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There are flames coming out of my eyes, I am spitting nails Argh. Poison.  RSS feed

 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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Gotta get this of my chest.

My beautiful beloved field, which is a thriving food web including uncountable species above and below ground, shares a border with a neighbor's field. It is in the prairie stage, with many perennial grasses along with an abundance of clovers, vetch, birdsfoot trefoil andother nitrogen fixers, tons of parsnips and dock with deep taproots bringing up nutrients... I could go on for quite some time, and that is only the plants. He doesn't do anything but mow his side occasionally and sometimes dump brush and burn it. He has a large manicured and landscaped area around his home which is on the other side of a thick hedge/tree row. The neighbor is quite nice and friendly.

A local farmer who uses chemicals liberally on his own fields asked the neighbor (who happens to be the chief of police) if he could use the bit of field that adjoins ours this summer. The Chief told him that it would be ok as long as he didn't spray anything. Well, yesterday I had a grass expert here visiting and helping me identify some of the plants I don't recognize and the expert noticed sure signs of herbicide fungicide use.

That morning I had walked around the field, as I do daily, with my twin almost-two-year-olds, and one of them had actually picked up some lumps of the soil and thrown them down (so much fun) and I told him not to bother the farmer's field. I wasn't looking carefully at the plants over there, I just noted that his plan of all cucurbits looked a bit fruitless because of all the bindweed and quackgrass that was about to take over. I didn't even wash his hands until much later, we get all sorts of dirty all day around here and don't worry too much, it's good clean dirt...

[deep breath]

I am too upset to talk to anyone about this right now.

All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be wellllllll..........................



 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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I hope things have changed but as of just a few years ago, our entire 3.5 acre property and all our neighbors would get sprayed by crop dusters as they sprayed their defoliant on cotton crops in Alabama. It was unintentional drift, but regardless, we got some of it every time. It smelled nasty, too. I never did anything about it, and we moved away from there after a few years. Seems to me it would be illegal to spray anything on someone else's property without permission. Now there's a thought every time you put on your underwear.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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Wow, I can't imagine being dusted with poison from the sky but that does give me a bit of perspective.

The farmer in question owns a lot of land around here and has a thriving farm stand/bakery/nursery/meat/eggs/mulch etc business. He inherited the farm from his father, who, by the stories I've heard, was an angry and violent man who sprayed lots of chemicals. The current man is said to be nicer, but extremely sensitive and defensive. Also, apparently, dishonest.

I want very much to have a positive relationship with this man. He controls a lot of the land around me and at least his fields are not being turned into condos or subdicisions of McMansions. I don't approve of his methods, but the markets around here are demanding more and more chemical free, with a willingness to pay higher prices for it, so I can see him slowly turning more natural. (or at least claiming to, now I am having some doubts...)

I wonder how I should approach this. I want to talk to the Chief, of course, and we can at least ensure that Mr. Farmer doesn't farm in the field any more, I think, but is there a way to preserve th relationship? Is there a way to approach him that will not ring his alarm bells that a hippie kook is out to spout organic nonsense at him?

One way or another, the chemical he sprayed has an REI of 24 hours on it, which means that he is legally obligated to warn anyone who may come near not to for 24 hours, which he certainly didn't.

I have calmed down, but I have a terrible know in my stomach about this situation. Permaculture as I understand it is about much more than plants and livestock, it includes human relations, social systems, community building, etc.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5816
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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we are not certified organic but follow the guidelines so have posted "no spray" signs on our forty acres to that effect, mostly on our power line right of ways for the "vegetation managers" sent by our electric company. Then we still have to call Entergy every year and make sure we are still on the no spray list and then have neighbors warn us when they see them spraying in the area and STILL we are sometimes spot sprayed.
There is a form letter that Calif. cert. org. suggests that you send your neighbors to ask them to avoid drift etc on to your land. I really understand the frustration. It is hard to convence someone to think otherwise or of the importance to you when they consider spraying toxic chemicals harmless. We are in an area of the Ozarks where they were still spraying agent orange as a defolient to clear the woods for pasture in the early seventies..and with the influx of "back to the landers" we were able to stop the planes spraying but still come up against the attitude.
 
David Miller
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Nick Garbarino wrote:I hope things have changed but as of just a few years ago, our entire 3.5 acre property and all our neighbors would get sprayed by crop dusters as they sprayed their defoliant on cotton crops in Alabama. It was unintentional drift, but regardless, we got some of it every time. It smelled nasty, too. I never did anything about it, and we moved away from there after a few years. Seems to me it would be illegal to spray anything on someone else's property without permission. Now there's a thought every time you put on your underwear.


I cannot tell you how angry this makes me. I'm glad you were able to move away. Industrial Ag has turned us against each other's welfare.
 
David Miller
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Last week I had a conversation with my uncle who farms relatively "conventionally" . His neighbor had complained that my uncle had sprayed 2-4d on his corn field. The neighbor is growing grape vines and is worried about drift. My uncle is a good man and an evolving farmer in that his generation is burdened with evolving from the traditional chemical ag towards some as of yet undefined middle ground. When he talked to me about the experience, I could understand his "I've got to do it this way, this is what you're supposed to do" mentality. More importantly I was relieved to hear his empathy with the vine farmer. What seemed more important to him at the time was being told what to do by a "newcomer". That age old fear of outside intervention runs deep, being told what to do on your own land doesn't sit well. That being said, if I was the grape farmer or any farmer near by for that matter, I'd be less epithetic about my uncle's reasons for using poison near me.
 
P Thickens
Posts: 177
Location: Bay Area, California (z8)
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Matu Collins wrote:I wonder how I should approach this. I want to talk to the Chief, of course, and we can at least ensure that Mr. Farmer doesn't farm in the field any more, I think, but is there a way to preserve th relationship? Is there a way to approach him that will not ring his alarm bells that a hippie kook is out to spout organic nonsense at him?


Talk to the farmer before you talk to the Chief. Going to the authorities, no matter how personally involved they might be, will always make the person in question defensive and angry. You have enough to worry about without dealing with angry people too, right?
 
Judith Browning
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I think most individual farmers respect ownership and physical fences and just as they don't want you to tell them what to do on their landthey understand your wanting the same consideration. It sounds as though you have that with your neighbor. It seems like the problem always appears when there is a personal disconnect...so meeting the "sprayer" one on one could have the most positive results.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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this farmer does not have a respect for property, the land he sprayed belongs to the chief, who made it a condition of use of the landq that the farmer not spray anything. I wouldn't be going to him as the chief of police but as the next door neighbor.

I think that the field is close to his well also, which is not only unsafe but illegal to spray.

I agree that the farmer should be contacted, but wouldn't it be sort of wrong not to tell the neighbor? I do know the neighbor but I have never met the farmer and will have to figure out how to get in touch with him, he may not want to talk to me. once I figure out how to talk to him I will have to figure out
what to say.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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As an illustration of how this farmer grew up:
My land belongs to my father-in-law who has owned it for decades. Long ago, the father of the current farmer asked my father-in-law (we call him "Bompa" his grandfather name) if he could farm Bompa's field. Bompa said yes, but he would like to use some of it, and he didn't want any chemicals sprayed. Farmer plowed and sprayed without telling Bompa. Bompa bough 250 strawberry plants which he planted only to have them die immediately. When Bompa told him what happened, he laughed a big long hearty belly laugh. No apology.

THis is not just an issue of different farmers having different ideas of best practices, this is about deceiving generous landowners about poisons on their own land. This is at least two violations of laws regarding these poisons, one about REI, the notification of application and restricted entry for a requird period of time, and the law regarding how close to a well the chemicals can be applied.

I want to keep a good relationship with the farmer and I want a safe future for my field, my neighbor, my children, and the nearby wetlands (the chemicals in question are highly toxic to aquatic life- another possible violation, I don't know the exact perameters). Part of me says just warn the landowner (the Chief) not to trust him and be done with it, part of me want to try to tlk to the farmer despite being warned about discussing such things with a very sensitive and predjudiced individual.
 
Max Kennedy
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Talking to the farmer is a waste of time. If the police chief no less told him not to spray and he did it anyway nothing you say to him will either be well received nor change his approach. The only way to stay on good terms with him is to suck it up and let him do whatever he wants to, which is wrong. You basically have a bully on your hands. Do it his way and everything is OK, challenge him and it's FUBAR. I hate to be so blunt but those are your choices. You can try the reasonable approach but he'll either react badly or lie again leaving you right back where you started.
 
John Polk
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I feel that you need to talk to your neighbor first. Since he is the Police Chief, it is probably best to speak to him at his house, not at the police station. This helps keep the situation personal rather than confrontational.

