Monthly Farm Update: July 2022
July has been a very productive month. I decided, due to the amount of work we do outside, that the weekly updates would be better served as a monthly edition. This has helped tremendously. When it's in the 90s and you have to water the garden, animals, and tree nursery, you get plum tuckered out and it really catches up to you. So let's get into what's been going on with the farm.
Although we did not publish much this month, we have been working behind the scenes on 3 upcoming books. Once we were able to publish our first book (a huge accomplishment for us, yay!) the momentum propelled us to keep at it and get more out there. The work involved in publishing a book is enormous. CM worked diligently to make sure the formatting was on point and the information was correctly cited. We are so proud of being able to accomplish this goal. We keep reminding ourselves that we went from a tiny house couple, living in a field, to making a website, writing for other platforms, and publishing a book in 6 months. Talk about work ethic. We want to give a special shout-out to those who have purchased The Millennials Guide to The Future. It’s encouragement like this that really helps us. We began this website and series of blogs to get our thoughts out there and share our viewpoints on living a simplified life. In many ways, it’s about putting into words how we feel and our developing mental health. We are really surprised and thankful for the feedback we have received from doing so.
In addition to the books, we are currently building an alternative university based on sustainable agriculture that we are really excited to publish in the next few months. This will be a place where those interested can come for free and find out as much as possible about tree crops, land design, permaculture ethics, and so much more. It's modeled after current higher ed but without the obnoxious political bullshit that infests these broken institutions. There will be a library similar to our Resource page where books, businesses, and information will be available to view. I will be posting a blog on there with personal work and design as well, where I can share the applications of sustainable agriculture free of the "wokery" that is sadly all too common in these fields. I find the whole concept energizing to create and I hope you will enjoy it too.
CM has been busy canning cucumbers which are quite productive this year. We are trialing 7 heirloom varieties so we are canning what we want and giving the chickens a bunch too. So far the best ones are Marketmore, Boston pickling, and Chicago pickling. Beit Alpha, a very popular variety on Baker Creek, is not working for us. Cucumber beetles LOVE to eat the smooth skin making them look like hideous veggie ogres. The plant itself is contracting a leaf blight while the other types appear untouched. Amish paste tomato is getting ready to turn red as the plants are loaded with them. This will be a lot of fun canning and enjoying the fruits of our labor during the winter.
Truthfully, I should be starting winter vegetables now but have not. I really do not enjoy fiddling with vegetables even though I know they are important for survival. If I do start any this year, I will do collards, turnips, rutabagas, and probably lettuce. Maybe talking about it in this post will encourage me to start them...
Aunt Mary's sweet corn is going to bloom soon and the tomatillos have been ripening for a few weeks now. At first, I was not sold on them but they have a fruity taste that takes the place of actual fruit until our trees start producing. Oh, and the parsnip flowers finally started to mature their seeds so we have several ziplock bags full of parsnip seeds. I think we will be good for a while.
Marge elderberry has fruit ripening now so we are collecting the large berries to dry. We want to make tinctures, jam, and syrup from them. Below you can see how well they are ripening.
The roosters are only 3 months old but their hormones are kicking into high gear. So much so that we decided it's time to separate them from the rest of the flock to keep the hens safe and unmolested. We cut out and built a new door, installed a chickenwire divider in the coop, and fenced off a section of run for the 3 roosters to have their own bachelor pad. I even built an overhang off their side of the coop to give them protection from the wind and rain while they are outside. Despite the boys being disgruntled with their new living arrangements, the ladies are grateful for the breathing room. When I placed my order with Meyer Hatchery, back in the winter, I had ordered 2 roosters and 8 hens but there was a mix-up in the sexing so we ended up with 3 roosters. I wanted roosters so I could breed my own flock in case supply lines really tank. In short, they are beautiful but a major pain in the ass. At the end of the day though, that’s just life. We knew going into it that we were going to divide the coop and make a boy's pen so we were prepared for that process and it turned out well. It will be sometime in October that the ladies will be mature enough to begin laying. In the mean time, they are so cute and sweet.
Chris and I have frequent long talks about posts from Kunstler, Greer, Charles H. Smith, and many others. We even get into deep talks about mental health so we can grow. One of those talks led us to discuss the disconnect between neighbors and our society as a whole. As CM put it, there is no incentive to be friendly, help each other, or remotely care. We are dependent on long supply lines that bring us whatever we want at any time. We no longer needed to be friendly, supportive, open, and honest with those around us because we no longer needed to value them. The dependence is outsourced so we feel invincible in our own little islands. Will this change? Perhaps, but there will be a lot of kicking and screaming in the form of hostility, violence, and abuse in the near term towards our fellow man. Our false sense of “independence” may be so ingrained into Americans that many will not be able to adapt to working with others in a productive way. Those folks will have a very tough time ahead.
For those who may need a boost of confidence, I wanted to end by sharing a really wonderful post by Natalie Lue from The Baggage Reclaim Blog. This article talks about boundaries and how they are there to help you grow, love, and support yourself. Mental health is about making you feel better not about making you feel like crap. I think so many people avoid examining themselves because they fear what they will find. Well, guess what, we are all broken people with baggage. You are not the only one. Taking small steps every day to bring real joy and peace to your life is what mental health should be about.
See you in August friends!