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Monthly Farm Update: November 2022

Real wealth

Hello everyone, it's been a month since I posted but I have a lot to discuss. First, I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and you spent it with people that make you feel as loved and appreciated as you should be! CM and I had one of the best Thanksgivings which consisted of us playing Christmas music, enjoying drinks, and making a simple farm-grown dinner of sweet potatoes and sunchokes. I didn’t think he would enjoy the sunchokes but he fell in love with them. This is a good thing because if you have never grown sunchokes, they produce like crazy. The sweet potatoes were made into chips with Cajun seasonings in one bowl and brown sugar in the other. Although this was not a huge meal it was about enjoying the moment and eating some foods grown at the farm. A real treat.

Cooking the sunchokes in oil

Our Upcoming Books

Big news, CM’s latest book The Psychology of Collapsing, which is now a #1 New Release on Amazon in Rural Sociology, will be available for paperback on December 16th. Right now, it’s available for Kindle preorders. This book is not only for what to do once collapse is evident but also for everyday life where building your mental health is the most important area to develop. If you are not loving yourself and working through emotional baggage taken on since childhood, how will you be able to process martial law, hunger, or violence? CM and I encourage folks to work on their mental and emotional well-being so that they can accept who they are and be a force for good as we enter the Long Emergency.

My book about building a sustainable Appalachia is truly a labor of love and will be released in summer 2023. I work on that darn thing every single day oftentimes till 9 or 10 pm. I am passionate about the message and although this is focusing on Appalachia, replace the towns and regions I talk about with any other one in the US and the same rules apply. We do need to think long and hard about what we do for clean drinking water, our poop and trash, growing food, raising animals, personal security, and the macro picture of how we are being bulldozed over by an oligarchical and managerial class hellbent on maintaining their entitlements even if that means killing millions of people.

KunstlerCast Interview 366

Additionally, we are excited to announce our very first James Howard Kunstler interview that was published last night, Saturday, November 26: Kunstler Cast 366. This is one of those moments in life where I am blown away at all the hard work it took to get to this point. We enjoyed an hour-long conversation with Jim exploring all sorts of topics from the culture shock of “collapsing now to avoid the rush” to Europe going medieval. I hope we can be invited back in the future to talk more about the work on the farm, our books, and how society is losing its mind. If you enjoyed the conversation please let Jim know with a review on your podcast apps or on his website in the comments under the interview. We are really blown away by the kind messages of encouragement and support from listeners of this interview so a special thanks to all of you!

Planting Fruit and Nut Trees

House site overview

Since I had been working day in and day out on my book, I took a few hours in the morning this week to plant 10 apple trees, 4 pears, 20 Chinese chestnuts, and 4 standard Russian apple rootstocks that I will later graft onto. The 10 apple trees were quite large in their 5-gallon pots so that took a while to plant them all. I also moved some fruit trees around that I did not like their location or they were in the way of something else. In order to know where to plant them, I used my A-frame level to map out the contour lines of the area they were to be planted in and marked their locations. Planting on contour helps reduce erosion and slow the spread of rainwater so it does not run downhill without soaking into the earth.

The Chinese chestnuts were all grown out here over the summer from superior varieties purchased from Route9Cooperative in Ohio. You can follow the link to check out their website for additional information. I also have attached a roughly drawn map of the inner “sun arch” or “solar arch” whichever you want to call it. This will be a helpful visual of the inner two acres that I am finishing up planting. As this area matures, I will then be able to move outward to finish planting the rest of the property, but as I said in the interview, it’s important to nail it on a small scale and then scale it up. In the gallery below, I added a picture of all the Chinese yam tubers that I collected to be grown out next spring as well as an update on our wheat. It looks fantastic!

As I take plants out from the nursery, to plant them out, I am converting a section of it to growing rootstocks and layering blueberries, hazelnuts, and additional berries so that I can build up enough numbers to mass produce them to plant out. Eventually, I will have enough to start selling which will coincide with more and more people needing to grow food locally so this is a positive. Saying this, I encourage you to start doing the same in your neck of the woods even if it is 2-5 types of plants. You can buy one blueberry bush for instance, mound soil up around it in spring and by winter you should have new stems rooting that can be cut and made into new plants.

Chicken Talk

The roosters and becoming quite handfuls. Each one has tried to attack us on separate occasions and we pick them up and hold them until they calm down. Honestly, I do not believe these two are what we are looking for genetically— good watchdogs, good with the hens, dance around the hens before mating, calm, and not constantly crowing. CM wants to wait till they are at least a year old before we make any rushed decisions on their personalities so we shall see.

Girls eating root noduels

The flock did help me plant several more fruit trees in their pen— a Terry apple, Contender peach, Reliance peach, and a large autumn olive bush. I also want to share some interesting habits the ladies are doing that may benefit your flock as well. By accident, I observed the girls eating sunchoke tubers. They love them. The older girls do not touch them but the girls we raised from day-old chicks are going nuts over them. When I planted the large autumn olive bush in the chicken pen they came over and started to eat the little nitrogen-fixing root nodules which were fascinating to see. Furthermore, as mentioned in the book Tree Crops by J. Russell Smith, I collected several handfuls of Chinese privet berries and fed them to the chickens. Of all the berries the chickens enjoy, privet berries are one of their favorites. Given that this plant is very prolific, I am planting them around the chicken pen to provide shade in summer and berries over the winter. The girls are going to love it.

Thanks for taking the time to read our update. Keep up the great work building your own personal resilience. You are not alone in this mission.

Bring on December!

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