Updates

It’s happening again, the distinct ying/yang effect of the amount of blogging waning as my amount of doing waxes.  Here are some quick updates to where some of the projects are at.

Market Garden 

BIG NEWS: I have permission to utilize as much of .5 acres as needed!  This is at the site about 4 miles from my home.  As reality sets in on the amount of work that this will take, I am thinking of sticking to just one 50×100 foot section that will be tilled under this spring, and then start a chicken tractor rotationally grazing what will be the other 50×100 garden.  This will allow for essentially ALL the beds to be taken out of production annually for soil building and grazed by 10-20 layers in 1-2 tractors.  As we get closer to planting time (OMG I have to start seedlings in less than 2 weeks!!) my research, planning, budgeting and shopping have gone into High Gear.  Uber exciting!

Eco Victory Garden

The presentation went over very well and we will be meeting again this weekend for a more in depth discussion.  The name appears to be morphing from a “victory garden” into a “Household Ecology Center” to stress the system thinking inherent in it.  Big Thanks to Emily at Eat Close to Home for her suggestion of using a second plastic barrel for the composter -that may very well make it to the final system: it saves $30, cuts an hour off the instalation and is better sized to the garden.  Lots of momentum on this

Winter Reading 

In addition to catalogues from Fed-Co, Johnny’s and Seed Savers, I am currently devouring Andy Lee’s Chicken Tractor  as I will be putting them to use in about 8 weeks.  Love his idea of simple straw bale structure for winter housing.   Also getting time in the queue is Lester Brown’s Plan B 3.0 which is one of the most important books I’ve read.  Lays out the immediacy, magnitude, and potential solutions to the problems of our generation.   We need to Get Real.  Now.  On the less immediate and lighter side I am also dabbling with Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage.  I plan to build one of these with the farm owners who are letting me use their land.  I’ll need it to -on another property I intend to grow 1500+ lbs of potatoes…

Garden Planning

Another tip from Emily was GrowVeg.com. I signed up for their 30 day trial and so far the system is fairly slick and certainly faster than my cobbled together spreadsheets.  Really like the fact that you draw the plans and it calculates planting rates with numbers of plants and then builds a plant list including planting times, etc.  Interface is not as inuititve as I would like (very few hot keys), but its not bad.  Big downer is that it is a subscription based system, not a downloadable software pack.  At $35/year it will add up and I have to have internet to view the plans.  Grrr.

The reality of the coming year is sinking in.  I will be growing food on a scale completely outside any reference I have ever had.  It appears I will have livestock, and I will also be very involved in a local sustainability group that is dreaming big enough that we have booths at both our county fair and the MREA I am also still maintaining my 50hr/wk salaried job and then there are little things like my essential roles as husband and father…  I also would like to blog 70k words this year as I hope that others can continue to learn from my trials.  At least the days are longer in the summer…

Keeping perspective will be difficult this year, but I have had enough people offer help with the market garden that I am continuing to dillude myself that I can still juggle all these eggs without any breaking.

-Rob

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Colds, Fog, & Paul Hawken

We are experiencing our typical early January melt, and both kids are knocked down with the now ubiquitous January wk 1 colds. Apparently the incubation period of germs from visiting out of state family over the holiday is about 6-7 days-this happens every year. The melt is causing significant humidity and visibility is down to 1/4 mile, which is nice since it keeps the noise of the freeway down. I just realized I said “typical” in reffering to the weather. 4 years ago I would have never have been in touch enough with our cycles to realize that. Growing your own food opens so many new perspectives!

With the quiet calm day outside, and the kids silently catatonic in one of their few chances to watch movies I am availing myself of some reflection time. On goes Pandora.com with the genre set to “Chamber, Baroque” and into my lap falls Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken.

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This was a Christmas present from my parents, along with the soon to be released Plan B 3.0 by Lester Brown… I try valiantly to not get new “Stuff” for the holiday’s-all I want are tools (no one will pay what I pay for them), workshops (ditto) and books (aha!).

Thus far Blessed Unrest is chocked full of that rarest of qualities on the Peak Left: optimism. The premise of the book is that if you combine the organizations working for social justice with those working for environmental issues (not such a stretch as no sustainable future can deny human rights) you get a list of literally almost a million organizations, with billions of members. In no other time in history has their been such a movment, but since it has no Personality at is head it is under the radar and is being completely missed by the media unless some faction of it demonstrates at the WTO conference.

Paul Hawken sums it up best when he states, no one who is familiar with the science of our current situation can not be filled with deep pessimism about our future. But simultaneously, no one who is truly familiar with the depth and breadth of the work being done to improve our situation cannot be overwhelmed with hope.

And that about sums up where I am at in my personal life and on this blog. Filled with Sartre’s nauseum, but refusing to give up hope that millions of people acting individually to Be The Change they wish to see in the world won’t find a way out of this mess.

“In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists” -Eric Hoffer

Be The Change

-Rob

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