The handles seem to be the weakest link in our bucket brigade. Anna made this replacement grip out of a feed sack and tape last year, and it has held up well.
Some buckets have lost their entire handle, though. Maybe rope replacements will do the trick?
As the subtitle of her book attests, the primary theme of Carol Deppe's book
is finding ways to grow food that will work even when times are
tough. If you can't afford store-bought groceries, break your leg
and can't spend every minute in the garden, and have to deal with crazy
weather, would you still be bringing in a harvest? Carol Deppe
What's her secret?
Mark would sum it up in one word --- backups. Deppe goes into more
depth, recommending diverse plantings of multiple varieties and types
of crops, no single main crop, succession planting,
using short-season varieties to work around erratic weather, and
including animals in your homestead. Due to climate change, she
recommends not counting on crops that are on the edge of their hardiness
range in your area, and instead says you should focus on crops that are
being grown commercially by your neighbors since these tend to be
Less than a week after the hard freeze,
I'm able to start assessing what got nipped. The bad news is that
the strawberries were harder hit than the numbers suggested --- lots of
flowers are opening and most have black centers, meaning they aren't
going to turn into fruits. On the other hand, the first undamaged
flowers are also starting to open, which means we only lost about the
first four of five days worth of strawberry fruits.
apples are also starting to open flowers that were tightly closed last
week. Most are clearly damaged, with brown stamens, but a few look
okay like the one above. The big question will be whether the
female parts of the flowers survived --- it doesn't take all that much
pollen to fertilize every tree, but if the ovaries are damaged, there
won't be any fruit.
I was also heartened to
see that a few of the hardy kiwi buds were slowpokes and missed the
freeze. Maybe we'll still get a chance to taste homegrown kiwis
Two parts manure and one part stump dirt
will keep these tomato seedlings bright green until they go into the
ground. I wonder if hefty transplants will turn into extra early
I've had Carol Deppe's The Resilient Gardener
on my shelf for a couple of years, but only read it from cover to cover
this spring. Why the wait? I'm ashamed to say that part of
my foot-dragging was due to an assumption that the book was very dry
since the only photos are in a central insert. Despite lack of
images in the text, though, the book is very engagingly written.
A more important issue is
that Deppe and I have very different gardening and dietary habits, so
much of her information isn't relevant to me. In many ways, she
follows the gardening advice of Steve Solomon,
which is probably a great way to grow in the Pacific Northwest, but
doesn't suit our farm or palates. On the other hand, it might suit
many of you better than it did me --- the information is definitely
well-researched and is based on personal experience, which is what I
always look for in a homesteading book.
With all of those caveats, what finally got me to crack the cover? Now that we're going to try ducks
(arriving this Friday!), I figured I should go straight to the source
and learn from an expert. Stay tuned for helpful hints on ducks
and more in this week's lunchtime series.
moving chickens to a new home, I generally lock them inside their
night-time accommodations for one or two days so they home in on the
spot. After that, I open the door and let them roam.
Our chicks loved the
starplate coop so much, they didn't even feel the need to go outside for
the first eight hours of door-opened freedom. Instead, they
enjoyed the inside perches --- despite their small size, multiple little chickens hung out on the top-most roost.
Eventually, though, the
whole flock came tumbling out the door and wandered a full ten feet away
from the hen house. The ground is still winter-brown in this
shady spot close to the hillside, but our chicks enjoyed pecking at new
leaves coming out on tiny tree saplings.
Soon, we'll have the
chicks fenced into rotational paddocks, but for now they're small enough
not to cause much damage if just allowed to free range. As long
as they're not in the garden, this is probably my favorite chick age ---
all they need is to be shut in at night, given free-choice feed and a poop-free waterer, and they're golden.
Running the creek
sprinklers all day felt
like a good way to celebrate Easter.
My weather guru reports
that (despite the high groundwater from a wet winter), spring 2014 has
been unusually dry. As in previous years, this sets up a feedback loop, which in the current instance will likely lead to a hot, dry summer.
I have to admit, even though I don't like heat that much, I do
like this forecast. From a gardening perspective, it's much
easier to add water than to take it away, so a hot, dry summer could
mean lots of tomatoes and other crops that sometimes flounder in our wet
climate. Plus, we might finally be able to drive the truck back
to our core homestead, making it much easier to stock up on firewood,
manure, and other essentials.
In the short term, the forecast was simply a reminder to pull out the sprinklers.
I knew the ground was getting dry, but didn't realize quite how parched
the garden had become until Kayla and I were out weeding Friday.
Maybe some artificial rain will tempt those asparagus spears to push the
rest of the way out of the soil?
A crushed Swiss Chard seedling is a small
price to pay for the help Huckleberry provides in the garden at this
time of year.
Readers of my book blog will know that
I considered signing back on with my old publisher to make Naturally
Bug-Free available as a print book, but decided to self-publish this
paperback instead so I could maintain the e-rights.
While making that decision, I spent a couple of weeks turning the interior into a work of art, with
big color pictures that should really suck you in (even though the
paper isn't glossy). And then I decided to also make a
black-and-white edition for those of you who can't afford the high price
tag of the color version.
The black-and-white copies are on sale
for only $4.99 on Amazon, and the full color version is on sale for
$16.62. Both are eligible for Amazon's usual free shipping
offers. Plus, you
get a free copy of the ebook through Amazon's matchbook program with the
purchase of either paper edition, so you
can see those color pictures even if you buy the cheaper black and white
edition on paper.
To celebrate (and spread the word), I'm running a giveaway --- one lucky reader will win a signed color paperback copy of Naturally Bug-Free, a starter culture of kefir, a Walden Effect t-shirt (only sizes medium, large, or 2XL are now available), and a seed starter pack (containing some of our favorite vegetable varieties).
That's a $72.49 value just for spending a minute plugging my new
paperback. Use the form below to enter, and thanks for your help!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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