Sharon Marsh

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since Feb 05, 2010
S. AL
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Recent posts by Sharon Marsh

Placed my order this morning.  Good luck Raven.  I am looking forward to reading your book.
6 months ago
I see that the problem we had is a common one from the number of posts. We bought this 5 acres in 2005. The field fencing around the back and sides was down and not repairable. We replaced it but did not fence across the front. That was before we realized that out here in the country loose dogs are just as common as in the city. They just have to travel further to aggravate you. We had gifts left and then they started taking our yard shoes from the porch, tore through a new bag of mulch and had a great time playing in it, took work gloves and chewed them up, treed my cat a couple of times to her dismay and nearly knocked my elderly mother off her feet. That did it. We now have a 5 ft chain link fence across the front. Pricey since the front was the longest of our property line but it is nice to watch the pests running along the fence but not being able to get in. My cat, who likes to lounge on the front porch likes the new set up as well.

Most folks don't have fences around here and I suspect it is preferred that you allow access for folks and their dogs if they need to cross your property. I too had some neighbors down the road who liked to visit the man across the road and park across my driveway because his was hard to turn into and get out of and mine was nice and level, paved and allowed easy visibility for the traffic. After attempting to talk with them the first two times about parking on the county access and not my driveway I simply called the Sheriff the third time. It hasn't happened since.
6 years ago
I've lived with dogs and cats and I've always chose to spay/neuter. I currently have one cat. She is spayed and has been since I decided a few weeks after her appearance that I would let her stay. She is excellent at keeping mice under control around the house and barn, she makes a good effort at catching voles and moles and I've noticed a decrease in snakes near the house since she arrived.
6 years ago
I'm relatively new to the forum. Actually been a member for a while but got out of the habit of visiting regularly. Would love to make contact with others in central and south Alabama and NW Florida who are working to implement permaculture principles on their property. I am currently expanding my fruit and nut trees and putting in guilds around the new trees and adding to some of the older ones. Sharon
6 years ago
I ddn't mention that I grew up in Jax.  I have relatives all over that part of the state.

Thanks for the links.  I will check them out.  I do think as consumers of food we have to encourage not be critical of the little changes that some farmers are making as they shift their paradigms on the growing of food and fiber.  And if we ever want a good selection of local foods throughout the country we have to be patient and let each section of the country find their best way to a more sustainable agriculture because it will be different.  Each section (and state) faces very different problems not the least of which are state regulations that don't always support small, direct-marketing farmers.

In John Michael Greer's book The Ecotechnic Future which is not as geeky as it sounds he talks about the importance of allowing and being comfortable with muddling forward.  Having different ways of getting to the goal developing at the same time.  Moving from a high fossil fuel society to a low one is a new experience for anyone alive.  We may have a general idea of what we think needs to be the outcome but we don't know the best way to get there and we really may not know the best outcome in every circumstance.  We need to remember that the U.S. is very large with very different cultures, geography, climate and soil.  Solutions, and speed of finding them, will vary considerably for a long while.

When I first bought my property and moved here I thought I might be a lone voice in the wilderness.  Local produce was a catchy phrase with little substance behind it.  In just a few years it has improved considerably.  Gasoline and diesel will need to be a dollar or more a gallon higher before we see much speed-up but it will occur in the next few years.  Meanwhile I encourage folks to grow their own (even if just a tomato in a pot) and try to be a role model for not turning to the diesel tractor for everything.  At least now they drive by, wave and give me a thumbs-up when I'm out doing something manually rather than just the LONG stare.  I've met several folks when I tell them where I live I get, "Oh, you're the garden lady."  I suspect behind my back it was initially the "crazy garden lady".
9 years ago
Ken, maybe because we are also neighbors (likely).  Like minds grow from similar soil  .  I'm in south Alabama just a few miles from the FL/AL border.
9 years ago
The transition to a more sustainable agriculture is still in its infancy and people are in a multiplicity of places in being able to manage a different relationship with their food other than through the grocery store.  It would be difficult then to have a right or wrong, all organic versus all local, one is better than the other, regardless of the criterion used.  Each family has to make that determination as they progress toward a different mindset and deal with what is available to them and how it is produced.  Education and encouragement are key to helping consumers and farmers transition.

My guess is food production will be one of the last uses of fossil fuels because if we don't take it down slowly, people will be going hungry.  Production is not evenly spread throughout the country and likely will never be due to climate and soil and even the horse and plow will take land and production to maintain.  Over use of fossil fuel fertilizers and crops that are heavy feeders has left the soils poor and in need of much hard work to be productive.  Some land now dedicated to corn, soy, peanuts and cotton will have to grow other food crops.  People have to re-learn how to produce food with less external input and eat in season.  We have to transition in stages.  It won't happen overnight no matter how much I might wish otherwise.  As previously mentioned, there is the very important criterion of relationship and interaction with neighbors around food and supporting local production, regardless of fossil fuel usage at this stage.  I've generally found that if the farmer is beginning to direct market they are beginning to question current myths about production and are looking for alternatives, though sometimes slowly.
9 years ago
I use a decision tree and good planning to try and solve the problem in the OP.

I grow a good portion of the fruits and vegetables we eat.  We don't have a local farmers market here but we do have a little fruit and vegetable stand near town.  His stuff generally is more local than the grocery store's so for those things we don't grow, we buy there if available.

I have spent some time talking to folks and searching on the Interent for local farmers and producers that sell direct and have developed a nice day trip to stop at all of them.  We have the mileage down as low as possible and drive a well-maintained vehicle that gets good gas mileage.  Local chickens and lamb, local wine, local milk and eggs, local cheese and whatever non-food we need from the city.  We do this trip about every 2 to 3 months.  Beef we buy by the 1/4 side from a local producer.  Most of the local producers are not certified organic but I've obviously visited them, asked questions and know a fair amount about their operations and philosophy.  We also have several local producers of field peas and corn that we may visit once a year if we need to replenish our preserved stocks since we only grow enough each year to eat fresh.

If we buy in the grocery store (one trip about every 3 to 4 weeks) we look for location in the following order: our state, adjoining state, southeast, east of the Mississippi, U.S.  The only non-U.S. food we still buy are some spices, coffee, tea and cocoa and those we generally buy fair trade over organic but both if available and some over the Internet because they aren't available here as either fair trade or organic.  While it would be great to find a lot of locally produced, organic foods, the transition to a different form of agriculture is still too young.  Each family needs to establish its own way of addressing while being mindful of fossil fuel consumption.

It is a bit time consuming but I likely don't spend as much time as my grandparents did providing food for the household.  My gas bill averages about $25 a month plus the electricity for the freezer and for food preservation activities.  I believe that would compare nicely to trucked food that is processed and I am much more familiar with where my food has been.
9 years ago