Monthly Archives: October 2008

Why do I Always Have Such a Strange Mash of Things to Talk About?

So I need to talk about a bunch of different things.

I updated my harvest/storing tab with my last delivery for the food kitchens.  Somewhere in my busy September I wasn’t able to update all the food I dropped off.  That’s unfortunate because that month is one of the most prolific, but overall it appears that we were able to get a fair amount of food distributed to the needy.  That’s great.  We’re going to further develop the process and how many people are involved this winter when we get everyone together to discuss how it worked.

My personal harvest totals are way off, as are my storage totals.  This typically happens in tomato and apple month.  I plan to take an inventory of the pantry and I’ll post that up when I get a chance.  I feel good about what we have put up, although I know it wouldn’t be enough if it was all we had to eat, but we also wouldn’t really starve that bad if we did have to live off it.  I will always have to buy dairy products and flour into the near future, but otherwise I’m not too bad.

I’ve got a lot of things to say about the Household Economy (Part 1 and 2), but I can’t get them all into a coherent thought.  Hopefully I will be able to.  That being said, the writer of the two linked postings does a darn good job.

My son has decided he wants to be a Scout.  While on one hand I love the skill set he would learn, I have some concerns about the organization and some of the “love of God and country” they support.  We’ll just see how this develops.  Right now he is in love with it.  We’ll see how long it goes.  Not to mention, it’s based in the neighborhood so it is a chance to work some local/community action initiatives.  They’ve never met anyone like me in Scouts before, I can tell you that!

This video is very intriguing.  It’s pretty far out there, but even if 10% of what she is saying is true this is eye opening.  This is a 30 minute video but worth listening to.

Lately there has been so much going on that I’ve been having a hard time dedicated some time to this endeavor.  I think this is the typical end of summer burn out I get where I just want to sit around and read books to recooperate from the busy summer.  Lately I’ve read Reinventing Collapse-Animal, Vegetable, Miracle-Depletion and Abundance-Eating Fossil Fuels along with a few others that I’ve enjoyed.  I think soon I’ll get my writing mojo back.  But, with Groovy Green and Hen and Harvest my writing time is split up pretty good.  Anyway, I’m just rambling.


What’s with all the feathers?

Any of you chicken ranchers out there know why my chicken run would be filled with feathers?  Are these things molting?  I thought maybe one of them was dead but they’re both there and not torn up or anything.

Maybe after they molt I might get some damn eggs.

Planning Ahead

This week I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the future.  I’ve been thinking about a whole bunch of different things, none of which I’ll bore you with right now.  But I did want to mention, I ordered a bunch of seeds this week.  I was thinking; if the economy gets a lot worse maybe people will be more interested in planting crops next spring, and if that happened there could be a potential shortage of seeds.  I know there was with Y2K, and if there was a sharp demand the seed companies wouldn’t be able to keep up.

So, I ordered up $75 worth of seeds from Seed Savers.  This is something I usually take great joy in doing in the winter in front of the corn stove.  But I’m just not so sure that they’ll be available next spring.  If you are already growing food for your family maybe you might want to think about picking up some seeds that might last you for a year or two.  At least until we have a better idea what the future holds.  You might be surprised to realize that if you started growing a serious portion of your family’s food your seed needs go up by more than you would expect, at least mine do.

I’ve got some beans still hanging on out in the garden.  I think I’ll let those dry and save those for next year too.

Foreign Policy Map

This pictures was orignally on my Truth to Power e-mail, but thought it deserved a show here as well.  I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t think it’s funny.

I especially love the “here be dragons” line.  Hilarious.

Perhaps my New Favorite Garden Toy

OK, most of you are probably thinking I’m going to talk about a tool, but actually I wanted to mention Jerusalem Artichokes aka Sunchokes.

I planted some of these this year for the first time ever, and I’m impressed with them.  They grew fantastic, made nice flowers on the top, provided a huge amount of food to the chickens and in the end, gave me the tubers you see below.  This bowl is full from half of the section I planted.  I created a bed on the south side of my compost pile that is between 3 and 4 ft long.  I planted the Sunchokes in double rows within that bed.  I didn’t amend the soil or anything.  I just dug a trench, put in the tubers and filled it back.

Now, being on the south side of my compost pile probably provided a fair amount of runoff fertilizer, but I’m still amazed at how bountiful they produced.  The bowl below is 7 lbs worth.  (my scale measures in whole pounds)  They don’t seem to produce on the scale of potatoes, but this is still something considering that they are basically plant it and forget it.  I just hope we don’t have trouble digesting them like some people say can happen.