If nothing can be resolved this way, it is time to make formal complaints, particularly if he used procedures that are illegal, or require permits, or special considerations. However, since it is your neighbor's property in question, he should probably be the one to initiate the process.

If he is unwilling to do this, and you feel that the farmer's actions pose a real (rather than an imagined) threat to you, you need to take action, but not without informing the neighbor beforehand. If your neighbor feels that his well has been compromised in any way, he will probably be angry enough to make certain that the farmer can't "get away with it".

Good luck.



 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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the real threats to me personally include my toddler ingesting some of the herbicide/fungicide because I was not warned, the cancelling of my ability to get organic certification for the next ten years. I planted 200 dollars of fruit treesalong part of the property line two years ago, we will awe how that goes. Also a consideration is that one of the major crops I plan on for the next few decades is environmental and permaculture education. the effect on that is unknown. he may have done me a favor by giving me an example of what not to do, and the repercussions.
 
joe pacelli
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Matu Collins wrote:the real threats to me personally include my toddler ingesting some of the herbicide/fungicide because I was not warned, the cancelling of my ability to get organic certification for the next ten years. I planted 200 dollars of fruit treesalong part of the property line two years ago, we will awe how that goes. Also a consideration is that one of the major crops I plan on for the next few decades is environmental and permaculture education. the effect on that is unknown. he may have done me a favor by giving me an example of what not to do, and the repercussions.


Remember the problem is often the solution. Are you downgrade/downhill (even slightly) from the runoff? Might be a good opportunity to come up with a reed bed (or similar) type runoff filter that could be independent of any irrigation you've designed. Not sure if that is possible but if there is any way to divert that chemical runoff it may be useful to spend some time thinking about it, so it doesn't end up in your other water supplies.
 
John Polk
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I believe that a farmer (in any state?) is financially responsible for any damages that may be caused by 'drift' from any of his spraying operations. Each state has their own laws, but EPA has regulations that apply anywhere. If his actions have caused damages on your property (or harm), he should be responsible. The mere fact that his actions conflicted with the agreement he had with the landowner would be valuable information/evidense in any case that might arise from this willful act.

You do have rights. If the Chief of Police is willing to instigate actions (it's his property, after all), it would be very difficult for any agency to ignore it!
(If a water test on the Chief's water well shows any problems, Mr. Farmer's spraying days are over.)




 
Judith Browning
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I'm always concerned about making assumptions about what someone is thinking even if their actions seem to say something else . I would at least make sure the neighbor and the farmer/sprayer clearly understand your position and the impact on your family and farm. Maybe even put it in terms of lost income, future plans, etc. as you expressed.
I would make it clear in writing and conversation before even thinking about a legal acton.
 
Lloyd George
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happy solution...offer to farm the field for the chief...and offer some good orgainc grub by way of goodwill...I have notice that Rhode Islanders are genrally pretty easy to get along with...leave them alone they tend to leave you alone...but are friendly if you strike up a conversation...WE have a house in Narragannsett that I am fond of.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5816
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Lloyd George wrote:happy solution...offer to farm the field for the chief...and offer some good orgainc grub by way of goodwill...I have notice that Rhode Islanders are genrally pretty easy to get along with...leave them alone they tend to leave you alone...but are friendly if you strike up a conversation...WE have a house in Narragannsett that I am fond of.



an excellent idea...simple, sidesteps the farmer, could be a long term lease...I used to love philosophy class for this very reason....lots of ideas thrown out there from lots of different perspectives.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I wouldn't worry one bit about using tact in this situation. If someone poisons you, strike back through whatever means is likely to have the greatest impact on their sense of security and comfort. Try to avoid both prison and bloodshed.
 
Bryzantium Langford
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To OP Did you see him spray? If not id just assume it was run off or blow over from one of his other fields near you. I mean its not like he snuck out there with a small little hand sprayer at midnight to do it if he did. It most likely is just some run off or blow over,might have had a really strong wind on the day he was spraying his fields. If thats a problem you cant accept you shouldnt have put an organic operation next to a chemical on.
 
Max Kennedy
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Bry, you have it backwards. If someone is spraying poisons it is their responsibility not to impact on others not the responsibility of victims to accept it.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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There are no ads on the page I'm looking at, Dale. Maybe it's your browser?

