Monday, June 29, 2009


So, I worked as a parking lot attendant for two days at a sustainability conference, and the strain on my sense of irony was ... monumental.

Yes, people need to know how to make goat cheese, or beer, or do raw milk, or convert engines to run on veggie oil, or treat mild illnesses from the herb garden, but ... to drive all the way from Eugene, or Corvallis, or Roseburg, or Seattle, to learn these things on a small farm in the middle of nowhere, and then drive back? Yeesh!

Yes, I biked, but I live 2 miles down the road. Hardly anyone else did, and considering the distance from town, and the state of the road shoulders, and all the mojo-pickups with dual wheels sweeping those road shoulders at 70 miles an hour in 55 mile an hour zones, not biking was, yet again, the wise choice for most.

The railroad goes by right in front of the farm, though, and twice I watched the Coast Starlight go by, right in front of us. How hard, really, could it be, to have a charterable consist of self-propelled railcars to make the fourteen mile journey with two carloads of festival attenders? The tracks were empty across the road except for about fifteen minutes total, out of the twelve hours or so that I stood there, and this is a mainline.

A century ago, in fact, this was exactly how it was done. A hundred church picnickers would hire a train to get them out into the countryside, and at the end of the day, bring them back again. Nowadays, it seems, this can only be done on abandoned rails repurposed for tourists, at a steep price. But perhaps changes are in the wind.

I can't find it now but there was an article recently that noted that the litigious and grumptious relationship between petroleum-based cars and their manufacturers, and the oil companies (on the one hand) and bicycle commuters and makers of things like three-wheeled electric cars and Segways (on the other) is not that bicycles and such are too slow, but that the standards for convenient travel, geared toward the capabilities of internal combustion engines, are too fast. The context was the continual wrangle over bike lanes; the author felt the whole street should be safe for powering down.

I do think there is something to that. If lead-acid based systems are the only ones that will be available to us peons (those with less than $40,000 to spend on a car or truck) in the foreseeable future, then 25 mph speed limits are the only way to ensure our entry into any post-oil Great Automotive Commuter Society.

Perhaps next year the event organizers will consider chartering a bus to their event and organizing a group bike ride with a support van. Veggie-diesel support van, of course. With a hint of lavender in the exhaust.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Why the sea is boiling hot

I volunteered at the Sustainable Life festival down the road at Wise Acres Farm today; their better known event, the Herb Fest, draws gargantuan crowds, whereas this one (so far) has been somewhat sparsely attended, but it's the first year for it, and I think it will do well when it is better known and people can plan ahead to attend. There are workshops, lectures, farm tours, herb tours, and networking opportunities, and the people involved are knowledgeable and kindly. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, and planning to carry more sunscreen and water!

Last Son came along, and with him, after my shift, I attended a lecture-demonstration of a veggie diesel truck, a farm tour with stops at gardens, an orchard, compost piles, chicken shed, chicken tractor, and a goat dairy. We then spent the afternoon at the workshop of his choice, a hands-on beer-making session. An aficionado of Belgian beers, he appreciated the training but confided to me later that he could have done without all the talk of herb beers (!) -- he's a very basic guy.

Feeling woozy in the afternoon heat and wind, with a fairly stout sample of fennel-lavender beer, or some such thing, in my tummy, I wandered off, thinking to take a nap, and in the herb garden found an elderly woman in a steel-and-canvas glider, swinging gently back and forth in the shade, watching several huge koi in a small pond. She patted the seat beside her, and I sat down and introduced myself, and we "talked of many things/Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--/Of cabbages--and kings--/And why the sea is boiling hot--/And whether pigs have wings."

She seemed to have memory issues; as do I, increasingly. I hope to have them with such grace, should I reach to her years.


for Independence Days,

1. Plant something - A few potatoes in gaps. Sunflowers.

2. Harvest something - Elephant garlic, onions, peas, chard, mustard, lettuce, spinach, strawberries, basil, chives. One rooster. A lot of Japanese knotweed for beanpoles and compost.

3. Preserve something - chicken, broth.

4. Reduce waste - Making more compost from knotweed and grass clippings, and beanpoles from knotweed.

5. Preparation and Storage - Assembled a new wheelbarrow.

6. Build Community Food Systems - selling duck eggs; Sustainable Life Festival volunteer.

7. Eat the Food - From frozen: plum sauce, used to make reconstituted plum juice. From poultry: duck eggs, chicken eggs; fresh chicken liver with eggs and chives. From storage: rolled oats, potatoes, home-dried runner beans and French beans. From garden: Elephant garlic, onions, kale, chard, dandelions, peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, strawberries, mint, basil, chives, still mostly peas.