Later this fall I’ll harvest the remainder and we’ll see where we end up.  I dug these up because I cut back the plants as they were all over the place and I was anxious to see how they did.  I hear that if you wait until after there is some frost they sweeten up.  We’ll see if that’s true.

A couple of videos to share

Click here to go to their site and see the video. (I can’t get the embed function to work either)  This video is from the Colbert Report and I saw the link on the Zahn Zone.

Click on the link to go to the Pile of O’Melays blog where they feature a clip from SNL this week.  I guess SNL will have to be required viewing this election season.

Don’t forget this video of Senator Sanders of Vermont proposing an amendment for the recent bailout… rescue plan.

And lastly, a video of a speech from the House by Representative Sherman of California. This is the short version, but if you want to watch a longer version there are plenty of choices on the right hand side of the screen.

Interesting stuff.

Where ya at?

You may be wondering where the heck I’ve been for the past month or so.  Hard to say.  Things are just moving and I’m trying to keep up with the flood.  Been busy putting up food, even though I look at what I have and it seems completely inadequate, although at least twice what was there last year.  The freezer is a lot more full than last year, and about to be really crammed when the cow and pigs come home, so to speak.

I was afraid that this Sat would be the last farmer’s market of the year but I see they go on until late Oct this year, so I still have time to pick up a few more squash and apples.  Picked up 100 lbs of taters the other day for $50.  Felt like I should pay her at least $70 but she wouldn’t take more.  (Probably because I buy some of her really overpriced tomatoes early in the year)  I buy quite a bit of stuff from her.

Overall I was pleased with how much food we ate from the garden this summer, although the spring was a lot better than the late summer and fall.  Tomatoes were down this year with the cool weather.  I didn’t get any squash this year (didn’t plant any so that makes sense) and most of my potatoes and sweet potatoes were flooded, so I was forced to buy them, but that’s not so awful, well couldn’t buy sweet potatoes because no one has any.  Didn’t get as many beans as I would have hoped this year, but mostly because one of my packages was mislabeled and by the time I realized it the pole beans were going and making a big mess in the garden and I didn’t have much energy to wade through it and sort them out, so they weren’t picked as much as you would hope.

My harvest totals seem small, but I did the best I could to keep them up to date with all the stuff I have going on.  Perhaps I should just give up on that.  I’m never ever to keep it up.  Been delivering a mad amount of food for the food kitchens, but haven’t put the last couple up.  Maybe I can find them and get them up.  I’ve already delivered the totals to the farmer and unless I have the e-mails they will be gone.  I’ve been happy to be involved with doing that this year.  A lot of food was put to use that would otherwise be wasted and we’re going to step it up with some planning meetings this winter to do even better next year.

I’ve been so impressed working with her that I’m going to sign up for a CSA share next year with her.  I haven’t done that in the past because I’ve always felt like I wouldn’t get enough for my money, but seeing what she gives out if we get half of what is distributed she is still giving out too much.  She doesn’t charge organic prices either for most of her food items.

I’ve been following the financial markets very, very intensely.  Been spending some time managing money for ourselves and others to try to stay a step ahead of the market.  Sad to see it appears that the Senate is going to push through this bailout…er…financial rescue plan (ie a turd sandwich) even if their citizens don’t want it to happen.  And now they’ve added all kinds of other crap to the bill to bribe enough people to vote for it.

We’ve also, for some reason, been spending a fair amount of time entertaining ourselves.  Having friends over, going clubbing, going on a few trips, etc.  I’m not sure where this is coming from, except perhaps an understanding that this will probably happen less in the future so maybe we should get some of it in now.  Don’t know?  Maybe because our kids, and our friends kids, are finally older and now we can do more things as humans instead of just care giving machines.

Obviously starting up another school year and all that entails can be quite challenging.  I wonder sometimes about homeschooling the boys, but by the time I think we can do that financially it will be a few years and by then do I want to pull them away from school and their friends?  I don’t know.  I do know that I could do a much better job of teaching them, at least so that they learn a bigger variety of information, but the energy it would take and removing my salary (which isn’t large but is big enough) from the income stream is a big step.  We’ll see how it goes.

That’s all for now.  Make sure to talk to your Congress people about the bailout package.  One section of it specifically details how foreign companies will be allowed to sell their bad investments to the Treasury so all us taxpayers can pay for bad decisions made by the finance people in other countries.  Good times.