Monthly Archives: May 2013

Days of Silence: 05/23/13

Sunny morning after what felt like a decent night’s sleep. Forecast high of 82°. I’m waiting for the dew to burn off so grass cutting can begin.

Going over plot one yesterday I saw one of the sunflower plants was laying down. Closer inspection found the base was teeming with ants. Following organic practice I am attempting to dissuade them by flooding around the base with water. I will continue giving this plant close scrutiny.

I am thinking about more water containers considering the past years of rainfall history. To have the capacity of at least two months of average household usage is my goal. This takes into account a lack of rainfall for that amount of time that would prevent replenishing my supply and allow both home and gardening usage.

1709: Cut grass in front yard, put chicken coop yard wire up. It covers more area than I envisioned, that pleases me. I had just finished watering the plots when rain began falling. Thirty gallons of water put out and I feel it will be replaced. I am contemplating planting what I consider “blade” crops in the backyard section that is growing sparsely. Oats, millet, and wheat are foremost options as these can be crimped or given whole to both chickens and parakeets.

I’m seeing mist rising from the blacktop being carried lazily along by a soft breeze.

Patience is a virtue instilled upon you when you grow your own food. There are times when the old habits of thinking “I’ll just go to the cabinet and grab something I put there from the store.” I have to admit that should I get to the place where I can have a pantry stocked with vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices I have grown myself.

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Days of Silence: 05/22/13

0800: Taking time to soak in some early morning sun to balance out the gardeners tan I have developed. I can hear central units kicking in already this morning. Not even 75° here outside.

Taking a walk break this morning. Wore my tennis shoes during both walks yesterday and the section of my feet between the ball and base of the toes felt just short of blistering. They are still feeling tender so I’m going barefoot for now. A heel striker and walking slightly pigeon toed on my walks I consciously try to improve my gait by landing on the balls of my feet keeping them pointed as straight forward as possible. It was suggested while I was a child that I be placed in leg braces to realign the way my legs were developing but my parents chose to forego this. I believe the combination of financial restrictions and the stigma of the torment from my peers and theirs that were the deciding factors.

I want to find out the order the maths; geometry, trigonometry, algebra, and calculus, are taught.

1320: Nice rain coming down at the moment. I was contemplating cutting grass but nature spoke up against it. The birds outside have been busy searching for protein for fledglings. There is the habitual mockingbird nesting in my jasmine. The cock and hen are constantly flying back and forth with food visible in their beaks.

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Days of Silence: 05/20/13

Well the phone is still off so no calls or texts for two weeks and no internet for just over a week. My prior experience in being in a state of communication blackout prepared me for not having such resources.

Today was the heaviest rainfall of the season and I had to grab the hoe and trenched several locations. I was also able to replenish my water reserve. It was after filling my tanks I began trenching and was astonished to find the rain had only soaked just over 1/4″ into the soil. The soil beneath this depth was literally powder dry.

I have added another garden spot. This one is 10’x10′ .

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This is the only rowed plot I have done. Four rows of Rainbow Glass Gem corn, a row of brussel sprouts, a row of mixed bell peppers, and a row of mixed carrot varieties with a few Bolivian Rainbow pepper plants thrown in.

I have also come across several old tires that I am attempting to grow potatoes in. There are a couple of tree stumps in the backyard and I have placed two around one of them, which brought the top of them and the stump level. I then placed another on top of them and stuffed it with dried out grass (hopefully dead, acting as straw). I then added another tire, stuffing it with grass as well. I shoved grass down around the stump top as well and left a hollow. I placed a few shovelfuls of soil into the hollow and watered it to determine how well it would retain the soil. Seeing no loss I then added six potato cuttings then placed a layer of soil across them. I checked on this after today’s rains and have noticed no obvious loss of soil. My hopes are the decaying grass as well the stump will provide nutrients for the potatoes. Secondary will be the interesting results on the stump’s rate of decay.

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I also came across materials to set up a chicken coop. There is what they were using as a coop which I feel will be deconstructed to add to what I want to end up with. The actual coop will built from a discarded baby crib. There are bars missing on one side which will serve as a doorway. The drop down section on the opposite side’s top will end up being an outside access door to the laying boxes. Raising the crib a foot or so, providing a ramp walkway, placing a wire enclosure for them to feed on and the basic necessities are taken care of. Enclosing the top of the “yard” is another aspect I am looking at exactly on how to proceed.

Many nights lately have been spent awakening more often than sleeping. Several of those nights I had attributed to naps

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during the day yet I find myself awake now at one in the morning after thirty minutes of lying in bed. Saturday I sat back in my chair at three in the afternoon and later moved to the bed to get up Sunday morning at six. Yet Sunday night was basically one of peaceful rest.

This morning finds me listening to the BBC with the frogs and crickets providing background. There is a light fog with an occasional breeze.

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Days of Silence: 05/21/13

A night of four hours (Max) of sleep. I laid down around two to be awoken at three twenty-two. Managing to go back to sleep I’m up again by six thirty. Heated some tea and while drinking it I hope my overnight kinks fall out a bit.

I’ll go for a walk afterwards followed by some light calisthenics. Upper body and core work most likely. I do miss not having access to weather information.

1824: Put in two walks today. I’ve started cutting the distance from one and a half miles out to an estimated eight tenths as this has me stopping at the last house heading east. I then come back and go past the house for an additional two tenths. I may be losing a mile on a walk but I have begun increasing my pace. It also helps being more motivated to put in more than one walk, not struggling to take those last steps back onto the porch.

