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Farm For All - A Journal Of Sorts

 
pollinator
Posts: 475
Location: OK High Plains Prairie, 23" rain avg
82
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Matt, wow! You're working really hard and posting all these videos too. I have learned that my inner child will sabotage me if she does not get regular fun time. Sabotage looks like me spinning my wheels, dithering, not being able to finish projects, lacking motivation. Fun looks like hiking to the pond to see the ducks, riding my bicycle, whacking the tennis ball against the wall, coloring, going to the court and shooting hoops. When I am stuck with a project then I quit butting my head against the wall and ask my inner child what she wants to do. After we have some fun, so I just set the timer for 30 minutes sometimes, then I am free to get back to productive endeavors. You have bitten off a lot and money pressures make everything more stressful so give yourself permission to take a break and just have some fun everyday. It really will make a difference.
 
pioneer
Posts: 386
Location: Oregon 8b
97
monies dog forest garden fungi foraging homestead
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denise ra wrote:Matt, wow! You're working really hard and posting all these videos too. I have learned that my inner child will sabotage me if she does not get regular fun time. Sabotage looks like me spinning my wheels, dithering, not being able to finish projects, lacking motivation. Fun looks like hiking to the pond to see the ducks, riding my bicycle, whacking the tennis ball against the wall, coloring, going to the court and shooting hoops. When I am stuck with a project then I quit butting my head against the wall and ask my inner child what she wants to do. After we have some fun, so I just set the timer for 30 minutes sometimes, then I am free to get back to productive endeavors. You have bitten off a lot and money pressures make everything more stressful so give yourself permission to take a break and just have some fun everyday. It really will make a difference.



Yeah. I keep telling myself to take a break, but I don't listen. 🤣 I tried to go fishing the other day... which is still technically food production, but at least a lot more relaxing and a lot less like work... but the earthworms I'd stuck in the fridge croaked before I got around to using them 🙁... and the soil here is still so bad that I still only find earthworms by accident... and the few that I find in the main garden I'm inclined to leave there to continue working.

Part of it is bipolar depression. When I get into a hypomanic phase, it's hard not to stay busy. Most relaxation bores me. One weekend I had a friend stay out here and they thought they'd woken me up because I was up doing dishes at 5am. But really, I'd just laid in bed for an hour at that point and was bored, so I got up to do work. The flip side is that when I sink back into depression I know that I'm going to struggle just to get out of bed, so it's a bit like a bear preparing for hibernation: get as much done while you can so that as many things as possible are on autopilot when I don't have the energy to work.

The other part is that after last year I have a better idea of how much needs to get done to actually produce enough food to sustain myself. It was a tough season for everyone in the area; the mild winter we had meant that pests and diseases never died off from the cold, so I lost my entire pea and sunflower crops to insects, and my favas were hit by rust. My beans were crippled by mosaic virus. And because the previous year had provided lots of forage for deer, rabbits, etc., so they bred like crazy, but then their population was so high that they overgrazed the surrounding land and were desperate enough to risk an interaction with my dog in order to get at my garden. They wiped out all the beans that disease didn't, and out of the 205 corn I had planted, they left me 60 or so ears. And we basically had the same weather from winter through spring: cold and wet. So none of the hot season stuff did well. Winter squash is big business in this area, and you can usually pick up Hubbard, and sweet meat, and all the other large squashes in the fall. Last year the only ones that managed to produce and show up in the stores were the small kabocha and buttercup type squashes. All of my squash failed, winter and summer, and I've never had a year where I wasn't swimming in zucchinis. From 30ish plants I got 2 tomatoes (so I was at least able to save seed)... I had about 30 tomatoes set on the one plant that survived a late cold snap, but the deer only left me two of them. Between the weather and poor soil (that I didn't have the resources to amend in any significant way) I didn't have a lot of successes. I got lucky and planted carrots in the one spot in the garden where the topsoil hadn't completely washed away, so I generally had more carrots than I knew what to do with (though, we didn't have running water until September-ish, so cleaning all of the mud off of them required lots of scrubbing in very conservative amounts of water.) Greens were the only thing that really thrived in the unusually cool weather and relatively poor soil, but I didn't plant nearly enough to take advantage of such unusual conditions. Mind you, all of this was without irrigation, because we didn't have it. This year I have the option to irrigate, and I have mulch, compost, and my homemade fertilizer... I'm going to take advantage of that and plant a little more densely so I can increase my production in the same amount of space.

So yeah, it's a lot. But I've also been struggling with the limited diet, so I want to make sure I don't have a repeat of last year. That means making sure I have solutions in place for all the challenges I faced last year. It also means putting way more of a focus on growing and protecting the staples I'm depending on.

