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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Leeky Garden

Undaunted by my overwhelming failure this summer, I have planted a bed of leeks that should be ready to harvest in the spring, if I understand correctly.  (Unlikely)  Happily, the day after I planted we had the first good rain in a long time.

I have also received my garlic and shallots and will be planting them soon as well.  November seems to be the right time for Georgia.  Which gives me time to get lots of good compost in the ground and then have it analyzed.  That's the plan, anyway.

I may be a lousy farmer (ok, I am a lousy farmer), but I make great compost.  Any future in that?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ft. Knox in Our Backyard

Yes, another post about chickens.  Did I mention my garden sucked wind this year?  4 itsy bitsy tomatoes, 3 of which stayed in our refrigerator and 1 of which actually got eaten.  By me, and it was darn good, too.  I think we got 3 or 4 zucchinis way back when, and everything else just withered and died.

Of course, that pretty much describes the chicken situation, too.  I sound flippant but it is actually heartbreaking to have one after another die.  The low point came when we lost Chiquita.  After that, we finally got serious about chicken yard security, and we have truly built a fortress in the back yard, complete with electric fence.  It takes about 15 minutes to put them away for the night, but honestly, the peace of mind is worth it.

No more wandering at will during the day, either.  They stay literally cooped up, unless we're working in the yard and can keep an eye out for hawks.

As Kim said, the overarching or philosophical lesson learned from all this is how truly difficult it is to grow your own food, whether it be animal or vegetable.  Not only is it hard physical labor, we have lost so much of the knowledge that was commonplace only a few generations ago.  I can state unequivocally that I would not be capable of the year-long experiment that Kingsolver did; I would quite literally die if I had to eat only what I grew.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blog Stats

Just added blog stats to our blog - a new feature that will show us how often our blog is viewed.

Kim, I wrote a post but I want to take a picture to go with it - I'll publish it tomorrow (sun's down for today).  Sorry I've been so remiss!  I'll be better, I promise!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Praying Mantis

This is the second very heavy with egg sack praying mantis we've seen in this last week. It's that time of year. We've had one lay her egg sack on the plum tree in back and this one is in the front yard. I like this silhouette picture of her. It reminds me of a Japanese brush painting and, I have to admit, I have the greatest empathy for her enlarged abdomen.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Salinas, CA Public Art - Farm Field Workers

Last weekend we made a mad dash to Monterey to view an Ansel Adams exhibit of museum quality prints Ansel himself made. The road trip took us through Salinas, CA, heart of the Californian farming community and, of course, home to John Steinbeck.

Along routes 101 and 68 we were taken by large cutout murals of field farm workers that could be clearly seen and appreciated from the highway. Upon returning home, I looked them up and found the artist's (John Cerney) website. There are number of mural themes though the 'Field Workers' struck us as both instructive and poignant regarding who and what labor brings food to the table around the country.

Check out the link below for the following:
Farmer & Irrigator-1995. The first of the 'giant' figures. 18 feet tall. Highway 68, Salinas, CA. Commissioned by Salinas grower Chris Bunn to pay tribute to the agricultural labor force. Two in a series of 10 total farm figures.

This website has more pictures and explanation: