Saturday, June 21, 2014

FORKS!......That is All

     As I sit at work sucking on a cinnamon disk offered me by our friendly security guard, I find myself wondering "Where are all the forks?"  Seriously, guys?!  Where are they?!  It's not just here; it's at home, too.  I'd say in the last month, the fork population of both my kitchen and the one here at work has dwindled by more than half.
     Are the forks partying hard while we're away?  Sneaking out to Suzy's house, having too good of a time, and forgetting to wander back home?  Is there a tiny tine-hording dragon slinking in the shadows?  Are the little people having a hoe down and need to barricade the dance because Senor Mouse is not invited!?
     Or maybe it's you.  Yeah, you!  Are you waiting until all backs are turned and building up your collection?  Either way, there is a lot of fork washing going on around me.  Just saying.....where'd they go, man?

Another Block That Built the Path (Continued)


     When my husband and I decided to grow our own food, we started looking into organic practices.  Somehow, while searching, I stumbled upon permaculture.  Now for people who don't know very much about this word or this practice I will try to explain as best as I can.  The dictionary defines it as thus:

permaculture [pur-muh-kuhl-cher]:
a system of cultivation intended to maintain permanent agriculture or horticulture by relying on renewable resources and a self-sustaining ecosystem.

     So I suppose that is pretty self explanatory.  However, those who follow this practice are many and quite varied.  For instance, if you read some materials, permaculture has a standard of ethics that most people who wish to live this lifestyle adopt.  They are earth care, people care, fair share.  Now, it all seems simple enough, doesn't it?  But you wouldn't believe the number of people who get caught up and argue over what that last ethic means.  So if you go in search of more information on this topic, please be aware that those people exist, and don't let them ruin it for you please.

     Then there are the 12 permaculture principles.  They are all well and good to consider as you go, but I have found it hard to start from ground zero abiding by all of these principles.  They are as follows:

  1. Observe and interact.
  2. Catch and store energy.
  3. Obtain a yield.
  4. Apply self regulation and accept feedback.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services.
  6. Produce no waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate.
  9. Use small and slow solutions.
  10. Use and value diversity.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change.
     When I came across these principles, they resonated with my very being.  It all made perfect sense, and it was something truly attainable.  However, it can be very overwhelming to try to apply all of these principles from the get go.  I'm not saying it isn't possible for some, but i wasn't possible for me.  I found myself getting a bit discouraged, wondering if I was ever going to be able to get it right.  Couple this information with the idea of zones and layers, and I started feeling in way over my head.

     Then my husband  (^the beautiful man standing in the honeysuckle up there^) came across this amazing little podcast that was set up by a guy named Paul Wheaton.  This man changed the whole game for me.  Are you listening, folks?  Thee. Whole. Game.  Permaculture was no longer this strange, unique, beautiful, mysterious, possibly unattainable dreamy fantasy that I would never live up to.  It was something I couldn't mess up!  So when I was just starting to get discouraged, I got my second wind and have been sailing on that for these last 3 1/2 years, my friends.  
     Podcast after podcast I became more encouraged, more inspired, and my husband got really amped up about it too-which is lucky for me since he's most of the muscle ;)  We have been applying these principles as we are able and things have been coming along quite nicely.  We live on a lot of clay, but year after year it has become easier and easier to get that shovel further into the soil without resistance.  I can't quite explain how it feels, the difference between having read that something will work, but then seeing it actually work. and are this guy's two main set ups.  The articles on his rich soil site are astounding!  Things I would have never thought of, but they make perfect sense!  My husband and I even tried the hugulkulture that we read about in one of the articles (see here- MY HUGUL!! ).  
     We've read a lot of feedback from people who have tried this method and it didn't work for them until it set for at least a year.  However, we got our skinny little butts to work on one, and that summer we planted tomatoes (in partial shade I might add) and only ever watered it twice-once when we planted them, and once when it had been really hot for about a week.  The truth is, we probably didn't even have to water them, but old habits die hard.

     So guys and gals, if what I've said has you intrigued and you wish to do a little more research, I will list some suggested links below:


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

*Not Sayin' My Geees

*Note: Hence forth on this blog this asterisk "*" will forever more denote the fact that I have just used a reference to an inside joke you probably don't get.  If you DO happen to be a person who gets it, you may possibly be my new favorite person...... OR you may be someone who is ALREADY one of my favorite persons. :D  That being said,, shall we?

