Friday, August 29, 2008

fiddles, fires, and fleeces

This morning when I was outside doing normal-outside-morning things, I heard the strangest noise. I've heard it hundreds of times, but regardless it always throws me off. The young roosters are learning to crow. Long before they can crack out a cock-a-doodle-doo they cough out these pubescent moans and groans. My cabin sounds like a bunch of loons after a hard night. You can't help but roll your eyes. A three-day weekend is coming up, god bless it. It'll be a busy one too. My friend Sean, who hails from the Midwest, is stopping by for a visit. Sean might be the only person I know more into folkways than I am. As a matter of fact, he's building a wooden boat right now in his Illinois garage. (Take that inflatable rafts!) I'm hoping he'll help me set up some electric netting for pasture rotation, trim hooves and score the sheep (check their weight.) When farm chores are done, I think together we'll head over to Shelli and Allen's labor Day weekend jamboree. Their hosting a 3-day camping event at their farm. It's an annual shindig they hold for all their city friends. There will be musicians, and bonfires, and sheep. A triple threat of awesomeness. I'll be bringing my fiddle and dulcimer and a good attitude about meeting new people. Sean also plays the fiddle, so I hope he packed his for the weekend.

The sheep are doing just fine. They're a pleasure to have here at Cold Antler. There was one incident with a neighbor's dog but the sheep were unaffected. They didn't even flinch when the black dog ran right up to their fence and barked. good sheep, them.

Have a great holiday weekend folks. Take care of each other.


Blogger Renee said...

Sigh...she says while in room that is about 8 by 8 no windows...

August 29, 2008 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Moon said...

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, Jenna! So glad your dreams are becoming a reality. Hugs from Idaho!

August 29, 2008 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Your comment about the sheep not flinching in the face of a barking dog sparked memory of a landlady I had back in Hamilton, NY in the Middle Ages (or there abouts). She was a tough 50+ year old lady originally from near Rutland, Vermont who ran a boarding house for college students and was absolutely unflinching in the face of an unruly resident. Your sheep must be from old Vermont stock ;-)

August 30, 2008 at 3:00 AM  
Blogger klh said...

USA: TX, MS, FL, CA, AR; Mexico, Rep. Dominicana, Côté d’Ivoire, Nigeria,
Nicaragua, Honduras, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Haiti, England, India, Uzbekistan
Workshops in organic, no-till, permanent bed gardening, mini-farming and mini-ranching worldwide in English & Español

Proven Practices for Home Gardening

These are based on the internet, US & international agriculture magazines, experiences teaching agriculture in many countries, research and farmer experiences in those countries and a demonstration garden. They are ecologically sustainable, environmentally responsible, socially just and economically viable. There is unlimited, documented proof. On mini-farms the following can double the yields and reduce the labor by half compared to traditional methods. There are 200,000,000 no-till acres worldwide. ¡It works!

Fukaoka Farm, Japan, has been no-till [rice, small grains, vegetables] for 70 years. An Indian gardener has been no-till [vegetables] for 5 years. A Malawi gardener has been no-till [vegetables] on permanent beds for 25 years. A Honduras farmer has been no-till [vegetables & fruit] on permanent beds on the contour (73° slope] for 8 years. Ruth Stout [USA] had a no-till garden for 30 years and 7,000 people visited her garden.

1. Willing to change: in the mind & in the garden.
2. Financial: Little funds are needed. A few hand tools, seed, free land available, irrigation water.
3. Restore the soil to its natural health: Contaminations: inorganic pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc.
4. Healthy soil: Healthy soil produces healthy vegetables, for high yields, and prevents most of the disease, pest and weed problems.
5. Feed the soil; not the crops [Inorganics feed the plants and poison the soil; organics feed the soil and promote health.]
6. Increase soil organic matter every year
7. Little or no external inputs [not necessary to buy anything, from anybody, for the garden. Certain things are recommended]
8. Leave all crop residue on the beds.
9. No-till: no tilling, no digging, no plowing, no cultivating: No hard physical labor is needed so the elderly, children and lazy people can garden.
10. Permanent beds
11. Permanent paths
12. Hand tools & power-hand tools
13. 12-months production
14. Hoophouses, shade cloth
15. Greenhouse [DIY but usually not needed]
16. Organic fertilizers [16-20 probably not needed with healthy soil]
17. Organic disease control.
18. Organic herbicides.
19. Organic pesticides.
20. Biological pest control.
21. Attract beneficials
22. Protect pollinators
23. Protect soil organisms
24. Soil always covered
25. Use mulch/green manures/cover crops.
26. Organic matter: Free. Delivered free? When economically feasible, transport to the farm. Use as mulch.
27. Composting: Not necessary except for special use. Too much time and work. Pile excess organic matter until used as mulch.
28. Vermiculture Not necessary. Worms will be in the beds.
29. Crop rotation
30. Inter-cropping
31. Drip irrigation [Purchase or DIY drip lines]
32. Muscovies and Guineas
33. Small animals in pens over beds
34. Legume/grass forages
35. Hay/silage for winter as needed
36. Grains as needed
37. Imitate nature. Most gardeners fight nature. ¡Nature always wins!

Ken Hargesheimer

When Soil is Tilled
Dr. Elaine Ingham, describes an undisturbed soil—where a wide diversity of plants grow, their roots mingling with a wide diversity of soil organisms—and how it changes when it is plowed. A typical teaspoon of native grassland soil contains between 600 million and 800 million individual bacteria that are members of perhaps 10,000 species. Several miles of fungi are in that teaspoon of soil, as well as 10,000 individual protozoa. There are 20 to 30 beneficial nematodes from as many as 100 species. Root-feeding nematodes are quite scarce in truly healthy soils. They are present, but in numbers so low that it is rare to find them.

After only one tilling, a few species of bacteria and fungi disappear because the food they need is no longer put back in the system. But for the most part, all the suppressive organisms, all the nutrient cyclers, all the decomposers, all the soil organisms that rebuild good soil structure are still present and trying to do their jobs.

But tillage continues to deplete soil organic matter and kill fungi. The larger predators are crushed, their homes destroyed. The bacteria go through a bloom and blow off huge amounts of that savings-account organic matter. With continued tillage, the "policemen" (organisms) that compete with and inhibit disease are lost. The "architects" that build soil aggregates are lost. So are the "engineers"—the larger organisms that design and form the larger pores in soil. The predators that keep bacteria, fungi, and root-feeding organisms in check are lost. Disease suppression declines, soil structure erodes, and water infiltration decreases because mineral crusts form. Dr. Elaine Ingham, BioCycle, December 1998. (From ATTRA News, July 06)

August 31, 2008 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger klh said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 31, 2008 at 3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found your blog:) It sounds like you are going to have a fun weekend! I'm anxious to read more on your blog. I live on a small farm with my husband of 27 years and our two youngest kids (11,13).

September 2, 2008 at 3:16 AM  

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