Thursday, June 30, 2016

Garden Update: Summer 2016

What you see above is the beginnings of our new garden here at Sage Alley.  When we're finished, it's going to be massive.  This was taken about two weeks ago.  At this time, we've added tomato cages to the 2nd beds in each row.  The two beds off the the left by themselves are peppers, as are the first beds on the right.  Besides tomatoes and peppers, we currently have beets, kale, collards, and okra planted.  We're planning carrots, green beans, melon, and eventually corn.

The corn will have to wait until next year.  As you can see, we have a lot more tilling to do yet, and we're too late for planting this year.  I need to do research and learn about growing corn, anyway.  The corn is my idea.  I've wanted to grow corn for a long time. 

We have even entertained the idea of planting a mini orchard, because there are many fruits we'd like to grow, but I don't think that will happen.  We're not sure how long we're going to stay here.  I'm thinking 3-5 years, but we just have to see how things go. (I DO love it here!)

We are also growing several herbs, but as of now, they are in pots on our porch. We were going to plant them up against the house, but unfortunately, we can't.  We've had issues with snakes recently, and spiders are a problem, so the beds around the house are being treated with we-don't-know-what.  We refuse to compromise on our no chemicals rule, so we'll figure out another place for the herbs.  They will probably get their own beds in the main garden plot.

Only one of the sage bushes survived, and it's planted out front.  As of now, there's sparse greenery on it.  We don't know if it will make it at this point.  The other two will go into our burn/mulch pile and continue to give of their energy in other ways.  We have several new sage plants started on the porch.  My partner has identified a few spots in which he'd like to plant the new ones, and I have some ideas, as well.

We will very likely end up with excess produce. Some, we will preserve, but the rest will need to go somewhere,and I'd rather it not be into the compost heap.  There's a little organic market in a nearby town.  I've thought about maybe contacting them when we have said excess and seeing if they will buy it from us.  We don't want to go through the rigmarole of becoming a full-blown farm, so we will tread carefully.  There are always friends and family who are happy to have produce from our garden, so there is that.

Normally, we have scads of raspberries growing in the woods around our property.  Unfortunately, this year has been very scant in that regard.  Our neighbors, who had our permission, said there are no berries in the woods back near their property.  None. We have noticed that there are very few growing along our driveway, as well.  I think it's due to the unusually cool Spring we had. What a shame!  The neighbor was going to make us jam!

We'll see how the rest of the year goes.  We've been incredibly busy, or the garden would be much further along, but I believe that everything happens in its time.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Link: The Rise Of Nonperfectionist Veganism

Today, I came accross a very good article on taking a balanced and objective approach to veganism and to sharing our experiences with others.  While it's true that the article is four years old, everything the author has to say is just as valid now as it was when she wrote it.

Her approach to veganism and vegan activism is the exact approach I try to take each and every day.  This does not by any means mean that I am perfect--the whole point of the article--just that I do my very best.  I firmly believe that our best is all that we can ever do.

Here's a quote from the article:

Questions of why people attempt veganism may, in the end, be far less important than why they attempt and fail, i.e., dietary recidivism. Erik Marcus discussed one tiny study on vegan recidivism on his late, great blog, but recidivism is a huge problem for all kinds of dieters. Search on “dietary recidivism” and you'll find that most experts believe it happens when people don't have a good plan, or enough support, or when the diet itself is rigid or extreme or deprivational. In other words: when they get perfectionist about it.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Recycle It: Our Yard in MD

Trash?  Not all of it!

We recently (finally!) went to MD to complete the cleanup of the yard for our tenants. For such a small yard, we sure hauled out a LOT of debris!  Four bags of yard waste, a stack of old tires, countless bricks, and all of the pavers we had laid down.  We had to haul it all back here to Sage Alley, because we no longer have MD plates on our vehicles, and the tenants' vehicle was not at the house.  (They are friends and had said we could use their SUV to haul trash, if it was there.  We ended up going over on a week day, though, so they were at work.)

I figured we'd just make a run to our own transfer station later in the week, but to my surprise, we did not.  We are reusing everything we brought back!  The bags of yard waste were emptied into an open pit in our yard. It's sort of a dry compost or mulch pit.  A couple of the bags will be reused, as they did not have holes in them.  The tires will become potato boxes--I think we're going to have two.  The pavers will be used around the fire pit, which is currently just surrounded by grass, and the remaining pavers and the bricks will be used wherever we need them on the property.

Unfortunately, I don't think my large, old sage bush made it.  When we dug it up, it turned out to be three bushes, growing together.  We were going to replant them here, but now, we're not sure they are going to make it.  This makes me very sad, but we have a lot of new plants started in pots.  My partner did manage to replant one of the bushes.  We'll see how it does.  It's not the end of the world--just the end of an era.  Another reminder that I am, indeed, on a new path.

Our tenants now have a clean, if raggedy (temporarily) yard, which they can start to enjoy and design the way they want to.  They have asked for grass, and for simplicity's sake, we'll be hiring someone to lay in sod.  To seed would just create a mess, especially with all of the rain our region has had lately.  (At least I can write off the expense!)

Remember to be creative when you are getting rid of things.  Many things can be made into or reused as other things.  We really don't have to throw out as much as we do!