Archive for the Organic Agriculture & Horticulture Category

Thin Veil … A Chicken Tale …

Posted in Farming, Homesteading, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2014 by Drogo

THIN VEIL  …A Chicken Tale… of sorts…

There is a thin veil between yesterday and today, between our present moment and our past moments, between our experiences yesterday and those of today. Something happens in the present moment and WHAM, there we are again facing our past head-on. Something happens that we are not totally in control of, triggers a sad or a happy response, and we are suddenly reliving our past, immersed in similar / familiar sorrow, or joy.

Sometimes it is nearly impossible to distinguish between the two, between our past and our present, as they are such an integral part of the fabric of who we are. There is no way to consciously control what comes filtering through that thin veil, between then and now, and all the emotions trailing behind the memories. I guess the best we can do is acknowledge the veil, and then try to embrace it as a part of who we are, both the good and the bad. For example….

Last night I was so busy I forgot to close the chicken hatchway. My body was so tired, my knees and arm ached from the days activities, and I could not wait to fall into bed. Just as I was drifting off, I heard a chicken shriek, and I knew what had happened. Pissed at myself, I jumped out of bed, threw on my robe, and rushed down to the chickens. Golden girl had been slaughtered by a fox, and poor Red was beside herself, looking around warily and squawking. I pet her and comforted her and little Belle, my blue egg layer, even as I tried to comfort myself.

Old memories of loss of precious birds came flooding back as I kicked myself for forgetting. But I had to stroke and comfort myself, understanding that I was exhausted and overly tired from a huge day of music playing and car driving. I was consciously taking a small break last evening from all my responsibilities, watching a movie and emailing friends. I was so relaxed and spent, that I forgot to protect my chickens, one responsibility I forbid myself to forsake. I had let my guard down, just as I did the day my yurt burned to the ground last year. Yes, such things have happened before and no doubt will happen again. I will mourn the loss of my lovely gold chicken who laid huge brown eggs. Later today I will do as I have done in the past with other good birds. I will take her body to the field for the vultures to feed on her, I will bid her farewell, and I will go on with my life. Yes, there is a thin veil between yesterday and today.

What is that saying that I really did not like nor completely understand? “The more things change, they more they stay the same.” Now I understand the meaning of these words. They apply appropriately to this latest episode in my life here as a mini-homesteader. And then there is the ongoing problem with a woodchuck eating my soybean plants and broccoli…yet another difficult perennial problem to solve. Nature is consistently indifferent and does not care about me. I tire of trying. Perhaps it is time to stop. I have no help here…there is too much for me to do…so what’s new? The thin veil, the triggers, are intact, there is no denying it. Nothing has changed. Would I really expect it to ? Perhaps that is my problem… I keep trying, and all I am doing is spinning my wheels.

Pretty morbid, mournful thoughts today. Thanks for letting me vent. See me tomorrow once the garlic is harvested and the blueberries and the peas are picked ! The Indefatigable will continue to pick up the pieces, get beyond the grief, and continue on with life with even more humility than before.

Humility…human…humus…hmm… Still, darn that veil. Would it could be a high, thick, impenetrable wall, protecting us from pain and sorrow !!

But such is the stuff of stories… I suppose I should be happy they keep coming !

CSM 2

Christine Schoene Maccabee – July 3, 2014

*

Waiting on the Chickens

Posted in Organic Agriculture & Horticulture, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2014 by Drogo

It was late afternoon, the time of day I make my 2nd trip down to the chicken pen to feed my three birds a 2nd time. It had been raining, torrentially, off and on all day, but I decided to get my attitude straight as I put on my long German cloak and rubber boots. Those things, along with my large pale blue umbrella, kept my clothes perfectly dry, and I was happy to feel the wind and mist against my face. Breathing deeply of the purest air, there was nothing going to bring me down on my afternoon jaunt to the chickens.

Opening the door of the coop, there they were, all wet and happy. It surprised me when I first observed years ago that chickens like to stay out in the rain, scratching in the mud to find that last little worm or bug. They some tough ladies ! As soon as I opened the door, they scooted out into their yard thinking I would be throwing the sunflower seeds and cracked corn out there in the puddles. However, today my new plan on this rainy day was to keep the food in the coop. So I poured it clanging against the side of the metal feeder, hoping they would hear the noise and come running back in to eat. That way I could then close their little hatchway door and they would be in for the night, earlier than usual. Unfortunately, chickens are just like children. They don’t want to come inside until it is nearly dark, and trying to force them in is practically impossible without a lot of squawking.

