Archive | Gardening

Longevity Changes Life – Being Ready For the Possibilities

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WHEW!  Last weekend, I received Earth Shattering and Heart Breaking news.  I am not at liberty to discuss it with anyone and that frustration has led to days of introspection AND trying to see the beauty in the world immediately around me – something that is usually easy for me to do has been a real struggle these past few days!

Then, as I sat in my “outdoor office”, I noticed a single, pink Canadian Lilac bloom. Just one as we approach September. Just one, presented out of season to show me that all is not darkness!

Out of Season Canadian Lilac

It doesn’t rain but it pours!  I have several friends — yes, more than a couple (2) — who are losing their homes and struggling to find and establish the next step in their lives. I have several friends dealing with cancer and other life threatening, depreciating diseases. I have lost several friends to cancer this past year as well.  ALL contributing to my pondering my longevity and the longevity of those near and dear to me.

I am 68 and nearly half way to 69 years old.  That never seemed that much until all these recent events got me thinking about my own possible longevity. My Mother and My Maternal Grandparents all passed over at 72. That is a mere three years away! My Father died at 93, my Paternal Grandmother at 88 and my Paternal Grandfather at 96. So family genetics says my longevity could be 3 to 28 years.  I don’t think I want 28 more years the way the world and people are. I am not sure 3 more is enough! or, is even that too much?

woodpile & fall flowers

Yes, I found some more beauty. There are pink roses between the White Hydrangeas and the Yellow Rudbeckias that are hard to see in the picture.

As I look at friends, and other people I know, as they enter their 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th decade of life, they all have either children and grandchildren OR money!!  Having neither myself, I live a totally different life experience as I look at where life would go IF disaster happens and I end up alone!

We live in a world where significant people and friends are scattered and busy with their own lives. Communities are disappearing and neighbors are no longer neighborly.  The internet seems to be all consuming – much of it superficial and too much of it generated by trolls.

So what would a pushing 70 man do if suddenly he lost the man he loved, could no longer afford the roof over his head or a vehicle and was without medical insurance? What life is possible on social security that allows a dog, maybe some pots to grow a few vegetables and room for a very few special possessions.. There would be no chickens:(

The thought scares me. But in the world we know today, we, at least *I*, have to think about this. I need to do some research and see just what the possibilities are.

Interestingly, coincidentally 🙂  this article appeared in a news feed this week:  No Spouse, No Kids, No Caregiver: How to Prepare to Age Alone

Not something I really want to think about BUT something I need to think about!

Meanwhile the Asters are starting to bloom and every year, thanks to the birds, we have more and more!  

 Pink Asters Fayrehale Farm      Wild Purple Asters Fayrehale Farm

Asters make me smile and I always think of The Dinner Service being hand painted In The Style of Celia Thaxter!

Aster Place Setting for Dinner Service Hand Painted In The Style of Celia Thaxter

Aster Place Setting for Dinner Service Hand Painted In The Style of Celia Thaxter

 Obviously this one and only Dinner Service eventually with 14 Place Settings, Hand Painted In the Style of Celia Thaxter, is one of the special possessions that will accompany me until the end. I am still trying to figure out a suitable place for it to go after I have passed.

In the meantime, I may just have a cup of coffee in the coffee cup or some soup in the cream soup to remind me that life hasn’t reached a dismal point just yet!

AND

Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket!!

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5

DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease !!!!!

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A NEW record of time between Blog Posts at the other extreme!  4 Days!

The responses I received from several friends I emailed this to, made me to decide to make it public on the off chance that someone might benefit.

An example of the responses:  “My goodness, what a revealing story.  I had no idea of the consequence of a tick bite other than the words “Lyme Disease.”  Now I know now devastating it can be.  I’m so glad there’s treatment for Abigail and wish her a full and speedy recovery.  Poor thing!  What kind of dog is she?  I have a miniature poodle and will pay close attention to her, now that you’ve shared your experience.  Thanks!”

DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease  !!!!!

Damn Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease

Abigail Often Rides on My Shoulders

It has been an emotionally draining morning.  I woke up at 7am after 10 hours of deep sleep in the coolness of the tent. I  reached out to touch Abigail (rear hip) and she yelped.

I got up, she sat up and did not move further. I picked her up and set her down and her rear end collapsed.  I did get her standing and she walked slowly and unsteadily to the house — peeing and pooping on the way.

I carried her to the van and drove the 2 miles down the road to the Vet who was not open yet. The assistants were working and gave me the first open appointment at 10am.

