Friday, June 20, 2008

Why have oil prices gone crazy?

This is an article from a Hindu news publication. I'm not Hindu, but news is news and if it's coming from outside sources other than the US, I think I can trust it to be more truth-telling that what the candy-coated media gives us

The Story of Stuff

I found this on a fellow urban homesteader's site,

Animated movie mixed with live-action check it out!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More Trees and Shrubs

They won't be here until Spring, but I have purchased a dwarf Mulberry tree, cherry tree, 2 Elderberry trees, 2 Paw Paw trees and a few more strawberry plants. I know have a huge undertaking of digging out the bushes in the front yard and preparing the soil for all the coming plants. This is very exciting, yet daunting. It's serious stuff now! I'll need to bring in a large truckload of compost to amend our hard compacted clay dirt.

I planted lots of seeds this past week, in used plastic cups: broccoli, jicama, okra, zucchini, carrots, radishes, cabbage, borage(flower), violets(edible flower), nasturtiums, soy, shungiku(japanese crysanthemum variety), and hairy vetch(cover crop)

We donated most of the yellow irises and amended the soil there to plant the cabbage once they are larger. The Blueberry bush is happy in it's new bucket and is profusely growing new leaves! Maybe next year it will be happy enough to give us a few berries. Blackberry bush that I've neglected is actually fruiting very well. Our orange tree is just about ready with tons of fruit. If anyone local wants to barter for some oranges, we'd love some of your fresh fruit! The first batch of radishes are just about ready, and the spinach may be ready for picking in a week. I'll have to start some new seeds for that soon!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dream plans

Here is our current front yard set up...bleeech!

Here is my dream plan, all edible landscaping, with fruit trees, raised planters, herbs, and vegetables tucked everywhere.
Specific plants are not planned yet.

When I get my backyard all farmed out, the front yard will get attacked.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Weekend work

On Saturday, we went to a local nursery to pick up a dwarf Avocado tree, and two varieties of grape vines. Our old Avocado seems to have gotten a disease that kills of branches all of a sudden. It's declined in production over the last 2~3 years. (It used to be a very productive tree) Even though it flowered profusely, this year we only see 2 fruits! The tree is about 30 feet tall but the leaves are small, and some look dampened off. We are planning on uprooting the tree, and placing a different species of fruit tree there. (does anyone know what this disease might be and how to treat it organically?)

Turned out the compost bin and sifted out the larger materials. Ended up with about 40 gallons of the fine, rich dark soil ready for seedlings!

We baked bread (gluten free) I had Caleb help me measure out the ingredients. I used the no-knead method, and Caleb could hardly wait for the bread to be finished so he could have a bite. (With the store bought gluten-free bread, he's never had this reaction) He says my bread tastes really good. Even Tim, who is not avoiding Gluten said it was good! It makes me happy.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Updates on the Garden

It's been a while since I've uploaded new pics of how the garden is progressing. As of right now the pics are in my camera's memory card. But I'll list what we've harvested. We dug up some brown and red young potatoes. We've had our first large bunch of Bok Choi. We've been getting lots of lettuce, and sporadic strawberries. Chinese Chives have always been very vigorous. If I could take some time to make some Pot Stickers (Gyoza)...

Since we are Gluten-free, we have to make the wrappers from scratch so it takes even more time than normal. I purchased an Italian Pasta Maker, but haven't had the chance to use it yet. Maybe this weekend... We've been buying Rice Pasta (Tinkyada) in place of regular Gluten and Eggy Pasta but I would be able to make my own noodles now too, buying less at the market is a good thing.

Our newly transplanted Apple trees are doing great, but the Peach tree is struggling and only managed to sprout some tiny leaves .

Cucumbers don't seem to like where they are, some have wilted, and others are just barely growing. I realized that none of the water was soaking into the soil they were in, so I made some swales to hold the water in. The zucchini and the pumpkin are taking off like crazy. I'll be able to start havesting the zucchini in a day or two. The spinach is starting to take hold and grow.

In the place of the potatoes we planted tomatoes. Now, I know they belong to the same "family", but I wanted to try it to see how the growth will be affected. I planted some beans around the pear tree but they are barely hanging on. There seems to be a rodent or a mole eating at them. We were picnicking under the orange tree the other day and saw a large brown mouse climb up the orange tree. I think it is the culprit.

I've been picking pill-bugs, snails and slugs out of the garden as I see them for damage control. I kill off the slugs as I see them, but I still get holes in my strawberries... Maybe it's time for the beer bait. I've put the snails (they're shell is conical, I've read somewhere that they eat the regular garden snails and slugs, but ours only seems to eat the snails and lettuce & bok choi!) and the pill-bugs in a closed bucket with some garden scraps just to see if I can get some compost made by them (experimenting)

I've decided to uproot and transplant our sorry looking Blueberry Bushes and place them in a Large Plastic Bucket. I've added tons of peat moss and sand to the soil and topped it off with coffee grounds, then located it in a shadier spot. I'm hoping that helps them. They are a low chill variety, but they looked like they were barely surviving. Lost lost of blossoms, no fruit at all.

Since that spot where the Blueberries has opened up, I'm trying to sort out all the gravel from it and prepare the bed for some Broccoli. I have some tiny sprouts in a small yogurt cup so I need to get that soil done!

I began a slow process of liberating some strips of lawn as a veggie patch. I plan on experimenting with the "no-till" method. I've dug up the lawn in 1-1/2' squares, then turned them upside down. I plant on girdling the area with some wood, but haven't scrounged enough yet via Freecycle. Then I will start layering compost, peat moss, sand and soil onto the pile and make a bed. I'm debating if I should plant something right away or grow a cover crop first.

I've been trying to figure out a way for storage of any abundant harvests... Our fridge would no way hold all those things... So, I'm secretly trying to figure out a way to dig a Root Cellar under the house!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Monsanto Patent for a Pig

Monsanto wants to dominate the world, with control of ALL food supplies.

It's not just Monsanto's constant Quest to own All seeds through buying out Seed Companies, bioengineered or not.

Now they are after common livestock, NOT altered genetically.

Watch this to decide for yourself.

How is your FOOD SECURITY? Will your next Kalua Pork be owned by Monsanto?

Are we destined to be slaves to just a few Incredibly Powerful Companies own by a select few men?

Those who control food, controls the world.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mark Bittman: What's wrong with what we eat

We DO eat too much meat, and junkfood(sugars, fats and empty calories). That's WHY Americans are FAT! It's mainly because of Marketing. If you happen to watch TV, the commercials are MOSTLY about food...(and cars) The Corporations WANT you to eat their non-nutitive highly processed foods, and buy their gas-guzzling cars! ;-)

It reminds me of the story of Daniel, where he refused to eat the Rich Food of the King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 1:

"3Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility- 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. [b] 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service.

6 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your [c] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you."

11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds."

I think there's something to glean from this passage.