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Gardening since birth NC  RSS feed

 
Melba Corbett
Posts: 164
Location: North Carolina
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I'm a third generation organic gardener, and doing permaculture for as long as I can remember. I think sometimes I was born a hundred years too late, because I love chopping wood and carrying water, and just building things. Upcoming project is a cob oven. Love cooking and preparing entire meals from things I've grown, and canning lots of produce out of the garden or orchard.

My favorite part is the animals and I have a young Jersey bull I'll probably use to plow a paddock to plant corn next spring, with a little help from various friends. Someone will have to lead him and someone hold the plow. He's nothing short of a pet. I've even had a saddle on his back and he doesn't mind as long as I give him a hug once in a while. He was bottle raised and still thinks I'm Mama. Just added a purebred Dexter heifer. Brought her home in an old van with the seats taken out. Had to sing to her the whole trip so she would not rip the vehicle apart. Only one I've ever sung to, who did not complain. She was totally wild but they are such a gentle breed, it turned out ok. Now she lets me pet her on the head, handle her just a little and even handle her udder if I can catch her in a stall and block the entrance so she cannot get out. I hope to milk her someday and make butter.

Here in southwestern North Carolina, at 2200 feet elevation, it gets a little chilly at night, even in the summer, so that limits what I can grow. I do grow lots of veggies and herbs, have apple, pear, fig, and peach trees, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, and there are plenty of wild black walnut trees which I use extensively, both to make black walnut tincture from the green hulls and as shelled nuts to eat. Every year I say I'll never shell out any more, but I always do. I'm just too industrious and frugal to let them go to waste.

I raise most of the chicken I eat, and have Nubian goats for milk and cheese. I make lots of yogurt too, and sometimes kefir. Strained yogurt (Greek yogurt) makes wonderful cheesecake. Two beehives, but a friend who is a beekeeper comes over and helps with them since I'm a newbie at that. She gave me the first hive to get started. Got honey the first year, quite a bit of sourwood. My land backs up to a corner of Forest Service land, so lots of sourwood, yellow poplar and blackberries for them to make honey from.

I've been reading up on aquaponics for years and really, really want to get into that. I have greenhouse panels and stuff in a box from six years ago, but have yet to put it up. Maybe next year, or when the weather gets warm enough and I'm caught up enough to start on that. I think it would be a good project for my friends to come over and help assemble. I want it passive solar with an earth bermed north wall, maybe even on the south side of the big barn. I think it will work even for tilapia if I can just get the temp up enough to maintain itself. I don't want to use supplemental heat, or if I have to anyway, it will be a wood fired heater or rocket stove. I took a greenhouse class a few years ago at the Organic Growers School, so have some idea as to orientation and design.

My deepest joy is gardening and having my hands in rich, living soil, and watching those plants grow. Or maybe it is kidding season, when I spend nights at the barn awaiting those little bundles of joy. The does like me being with them then and it seems to comfort them. Kidding starts in mid Feb. this year, so I have to make sure I'm there so they don't get too chilled, or crawl under the hay rack or something, and the doe can't reach them to clean them up. I just like to be there and not leave everything to happenstance.

I really like canoeing, camping and fishing, but haven't done any of it in many years, as I never seem to have the time. However, I do intensely enjoy farming and it is such a great life!
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5909
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Hello, Melba, and welcome to the forums! I really enjoyed reading about your lifestyle and history.
 
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