I didn’t add more exercises as on the turn at the end of the road a struck up conversation found me with two tomato plants eager to be planted. I placed them in the original plot where the Russian Black Seaman didn’t come on the west side as one had come up on the east side. Naturally, weeding the area I planted them in led me to doing so to the rest of the whole plot; then the second plot. I moved on to hoeing plot five.

I decided to make progress on the chicken coop. I once again looked at placing the reworked crib into the original coop. After breaking boards lose and adjusting width on one side I was dissatisfied so abandoned that path. At this point I realized I had not stopped to as much to even take a drink of water since leaving at eight. Coming in I was amazed to find it was already twelve thirty. Sitting down in my rocker drinking my water thunder began rumbling to the south. It seemed my work day may be cut short so without finishing my water I once again went out to refine the crib coop.

Not having placed a floor to the coop I put chicken wire in place to aid in keeping it clean. A board to the front and back to keep the wire taught, then nailing it to each side to add further support and the floor was in place. I then cut some scrap two by fours and raised the coop a foot and a half. Yes, I reused nails where I could. It still is amazing how older nails can be pulled, tapped straight and reused where new ones are just as likely to bend on the first good strike. Makes you wonder about all new construction. Adding braces to the bottom of the legs front and sides found me at three thirty.

I placed the coop in the back of the truck to move in the backyard. It still needs to have the laying boxes, top, walk ramp added before I put the fencing in place. I hope to establish different runs where I can have the chickens in the yard, divert them into the garden occasionally.

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Days of Silence: 05/24/13

The afternoon has become sunny and very breezy with temperature being 75° in the shade, it’s 1415 as I write this.
Yesterday evening had some excitement as the mockingbird family showed it’s worth once again. A snake about five foot long having a head easily two inches wide was heading towards the jasmine where their fledglings are nested and they were having none of it. I caught a male dive bombing out of the corner of my eye just off the front porch. When I saw it doing this repeatedly I stood up and went to investigate. Then I saw the snake not caring for the attention it was receiving. I turned, slipped on some shoes and headed to the shed and grabbed the hoe and ditch bank blade. The round trip distance can’t be more than a hundred feet but by the time I returned the snake was nowhere to be seen. I walked the front yard with weapons in hand for ten minutes to no avail. Considering it may have done a one eighty and had gone under my porch I began rhythmical pounding on the floor to see if it had done so if it came back out. In my experience treating homes for termites I learned snakes will reside under calm houses. If there are no vibrations traveling through the structure they prefer this. Such is why abandoned houses, ones occupied by the elderly are where you will mostly find this. Homes with children or where music with a lot of bass is often played sends vibrations through the substructure, disturbing them. Thirty minutes of this with my head on a swivel produced no results. I decided it must have headed for the canal across the street and dismissed it.
My morning weigh-in showed me @ 257 pounds. I hope to hit 250 by month’s end. I have days where I feel sapped of energy if I don’t get my walk in near the first hour of awakening, today is one of those days. I put my morning time in weeding plots four and five instead. The grasses are easily identifiable by their blades but there are weeds which require more attention. The thing about this being the first year in planting so many herbs and spices is being able to recognize at the earliest stage of emergence just what their leaves look like. Chives, cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, sage  and even catnip are planted in places. It certainly feels like a learning curve so I am letting some things I can’t immediately identify grow a good bit before I pull them. The biggest help is knowing that if I see the same plant in multiple plots where I didn’t repeat seeding the same thing it can be removed.
I got in touch with a few contacts and may be able secure a four or five hundred gallon container for water and some buckets to hold produce. Both would certainly be welcomed boons in assisting with making the most out the work I’m putting into these gardens.

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(Updated) Ad-hoc solar dehydrator

Ad-hoc solar dehydrator.

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Morning musings

In bed around midnight, up by 0530. It seems my subconscious took my last thoughts of wanting to get things accomplished today very seriously. The skies are overcast with forecasts putting chance of rain off until this evening. This should give the light dew time to dry as my predawn walk through of my plots barely left my shoes damp. I would like to get some grass cut before the next set of fronts roll in and I have to adjust the mower cut height. I go by the adage you should never cut grass by more than half it’s height.

The walk through found most of the planted Rainbow Glass Gem corn sprouted and practically over half an inch tall. Not bad at all considering there were no signs at 7:00 yesterday evening. My biggest stumbling block sprouting seems to be peppers. My Peruvian White Habaneroes have to date been the only ones to emerge. Still, they reached half an inch then stopped growing. They alive with no discoloration but fail to enlarge. Bolivian Rainbow, Cayanne, mixed mini Bell, and Ornamental peppers are my other varieties which seem reluctant to start all of which have been seeded in same soil mix as the habaneroes as well as tomatoes so I don’t believe it to be an issue with an imbalance of nutrients or pH. Yet then again experience will prove to be the best educator.

There are always things we choose to give up or do without when a path is decided upon. Roots and foundations are the based neccesities for anything to be strong and remain healthy, such is the most compelling reason I embarked on this path. Independance from corporations which view souls as mere coffer contributors have become the mainstay and we as a people gave way to them in the name of progress and supposedly easement of burdens. Seems to me that to this day there remains only a select few that enjoy that promise still, and the only real change has been the base of workforce amd consumers used for profit generation.

Merely mornings musings over coffee, what do I know?

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