As you can see from the lack of detailed posts, I’ve been too busy to write about much these day. Spring has sprung into a flurry of activities here on the homestead. Along with juggling homestead activities we are hard at work trying to finish the website, get ready for Earth Day events and more.
My head is spinning so much that I really can’t concentrate properly on writing decent entries. However, I feel badly about not posting for the past few days so here’s a condensed go at trying to sort out the thousand thoughts that are swirling in my head.
March was certainly cold, the coldest on record since 1912 or 1921 – can’t exactly remember what the woman said who I was talking with about the weather. See, I told you my brain is overloaded! We now are enjoying a warming spell; however, more rain is expected in the middle of next week.
We lost a few seedlings because of the drastic change – hot, cold & rainy and now hot again. Actually, today was quite warm with temps in the 80’s and really dry. I even broke out in sweat while packing the produce and delivering under the bright sunshine. It’s been awhile since our foreheads glistened.
Delivering to one of our restaurant clients today, we picked up 6 (5 gal) used vegetable oil. What’s great about this oil is that it’s almost virgin. They only use it once and then it’s discarded. With the oil being so close to virgin, the guys don’t have to use so much lye to bring about the transesterificaiton.
STALKING THE WILD FOODS
We received our winemaking and cheese making kits in the mail this week! That should be fun to learn.
The guys are thinking about all the different types of fruit wine they can make when the trees/berries are ripe with fruit. With the semi wild Arroyo Seco nearby where the hillsides are sometimes covered in elderberries, perhaps there’s a chance to make some elderberry wine?
Speaking of wild harvesting, there are lots of food sources in our local mountain range. A few summers ago we harvested cactus (no pales) and made a dish out of the juicy flesh. One time we kids were harvesting the bright red fruit from the cactus. We wanted to make jam. I thought I had taken off all the spines. Ah, but no, there are those tiny haired spines that do the most damage. A lesson learned the hard way when my tongue was full of those hairy spines. Not a pleasant feeling I can assure you.
Many, many years ago, when we were growing up, Jules got us interested in survival skills and bought us theseries of books by acclaimed, ultimate survivalist, Tom Brown. We learned to make fires using a bow and drill, we even built a shelter out of materials from the natural surroundings in the lower Arroyo. Unfortunately, the shelter (or fort as we liked to call it ), nestled among the willows and brush , was destroyed when the city started to clean up the area. We learned to identify edible plants and their uses by studying books on the subject and learned about staying alive if we ever got lost. That self-training made us not afraid to be without the comforts of modern society and certainly helps with knowing our limits.
One summer, we took an un-guided 8 day canoe trip down the Green River in Utah. No phone, no people, no supermarkets, no modern conveniences for 8 days. We learned a lot about ourselves when the cushions were pulled out from under us. When you are faced with such circumstances, you have to learn to be smart, really quick. The canoe rental operator said to us, after he gave us advice and pointed out what not to do, he said if you do something stupid “then you are just crowding the gene pool.” His blunt statement has stayed with us through the years.
Sunday morning a film crew is coming again, the same ones who are doing the documentary on peak oil, global warming, bird flu, etc. The have to wrap up a few loose ends and that will be that. It will be interesting to see what they use in the final cut.
Jordanne, these past few days, has been struggling to depict the website design properly in all of the popular browsers. Darn browsers, our life would be so much easier without them. The new website is nearly finished. I know, I know, I have been saying this for quite some time. But, it is! We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. As things go, we will publish about 70% of the site first week in April and add the expanded articles written about the projects (cob, biodiesel, gardening ) we are tackling or have tackled as soon as we proof read and add necessary photos.
The greens have grown up overnight! The arugula is just at the right size to harvest – not too large, not too small, forming a lush carpet in one of the raised beds. I am hankering to make a wilted arugula salad. Salad is what’s for lunch and dinner. Well, more like a generous side dish.
We have lots of salad and greens, so if anyone of you folks in the area need any, let us know. We’d like to share/barter.
The Oil is Going, the Oil is Going!
Today’s Paul Reveres of “peak oil” aren’t waiting for Washington to save us from apocalypse. They’re already planting gardens and drafting city plans for the days when oil is gone.
Another decent storm dropped significant rainfall last night. Great for the garden! The plants seem to have grown inches overnight and are filling out nicely.
David White of nearby Sandwich ice harvesting makes economic sense. He and his wife live on 118 acres of forest, trying to live as self-sufficiently as possible with minimal impact on the environment.”We choose to live without electricity,” White said.White participates in the Rockywold-Deephaven harvest each year, filling his own custom-built, heavily insulated 8-foot square icehouse with about 130 cakes.”I’m trying to lessen my impact on the planet, use less, cut back, say no. Ice helps me do that,” he said. White and his wife use a single cake of ice each week to keep food cold in their heavily insulated home icebox.
Tapping the World
Wednesday (March 22) is World Water Day. Essential for life – and key to global politics and economies – clean water is an extremely scarce resource in much of the world. Here’s a glimpse at global patterns of water access, value, and consumption.