We use shells of soap-nuts, which I believe come from Africa, to make home-made soap used for dishes, laundry and general cleaning. We have been wondering about an alternative that can be grown locally. Turns out there is a variety of chestnuts called Horse chestnut which does the trick.
Category: Growing Food
Soil Carbon Cowboys
A sweet story of American ranchers who went through doubts and finally turned to more sustainable approaches. Also a book The Carbon Farming Solution on the same subject came out recently … looking forward to reading it.
seven new trees
We planted four new trees, some three weeks ago, next to the barn.
The ones in the front are peach (Cardinal variety) and apricot (Marculesti 19 variety). The ones in the back side of the barn are a cherry (Red of Bistrita variety) and an apple tree (Golden Delicious variety). I bought them from Praktiker (Tg. Mures) – they are sold in Romania by Yurta Prod SRL (Sacele, Brasov – yurta.ro). Three of them were produced in Hungary and one in Romania.
When we planted them I put some bark under one or two of them. Aside of that I just dig a whole (after some space clearing), put them in, cover, make a small ditch to hold the water and mulch with straw.
Now the apple, cherry and apricot trees are already having small leaves. In the apricot tree there are only buds (maybe the ones which already were in place when I brought them)… not sure if already established the roots… yet seems alive.
In the warm days from last weeks I water them around every 3-4 days. These days rain is offering her gift…
Also, I was gifted three fig trees (by Ovidiu, Cristina’s husband). I planted one on the right side of the pathways which goes from the house to the road, next to the green fence we tried to establish last year. The other two are still in pots – they are going to replace some of the trees that didn’t make it – we planted 6 trees last year (outside of the yard area, on the side of the pathway that goes to the future new house place).
I am so excited… every time I visit the garden (sometimes twice a day) to say hey, I have the sense of witnessing unfolding wholeness. Every time I see new buds forming, developing, small leaves bursting into life I feel joy of life and connected.
new berries planted
In the last two weeks I planted new berries:
- three new black currants, planted on the right side of path that goes to the summer kitchen: I took one from Praktiker and two from Mociu market; the one from Praktiker was planted earlier than the last two ones, is giving leaves (just a few for now) and I already see flowers coming! The ones from Mociu market are giving buds and leaves already – they were already coming the second day I transplanted them – amazing! 🙂
- two new raspberries, planted on the left side of the same pathway, next to the last raspberry that survived from the last year; I got them from Mociu market; no leaves yet – they are just two stick for now;
- three new strawberries: gifted to us by Ovidiu, Cristina’s husband; established all right;
- three new blackberries, also from Ovidiu – planted them on the berries row, replacing the berries that didn’t survive from the last year. These already established roots, green leaves are coming out in this moment.
I mulched all of them.
I am visiting them at least once a day – enjoying their growing.
All the other berries from last years are with buds, some with leaves and some already birthing future flowers! Some (don’t know which kind yet) are already giving new plants, spread next to them… from falling fruits from last year (or roots spreading around?… yet they seem far away from the main stems).
Strawberries that Ildi and Levente gifted us last year – some (few) of them are gone and the ones who established are spreading – giving new plants next to them – they are spreading good and coming so vigorously! Some are already in flower!
in-joying all the way! 🙂
These collection of clips are from the desert in the south of Israel. These are usually sudden events (though fairly predictable after rainfall events) in otherwise open and dry river-beds. Vast amounts of water that could have been held, directed and put to some kind of ecological use … but most of it just flows through (I don’t know where to).
Sepp Holzer’s ingenuity at work. In constructing terraces he comes across a hardpan layer of clay. He lays about 100 of slitted pipes that drain naturally with the contour of the hardpan and those pipes collect into a cistern which is used to create head pressure for a house downhill from it. The terraces are forested, quality, naturally mulched and fertilized soil is built, that soil retains lots of moisture, moisture stops draining at the hardpan, meets the slitted pipes and becomes a spring … now flowing at 5 liters per minute all year long (regardless of climate):
via zach @ Permies
Five Dead Ducks
This post on my personal blog was posted there because it felt to me more personal than informational. However it does have some practical information on our flock and electric fence and what not … so you may want to check it out.
Soils & Forestry
talk conversation (it is a very interactive session where audience questions both inform and direct the talk) with Mark Vander Meer about soils and soil restoration. Though he specializes in forestry his talk does provide general insights and touches on pasture and garden soils. Most memorable phrase from the talk “soil is a living organism”.
The resources mentioned in the talk are available for download here – both the video and the resources compliments of Permies.com
When to Get Food?
When it’s available! That seems like an obvious answer but if you have gotten used to super-market mentality then that answer is not so obvious. If you shop in super-markets you can probably get pretty much whatever you want whenever you want it (though prices may fluctuate) … and you are used to it being that way.
Members of Cutia Taranului experience a different reality. Food is delivered when it beomes available. When it comes to vegetables, the boxes in spring are light and fluffy as they contain a lot of salad leaves, the boxes get heavier in summer when tomatoes and peppers appear and even heavier in fall as potatoes and other root vegetables become available. For the most part this cycle is governed by nature and it provides, when it comes to vegetables, a continuous supply of fresh food for 6-8 months (in Romania). We know it isn’t obvious because many (happy!) members were surprised when, last fall, the vegetable-box deliveries ended.
However there are other kinds of cycles in nature that are less continuous and more concentrated. We’ve recently launched a box with lamb-meat. This is a unique box since it is only available once a year.
In Romania (maybe also in other places, I am not a religious scholar so I don’t know) it coincides with the Easter holiday. However, and more importantly, it coincides with a natural flow. This is the time of year when lambs are born. Most local-Romanian sheep-herd owners, who have established herds, do not want to expand (potentially doubling) their herd (they have limited resources available for their herd and need to maintain it accordingly). This is also a time when sheep-milk-based dairy products are revived (sheep milk is available after lambs are born) and if the lambs consume all (or most) of the milk, then very little is left for producing cheeses. So the lambs need to be butchered (or sold!) now.
If you like lamb-meat then this is the time to get it. If you want it available for a longer period of time then you can purchase more, cut it up into servings, freeze it and thaw it as needed. Healthy, grass fed, organic lamb-meat (in the above mentioned box the lambs are slaughtered in the pre-dawn hours and delivered in the morning hours – it doesn’t get any fresher then that) is only available at this time of year. It won’t be available again until next year.
A similar cycle exists with pig-meat. In villages pigs are butchered for the Christmas holiday season. However there are practical reasons for that too. By that time pigs have matured and grown to provide plenty of meat and the cold weather conditions make it easier and safer to deal with fresh meat (which would spoil much faster in hot weather).
Even in our own small homestead where we grow Muscovite-ducks and chickens and we could theoretically butcher fresh meet whenever we want it (and sometimes we do), our freezer is filled in cycles. After the mating season we will cull some mature males (keeping only ones we wish to breed again next year). In early winter we cull the flock so that we don’t have to feed too many animals throughout winter (we keep good mothers and healthy males).
So keep your eyes open for these special boxes. Food is available when nature provides not when you want it. Consume it when it is available and preserve it for when it isn’t.
It seems like a damn has been opened … and water knowledge keeps flowing to me.
Another great demonstration of keyline design used to replenish a landscape and to insure water security. This one in north-west USA: