gardening (201)

Seedy Sunday in Brighton, UK

Hello Lloyd,

 You’ll be pleased to know that I picked up a copy of “Tiny Homes” yesterday whilst at the community seed swap  “Seedy Sunday” in Brighton in the UK. What a truly inspiring and fascinating book!

I’m sure you would have loved the event, the organisers said there had been over 2,000 people through the doors to swap/buy seeds and plants, listen to talks, take part in workshops, etc.

 More information here:

 Jeremy (Pellatt)

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Valley of the Elves by Ellie Pritts

“In November 2010, my best friend and I found ourselves nearing the end of an impromptu and underfunded trip to Europe. With just 80 Euros to our names in Florence, we relied on a network of friends of acquaintances to secure lodging for a long weekend before we moved on to Athens. We had only a vague understanding of where we were going to spending the next few days. All we really knew was that we were going to be staying in a non-traditional community in the mountains northeast of us. The author J.R.R Tolkien and “elves” were mentioned, but we weren’t sure how much of what was being told to us was simply lost in translation.

   We boarded a train, a bus, a Jeep and finally walked on foot to reach our destination. It was breathtaking. We were greeted by a herd of cattle wandering the valley as we made our way to the dwellings. We learned that the community was nearly entirely self-sufficient; all their food was grown there. There were many cows, goats and chickens being raised as well. We also learned the name of the community, which translates to the Valley of The Elves in English.…”

Click here.

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Friday Fish Fry

Dry dry dry. Day after day of no rain. I think the driest in history.

Saw Inside LLewyn Davis last night. Disappointing. I wanted to like it, because the concert put on in NYC in September by the musicians recruited by musical director TBone Burnett was terrific, and I have a lot of respect for the Coen brothers and their witty and fresh approach to film making. But this was just a bore. John Goodman’s character was overblown and weird, say like Jack Nicholson in one of his rare misfires as the Joker in the 1st Batman film, or Johnny Depp’s characters in the Tim Burton movies—sorry, I’m not buyin it…I don’t understand all the adulation for Llewyn. Music not even that good. Very little humor. Best picture of year, puhleeeze.

I cut down a 35-year old Weeping Santa Rosa Plum, the other day, was rotting from the inside. Interesting to see what was a pretty big (and productive) garden presence reduced to a couple of piles of kindling and to-be-split firewood

Yesterday we went to Flora Grubb, a large nursery specializing in palm trees and succulents in San Francisco. Great place, down near the produce market, with a Ritual Coffee stand inside. I shot a lot of pictures, we’ll post more when I get time.

All Hail by The Devil Makes Three on Grooveshark

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Let Them Eat Acorns: Preaching the Gospel of the Forest-Fed Pig

“SWOOPE, Va. — Hog heaven, it turns out, is a place on earth, a sun-dappled mountainside in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where one day this fall a herd of Gloucestershire Old Spots, Hampshires, Yorkshires and Durocs contentedly gorged their way toward 300 pounds.…

   Some vacuumed the underbrush with their snouts, noisily ingesting grasses and herbs, acorns and persimmons, with the occasional grub and worm. Others squeezed their portly forms into communal wallows, legs splayed in cool, damp soil.…

   Among the nation’s most famous farmers, he has lately turned to preaching the gospel of the forest-fed pig. At a time when 90 percent of America’s pork is produced in huge confinement operations (the largest, Smithfield, is now owned by a Chinese corporation), Mr. Salatin, 56, is urging the return of the pig to its ancestral home. Like Virginia farmers of a century ago, when herds roamed and foraged these mountains, he has unleashed his pigs into the nooks and crannies of 450 acres of Appalachian hardwood forest on his Polyface Farm.…”

New York Times article by Kathyrn Shattuck here.

Photo by Andrew Shurtleff

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Insecticides in Marijuana

Organic growers have been saying this for years. One grower told me (somewhat facetiously) years ago, “People are smoking Paraquat.” Now the scientists are catching up. Lesson here: know your grower.

“…On the pesticide issue, Raber said it’s important to remember that smoking a marijuana bud that’s been sprayed with chemicals is far different than eating a non-organic tomato. First and foremost, he said, there are no controls over what’s sprayed on marijuana crops. And, while most people would rinse off a tomato before eating it, they can’t wash a bud before putting it in their pipe. The body also has filters in place for things that are ingested, he said, but not for what’s inhaled.

   ‘You don’t have the first pass metabolism of the liver,” he said. “You don’t have the lack of absorptivity going through the stomach or the gut lining. It’s a very different equation when you’re inhaling.’

Read More …

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Tiny Home/Huge Garden in Australia

“They say a man’s home is his castle, but in this case the garden is John Kaplin’s crowning glory.

Mr. Kaplin’s two-bedroom home at 23 Marville Ave, Kingsford, sits on only a fraction of the 950 sqm of grounds, with a giant fruit orchard occupying most of the space. ‘I’m only one man, I don’t need much space,’ Mr Kaplin said.

   The garden is not just a sight to behold. It is also practical, with everything able to be eaten.

With everything from fruit to spice trees, the garden has been a labour of love for Mr Kaplin, who moved into the home in 1997.

   He is now a popular ­neighbour and friend, handing out the goods from about 150 trees.…”

Click here.

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Monday Morning Fish Fry

Day at the beach Yesterday I walked a few miles along the coast, carrying my wetsuit, surf mat and fins in a backpack. I’ve had the mat for over a year and never used it. It was sunny, the ocean glassy, surf 3-4 feet, but breaking straight across. Suited up — gotta bite the bullet sometime — and hit the water. Two surfers out, getting creamed each time they got up…When I got out, surf had jumped to 4-6′, breaking kah-wump with big thick lips…Bottom line: surfing a mat ain’t as easy as I thought, or as easy as it looks. I had a hard time getting in the right place at the right time. I did get one ride, but also got pounded a couple of times. But you know, at my age, I ain’t complainin, just getting in the water always generates chi…On the way back, there were these rock sculptures, hadn’t been there a few hours earlier.

   Tiny Homes On The Move is moving, albeit slowly. Rick has been working over a month, doing Photoshop work on the 1,000+ photos, many of which need resuscitation; on some of these he’s performing minor miracles, bringing out lacking color, depth and sharpness…I had a sort of breakthrough Friday when I cancelled a planned kayak adventure to Drake’s Estero and stayed here and got the intro and credits pages done, had been putting off for weeks. Now that everything is laid out, we will spend a month or so making corrections, and coming up with a cover.
Half Acre Homestead: I’m doing a presentation on tools Friday here at Commonweal. Click here.
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