Spring has such an interesting energy; methodical, innocent, enthusiastic, grounded, productive, inspirational. When, for whatever reason, we have not laid the groundwork for consciousness this same energy can quickly switch from an ease-full level headed approach to the pushy thrashing bull in a china shop.
That’s OK just start over. Nature helps us reconnect and center. She is so forgiving when we practice permaculture, all she asks is that our design is well thought out to the best of our abilities. Then observation and understanding of the themes, concepts & climates will help guide us to make small adjustments.
As of late, and probably because I read a good deal of material on the alternet which helps to inform and deepen my education of the World and the plays behind the scenes, I sometimes struggle with just exactly what am I going to post for two reasons; being hands on with so many projects I often think why would someone else find this interesting, and the other is because frequently I have to pull myself back from the brink before posting very inflammatory material.
Like so many others I find myself asking questions about why things are the way they are and the answers are invariably long and complicated. I’ve achieved a balance of sorts over the last year and it seems to be working; have the courage to step outside of the comfort zone, and learn something about the world and then when it almost gets too much, go outside and Be.
That’s where the real Love and Humility resides. And there’s a line about ‘restraint of pen & tongue’ from a very wise group of people who know that shooting your mouth off isn’t always a good idea. I’ll leave that to other bloggers who apparently don’t suffer from paranoid clairvoyance to the degree I tend to entertain, and believe me, I’m as pissed as the next person, but I’ll listen in private to Mark Knopfler’s song in the quietude of this retreat and leave the public commentary to persons who can handle what may become extreme blowback.
So considering the latest domestic events orchestrated by TPTB that serve multi-layered functions of evoking emotional irrationality – purposed to re-trigger the National PTSD that was so carefully planned 15 years ago – and generally incite herd fear behavior, I do the next most logical thing. Go out into a garden and then do something positive.
Yes, go out into a garden, any garden and clear your mind. Leave the noise of ‘breaking news’ behind. Know that History is repeating itself in different colors and textures, but it is still repeating.
I bought a couple of cactus paddles for $3 one year ago at a small Entienda in the next town over and had the crazy idea I could grow them into two prickly pear cactus in the GH. I followed the online instructions, propped them up with wood blocks inside the container and waited. When I ‘tested’ to see if they had taken by tapping on them with my finger, the blocks were removed and they stood on their own. This spring I gave them more regular waterings, and misted the paddles and two weeks ago I saw this. Two small emerging buds on the paddles.
The fig tree I’ve grown from a couple of jacked cuttings from behind Dawn’s house in Seattle is producing figs
I’ve been harvesting Lemon Balm and apparently it’s good for bees. That’s good because it really likes it here and is self seeding everywhere and we plan to have honey bees up and running for next year. Here’s a great link for all things Lemon Balm including great recipes.
The Rainier Cherry tree was here when Will bought the place. So beat up and neglected that it’s buddy died and this one was just hanging on. We gave it tree CPR (mulch, water, improved soil, specific pruning) and this year it produced fruit.
…bags and bags of it!
My other crazy project (aside from the cactus), the Syrup Tree Field is doing fantastic, the cover crops have all taken; camelina, strawberries, vetch, as well as the willows, wax currents and Virginia creeper. The sugar maples, black birch and butternut walnut are looking very healthy and putting on branches. Between rain, water from the collection tanks and well water we’re keeping up with the H2O requirements for these eastern US tree species.
Butternut Walnut Tree
The outdoor nursery has been cleaned up, old pots washed and put away, and another wave of trees & shrubs have been started. Black locust, Siberian pea shrub, red bud from seed & Hybrid Poplar from cuttings. I used poor man’s rooting hormone (cinnamon) to get them started in sand, placed indoors in the eastern facing window.
Cuttings using cinnamon and sand
As the soil improves we observe an increase in self-seeding and the jokes on me – I threw all kinds of seeds everywhere – haunted by the desolation of this place and now they are coming up by the 100’s; columbines, holly hocks, sunflowers, bachelor buttons, rogue lettuce, lovage, fennel, squash, carrots, onions, elm, black cottonwood, apricots, lemon balm…probably missed some. Get the soil and climate right and nature does the rest (I am not the do-er) leave the ego at the door. The sunflower thing is really crazy. I was so careful with each and every seed, worried about whether or not I’d have enough for both the wild birds in winter and next year’s crop. That’s funny.
1/1000th of what came up
There’s enough to harvest for chickens and wild birds for the entire winter. We’re thinking about how to do this. Maybe hang them upside down in the Q-hut. Not the chickens, the sunflowers.
We have wild oats (where did they come from?) and rogue wheat coming up as well. Will harvested the wheat last year and after cleaning it we have wheat berries for our salads and chicken treats.
One thing that has bugged me about raising and feeding the chickens is the corn scratch we’re giving them, it’s GMO corn because all corn in the US without exception (if it’s not labeled organic) is GMO. What the hell sense does that make running around la la la we have organic eggs when this shit is in their feed? So I have planted as much maize as possible to begin growing my own damn food for these guys.
There’s another planting spot as well. Which means I’m now looking for a decent mortar and pestle and traditional grinding stone to grind this all up. For now I use an electric grinder.
The chickens were free range and allowed to go anywhere around the ‘domesticated’ part of the property at that was fine until annual bed planting got under way and then we found out the chickens were a bit too good at their jobs and basically came along an undid many of the plantings. Oops. So we placed them in the gulag (a quarter acre enclosure where the big GH is) but the gulag does not have the shade or best habitat for these guys to do their excellent work so we’re moving them into their temporary summer home in the orchard.
