Monday, May 31, 2010

So what does this sourdough starter look like?

Nature can look disgusting when it wants, IMO, this is one of those times. ;-)


Post - Stirring

More about this later today!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sour Dought Starter, day 2

Well, I stirred it up twice today. That's about all I have done today. Chronic pain is a *#$^@.

I did notice while doing rounds in the Orchard that the yard long beans have popped out of the ground as has chives, and other things. Food production is starting to look up. :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our First Organic Produce!!!

My lovely wife claims she has poor observation skills but while going down the hill to fetch our mail she found the salmon berries have ripened in many places on our property. They have a kinda citrus taste to them, slightly tart (she says "green"). We ate a couple and then started to make a Sour Dough Starter for making bread. It's a fairly simple process that keeps on giving so long as I maintain it.

First off, I started with 2 cups of whole wheat flour but any kind will do, and I happened to add a couple of pinches of flax meal. You don't have to, any kind of flour will do. To it I added the water from the pasta I cooked at lunch. I stirred it up nice and frothy and then dropped in unwashed salmon berries in order to get the wild yeast going. It was then covered with cheese cloth, & left in a fairly warm place a.k.a. the kitchen. I now need to stir it well once a day at least. In a few days, I will have wild yeast growing in my jar for cooking bread! More on that and beyond as it happens. Tune in right here. ;)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A note on Permaculture zones and problems here at the Food Forest.

Well, my wife and I have been talking, a lot, about where to put things on the property we know we will need in the future. You have seen me talk about zones before, here is some more in depth information.

Permaculture basics of design.

From Zone "0" to "5" as a series of concentric rings moving outwards. 0 being the most human intervention area to the least, or no intervention needed. From Zone 1 through 5, makes sure everything has a use, and can be next to its neighbor. Pay close attention to microclimates. Use edible flowers, dye flowers, etc.

Zone 0 - Human tolerant plants that help with air quality, work with humans. This is the area of the home, and everything we do here impacts the surrounding area.

Zone 1 & 2 - Here we plant the most we can for edible landscaping, polycultures, forest gardens, in order to have multiple yields of food. Do all you can to balance plants to allure beneficial insects and birds. Work with nature as much as possible.

Zone 1 would be Herbaceous items, comfreys, beets, herbs as well as root vegetables. Use currant and berry shrubs to make shady microclimates.

Zone 2, continue as zone 1, but now start in with dwarf fruit trees with more currants and berries & then taper as per zone 1. Start working in butterfly and beneficial insect attracting plants.

Zone 3 - Low tree layer. More Dwarf fruit trees, and start with ground covers such as strawberries, vetch, and so on. This would be the zone for corn, sunflowers and so on. 3 Sisters Garden here as well, vertical climbers on corn and sunflower are prime.

Zone 4 / 5 - Canopy Zone / Animal Barrier. Large Fruit and Nut trees. Vertical climbers on Large trees. Ground cover the zone as well. This is the area of least human influence needed. Large berry shrubs can outline this zone to make a barrier against deer and large mammals on the outer edge.

If you have an unusual shaped property like I do, it can make for rather difficult decisions for the placement of structures in the future. The things we need are a place for the chickens, a greenhouse, and a place to cook and dine with friends. Things we are looking forward to for the future include a goat area for milk & cheese, a workshop / art studio in addition to the other projects.

Currently, we are working on an area for outdoor cooking near the house. We found an area, but it will take a lot of moving things around and retrofitting which will be fun because we are going to make the area "Piratey" as the saying goes. The first project that will ensue is the cob oven which will be sculpted by yours truly. From there, the sky is the limit!

But this is the last time I am moving the debris! ;)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Still shoveling #@&$ around.....

Nothing else really going on. The weather is knocking me down, but I rise up anyway. I am looking for debris to continue building the cob oven base out of on the sides of roads and on Craigslist.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Manure Movements....

I got to GG Ranch yesterday and got a truck bed load fill of horse manure. It was great watching Pete of GG Ranch getting a facial of steam as the manure came out of a shed in a barn like fog moves through Cape Aragos.

After steaming the whole way home with it I moved it into our new raised beds for future use. The new raised beds have a 4 to 6" layer of straw and wood debris. With the manure on top it should be a good bed in the future.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Poor lil trees....

I remember when McKay's got the little bare root trees and shrubs out in front of its store a few months ago. Those trees are still there at the same price! Poor little guys (and girls) need homes to provide wood, food, and so on.

Well, enough ranting. I did manage to pick up some brush (carbon compost) near the home late yesterday. It is being used to fill in the berm built a couple of weeks ago. I am letting it decompose naturally so as to provide shelter for small animals and birds. The berm will also help provide water to that area which is good for everyone as it sinks back into the ground.