The volunteering has kept me away from much of this and before that was the illness (which is not over). Hope to have a much better IDC report after the 4th of July weekend!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ready to harvest

The fava beans are at their prime. They were planted in October, and wintered over without row cover. Sometimes they were knocked down by a freeze or buried in snow, but always came through. This is the first time we have really tried them, and we're impressed!

Daughter wants to come down and put in a day, and unfortunately I'll be gone most of the available date. She asked what to do; well, just doing the favas would take more than a day!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Watching my toes

South wall: comfrey, tomatoes, fig trees (saplings),
onion, strawberries, nasturtiums, eggplant. The sticks are
for beans, which are just now finding them.
The awnings are burlap bags suspended from laths.

As some of you may know, I came down with a nasty infection and was bedridden for a bit while the miracle drugs did their thing. Doctors think there may also be a kidney stone involved. Daughter and Young Man looked in on me with Youngest Son, then a few days later, when I had a relapse, Son spent the night again, showing me one of his favorite anime series, Planetes, on a small TV at the foot of my bed. By then I was getting better, so I rose up and fed him a pancake breakfast and we chatted over coffee for a good two hours. Nice. I sent him away with clean laundry, a bag of fresh peas, and a loaf of bread.

"What's in it?"

"Kale, garlic, oats, whole wheat, spelt, rye; that sort of thing."


Hey, it's lovely to have a 25-year-old who says your bread is awesome! He may even think so ...

Where was Beloved all this time, you ask?


Family stuff.

She's missed the whole thing, as usual, the gad-about.

Ah, blessed rain. It's not coming down in sheets, like the stuff my eastern friends are contending with (I would read their blogs, but I'm afraid I might get soaked), but just right for cutting my farm work day in half and looking into a few other things for a bit.

I'm resting right now from the mowing, mulching, top dressing, tomato tying, and harvesting that went on before the rains settled in. And, if I admit it, from the illness. I'm able to do these things but at a sedate pace. When I'm flat on my back like this, I grab the laptop and plop it on my belly, to blog or upload or check the latest from Sharon or Greenpa or whomever. If I didn't have a computer, though, I'd get by.

There's umm, reading.

Or just watching my toes wiggle down there at the other end of me.

And out of the corner of my eye, through the window, I see the yearling deer going by, along the fence. Aha, one of them discloses he is not a doe. He has those Bambi bumps above his eyebrows.

So serious looking.

And in the foreground, the eternal chicken races; hen in front, Chanticleer huffing along, gaining steadily from behind. Yeesh, get a room!


'K, a report for Independence Days:

1. Plant something - Walking onions self-planting.

2. Harvest something - Elephant garlic, onions, peas, kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, turnip greens, strawberries, basil, chives. One chicken. Pie cherries. have been tying up tomatoes, laying down mulch, turning compost, setting bean poles and watering, more than harvesting.

3. Preserve something - Froze peas, cherries, chicken, broth.

4. Reduce waste - Making more compost from knotweed and grass clippings, and beanpoles from knotweed.

5. Preparation and Storage - Hung up some dried mint. Bought extra drip hoses and my next straw garden hat -- the one I've used for the last decade is finally beginning to crumble -- sigh.

6. Build Community Food Systems - selling duck eggs; having people over to harvest excess veggies and talking with them about our yard-to-garden method.

7. Eat the Food - From frozen: plum sauce, pear sauce, peas. From poultry: duck eggs, chicken eggs; fresh chicken liver with eggs and chives. From storage: rolled oats, whole wheat flour, spelt flour, rye flour, sunflower seeds, potatoes, home-dried runner beans. From garden: Elephant garlic, onions, kale, chard, dandelions, peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, fava beans, turnip greens, pie cherries, strawberries, mint, basil, rosemary, marjoram, chives, leeks. But mostly peas. As John Seymour used to say, you can never have enough peas.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fair is beautiful

Urgently recommended reading:

Social collapse, with its consequences, is no only not unthinkable, says Mr. Orlov, but a fairly common occurrence. So there is a morality that is proper to it, and which can inform our response to crisis and chaos better than we may have been led to believe.

