Growth is a double edged sword. Unchecked, growth can be cancerous and destructive. It is this type of ceaseless expansion that has put our society into the precarious environmental and financial positions in which we currently find ourselves. On the other hand, growth can be regenerative and life-giving. Following a forest fire or a bitter winter, the first green shoots to emerge from the earth bear witness to the earth's ability to restore life in the wake of disaster.

My goal for this blog is pretty simple and open-ended: I want to document and share with family and friends my efforts to incorporate an ever increasing degree of self sufficiency, voluntary simplicity, and environmentally-conscious design into my life as a would be urban homesteader.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Swimming against the current

Last year, I made exactly 0 posts during the month of September, and barely managed to get one in during October. Let me be clear about something: I HATE coaching football. The few enjoyable aspects about it are vastly outweighed by the massive time commitment that it involves. Yes, there are worse ways for a person to make some money, but I really wish that I didn't have to do it. But enough bitching...

I suppose the fact that is the second entry during September means that I am doing marginally better than last year, sort of. The garden is almost completely done with for the season. I tore out all of the tomatoes because they were in the way of the hoop house. Most everything else has been sorely neglected because I've spent most all my spare time working on the hoop house. The corn is brown, and I need to see if I will actually be able to get any seed from it. The okra is almost done. The potato harvest was abysmal. I need to dig up my sweet potatoes to see if there are any tubers under all those vines. The only plants that are still plugging away are the peppers. They have apparently forgiven me for this past Spring's massacre, and I've had better pepper production this year that I have for a long time. Here is a plate with a little bit of everything that I've grown. The one exception would be my Tobago Seasoning peppers. They are supposed to have the smokey quality of a habenero without the blinding heat. St.Louis is a bit farther north than Caribbean Island that they are native to, and I'm hoping that they will have enough time to mature before it gets too cold.

I'm about half way finished planting the beds in the hoop house. Ideally, this would have been done 2-3 weeks ago. I would have finished yesterday, but I had to go shoot scout video of a football game for the varsity team. Grrr... Today it has been raining almost non-stop, so I really can't do much in that regard. Thus far I have lettuce, radishes, carrots, corn salad, green onions, and beets. I still want to plant chard, some chinese cabbage, spinach, and peas. Hopefully it will be dry enough to do that in a day or so. I may have to resort to planting at night, after the kids are in bed (I've done this before). Oh well. Whatever happens, happens. In any case, the hoop house will be read to go come late Winter/early Spring to kick start next season. Woo hoo!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A productive weekend

The high temperature for this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday all reached triple digits and set local records. A cold front came in Saturday evening, and dropped temps by nearly 30 degrees. The weather yesterday and today was gorgeous, sunny and mid-70's. The nice weather and holiday gave me a chance to get outside and bang away on the hoop house. I now have all but the back wall framed in. It's pretty cool to see it so close to finished. The next step is to prepare the beds and start planting. September 21st is less than 3 weeks away, and I need to get cracking. The rest of the garden looks like shit, and is likely going to get a serious haircut in the near future.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find 4 little pullet eggs in the coop on Thursday, and I've since found 2 more. If Scratchy and Carmella don't start laying eggs soon, I'm seriously thinking about lining them up when Brown Spot bites it here in a few weeks. Having 4 layers ought to be sufficient, and if not, I suppose I could always buy a couple more chickens that, you know, lay eggs. Just a thought.