Lastly, I am hoping to get more composted soil at GG Ranch today, but the phones seem to be down over there. I blame this freak storm that has brought pain to everyone I know with arthritis.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Splitting wood today and planting more squash for winter. I have been planting an Aussie heirloom pumpkin and an heirloom banana squash. Both are excellent keepers and I am sure I will have many into spring of next year if enough are not ate by the slugs.

I am also moving debris between rain spells to the location of the new cob oven I am making. The only problem is deciding exactly where it is going, and which way it will face.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shaking things up

My wife and I decided to shake things up and change how we are doing things. First of all, no more greenhouse along the south wall of our home to heat it in winter. I am still pushing for that, but in the mean time, I decided to work smaller towards that end. First thing we are doing it making raised plant beds along the entire south side. They 4' wide, 8' long with a 24" gap between them. They are roughly 16" high.

They are loosely based on this video series which starts with this video link to YouTube.

The beds I am making now will mostly be used for mid-summer and fall. The beds being used now on the property will be converted to the system outlined in the video above however rows will conform to the land so as to use the best methods possible to capture water, but more on that later and how we do it. ((think Autumn for that update)).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Getting back on track...

Well, the ISP was down because my client was corrupt. Meh, I miss high speed internet. The town of Coquille might have it, but its out lying areas sure don't and it sucks. However, enough of that. Onto the amount of work that went on.

The truck died, so we got a new one. We found some alder wood shavings being given away which promptly got composted. Then we got a load of composted garden soil from GG Ranch for only $15. It took me a full day to spread it over the herb spiral garden, the keyhole vegetable gardens, 1 tree, and the sisters garden. We plan to get lots more. Currently growing in the vegeable beds are Kholrabi, cabbage, artichokes, bok choy, napa cabbage, 3 kinds of potato, runner beans, leeks, asparagus beans, 2 kinds of hops, spinach, Walla Walla onion, garlic, strawberries, pumpkin and other squash, calendula, tomatoes, sunflowers, daikon radish & more because this does not include the various berry bushes, grape vines and fruit trees.

Upon careful observation we also noted that the slugs are staying away (for now) from all vegetables since the soil was added on top of the vegetable beds. Which leads me to the next bit of news. After much talks with the Mrs. we scrapped the idea of the greenhouse along the south side of the house for heat, and decided on three 6' wide, 8' long raised vegetable beds which will be hooped not only for warmth and slug control, but also to keep deer out.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My ISP is down...

...such that it is. I maybe sporadic for a day or three longer. =-?

On the plus side, I cleared out an area near the orchard with the chainsaw to build a berm, get poles for work around the property, firewood, and have a place to dump fresh manure to use in the orchard after composting properly. Soon, I will be doing a Schauberger compost pile experiment, details to come.

I also started fencing in the keyhole vegetable garden. Here is why.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Long days....

...Yesterday we purchased a new Ford truck which we now call "Ugly John the Gas Passer" or "Ugly John" for short. It's in reference to the M*A*S*H 4077 movie, not the show. It took all day to find something in the Coos County area. When we finally got home around 5pm you would think that it would be too late to garden.

Well, it seems it is starting to stay light enough to work in the orchard and garden here till 9 freakin pm. So, despite a lot of pain (and medication for said pain) I was able to plant the 2 Hops plants from Bill in Lakeside. I am not 100% happy with where it is, but it can get moved at the end of the season I reckon if need be.

Today I am getting some dirt and wood shavings which will be used on the property, and some rock for the Asian garden area by the hot tub. Pictures to follow tonight I hope, until then, peace.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I can't walk....

...LOL That is how sore I am from the work the last 2 days on the property. We cleared up the trail somewhat that we made the day before and also cleared out some blackberry vines so there is more of an area to use in the future down below.

Not to mention, the vines from the blackberry will have lots of berries now for next year. Blackberry is a masochist like that. The more you hurt it, the more it loves you and provides berries.

Also, yesterday during slug patrol I found that the Purple Viking Potatoes have broken through the soil and now have leaves starting at soil surface. Oddly, the slugs leave these alone big time. I am going to have to watch this more carefully and learn from it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Friday I had friends come over. Saturday I tried to get to a nursery but the truck broke down on 42S heading into Bandon. It got towed & today I started hacking and slashing a trail to find the way to the road via the North Slope with a friend.

On the way down we discovered this property was most likely farmed for cedar trees. We found some very large stumps and other signs of former logging. In addition I found an old shovel head with the wood rotted away. Some small fire wood logs were collected for next year & lugged back up to a log drying rack by the main house.

We did make one path to a large Thimbleberry patch. I should be able to collect some soon since I found some on some plants. Tomorrow we are going to clear out some blackberry and fell a tree for fire wood, and more.