Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Pretty Good Start

If the rest of the year goes anything like January this will be a really great year.  We've been so busy, and have accomplished so much!  The weather has been less than accommodating ranging from monsoon to freezing rain with a few astoundingly beautiful days interspersed.  But we haven't let that get in our way this year.

We managed a serious deep clean on the house and, with the help of a couple of new bookshelves, have organized no only all of the books that were already in the house, but also several boxes of books that have been in one shed or another for the entire time we've lived in Tennessee.  The living room is looking more and more library like all the time!

Monday, January 28, 2013

What Can we do about Worldwide Poverty?

I came across an interesting video today at Top Documentary Films.  It takes about an hour to watch but it doesn't seem like an hour.  It's a detailed well put together history of world poverty.  The historians, economists and so forth bring out very interesting thoughts on the topic, but do not necessarily come forth with a conclusion.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Weathering the Storm

Ice.  That's what we got today.  After all of the wretched (yawn) winter weather we've had here in Middle Tennessee, we get ice.  But, no worries, in two days it's supposed to be back in the high 50s and low to mid 60s.

Really, the ice just made a dreary monsoon landscape so much more beautiful!  And while the drippiness freezes up the best thing to do is to set the kettle on, choose a favorite tea, pull a chair up to the fire, and relax.  You can't do anything outside anyway!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Balcony Permaculture

This post is for my apartment bound buddies.  I often get questions about what to grow and how to grow it when a person has only a very small space to grow in.  These videos by Dylan Graves are an excellent example of what can be done in a small space.  Granted Mr. Graves has 25 square meters (about 15'x15') and that's larger than the average American balcony.  Nevertheless, he provides great examples of what can be done with a small space.  For the most part he re-uses containers and therefore has a lovely mishmosh of growing spaces.  He even manages a small fish pond!  The two videos combined last only about a half hour, and . . .

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Yak Attack!

When the Middle Tennessee monsoons ended, we started chomping at the bit for the first warm day to come.  Yesterday, when it was only in the forties, we did laundry so that we could have the warmest day of the week (today, 50s) to get out in the Kayaks.  The general consensus  in the morning was to try, for the first time, our own creek, Salt Lick Creek.  This was uncharted territory, with many potential challenges.  There may be trees across creating strainers or requiring portages, or, if the water wasn't high enough we might have needed to get in and out of the boats fifty times to get past shallow riffles.  As it turned out, there were few major challenges, only one portage, and the water was high enough to be really fun!  Unfortunately, the funnest water was where the photographer (Micah) needed to focus on paddling, but here is a lovely view of a perfectly lovely day!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Once Upon a Farm

Groundwell Farm, Cricklade Road, Upper Stratton, Swindon, Wilts., England

That was the address of the communal farm I lived on for a month and half in the summer of 1985.  It was a beautiful old 16th or 17th century farmhouse on the outskirts of Swindon.  How I came to be there is a long, tawdry tale that I don't care to relate here, and that I actually thought about rarely during the day to day life at the farm.  What was important was that I was there.  It was the first real taste of freedom and self-determination in my life and I loved every moment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Late Night Forgery

We are in the midst of monsoon season here in Middle Tennessee.  It has rained for at least part of every day for about two weeks now.  Temperature makes no difference.  If it's cold enough they simply refer to the precipitation as a "wintery mix", which means anything from stinging sleet, to slushy snow, to an out and out ice storm, interspersed, of course, with regular old rain.  It's the hardest part of the year to get through around here (worse even than the blisteringly hot and impossibly dry middle of summer) and the best thing to do is keep as busy as possible to avoid dropping off into SADS depression.

A few nights ago though, there was a few hours break in the rain.  So while I finished off the slow cooking of a batch of tomato and eggplant risotto, the guys used some brush that we needed to dispose of to start a small fire in the garden (the ashes will be great for the soil).  We then sat in our Crazy Creek chairs with our hot bowls of risotto and fed both the fire and our hungry bellies. 

When we were finished with our supper, someone decided to put a piece of steel bar stock in the fire to see how hot we could get it.  That's how it all began.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Fresh Path

Good Morning and Welcome to my new blog!  For those of you who are following me here from Mamallama Transitions, you will find this blog to be nearly identical to the old one.  For those of you who are new readers, I hope you will enjoy and, at least occasionally, learn something new from either me or my other readers.

Lord knows I'm learning some new things this year.  We are in a major period of transformation.  Having decided to stop trying to leave our tiny town, we have begun transforming our place, bit by bit, into what we have always wanted it to be. This began with a major cleanup that is likely to last at least a full year.  We've been emptying our storage spaces (not just sheds but also the space under every building!) and filtering through the 25 years worth of packrat/nomadic living.  Did you know that if you move with very little to a new place, fill out the household with all of its accoutrements, and bring all of that stuff home with you when you return, that eventually you will run out of space to put all that stuff?  We apparently did not realize this and we are now paying the price.

In addition to cleaning and sending off years worth of buildup, we are finishing projects that have long needed finishing.   One major project that has needed doing for years is the webwork of paths that lead from one building to another.  We've tried different fixes at different times, but yesterday we came upon a revolutionary solution.  You know those guys you see trimming trees for the electric company alongside the roads?  They almost always want a place to dump the shredded wood, and will be eternally grateful if you let them dump it on your land.  Well, a nice thick (4 to 6 inches) layer of this stuff laid out over muddy trails turns them into a lovely, springy, clean pathways that are inviting to company!  It also reduces the need to sweep since nobody is tracking mud into the house any more!  Oh Joy!

Eventually the chips will compost and need to be recovered, but the composted material can then be added to the garden soil!  And the best part of all . . . It's FREE!!!!!

For you new readers, I thought I'd add on a few of my favorite posts from my old blog:

Salvage My Life


Mulch Madness

Why am I so Grumpy?

The Promised Permaculture Post

I also have a food blog where I occasionally post the latest (mostly vegetarian) culinary extravaganza fresh from my little kitchen!  ExcepSchanel Gastronomy