Lindsey Jane

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since Jun 16, 2016
Kitsap Penninsula, WA
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Recent posts by Lindsey Jane

From now on, when someone asks what I'm doing on my farm days, I'm using the "just puttering" line.

It's so much simpler than trying to think of the best way to explain all the gardening, orchard minding, soap making, chicken wrangling, active parenting, weeding, watering, cleaning and reading that actually goes on.

Solid gold, that one. For real.

Now, if only growing squash could pay off all my student loans.....*stares dreamily off into the near distance*.....
4 days ago
Hi there!
We are up here on the Kitsap Peninsula. Our garden starts going in about March with potatoes and the like (although this year, we had 2 feet of snow when I would usually start chitting potatoes, so they didn't go in until the end of April) and I've now gotten the whole garden in for the first round of stuff.

Right now I am sowing dill (bouquet and mammoth), more kale, salad greens (wild garden mix from Territorial) and mustards in the raised bed gardens to replenish what has already been eaten and or/bolted. We spot sow radish about every 2 weeks in whatever spare piece of soil we've got. I've been coming away from broccoli and raab, and just sowing red russian kale for baby greens, then kale raab, then flowers, then seeds. It's just so much easier than fussing over broccoli. This weekend another round of Daikon radish is going in the ground. Cilantro is sown every 3 weeks or so.

Also, I grow lot's of herbs from seed and spend the summer getting them big and healthy in 4 inch pots (sweet marjoram, lovage, thyme, sage, all the parsley) and then put them in the ground at the end of September. So this time of year is spent up-potting herbs and setting them in the happiest places to get hale and hearty for transplanting.

Here's how I grow carrots:
Rake the soil flat, spread seed (I don't use pelleted seed - the germination rate is not as good in my opinion) cover with an inch of sifted compost. Water 3 times a week. Then thin as they get out of control. I usually put carrots and dill on the borders of beds where I've put beans. This year, they are just on every border in every available piece of soil b/c it's obvious that I have a problem. A growing food problem. I need, like, a program or something.

I'm banking on the idea that our growing season this year will be long and warm - well into the end of October. I'm just gonna keep putting stuff in the ground and see what does well.

Oh! You could start calendula or cosmos! So pretty...I use dried calendula petals in our herb salt and the cosmos are just for vanity. You could also put in some sweet peas (like old spice mix - they smell bonkers) and trellis them.

Okay, I'll stop now...

Have fun!

4 days ago
Hooray for this post! Thank you, Daron!
I am farming on the Kitsap Peninsula and I have been pacing and wringing my hands over drought conditions for years. When I was growing up in Bellevue our summers were largely overcast and had rain in June, July and parts of late August. Now? Last year we went without rain from the end of May to September!
I have gotten so much out of your blog post here, so I'll go over and check out the blog proper. I am using most of your techniques, but I love the afternoon shade idea and putting small logs on the sun side of plants. This is the second year I haven't tilled and we have adopted a no till, no engine policy on the farm and the difference is staggering - really quite profound what adding mulch in spring and fall has done to the soil. I'm a no-till convert. My only problem has so far been not generating enough compost on the farm and having to bring in Fish Compost but this year I'm concentrating on generating lot's of compost so I don't have to pay for any more.
We are installing the first big parts of our food forest in the fall and much of it will be hugel beds, swales and water catchment areas so that I don't have to water too much as the years go by.
Anyhow - thanks so much for the ideas!
3 weeks ago
Yes. Just yes. To all of this. All the time. FOR REAL.

Thank you! *hands to forehead and bows*  We're not worthy.

I fight this, too. I grow lot's of food, but then want to eat potstickers from Trader Joes and Sushi.

I decided to practice radical acceptance for how I am, and left it up to the process. I have a food budget, and I try new recipes, and I use discipline and all the other great advice from the other people on this post who know more than me. And I also start from a place of radical acceptance. Because I don't know about you, but I'm a Taurus and I don't like being told what to do. (Oh, wait. That's a human thing, right?) If I feel I HAVE to do something, I instantly repel from it, and want to do the opposite. I found that taking the "have to" out of my thought process about the food we grow, and instead cultivate this process of dropping the "shoulds" and meeting the "want to's" has helped me tremendously. With boundaries, of course. The buckshot approach, point towards the target and something's bound to hit it bulls-eye.

It's like water. Water will fill out whatever container we put it in, right? If I have money, I'll buy more food outside of our farm. When we are tight on money, we buy less food from outside the farm. You've noticed this, right? You fit your food costs to your income. With some grumbling, but still fitting it. That's your process. Celebrate yourself. If or when we face food insecurity in the coming years ( I fear it's when...) then you will be well rehearsed to grow, eat, share and cultivate. You've had all this practice! You will miss Thai food. Or learn to cook it. Or go without. Or contract with a person who knows how to cook it and barter. Your water will fill that vessel. If everything in society breaks, I will cry big, despondent, alligator tears for La Croix when it's gone, and then go on. Because that's what we do.

