Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Moving ahead, leaving things behind.

Today we start with the unlovely, and move on to the lively. This weekend as I mentioned last week we got in a dumpster to clear out things that have turned from treasured personal possessions to trash. Things ranging from books, to only copies of photos, to very practical things like sleeping bags. All of that has been emptied from the barn, and the barn itself is now very much usable again. It has gone from not so much full as too cluttered to use, to organized, and with sufficient room to easily park the car with room to spare for a second vehicle. The shed is also empty of everything extraneous. Oh an emotional level it's tough throwing out things that in the past may have been precious, but let's be honest, our life has changed. There are better uses for the barn now that we're going the direction we are with our life. Once the fencing material is out of the barn there will be even more room.

One of the things we didn't get done over this very busy weekend was bean harvest. As you can see in the photo Left even the edamame are getting close to be ready to harvest, which is very exciting to the Lady of the House who's wanted edamame for years. We've planted edamame for 3 years, and this is the first time it's produced anything. In specific this is good for the ground as well as our belly and happiness. The area we planted beans this year didn't start off good soil and is very depleted beyond it starting off bad. Having the beans do at least decently is going to help the soil for next year, and the years to come. Given how depleted the soil in the lower South slope beds is, they're going to get a serious dose of rabbit manure and hay covering to keep them healthier over the winter. Now that I know how easy beans are, and how well they mix with other crops I'm going to be aiming to do a lot more with beans over the next few years to help our soil. None of the soil on our property started very good, and some of it is downright bad. The rabbit manure has helped a lot, but by using the properties of the plants we grow to our advantage I think we'll be able to do a lot more with our soil, and building it up. Beans are obviously going to be a big part of that given that nitrogen fixing is a vital part of soil management. Especially given that a lot of our planting is of annuals rather than perennials. As we get better and more skilled at garden we intend to increase the number of perennials we grow.
Speaking of Perennials, our Sunchokes are getting crazy huge. Unfortunately there isn't a scale in this photo, but at this point they're standing taller than my head by a fair amount. I'll be curious to see how they do next year when they're more established, and have gotten to expanding. I know we don't want to let them just go and do their thing entirely unimpeded because apparently they can get difficult to eradicate. Fortunately we're looking to eat what grows under those plants, and just eating as they grow is going to be a major deterrent them going out of control. The  Egyptian Walking Onions in the front bed are more perennials, which aren't doing particularly well at the moment, and may just need to be moved to a bed that isn't quite as beaten down as that poor front bed that we've weeded to oblivion. Other than fruit trees which are still setting in, and herbs which have gone wild in the yard, we have Kale. Kale isn't technically a perennial, but it does self seed if you let it, and will survive the winter in certain circumstances so I'm going to count it for our purposes.
Right now the Kale is a little out of control in terms of location, but I'm thrilled with just how hearty and productive it is. Definitely a good reminder that Kale isn't a plant that we're going to need to plant a bunch of to get as much as we would ever want to eat. We have enough going with just a hand full of plants growing between beds we could eat as much as we want, and obviously from the fullness of the Kale plant Left, more. The Kale isn't the most tasty of leafy greens, but given the heartiness it's totally worth having around.
One of the things I'm excited about it seeing just how well our potatoes are doing under the soil. As you can see the potatoes have turned into a huge set of bushy plants. I'm enjoying seeing them doing well, especially in contrast to how ratty they got a couple years ago when we had Clavate Tortoise Beetles going nuts on them. One of the nice things about the buckets is we should in theory be able to keep the potatoes in the soil in the buckets to preserve them instead of having to find a good way to store potatoes without them going funny, and sprouting on us which has happened to far too many potatoes over the year.
It looks like Dawn's Daughter didn't end up taking when I bred her a while back with Herbie unfortunately. I moved both Dawn and her Daughter to the big hutch out on the end of the house to give them space for having kits a little while back but they're enjoying having more space. In their former hutch there is a lot of cleaning that needs to be done, but I can't get back into that hutch safely for cleaning right now due to the very aggressive wasps that are in there right now. I need to just go in and burn them out so I can do hutch cleaning and repair before shifting other rabbits there. I'm probably going to be moving Herbie there because he seems to be stressed where he is, and I suspect that has something to do with his isolation relative to other rabbits in his current hutch.
While summer isn't over, we're very conscious of the oncoming cold as the nights are down to 50 and below, and I can see my breath nearly every evening now. Seeing some of the local bees still coming to our flowers is a good reminder that summer isn't quite gone yet and to enjoy it while it lasts. As we come in to Fall, I want to thank our Patreon supporters who in this past month have contributed 18.50, which is enough to cover rabbit feed for a week. That is a major help for us as we work at doing what we do better.

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