Back home to wait the long 2 hours. Covered Abigail with a cold wet towel as she seemed feverish and I worried!  Knowing that I did not have thousands to spend — not even too many hundreds (you can only do so much robbing Peter to pay Paul)

10am arrived and we were at the Vet’s.  She did have a fever – 3 degrees high – Vet did an examination of her limbs and head/neck for range of motion and took her for a walk around the clinic.  Then she came to talk to me and suggested we test for Lyme first before she discussed the second possibility — adding that both were curable .

I said fine but she has had no ticks on her this season — the response was that this tick, if Lyme, would have been 6-8 months ago!  Learned something there!!! Wish I had discovered the Green Mountain Tick Repellent last season!!!

She drew the blood and said the test takes 10 minutes — you can wait in the waiting room, on the porch, which ever you like – I said I will go to the van.

Had JUST settled in when the clinic door opens and the Vet comes out and said the antibodies are so high that the positive was immediate!

Thus the fever and the stiff, painful joints.  SO — pain pill 2x a day for a week and an antibiotics pill 1x a day for 28 days.

Then I went into town from the Vet’s to mail the last chick order of the season and to stop at the grocery store for some milk, bacon and cottage cheese — all to help Abigail want to eat before the pain pill.

A big relief — I was worried this morning that I would lose her.

A little background that might help others —  Saturday she was off in her left front shoulder/leg — gimpy —  I figured she had twisted it jumping off bed or furniture — when she jumps of the bed in the tent each morning, she waits for my okay and then jumps off the bed and out the door to land outside.

Yesterday, Sunday, she seemed a little stiff and slow but the weather was horrible and I was stiff and slow — she was drinking, eating a little and peeing and pooping.  Then today she was so helpless!  The Vet said that, untreated, it would just have kept getting worse — stiffness and pain and inability to move..

She had a pork medallion and cottage cheese once I settled her into her chair — then her pills and then a good drink of water — the water she insisted I freshen so that was a sign of normalcy !!  I have a cold wet dish towel on her while the fever comes down and I will play nurse — work on website and keep her in my sight —

Vet said 1-3 days to start seeing improvement.

The pain pill must be working as she is alert w/ head and ears up as she rests under a wet cold towel in her chair… her eyes are brighter and her ears respond when I talk to her   — a big relief!!!!

It is a good thing I can carry her:)

So there is the tale of DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease!
 DAMN Connecticut and Its Lyme Disease!

Late 2010 when Abigail (HRM Abigail of Fayrehale) was 11 weeks old.  She will be six years old this fall.

UPDATE:

What a difference 24 hours makes (and the Vet said 1-3 days) — from not using her rear end to jumping in and out of the chair again — out came before in – which just now happened — she barked to go out — and trotted on our walk which went 2 neighbors down when she turned around to head back..

Turkeys were gobbling, flying, playing in the field and she JUMPED up to look, on rear legs, and was ready to give chase but for the leash.

So now we just continue the meds — I never heard about no dairy for antibiotics —  and in this case when the vet was mentioning pills I asked about cheese — that should have been the no dairy briefing! Fortunately a friend, who worked for a Vet for years, educated me when I revealed that I had fed Abigail cottage cheese.

So, today’s pre-meds snack was 2 eggs with one bacon sprinkled with dog food —   some food was suggested before pain pill —  then I just put pills in the back of her mouth, hold it closed and stroke her chin —

Now I have to get myself back in gear

Feels like fall – 9 color spots on maple across the street 
Update #2
 36 & 48 Hours Out

36 hours out — she was eating dog food again and backing up quickly and normally

48 hours out —  Looks like all is back to normal….just have to complete the 4 weeks of medications.

Abigail was “on guard” last night in the tent when she heard something outside and this morning she jumped from the bed, out the tent door, and landed outside.

What a relief!  I have heard from many people that they were totally unaware of Lyme Disease with dogs.  Hopefully sharing this experience has helped to make people aware and also to understand that with proper care Lyme Disease can be handled.

My biggest surprise was that the infecting tick was so long ago!! I continue to wish I had discovered the Green Mountain Tick Repellent last season!!!  AT LEAST we know about it now.

 

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1

Suddenly — We Are Deep Into August !

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Yes!, Suddenly we are deep into August! (a title that I heard on NPR and figured was perfect for a quick Blog entry after three months of silence since my last post).

The lilacs are a sweet memory, preserved in a picture by  professional photographer Kelly Clow that we use in our ads and as a banner (see above). The three goslings that have survived a horrible season with predators are nearly full grown and getting getting more difficult to distinguish from the adult geese.

