taking advantage of the chaos, a terrible year for cucurbits (that even destroyed the commercial winter squash yields) and all of the other BS that was 2020, I ended up with basically no yield from this bed. I got 0 beans. I got 0 squash. The deer were kind enough to leave me about 60 ears of corn off of the 200ish plants. The corn was the one thing that was doing really great until the deer got a hold of it. Because of the disease issues, I'll be trying other crops in this bed this year and I probably won't be making more of these beds until I can get good yield numbers from the ones I already have. I'll give it a couple seasons or so and then revisit the three sisters planting after the disease pressure settles down.




From Olives in the frost

Olives are an unfamiliar beast to me. While these are Ukrainian varieties which are developed to handle a bit more cold, I was totally expecting them to defoliate once the cold weather hit. Not by a long shot. They still look as green and healthy as the day I put them in the ground.

This also serves as my cat's grave. She passed this year at 15 years old as an extra special fuck you from 2020. I piled large rocks around the trees to help hold in a little extra heat and then pulled wood chips about a foot deep to insulate the roots and reduce competition from the highly aggressive invasive weeds that surround it on all sides. I've also planted some cat nip in honor of my cat and some of the famous local variety of strawberry.  Already planning to put in some chives and maybe some lovage and/or rhubarb. I'll probably figure out some berries that I want to put here; if not something that I already have, then maybe some strawberry tree in keeping with the (largely) Mediterranean theme. Also planning to throw in some peppers to help fill out the space this year, and this may end up being one of the spots where I put perennial kale and/or sea kale... {READ MORE}








From Unboxing Oca (Oxalis tuberosa)

I've received 3 varieties of oca in an effort to diversify my staple crops. I go live at 3pm PST (5pm CST/6pm EST) to unbox the order and show off these longer daylength varieties bred by Bill Whitson of Cultivariable.com. I couldn't find anyone showing their experience with Bill's varieties, or showing what people can expect to receive in their orders, so I wanted to document my experience for those who come after me. These were purchased at full price by a third party, so what I receive is what the average person could expect to receive.

Bill's website is a treasure trove of information on growing Andean crops like oca, mashua, and ulloco. In addition to showing what I actually received in the mail, I'll be going over the tasting notes and agronomic qualities for these three varieties and explaining why I chose these ones in particular. I'll also go over some of the vegetative propagation techniques that Bill suggests in his oca growing guide, which is how I plan to rapidly increase my stock of plants. I have no affiliation with Bill or Cultivarible, I'm simply excited for the work he's doing to preserve and expand the range of these wonderful crops. I'm happy that I get to grow them after years of researching and drooling over them... {READ MORE}





Images from Cultivariable:










From An accidental year-long polyculture

I was pretty bummed that we didn't have irrigation in time for me to plant fall and winter crops and that the rain started so late in the rainy season. I was really hoping to at least get some daikons, carrots, turnips, and greens in the ground but we just didn't have the soil moisture for it. Well, I ended up planting a couple hundred favas to overwinter and put down my first batch of compost from my deep litter system. Well, I had winnowed about 2.5 combined pounds of turnip and daikon seeds in my chicken pen and now they're coming up between the favas as a happy little accident. I think I'll broadcast a few more handfuls of daikons to really fill in the space. I'll harvest some of the roots, but most of them I'll chop and drop as the favas really start to push in spring. That'll give the daikons some time to break down before I plant the squash that will eventually be mulched with the remains of the favas... {READ MORE}






From Gardening without irrigation

Growing the typical annual kitchen garden without irrigation has kinda become a pet project of mine over the last few years. That's since I've seen a few successful examples of it being done, and because I stumbled across an article stating that a third of America's poorest households are expected to be priced out of water in the next decade between the cost of replacing aging infrastructure and (mostly conventional agriculture... and now bottled water manufacturing) draining the aquifers dry.

I've shared some of the methods I use (which are only a fraction of the ones I've learned about so far) in this video. I hope it's okay to share it with you all. I'd love your questions and feedback (unless it's about how uncomfortable I am in front of the camera... I know... or the quality... best I can do filming and editing 100% on a phone... we don't have enough solar to run my computer yet)... {READ MORE}








You can grab a free copy of the aforementioned staple crop calculator here.



It's on the Digital Market with the option to throw a few bucks my way so I can cover my dog food bill, but you can scroll to the very bottom and grab it for free. Just don't hit the option that's labeled FREE/Pay What You Want/$0.01... that was a limitation of the Digital Market software and just gives a penny to Paypal for no reason. If you throw more than $10 my way you have the option to add your website (or a website of your choice) to the list of contributors included with the calculator.
 
Mathew Trotter
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The results of my first proper hour or hour and a half of scything. With the pandemic, I didn't end up getting my scythe until late in the summer when everything was dead and dry. I needed the mulch and decided that things had grown enough to get out and give it a try.

I hope somebody has some tips for me. I'm scything the landowners septic drain field. It's a mix of different grass species and weeds, on a hill, and on uneven ground. The major problem I'm having is with the many, many fibrous clumping grasses. If I try to mow a full swath my blade ends up catching in the clumping grasses. I'm not sure how much of it is how thick and tough the grasses are, how much of it is the buildup of thatch from 3 decades of it being maintained with a weed whacker, and how much is my lack of experience. If I do short slices and work my way around the clumps individually it cuts fine, but it's not super efficient and I don't end up with neat little windrows to pick up with my fork. Maybe I need to adjust my hafting angle, either in general or just because I'm working on a hill? I also feel like part of the problem is how sparse the vegetation is at the edge of the field; at some point they put black plastic down around the edge of the field, presumably to prevent weeds growth, but the plastic has long since degraded and things are growing up through it, but it's still sparser than it is deeper into the field. I feel like I was getting a better cut once I got where things were growing a bit thicker... which is probably mostly just the little bit of support needed to hold the grass upright while I cut it.
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Mathew Trotter
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*deep breath*

Feels good to finally have some mulch on the garden. Even if it's just a small space, it makes it feel slightly more under control.
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Mathew Trotter
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It seems that my scything issues really were mostly to do with the sparseness of the vegetation. Once I got into thicker vegetation, and with only a few minor adjustments to my technique, my efficiency improved massively. I was able to scythe the same amount of space in half the time. Was able to mulch more of the garden, and that's making me feel more and more in control of the weed pressure.

