Monday, June 28, 2010

Surf's Up and Mermaid's Down...

Saturday I went surfing, and yesterday I went out & collected driftwood for future projects such as seats, railing, etc.

I did spy some harbor seals at Oregon Isles State Park while walking around the beach yesterday. Sadly, I collected no seaweed for fertilizer.

Everything is moving slowly, just like I do. ;)

Thursday, June 24, 2010


One of the first rules, laws, techniques, what ever you wish to call it of Permaculture is 0bservation, which, to many seems simple enough. I know it reads simple enough as I write this blog out for you.

However, my former education in sciences leads me to know that is a falsehood. Most people are not very observant at all. Ask any cop about details of a crime from someone and they can tell you exactly how unobservant we are in reality.

Which leads me to yesterdays observation. We have California Quail that visit the property regularly via paths from the old growth forest nearby. They take the trails through the brush to avoid the Cooper's Hawks. Well, the quail are welcome here anytime. I observed them acting akin to chickens in a tractor over a garden bed. The Quail walked over to my strawberry bed yesterday, and scratched the whole area up looking for something to eat. Being that I hoped that they eat slugs I figured I would look them up on this amazing thing we call the Internet.

"This attractive game bird inhabits broken scrubby habitat (perennial shrubs broken by spaces with annuals) where it has access to cover and to annual food species, mainly legumes (members of the pea family). Quails also like fruit and seeds from buckbrush and poison oak."

Luckily, this is a new bed of strawberries so they did not get any. However, I was amazed this morning to see how many other places they scratched up looking for something to eat. I am also thankful they are scratching up the dirt killing weeds for me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Solstice

I spent the day in quiet contemplation for the most part. Did light weeding. Today I have family coming to visit and help out for a week. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

LoL, the cob oven moves again....

I was talking with my lovely wife and explained how I felt cramped and claustrophobic slightly with where she and I had the cob oven, 2 rocket stoves and grill were going. So, even though I saif it was the last time being moved, all the rock and urbanite debris moved once again. This time it isn't moving again... Really. I mean that... STOP LAUGHING! ;)

I have also found my ol Boy Scout Field-book and started trail blazing once again on my property in the quest to find 42S! Switch backs, etc are being slowly cut which has lead to a great realization. The thimbleberries are ripe & that means I get to go foraging today.

Sadly, as I said last week Oregon DOT cut down a lot of plants along 42S. Sadly, in an area that didn't need the cutting, a grove of thimbleberries were cut down. This means less food for the native avian life that would normally be there. As such, I will need to leave a few exrtas around when I go forage today.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Work, work....

I did light carpentry around the cob oven area, cleaned more debris, and shored up the roof behind the cob oven to prepare for a living roof system. Now that the rains have died down, I am also starting to water the veggie garden which takes easily 2 hours.

I really need to work on the grey water recycling and rain water capture.

I also noticed that some seeds I planted over a month ago are starting to wake up, but others such as sunflowers are not... ..yet? It makes me wonder if I over planted in a few areas. On the plus side, our lettuce patch is doing great!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Started building the cob oven

I gathered more "urbanite" or rather concrete debris and rocks to keep building the foundation of the cob oven, rocket stoves, and etc. Some of the larger rocks have been moved up to 8x while the Mrs. & I decided where the cob oven and outdoor cooking & dining area would be going.

Also yesterday my peace & tranquilty was destroyed by the sounds of Oregon DoT as they worked on a landslide that occurred on the border of my property and the road. They also decided to do what they thought was right and trim the trees, and other plant life along a cliff side. Sadly, this is was most likely done because someone told the workers to and no one gave it another thought due to chances of losing a job.

IMO, this is not a smart practice by any means. When you cut a plant or tree its roots die off, and as such, the soil it was holding becomes unstable. As such, it is my opinion that this practice encourages slides along Highway 42S between Bandon and Coquille.

The best thing to do, and the scientists at South Slough agree with me is to leave it alone! Just trim branches in the way of traffic, cut down to the stump dead trees if they are a hazard, but by and large leave it alone so the wildflowers will have the proper root structure to hold up the hillside like they have for thousands of years prior to any humans settlement in this area.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Still repairing...

....I am starting to wonder if the animals had a house party while we were away. ;) I started replanting and seeding new pots of veggies and medicinal plants like feverfew. I am also starting to fix a fence that will border an array of cob cooking stoves / ovens.

The plan is to build a cob oven, lorena stove, wok rocket stove and a tandoor for cooking. I am also going to need to build cob seating and the like to go with it which is going to be interesting considering the area I am working in.

