Brian Jeffrey

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since Aug 19, 2012
One day I was born, since then who can really know.
Rutland VT
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Recent posts by Brian Jeffrey

I have a raised bed of stinging nettle.  It pretty much completely takes over the bed it is in. The path between the beds is about 3 feet wide.  Most of the nettle pups sprout directly on the outside of the bed, and a tiny few pop out a foot from the bed.  I use a scythe to cut them back in the paths and also to harvest/manage them in the bed.  

I will add to the recommendation of planting these things away from where you will often be.  I seem to find an excuse to brush against these everyday.

Here is a pic of the bed, with a section cut back along one side.  

I just used cardboard to sheet mulch two raised beds. No amount of mulching with straw/twigs/leaves was stopping the beds from being overgrown. I had been saving cardboard all winter to use in the yard, as well as being a cardboard dump for my friends too.

Before putting down the cardboard I gently removed the dry mulch I had previously spread.  I made sure to not disturb the wetter, rotting layer of the mulch.  Then I put down the layer of cardboard.   It took about half of my stash to cover the two 4 x 8 beds with 6" overlapping between individual cardboard sheets.  After the cardboard was down, I put the loose mulch back on top.  The beds will be planted out in a week or so.  Winter squash and herbs, all from seedlings in 2" pots I have made myself.  

    The whole process was easy and fun.  No digging.  No cutting down plants.  Just hanging out in the sunshine cutting up boxes and tossing mulch around.  
1 month ago
Good morning fellow Permies.  It has been a rainy month, but there has been growth and progress.  The apple trees and pear tree have the first tiny leaves out and the flower buds look like all they need is a dry sunny day to burst open.  Blueberries and two  of the three currant bushes have buds, I think the third may be dead but I will give it lots more time to show any sign of life.  I have been waiting for the asparagus so show itself with ravenous anticipation, but nothing yet.   Flowers are popping up around the yard, daffodils, violets, tulips, and some others I don't know names of.  And, the comfrey is coming up, fast.  

 I have planted out a bed with ten strawberry root pieces. It has been around 9 days with no sign of leaves coming up, having never started strawberries like this I am hoping they just need more time.  I put peas in the bed too.    The strawberry spots I pushed aside the mulch and built little stick pyramids over them, helps me remember where to look :).     I also planted out two beds of bean mixes. It is a bit early for them really, but if 5% sprout that's more than nothing.

  Non-plant project stuff . . . I fixed a broken wheelbarrow handle. Yay. I had scrapped a load of wood pallets, and a broken piece from one had the perfect taper already for a handgrip.  I love free materials !

Lastly there is my tiny army of seedlings that has been building. I bring them outside every morning and back inside every evening.  It has been so rainy lately, I've needed to put them under some salvaged windows for rain protection.  

And that's it for now. I have a feeling this next month will be an explosion of activity and fun.  Thanks for reading everyone.  
1 month ago
The first flowers of the year.  :)
1 month ago
And an unknown berry bush.

2 months ago
Hello Permies. It has been so nice out I have been able to start prepping the yard for spring.   I moved the mulch off of 5 raised beds so they can warmup faster.  I want to put my greens and broccoli family stuff in them as soon as the ice thaws out in the soil.

 The asparagus patch got cleaned up too. I trimmed off all the old stalks before putting in a border of marble logs to help me keep track of where the crowns are.  Besides asparagus there is cat-mint, flowers, and lavender. . . that I know of so far.

Walking around the yard cleaning up garbage that wind blows in, I found two Red Lake Currant bushes. And two other bushes in the row that I am guessing will bear something tasty too.  Having moved in last October, there are so many plants I have yet to find/ID.


2 months ago
A birthday gift for my partner.  Spring us so close I daydream about flowers a lot   Oh and the frame is painted on :)

2 months ago
    Winter progress update. I have gotten all the veggie seeds for the raised beds.  Then plan is to start a lot of them indoors to help keep me aware of what is what in the beds.  There will be a lot of "weed" pressure this first year after being fallow so long, so I would like to at least be sure of what I planted intentionally.  That being said I am still going to allow some of the weeds to grow throughout the summer to see what they are and how I might find use for them around the garden.  

    With so much garden to manage, my cover crop must be simple.  10 Bean Soup mix will be my primary cover crop.  It will be easily distinguishable from the veggies, grow large leaves, produce lots of inoculated roots, and cost very little in seed.  Some plants won't like beans growing around/under them, and I'll most likely use annual flower seeds or no cover crop at all.  I have found a local ag supply store that will have straw for $4 per bale. It will be the main mulch for the whole garden, mixed in with leaves from a huge pile in the far end of the yard.  

    Spring is getting close and I can't wait!  Here is a few snowy yard pics.  The white snow makes th beds and tree branches structure easy to pick out.


