fresh from the garden

fresh from the garden


Welcome to the ramblings of a fifty-something suburban "farmer"

Hoping that if you should stumble upon this blog my daily musings might bring a little smile to your day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

busy busy busy

Yesterday was the first of hopefully many service visits for me with the Valley time trade timebank. Drove out to Hatfield to work at a sustainable organic farm . There were cows and pigs and chickens (oh my). I put in my three hours and earned three time dollars that i will be able to "spend" on services from other members . I'm hoping to get a haircut and a couple hours of help splitting firewood or some help with carpentry . While the trading of my time for someones Else's seems worthwhile in itself ,there are other things that I think will make this an even more rewarding endeavor. I got to meet some nice folks that I'm pretty sure I would have never crossed paths with (got to know more about them than i know about some of my neighbors of 18 years). They were quite willing to share what they had learned in their twenty or so years of farming ( I got to meet their chickens and learned about freezer camp).It's also very nice to be able to help someone in need. Recent illnesses have made some of the farm work a bit more difficult for them and at least today not a problem for me. After three hours of weeding in Hatfield I came home only to find out that the weeds in my garden hadn't gone anywhere and still needed to be pulled .Luckily I was in prime weed pulling shape so they were no match for my nimble (that's right I said nimble) fingers. Needless to say I slept pretty well last night.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This and that

Things have really picked up around here lately .Many different projects going at once (what a surprise)so let's get a quick run update .The garden is really coming along, most everything is really popping ,even the flowers are looking pretty good .It's funny how parental I get with my green "children".Things like "stop crowding your brother ",why won't you stand up straight?", "hey Mr. slug leave the kids alone" seem to flow from my lips all too easily .Guess it could be worse I could talk to Maple trees.Wait a minute I did that too.Oh well blame it on the seventies.I spent a bit of last week playing with mud.Not just any mud but the mud that will be used to build my oven ,hopefully in the next few weeks. It's pretty cool (and actually fun )to be able to settle out the impurities and have workable clay .I've been able to purify over twenty gallons of clay already only twenty more to go. Tomorrow will be my first service for the "time bank". I will be weeding on a farm for three hours to earn three "Time Dollars" that will be spent for a haircut and to get two hours of help with my firewood.We'll see how it goes. I have a cake for royal family kids camp going out on Tuesday ,should be interesting.Did I mention that I got some really cool supplies for the chickens?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Time banking 101

In an effort to learn as much as i can about these many different aspects of sustaining an agricultural interdependance in my life I am spending lots of time reading. Yes that's right I actually am reading 3 different books at once. A new way that I've found to learn about these things is hands on from people that are already doing it. Time banking has afforded me a direct connection to folks that are way ahead of the curve.What's nice about it is that while they share knowledge with me I am doing work for them and getting time dollars to boot.I have my first appointment to do a service for time dollars on tuesday working on a farm and possibly doing house cleaning. I plan to use some of my time dollars earned to get a massage for my wife , a haircut and some help splitting firewood.This is a pretty good test of the whole concept .If all goes well I think I'll be quite encouraged

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Time banking

On Sunday Jackie handed me an interesting article from the paper .It talked something called a time bank.No this isn't something from a cheesy 70' s TV show ,this is a different twist on the barter system. If you are a member of a particular time bank you can "volunteer" your time and talent in exchange for "Time Dollars".One hour equals one "time Dollar".You can take this Time dollar and exchange it for an hour of a service another member has available .They can in turn use the "time dollar "they get from you to do the same and so on. One of the things I like the best about this is that your time is worth the same as anyone else's . You can check it out at .These are all over the world .There might even be one in your neighborhood. If not they have a program that helps you set one up . It's a great way to help others or to get help and not feel like you are asking for a handout. In these economic times it's nice to be able to have options . Let's just hope the government doesn't find out ,they'll probably want to "help "with it . Look how good they are doing with everything else.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's Magic

It's amazing how just a few degrees makes such a difference .The warmer nights and the recent rain have brought an explosion of growth in the garden (unfortunately it's not just the plants I want to grow but the weeds have joined in the fun as well). The sticks that I planted in April are actually starting to fill out and at least slightly resemble the high production blueberry factories I envisioned them to be. I had the difficult task of removing blueberry buds as the appeared last week . I am trusting that the Ma blueberry growers association isn't trying to deny me my rewards by saying that I have to remove the first years fruit so that future crops will be much better. If I check next year and it says that I have to remove the second years fruit there will be hell to pay.The amount of buds I had to remove was quite heartening though ,the early blooming berries had a good amount of berry clusters .Having the gradual harvesting times I think will show even more clusters to be removed as time passes.
Man plans, God laughs. Originally the clearing of some of our land for next years market garden was going to be an ongoing project that I would like to have finished by the fall. How things change. A friend had his heirloom tomato and chili farm pulled out from under him and now has hundreds of beautiful heirloom tomato plant orphans needing a home .So it seems we'll be clearing a little faster than planned. Was that a spotted salamander that just ran across the back yard?