 
Max Kennedy
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Look in the brown line directly under the last post beside the house and you will see ads. The ads change but if you can have some input Paul please let them know what types of ads would be acceptable. Right now Bayer crop sciences, responsible for much of the loss of bees is one of the advertisers. I know it changes randomly but thats a bit of a non-sequitur for a permaculture forum.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Wow, I must have just totally blanked that out of my field of vision! Freaky!

 
John Polk
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Those GoogleAds at the bottom of each thread are randomly created by Google. Google is paid a small fee for each time we click on one, (and Paul gets a % of that) so they have them programed to be somewhat pertinent to the topic of the thread. If you are reading a thread on 'Tree trimming', you are more likely to click on a tree trimmer's ad than an 'online gambling' ad, and vice versa.

Likewise, if your IP address is from TX, and mine is WA, you will get a Texas tree trimmer, and I will get a Washington tree trimmer.

Since so many of the threads here are ag, plant, critter themed, we get a lot of ads that follow those themes. Unfortunately, the chemical companies have larger advertising budgets than the organic practitioners do, so the bulk of ads we see are for companies a permie would never click.

Google (and Paul) would 'earn' more money if those ads were better tailored for our audience.
 
Joe Braxton
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No adds at all here....

Running Google Chrome w/ Ad-block Plus
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
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I have ads at the way bottom of my screen.

On having my farm near a chemical farm- my husband's family has owned this land for decades. I feel we have a right to farm it the way we feel is right, despite what the neighbors do. Also, the field I am talking about is not a large commercial farm, it is a little patch, maybe a third of an acre, of field adjoining my field that belongs to a neighbor who is not a farmer. The chemicals came from an outside farmer who asked him if he could use the land for the season. I am sorry if I did not make this clear in my earlier posts.

THe idea of blowover doesn't make sense, there is nothing else nearby being farmed right now that would have these chemicals on it. There are clear signs of a particular cucurbit herbicide/fungicide mix, identified by an expert outsider with no interests in the situation one way or another. Also, there is a good windbreak around the field on all sides.

For those of ou who have read the long diatribe on bindweed and quackgrass I was part of recently, I have to say, the bleached out leaves of the bindweed are making me sad. I thought I despised the stuff, I don't mind pulling it but I didn't want to see it poisoned. Anyway, I doubt the poison will do much to stop it for any length of time.
 
Ben Walter
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I feel your pain Matu...I've got a fernery next door, about 150 ft. from our house, and they spray lots of nasty stuff. If the winds blowing in the right direction the smell can be terrible.

My neighbor is a "good 'ole' boy". He's very friendly, invited me to his church, and offers help often. He also has made the point to me several times that he uses best practices and as little chemical as possible. Another neighbor also uses chemicals, mostly herbicides, but some pesticides/fungicides on a small nursery and orange grove.

I have very conflicted feelings because these are neighbors I will have to live with for a long time. I have heard of a successful lawsuit over pesticide blowing onto a neighbor's property, but I don't know the details. I think going that route would lead nowhere but to hard feelings at best. My hope is that over time I can influence them to stop poisoning the land and water.

Unfortunately our land was once an orange grove and very likely has been sprayed many times in the past. I've had the wells tested by a local lab, but i'm not sure they test for all possible chemicals. The farm has been unmanaged for at least 5 years before I took it over, so hopefully most of the chemicals in the soil have decomposed.

I haven't planted anything on the side of the farm closest to the fernery. My goal is to put up a hedgerow of bamboo or eucalyptus beforehand. My neighbor is old and my hope is that the children will hopefully not continue the business...or put up a subdivision.

Good luck, and I would definitely inform your neighbor what you think is happening on his land...if it's against his wishes or without his knowledge that's a no-brainer in my book.

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Beware of eucalyptus if you're in a fire danger area, as they can be very flammable.

 
Ben Walter
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Thanks for the tip on the Eucalyptus...I wasn't aware of that. I did plan to coppice them to make biochar and electricity someday...so it should work well!
 
Dale Hodgins
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I see that a new thread discusses the advertizer thing. Aparently the forum makes a little money with every click. So, the natural question would be; How can I make the computer click in and then out of these ads when I'm sleeping ? This would be a great way to stick it to chemical companies. Imagine a bank of energy efficient computers with the screens disconected to save power, collectively extracting millions of nickels from targeted companies. This could be done from a legal safe zone just as is done while hiding bank accounts. My lack of computer skills makes the world a safer place.
 
tel jetson
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I see that a new thread discusses the adevetizer thing. Aparently the forum makes a little money with every click. So, the natural question would be; How can I make the computer click in and then out of these ads when I'm sleeping ? This would be a great way to stick it to chemical companies. Imagine a bank of energy efficient computers with the screens disconected to save power, collectively extracting millions of nickels from targeted companies. This could be done from a legal safe zone just as is done while hiding bank accounts. My lack of computer skills makes the world a safer place.