Basically, his argument draws from Law of the Sea regarding lifeboats in storms at sea. If it is necessary to lighten the load, everyone draws straws. In the inquest, the judges will find no blame. If anyone pulls rank to stay on the lifeboat, that person will be found guilty of murder.

Fair is beautiful. Unfair is ... well, think about the debate over torture. How's that going? Figured out who your friends are, yet?

This will help us to understand clearly what is happening when the media discusses the saving of banks, or the insurance companies, gigantic mortgages on gigantic homes, etc., while the poor, all over the world, are going out, faster and faster, like candles in the rising wind.

So, relax.

generous with the people around you. Do not be always thinking about money, which is mostly designed for siphoning resources away from your life, your family, your community, your locality to ... somewhere else. Give gifts; things that you have made by hand, useful hand tools or timely knowledge. Hug your sweetie. Cherish your children and your neighbors' children. Walk about; watch sunrises and sunsets. Greet passersby. Grow things. Learn and teach seed saving. Make repairs. Teach. If you are a healer, or musical, or dance, or perform, do those things, in exchange or freely. Work, as soon as you can and as best you can, outside the "formal" economy. Rely on your strength and ingenuity, and then when that is gone, rest and contemplate.

"What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?"

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Poor Peoples' Bamboo

The pie cherry has begun its short season; to get any we have to pick when less than half are fully ripe, as there is a flock which comes when the cherries are at their best and cleans the tree in less than an hour. Today I picked to freeze, but once I got them in the house I sat down with them and gorged myself silly.

This must be the fruit hunger that comes of seriously trying to eat from home and in-season only. There seems to be something in the cherries my body was famished for, and when it got the chance, Lizard Brain took over. I can only say that the flavor, under these circumstances, seems wonderfully enhanced. "Absence doth the heart make fonder..." well, the tummy for sure. There was enough left over for three small freezer bags, pitted. These will be nice come winter.

I would have picked more but the tree had a lot of deadwood and hollowness and had been split by a falling ash tree in an ice storm, so I cleaned it up (i.e., firewooded half of it) last winter and now the cherries grow too far above ground except where they can be reached with an extension ladder. So the birds will certainly get their share.


It's also Japanese Knotwood season. This stuff is listed as one of the most pernicious of invasives, and it is; the seeds drift down creeks and lodge on new properties, and, once arrived, the roots grow huge, and spread under ground, sending up shoots like Tyrannosaurus Crabgrass. There's little hope of spraying it to death without ruining your place, and less of digging it out. So we are trying to adapt to it.

We've learned to think of it as a Poor Peoples' Bamboo. We do not recommend the following, as I'm sure it has risks, but so far we have gotten away with it -- YMMV! Caveat emptor. K'? So ... keep the edges of the patch mowed back, to slow the spread. In the middle of the patch, let shoots grow to about eight feet, and harvest them June or early July, not in August/September, when they have gone to seed. Cut off the branches with all the big leaves and run them through the mower/bagger or shredder for mulch. Use the canes as beanpoles, plant supports, or as wattles -- we thread them through our welded-wire fence out by the road, to add privacy and deaden traffic noise.

Here we have some Japanese Knotweed beanpoles. I'm paranoid about getting them established in the garden so I use them upside down, to prevent rooting. Don't know that it makes a difference, but, hey, none of them have rooted. Plants are gravity fed and being upright is important to them, so maybe I'm onto something. They can't, of course, support beans this way by themselves; they're too fragile, so I tie them onto a strand of seventeen-gauge wire strung between iron t-posts, as shown.

The poles seem to last three to four years. After that, they are so fragile they shatter when used again in the garden. So we rotate them out of that service and into kindling work -- dried knotweed lights like paper -- burns more like tinder than kindling, so you still need real kindling to go with it -- but the quick, sure ignition has its own advantages.

This may not seem like very long-lasting beanpoles, but look at it this way -- if you are cursed with a patch of this dreadful stuff, you will never run out of beanpoles.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pear sauce good

Plant something for Independence Days - Not so much. It looks like there will be 1000s of runner beans, tho. How many of the danged things did I plant, anyhoo?

2. Harvest something - Elephant garlic, onions, peas, kale, chard, dandelions, peas, lettuce, mustard, nasturtiums, spinach, fava beans, broadbeans, peas, radishes, turnip greens, strawberries, mint, peas, basil, pie cherries, chives. One chicken. Oh, and peas.

