Monthly Archives: January 2013

Botanical Bounty

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20130126-170542.jpg< We have been busy creating various organic botanical products. Pictured are garden spice blends, culinary herb oils, facial spa lotion, hair rinses, tinctures, and soap.

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Clear cuttin

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We’ve begun to prepare the half acre strip of forest next to our house for the food forest we’re going to establish. We can hardly contain our excitement round here. Kirby Fry will be coming down this weekend to check the place out and help us strategize for the Permablitz we’ll be hosting March 23rd & 24th.

Step one: chop down invasive lagustrums.

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Cream of the garden

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Our most recent community meal was Cream of Potato Soup courtesy of Cass! Everything but the broth base came straight from the garden, spices and all. Ingredients included red potatoes, carrots, daikon, chives, a custom garden spice blend, powdered habanero, and an organic veggie broth and cream base.

Permablitz

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A few of us went up to Austin this weekend to assist Kirby Fry on the first Austin area Permablitz, an event where a group of volunteers shows up and permascapes a site. This one was at Austin Eco School and he’ll be hosting one a month.

The level of cooperation was amazing and the number of people willing to contribute their time and money to make it happen was more than a little encouraging. We got a lot done and I’m happy to announce we’ll be the host site of a Permablitz in April.

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The right side of this photo is a 6 foot swale that we backfilled with wood mulch and the berm runs beside it (the trellises, for grapes we planted, run down the center of the berm). There’s a ditch all the way around but the side opposite the swale is much more narrow.

20130122-223407.jpg Around the grapes we planted pears and plums and other fruit trees. A zig-zagged line of asparagus with a more technical term will run the length of the berm. On one side of the line we planted patches of annuals like carrots and radishes and on the other was an assortment of culinary and medicinal herbs surrounded by flowers. Blackberries will grow up the fence on the opposite side of the swale.

We laid irrigation and threw down some cover crops. In two days we made a 50×8 (don’t quote me on that) food producing ecosystem for the kids at Austin Eco School to take care of. And we did this:

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Forest Work Day

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We recently removed invasive trees from our property. Well, we cut em down and used the poles for construction of our new coop. The remaining limbs all rest where they fell and we need YOUR help.

This weekend we are mapping and laying berms for our new food forest and those tree limbs need to go ASAP. So on this Thursday the 25th starting around Ten in the morn, we will be cleaning up the forest. If you can spare an hour or a half day you will be rewarded in libations and a good ol fashioned porch jam.

We picked up some chicks

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20130117-210100.jpg We drove out to shady oaks manor off the Backbone and picked up 4 new chicks: 2 leghorns and 2 Rhode Island reds.

Shady oaks has a good looking set up with a number of healthy looking birds

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We talked with Rick, the owner, and he showed us his greenhouse with an aquaponics system.

20130117-234618.jpgThe back right corner is the fish tank and the other 3 walls are planters, each one a little higher than the rest so that gravity carries water down and the last one empties into the ground where it is piped under the greenhouse and pumped back into the fish tank.

He had it running on a solar panel storing energy in these batteries.

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Fennel Feast

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Another variety of things to eat. The daikons are a huge success and the fennel was ready.

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What does one do with fennel? YOU EAT IT.
The Florence fennel is entirely edible from bulb to fronds. When harvesting cut the fennel just above the root to grow another!
The bulb was used in a soup with one of our fat daikon radishes, a coconut (Annie’s soup) base, and some fennel tops. The tender baby fennel tops were baked on stuffed zucchini with cheddar (only because we had no Parmesan) at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Last we had fennel pizza with onion, garlic and cayenne. The best pizza made yet.

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We planned to take photos of it but we ate it all instead.

Sacred roots protests

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We froze our tails off outside city council and sat through another 3 hours of bs inside in hopes the council would reconsider last weeks decision to rezone capes camp, the last undeveloped haven in town along the San Marcos river. I'll save my rant for other blogs, but in short it's another example of greed and big money bulldozing the concerns of the community and neglecting the stewardship of our planet that is necessary to ensure our own well being.
A sad day, but I feel that we are more inspired than ever to keep doing what we're doing and try to have some kind of positive impact. We may be powerless in politics, but we can still make our seeds grow, and as we progress, hopefully we can strip big money of its power by showing our fellow earthlings that we don't need it. The earth can provide.