Patiently I leaned against the door jam, and waited. One came in, Ma Belle, but she didn’t stay long. Darn, I thought, it is pouring out there, the food is in here, and still they play. I did not fancy having to come back down again by dark, in the rain, putting all my stuff back on again so as not to get wet, being more chicken than my chickens ! And so I waited, calling to them in a high pitched, chicken-like voice, but they refused to walk up their little plank and into the nice dry coop.

Then it struck me. I was waiting on the chickens, in more ways than one, and I do this everyday, twice a day ! I am their dedicated waitress. I bring them leftovers from breakfast , lunch and dinner, things like cold oatmeal, apple cores, rice and beans, greens, chicken bones from the rotisserie, just about everything their little hearts desire…except the brussels sprouts. The other day I put several little cooked brussels into a hollowed out cantaloupe half, and all they ate was the cantaloupe, leaving a very thin rind. Somehow I didn’t think they would care for the b.s. any more than most people, but this was only an experiment, so I was not surprised or upset. Most children don’t like brussels sprouts anyway. I eat them because they are good for me and I am one of those rare individuals who actually likes them. Children and chickens, on the other hand, are not so easily convinced !

Back to waiting on the chickens. I had the revelation about my servitude position while waiting for the chickens to come in out of the rain, but then I grew tired of waiting. Going out into the yard with them, I nonchalantly and very slowly, went around behind them and gently shooed them in the direction of the ramp. Happily it did not turn into a fiasco, with no success, as it frequently has in the past. Likely they were considering going in anyway. Or perhaps it registered in their little brains that there was no food in the yard, so it must be inside the coop.

Whatever they were thinking, or not thinking as the case may be, they all ran quickly, squawking as they ran, up the tiny ramp. Quickly, I closed the little door, saying “gotcha ! “ Whew, that was easy, I thought. Thank God, as it was beginning to pour down rain again, and I was getting hungry. All wet and happy, the three little imps began to discover the food in the dispenser, and I was happy too. I said “Goodnight girls, thank you so much girls for your eggs.” (I always thank them) and then “see you tomorrow”, as I closed the main door.

Whoever said captive birds aren’t happy ? They are no more imprisoned than I am. We might as well be happy together. I don’t mind waiting on the chickens. I serve then and they serve me. Their large brown eggs are the best, and their manure helps my organic gardens to flourish. Plus, everyday they give me a reason to get outside one more time, rain or shine, and take a walk down the hill, sometimes wading through wet grasses with the feel of mist on my face. I might even have a little adventure besides.

Who could ask for more?!

– Christine Schoene Maccabee of Mystic Meadows

chickens 1

SCOD Food Cooperative Concept

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Economics, Organic Agriculture & Horticulture, Organic Gardens, Services, Sales or Trade, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2014 by Drogo

SCOD Food Cooperative ideas by JF & JT based on our post-bubble recession economic reality and independent personal finances:

“I have been exploring the idea of a virtual cooperative for the trade of services, labor, skills, and instruction similar to a cross between Ebay, Bit-Coin, and Linked-in with maybe a little bit of a D&D style.

I’m thinking it would work something like this:

A merchant would setup a standard merchant style account showcasing their skills, wares etc… in an online profile where they could search other merchant profiles. This account can be further refined as membership evolves to the trade guild level. Services or wares can be brokered directly or they can go into a bidding pool.Services or offering could be bid upon by others to determine a fair market exchange for labor, goods, and services as well as establishing a found for a virtual economic system.

Every account starts out with 100 ‘trust point’ credits to purchase the service, etc… from another merchant offering a different service and some other desirable arrangement. Once the transaction is completed by the service provider, the receipt of the service transfers a previously agreed upon amount of credits to the service providers account. Problems or disagreements will be mediated by guild leaders.

The virtual cooperative only works if people continuously participate to retain credits in their account.No money ever changes hands and credit cannot be bought directly through the web application. Every member is initially set up in the ‘commons’ until they have acquired enough proficiency to join a guild. Prospectus must be invited and approved by members of the guild they are seeking membership from. Guilds will be broken down into the various subtypes Artisan, Teacher, etc…”

 – JF

*

We aren’t really left with any options. It’s at the point if we want health in our lives, we have to work for it. What we need to do is sit down and figure out the dietary needs of everyone who wants to be involved, plot out who will be in charge of what, and figure out an effective timeline that will keep everyone fed through the winter months. I’ll set up a wiki and link it to the SCOD group.

I’ll be hunting a fair bit this season. I can work to provide deer and turkey at the least. I’m good for beans and corn as well. the more the merrier. I’m going to create this as a private wiki, so I just need email addresses for those to be added.