3. Preserve something - Froze fava beans, broadbeans, peas. Chicken, broth. Drying more mint. And, umm, froze more peas. And pie cherries. These are a little sour for me, but I dress them in a little bit of agave nectar or stevia before freezing.

4. Reduce waste - Carrying duck-pond water to the gardens. Brought home a bunch more empty green wine bottles. Hung out the laundry instead of running dryer.

5. Preparation and Storage - Bought a hundred wine corks. Put away the dried marjoram. Hung up the dried mint. Whitewashed window screens, painted a south facing section of roof on house. Made dozens of beanpoles from Japanese knotweed (dreadful stuff, gotta make it do its share).

6. Build Community Food Systems - selling duck eggs. Gave away packets of our dried runner beans. Had friends over to pick all the peas, lettuce, onions, garlic, and basil they could carry ... this helps me too 'cuz I can't keep up with the peas and want them to keep blooming. And the early lettuce is bolting already.

7. Eat the Food - From poultry: duck eggs, chicken eggs; fresh chicken liver with eggs and chives. From storage: rolled oats, spelt flour, rye flour, sunflower seeds, potatoes, refried beans. From dried: basil. From frozen: applesauce, pear sauce, snap peas. Pear sauce good with local Nancy's Honey Yogurt, made about twelve miles from here. From garden: Elephant garlic, onions, kale, chard, dandelions, peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, fava beans, radishes, turnip greens, cherries, strawberries, mint, basil, rosemary, marjoram, chives, leeks. Made four small loaves of kale/garlic/applesauce bread ... hey, don't give me that look! '... sgood stuff ...

So, you may well ask, what does risa eat that's from the store? Not much, these days, it's my personal challenge, based on the Freedom Gardeners' 100 foot diet. But lest anyone think I'm actually winning the battle against ketchup and mayonnaise ... and sometimes when I'm at work, my lunches fall a little short of getting me through the afternoon ... disaster has been known to take the form of a maple bar ...

... I stepped on the scale at the doctor's office.

"Hmmm, up seven pounds ... puttin' ya on a diet ... "

"But -- but -- I was up ten, then down three. Doesn't that count for anything?"

Now, why did she laugh like that? ...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Peas in our time

While weeding and spreading mulch, I discovered the bush peas, sugar snap peas, and golden peas are coming in, and they look great, as ever, but none of them have the super-sweet flavor of last year. But they're not a total loss; steam them a little bit, and they're a good deal more like the real thing.

I made dinner for Beloved, who worked all day at the library. We had whole wheat spaghetti noodles, salad, peas in the pod, and some whole wheat bread that was made with "Amish Friendship Bread" starter -- my first successful sourdough, in other words. The salad contained spinach, FIVE kinds of lettuce, fava bean leaves, nasturtium flowers, onion greens, dandelion, chives, and chive blossoms. I'm actually not much for salad and took mine, snapped some peas in it, spread it over the noodles, poured some tomato sauce over it, added fresh basil, zapped the whole thing for a minute, and had vegetable-spaghetti.


j. s. bach
She turned up the weeds without pity, spreading
their roots before the sun. Most of them died,
though a few tenacious grasses rolled over

when she was not looking, and sucked earth
till she found them skulking about, and banished them
to the heap with the egg shells and old tea leaves.

Returning to the scene of the massacre, she placed
a five tined fork before her, pointed toward
the earth's core. On its step she placed her boot's

sole, and drove its teeth home, tearing living soil.
She did this many times, and in her hearing,
the dark loam whispered in protest. But what

was she to do? One must eat, and the white seeds
in their packet were waiting for the sun.
She carried a blue denim bag at her side,

zippered it open, feeling about in its depths
like the housewife at the station platform
seeking her ticket for the last train--

Seizing her prize, she held it in a soiled palm,
reading the runes of inscription:
"Date of last frost"; "zone three," "days

to maturity." How many days now to her own
maturity? Not to be thought of. Her hand
trembled. Tearing the thin paper rind,

she tipped out contents: a shirtfront
of buttons. Five seeds to a hill she counted,
pinching their graves over them: three hills.

And on to other tasks. The rainmaker
whispered over hilled earth all
the zone's days to maturity, and the date

of first frost held true. Almost forgotten in the rush
of gathering in others: beans and corn, tomatoes--
she sought them last in October, the golden

fruits of that planting. Her other crops
talk to her; the Hubbards never do. (What are they
dreaming at, over there? She brings out the knife.)

