3 sisters refers to the practice of growing corn, climbing beans and squash closely together with the corn providing scaffolding for the beans, the beans providing nitrogen fixing and their hairy stems dissuading insects, and the squash shading out weeds and enabling water retention by the soil. My 3 sisters appear to be doing ok, though I now realize some fine tuning is needed for next year.
You can see the beans wrapping round the stalks.
But is the corn handy scaffolding, or are the beans strangling the corn?
Next year I will give the corn a head start rather than plant the beans simultaneously with the corn.
a new brush
I have 2 water pumps for my rainwater harvesting operations and a couple days ago the one pump was very hesitant on the first go round and refused to start when I needed it a second time. I remember in South Africa how it was well known that women could fix electrical appliances by giving them a kick – the floor polisher doesn’t work, kick it. A well aimed kick could even start a car. So I thought what the heck and I kicked the pump and it started up and ran for a bit. And then stopped. Must be the brushes I thought. There are 2 brushes to a motor and they are easily replaced.
The first brush appeared fine with much remaining life. Could it really be the brushes I thought since the 2nd brush presumably replicated the condition of the first.
I cannibalized a disabled pump (see previous posts on ice damage to water pumps) and the pump started easily. A quick inexpensive repair.
problem = solution
Transforming the problem into the solution is a permaculture mantra and discovering instances are pleasing to the audience and more so the discoverer. I have a problem with rats and mice in my coop. They are experienced tunnelers and prefer to live in chambers below the dirt floor because they are there protected from the elements, have easy access to food and water, less threatened by snakes and lots of bedding material like pine shavings and snips of plastic bags. They are fastidious home proud family members and unfairly branded rodents and vermin. However they are unwelcome in my coop and I tire of their telltale poop strewn on ledges and even in the chicken feed, so I want them out.
In the beginning I refilled their holes with excavated dirt; then I hammered stones into the hole entrances; then I bought sacks of concrete and concreted the holes. In 1 week I used the entire contents of a 60 lb bag of concrete. I then became a bit more creative. I poured water into their holes and once, a bedraggled rat charged out the hole. On other occasions, who knows, an inhabitant may have been trapped inside to a watery end. Some chambers were large and absorbed 4 gallons of water before the entrance brimmed. I know moth balls would have been effective, or so I have been told, but I did not want anything noxious in the coop. And then as I was shoveling chicken poop into a bucket – a brain wave. Save the haul to the fruit tree and just slide it into the hole. Followed by a good water drenching and a concrete cap. Maybe it will work and the labor of chicken poop disposal engineered into a triumph over the inveterate tunnelers.
food from the garden
Lots to eat these days.
Supplemented with soy patties, mango chutney and sweet potato. And several glasses of zin. However, the melon which looked promising on the outside.
Was picked too early.
Wait maybe another week.