    Thanks for reading!
4 months ago
    Hello Permies.  After lurking for too long and biding my time, I have moved again to my long term property.  A lot of hard work and generous people have helped me acquire a 1/2 acre homestead in Rutland Vermont.  It has three mature apple trees, a proudicing young pear, sprawling grapes, asparagus, berries, HUGE comfrey patch (blk 14), 20+ raised beds, open meadow, and many more suprises in store.  Before getting into the details of everything, I must officially relegate the previous Pancakery project log to the history books.  It served me well to record my various permie projects across my journey to a permanent patch of land.  The old log can be found HERE .  

    So now onto my piece of heaven.  The lot is roughly 90'x200'. Mostly level with a slight depression towards the far(east) end of the property.  The house is circa 1870, updated electrical/insulation/walls/fixtures a few years ago.   The previous owner had taken the entire lot from grass to the raised beds, herb spiral, fruit trees etc.  After working on the yard for 5 years, she devoted her attention to updating the house, leaving the yard fallow for three years.  Needless to say the garden areas were overgrown 6' tall.  The google image below shows the property while still in working order, it is NOT this clean and mowed now.  The herb spiral has since turned into a 20'x20' comfrey patch.

And a closer look at the cultivated areas.

I have cleared the overgrown beds in the larger bed area.  Two of the three apple trees are in the beds.  It went from jungle to messy garden.  I did not even know there were beds under all these overgrown plants!  My goal for the coming summer is to mulch and cover crop these beds enough to have some semblance of a proudctive garden.  I came up with a list of plants I want to grow in the beds, and a rough sketch of the primary plantings. There will be poly cultures built around the main crop plants, but it's not fully fleshed out in the sketch.

I have a woody plant list too.  But have yet to make a larger map of the yard and overall plan of what goes where. I need to trim and train the fruit trees and grapes, so that might be my woody plant goal this year.  Availability and time will be the true decider on how much woody plant gardening I get done.  

    I have a lot of planning and work ahead of me, but this is what I have been striving towards.  Working a plot of land as an urban homestead.  Thanks for reading so far, and I will keep adding more progress as it progresses.   Here is my mountain view of Killington to send this post off. . . . . .

5 months ago
I relate with all of our collective struggles.  My work/public/family/private life all offer resistance the more open I become about myself.  However even though I experience similar interactions with all of you, I find an overall better time overcoming their disdain.  I find being openly enthusiastic and beaming love of the world and how I fit into it, that even the most aggressive detractors will respond.  I by no means turn people's ideas around, I explicitly try not to.  But I do wax poetic about my interests and values.  I show how those things make me feel so good and tuned into a vibrant life.  If these people are not far enough along their own journey to respect others lifestyles, they will at least understand it can cultivate a happy fulfilled life in someone who can.  And THAT is more enticing to a persons curiosity than any one specific detail or practice in that happy life.

    My deviations from normalcy are . . .  Permaculturial ideals and the resulting values.  That tied with my irreverence for material possessions and what is truely valuable, leads me into conflict with people about using "garbage" and "broken" things that I find beautiful and deeply filled with purpose.  

I do not own a car and use a bicycle as my primary means of transportation.  To me people sound lazy and self defeated when they give me their reasons why biking year round is crazy.  But I only express how much I enjoy watching the world around me and the wonderful scenery while feeling the wind , and dare I say rain, on my face.  I share how it builds excersice into my daily life, without actually having to "do" anything extra.  How I run into more people, and have more conversations with my community.  

I don't own a microwave either.  Or use fluoride.  I cook from scratch (80%  Of the time), only use cast iron, don't use soap.  Most of these smaller choices I make, I just change the subject.  No use focusing on details with people who can't grasp the big picture yet.  

And my most gawked at personal choice is being Poly.  I've been poly my whole life, openly for 7 years now.  And have more people tell me that my love and relationships are not real, than I can count.  Aside from true haters who just make their remark and walk away.  I usually tell people that I get to love and adore anyone who stirs my soul in that way.  I can love my friends more deeply, I can experience romantic bliss and not fear about finding more than one woman who ignites my soul.   This usually can get people to admit that it sounds nice, even if it would " never work for them".    If I need to break the tension after talking a bit with a person, I like to joke that " no one tells you about your three partners tag team nagging you and planning your chores!" It gets a chuckle .  

So my advice is to find your joy and love in your life.  Express that to the world, don't tell anyone what to do.  Don't place blame on anyone but yourself when preaching, be it global warming, ethical meat, people's love lives.  Practice compassion in the people who challenge you the most.

I also recommend reading "The Song of the Bird" by Anthony deMello.   i read it a few times a year.  It reminds me of the peace and beauty that I have if I am my true self.

Phew thanks for reading that blob of text.  Cheers Permies
8 months ago