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Monday, September 21, 2015

Another batch of apple butter

Normally I have done these annual videos in November or even January; this year the garden grew old in August and is dying of old age on the first day of fall.


Things are not as they should be, and if we are honest with ourselves we know this. 2015 will clearly be the hottest year in the record (meaning since 1880) for Stony Run, for Oregon, for the Northwest, and for the world.

More about that here, here, and, in a way, here.

Stony Run runs on a well in a shallow water table above a substrate of impermeable basalt. The well is driven in hard clay and round stones, of basalt and andesite. We are absolutely dependent on rain, and so far this year we've had twelve and a half of our forty inches. The well cannot support the farm with a few more years like this.

Also, I'm sixty-six and Beloved is right behind me. We had hoped to avoid more decrepitude than we actually have, and walk like the fragile old eggs that we are. Even with a return of the rains and delay of the anticipated chaos, we cannot maintain Stony Run as the kind of project it has been for the last twenty-two years. We were never really able to provide for all our needs, and were dependent upon first work (we both found jobs that met our criteria for Right Livelihood) and then pensions to pull off our partial dream. "Helen and Helen" Nearing we were not! :)

The idea was to be able to supply a provisioned haven in case of disaster, but the young people have been able to make other and preferred arrangements. So what we have been doing here, while perhaps exemplary to some, is rapidly becoming (other things being equal) superfluous.

We realize it would be unfair to the children for us to try to keep on forever here. They've committed to our care (wow!) but indicated we should live near them, rather than any of them here. This move may be a ways off yet -- we hope so -- but we should begin our preparations soon, if not sooner. We're not city girls by breeding or inclination but we will know how to behave ...

So, enjoy the video. In it you can see that a garden can subsist on less than half the water it's used to, at least for the first year (the drought actually reached us in 2014). We broadforked, mulched, composted, mulched, and mulched again. We germinated all the seeds in the potting shed/greenhouse and hardened them off before transplanting. We utilized shade. We soaker-hosed and spot watered.

We, and the plants, endured a record number of days above 90F, some above 100F, and the lowest humidity we had ever seen. We packed the truck, with its shell on, with everything we might need in order to evacuate quickly -- a fire would have spread rapidly, as we saw throughout the region.

Harvests were reduced, but they were lovely. All the more so, as we detect the signs that we will plant fewer things next year, and fewer the year after that. After all, what one does when one's vitality begins to fade is not so very different day to day -- where one did a hundred things in a week, now one does ninety-five.

Ninety five things is all good. A blessing. __()__

I'm boiling down another batch of apple butter as I write.

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