April Insanity: Wk 1

Posts will be even less frequent this month as I am pushing my self beyond what most would consider sane. Here are some Highlights for my April Insanity

  • Build and Deliver 50 rain barrels by 4/21. Considering I only did about 120 barrels in ALL of 2007 this is extreme. 21 barrels (3 loads) takes about 10-15 hours of work when you factor in sourcing, manufacturing, and delivery.
  • Give 4 presentations/speeches for various Earth Day Related Events. These range from 4th Grade Classes to a Rock Concert (seriously) so each will need new material and outlines. Very honored to have been asked for this, but dang.
  • Build and Deliver 2 complete “prototype” Earth Victory Gardens. This is about 50% done but the first ones need to be done by 4/19 and we are redoing our Compost bin Plans to use reused materials.
  • Prep the Beds at the Market Gardens, all 7500 sq ft of them. They are currently pasture…
  • Plant 200#’s of seed potatoes
  • Harvest Spinach/mache/claytonia weekly
  • Work 50hrs a week at my Real Job -I am running out of vacation time.
  • Be a father and husband in some meaningful way.

There is technically enough time for this in April (I think). But it means that most days start at 3:45 and end at 9pm with me stripping off the Carhart Overalls covered in oak saw dust and/or manure and falling asleep within 1.5 pages of whatever Sci-Fi book I am reading. Ag/Eco research has completely stopped.

The upside is that there is an immense about of really cool things that I will want to share on this blog, but finding the time to do it will be tough. I’ll try to take good notes! Some really good things are happening too: the apple crates are fabulous, and I have clinched the deal with the Guinea Pig Manure. 250 gallons delivered to the market garden weekly. I am torn with either windrowing it (likely) or building a 11 bin wire fence system with one 50′ roll of wire fencing and 18 stakes. It looks like it will take 3 weeks to fill 2, 1 cu yard bins. It is really good stuff -50% hay with 50% straw bedding all glued together with turds and urine. It should get hotter than heck -just add water! Also, my news tools from Earth Tools are great. The Bed Rake is perfect for pulling off debris w/o moving soil (like on a compost berm) and the 8″ scuffle hoe takes down weeds like a subsoil scythe. Nice! Tomatoe and lettuce seedlings look great, and the peppers are coming up too. To top it off, eating fresh spinach every other night makes this worth while.

Some set backs are expected -and the first is here. The fabulous 6′ tall berms of 5yr old leaf compost that were to be my potato gardens are not to be. Oh, the Berms are still there -I spent half of Sunday clearing them, but due to some communications breakdowns one of the other tenants on the farm will be using them instead. This family is a sweet Hmong couple in their early 60’s/late 50’s that have farmed/gardened on this land for years, and they also butcher all the landowners chickens. They have the right of first choice. But that also means I have $300 of seed potatoes w/o a home. The landowners have an alternate site, that also was once compost, but it is 10+ years old or so and is currently covered in 8’+ weeds. It will need allot more work to get them prepped, and the potatoes will be here on 4/19. I am kinda bummed, but even the pasture land on this farm is more fertile than any soil I had previously seen so it is still going to be fabulous.

To handle all this soil prep work, I bit the bullet and bought the Grillo. While the barrel sales were not high enough to immediately pay for the tractor, I got a bonus at work that more than covered the difference solving my “no new loans” mandate. It will be here in about 10 days. Expect pics soon!

Break times over -time to put 20 spigots on!


3 Responses

  1. Go the grillo! Looking forward to some pics of that most mythical of images: man and machine take on the universe…Ericthonius upon the chariot; Rob upon the grillo.

  2. Get help! Planting potatoes – sounds like you could tempt some friends (with free beer) or friend’s kids (give some cash and take them for ice cream). Remember, you’re building community too🙂

    8 foot weeds – you may need to rent a sickle bar mower to knock them down (then hit them with a mower or rake them into windrows) otherwise you will be spending time untangling the tines of the tiller.

  3. Here is what my local CSA did to enlist those eager hands (so cute):

    Thursday we used the transplanter for the first time and we were so pleased that we kept at it until over 2000 plants were filling the beds. The best part was our help: Amalia, age 5, insisted on being part of the crew and it soon became clear that she could keep up the pace as well as anybody. When Lani, age 7, came home from school she occupied another seat. This is even better than watching television!


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