recycling, scuppernong and the first crow

Recycling I recycle whenever possible.  Two favorites are newspapers and woodchips.  I was able to twice load my pickup with pine tree woodchips and these, together with bundles of accumulated newspapers, gave me the incentive to weed the overgrown walkways in my vegetable garden. I first remove the weeds, then lay down the newspapers (typically open the newspaper at the middle and ensure plenty of overlap to block the sunlight), and then cover with a thick layer of woodchips.   In addition Read more [...]

bees to honey

The past few days I've noticed fewer bees at the hive entrance than a couple of weeks ago.  I'm still a rank amateur at beekeeping so the explanations/fears that came to mind were somewhat exaggerated and untempered by experience: a) half the hive had swarmed; b) worse still, the hive had swarmed and the new queen bee had not returned from her mating flight and the hive was queenless; c) my obstinance against using chemicals had caught up with me and the hive was in collapse from disease, mites Read more [...]

shear bolts

When I first began using my tractor I did not appreciate the importance of shear bolts or patience. I have a Case 585 tractor, which was built in the late eighties and has a 60hp 4 cylinder diesel engine.  I needed to dig a small rain catchment ditch along the gravel driveway to catch rainwater as it streamed down the hill.  Georgia clay in summer is difficult to work, even with a pickaxe.  I decided to facilitate the job with a subsoiler (sometimes also called a chisel plow) attached to Read more [...]

rainwater harvesting – making every drop count

Blockages in the rainwater harvesting system With rainwater harvesting whatever can go wrong does.  After fall I cleared my gutter of leaf debris and left it at that.  Silly me!  I didn't consider that the 2" pipe from the downspout outlet to the storage tank might be clogged with leaves.  It was only when rainwater collection by the one tank was less than expected and when, during a downfall, I saw rainwater cascading over the gutter, that I figured I had a problem. Clearing the blockage Read more [...]

rainwater harvesting from an old deck

I acquired an adjoining piece of land which had an old mobile home and, attached to it, an old deck.  The land was uphill of my property with full sun exposure and well suited for growing and rainwater harvesting.  The timbers of the deck were protected from the rain by the roof of the deck and from the sun by an overtowering maple and were therefore in good condition.  I decided to sell the mobile home and keep the deck, though for what purpose was unclear to me at the time. The purchaser Read more [...]

growing activities 082411

Just returned from a 7 day vacation on the west coast. My neighbor's daughter cared for the two flocks in my absence - released at 7.30am each morning from the coop and re-cooped at 5pm each evening with plenty of food and water. All 14 were in great spirits when I greeted them this morning and enthusiastically beaked down their yogurt probiotics. My rain gauge said 0.5" of rain during the past 7 days, so nothing had died off and I gave a good watering (500 gals) to the vegs, berries and fruit tree Read more [...]

San Francisco – from food market to food truck

Saturday, August 20, was a good day to visit San Francisco foodwise – first a visit to the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market and then the 3rd annual La Cocina Food Festival in the Mission District. The Ferry Plaza market is considered one of the top farmers’ markets in the country.   The market is organized by CUESA (the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) which envisions a food system that is environmentally sound; socially just; humane; and, economically viable. Large Read more [...]

Salinas, CA

On the way from Monterey to San Francisco we paused in the Salinas Valley. If anything can trump Carmel Valley it is this valley, known as “the salad bowl of the United States”. Salinas was the hometown of John Steinbeck and the national John Steinbeck museum brings to life his books on the region. I chuckled on his comments when he revisited Carmel later in life: “And Carmel, begun by starveling writers and unwanted painters, is now a community of the well-to-do and the retired. If Carmel’s Read more [...]

Monterey and Carmel, CA

It seems to me that the areas north and south of San Francisco are ideally located for organic growing – excellent growing conditions and the wealth of San Francisco provides great consumer demand for the more expensive organic produce.   My son lives and works in the San Francisco area and on previous trips we visited the redwood forests and organic growing areas of Marin county to the north of San Francisco.  This time we headed for Monterey with its striking, natural and unspoiled shoreline. The Read more [...]

holdup

Highway robbers did holdups – stopped travelers under threat of violence to lighten their possessions. I was heldup for several days and only today was I released and able to continue my blog journey. The ethereal robber slipped through the internet highways and abruptly hijacked my laptop. It was not a baldfaced “stand and deliver” instead a more nuanced demand for protection money – the intruder announced it had identified serious virus threats and upon activation and payment of a ransom Read more [...]