Now it is March, she remembers having gathered
the silent, sulking Hubbards. How are they faring?
A look into the pantry reveals them,

dour and uncommunicative, all
huddled like bollards on the high shelf.
She chooses one to halve on the kitchen block.

Scooping out seeds to dry and roast later,
she bakes the halves till soft, slipping off skins
per Rombauer and Becker. "Dice them,

and in a mixing bowl add butter, brown sugar,
salt, ginger, and move the lot to the mixer,
remembering to add milk." With a bowl

of silent Hubbard thus richly dressed,
she goes to the living room, asking blessing
of the gods of the steel fork and the weeds,

the rainmaker, the packet of white seeds,
booted foot and blue denim bag
and the longtime summer sun, eating,

listening to a fugue by J. S. Bach.

Independence Days:

1. Plant something - Lettuce, spinach, pumpkins, corn, beans, turnips, basil, stevia.

2. Harvest something - Elephant garlic, onions, kale, chard, dandelions, peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, fava beans, radishes, turnip greens, cherries, strawberries, mint, basil, rosemary, marjoram, chives, leeks.

3. Preserve something - Froze kale/chard/spinach mix, dried marjoram.

4. Reduce waste - Carrying duck-pond water to the orchard trees for a boost. WEEDING. Dumped the compost barrel and began refilling it. Still bringing home cardboard, newspapers, bottles, and bubble pack every day, for use in projects. Found four free pallets.

5. Preparation and Storage - Whenever we gas up, we take along a 2.5 gallon container and fill that up as well. We've put twenty gallons of gasoline in five gallon jerry cans this way, a little at a time. When a can is full, we add some gasoline stabilizer and lock away the cans.

6. Build Community Food Systems - Beloved and Son are now done volunteering as veggie garden experts at Extension Service. I'll be directing traffic at the Sustainability Conference.

7. Eat the Food - From storage: rolled wheat, oats, spelt flour, rye, buckwheat, brewer's yeast, sunflowers, flaxseed. From dried: Runner beans; basil. From frozen: apples, pear sauce. From poultry: duck eggs, chicken eggs. From garden: Elephant garlic, onions, kale, chard, dandelions, peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, fava beans, radishes, turnip greens, cherries, strawberries, mint, basil, rosemary, marjoram, chives, leeks.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

"What's in it?" "Umm, maybe I won't say. Want some?"
"Maybe not fact I think I'll pass."

What's in it is whatever I feel like putting in that's on hand at the moment. There are limits; I might not, for example, want to mix strawberries and garlic. But when you are consciously eating from the home place year-round, some combinations will have more appeal to you than to those accustomed to take-out.

After I have had, say, pizza, or a peanut butter sandwich (fallen off my wagon, so to speak), it takes me a few days to really get interested in bean/pea/bok choi/kale/Egyptian onion smoothies again -- but that doesn't mean the smoothies aren't good, just that I'm not acclimatized to them.

It helps to remember to have one reasonable calorie-packed meal a day (assuming we are among those who have that choice). I go for duck eggs with diced radishes and chopped garlic greens, onion greens, kale, fava-bean leaves, parsley, chard, and spinach at present, because that's what's out there. On alternate days, potatoes instead of the eggs.

At the moment, though, the potatoes are not from-home; they're inorganic reds I found at 33 cents a pound. And I might give myself a party with whole-wheat noodles -- and there's olive oil in lots of these meals -- and do you see an olive grove or a wheat field anywhere around here? Didn't think so.
So much for from-home purity.

But wait! You say you saw wheat five miles up the road? Mmm-hmm, with herbicides up the yin-yang and en route, after harvest, to China. Mine comes from eighty miles up the valley, grown with a little more care, but I know I'm a creature of privilege and grateful for the diesel-gulping truck that brings it.

Every attempt to simplify meets with its own exceptions, caveats and paradoxes, and I will refuse to call mine or anyone else's sincere efforts a failure. You see this in comments on green blogs all the time; someone blogs that for Earth Day they turned off the power and sat around a candle, and the commenter lays into the poor thing for using the paraffin instead of the electricity, a net gain in carbon emissions. Oh, for -- ! look, she's working that out; a candle for Earth Day this year may lead to reading and thinking and skills acquisition and -- and the candle-burner might be next year's Sharon Astyk, ready to teach and lead. Give her a break.

What did I do? I was crabby about the whole rigmarole, skipped all the events, and celebrated the day with a bag of pepper-seared Doritos....