The geese continue to be our lawn mowers and to entertain us!  They have come in to the Shop twice to check things out, settle down on the oriental carpet and spread the fake apples around with disgust.  Now if I come into the house for a few, I shut the shop door to prevent their visits.  I have not figured out how to add short video clips to this program so will provide your Goose entertainment with this link!

June saw us receive 13.5″ of rain here in the village and the soil didn’t warm up.  July gave us 9.5″ of rain and August has delivered a heat wave that we do not expect for more than a day or two here in Northern Vermont. No beautiful gardens to share this year. We are getting some tomatoes, beans, chard and lettuce. We will see if we get any winter squash.  I roll with it and dream about next year’s garden!

Not sleeping outside in the tent, as I have for the past 4 years, has been a personal comfort hardship (physical & mental).  Priorities had to be set and the cost of a new tent was way down the list.  Plumbing first! We are making progress with the plumbing. We have had hot and cold running water to the shower and kitchen sink since the end of May along with cold water to the outside faucet and hoses.  We still need to install the toilet and bathroom sink. That is waiting on the floor which will be the next project. We have removed the old floor and just need to select, pay for and install new linoleum. Soon!

Rather then more money for tents, we would like to just construct a roofed, screened platform for the bed and 2 reading chairs. Once in place, this could be wrapped with tarps for winter and the pitched roof could handle the snow!  A step at a time!

As you know, the show case, fixtures and orientals we had loaned Shops On Star and NEVER expected to come back, were delivered the end of May! When I heard it was all coming home to roost, I had no idea what I would do with it!  Relaxing allowed the creative ideas to flow one at a time and at unexpected times.  Everything has been worked into  Shops At Fayrehale.

Porcelain In The Style Of Celia Thaxter   Large Forest Green Glass Handkerchief Vase - Vintage Murano Art Glass

The silk lined display case – Left: Shops At Star w/ Porcelain In The Style of Celia Thaxter – Right: Shops At Fayrehale

The lighted display case, once I figured out how to work it in, has created a nice focal point – filled with colored glass in the Antiques section of Shops at Fayrehale.  At this level, there are three additional ledges on top that can be displayed.

https://www.fayrehalefarm.com/shops-at-fayrehale/

Mahogany Drop Leaf Table

The Mahogany drop leaf table that used to greet Shoalers as they entered the Gift Shop on Star Island, fits perfectly (just!) under the window and creates an eye catching display area for Shops At Fayrehale Early Lighting.

www.fayrehalefarm.com   www.fayrehalefarm.com

Three bookcases from the Book Store, Shops On Star, Isles of Shoals, Star Island

Even the three book cases, that I painted yellow for the Shops On Star Book Store fit in!  Two of then on the fronts of the hay racks in the back of Shops At Fayrehale and the third under a window in the front of Shops At Fayrehale!  They did not need to be repainted, just dusted, as the yellow I chose for Shops on Star fit perfectly with the yellow I choose for Shops At Fayrehale.  Serendipity!!!

We have had a parade of friends from New York and New England come to visit us!  Many, a drive in the driveway surprise! Always fun to see everyone and show them Shops At Fayrehale  whether or not we know they are coming!  Everyone says that the pictures, as good as they are, do NOT do the Shop justice!

Nothing we can do about that except invite and encourage you all to stop by for a personal visit.

Several good friends have passed over these last few months and that has me so aware of how mortal we all are.  We need to live and love, help and be kind every day as none of us know which day will be our last.

I work to relax and flow with life and events beyond my control, like the Lynx and Fisher we have in the village killing what they can. I dread the fact that the election and corresponding media hype has 16 more months more to flood the media world. I totally support the concept used in other countries that limit the election process, some to as little as 90 days!!

Tom and I try to take a couple days a month for misc. day trips.  Fun and a change of pace from our regular daily routines.

Thus, Life at Fayrehale marches on. Fall will soon be here and than winter. Aaaaaaaaaaah winter, I can hunker down and work on getting some semblance of order in the house.  I have a dinner party to plan (Probably Spring) where we will inaugurate the first four place settings of the Porcelain  in The Style of Celia Thaxter Dinner Service.

Oops! forgot to add last night that we are testing the Coupon feature on our Online Site!  A 10% discount is available on ALL online products through the end of August using Coupon Code bl20150831 at checkout.

Until next time — live and love, help and be kind as you flow with life.