     You know, I've barely even begun to tread water with this blog thing, and already it seems to be improving my grammar dramatically.  I used to write a bit in school, and a little outside of highschool, and it seems like I probably was better about it then.  However, something just seems to happen to you after living a while with people who use lazy southern speak almost all of the time.  At first it starts out innocent imitation-being silly here, poking a bit of fun there.  But then it sinks down deeeeeep inside of you and takes root.  One day you realize it feels like a literal struggle to add the gs onto the end of words they belong to!
     Why is this?  Why does not the other party's grammar improve?  I suppose it is a question in the same ball park of: "Why does a dirty foot make a clean shoe stink?  Why doesn't the foot then just smell like a clean shoe?"


Another Block That Built the Path

          My husband and I both had Monday off-HUZZZAH!  Our little lady baby took a nap that lasted more than an hour-DOUBLE HUZZAH!  We got to go out and putter in the yarden.  Now my husband has been pretty much on his own tending to it since last Spring.  Being pregnant then having a small baby has called me to other duties elsewhere. :)  So it was a much appreciated day in the yarden for me.  I gave our beautiful giant comfrey bush a trim.  I pulled grass out of the beds.  I snipped the dead heads off of the May Night Sage.  I genereally reveled.  This may sound boring, or maybe even a bit too much like work to some people, but it was not like that at all.  My husband got really excited and grabbed up the camera and started taking pictures of everything.
     "You just can't help yourself can you?  When you take a picture of a plant, you HAVE to get one of those really close up pictures of the flowers, don't you?"  He nodded and have a giant grin on his  beautiful bearded face :D   "I feel like a tourist,"  he said.
     The yarden was in much need of a photographic update.  I've taken pictures of EVERY THING for the last three years.  My baby related duties (and those other duties left in the baby duties' wake) have left me slacking.  He may not have got all of the shots I would have (:p), but I think people (and later when I look back, I) will be able to get the gist.  For anyone who is interested, I will link my Facebook account below so you may go straight there to look at them.  They have the year dated at the beginning of the descriptions.  Beware of two things: 1) they are long and specific descriptions-teehee!, and 2)because I take pictures of a lot of the same things each year, a lot of pictures may be a bit repetitive.
     I just can't help it, ya know?  Taking pictures each year when each plant begins to show after you've had just about enough of the winter blues.  And then when those new flowers pop out!  Oooooooh man.  I can never ignore them.  They shout out to me to shower them with camera kisses.  Those flowers are such vainglorious ladies and gentlemen.
     And no one can forget the busy little friends who come to help these wonderful green and growing things spread far and wide, ensuring their future progeny.  They pretend to be very shy, but they are just begging you to try a little harder-to work for it a bit (can't be too lazy now).
     Then, last but not least, the wildlings (disclaimer: this is NOT a Game of Thrones reference, but a word that has a literal definition in the dictionary.....though the dictionary definition can be equally applied to the Game of Thrones reference :p).  Above is a picture of one of those wildlings.  One that most people would probably just weed whack, mow down, or-for the very serious destroyers out there- (bum bum buuuuuum) spray with Roundup D:  But this plant has seemingly magical properties.  I read in a great and wonderful book titled The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook by James Green that if you have been bitten by a brown recluse, you can drink the juice of this plant and it will actually fight off the poisoning.
     Now this makes perfect sense to me because this plant is an instant cure for the stinging or itching caused from a bug's sting or bite.  I actually stepped close enough to a bee in sandals two summers ago (while having a yard sale) to prick an innocent bee's survival instincts and caused it to sting the side of my foot.  The pain was burning.  I reached down and picked a plantago leaf, chewed it enough to get the juices in it flowing, and applied it to the sting.  It quit hurting IMMEDIATELY!
     It really is one thing to read something, but something else to see (or in this case, feel) the actual results.  Maybe because when you read something that resonates with you, you want for it so badly to be true.  I think that is the way with anything you believe.  So to see what you believe to be true actually is, is quite reaffirming :)
     So, the funny thing about all that I've shared is that it was meant to lead into a blog about permaculture......However, I got a bit side tracked reliving this special hour out and about the yarden with my husband-haha!  Thinking about trompsing around, admiring all the diversity in our little lot, baby monitor on my hip, lifting it to my ear every few minutes just to make sure.  SOooo I suppose I will talk about that at another time (please, in your mind's ear, imagine hearing the words in italics in a southern girl's voice doing a probably poor imitation of a very proper French lady.)

Facebook Yarden Album

A Lovely Way to Start the Day

I'm keeping it simple today, folks.  I got up early enough to cook breakfast, sweep and clean the kitchen, AND take out the garbage.  BOOM!  I also brought to work with me a moonshine jug full of herbal tea, made from herbs growing in my very own yarden.  Plantago, Dandelion, Red Raspberry Leaf, and Mint.  Mmmmm.  What a wonderful way to clean the blood (plantago), tone the reproductive system (raspbery leaf), clean the kidneys (dandelion), and aid in my digestion today (mint).  I dare say all systems are a go!  And it tastes good without even adding honey. ;)