• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
stewards:
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
  • Dave Burton
master gardeners:
  • John F Dean
  • jordan barton
  • Carla Burke
  • Leigh Tate
gardeners:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
  • Jay Angler

Farm For All - A Journal Of Sorts

 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
IMG_20210330_121209_660.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210330_121209_660.jpg]
 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
*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.
IMG_20210330_134615_498.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210330_134615_498.jpg]
 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
IMG_20210405_111510.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210405_111510.jpg]
IMG_20210401_180632.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210401_180632.jpg]
IMG_20210331_135711.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210331_135711.jpg]
IMG_20210404_153612.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210404_153612.jpg]
received_587186532263232.jpeg
[Thumbnail for received_587186532263232.jpeg]
 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
youtubebanner.png
[Thumbnail for youtubebanner.png]
150SubscribersMilestone-.jpg
[Thumbnail for 150SubscribersMilestone-.jpg]
 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
Jan White
pollinator
Posts: 611
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
149
forest garden tiny house books
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
IMG_20210413_084938453.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210413_084938453.jpg]
IMG_20210413_085005796_HDR.jpg
Busy gophers
Busy gophers
 
Joylynn Hardesty
master pollinator
Posts: 3222
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
1221
3
forest garden foraging books food preservation cooking fiber arts bee medical herbs
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ooooh! Potting soil!
 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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
 
denise ra
pollinator
Posts: 448
Location: OK High Plains Prairie, 23" rain avg
81
cattle forest garden trees tiny house composting toilet building homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

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
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
IMG_20210413_064512_734.jpg
Planting carrots and parsnips with the board method
Planting carrots and parsnips with the board method
IMG_20210413_064512_753.jpg
A big helping of freshly scythed grass mulch
A big helping of freshly scythed grass mulch
IMG_20210413_063852_328.jpg
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
IMG_20210413_063852_335.jpg
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
IMG_20210413_063359_998.jpg
I just hit 160 subscribers
I just hit 160 subscribers
IMG_20210410_131947_728.jpg
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
IMG_20210412_184729_082.jpg
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
IMG_20210412_182551_173.jpg
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
IMG_20210412_180435_859.jpg
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
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
IMG_20210416_125106_209.jpg
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
pioneer
Posts: 339
Location: Oregon 8b
84
monies cat dog forest garden fungi foraging chicken food preservation cooking writing homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
 
She said she got a brazillian. I think owning people is wrong. That is how I learned ... tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/8/rmhman
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic