Missouri Herbs

Missouri Herbs
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For herbs I don't grow, this is my favorite place!

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin
On our site, you will see selected links to books that have been valuable to our homesteading, permaculture, spiritual, health and natural building paths and links to products we use or feel are ethical. Purchasing any of these products through my site will help contribute to our homesteading success and our teaching others to do the same.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

There's been plenty to keep us busy every day this week getting the garden in. What perfect Spring time weather for the increased exercise. Jeffrey built trellises out of old trim board that he cut in half and made me more bed markers out of old lathe. I used a black marker to just write on them and then pound them into the ground outside the bed. That allowed us to install to the edge of the beds "floating row covers", just a thin fabric that lets light and rain through but it helps protect the plants from bugs. We are growing organically so need to help out bug reduction.

This has also been a week of several big family projects and I've spent all my free time on that, which is why I've been away from here. I have a stack of notes with scribbled thoughts for letters, blog posts and emails that I'm going to work on tonight. I'm glad I keep a scrap pad and pen in my tool belt for those unexpected ideas.

Yesterday I came to the sad realization that the most direct sun any spot gets at this property we are living now (not Crooked Creek) is from 11:30 - 4:30. Before and after that, filtered light and total shade only. There is no remedy for this. I can't believe how drastic the change of the angle of the sun from when we decided the location of the raised beds till now. This is however, the best spot in the whole yard. Most of the yard is shady all day. I've been raising my seedlings in front of two windows. With the sun getting higher and there being less surface area of the book shelf that has light since and there being more seed trays from transplanting yesterday, i have run out of sunshine in the house for them. The house doesn't face in a very good direction, South would have been best. It doesn't take advantage of the sun. So I loaded them up on cookie sheets and took them outside where I put them on top of the dirt in the raised beds. I also like them being outside because I think the wind might strengthen them. Later yesterday afternoon when I noticed that they were then in shade again, I started looking around for another sunny spot to put them in.

Then, like in the movies, the shade was broken by a ray of light. All winter I complained about the location of the compost pile. I had to walk down a slight hill around the house and it was always slippery and too far away. Now, it is the only sunny spot in the yard, centered perfectly as if placed there at this same time last year in the only sun around. The roof of the compost bins are made of corrugated bare (silver) sheet metal and I hold it down with over sized bricks and rocks. Talk about a nice warm spot for my seedlings and they are off the ground away from the pig and dogs. The ridges of the metal were running in such a direction that I could tilt each little tofu container and bread pan towards the sun. Wonderful! Thankfully there are hills that get full sun all day at the Crooked Creek property and I won't have any problems with light on the raised beds there next year. Some people use grow lights to keep their plants from getting leggy and top heavy. I've had pretty good success using the windows till now and the most of the plants aren't leggy. I wanted to try doing it without grow lights and just use the sun like people have always done. Some of the tomatoes were a little leggy and those I transplanted to a bread pan putting most of their stem laying down in a trench and then turned the stem upward and out of the dirt where the leaves started. I hope this will help. It's my own fault, if I would have been more careful about them getting sun in the beginning, they wouldn't be so leggy. I know that you can plant up to 75% of the stem including some of the leaves of the tomato plant and it will grow roots. The online guides say tomatoes need 14-18 hours of sun. They seem to be doing OK now though, I guess only time will tell. Right now the oregano is my pride. It's so pretty and when I hold it's container to water it, I always tell it how beautiful it is. I'm used to growing things in Texas and know that I have so much to learn about living and growing here.

The apple trees at Crooked Creek are infested with web worms. I know birds eat some of the worms and they are having quite a nice feast, however its out of balance and the worms have completely devoured some of the smaller trees. I am trying to learn how to deal with them without impacting the rest of the environment. Some people say just break the webs open and let the birds have at them, but it's to early to tell right now if that is going to work. I'll find out today when we go back over there to check. Some other things I've tried haven't seemed to have much impact either. I hope to find some good information on that today. There are wasps and Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) spray you can buy, but i don't' want to do that. I don't want to use a tobacco spray anymore. I have some blended orange peels soaking now and might try that this afternoon if I haven't found something better to do. I may just break open the webs I can reach and just leave the rest. A tree can loose up to something like 40% of it's foliage and live. It would seem that just breaking the webs open would have the least impact to the system as a whole out there.