Woops -- biggest storm in years has popped the electricity and I had to run around lighting candles. The laptop's already unplugged, in case there was going to be a surge, and I think there was.

So, where were we? Oh, okay. Unless we are moving to the Marquesas or the Andes and leaving behind the laptop, the whole-wheat noodles, the red potatoes and the Doritos, it's all rehearsal. And I have doubts about pretty much anyone's ability to leave it all behind and be pure, anywhere.

What I think I'm saying is, rehearsal is okay. We don't need to rain on one another's parade over what's green or what's not because, if you're reading this, you're civilized to the extent that pretty much you are not green, and neither am I. Blue, ya think? Rehearsal is good because it adds a tiny bit of green pigment; someday maybe we'll all be blue-green algae, but not in my lifetime, I betcha.
A yearling doe was hanging out in the coppice; I was annoyed with her tameness enough to toss a pebble at her. It rolled down her flanks, which shivered a bit; she took two little hops and went back to daintily browsing on our willows. I opened my mouth wide. "Whah! Whah!" She looked over at me, waggled her ears, and leaned down and took another bite.
This year you're cute, my dear, but give us time to get into enough trouble and you will be somebody's venison, current game laws notwithstanding.

That won't be greenness, that will be triage. Some will eat and some will be eaten. Life is hard sometimes, and sometimes it comes to an end; I think some of that hardness and endiness is coming en masse, and when I read the first chapter of the Joy Luck Club, I feel like I'm reading the future.

I was talking the other day to a friend and he asked about the garden and the fences and some other details and said, "how would you defend all that?"

"We can't. We're equipped for that kind of thing and good at it, too, but in real life five naked people with a box of matches and a little patience could take it away from us in a couple of days."

"Good; you have it figured out. So many don't. I'm your friend, but I might be one of those five people and I will take what is yours and eat it, just like anybody else."

I was shocked because I thought he would go on to talk about community as the way to avoid such scenarios, but no, he went straight to dog eat dog, and I was the critter being eaten. He saw my expression, and he raised his eyebrow a notch -- like: so? And I could only nod. He added:

"In the absence of the rule of law, we get the same triage we have always had, only accelerated and more obvious. That's about it. That's the meaning of just how much you and I did for the Tutsis when the machetes were swinging."

We were both quiet for a little bit after that, as the traffic buzzed past on Thirteenth Avenue.
Ah! Lights just came back on. 'Scuse us while we blow out the lamps and candles.

'K, Independence Days:

1. Plant something: more tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, squash, corn, cukes, basil, pumpkins. Some other things.

2. Harvest something - Elephant garlic, onions, kale, chard, broccoli, leeks, dandelions, eggs, strawberries, comfrey, peppermint, fava beans, PEAS, lettuce, spinach, bok choi. Fresh basil!

3. Preserve something - Dried comfry, put it away, dried peppermint, put it away, drying marjoram.

4. Reduce waste - Still bringing home cardboard, newspapers, bottles, and bubble pack every day, for use in projects. Carrying yet more duck-pond water to the orchard trees for a boost. WEEDING. WATERING ... until today. We needed this storm. Riding buses for about 9/10 of my commute. Saving up appointments and purchases to consolidate trips.

5. Preparation and Storage - rebuilt a bedroom wall and took the opportunity to re-insulate there.

6. Build Community Food Systems - Will volunteer at a Sustainability Festival. Beloved and Last Son continue volunteering as veggie garden experts at Extension Service. I think they have three more shifts.

7. Eat the Food -

From home-dried: Runner beans; basil.

From frozen: trout, blueberries, blackberries, apples, plum sauce, pear sauce, bok choi, sugar snap peas. From poultry: duck eggs, chicken eggs, chicken liver, chicken soup.

From storage: vinegar, olive oil, molasses, rolled wheat, rolled oats, spelt flour, rye flour, buckwheat, brewer's yeast, sunflower seeds, flaxseed.

From garden: elephant garlic, onions, kale, strawberries, bok choi, basil, parsley, chard, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, radish greens, dandelions. The leeks are getting woody, and I'm switching to using seed heads from the Egyptian onions in stir frys.

Win/loss column: geese still don't like the new Ancona ducks. We're letting them spend days together but nights are a no-no; not enough running room for the ducks to escape the bedtime bullying. Deer eating willows. On the other hand, some projects have gone well, like the bedroom wall....