Sunday, April 29, 2007

Staying Sane

Been thinking a lot about this situation called Colony Collapse, where honey bees are dying, starving and/or just leaving their hives. Some attribute it to environmental toxins such as herbicides and pesticides while others are saying it’s cell phone signals confusing the bees. Coop’s guess is that it’s the GMO (genetically modified) crops wreaking havoc. Could be. The GMO crops in India have sickened and killed livestock and destroyed the livelihood and lives of many a farmer. In fact to the point that Indias’ farmers were committing suicide at the rate of about three per day. So sad, and all in the name of corporate greed.

Many have quoted Einstein as saying that if the bees disappear mankind has only about 4 years left. But the truth is, no one has any proof that Einstein said this. Aside from that, Colony Collapse is scary since honey bees are the major pollinators. Just a few short years ago we lost an incredible amount of the honey bee population due to a virus. All I know is that we better wake up and smell the honey pretty soon. How long will we go on without serious consideration for the environment and our own future?

I watched a PBS program the other night about solar energy. Germany is going solar in a big way. Not only is it possible, it’s entirely feasible. I wonder how much longer the US will ignore the imminent need for alternative and affordable energy. Fossil fuel will not last much longer at the rate we are consuming it.

Thinking about the world makes me a little crazy and I rant and do what I can. But sometimes I just have to stop all the thinking and just focus on my little life and keep doing what is within my power to do and trust that we are waking up and making a difference. It's the only way to remain sane.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Yesterday I took a walk down by the creek that runs behind our home.
I remembered from our living her a number of years before, that there were always bluebells along the creek banks in early Spring. Sure enough, there was a carpet of lovely blue on green to contrast with the leftover drabs of winter. Coop cut a path from the back yard down to the creek in hopes that the ducks will find it easier to get there and be more inclined to do so. Not sure about the ducks, but it works for me!

Today we priced fencing for the garden and to protect the fruit trees from the deer. (While in town at the local equity I found a pair of good leather work gloves that should serve me well for a long time.) Managed to find what we were looking for, more of a netting than a fence, for $20 for a 7' by 110' roll. Should serve the purpose as it won't be permanent, just something to put up until fall, then we can roll it up until the next year. Right now we just have a dwarf apple and pear, but will be planting more soon. Last year when we moved back here they were loaded with least until the deer realized they were there. By the time they got done, there was one pear left. The only reason it was left hanging is that it was high at the top where the deer couldn't reach.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

greens in the ground & ducks running round

Coop (my hubby) got the garden space looking so nice. Tonight I planted 7 rows of greens and radishes to start with. The tomato and pepper plants I started from seed are doing well and growing hearty. They have about a month to go before planting. I have enough going I will likely have to sell if not give the extras away. I've started three organic varieties; Beefsteak, Brandywine and San Marzano plum style for sauces and salsas.

Now that the weather has warmed and Spring has really sprung, I am getting so anxious for fresh veggies. I could practically live off tomatoes in the summer time. Yum! Not to mention summer squash, green beans, etc. Looking forward to a productive garden and lots of canned goods to put away for the winter.

The ducks (from left to right, Bruce Almighty, Thelma and Louise) are so much fun now that they are free ranging. We'll direct them to the creek tomorrow so they know where the fun is. These three are Muscovy ducks from South America. They're totally unrelated to the North American ducks and different in many ways. They fly, which is what gives them their meaty large breasts, they have talons and can climb fences and perch. They love to perch. They have the weird red flesh around their faces, especially prominent in the males.

When we got them we kept them penned for a couple weeks. We just used an old dog house for their shelter and fenced in a small pen around that. Since they can fly and climb, it was necessary to put some netting of some sort over the top of their pen. We just used some old plastic snow fencing we had on hand and that worked great. We tarped one end so they would have a shady place to sit and added a roost for them by running a narrow board through the holes of two cement blocks, one on each end. They were hesitant to leave their space the first day we opened the gate. Finally Coop shooed them out. They require little if any feed when free ranging because they will eat plants, bugs, etc. Which reminds me, we better get that fencing for the garden by the time to greens come up!

We decided on this breed (and got them free, love that freecycle!) because they are virtually maintenance free, smart and supposed to be the best ducks for eating you can find. Ok, so I'm not going to eat these three, but when the hens start laying we do plan on raising a few for the table freezer. They are very low in fat and have a lot of white meat. I've read that they taste like veal, so we shall see.