I received a package of seeds from someone here at Permies (I won't name names, but they're welcome to chime in if they want to take credit.) Including were soup peas which have been on my list to grow. Peas in general are a confusing thing to grow because they come in so many different forms with different agronomic and culinary traits. Soup peas are one form that I hadn't grown but was eager to try.

I'm growing a lot of my staple crops on contour this year, taking a lesson from the work of Bill Zeedyk and Craig Sponholtz. I've done a separate write-up where I go in depth on the subject of their work and on human-scale solutions for water catchment that go beyond swales and don't require heavy machinery.




From Moving Away From Swales - Why Aren't More People Talking About Bill Zeedyk And Craig Sponholtz?



As someone who sees permaculture as a human-scale solution to a global problem (or problems), I’m a bit saddened by the obsession with industrial scale solutions like swales and terraces that, at least at the scale they’re typically used, are inaccessible to the poor and rural folks who are unable to afford heavy machinery. Certainly using swales is an effective strategy for securing water, and I certainly see the value in getting the job done quickly in order to fast track the repair process. But I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that A) bringing heavy equipment onto a piece of land does more damage, even if short term, than I’d like to see, and B) this obsession with heavy machinery leaves of dearth of options for the individual or small group practicing human-scale permaculture with hand tools.

I am one such person. I’m a long term steward of a rather large piece of property which the landowner would like to see producing most of their food. At this scale, typically excavators would be used to dig swales and ponds all over the property. As someone who is poor and only has access to hand tools, implementing an effective design becomes quite the ordeal once the usual tools of the trade are taken off the table.... {READ MORE}






I've created a new video that discusses how I'm implementing Bill's ideas into my own designs in order to maximize water catchment with only techniques that can be carried out by individuals with simple tools. The video premieres at noon Pacific time.

 
Mathew Trotter
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Blegh. It's been an exhausting week. Slowly producing mulch, slowly getting things in the ground, and slowly doing lots of things. I got my first chestnut sprout from store bought chestnuts, which I didn't expect given that most commercial chestnuts are heat treated. I've been getting peas in the ground and preparing ground for carrots and parsnips. Hoping to get those in the ground today. And a friend came out and brought some strawberries he'd thinned from his patch. We spent an afternoon planting those and mulching one of the little patches of forest garden I've started establishing on the property.

I have pictures of this weeks activities, but I'll have to wait until I have more time to go through my phone and upload them all. Right now I need to get back out to do more scything.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Some pictures from this past weekend. Currently about half way through prepping the carrot and parsnip bed. Getting more efficient at scything and the mulch is much appreciated. But man, I need to get this round of planting done. It's time to spend a day foraging and fishing to break up the slog.
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Mathew Trotter
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Youtube took a lot out of me last week with all of the added conversation on Reddit, Facebook, etc. I'm just not built for that level of unmanaged chaos. This week I want to take a slower, more intentional approach. I'm only posting the video here in my journal and nowhere else outside of Youtube. I would just ask that people share it with others who might find it interesting, if one is so inclined, be that one-to-one, or amongst subreddits, Facebook groups, etc.

I'm quite proud of the level of polish I was able to attain in this week's video. Remember that this is shot and edited entirely on my phone with a free app. It's genuinely kind of mind-blowing what the technology is capable of now. And there I go sounding old. 🀣 I mean, I wish the image stabilization was better given my shaken hands, but it'll do.

Doing these more complex edits on a phone does certainly take a lot longer, and it's still missing key features as compared to a desktop application. I miss keyframes. Still, I'm starting to get into a flow and I expect the quality to improve week over week as I unlock the features in my phone's camera app as well as the video editing app that I'm using.

If you're lurking here but haven't subscribed to my Youtube channel yet, please do! My goal is that by the end of the year I'd like to have my Youtube channel bringing in $20/month so that I can have a "reliable" source of income to cover dog food. Every subscriber and every view is a massive help in that regard. But if it's not your thing, I understand. Big brother watches. (I wish that was half as radical as it sounds.)

Without further ado (except the few hours between when I'm posting this and when the video is scheduled to go live) I present:

 
Mathew Trotter
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Daylength is finally above 12 hours and my chickens have finally gotten back into the habit of laying. I've gotten almost a full dozen this week. Those will all be going to my friend who covers the chicken feed... I currently have a backlog of about 400 eggs to cover the feed that was purchased over the winter plus an additional 160 pounds of feed that was purchased this past weekend. I'll be glad to have that squared away so I can start eating eggs again. With as limited as my diet is, it's been hard not to scarf them all down myself.

I'm right on the cusp of being burned out. Things have been a non-stop slog and I don't feel like I'm making any real progress. I still owed my landlady 4 hours of scything from last season... a combination of not getting my scythe until the end of the season, and a wicked elbow injury from trying to dig a trench for our electrical with a bit too much enthusiasm. My body continues to not be able to work as hard and fast as my mind. I was able to get that done throughout the week, but raking, hauling, and mulching with the resulting straw at least doubles the amount of work. All-in-all, I'd guess that those 4 hours of scything actually work out to 10 hours of actual work.

The elbow still reminds me that it's not at 100% on occasion, but for the most part I've been able to do a pretty full workload.

I'm still trying to sort out income. Without a car, and with being 15+ miles from civilization, I really have to either make money online (which is tricky with our crappy rural internet) or sell things that people pick up out here. Thanks to everyone's contributions I made $170 on The Calculator this past month. I suspect everyone who's interested in the calculator has already chipped in, so I likely won't see any more income out of it for some time. I was able to pick up some oranges and dog food. The rest has been earmarked for additional dog food as I need it.

