September 5, 2010

September Update

Goodness, it's been a long time since my last post! Well, I've been busy, because I'm moving to East Tennessee. I hate to leave beautiful Oregon and the wonderful food culture of Portland. On the other hand, land in the Southern Appalachians makes up for a lot.

There's a long list of things I expect to do, and an even longer list of things I hope to do. Let me start with the sure things.

The Goal. I want to find a place for myself in the natural order of things that does not disrupt the order of the whole. At the end of the day, I want to have put more carbon into the earth than into the atmosphere. I want to live in a rich foodshed that builds the soil rather than depleting it, that provides enough food that I do not have to import much more than chocolate and coffee. I want to consume no more energy than I can harvest from the sun, wind, and water around me.

Lofty goals, sure, and maybe not attainable. But I believe that it's far better to fall short of a lofty goal than to achieve a complacently easy one.

Chickens. The Ladies of Stumptown Savoury will be making the move, to be joined by more ladies once we get to our new home. They're looking forward to having a rooster around, or at least they think they are, but they haven't been around a rooster, so they really don't know. It's going to be great fun, I think, stopping at rest stops and letting the chickens out to forage for bugs. I'm also looking forward to fresh eggs on the road.

Rabbits. Angoras, to be precise. My friend has three right now, one a house bunny and the other two just mated, so shortly after we get to Tennessee there will be kits arriving. It was pretty funny, watching those two. The boy had to chase the girl around until she figured out what was happening, then she decided to try humping him, spending a fair amount of time humping his face, the hussy. Last I saw, the poor boy was exhausted.

Vegetable Garden and Greenhouse. I'll just about have enough time to lay down some sheet mulching and build a raised bed or two before first frost. The greenhouse, currently serving as a porch, will be a primary source of salad for the winter, I hope. Expect photos and reports on both. My goal is to avoid shopping for any veggies at all. There will be lots of lessons learned from mistakes. I want bananas, so I'm going to do what I can to grow them in the greenhouse. The ginger I planted earlier this year and forgot about is doing rather well, so I may be able to do lots of interesting things with that.

Forest Garden. We're planning to do a permaculture forest garden on the farm. There will be lots of lessons learned from mistakes. I ordered some Saskatoon seeds, because I've heard rumors of Saskatoon pie being about the best fruit pie ever, and anything called Saskatoon should be on the menu anyway because it just sounds too fun to pass up. I'm considering ordering Cardoon seeds, because Cardoons sound like they'd go well with Saskatoon pie.

Foraging. There are ramps and nettles on the land, and hardwoods, so mushrooms should be available. Lots to learn here, as well. I'll grow some mushrooms, too, because I'd rather grow shiitakes than buy them.

Herb Spiral. I want a herb spiral, so I'm going to make one or two. I definitely need one for culinary herbs, and medicinal herbs are important as well, so I'll probably end up with at least two.

House. I want to build one, a tiny one, probably on a trailer, maybe with an attached greenhouse and critter shack. Look at these tiny houses! Cute, affordable, and buildable. Sure they're small, but with a bit of design work they can be outstanding for someone like me who lives to cook. There's even the possibility of a tiny house community in Virginia. That's rather on the far horizon, but it is just visible there.

There's more, lots more, but I've run out of energy and this is way too long anyway. I'll try to update a bit more frequently, including a review of the most important book I've read in a long while, The Vegetarian Myth.


  1. good luck on the move....huge goals but I am sure attainable...

  2. Never having to shop for vegetables??? What an amazing thought. I long for a huge vegetable garden, but I'll have to make do with a small pot of herbs on my patio for now...
    Good luck with the move!

  3. Fantastic news and goals. I'd love to talk to you more about this. Can you please e-mail me when you have a few minutes?
    E-mail should show up there. If it doesn't, leave me a comment and I'll get it to ya.


  4. Hey, if you have room for a pot of herbs, you probably have room for a few more pots. Plant a few lettuce seeds, repeat weekly 2 or 3 times, and maybe toss in some radish seeds, and you can start having fresh salad at least once a week within a short time. Plant some carrots in another pot and use the thinnings in your salad. Later, when the carrots are big enough to eat, just chop up the whole plant. The carrot tops are great in a salad!

  5. that sounds surreal. I might want a bigger house :) but the fact that you're gunna be self sustainable is just awesome. I've always wanted to do that and certainly will try when I'm older. As for those Saskatoon berries, they sound freakin good: blueberry and almond taste. Mmhhhm!