I'm pretty sure that a bunch of automatic clicks wouldn't have the results you intend. sadly, google is, at least collectively, likely at least as clever as you are, Dale.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Some sort of random address generator using key words might help with this endevor. There might also be ways to disguise the identity and location of various terminals. I'm sure they've got people working out this stuff constantly. My "knowledge" in this area comes mostly from B movies.
 
David Miller
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There are plenty of people who have done just that, I'd advise against it, its called fraud.
 
tel jetson
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David Miller wrote:There are plenty of people who have done just that, I'd advise against it, its called fraud.


good point. with that, let's leave the advertising talk for the appropriate threads. thanks.
 
Isaac Hill
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Max Kennedy wrote:Bry, you have it backwards. If someone is spraying poisons it is their responsibility not to impact on others not the responsibility of victims to accept it.



EXACTLY!!!
 
Brenda Groth
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i filed suit against someone who sprayed our property without permission and killed off a lot of my "weeds"..and I won a large out of court settlement (can't name names and amounts..just FYI)
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
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An update on this story:

My meadow is resilient, it did fine last year. Mr. Farmer drove over two of the fruit trees with his tractor and killed them. He grew a lot of squash and I got a better relationship with the Chief. Charming man.

This year, he did it again, on a windy day, with the wind blowing from where he was spraying toward my house. The windows were all open and I was sitting with my eight day old baby under one of them. Peeee-you, I'd rather smell fish emulsion than the herbicide/fungicide he was spraying.

Predictably, flames started coming out of my ears I was so mad. It happened to be on the very day that two eager and bright wwoofers/apprentices were coming for the first time.

My husband spoke with the farmer who laughed at him and was very flip, saying that he would spray what he wanted when he wanted to. He was open and casual about which poisons he was spraying. there were empty containers all around of varying ages. It was no use talking to him.

The landowner, the Chief, was angry too. He told the farmer that if he sprayed again he would not use the land again. I registered a complaint with the local office that deals with such things and they sent the farmer a form letter.

I saw the effects of the poison all over my farm, it was chilling really to see the telltale bleaching of the leaves quite far from the field, with lots of windbreak in between. However, I tried to remain calm and just observe. Except for the strip of land immediately adjacent to where he sprayed, most things bounced back. Wood sorrrl seemed to suffer the most. I feel really good about my soil ecosystem health.

He came back with a sprayer! I went out to try to talk to him but when he saw me coming he turned that tractor around and didn't come back. It was pumpkins and squash he was growing this year again. It did not go as well as last year, the field looks terrible! No irrigation, tillage/poison damaged soil, missed that last spray... the field has so many weeds and the squash is dead. I see where he thinks he needs to spray, what a mess. The squash in my hugelbeets is still growing, no problems. no till, no spray, no irrigation. It outperformed my expectations.

The Chief has decided to put a conservation easement on the land stating that it is to be farmed without poisons. I'm hoping the farmer will tell himself that that field is junk anyway, he didn't really want it.

The really important thing for me is that I've improved relations with the nice neighbor this year and I still have my sanity and clear head.

I am happy with my choices, happy with the success of my experiments, happy to see that things will be ok. I don't know what health problems we might have in the long run but there are other poisons in the atmosphere. There are more poisoned places in the world. I don't like it but there it is.

I've been reading a lot about mushrooms and Mycoremediation, and I think it's going to be ok. I've been gathering mushrooms and making a slurry to pour over the hugelbeets and a pile of woodchips.

Thanks for all the thoughtful help on this site.
 
John Elliott
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Matu Collins wrote:

I've been reading a lot about mushrooms and Mycoremediation, and I think it's going to be ok. I've been gathering mushrooms and making a slurry to pour over the hugelbeets and a pile of woodchips.

Thanks for all the thoughtful help on this site.


Excellent!! I hope all my barking about mycoremediation is having an effect. You'll know all is right with the world when that field has mushrooms popping up all over it after a heavy rain.
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