I also made my first $10 through Youtube, which has made me inclined to put more effort into developing my channel. I need $20 a month to cover dog food and I think I can get there if I put an adequate amount of time and energy into it. I figure once I hit 1,000 subscribers, $20 a month should be a given... at least from the numbers I've seen shared by others. I've been trying to up the quality and add a little polish to things. If I can bring in $20 a month from Youtube alone, that frees me up to just get work done out here and not worry so much about how I'm going to feed my dog. More than $20 would be great. I've been craving fruit something fierce. I should get a smattering of berries this year, plus whatever I'm able to forage. I know that what I produce this year isn't going to come close to fulfilling my desire for fruit.

I almost bought some black currants and an almond scion to graft into my lone almond tree, but I can't justify the expense right now. Long term, it's probably the right move... but the short term is so tenuous right now that spending money on anything without an immediate benefit is just too much.

I'm trying to give myself permission to take a break, but I'm drowning in all the work that still needs to get done. At this point I'm considering not finishing the greenhouse. I've already put time and energy into it that I can't get back, and at this point my potato seeds are the only thing that would really benefit from having the greenhouse space. I'm anticipating that I'll just have to start those inside in batches. I can probably do one or two 72-cell trays at a time and just slowly work through all of them.

My version of taking a break usually revolves around working on the computer. And I know that's not a real break. I certainly don't feel any more relaxed and ready to face the day after my "breaks." I've been getting some graphic design done for the channel. It's pretty hard to do any real work with my current setup. The landowner just pulled my desk out of their storage unit, so whenever I find the time to put it together I'm sure I'll be able to start being more productive. Doing graphic design with a mouse on your lap is a pain in the ass.

I'm starting to think that tomatoes and peppers are happening this year. Between my depression and how much I have on my plate, I've totally killed three rounds of starts just from missing waterings. Which just bums me out more. Are peppers as easy to clone as tomatoes? At this point, I'm just trying to get enough plants up to a plantable size so I can take cuttings to fill in the rest of my tomato row at least. I've never tried to root pepper cuttings, but if I can, I imagine I'll be doing lots of that.

Anyway. Mostly just needed to whine about my workload, and I'm all by myself out here, so screaming into the void that is the internet is the best I can do. Here are some shiny things that make it a little better.
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Mathew Trotter
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Other than the little bit of time I spent responding to questions as a result of The Calculator GETTING MENTIONED IN THE DAILY-ISH!!! I was actually able to spend the whole day in the garden right up until sunset. No interruptions. No other projects or fires (mostly of the figurative variety... though I have been burning a lot more food lately because I've been so frazzled and have been dumb enough to try to multitask while cooking) pulled me away from the garden. I was able to finish planting my now pre-germinated soup peas and finish the prep and planting of my carrot/parsnip bed. I don't think I was ACTUALLY any more productive today than I have been in general, but there's something about getting seeds in the ground that FEELS more productive (or at least makes me feel less behind.)

I have pictures and other updates to share, plus more calculator-related stuff that I need to respond to, but it is officially past my bedtime and I'm half unconscious as it is. If I don't remember to post pictures tomorrow, somebody holler and remind me.
 
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On the topic of gophers...

Our first year on the property, living in a tent, our fridge was a hole in ground. A nice hole - lined with lumber, about three feet deep. We haven't used it in a few years. Last night my husband said, "Oh by the way, take a look in the cold hole when you're out tomorrow."
"Why?"
"Just take a look."

Okay.
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Busy gophers
Busy gophers
 
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Ooooh! Potting soil!
 
Mathew Trotter
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Jan White wrote:On the topic of gophers...

Our first year on the property, living in a tent, our fridge was a hole in ground. A nice hole - lined with lumber, about three feet deep. We haven't used it in a few years. Last night my husband said, "Oh by the way, take a look in the cold hole when you're out tomorrow."
"Why?"
"Just take a look."

Okay.



That's amazing and hilarious. Luckily I don't have a shortage of refrigeration... We have a converted chest freezer that's efficient enough to run completely off of our small solar setup. But, of course, I'm no longer living in a tent this year, otherwise that wouldn't work. I'm more worried about all the tubers and things that I'm going to have that need slightly warmer than refrigerator temps. Right now my plan is to insulate under the loft where the back door of the barn is so it'll stay cool... And give me the option to crack the door and let in a little additional cool air if need be. Though, if we don't actually get the rocket mass heater installed this year, it might be cold in there regardless and the insulation will be completely pointless. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ
 
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Matt, wow! You're working really hard and posting all these videos too. I have learned that my inner child will sabotage me if she does not get regular fun time. Sabotage looks like me spinning my wheels, dithering, not being able to finish projects, lacking motivation. Fun looks like hiking to the pond to see the ducks, riding my bicycle, whacking the tennis ball against the wall, coloring, going to the court and shooting hoops. When I am stuck with a project then I quit butting my head against the wall and ask my inner child what she wants to do. After we have some fun, so I just set the timer for 30 minutes sometimes, then I am free to get back to productive endeavors. You have bitten off a lot and money pressures make everything more stressful so give yourself permission to take a break and just have some fun everyday. It really will make a difference.
 
Mathew Trotter
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denise ra wrote:Matt, wow! You're working really hard and posting all these videos too. I have learned that my inner child will sabotage me if she does not get regular fun time. Sabotage looks like me spinning my wheels, dithering, not being able to finish projects, lacking motivation. Fun looks like hiking to the pond to see the ducks, riding my bicycle, whacking the tennis ball against the wall, coloring, going to the court and shooting hoops. When I am stuck with a project then I quit butting my head against the wall and ask my inner child what she wants to do. After we have some fun, so I just set the timer for 30 minutes sometimes, then I am free to get back to productive endeavors. You have bitten off a lot and money pressures make everything more stressful so give yourself permission to take a break and just have some fun everyday. It really will make a difference.



Yeah. I keep telling myself to take a break, but I don't listen. 🀣 I tried to go fishing the other day... which is still technically food production, but at least a lot more relaxing and a lot less like work... but the earthworms I'd stuck in the fridge croaked before I got around to using them πŸ™... and the soil here is still so bad that I still only find earthworms by accident... and the few that I find in the main garden I'm inclined to leave there to continue working.