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2

Permaculture – The Safe and Sane Way to Proceed! – Learn Along With Me

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Last evening, Tuesday, January 28th, I traveled over to Montpelier for the Transition Speaker Series topic ( Home Resiliency: Staying Warm, Fed and Watered in a Very Cold Climate) being held in the Hayes Room, Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

Ben Falk 224244_145476395525625_8029156_n

Ben Falk

Ben Falk was the speaker, discussing the most essential systems needed in our region to maintain a failure-proof source of the basics: heat, hot water, food, light and communications. Ben used his own home systems as a case study and explored the particular resiliency challenges we have always faced in Vermont, and how they are being exacerbated by a changing climate and economic conditions.

I have followed Ben Falk on Facebook for some time now to better know him as a person  and I have studied his website and watched many of his educational videos to be introduced to Permaculture.

I wanted to be in the same room as Ben. I wanted to hear him directly. I wanted to check out and verify his Energy. All is good!  Ben Falk is a young man who is “walking the walk” as he devotes his energy and expertise to educating and helping people prepare for as secure a life as possible in a rapidly changing world.

BF book 6303953-21613147-thumbnail

Ben Falk’s Recently Published Book.

I have a friend in Maine who received Ben’s book for Christmas!  He talks about it consistently.  It is on my list as the very next book I buy!

“The Resilient Farm and Homestead is a handbook for developing regenerative human habitat systems adaptive to drought, flooding, heat, power outage, price spikes, pest pressure, and the multitude of challenges brought by climate change, peak oil, food system contamination and economic decline. The book also details leading-edge strategies for regenerating soil, water systems and human health through the design and operations of the homeastead and farm.

The book covers the groundbreaking systems Ben Falk, M.A.L.D. and his team have established at the Whole Systems Design research farm over the past decade. The book includes detailed information on earthworks, water systems, rice paddies (likely the first on the planet in such a cold climate), livestock, species composition, site design and management, fuelwood production and processing, human health-soil enhancement strategies, topsoil production and remineralization, nuts, perennial food and medicine crops, and high performance buildings.

The Resilient Farm and Homestead is more than just a book of tricks and techniques for site development, but offers actual working results of agricultural ecosystems and presents a viable home-scale model for food-producing intentional, ecosystems in cold climates and beyond. Real world farm and homestead systems are articulated with gorgeous full-color photography and dozens of landscape architectural drawings.”

For myself, I look for the plants and systems I can use here on our own small .6 acres (remember that point before the 6!) Our small endeavor will involve more layered plantings and perennial edibles.

paradiselotcover

Paradise Lot – 1/10th of an acre – Less than our 6/10ths!

“Jonathan and Eric and their families manage a 1/10 acre urban backyard garden in Holyoke, Massachusetts. This edible landscape features little-used edible native plants as well as useful species from around the world. Over forty species of fruit and seventy perennials with edible leaves make for a long season of foraging. Many are arranged in an edible forest garden, an edible ecosystem composed of perennial polycultures of multipurpose plants. Other components include a tropical crop garden, edible water garden, poultry, annual beds, and bioshelter greenhouse with aquaponics under development. The book Paradise Lot tells the story of the development of the garden from a bare slab of ground to a diverse and productive demonstration.”

So with Ben Falk’s Recently Published Book and Paradise Lot, I have my text books for learning what I need to do to maximize the small piece of earth we are taking care of so that it can be left better than we found it.  These two resources located in Vermont and Massachusetts function in my climate.

All you who read this are not fortunate enough to live in New England:):):)  While you can easily Google resources local to your area, I will mention Adam Remkes and his Cedar Springs Farm out in Utah.

I also recommend that everyone with any interest in maximizing food production in a small area like and follow Jonathan Krausert who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah!  He has been a role model and a mentor for me for a couple of years now!

I invite you join me in this important journey and encourage you to share your experiences, your successes as well as the things that did not work well for you.

We can lean from each other.

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3

Living an Earth Connected Life of Elegant Simplicity – WITH? / VERSUS? – the Internet and Social Media!

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DSCN3922

I find myself pondering, all to often, the impact of the internet and social media on my  earth connected life.  Can the two extremes function together?  I  have been going back and forth and back and forth and…………. I think I have finally come to a satisfactory conclusion  *for me* !  They can work together!

I was born on the Family Farm in Concord, Massachusetts. While life has taken me to many places and in many directions, I have always maintained a connection to the soil, to the land. It is in my blood!   As a child, I lived in the country, we had a big garden and I can remember renovating a large shed with my brothers (using lumber from a collapsed barn, salvaged nails, a hand saw and a hammer) to ready for the pair of bottle lambs our neighbor was giving us.

Later as an adult, we raised our own beef, pork, lamb and poultry. Hand milked our Guernsey cow, Molly, and eventually her two daughters Matilda and Martha.