Arguably this year is easier because I have more systems in place for all manner of things. And it'll get easier and easier each year as the soil improves, the weed pressure reduces, and my perennial systems start contributing a more significant proportion of my food. The hard work is in the setup. The maintenance, by comparison, is the easy part. I just keep reminding myself that in 3 to 5 years, everything will finally pop and the work will have been worth it.

But yes. Thank you. This was the reminder I needed that tomorrow is going to be a full day of filming and editing, and I really need to take a proper break today because I likely won't get much of one tomorrow. It's a nice day to go sit down by the creek and see if I can catch some fish, so I think I'll go do that. 🙂
 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 386
Location: Oregon 8b
97
monies dog forest garden fungi foraging homestead
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But before I go fishing, let me dump all of the pictures I've been meaning to post.
IMG_20210413_064512_729.jpg
Prepping the bed with compost and homemade fertilizer
Prepping the bed with compost and homemade fertilizer
IMG_20210413_064512_734.jpg
Planting carrots and parsnips with the board method
Planting carrots and parsnips with the board method
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A big helping of freshly scythed grass mulch
A big helping of freshly scythed grass mulch
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Kale from the garden, and some dandelions that are taking advantage of all the extra fertility and moisture in my garlic bed
Kale from the garden, and some dandelions that are taking advantage of all the extra fertility and moisture in my garlic bed
IMG_20210413_063852_335.jpg
I was able to get a small amount of meat with the $10 I made from YouTube affiliate sales, so I made this soup with greens and carrots from the garden plus some black beans
I was able to get a small amount of meat with the $10 I made from YouTube affiliate sales, so I made this soup with greens and carrots from the garden plus some black beans
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I just hit 160 subscribers
I just hit 160 subscribers
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The better editing and audio on my last video kept people watching, which means YouTube recommends it to even more people
The better editing and audio on my last video kept people watching, which means YouTube recommends it to even more people
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Planted popbeans on contour and decided to reinforce with rocks for a number of reasons, including keeping people walking or driving over my plants
Planted popbeans on contour and decided to reinforce with rocks for a number of reasons, including keeping people walking or driving over my plants
IMG_20210412_182551_173.jpg
A shot of the peas starting to grow up through the sticks as mention in my protecting peas video
A shot of the peas starting to grow up through the sticks as mention in my protecting peas video
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I got another of my store bought chestnuts to sprout, which I totally didn't expect since just commercial chestnuts are heat treated
I got another of my store bought chestnuts to sprout, which I totally didn't expect since just commercial chestnuts are heat treated
 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 386
Location: Oregon 8b
97
monies dog forest garden fungi foraging homestead
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No fishies, but I caught a snake in a trap I set. 🙄

I honestly don't know if there are any fish to be had in here. I used to catch trout at the lower end of creek, but the logging dropped the water level, and the downstream neighbor taking out a beaver dam dropped the water further. It's only a couple inches deep at the low end of the property now.

There's a beaver dam higher up the creek and I've been trying to fish above that.  I'm not sure how deep it is at the dam end; the other end is about 2 feet, judging by how my rig sits in the water. The only confirmed wildlife in here is salamanders. If there are fish in here, they either aren't very active, aren't where I'm putting my line, or aren't interested in the artificial bait I've used in lieu of worms. They definitely took worms in the lower end of the creek when I'd catch them down there. Now that it's warming up a bit, maybe I can find some worms down closer to the creek, where it wasn't logged and there's still some organic matter for them to eat.

I did end up setting a trap for the gopher. I wasn't paying close enough attention, and a hole that I thought was an old hole wasn't... And I think messing around with the holes while filming accidentally pushed him further into the garden. I woke up this morning to a fresh hole in the middle of my outside garden bed. Luckily nothing planted in that one yet. I dug the tunnel up, following it to the edge of the bed and set the trap there, so he can either turn around and go the other way, or that'll be the end of him. I wish I'd caught it sooner, but it is what it is. I can't risk him running amok in the garden. We'll see.

I think I have a second one to keep an eye on now. Hate to kill them for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, especially with as good as they are for soil compaction, so we'll see what happens with the trap.
 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 386
Location: Oregon 8b
97
monies dog forest garden fungi foraging homestead
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I was up until 2am, but I finished my video on pull sprouts. Still working on promotional materials, but I think it's time to find something caffeinated and something resembling food. I think there's going to be a nap after my video premiere's at noon.



Hope you guys enjoy. You can join me for a live chat when the video goes live (just click through to youtube.) Comments and likes are helpful for overcoming our robot overlords.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Posts: 386
Location: Oregon 8b
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monies dog forest garden fungi foraging homestead
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Man, I can't believe we're halfway through the month already. I feel behind, as usual. We've had unseasonably warm weather and I haven't even managed to get all of my cool season crops in the ground yet. I'm working on getting the rest of my root crops in the ground and working on hardening off the few starts that I haven't killed. I planted my inaugural achira and have a bunch of pomegranate seeds starting to sprout. I've been putting off finishing the prep of my onion beds, since they're at least started and can go in the ground wheni have time... it's the direct seeded stuff that I'm really trying to get beds ready for so I don't completely blow by my planting dates. We've got one more week of hot and dry weather and then we back to rain for the foreseeable future. Anything I don't get done this week, I may not get done at all, at least with regard to any of the pre-summer stuff.

At this point I have 2 days a week that get sucked up by YouTube, and 2 days a week that get sucked up with obligations to friends. That leaves 3 days a week to get actual work done and maybe half a day to rest if I manage to squeeze it in somewhere. It's starting to get warm enough in the afternoons that I think I'm going to be back on a bi-phasic sleep schedule... working from 5 or 6 in the morning, taking a nap for an hour or two in the afternoon, and then writing until 9 or 10 at night.

Some days I feel confident about the progress that I'm making. Other days I feel like I'm never get enough stuff in the ground. Some things are behind compared to last year. I was what harvesting asparagus by this time last year, and there's no sign of it at all this year. I'm not certain that it survived the abuse it endured last year.

I know I've got a few weeks before my heavy hitters need to be in the ground, I just have so much that has to get done before then. I think time with friends gives me a much needed break, but I might need to cut while the weather's nice enough to get things done, just so I can get everything caught up. At this point it feels like I've gotta start making hard decisions about which things to give up on so that I don't just lose everything. I already know that next year will be easier because having mulch on the ground means I won't have the insane amount of bed prep that I have this year. But next year doesn't do me any good this year.

For better or worse, it seems like I'll get a week off on account of the rainy weather. Realistically, I know that we need the rain, but it turns our clay soil into unworkable cement, and it will compact the beds I've already prepped if I don't finish getting them mulched. That's the real stressor. It's not that I'll have to take a break, but that it will actively destroy hours and hours of work.

I can probably work on moving the Oregon grape that's growing above the pond whole it's raining, since that are is fairly well vegetated and the impact of my work week be minimal. But it was depends on how hard it's raining. I have no way to get warm and dry after working in the rain, so that might ultimately be more miserable than doing nothing. I'd love to think that I would actually get some relaxation in, but I know my mind is going to be occupied with all of the things that aren't getting done.

Just trying to take it one day at a time. Trying to get beets and rutabagas in the ground by the end of the weekend. That'll at least be one more thing checked off the list.

IMG_20210416_140443_774.jpg
Inaugural achira planting
Inaugural achira planting
IMG_20210416_125106_209.jpg
Pomegranate seedlings
Pomegranate seedlings
IMG_20210415_152015_051.jpg
Hit my 2,000 view milestone on YouTube
Hit my 2,000 view milestone on YouTube
 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 386
Location: Oregon 8b
97
monies dog forest garden fungi foraging homestead
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The first "big" forage of the season. I have nettles that I need to grab at some point, they're just not as easy to get down to.
IMG_20210416_163059.jpg
A whole bag of maple blossoms
A whole bag of maple blossoms
IMG_20210417_110111_418.jpg
Maple blossom fritters
Maple blossom fritters
 
Mathew Trotter
pioneer
Posts: 386
Location: Oregon 8b
97
monies dog forest garden fungi foraging homestead
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I was going to bail on going to my friend's, but after realizing that it was going to hit about 85 yesterday (we just had frost a week or two ago, and this represents a pretty massive temperature swing), I decided a get a little work done in the morning and then abscond to their much cooler home. We both felt a little under the weather, presumably from the sudden heat and lack of proper hydration, though last year taught me that I can easily develop a sodium deficiency working in the heat and staying hydrated, but not consuming processed food or adding much salt to my food. I got to the point where I was pouring salt into my hand and eating it and couldn't even taste it... whether or not I can taste salt seems to be a pretty good indication of whether or not I've had enough, in addition to paying attention to whether and how much in sweating and going to the bathroom relative to how much I'm drinking. It's almost like we evolved to understand what our bodies need, and we're actually capable of using that ability when we aren't overloading our system with artificial and highly processed foods.

To be fair, the heat wasn't as atrocious as I expected, and I suspect that I'm more acclimated to it than I gave myself credit for, given that I'm out in it every day and have been making a point to build up my tolerance to the heat. If you aren't using artificial heating and cooling, I've found that the body adapts fairly well to temps from around freezing (as long as you're moving) on up into the 80s without any real discomfort... I suspect that temperature should be even higher if you're somewhere with a dry heat; humidity is definitely the limiting factor.

Today I finally decided where I wanted to plant my perennial kale starts and got them in the ground. Looking forward to seeing how these guys develop and taking cuttings from the choicest individuals to spread about the food forest. I also went through and thinned some of the other greens which have been needing it and tried to transplant a few to spots where stuff never sprouted... hopefully without doing too much damage to the roots to either the ones I moved or the ones I left behind, since the goal is get a headstart as compared to starting more from seeds.

I found a California poppy that I didn't know was there that just started to bloom. Contemplating digging it out if the gravel and putting it in a permanent home. We'll see. I wanted to move a lot of the wild chamomile to a centralized spot last year to ease harvest, but I never got around to it. Hoping it managed to reseed heavily, since I did but have nearly enough chamomile last year. I'm also seeing the first signs of life from my oca and I'm looking forward to trying my hand at propagating them in a number of ways.

I overdid it on the sun the other day, so I'm trying not to overdue it today. I'm taking a siesta and I'm going to attempt to get a proper nap on so I can go back out this evening and work until dark. If not planted, I at least want to finish doing bed prep so that I can plant the rest of my root crops in the morning. After this week the temps are supposed to drop back down into the 60s, so that bodes better for the cool season crops, so long as the things that have already germinated don't bolt between now and then. I just noticed that I had my first spinach bolt, but I'm not sure when that started. Weather here has gotten so erratic that it's hard to know what will produce in any given year, and even when it should be planted. That's why I'm trying to grow a good variety of things... figure out what does well regardless of the year we have, and have enough variety that hopefully some of it will do well regardless of what the weather does. This is the second year that we've gone from freezing to heat wave overnight, and I suspect that's just our new normal.


IMG_20210418_125414_HDR.jpg
Perennial kale
Perennial kale
IMG_20210418_124854_HDR.jpg
Oca sprout
Oca sprout
IMG_20210418_081202.jpg
Poppy
Poppy
 
Posts: 17
Location: Harlan, Oregon Coast Range
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Maple blossoms! I didn't know about this...

What kind of maple, big leaf, vine, something else?

What's the flavor like?
 
pollinator
Posts: 232
Location: SE Indiana
134
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Mathew Trotter

Weather here has gotten so erratic that it's hard to know what will produce in any given year, and even when it should be planted. That's why I'm trying to grow a good variety of things... figure out what does well regardless of the year we have, and have enough variety that hopefully some of it will do well regardless of what the weather does. This is the second year that we've gone from freezing to heat wave overnight, and I suspect that's just our new normal.


Yep, same thing I've been dealing with and probably everyone else is too, although younger folks may not realize it as much. I've been trying to compensate by first accepting that some things are no longer really viable here, potatoes for example. They will still grow but to try to breed them into a dependable crop is beyond my capabilities. The most fruitful approach in my view is to focus on short maturity time within whatever the species I'm working with. My theory being it increases the chances of getting a harvest between the extremes.
 
Mathew Trotter
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Posts: 386
Location: Oregon 8b
97
monies dog forest garden fungi foraging homestead
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Andrew Sackville-West wrote:Maple blossoms! I didn't know about this...

What kind of maple, big leaf, vine, something else?

What's the flavor like?




These are big leaf maple. I've heard that all true maples are edible, but these are the only ones I know for sure are. They're vegetal and maybe slightly sweet and/nutty. If you've had fried zucchini, I'd say that gets you in the general ballpark. I've seen some savory recipes, but we like to have them as a sweet, indulgent breakfast once or twice while they're in season (if I remember to check for them... it's a bit of a hike to get to any of the maples on the property that you can actually reach the branches of.) Simple batter: flour, baking powder, salt, and enough ice water to make a thin pancake-like batter. Fry until golden and serve with maple syrup, honey, or powdered sugar. I think of them as along the same lines as a beignet, if you've had the New Orleans staple... at least as far as how they're served.

I'm contemplating experimenting with preserving some and exploring other cooking options... perhaps in soup. Maybe stir fries, though I don't see them holding up well. They might make a good, very light pickle... maybe fermented, but also maybe a sweet pickle or relish.

Who knows. Things to experiment with. But I probably won't get any more this season unless I find more trees that I can reach from the ground and aren't atrocious to get to.

 
Mathew Trotter
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Posts: 386
Location: Oregon 8b
97
monies dog forest garden fungi foraging homestead
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Mark Reed wrote:
Yep, same thing I've been dealing with and probably everyone else is too, although younger folks may not realize it as much. I've been trying to compensate by first accepting that some things are no longer really viable here, potatoes for example. They will still grow but to try to breed them into a dependable crop is beyond my capabilities. The most fruitful approach in my view is to focus on short maturity time within whatever the species I'm working with. My theory being it increases the chances of getting a harvest between the extremes.



It's quite a mess that we've caused for ourselves. I'm planting a lot of warm mediterranean with the expectation that that's where our climate is headed. But it could just as well be that the climate is completely unstable and that there's no predicting it going forward. One of those is going to suck regardless, so might as well plan for the eventuality that I can actually have a positive impact on.
 
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