Part of it is bipolar depression. When I get into a hypomanic phase, it's hard not to stay busy. Most relaxation bores me. One weekend I had a friend stay out here and they thought they'd woken me up because I was up doing dishes at 5am. But really, I'd just laid in bed for an hour at that point and was bored, so I got up to do work. The flip side is that when I sink back into depression I know that I'm going to struggle just to get out of bed, so it's a bit like a bear preparing for hibernation: get as much done while you can so that as many things as possible are on autopilot when I don't have the energy to work.

The other part is that after last year I have a better idea of how much needs to get done to actually produce enough food to sustain myself. It was a tough season for everyone in the area; the mild winter we had meant that pests and diseases never died off from the cold, so I lost my entire pea and sunflower crops to insects, and my favas were hit by rust. My beans were crippled by mosaic virus. And because the previous year had provided lots of forage for deer, rabbits, etc., so they bred like crazy, but then their population was so high that they overgrazed the surrounding land and were desperate enough to risk an interaction with my dog in order to get at my garden. They wiped out all the beans that disease didn't, and out of the 205 corn I had planted, they left me 60 or so ears. And we basically had the same weather from winter through spring: cold and wet. So none of the hot season stuff did well. Winter squash is big business in this area, and you can usually pick up Hubbard, and sweet meat, and all the other large squashes in the fall. Last year the only ones that managed to produce and show up in the stores were the small kabocha and buttercup type squashes. All of my squash failed, winter and summer, and I've never had a year where I wasn't swimming in zucchinis. From 30ish plants I got 2 tomatoes (so I was at least able to save seed)... I had about 30 tomatoes set on the one plant that survived a late cold snap, but the deer only left me two of them. Between the weather and poor soil (that I didn't have the resources to amend in any significant way) I didn't have a lot of successes. I got lucky and planted carrots in the one spot in the garden where the topsoil hadn't completely washed away, so I generally had more carrots than I knew what to do with (though, we didn't have running water until September-ish, so cleaning all of the mud off of them required lots of scrubbing in very conservative amounts of water.) Greens were the only thing that really thrived in the unusually cool weather and relatively poor soil, but I didn't plant nearly enough to take advantage of such unusual conditions. Mind you, all of this was without irrigation, because we didn't have it. This year I have the option to irrigate, and I have mulch, compost, and my homemade fertilizer... I'm going to take advantage of that and plant a little more densely so I can increase my production in the same amount of space.

So yeah, it's a lot. But I've also been struggling with the limited diet, so I want to make sure I don't have a repeat of last year. That means making sure I have solutions in place for all the challenges I faced last year. It also means putting way more of a focus on growing and protecting the staples I'm depending on.

Arguably this year is easier because I have more systems in place for all manner of things. And it'll get easier and easier each year as the soil improves, the weed pressure reduces, and my perennial systems start contributing a more significant proportion of my food. The hard work is in the setup. The maintenance, by comparison, is the easy part. I just keep reminding myself that in 3 to 5 years, everything will finally pop and the work will have been worth it.

But yes. Thank you. This was the reminder I needed that tomorrow is going to be a full day of filming and editing, and I really need to take a proper break today because I likely won't get much of one tomorrow. It's a nice day to go sit down by the creek and see if I can catch some fish, so I think I'll go do that. πŸ™‚
 
Mathew Trotter
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But before I go fishing, let me dump all of the pictures I've been meaning to post.
IMG_20210413_064512_729.jpg
Prepping the bed with compost and homemade fertilizer
Prepping the bed with compost and homemade fertilizer
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Planting carrots and parsnips with the board method
Planting carrots and parsnips with the board method
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A big helping of freshly scythed grass mulch
A big helping of freshly scythed grass mulch
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Kale from the garden, and some dandelions that are taking advantage of all the extra fertility and moisture in my garlic bed
Kale from the garden, and some dandelions that are taking advantage of all the extra fertility and moisture in my garlic bed
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I was able to get a small amount of meat with the $10 I made from YouTube affiliate sales, so I made this soup with greens and carrots from the garden plus some black beans
I was able to get a small amount of meat with the $10 I made from YouTube affiliate sales, so I made this soup with greens and carrots from the garden plus some black beans
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I just hit 160 subscribers
I just hit 160 subscribers
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The better editing and audio on my last video kept people watching, which means YouTube recommends it to even more people
The better editing and audio on my last video kept people watching, which means YouTube recommends it to even more people
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Planted popbeans on contour and decided to reinforce with rocks for a number of reasons, including keeping people walking or driving over my plants
Planted popbeans on contour and decided to reinforce with rocks for a number of reasons, including keeping people walking or driving over my plants
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A shot of the peas starting to grow up through the sticks as mention in my protecting peas video
A shot of the peas starting to grow up through the sticks as mention in my protecting peas video
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I got another of my store bought chestnuts to sprout, which I totally didn't expect since just commercial chestnuts are heat treated
I got another of my store bought chestnuts to sprout, which I totally didn't expect since just commercial chestnuts are heat treated
 
Mathew Trotter
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No fishies, but I caught a snake in a trap I set. πŸ™„

I honestly don't know if there are any fish to be had in here. I used to catch trout at the lower end of creek, but the logging dropped the water level, and the downstream neighbor taking out a beaver dam dropped the water further. It's only a couple inches deep at the low end of the property now.

There's a beaver dam higher up the creek and I've been trying to fish above that.  I'm not sure how deep it is at the dam end; the other end is about 2 feet, judging by how my rig sits in the water. The only confirmed wildlife in here is salamanders. If there are fish in here, they either aren't very active, aren't where I'm putting my line, or aren't interested in the artificial bait I've used in lieu of worms. They definitely took worms in the lower end of the creek when I'd catch them down there. Now that it's warming up a bit, maybe I can find some worms down closer to the creek, where it wasn't logged and there's still some organic matter for them to eat.