During these years there was only television and it played a very small role in life!  Strictly controlled when we were young ( Black & White) and not that important in later years.

WELL, full disclosure requires that I confess to watching a full week of Betty Davis movies (two per night) when I was in college!

jimnow

Now, in my 65th year, the world is much different and more complicated

The world is wired.  Computers and Smart Phones link to the internet, facebook, twitter and on and on.  Many people are “connected” all the time. Separated from real human to human interactions. Families, under the same roof, connect individually to the net while often communicating with each other electronically!   This electronic evolution/revolution seems to isolate and separate from other people and from nature.

Part of me has argued internally for outright rejection. I resisted computers until I decided in 1997 that I needed to learn how to use them or be left behind. At that point they had not become so invasive.  I decided, that in order to understand how they work, I needed to create a webpage from scratch using html codes. I did it and never have had to since as an IT Husband does it for me now:)

I do not have a smart phone! I do not want or need one. I do have a cell phone. I can make  a call, send a text and take a picture. That is all I need.

My being loves having my hands in the dirt in the garden, the poultry, the natural world in general AND my being enjoys and needs nice things – books, art, silver and china. That combination creates what I call “elegant simplicity”

Nothing beats an evening with friends, gathered at a nice table, with good food and conversation and suddenly someone says: “OH my goodness it is after midnight” Those not frequent enough occasions are the frosting on life.  Now, chances are the communications that gathered us together were via e-mail.

SO yes, modern technology fits an earth connected lifestyle if it is managed to enhance and not take over!  I use facebook!  Not for a zillion friends I do not know but to maintain contact with a few friends scattered far and wide.  Friends from my days at Borders. Friends connected to Star Island. Some friends I have connected with because of joint interests in gardening, poultry, food and lifestyle.  I use FB for gardening connections.  How else would I be able to connect with and follow Ben Falk  or John Forti  or, or, or……

I use the internet for this website, where I connect with people around the world and promote our poultry which I hatch and ship.  I maintain a facebook page for our Chanteclers  and our Icelandics.

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Fayrehale White Chanteclers in winter housing.

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Fayrehale Icelandics in winter housing

Currently there are 427 people following the Chantecler page and 75 following the newly created Icelandic page.  That is over 500 people that we have connected with for our poultry sales.  Something that would never have happened without the internet!  Our beautiful small Vermont village is the perfect place to live.  Selective utilization of modern technology allows us to connect across the country and around the world with like minded people.

I am state emphatically that modern technology enhances and expands our simple, earth connected life!  It allows us to be connected with like minded people and thus less isolated in our existence.

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So, as the Hackmatacks turn yellow and prepare to shed their needles, we have moved back into the house for the winter. It is time to dust and clean the dining room  (The incubator ran in the dining room from March to September:) so that we can have friends over for supper.

And YES, we will use e-mail to make the arrangements!

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7

A SERIOUS Issue That Requires We ALL Stop Being Complacent And Silent !

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This is my first  and hopefully my *last* post about a political issue rather than about our lives here at Fayrehale.  I have been feeling the need to post something about what is happening in this Country with regard to our food and GMOs.

GMO1

We are striving to raise and preserve as much of our food as we can. We get better at it each year. This year has been an experience with our extreme weather fluctuation.

I assume that if you are following us, you too have a similar interest and are doing what you can in your current circumstances for your own food well being.

GMO2

Our corn has tasseled. The several times a day I walk by its 10 foot stalks and observe the swelling of the ears after pollination, a dark cloud hangs over me!  There is GMO corn planted along route 5 . Is it far enough away?  Did ours tassel before or after?  Has my small row of corn been raped?  I, We, should not have to worry about this!  We should have the right and the freedom to grow safe, pure, NON-GMO raped plants for our food.

I am going to share a post just released by Joel Salatin.   If you are not familiar with him you need to be. Hopefully you will take the time to read it.  Hopefully it will make you think and you will become more vocal, in your own way, about the dangers of GMO.

From Joel:

Yesterday morning at shortly after 7 a.m. the phone rang: it was 911 calling us at the farm. Some cows had wandered out into the road at one of our leased farms.

We’ve been working on about 400 yards of new boundary fence on this farm and had the old fence all down, the site prepped, and half the new posts pounded in, hoping to finish up yesterday and stretch fence today. We’d left a couple of internal electric fence gates open in our comings and goings on the project. A deer went through our small temporary electric fence surrounding the cows and they wandered over through the open gates and
across the boundary onto the neighbors and into the road.

