the end of spring the start of summer

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Summer solstice is fast approaching, school is winding down, the river is bursting at it’s seems and our travels are done for the season. We have had so much happening.

First and foremost the food systems are coming to life. We are drowning in crunchy divine buckwheat shoots, which I graze on every visit thought he garden. But we are also stir fry them and have been making lovely spring green salads with them. We have lots more to eat, which we must do rapidly, as they are the cover crop in 2 of the raised polyculture beds. The poly beds are so inspiring to take in. I have never seen a garden box so full of variety and excitement. So far the buckwheat is all up about 5 inches, and as we gently pull them (roots and all) we find lovely lettuce greens, peas and beans, leeks and the tiny tops of carrots and beets below. What a lovely way to garden!

We have had a tree aid week as well. Mulching, baiting and tangle-footing, blow torching and guilding our beloved fruit trees. The old trees got a chop and mulch treatment, and I went to work with the blow torch on the caterpillars that were in mass pulsing on the arms of the plum tree. We taped and tangle-footed the bottom of the trees off to keep the ants at bay, and on the cherry tree we hung little vintage red apple ornaments painted with more tangle-foot to bait and catch the worms that want so bad to eat our juicy cherries. We draped all the trees and guilds in soaker hose to make regular watering a cinch.

We also made a big new purchase of 4 more fruit trees, which will yield 16 varieties of fruit, as 3 of the 4 trees have been graphed with multiple types of pears, apple, plums and prunes, along with apricot and nectarine. These new trees got the royal treatment; they are surrounded with sacrificial log bits, and planted out with beneficial companion plants; comphrey, chives, dill, nastirium, bee attracting perennial flowers, and some nitrogen fixing peas too. My crafty project for the new week or so is to sew tiny little prayer flags and drape them around the ties shaping the new branches. I hope this (along with the dogs) will distract the deer from this salad bar of deer forage!

The three sisters corn guild is bursting with new growth; the corn all stands about 3-4” now, and some of the pole bean varieties are bursting out of the ground, as are some of the squash types which will make of the ground cover. In all this field has over 11 varieties of heritage, organic and local doukabor veggies in it.

My little cold frame green house was drowning in tomatoes and peppers, so I started hanging some of the drooping looking tomato plants from old pots cut and strung with bailing twine. I just adore this vertical integration of food, and I think the purple tomatoes adore their new elevated homes. Before leaving for the west I managed to get the rock wall finished… I called on my inner and ancient rock stacking roots. After visiting the Isle of Mann and England years back and seeing all of the rock farm walls, I am certain I have  rock stacking DNA in me. I planted out the crevasses of the wall with hen and chicks, and it looks lovely.

Our dogs are living abundantly with their forest forages too… they seems to be feeding on a elk carcass, and Odin dragged home the evidence the other day!

Our new two dozen chickens are getting bigger and braver by the day, and they are finally living alongside the big girls, who for the most part have accepted their little feathered flock. All of these new birds (who don’t end up the in the freezer) will lay blue / green eggs, so that will make for nice winter breakfasts.

Last week we welcomed the Verge Permaculture Designers class from Nelson to our valley with a tour through some of my friends properties. We visited Dino and Renata at the red snow shoe, and looked at their diverse yet polished design savy farm / bed and breakfast, complete with chickens, goats, horses and lots of new garden beds. We also stopped by the local community garden / intention farm project for a look at intensive double dug beds, growing a huge abundance of food, with the help of many locals and some very cute little pigs. We then went to the artful lodger a to see Rabia’s always inspiring art and food paradise for a look at what 15 years of applied permaculture, and creative ingenuity can do to a once baron grassy field off the river. Finally the group came to our little piece of pie in the sky, for a picnic lunch and a little lesson I presented in applying permaculture to business.

I was really stoked to meet so many new Permies, eager to apply all of their new education and ideas to their world and varied areas of expertise. Exciting times!

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