Someday I hope to cook an entire thanksgiving meal outside, with these outdoor cook stoves of various types.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Body and Garden Recovering....

Thursday I left and went to help friends with a wedding, the bachelor party, and the drinking of much libations. It is now Monday, recovery of my body is going well despite bottles and bottles of Organic Mead being drunk at a medieval wedding complete with belly dancers from far off lands.

It is a good thing my friends don't get married often... ..I would hate to put my body through what it did for several days in the central valley of Oregon. However, I would do it again and again to help my friends out since the wedding was such a blast.

However, when I came home, my greenhouse, such as it is, had come off its moorings and flew down the orchard getting damaged and 90% of my crops inside of it were killed. The fence around the veggie beds were also interestingly damaged. It was as if a bear walked into the fence and decided to turn it into a hammock!!!!!

Yesterday I spent the day fixing the damage around the property and making a "sponge" of grains to turn into bread later today with the Sourdough Starter we now have bubbling away here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Removing Invasive species...

In Oregon the plant English Ivy, Broom, Butterfly Bush and others are on a list made by the State that says they are bad for the environment. Much better then saying a plant has no medicinal value and then suddenly recanting.

I am torn on the invasive species problem. I have seen "invasives" destroy the bay of San Francisco & delta but on the same token, but flip sided, I believe people should be responsible and make sure what they buy doesn't invade its neighbor's yard.

However, that is one of the great problems right now world wide. We have plants and seeds, be they natural or genetically modified that do just that. There are modified corns out there that REQUIRE you to use chemicals just in order for them to work, and when it comes pollination time, your plants pollen then crosses with the corn down the road, literally destroying the plant and making it unusable. This is the reason I only use NON-GMO seeds and Heirloom seeds for my food production.

Needless to say, I removed bags and garden carts full of Ivy from my property today. Time for some coffee and some sourdough hotcakes!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


...not quiet what you think. Yesterday I worked on moving more logs and fencing material to the vegetable garden area so we can include some chickens and a goose. The chickens will be let out in the vegetable garden from time to time to scratch, poop erm I mean fertilize, and do what chickens do. The goose will be there to help eat slugs, and perhaps for a holiday dinner some day.

I am still trying to hunt down local sources for Comfrey and other plants, but it seems most nursery's around here do not know what permaculture is, let alone a food forest or being organic. I would hate to have to buy them off the internet and increase my carbon foot print, but it just might happen.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sunday work party...

A friend and I went to Myrtle Point yesterday to help a friend split wood, something I oddly love doing. I cut up 1/2 a cord of wood and got paid with pizza and a view of Roosevelt elk. It was a painful but rewarding day.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Daikon are exploding!

This is a daikon radish, the kind you would find in a sushi bar or being smoked by Iron Chef Morimoto. 2 of them have exploded in size over the last week while most of the others are only a few inches to high to 6" at most.

The 2 I speak of are over 2' in height and both are beginning to flower. These radish are excellent for helping to break up the clay soils of the Pacific Northwest since the root can reach 3' long in depth!

Speaking of depth... wow, the mind still reels and boggles at the amazing gardens & village at Mountain Homestead here in Coquille. They have been working on Permaculture here in town for nearly 2 decades and today they had an open house with a potluck lunch.

I brought potato salad to help out and helped myself to some pizza made in thier cob oven, as well as some carrot salad with home made hot sauce for a little kick. The food, the company, and the people were great. After lunch I went on a tour of Cob Village and learned about cob homes, green roofs and so on. I believe everyone in attendance be they from New Jersey, Vermont or locals had a great time. I know I did.

Sunset over the Orchard

Here is a picture of last night's sunset over the orchard, these are some of our apple & pear trees. :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Yeasty Beasty....

...I had some problems with the sourdough starter the last 2 days. First off, when the yeast is evident, and it was I am supposed to drain out the fruit. o_O

However I have metal cooking stuff and metal reacts poorly with yeast. No matter! The fruit must be strained.. and since it isn't chunky a metal colander came to the rescue. Last night I drained the yeasty beasty into a bowl via a metal colander and then back into its old jar once the salmonberries were gone.

Now it is a matter of maintaining the Sourdough Starter. Each day I need to add 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour, or grains, even already cooked grains (like rice) will do. So last night I put in some flaxseed meal, and the day before that, regular all purpose flour.

The batter at this point is supposed to get thicker and rise. I think my starter is a bit of a ways off from that, but it should do this in the next 2 to 3 days, at which point, when it is ready, I will be making some gastronomic nom noms. ;)

As for the rest of this place. I have been walking around the place in the rain picking slugs off my veggies and resting inside. When is the sun coming out for a while????