Of course, we arrived on the scene and immediately got everyone back in, fences up, and gates closed. This farm is right on the outskirts of Staunton and is surrounded by some 20 house-and lot or house-and-small-acreage property owners. We don’t know them all, but have talked to several of them. We didn’t know which ones the cows had wandered onto or if any damage had been done, but figured we’d hear about it if someone was disgruntled.

Sure enough last evening the phone rang and it was one of the neighbors who said the cows tromped two rose bushes. I apologized profusely and asked what would satisfy her. “$50 would be fine,” she said, clearly not wanting to sound too upset. I immediately wrote her a check and put it in the mail this morning. That was the first time in more than half a century that we’ve ever had to compensate a neighbor for cow damage.

But that’s not the main part of the story. The main part of the story is this: as I was writing the check–and very happy to do so–I couldn’t help but think of the folks who suffer trespass from Monsanto’s genetically modified organisms, bred to be be promiscuous, who don’t recognize property lines, and come willy nilly to conduct sexual orgies on property where landowners do not want them, with NO LIABILITY ON THE PART OF THE OWNERS. That Monsanto or any other bio-tech company views such activities cavalierly indicates a profound and terrifying view to personal space and the sacredness of personal property.

In our current state of twisted cultural thinking, not only is Monsanto not liable for in essence trampling my rose bushes, our courts have decided that I’m to pay a royalty to Monsanto for the privilege of their life forms, their owned patented beings, trampling my rose bushes. Can you imagine my telling this nice neighbor: “Not only will I not pay you $50, I think you should pay me $50 for free tillage services?” My goodness, she could call the county’s district attorney and have me served with a warrant before lunchtime.

Trampling someone else’s rose bushes is the essence of “secure in their persons and effects,” a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the underpinning of personal ownership of not only my being, but the stuff that is an extension of my being. My clothes, my home, my car, may family, my food–if we can’t have anything that’s “mine” then I cease to exist as an entity.

As a culture, we’ve become increasingly belligerent about bullying other people’s stuff. Whether it’s zoning regulations in Fauquier County threatening to license in-home prayer meetings because too many cars arrive at someone’s home or denying my ability to sell you a glass of raw milk or telling the Syrians how they are supposed to run their country–this idea that “I know what’s best for you and I’m going to force you to do it” is eroding the very
essence of personal beingness. I’m told by people in foster car and orphanage administrators that one of the first and most profound healing things that can be done in any of these situations is to create personal security for something of ownership. Maybe it’s nothing more than a pencil and notepad, but knowing that my stuff will not be violated is the first step in self-worth, self-awareness, and personal well-being.

Last Sunday I capped off the four-day freshman orientation activities with an afternoon speech at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As part of the day’s activities, Teresa and I had lunch with a couple of professors, deans, students, and the campus chaplain. I couldn’t help asking the chaplain: “What’s the number one issue that brings students to you for counsel?”

Without batting an eye or hesitating, she responded: “Dealing with the tension between what they really want to do, deep down in their heart, and what their parents expect them to do to be high income-producing people.” This is a perfect extension of this self-beingness I’m taking about–parents using their bully emotional or economic
superiority to pooh-pooh the passion of young people wanting to heal what their parents have broken: economy, environment, emotion. We see it even within our intern program. Too often parents think their children are throwing their lives away to become farmers. Actually, it’s considered a personal disgrace to have a child go into a vocation that crates blisters, splinters, and callouses.

This heavy-handed demand to tell you what to do, whether it’s the U.S. empire-building adulteration of the military’s sacred duty by meddling in every nation on earth or telling someone they can’t snort cocaine or demanding parents to vaccinate their kids or demanding people to buy health insurance or criminalizing neighbor-to-neighbor voluntary food commerce from raw milk to home made pickles to cottage-scaled bologna, it’s as if we’ve become so disempowered by shallow employment and money-only business vision that we must turn our personal druthers on other people to give us a feeling of ownership and meaning. That’s a long sentence. I apologize.

Here at Polyace, we do not ask for subsidies, government blessings, grants, or anything. All we ask is to be left alone. We don’t advocate dumping manure at McDonald’s or more regulations about corporate abuses. If people like us are free to practice our God-given self-beingness, the choices and alternatives created will bring competitive
accountability to business and political agendas. As a culture we’ve strayed far from liberty. The essence of liberty is allowing someone to engage in risky behavior, for someone else’s fist to go as far as possible . . . without touching anyone else.