I did end up setting a trap for the gopher. I wasn't paying close enough attention, and a hole that I thought was an old hole wasn't... And I think messing around with the holes while filming accidentally pushed him further into the garden. I woke up this morning to a fresh hole in the middle of my outside garden bed. Luckily nothing planted in that one yet. I dug the tunnel up, following it to the edge of the bed and set the trap there, so he can either turn around and go the other way, or that'll be the end of him. I wish I'd caught it sooner, but it is what it is. I can't risk him running amok in the garden. We'll see.

I think I have a second one to keep an eye on now. Hate to kill them for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, especially with as good as they are for soil compaction, so we'll see what happens with the trap.
 
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I was up until 2am, but I finished my video on pull sprouts. Still working on promotional materials, but I think it's time to find something caffeinated and something resembling food. I think there's going to be a nap after my video premiere's at noon.



Hope you guys enjoy. You can join me for a live chat when the video goes live (just click through to youtube.) Comments and likes are helpful for overcoming our robot overlords.
 
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Man, I can't believe we're halfway through the month already. I feel behind, as usual. We've had unseasonably warm weather and I haven't even managed to get all of my cool season crops in the ground yet. I'm working on getting the rest of my root crops in the ground and working on hardening off the few starts that I haven't killed. I planted my inaugural achira and have a bunch of pomegranate seeds starting to sprout. I've been putting off finishing the prep of my onion beds, since they're at least started and can go in the ground wheni have time... it's the direct seeded stuff that I'm really trying to get beds ready for so I don't completely blow by my planting dates. We've got one more week of hot and dry weather and then we back to rain for the foreseeable future. Anything I don't get done this week, I may not get done at all, at least with regard to any of the pre-summer stuff.

At this point I have 2 days a week that get sucked up by YouTube, and 2 days a week that get sucked up with obligations to friends. That leaves 3 days a week to get actual work done and maybe half a day to rest if I manage to squeeze it in somewhere. It's starting to get warm enough in the afternoons that I think I'm going to be back on a bi-phasic sleep schedule... working from 5 or 6 in the morning, taking a nap for an hour or two in the afternoon, and then writing until 9 or 10 at night.

Some days I feel confident about the progress that I'm making. Other days I feel like I'm never get enough stuff in the ground. Some things are behind compared to last year. I was what harvesting asparagus by this time last year, and there's no sign of it at all this year. I'm not certain that it survived the abuse it endured last year.

I know I've got a few weeks before my heavy hitters need to be in the ground, I just have so much that has to get done before then. I think time with friends gives me a much needed break, but I might need to cut while the weather's nice enough to get things done, just so I can get everything caught up. At this point it feels like I've gotta start making hard decisions about which things to give up on so that I don't just lose everything. I already know that next year will be easier because having mulch on the ground means I won't have the insane amount of bed prep that I have this year. But next year doesn't do me any good this year.

For better or worse, it seems like I'll get a week off on account of the rainy weather. Realistically, I know that we need the rain, but it turns our clay soil into unworkable cement, and it will compact the beds I've already prepped if I don't finish getting them mulched. That's the real stressor. It's not that I'll have to take a break, but that it will actively destroy hours and hours of work.

I can probably work on moving the Oregon grape that's growing above the pond whole it's raining, since that are is fairly well vegetated and the impact of my work week be minimal. But it was depends on how hard it's raining. I have no way to get warm and dry after working in the rain, so that might ultimately be more miserable than doing nothing. I'd love to think that I would actually get some relaxation in, but I know my mind is going to be occupied with all of the things that aren't getting done.

Just trying to take it one day at a time. Trying to get beets and rutabagas in the ground by the end of the weekend. That'll at least be one more thing checked off the list.

IMG_20210416_140443_774.jpg
Inaugural achira planting
Inaugural achira planting
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Pomegranate seedlings
Pomegranate seedlings
IMG_20210415_152015_051.jpg
Hit my 2,000 view milestone on YouTube
Hit my 2,000 view milestone on YouTube
 
Mathew Trotter
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The first "big" forage of the season. I have nettles that I need to grab at some point, they're just not as easy to get down to.
IMG_20210416_163059.jpg
A whole bag of maple blossoms
A whole bag of maple blossoms
IMG_20210417_110111_418.jpg
Maple blossom fritters
Maple blossom fritters
 
Mathew Trotter
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I was going to bail on going to my friend's, but after realizing that it was going to hit about 85 yesterday (we just had frost a week or two ago, and this represents a pretty massive temperature swing), I decided a get a little work done in the morning and then abscond to their much cooler home. We both felt a little under the weather, presumably from the sudden heat and lack of proper hydration, though last year taught me that I can easily develop a sodium deficiency working in the heat and staying hydrated, but not consuming processed food or adding much salt to my food. I got to the point where I was pouring salt into my hand and eating it and couldn't even taste it... whether or not I can taste salt seems to be a pretty good indication of whether or not I've had enough, in addition to paying attention to whether and how much in sweating and going to the bathroom relative to how much I'm drinking. It's almost like we evolved to understand what our bodies need, and we're actually capable of using that ability when we aren't overloading our system with artificial and highly processed foods.

To be fair, the heat wasn't as atrocious as I expected, and I suspect that I'm more acclimated to it than I gave myself credit for, given that I'm out in it every day and have been making a point to build up my tolerance to the heat. If you aren't using artificial heating and cooling, I've found that the body adapts fairly well to temps from around freezing (as long as you're moving) on up into the 80s without any real discomfort... I suspect that temperature should be even higher if you're somewhere with a dry heat; humidity is definitely the limiting factor.

Today I finally decided where I wanted to plant my perennial kale starts and got them in the ground. Looking forward to seeing how these guys develop and taking cuttings from the choicest individuals to spread about the food forest. I also went through and thinned some of the other greens which have been needing it and tried to transplant a few to spots where stuff never sprouted... hopefully without doing too much damage to the roots to either the ones I moved or the ones I left behind, since the goal is get a headstart as compared to starting more from seeds.