Sometimes on Saturday we like to go about 2 miles down the road to a small diner run by my neighbor that lives about a mile away. She's great just to talk to and has been gardening here her whole life, there is always great gardening advice to be had over a cup of tea. It's also nice to just catch up on the goings on and indulge in silly laughter. The most interesting people come in there. A couple was there that comes in most weekends. They live way back in the woods, no power (not even solar), totally off grid and trying to build a water wheel for power. I always enjoy it when I'm there by chance at the same time. We are hoping to go see their place soon. If you are in this small diner, there is pretty much only one conversation going on. Everyone just joins in on whatever conversation is going on when they come in since the eating area is about the size of my living room. My neighbor that runs the place dug up some wonderful wild garlic for me and some other plant I can't recall right now, something very similar to celery. While we were in there someone stopped in looking for a street for an advertised garage sale. She was pointed in the right direction. In the back of the diner is a small room that she rents to a lady on my forum that spins wool. It's always a treat to walk back into her room to see what she has been working on and to look at all her wares so beautifully displayed. There are twisted skeens of hand died yarn and tied knot scrap rugs, a loom and all sorts of interesting ancient looking contraptions. After planting season, I'm going to see about some lessons. Several of my friends here raise sheep and rabbits for fiber and they all know each other, including the lady that has the small room in the diner.

The garage sale was half a block away, so we stopped by after breakfast and found not only a replacement recliner in great shape for $20 but the most beautiful wooden chairs that fold up with cushions for $1 each. I posted a picture of 2 of them below. They are imported from Romania according the customs tag underneath. We've been looking for weeks for both a recliner and out door wooden chairs. Hopefully the cats won't destroy the seats. While in town last, the cheapest wooden outdoor chairs were $21. Next week is "town day" when everyone in town that wants to, goes in on a giant garage sale. We were planning on finding chairs then, but looks like we got the jump on that!

The apple scions I grafted were not shooting out any leaves above the graft. I was afraid that I had waited too late. All the other trees in the tree nursery were either covered in leaves or had at least already started growing leaf buds. Above the apple graft, nothing. That is until Thursday. About 5 baby grafted apple are waking up. There are the faintest hints of a fuzzy green bud peeking through and it's very exciting. I felt so horrible for taking too long to do the grafts! It is still a good lesson learned about making time for the important things. I should have taken the next day and gotten them done.

Today several seeds that I am late getting in the ground will go in. I bought seeds from two local sources and the 2nd set came in later so I accidentally missed that some of the planting dates had already passed. Also, this week I start hardening the tomatoes for planting outside. This means less water and cooler temps at night. I had better get to the business at hand then. By the way, there are new pictures posted to my photo website. Also, I recently added a folder called "Brookshire forest" of my last homestead I sold.

I heard two songs by chance this week that I thought I would share. One of the songs was an intro to a show I watched on DVD. Someone must have recommended it to me. This show, called Weeds, couldn't be more anti-homesteading. It's about a widow with 2 kids and a maid that lives in a giant house in a nice neighborhood and drives a leased Range Rover. She can't figure out how to keep her family financially afloat, so what does she do for money? She thought selling weed would be a good idea. It's my opinion if people want to smoke weed, that's their business. Selling it is a whole other matter. She didn't look into maybe selling the over-sized, overpriced house and getting rid of the car and maid, nope went straight to path could have her loosing the kids and her freedom. Meanwhile since she's so busy out selling weed, the kids do nothing but watch TV with every light in the house on, play games, have sex with their girlfriend and whatever else typical American teenagers do. It's been on my mind and bothering me since I saw it because I know that even though this is an extreme example, people do have this mentality and live this way. After hearing the song, I was reminded of Mad World from Donnie Darko, one of my favorite movies. After looking up Malvina Reynolds, I realize I may be the last person alive that hasn't heard this song.

Malvina Reynolds, Little Boxes (warning, this song is very catchy and you'll be humming it for days) click here to listen

Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of tickytacky
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same
There's a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses all went to the university
Where they were put in boxes and they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and lawyers, and business executives
And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course and drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children and the children go to school
And the children go to summer camp and then to the university
Where they are put in boxes and they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business and marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.
There's a pink one and a green one and a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

Gary Jules - Mad World click here to listen
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, Worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, Going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, No expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrows
No tomorrow, No tomorrow

And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad
These dreams in which i'm dying, Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles its a very very
Mad World, Mad World

Verse 2
Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
And they feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, Sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, No one knew me
Hello teacher tell me whats my lesson
Look right through me, Look right through me

And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which i'm dying, Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it's a very very
Mad World, Mad World

Enlargen your world

Mad World

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