Trampling rose bushes may seem insignificant, but the way this neighbor and I handled it is the way toward liberty. I recognize her right to be secure in her effects–yes, her home is her castle and her rose bushes are an extension of her beingness. The ultimate statement of liberty is to recognize the sacredness of personal effects, to recognize the rightness of being able to own something that a king or bureaucrat can’t take, whether it’s my health care options or my food options. The next time you think: “we should have a law to make sure that can’t happen,” or “that’s wrong, we need to intervene,” think about whether it passes the trampled roses test. Does my solution trump liberty? Does my GMO trump liberty? Do my beliefs trump your liberty? Does my vision for our society trump your liberty? The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Think about the things society has absolutely known. The world is flat. Blacks are inferior. Slavery is fine. Native Americans are barbaric. Leeches heal the blood. Spirits cause sickness. Homeschooling is wrong. Alcohol needs to be prohibited. GMOs will save the world. DDT will save the world. Raw milk is hazardous. Hemp is horrible. Get the drift?

My take away: I must be very careful about what I become righteously indignant about. It could come back to bite. Remember the trampled rose bushes.

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GMO

As I watch the squash and pumpkins grow and ripen, as we prepare to plant the hoop house we use for winter greens (kale & spinach), I am reading Joel Salatin’s book  Folks, this ain’t normal  . I can not recommend it highly enough.  You will never read a more important, eye opening book.  Winter is coming, you will have time to read and this book should be at the top of your list and on top of the pile!

As I end this one and only political post, I remind you that much of the world has rejected and/or ejected GMOs.  We need to do the same before it is too late.  Maybe it already is too late.

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Royal Mail Delivery !

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This morning’s mail delivered my copy of the August 2013 issue of The British Magazine Home Farmer.  Exciting to actually hold this great magazine and to be able to turn the pages and read it. Sightly over size at 11.75 x 8.25 it is full of helpful articles.  Like magazines used to be here back in the 60s and 70s.

August contents

A quick look at the table of contents shows the great range of articles in this issue!

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Suddenly you reach page 23  and there it is!

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The layout about the Pallet Garden here at Fayrehale Farm.

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And from Great Britain we head for New Zealand where the pallet garden will be featured  online in Garden NZ  and in the printed magazine Rural Living.

Those of you trying this system should feel free to relate your experiences in the comments section of this entry OR the original blog entry.

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A Few Gardening Updates As We Have A Monsoon Season In Vermont !

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Small Potato Patch

We have a love and a preference for new, small potatoes!  I never plan on any being left in the fall for storage!  If I were to want potatoes to hold over the winter I would need a patch well separated from the house!  WELL SEPARATED!!!  We do not use that many potatoes but what it is easier to pick them up at our Coop than it is for me to exercise self control!

For most of my life I have followed Ruth Stout’s system for growing potatoes.

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This year, we used a 4×4 frame that was on the ground, originally built for bat houses that are yet to be erected. So few bats now. Filled it with soil.

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Placed three rows of seed potatoes –  red & white.

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Even though Ruth Stout used hay, we use straw to lower the chance of weed & grass seeds. It is easier to deal with a few oats! As the potato plants grow, more straw is added between rows and around plants. Straw rather than traditional “hilling”  The beauty of this system is NO digging.  When the time comes to have those small, new potatoes for supper, I just move the straw back, pick up the potatoes I want right then and replace the straw.

I need to fence this off as the geese are too intrigued.  Right now it is covered with a temporary row cover to keep poultry from investigating while grow starts. Low fence will be set up this week so row cover can be removed.

The Other Small Update

Our indeterminate varieties of tomatoes are outgrowing their cages. We solved this by repurposing old tent frame pieces!  As you know, we sleep outside during nice weather and we use inexpensive tents that give us one year of living and one winter of covering the bed and chairs!

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Fayrehale Farm Melon House Prepared & Planted

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Back on February 4th, I wrote about our intent to have a melon house this season and to grow melons in Vermont!  We selected four varieties for our first attempt at melons.

The hoop house has been prepared and the started melon plants are planted. Straw will protect those that crawl and we have installed trellis for them to climb.  I think the fruit on the climbing portion may need a sling to support it as it hangs.  Saw this done in a Dupont Greenhouse at Longwood Gardens   (10th image down the page)

We should have nearly another 120 days with the hoop house if we close the back and cover the door in the fall.  The door can be opened on nice days.  The Shade cloth will probably come off in the fall as well.

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The Melon House is at the left. The middle hoop house will be tomatoes, beans, chard and beets as we work with the wettest Vermont season in decades. The hoop house to the right is where we do our winter gardening, based on the work Eliot Coleman has done at his Four Season Farm in Maine.  We will put our carrots and parsnips in here now so they can stay in the ground and other summer vegetables that will come along quickly enough to be harvested and removed in time to plant winter greens. Probably some beans for nitrogen.

