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

    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!
1 week 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. . . . . .

1 month 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
4 months ago
    Permies people of the world!  Do you know if marble dust can work the same as dolomite lime powder, in regards to soil admendments?

 I have researched this myself and it seems that the amount of dolomite mineral varies in marble, depending on the type of limestone the marble came from.  This marble is specifically from quarries around Southern Vermont, which I think has a good proportion of dolomite in it.  


7 months ago
I would second making a fire on the rock, for a while.  Can you have a cookout where the rock is?  Make it a fun event.  Then douse it in cooold water.  If there is no way to cool the water onsite, a few pounds of dry ice will help chill it a bit.  After you douse the hot stone, it should crack and be "easier" to hammer to pieces.  

This is how people have dug their way into pyramids and other old stone vaults.  Looking up Egyptian rock mining or something similar should help illustrate this idea.  

Another idea would be to use a cordless circular saw, cut a grid as deep as you can into the big face.  Sledge the chunks out and repeat.   Also this is sort of how people cut notches in wood if they only have a big saw and hammer.  It becomes fairly easy to knock out the smaller bits between the cuts, rather than just whacking away at solid rock face.

7 months ago
If your family member excitedly tells you " I took the grass from where I put the new flower garden, and used it to patch the bare spots in the lawn!", you might be a permie . . . .
2 years ago
I am a sucker for macro shots of little plants. Here a a few I like from this week.

2 years ago
Greetings! Spring has been a good mix of sun and rain over here. The 10gal pot is brimming with seedlings, as well as the tray. In the rockwool cubes tomatoes, zucchini, and the herbs are getting nice and big. Saved over $40 in starts by growing my own, you pay to be lazy

And I have also been working over at my parents garden. Built a greenhouse with two cattle fence panels to protect their fig tree and other plants. Recently I put in 4x4 posts to fence around a 35'(ish) square garden. I have a few patches all to my own in there, the straw covered key-line patch and end-caps on the strawberry patch. Planted in a greens/herbs//legumes cover crop mix so far. Lots of seedlings coming in.

2 years ago

R Ranson wrote:That's fantastic! What a delicious looking mix of beans.

What are your plans for the beans? Will you be snacking on the sprouts or digging them in the dirt?

I like to use them as a cover crop. They make lots of leaves and turn into a tangled mess without poles to climb. Easy to chop and drop too. The photo below shows a nice carpet of beans in between the production plants.

2 years ago
Still early for my neck of the woods. But I have some pretty little baby photos. The first true leaves on my red and blue kale respectively.

2 years ago