The Ups and Downs of Learning How to Buck the Consumer Economy
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Sunday, June 2, 2013
Householding Update 02 June 2013
We finally had some good weather again, so this weekend I was able to muck out the chicken coop. But before I could do that, I had to move some compost around. It's still in the same bed, but I had to re-stack it so that it would continue to rot properly. That's when I discovered that I had compost I could harvest, so I did.
Most of it went into the middle bed there. That was after I moved some parsley plants to the herbalicious border. I can't call it herbaceous because that would imply that it's all flowers, which it isn't.
Now it's mostly herbs with a few perennials thrown in. In order of foreground to background: French tarragon, lovage, chives, oregano, and rosemary. Behind me are dill, lemon thyme, orange balsam thyme, German chamomile, lemon verbena, and English thyme. Oh- and flat-leafed Italian parsley. Quite the international border, no?
This is the zucchini I saved from the slugs by popping a cloche over it. They managed to eat every single cucumber I had planted, so I started some more in six packs filled with compost.
I also worked on cleaning up the orchard, which was full of all kinds of farm-type detritus: chunks of welded wire, weeds, a ten foot piece of PVC conduit, a pile of one foot rebar pieces, and six concrete stepping stones. It was a mess, but it looks a whole lot better. I spent a good part of the weekend weeding the pathways as well. This year I have a pretty good head start on the weeds.
The concrete rounds got moved to a new spot over between the wheat and the laundry dryer. This year I'm going to try making baskets from welded wire around the concrete pavers, which are two feet in diameter. Then I'll fill them with compost and soil, and hope for the best. I probably won't fill all of them though- I don't think I can make compost that fast.
Speaking of wheat, look how high it is already! This is spring wheat I bought in bulk at Bob's Red Mill. I have no idea of the variety, though, although I suspect that it was grown here in the Pacific Northwest.
It's making heads already!
However, the seed heads are not as big as the seed heads on the volunteer winter wheat in the long bed, and by big I mean longer. The one on the right here is the spring wheat, and the one on the left is the winter wheat. I think it's probably twice as long as the volunteer wheat from last year, which also grew from the straw I bought. This year's volunteer has a really big head though, so I'm letting the winter wheat in the long bed grow to maturity and then I'll harvest it for seed, which I'll start this autumn for more seed. I think it will take a few years before I have enough seed to be able to grind some of it, but by then I should have the last bed or beds built (I need to move some trees before I build the next bed, and that requires dormancy).
This is one of the two Golden Russet apples. They are making up for being the only apples with fruit on them again this year by being covered in apples. I have a little trick up my sleeve to show you with the apples but I'm waiting for the rubber bands to come in. I sure wish the other apples would start bearing, though, especially the Bramley's Apple, which is vigorous and sturdy but so far not particularly fertile.
This is two of Three Sisters that I planted: Black Coco dry beans and Painted Mountain flour corn. The third sister is Sweet Meat winter squash, which is a keeping pumpkin. Sweat Meat is a Cucurbita maxima, which keeps very well in a cool room in the house. I plan on feeding all seven of us this winter with it. That is, the five chickens and Steve and me.
What can I say? I'm a person of disparate interests and strengths- I keep the checkbook balanced to the penny and pay the bills on time (usually), but I can't manage to keep crap from accumulating on the dining room table. I tend to obsess over the proper use of English grammar (at least, as I understand it), but my math skills are practically non-existent. This is probably why I'm always amazed that the built-in furniture I make for this house turns out as well as it does. I find that the older I get, the less willing I am to suffer fools gladly, but I love well when I love. I shoot from the hip and eat a lot of foot, but at least you don't have to guess what I'm thinking or feeling. I sleep too little and drink too much, and I still haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up, which is probably why I haven't. However, I do seem to fake it pretty well. To know me is to love me - at least, that's what I keep telling myself. Did I also mention that I'm a loose cannon? And now I have both a soap box and a huge megaphone called a blog....
Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter, by Lloyd Kahn (Shelter Publications, Inc. ISBN 978-0-93070-52-0) Lloyd Kahn has been publishing very cool books on building homes, especially alternative building methods. I've been a fan of Lloyd's work for years, and I'm also very interested in small homes. Some of the homes are very hippie and quirky; some were slickly architectural. Most were inspirational- all of them were interesting. Cool book!