I also eat way more from the farm now than I did 10 years ago when I was gardening in our suburban back yard. When I started growing food, I would get nauseous when I tried to eat lettuce from the garden. I tried to fight it, but then I just accepted it, and now I choose lettuce from our kitchen garden. I even picked a slug off some this morning before I gave the leaves a bath and ate that salad at lunch. And the tonnage of arugula I plow through from May to October is obscene. Whereas 2 years ago, I hated it. All part of the process.

I accept and celebrate every square inch of you. The only sure thing is that the you that will be next year will look really different from the you that is now. And all those versions of you are just fabulous.
3 weeks ago
Hi there!
We have raised meat birds in tractors in our pasture and have used a variety of forage. Our pasture is pretty diverse - lot's of oat grass, dandelion, chickweed, shot weed, all the grasses (except bermuda [knock wood]), and stands of herbs such as borage, chamomile, comfrey, etc. I only do meat birds after May because then I have so many weeds, bugs and worms to supplement their diet from the worm bins and annual veggie garden. We do a run in May and again in August and harvest at 8 weeks. Cornish Cross. Although this year we aren't doing meat birds as we focus on installing our last food forest area and growing our latest batch of layer hens that we hatched out in March.
So one of the things that I have done is sow red russian kale just about everywhere and let it go to seed. Stands of it have taken over in most of our corners of the property and I have beds of kale that reseed every year. I have found that the meat birds will tear through the kale in all of it's forms. Although I protect certain stands of it (such as the ones that ring our orchard) others' I will just let the meats run right over, knowing that nothing really kills Kale. I'm either selectively harvesting and dumping in their tractor or dragging the tractor right over the kale beds. Another trick I learned to cut our feed bill was to leave fallow a section of our property that has really sandy soil and has spawned quite a crazy metropolis of ants. I drag the tractor over there as they get bigger and let the meats dig up all the ants they can handle. I still have to supplement with feed but the amount goes ways down, so that is good.
If we had a stationary system in place, I would do more of what this dude does
with the whole chicken composting system. But that's a project for another month. Or year. Or whatever....
The next thing I want to try is a stand of Moringa (I think it would grow as an annual here, but in your neck of the woods it would make a good perennial? I think?) And see if they like the high nutrient density of Moringa. I have much to learn about that stuff, so I've been putting off trying it until the other projects are done.
Good Luck! Have Fun!
3 weeks ago
We have taken steps to build a farm that stores water and has multiple systems in place so that if one area fails due to heat and lack of water, other systems can still flourish. I've designed our homestead to work with no mechanical input. (Well, input of human powered mechanics, but no engines).

BUT - we rely on a well. With a pump. And if the power goes out, we are basically screwed on that front.

To carry us through the first week to 10 days, we have stored water for drinking. We have a stream nearby to collect water for washing. And I taught myself how to distill water using a rocket mass heater system. We live close to Puget Sound and, in a pinch, can grab water from there and heat distill it, although that is labor intensive and time consuming.

Mostly though, we store water on the farm - enough to last 3 months without rainfall to replenish them.

We also store lamps with oil, and solar lights that can be used indoors.

I have much trepidation about using generators in case of a protracted black out. I feel the noise would alert people to our location and they would want to compel us to share our fuel. Of which it might end badly. Better to get low and get quiet and help out our wonderful neighbors close to us. Plus, fuel runs out. So I've always wondered what the long term point was. We use a generator now for shorter power outages, but longer ones require systems to make things work.

I've taken it on grace that with a long term black out, most businesses will be disrupted, so going to work will be out - so I only store enough fuel to fill up one tank of gas in one car. It's my way of thinking that in case of a long term blackout situation, the best systems are ones that are quiet, renewable, and don't alert people to them. I choose to believe that most people are wonderfully good and nice and helpful. But it's the small subsection of people who have mischief on the mind that I keep in mind when designing our systems on the farm.

I've thought a lot about not trying to cram our old life into a new life without electricity. So our habits would have to change, and our priorities would have to shift. Time would be spent differently. I think the biggest thing we cultivate on our farm is flexibility and a daily practice of radical acceptance of current situations, whatever those may be. I feel like my mind is the biggest obstacle or the biggest hero of any situation.
1 month ago
We have used reusable cloth toilet rags for years without trouble. I just cut up old towels into squares and bind stitch the sides to prevent fraying and keep them in a basket next to the toilet. Then an 18 inch high tupperware with a fitted lid for the dirties. We wait until we get the tupperware full and then run them through our washer on hot. Dry as usual in the dryer. Our washer has a sensor that only uses enough water for the load, so it adjusts accordingly.

We keep regular TP for guests b/c, you know, hospitality and all that.

Interesting to note: a diet full of protein, fruits, veggies and plenty of good roughage means there is less, um, mess? Yeah. Let's say it like that. Mess. To clean up. Or off. Or whatever. The towel squares don't ever get too crappy. Ahh, jeez...

This feels like TMI.

Suffice it to say that we have had no trouble using ours and it saves money, and the plastic that the TP comes wrapped in, and "running out" of TP is no longer an issue. We just like it better, but to each their own! I could see good reasons for going in either direction. And everyone's body is different and will have different needs, for sure.