I found a California poppy that I didn't know was there that just started to bloom. Contemplating digging it out if the gravel and putting it in a permanent home. We'll see. I wanted to move a lot of the wild chamomile to a centralized spot last year to ease harvest, but I never got around to it. Hoping it managed to reseed heavily, since I did but have nearly enough chamomile last year. I'm also seeing the first signs of life from my oca and I'm looking forward to trying my hand at propagating them in a number of ways.

I overdid it on the sun the other day, so I'm trying not to overdue it today. I'm taking a siesta and I'm going to attempt to get a proper nap on so I can go back out this evening and work until dark. If not planted, I at least want to finish doing bed prep so that I can plant the rest of my root crops in the morning. After this week the temps are supposed to drop back down into the 60s, so that bodes better for the cool season crops, so long as the things that have already germinated don't bolt between now and then. I just noticed that I had my first spinach bolt, but I'm not sure when that started. Weather here has gotten so erratic that it's hard to know what will produce in any given year, and even when it should be planted. That's why I'm trying to grow a good variety of things... figure out what does well regardless of the year we have, and have enough variety that hopefully some of it will do well regardless of what the weather does. This is the second year that we've gone from freezing to heat wave overnight, and I suspect that's just our new normal.


IMG_20210418_125414_HDR.jpg
Perennial kale
Perennial kale
IMG_20210418_124854_HDR.jpg
Oca sprout
Oca sprout
IMG_20210418_081202.jpg
Poppy
Poppy
 
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Maple blossoms! I didn't know about this...

What kind of maple, big leaf, vine, something else?

What's the flavor like?
 
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Mathew Trotter

Weather here has gotten so erratic that it's hard to know what will produce in any given year, and even when it should be planted. That's why I'm trying to grow a good variety of things... figure out what does well regardless of the year we have, and have enough variety that hopefully some of it will do well regardless of what the weather does. This is the second year that we've gone from freezing to heat wave overnight, and I suspect that's just our new normal.


Yep, same thing I've been dealing with and probably everyone else is too, although younger folks may not realize it as much. I've been trying to compensate by first accepting that some things are no longer really viable here, potatoes for example. They will still grow but to try to breed them into a dependable crop is beyond my capabilities. The most fruitful approach in my view is to focus on short maturity time within whatever the species I'm working with. My theory being it increases the chances of getting a harvest between the extremes.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Andrew Sackville-West wrote:Maple blossoms! I didn't know about this...

What kind of maple, big leaf, vine, something else?

What's the flavor like?




These are big leaf maple. I've heard that all true maples are edible, but these are the only ones I know for sure are. They're vegetal and maybe slightly sweet and/nutty. If you've had fried zucchini, I'd say that gets you in the general ballpark. I've seen some savory recipes, but we like to have them as a sweet, indulgent breakfast once or twice while they're in season (if I remember to check for them... it's a bit of a hike to get to any of the maples on the property that you can actually reach the branches of.) Simple batter: flour, baking powder, salt, and enough ice water to make a thin pancake-like batter. Fry until golden and serve with maple syrup, honey, or powdered sugar. I think of them as along the same lines as a beignet, if you've had the New Orleans staple... at least as far as how they're served.

I'm contemplating experimenting with preserving some and exploring other cooking options... perhaps in soup. Maybe stir fries, though I don't see them holding up well. They might make a good, very light pickle... maybe fermented, but also maybe a sweet pickle or relish.

Who knows. Things to experiment with. But I probably won't get any more this season unless I find more trees that I can reach from the ground and aren't atrocious to get to.

 
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Mark Reed wrote:
Yep, same thing I've been dealing with and probably everyone else is too, although younger folks may not realize it as much. I've been trying to compensate by first accepting that some things are no longer really viable here, potatoes for example. They will still grow but to try to breed them into a dependable crop is beyond my capabilities. The most fruitful approach in my view is to focus on short maturity time within whatever the species I'm working with. My theory being it increases the chances of getting a harvest between the extremes.



It's quite a mess that we've caused for ourselves. I'm planting a lot of warm mediterranean with the expectation that that's where our climate is headed. But it could just as well be that the climate is completely unstable and that there's no predicting it going forward. One of those is going to suck regardless, so might as well plan for the eventuality that I can actually have a positive impact on.
 
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I've decided to give lentils what go this year. Without mulch, irrigation, or weeding, they really floundered last year and didn't produce much. In retrospect, they should have probably been placed way earlier than I did, but they were an after thought last year and had to fend for themselves and prove their worth to me. I'm not sure I collected a single gram of seeds. I combined the rest of the bag of lentils I planted from last year (this was just a bag of lentils from the store that I got from my mom... they must've been 5+ years old and so dry that they wouldn't cook completely anymore... I'm honestly surprised they sprouted.) By comparison, my home saved seed is super plump and healthy looking, so that gives me hope that they'll be worth eating if I can get a decent crop. To that I added two more varieties of lentil from the store... I don't know how readily lentils cross, but I'm hoping I get some good crosses with such a jumbled mix of varieties. If this endeavor proves fruitful, then I might have to look into adding locally adapted and heirloom varieties to my mix. All in all, I'm putting ΒΎ of a pound of seed in the ground. Hopefully I get a good return on that investment.

Yesterday the temps were back down in the 70s and I was and to work through the day without the constant breaks to get out of the sun like I had over the weekend. My appetite was better. Lately I've been subsisting on 2-4 potatoes a day (with butter, of course... though I'm starting to run out), plus what I've raided from the landowner's 20 year supply of coffee (I exaggerate, of course... but there's enough in the freezer to keep me productively caffeinated throughout the growing season at my current consumption levels.) Caffeine is 100% a drug, and it's the only reason I'm able to get as much done as I do. I have to be pretty clinical with it's use, though: 2 cups a day, maximum, and before 10am; take the weekends off; occasionally take a week or two off so that any negative effects it's having on my sleep cycle don't outweigh the energy boost it provides.

