Saturday, November 13, 2010

A warm fall Friday

I'm trying my best to stick to my goals outlined in the calendar.

But I've realized that I set out too much for the first year, for the trees in particular.

I shouldn't trim branches and tap for syrup in the same year, it's too traumatic. And pruning means they loose some of their sugar production anyway.
So this is a process, I know my goals and the calendar will have to be adjusted as I become more educated.
Another reason the calendar will have to be adjusted: unexpectedly beautiful weather and the availability of transplant crops. I found asparagus crowns this week (volunteers in a soil scientist's garden 20 minutes away) and planted them before they go completely dormant. So here's my first vegetable bed. It's 8" deep and I'll be adding 8 more inches of mulch as soon as the ferns turn brown.

Speaking of mulch, we're trying the old Ruth Stout method of mulching the tarnation out of all your plants. To this end, we've saved every last one of our leaves that fell instead of sending them off with the city refuse collection. I like thinking of these leaves as wealth while I'm raking them into piles; they'll make the soil richer, and that means less cash invested into other fertilizers.

A fall Friday well spent, I think.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I know I said I wouldn't talk about politics much, and I won't generally, but we just had an election and I've got feelings about it. In Michigan, both houses of the legislature and the governor's office are in Republican hands. For some reason I'm not too concerned about this. Gov.-elect Rick Snyder has been declared a "Champion of the Arts" and wants to reinstate all lost arts funding. He also wants to support Michigan's cities to develop new approaches to land use, including limiting development in virginal forested tracts and transforming existing lots to farms. These are definitely ideas I am on track with, obviously. But I didn't vote for him.
I voted for Virg Bernero because he has done an amazing job in Lansing. This is the liveliest I've ever seen this town in the 11 years I've lived here. But there is something crooked about him, I agree. He reminds me of Rod Blagojevich. And yet I voted for him. I had to throw my voice into the ring of losers, I guess, that we don't all accept Republican policies and vision.
In fact, I'm dumbfounded why so many people voted Republican nationally. I do not understand how people could not see that the last administration's hands-off approach to regulation has driven us to this mess. And isn't this mess their ultimate intention? Help the rich stay rich and leave the poor with no pathway out? And I just love it when they claim that letting the tax cuts expire on the wealthiest 2% is "class warfare." They are masters of framing the debate. They're miles ahead of us lefties.

On the homefront, my three main pursuits for the week have fallen through. Someone else claimed the free cold frame I was after. The gentleman interested in felling our dead tree as a trade for the wood informed me that he's not insured. It reached freezing and started snowing before I could put my yard "to bed" and clean out my compost bin.
I figure this is how most of the project will go. 3 (or more) setbacks for every 1 success. I'm in great competition with other community members for these free/recycled/cheap resources, and most of the time I will lose. But I'm also taking care of my baby. And it's hard for me to do yardwork with her when it's so frizzing freezing outside. Maybe this could be a metaphor for fixing our political mess.
Because we can't stop trying. There is no other choice but to keep fighting. The next season will come, and we need to have our beds made.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin seeds & storm windows

Fall means weatherizing. With the help of Sin Christian at Michigan Energy Options , we found some more plastic storm windows on ItsEasyBeingGreen for our 5 little windows that have gone uncovered for the last several years. They're all still in their packaging, which is not very useful or energy-efficient. Maybe if this baby girl of mine takes a good nap today, I can check this off my list.
Save Loads of Energy With Caulking and Weatherstripping - Green Homes - MOTHER EARTH NEWS
Also on my list: grocery shopping, borrowing a truck to get to Ovid between 11-2 to pick up a FREE cold frame, and practicing drums before rehearsal tomorrow. And I must not forget Halloween face paint.
But snack attacks had the best of me when I woke up this morning at 4:30. The smell of the pumpkin seeds I roasted last night filled the house and carried me by the nose to the kitchen for a few handfuls.

Do-It-Yourself Evaporator

Good Golly, this looks like fun.

Do-It-Yourself Evaporator

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Year Off

Looking back now, I can see my anger and frustration could largely be attributed to my having been pregnant! I've calmed down, and want to put my nose to the grindstone on this home re-creation project, now that Iris has been born. I will try to keep my posts less political and more personal, except for when it impacts us directly (e.g. my husband not qualifying for unemployment anymore because congress has refused to extend the benefits another time...but they still think paying for perpetual war is acceptable).
We don't know if we'll be in this house next year. But I can't allow that uncertainty to diminish my desire to make my home-life my gift to my children (and my husband). There are quite a few plans I have for this place, and I hope to post the progress of the projects soon. First on the list: weatherize, then make mid-winter appointment to tap these Maple trees!