So who (around here) would like to buckle down with me in a cooperative to feed all our families on organic, home-grown, locally raised, or locally hunted food? We’ll need to cover all areas – protein (meat and non-meat sources), eggs, fruits, vegetables, and grains. Mushroom growers are also welcome!”

– JT

*

(see modern economic theory article – Post-Bubble Recession Economics)

Seed Planting

Posted in Organic Gardens with tags , , , on March 11, 2014 by Drogo

1. Feel free to start growing seeds indoors by a window whenever you want. Even if it is too cold outside to transplant them, there can be satisfaction simply in growing seedlings.

2. Do NOT plant anything OUTSIDE during frost periods Oct.30-April 15 apx.

3.  Small seeds – plant close to surface of soil / large seeds plant 1/2″ – 2″ / 3″+ for bulbs.  Loose organic soil is always better.

4. Too much water can wash the seeds out of place (especially small seeds close to the surface)

 *

Sad thing is most growers end up killing more plants than they grow, since we weed all the time, and many die; ironic but the harsh reality.  i think the thing that makes a grower is someone that keeps planting and letting and helping plants grow despite losses.

 

 

Drogo’s Chili Soup

Posted in Food & Drink with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2013 by Drogo

Drogo’s Chili for a Large Pot:

3 cans of beans, 1 can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes, 1 soup spoon of Garlic, 1 soup spoon of Chili powder, 1 soup spoon of veggie oil, 1 soup spoon of Oregano or other herb, and a bit of beer.

No straining, no worries. All organic of course. Simple because it is mostly beans, tomatoes, and spices.  Cook to boil, then simmer 20 minutes.

Skullcap Herb

Posted in Food & Drink, Medical, Nature Studies, Organic Gardens, Spiritual with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2013 by Drogo

401px-Scutellaria_lateriflora_01

Scutellaria lateriflora, blue skullcap, mad dog, blue dog – a hardy perennial herb of the mint family (Lamiaceae) native to North America

After taking skullcap for 3 weeks, I have much praise for its magic mental powers of tranquility. I bought a small bottle of ‘Oregon’s Wild Harvest’ Skullcap organic pills. Rather than swallow the pills whole and letting the thin capsule dissolve in my stomach, I open them and pour the dried powder of ‘100% skullcap tops’ onto my tongue and then swallow. It takes like tea flavored flour.

The psychoactive chemicals in skullcap cause a mild euphoric high, much like tea or coffee without the negative withdrawal effects of caffeine; and instead of the heart-racing diuretic stimulation, Skullcap has an opposite calming effect. Skullcap may be more like eating a similar small portion of cannabis, for the reasons described. I believe Skullcap is not strong enough to cause accidents, as when I was driving my traffic and weather anxiety seemed to over-ride any calming effects while driving. When I am sitting or walking, I do feel a bit buzzed, but the effect may have something to do with my desire to chill out and relax as well.

The Skullcap bottle cost about $10, and after taking an average 3 pills daily and giving some away I still have half a bottle left. It seems to give me a bit of help in training my mind to be more meditative, and create a peaceful state of being. This is not a paid advertisement for this product, but I can honestly say that I desire to take the pill when I go hours without it. If it is addictive, I feel it is in the same way that Cannabis is, in that I can go without it safely, but it feels nice when I use it.

Skullcap bio-active compounds:  flavonoids, baicalein, wogonin, wogonoside (anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-cardiac stress)

BOG Peeps

Posted in Environmentalism, Organic Agriculture & Horticulture, Organic Architecture, Organic Development, Organic Gardens, Pagan, Psychology, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2013 by Drogo

Beautiful Organic Garden People

This art series advocates Organic Agriculture (Gardening / Farming / Foraging), Permaculture, and Sustainable Architecture. A series of ‘beautiful’ images of humans and animals, males and females, working or meditating or playing in the garden, farm field, barn, orchard, or wilderness…. poses not bound to traditional commercial or pinup surface objectification… in favor of equal-rights showing strength, intelligence, and skill. One idea being that people will see attractive or cute people and other sentient beings gardening, and more and more people will want to garden and feel or look like them; and by relating to them, they will want to garden; and vice versa. Based on “Organic Pinup Girls” project, expanded.

Plant Weed*

Pocahantas*

Mattock Hoes*

SCOD Hoveland*

flower cutngather*

women-planting-tree-outdoor*

Apollo on Apollo*

angel pixie apples*

Adevik*

Celtic Couple 2*

Grow Together*

Vegirl_1*

Cheri Tyvm*

Keith psyche

*

* BOG PEEP Book – for sale on Amazon