But back to potatoes. I'm finding that after weeks or months of eating the same food over and over, my body naturally loses its appetite. After months of rice, I can barely get through a bowl of it. After several weeks of a predominately potato based diet, I'm down to eating 2 potatoes, or add many as 4, and but being hungry for anything else. I wonder how much that's just psychological... a kind of boredom with the monotony of it... and how much is physiological, like the body saying "We've had enough of the nutrients in this thing. Let us know when there's something else to eat." Well, I just discovered a new technique for preparing potatoes that's pretty hands off (which is great, because I don't have a lot of time to devote to cooking) and produces an amazing end result. I just fill the pressure cooker to the max with whole potatoes and a handful of fresh oregano, time, and rosemary from the garden and a healthy serving of salt. Cook the potatoes until their done and have absorbed the broth (carrots, onions, meat, etc. could be added to make it richer.) Lightly oil a baking sheet and then smash the potatoes with the bottom of a plate, pot, etc. Drizzle with oil and season to taste. Roast until the desired level of crispiness is achieved (convection is especially good for this)... half an hour, minimum, though I like them best at close to an hour. Flip once during cooking for even crispness. And I like to add fresh rosemary in the last 5 minutes to crisp up like little rosemary chips.

I definitely ate 3 pounds of potatoes yesterday, and I suspect closer to 5 (though nowhere near the 14 pounds that Carol Deppe suggests were eaten by adult males in pre-famine Ireland.) I made potatoes as described for breakfast lunch and dinner. For snacks in-between I was able to eat the boiled potatoes out of hand at is... being cooked and stored in an herby broth, they were nearly as rich and creamy as a new potato. Between the sudden bump in calories, a day of pretty non-stop physical activity, and a cup of California poppy tea to unwind at the end of the day... I slept like a rock, and this is the most well-rested and recovered that I've felt in weeks.

We've been without rain for 3 weeks now and I've been worrying about whether some of the stuff I've planted would even germinate. I ran the soaker hose for a couple of hours last week at the top of my contour beds, in part just to make sure they'd have enough moisture to germinate, but also to make sure the water is flowing as expected. It's working beautifully. The water flows until it hits the contour line and then it spreads evenly across it until it's fully hydrated, and then it spills over and repeats the process on the next contour line. I suspected that might not be enough moisture to germinate the shallowly planted poppies, but I discovered that they were already eagerly germinating yesterday. The little bit of compost added at planting time is really helping it hold onto the little bit of moisture it's gotten. There's a little bit of flow that makes it out beyond the reach of my contour lines, but it's a spot where I need to maintain vehicle access, so I need to observe how that spot progresses and decide how best to address it.

I think I got my first sunchoke. Between our nasty, compacted clay, and the gopher activity in that area, I was worried that none of them made it through the winter. Of the 20 or so I traded for last year, only 2 actually survived our drought and plague of deer. I replanted all of the tubers those two plants made (30 to 35ish in total) in the fall and mulched them with wood chips, the hope being that they'd develop stronger root systems by starting the season in the ground and thus have an easier time with our drought. Only one plant so far, though. 29 to 34 to go.

When I moved to this side of the property my asparagus had gotten left up at the landowners house. In a wine barrel. Without irrigation. The ferns definitely died off early in the season and I was worried that the crowns had been fried to a crisp  I finally went up and excavated them maybe a couple months ago and excavated them. It took probably an hour to get that tangled mass of roots out of the barrel. There had been a lot of root die off, but there were still a lot of healthy looking roots as well. All in all I ended up with 6 or 8 healthy looking crowns which finally got planted in the ground where they belong. They're at least a week behind where they were last year, but I suspect most of that is due to being in the ground and topped with mulch, both of which will have a cooling effect on the roots. I'm anticipating that I'll have to abstain from picking any this year too make sure they're able to recover, but I'll let the first few shoots fern out and see what production looks like from there. If they're still sending up good sized shoots then I might make a few meals out of them. But like the sunchokes, I've only seen signs of life from one plant so far, so it could still very well be the fact that most of them are dead. It might be a slim year for asparagus, but I've also got just over 30 asparagus seedlings to put in the ground, so I'll be swimming in it in a few years.

The owner bought a bunch of bacon on sale and had more than they could finish. They brought me their surplus this morning, which was a welcome addition to breakfast.

And I hit another milestone in YouTube. 170 isn't huge, or anything, but it is appreciated. And it is slow, steady, sustainable growth. There still isn't a lot growing, but a few people have asked for a tour, so hopefully that's what I can do for my video this week... and hopefully the editing will be a little more relaxed this week. I need a light week so I can focus on getting stuff in the ground before the rain hits.
IMG_20210418_143339_194.jpg
ΒΎ of a pound of lentils
ΒΎ of a pound of lentils
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Mastering simplicity
Mastering simplicity
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Bread seed poppies are sprouting
Bread seed poppies are sprouting
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I think this is my first sunchoke
I think this is my first sunchoke
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Finally found my first asparagus
Finally found my first asparagus
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A gift of bacon
A gift of bacon
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A new milestone on YouTube
A new milestone on YouTube
 
Mathew Trotter
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Posts: 346
Location: Oregon 8b
86
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
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Wowwee! I made myself promise to spend less time proofreading and more time putting actual things into words. It's definitely cut out some unnecessary screen time, but then you get stuff like that last post which is barely comprehensible. Some day I might actually make the time to go through and edit these posts so that they make sense, but right now that is work, and it's work that I don't need.

Bed prep is mostly complete (just finished mixing up a new batch of fertilizer and have spread it and compost on half the bed.) I distinctly recall mixing up previous batches of fertilizer wrong, but now I'm at a loss with regard to which ones. I doubled the recipe, but I know that I didn't double a couple of the ingredients at least once.

