The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Spring biomass hauling

Garden biomass

We nearly never work on the weekends, but a passable driveway means all bets are off.  Despite weeks of dry weather, the extremely wet winter means we can't drive the truck in, yet the golf cart floats over the mud as long as it's not overloaded.  So I spent two delightful hours hauling in biomass.

Pile of straw

All winter, 80 bales of straw have been sitting out at our parking area, waiting for a ride to the core homestead area.  The bales that had been in contact with the ground began to rot, which is actually a plus since partially decomposed straw is a perfect mulch around seedlings, and we have lots of spring seedlings in need of mulch.  I offloaded little piles of straw here and there throughout the garden for use within the next two or three weeks.

Buckets of manure

Tomato seedlingsAs I unloaded biomass, I was thinking ahead to the late April and early May garden.  The tomatoes I started inside on March 16 now have two true leaves, which means I either need to repot them or set them out.  Even though our frost-free date is a solid month in the future, the ten day forecast has no lows below 43, so I'm hardening the tomatoes off for planting around April 23 (if the weather stays warm).

Which is all a long way of telling you that Mark's buckets of horse manure already have designated spots in the garden.  The buckets in the photo above represent future tomato homes in the forest garden, and the rest of the manure is earmarked for broccoli and potatoes.

Straw in the gardenEverything was going swimmingly until my inherent ability to break things finally kicked in.  On golf cart load six, I piled on the bales of straw and went to turn the key to head home...only to discover that the key was gone!  Even though it seems highly improbable, my best guess is that the straw bale I'd heaved into the front seat somehow plucked the key from the dashboard.  (No one else was present, and I went through my pockets on the off chance I'd decided it was a good idea to take the key out of the ignition then forgotten about it.)

I sifted through the loose straw on the floor of the golf cart and even tore that bale apart in search of the key, but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack (or, rather, a key in a Loose strawstraw stack) --- no dice.  The good news is that all Club Car golf carts manufactured after 1983 use the same key, so I was able to order two online for $11 (shipping included).  The bad news is, we're going to have to wait until the spare keys show up before we haul in the rest of the straw, the IBC tanks, chicken waterer construction materials, and extra cardboard.

Still, I can't find it in me to be unhappy since I now have enough biomass to get me through until May.  Mark said the other day that some women like men who treat them like dirt and I corrected him gently.  "No, honey, we like men who treat us to dirt --- in other words, who give us lots of biomass!"  I'm one contented woman.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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If you are in the habit of storing stuff in the front seat, you might break off the key in the cilinder.

A switch, located out of the way or protected with a cover would suit the purpose just as well, and won't get lost.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun Apr 15 14:08:48 2012
Excellent idea! A switch would definitely simplify matters during times when we're filling the golf cart to the gills for hauling purposes.
Comment by anna Sun Apr 15 17:09:08 2012
I know well the hazards of farming and hauling things around in the front seat. I was once in a rush and put a bucket of pig feed on the passengers side seat, it tipped over spilling into the seat-belt receptacles (what in the heck are those called!?) I couldn't buckle my seat belt for weeks.
Comment by Emily Sun Apr 15 22:12:06 2012
Emily --- When Mark's involved in the hauling, he doesn't let me load up the front seat so much. There's also the danger of the piled up biomass falling on top of the driver as you zip up the ford out of the creek, but I figure --- let's live dangerously! :-)
Comment by anna Mon Apr 16 07:55:46 2012

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