The Melon House and the Center Hoop house chickens in the winter.

All a learning process that we share as we go!  Happy Gardening!

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Pallet Gardening – A Great and Versatile System

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I will be adding my updates to the beginning of this post so those returning for a quick look at the weekly update pictures do not have to scroll to the bottom!  For those of you visiting for the first time, scroll down for the original post.

July 8th, 2013

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It has been Monsoon Season in Vermont!  Inches of rain this week!  Need to trim the grass between the pallets!  Everything growing. Black Seeded Simpson lettuce needs to be used up and replaced. It is leggy and knocked down by heavy rains. I haven’t planted BSS lettuce for years and did so this year (along w/ other varieties) as the plants were available and we were behind after a cold & wet season. Two dark rows, bottom right pallet, didn’t germinate (old lettuce seed). Replanted this week with radishes in one and a mesclun mix in the other.  Dill, beans, Swiss chard coming along nicely.  Basil needs to be topped so it bushes out.

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Tomatoes growing out of their cages!  repurposed old tent pieces to extend the cage and will tie w/ twine as needed.  Both tomato plants in the pallet garden are “Great Whites” a beautiful, large white beefsteak tomato with sweet flavor and lots of juice

July 1st, 2013

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Up date pictures from Monday, July 1st. Lettuces and chard going great guns. Beans and dill up. Tomatoes growing well, though hard to see as foliage greenery melds. Two rows (front bottom right in 1st pic and top back left in 2nd pic) of salad greens did not germinate. Old seed so will replant when this rain stops.  Who would have thought Vermont would have a monsoon season!

June 19, 2013

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Blessed are the geese who are protecting the poultry pens from raccoons at night!  NOT so blessed are the geese when they discovered the pallet garden!!! Fortunately they just pulled up a couple plants and dropped them. Replanted easily and then grabbed some stainless steal shelves to repurpose as a fence!

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Home Farmer magazine  picked up our blog and will be publishing a page in their next issue.  The Home Farmer Magazine (Facebook link)is the UKs fastest growing publication for the smallholder and garden farmer. It offers the widest choice of subjects written by key experts in their chosen fields. Edited and published by practicing garden farmers it is a polished and well designed magazine. The often specially commissioned contents are written with passion and integrity whilst retaining the intimate ‘over the garden fence’ feel which doesn’t preach – in fact we often take the mickey and dare to be different giving us a readership that is both loyal and passionate and a magazine that is lively, human and much loved.

The Original Post

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Back in April I wrote an entry that included a segment on plans for  creating a pallet garden.  I am a strong believer in growing food NOT lawns.  Having seen the concept some where, I wanted to give it a try. I decided to install it in our front yard which is not that large. Large enough for a four pallet garden with some containers,  Public!  Visible!  Educational!  We have had three people stop, discuss and head off planning to try. We will never know how many just see it driving by and discuss else where and/or implement.

We are using it mainly for salad greens (close to the kitchen) but have also added some wax bush beans,  Swiss chard and dill.  Easy to do and so versatile!  One by the kitchen door or dozens in any artistic formation you chose.

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We had the pallets already. They are readily available if you do not already have them.  With the space we had, we decided on a four pallet square.  The iron planter was intended for nasturtiums, edible flowers that are great on salads. I was so anxious for color that it was planted with pansies which are also edible!

You can see in this picture that we also dry our laundry in the front yard! Again, convenient and educational!  People need to see these activities if the wheels are to start turning.

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Filling takes more dirt than you would think!  First we placed some sods we had removed from a front daylily garden upside down in the pallets.  Top soil was then added and this takes multiple applications. In between top soil additions we hosed it with a “jet” spray. This compacts the soil and distributes it. Remember you are also filling the space under the slats. We used top soil to fill the pallet up to the bottom of the slats.

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Final filling was done with two applications of  a mixture of Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost & Penobscot Blend Compost & Peat from “Coast of Maine”. In between applications we used the “jet” spray to work the first application in and then just a regular “spray” for the final application.  Pallets are ready to plant!

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Our cold and wet spring has delayed planting here in Vermont. We had plants started in the hoop house and purchased  some others from a small, local nursery that starts all their own plants!  NO big box, disease ridden plants for us.

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Lettuces, basil, parsley and Swiss Chard

The rest of the spaces have been planted with seeds.  Bush wax beans, more lettuce and dill.  We will take pictures to record this garden’s development. Pictures will be added to this post weekly.

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The five containers have been planted with pole beans, tomatoes and cucumbers. We are pleased with this system so far and look forward to our first season with a pallet garden.

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