I'm trying a new technique for raking out my rows. It creates a flatter profile and a more uniform distribution of soil particle size. After trialing a couple dug versus mostly non-dug beds, the dug beds were the clear winner last year. Obviously no dig is going to win out in the long term, but I have to balance short term production with long term production. So, my question becomes, how do I loosen the soil but create a stable enough matrix that it will hold the soil in that loosened state until the biological matrix can form? The solution that I'm trying is to hand dig the bed with a hoe, rake the soil into one of two patterns (large clods evenly dispersed throughout or large clods at the edges of the bed), add my limited quarter inch or so of compost plus my homemade organic fertilizer, then plant and mulch with freshly scythed grass straw. The main hope of the initial dig is to remove herbaceous, perennial, allelopathic weeds (which will hopefully be relatively easy to control once the mulch is in place) and loosen a few inches of soil to ease root growth. Afterwards, the hope is that the loose texture can be maintained with a thick, shielding layer of mulch and ultimately be stabilized by the biology that's introduced through the compost and fed by the mulch (it's been 6 months since I prepared and planted my garlic and favas and the worm numbers in those beds are way up compared to the rest of the garden.) Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully that loose structure can be protected, maintained, and improved. And if not, I'll at least get one good season out of it and hopefully I can pump more organic matter into it at that point and get the biology sorted out. Would definitely prefer to just dump a bunch of compost on top and call it good, but lacking that option, this seems like an acceptable substitute.

I've been thinking a lot about artistic touches in the forest garden. Little things to make it more fantastical and magical. Living sculptures is one idea; I'm especially fond of the "giants" depicted at... I think it's called Helligan, or the Lost Gardens of Helligan? I could be way off. I've also been fantasizing about a living mural on our retaining wall that's painted out of different species of moss. And finally, little planters, and sculptures, and things made out of willow, living or dead. Perhaps some impressive willow columns whose interiors would be lined with leaves and stuffed with soil and planted to strawberries. Or some sort of willow bowl that's planted to mashua. I think I've seen too many trees and rotting logs with interesting things growing out of them and I want to play with that pattern. Life begetting life.

But maybe I just watched Edward Scissorhands too many times as a kid.

At some point I hope that I have the stability that I can hire a local artist to come do a mural on the barn. Something to make it feel less manufactured and more lived and worked in. But who knows. For all I know, I'm going to starve to death. One problem at a time. Food first. Then dreams.

I also want to build a pyramid and a solar calendar (Ha! Dreams!) Things that are practical, and things that are just a testament to what we are capable of with just our bodies and simple tools, if only we put our minds to it.

I think I've partly been thinking about art because people have a history of destroying things that they don't recognize as special. Now, some people were put here to destroy no matter what, but most people have a tendency to preserve that in which they can perceive an artistic intent... even if it's just to sell it to the highest bidder. So how do you protect a space that's designed to produce something as mundane and insignificant as food? You have to add a little magic and mystery. Was that tree contorted by gods or elves, or did it simply grow that way? Is it something in the water that creates these shapes and forms? If you want to protect something, you make it too fascinating to destroy. Or you do a really good job of hiding it.

There will always be assholes, but for us casual vandals fascination is usually enough. And if your problem is assholes, you better talk to the warrior not the philosopher.

All I know is that ideas, if they're powerful enough, can live on longer after the person who had them has passed. Every day we're learning lessons from civilizations that our very existence has erased. Ideas transcend time and they transcend language. And the best ideas come back to us over and over again until we learn to value and preserve them.

And I think that is the other reason for creating art in the landscape: to relate ideas long after their originator is gone. You can create a calendar in the landscape  that 1,000 years from now people might still be using to guide their actions.... this is the time of year to harvest the hazelnuts, this is the time of year to harvest livestock, this is when the chickens are moved from pasture to chicken tractors to prepare the garden. So much information can be encoded in our designs. Perhaps our designs can be embedded with an instruction manual so that if they were abandoned for a thousand years someone could come to the garden and learn how to take care of it, even if they didn't speak the same language. But how would we communicate that?

Anyway. Just some musings as I hide from the sun. Another hour or so and it should be cool enough to go back out and finish spreading compost and fertilizer. I'm already soaking winter peas (yes, I know it's not winter, but I'm hoping I can bang out a quick seed crop so that I have enough to actually use them as a cover crop) and the aforementioned lentils. I'm hoping I can get contours measured out and planted tomorrow, but I also have to balance that with filming and editing. I really don't want another night up until 2am editing because the video can't upload on our crappy internet if I don't give it at least overnight. I'm also thinking about pushing the publishing time back a couple of hours. I've been posting at noon Pacific so that it's up and ready as people start winding down for the weekends.  And views usually pick up slowly as the weekend progresses. But apparently Youtube gives more weight to how your video performs in the first couple of hours (which I can definitely see with videos I've promoted on social media), so pushing it back at least a couple of hours would allow more people to watch it within the first couple of hours. At this point I think Thursdays are still the best day, but pushing it back a couple hours might prompt Youtube to promote it a little more. In any case, I've already done a lot of the legwork to get this video promoted across Youtube and I'm working on a few other strategies to get the video promoted. I've been practicing getting better shots with my phone, so hopefully I can put together a very visually appealing tour of my very young forest garden. I guess we'll see how filming goes.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Posts: 346
Location: Oregon 8b
86
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
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Fuuuuuuu....

I just spend 10 or 11 hours filming. This was supposed to be an easy day. For the life of me, I can't imagine being done with editing before 4 am, and I'm already disappointed in the result. I know I didn't get all of the shots I wanted to, or make all the points that I wanted to, but there just aren't enough hours in the day. I really can't justify pushing the video back, or taking another day to film. It just will be what it will be, and that's gotta be good enough.

I guess the good news is that I'll have something resembling a tour so you guys can see all of the little things I'm working on. Hopefully it's watchable.

I almost feel like it should be a two parter. It might have to be in order to fit it all on my phone and get it uploaded on our crappy internet. I started the day with about 40GB of free space on my phone. I'm down to the last 2GB. We'll see what happens...
 
Mathew Trotter
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Posts: 346
Location: Oregon 8b
86
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
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I'm halfway through the video. Now I don't even have enough free space on my phone to render the first part of the video. Blegh.
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