So they’ll go from this
Way mo betta, because they don’t need to be in my way when I’m hauling and pounding tires, mixing cement and building bottle walls in the gulag area and they will be much happier eating the fallen fruit and running through the grass catching grasshoppers and other bugs. That means we had to solve the fencing & roosting dilemma. I got tired of reading the same old three ‘ideas’ on the chicken blogs when it came to the fencing; chain, hog, chicken wire fencing. Too clunky, expensive and permanent. The DOT uses temporary fencing all the time and it’s perfect; light weight, easy to see, inexpensive, movable and just fine for what we’re using it for – 120 days in the Orchard. The predator thing is a nope – we don’t have them.
100 feet weighing 15# and set with Rebar
That brings us to the roosting portion of our dilemma. We thought about this for a while and luckily Will is an engineer so we’ve settled on the idea of a straw bale home for their roost. It will remain, after building it, as the chicken’s permanent late spring/summer home. The rest of the time they will live in their regular chix roost building and roam the property. So we did a craig’s list search and found this add:
Clean, dry wheat straw bales for sale. Free of weeds. Barn stored. Four miles SW of Cheney. Straight and tight 14″x 18″ 2 string bales, 38 inches long. Perfect for animal bedding, gardening, landscaping, or erosion control. 20 ton available.
Perfectly dry bales for bedding are $5.00 each. Call for semi load prices.
Please no yappin’ or complainin’ at the farmer once you reach the farm. Price is set. Cash only. (( This means you cannot get your truck loaded with straw and suddenly remember you forgot to hit the ATM and then try and force the farmer to accept your check. )) We appreciate your courtesy in this matter!
Pretty funny, I called them and we took off to get 60 bales. We ended up having a really good time talking to the owner as he and his friend helped us load the truck. We’re keeping their number. His son placed the add and it’s pretty obvious he’s had some experience dealing with craigslist responses. If craigslist posters / responses is a measure of the mental state out there, we’re fucked.
back at the house
Total score, it turns out this is Organic Dry Red Wheat straw.
Which brings us to the next chicken/craigslist story. Ok so we have a little red hen and she went broody. Chickens are new to me so I defer to the engineer but he doesn’t know either. Back to the forums which typically have rather brutish approaches to this situation “pull her off that nest” “get her away from sitting” or “pull her out and set her in an empty cage and make her stay there for 24 hours”. I admit it, I have a uterus so I confess that there may be some bias on my part for continuing to disturb and upset this animal who repeatedly returns to brooding useless unfertilized eggs. Back to craigslist and bingo fertilized eggs for sale in the second biggest town nearby. Emergency drive to purchase eggs. Again we lucked out and met some very cool people who have a Dacha farmstead. Nattalia and I have made plans to exchange trees/plants this fall. She showed us some beautiful sour cherry trees and said we could exchange, hell yes, I love Clafouti which is made with sour cherries pits and all and is a traditional french pastry.
We’ll candle the eggs here pretty shortly and the due date is next Wednesday.
All 400 vegetable starts made it and are in the ground. Additionally 200 onions and tons of Idaho Organic potatoes and the ones that just come up where ever they want to. The picture below is a volunteer potato and a bunch of cantaloupes.
Volunteer cantaloupe and potato in last year’s worm bed
There was drip irrigation attachments to be sorted, cleaned, organized and installed where needed.
The grape arbor is looking great. Lots of grapes and the nine rose bushes planted back in February have all taken, the new mulberry trees are getting themselves established. Elderberry, lilac, golden current and lilac are coming along well.
Grape Arbor Interior with Giant Comfrey
380 tie bags will protect the grape clusters, the rest of the grapes will go to the birds and yellow jackets
Yeah ok, and we had guests twice and I went to Boston to work with Dr. Raqib for the Afghan Tree Project. Over the last four months we’ve dug ditches, chopped wood, created entirely new planting beds, hauled basalt rock to a pile, chopped & dropped until it should have hurt, taken down a building, gone to Spokane for horse manure 2x month, and hauled yard waste 2x month, and obviously more.
But here’s my take on it. I’m not working hard at a job that I don’t like, I’m never bored and don’t require distraction for stimulation or relaxation. I’m learning the difference between working and Making a Living, money and wealth, and the incredible value of time. So many of us have had our memories of the past stolen, what was it like before all this techno bullshit arrived? The race to progress is now starting to look like a race to the bottom. Oil extraction, water pollution, soil erosion, deforesting, commodity prices, crop prices, deep state false flags on domestic soil & coups in strategic countries, made up bogey man terrorists, financial inequality, negative interest rates and all the rest of the stupidity.
Medical and scientific advances have been made to be sure, and just as soon as the positive helpful side is applied the government and corporations turn it into shit by utilizing it all for their own ‘in club’ benefit. A fucking Health Tax? for what?
- to fake us all out and pretend that anyone in government or the corporate profit world gives one shit about our health and in the same turn gives a complete free pass for the likes of Monsanto, Syngenta and Bear who actively participated in the horrific poisoning & deforestation of Vietnam and experimented on persons interned in WWII concentration camps and now they along with the pharmaceutical companies want to shove drugs down our throats?
- to fake us all out and pretend that the fiat currency nightmare has a legitimate GDP growth? because without the health tax, fracking and the fantasy tech industry (which has not made a dime to this day and is solely funded by venture capital & government subsidies) this economy has not recovered one fucking bit.
We’re responding to this out of control shit show by identifying all edible/medicinal native and ‘weed’ plants on the property, growing food in a poly-culture food forest design, and sourcing all locally grown crops when ever possible. These arrived the other day
So yes, I do practice introspective mindfulness on this path of observation. Permaculture is a natural fit towards understanding the complex system interactions and reminding me to stay humble and curious in applying each design and project.
Moving with Steadfastness
in Supreme Joy