Admittedly, I haven't looked into bidets or really understand all the steps in using them. I know they use water to cleanse the hiney, but then aren't you just wet? Don't you have to dry off after that? So isn't something absorbent touching your nether regions anyways that needs to be washed and dried for hygiene's sake? (Really, I'm not being sarcastic. I really haven't learned about them or the functionality at all.)
1 month ago
I as well use a generous amount of wood chips on our farm to reclaim part of the pasture that was used as a car dumping ground. It's such a beautiful part, too. Nice and flat, with good light and a nice microclimate perfect for growing fruit trees.

Here is my formula for how I do it:
1) Stalk the Asplundh guys and bribe them with beer if they drop clean loads of chips in the pasture.
2) Give them the beer when they come through for me.
3) When it's starting as grass, I mow it very short, then spread horse, rabbit, chicken and/or duck manure and bedding in a 2 inch layer.
4) Then cover with 6-8 inches of wood chips and mulched tree debris.
5) Wait.
7) A year later, I start planting in holes that I dig and fill in with the plant and compost.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

I have successfully brought back a 1/4 acre sized area of left behind, raw, used up, gravelly clay into rich, loamy, critter-rich planting soil. I'm still working on this area and will continue into another part of our forgotten pasture that has been assaulted by Scotchbroom and Salal at a ghastly rate. I'm doing this all with a wheelbarrow, time, and a generous supply of podcasts to keep me company.

So far I have spent zero dollars reclaiming this area of our farm - the manure is free, the chips are free, my labor is free. And I don't have to pay to go to a gym.

I am a total believer in wood chips as soil reclamation. My only irritation this spring has been a load that was dropped off with ivy and holly shredded in it. So it's just gonna sit under a black tarp for another year or so to make sure it all dies. And even then, I will be selective of where I put those chips. I'm only gonna put them where I can keep an eye on them. Because after a nuclear holocaust, all that will be left is cockroaches and friggin' English ivy.

I have a packet of Mycorrhizal Fungi that came with some seeds I ordered, and you guys reminded me I gotta spread that in the pasture. I haven't had to inoculate with other mushrooms bc the chips seem to bring enough with them. Non-edible but pretty and I just leave them alone. Save one really great load of chips that brought Morels to my garden. At least I think that's what happened. They are there now and delicious!

A note on horse poo. It can pass on weeds. Alpaca is the BEST. Bunny a close second. Duck 3rd. Horse 4th. Chicken poop bringing up the rear.

And you know that I meant all of that pun to happen.

2 months ago
Keep hand tools sharp!

Always sharpen your ax, machetes, hatchets and clippers. The stress on your joints, your back and your energy levels (read: overall morale) from using blunt tools is all too real. I let our ax get dull and then set about splitting a cord of wood over the weekend. The ax broke. I had to buy a new one. And the new one is so ridiculously sharp that it sliced through wood I was really whaling on to get split. I doubled over laughing from my own stupidity. I haven't always been good about sharpening my tools but this experiential lesson was very profound. I'll never let 'em get dull again!

Oh - and don't reach under wood debris of any kind without gloves. All sorts of things want to sting and bite you and wreck your day. Cover up!

One last thing - if you have guinea hens they WILL create dust bath craters in your yard. Be aware, lest you fall in one as I did and wreck your precious ankle joint!
3 months ago
Hi there!

I would characterize our farm as a small hobby farm - we are growing for ourselves and our buddies and have a good trading system going with other farmer friends.

Our priorities on our farm are growing the right foods for our microclimate, and growing enough to bulk out our pantry so that we need to buy less at the store. We also prioritize non-mechanical ways of growing - I want to be able to run my farm with no electrical/fossil fuel input at all. So all of our systems are geared towards this end - gravity fed water, no-till gardening, soil building, using animals and sheet mulching to turn pasture into garden beds, diversity of crops and species, etc.

Since we are not growing for market, I couldn't comment on that.

I am also hyper aware of the kind of food we grow - drought and cold tolerant varietals are prioritized, as well as varieties of plants that can add to the soil (such as nitrogen fixers or soil mitigators). We have a heavy rotation of short season crops as well as root crops and things that store well. On our farm MORE IS MORE, so we plant all the things, all over the place, all the time to help with crop loss due to climate change and uncertainty.

But above all, we prioritize WATER OVER EVERYTHING. And I live in the soggy boggy northwest that, in 10 years, will not be soggy boggy anymore. Everything I just wrote can be summed up by a over arching awareness of how global warming is changing our maritime climate and what I can do to change with it. Prioritizing water means paying strict attention to tilth and soil fertility, building beds using hugel methods and with lot's of biomass and nutrients. Animals integration and pest management strategies. Flexibility and diversity in my mind as well as my seed saving.

Oh, and potatoes. Gotta have my spuds. All the spuds. All the time.

One great book I just found by accident and now absolutely want to marry, is Gardens of Use and Delight by Jigs and JoAnn Gardner. If they can run a farm on Cape Breton Island, you can run a farm anywhere. Plus there are excellent ideas in there for a variety of ways to use the harvest - ways I've never even thought of. So, so good.

3 months ago