Monthly Farm Update: October 2022
I am not sure if it is the same as where you are, but the leaves started to change the first week in October and were all off the trees by the end of the month. What a difference those few weeks make. Now it's bare and dreary save for a few white pines covering the mountains. A glimmer of life appears in the wheat patch as it has started to grow and endured many nights in the low 20s already. The cold temps frosted everything, putting an end to the growing season.
This gives us time to work on processing the last bit of wood collected over the summer, prepare our garden strategy for next year, and focus our efforts on various writing missions. CM wanted me to talk a little bit about the book I am working on. As he recently mentioned, it is about creating a sustainable Appalachia faced with the monumental tasks of preparing for a world with limited oil and a whole lot of resource scarcity. I am pulling information from Alice Friedeman’s blog—Energy Skeptic, a host of books, and some of John Michael Greer’s work.
All of this is brought together under the guiding principles of Permaculture. The real limits to growth book that Greer and others would have benefited from if they just read Intro to Permaculture. Permaculture is about energy flows and how it is appropriately used within local systems to the benefit of humans, animals, and the environment. Food production dominates the conversation so far because without it nothing really matters does it? I will explore a host of topics on ways people could potentially improve their lives if they have the willpower to do so. Like so many Americans, apathy in Appalachia is pretty rampant so the impetus to make changes before a crisis hits is not really realistic. Still, I find value in the potential of a sustainable Appalachia and will do my best to apply the lessons learned from living simpler to the book. Combining the best information from the past and present, we can apply it to this region in hopes of a better life now and in the future.
As mentioned earlier, the winter wheat is doing great. My phone did a poor job of capturing how tall and green it actually is. Jerico lettuce is coming along well too. I just wanted to see how productive that variety would be during the winter here without any row covers.
Fruit Tree Arrival
My heirloom apple trees arrived from Century Farm Orchards in North Carolina. I highly recommend this nursery. In fact, what apple trees I have, if I did not graft them myself, come from this nursery. David, the owner, is very knowledgeable and does excellent work growing high-quality trees. Check him out if you are looking to purchase affordable apple varieties this winter. This order completed my collection of late-blooming varieties of apples that are also resistant to the common diseases here—cedar apple rust, fireblight, and scab.
The roosters are busy micromanaging the girls. A neighbor apparently acquired a rooster as well so our two boys and their boy crow back and forth sometimes making sure no one is infringing on each other's turf. The 6 older hens are going through their annual molt so we are making sure to scramble eggs and give them this high-protein treat to help them through the process. Those poor girls look so rough!
Earlier this month we took a walk at a local national forest and it was perfect timing to capture the changing leaves. We even ran into, quite literally, a black racer crossing the path.
I hope that anyone reading this is able to tune out the noise from social media and various speakers of propaganda and use their time to enjoy hobbies or discover new ones that contribute positively to their life. I also very much hope you have enough heating fuel (in whatever form) to keep you nice and toasty as winter approaches. I can't imagine the stress Europeans are feeling right now. I'm very thankful to have a nice wood supply on hand to keep us warm.
Maybe by this time next month, I will be able to report that my book is almost complete, that would be a nice accomplishment. October was productive as we caulked, insulated, and completed various household tasks to prepare for the cold. I was able to collect a lot of acorns, chestnuts, and various plant seeds for the nursery too. Seed-saving vegetables will surely help the budget!
Stay safe folks and happy November.