What did you do to prep this week?

I got three of our raised beds ready for garlic. They all have good organic soil and are tamped down and ready to plant. I’m pre-soaking the garlic buds tonight, and tomorrow I’ll have the kids help me plant. I also picked up and crushed a bunch of leaves and put them in a fourth bed. Hopefully it will turn into compost… Besides that, I finally got around to clearing out the dead bean and tomato plants.

Permaculture Meetup

On Saturday I went to a work bee hosted by the local Permaculture Meetup group and learned how to make low tunnel hoop houses. They’re basically mini greenhouses that let you grow some things over the winter. The key idea is “some” things, not “every” thing. Where I live, “some” means plants that can live through almost freezing temperatures. In my case, that means spinach and broccoli.

More Tools

The last thing I did to prep this week was buy a compressor. Home Depot had a 30 gallon model on sale for $279 so my wife agreed to let me get it. When we went to buy it, I changed my mind and (amazingly) talked her into letting me get a Dewalt 15 gallon for $100 more than the Husky. What? $100 more for a tank that’s only half the size? I can explain…

First, I don’t have a problem with Husky tools, but Dewalt tools have never failed me. Also, the Dewalt is light enough that I can load it into my truck by myself. The Husky is too heavy. I’m not painting cars or running an air driven belt sander, so 15 gallon air capacity should be fine for my needs.

That’s it for me this time. What did you do to prep this week?

Peace out,
porcupine

What did you do to prep this week?

garlic for my back yardThe past week was pretty busy for me. I have a final exam this Wed and my garlic order showed up. We started work on a new rental. I started my Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) class. More on that coming soon. I started working towards a 2 week food supply for a family of 5. Besides all that, my wife decided she wanted to be in “high maintenance mode”, so I had to deal with that as well. So to flesh it out a little, here goes…

Garlic

Since my garlic order showed up, I figured I’d better (finally) get the planting beds ready. I pulled all the dead squash plants from 3 beds and dug out all the dirt. Went to the local nursery and bought 15 bags of Kick garden soil. Mixed it with the dirt from the beds, shoveled it back in, leveled and tamped with a rake. I’d say the mix in each bed is 20% dirt and 80% Kick. I’ll get the garlic planted in the next 2 weeks and hope for an awesome harvest next summer. I have too much garlic so I’ll give the extra to some people in my prepping group if they want to plant it. If not, I’ll just eat it. It is after all organic…

CERT

I took my first week of CERT classes. So far they’ve talked about emergency preparedness, CERT organization (BORing….), basic triage of disaster victims, and basic fire suppression and prevention. I’m really glad I took this class. I love the emphasis on community (the ‘C’ after all stands for Community) and the skills they teach are really useful IMO. Besides that the networking opportunities are great, and I even found a little intel opportunity.

Permaculture

I didn’t mention it in the intro, but I also went to my second Permaculture meetup. Got to meet a few new people which was awesome. One of the new people was hosting a work-bee on butchering rabbits this Saturday. I had to miss it because of my CERT class but he said I could call him any time and he’d help me get set up for raising rabbits and let my come over next time he’s processing some.

Misc…

My Prepper meetup was also last week, but I missed it because of the CERT class. The topic was situational awareness so I kind of wish I could have made it, but I really wanted needed to take the CERT class. That’s it for me this time. What did you do to prep this week?
Peace out,
porcupine

Random notes

Haven’t had time to update this lately, so here are some random notes…

Permaculture

Went to my second permaculture Meetup last night. They are having 2 work-bees this month, where members get together and help each other out and learn. Really a good idea for a Meetup group IMO. One is this weekend which I won’t be able to attend due to a previous commitment. Wish I could go though, because the topic is butchering and processing rabbits. I did talk to the guy running the work-bee and he said to contact him and he’ll help me get started with raising rabbits. The second work-bee will also be useful, helping one of the members put in some low-tunnel growing beds. That one is at the end of the month so I’ll be able to go.

Preppers

My monthly preppers Meetup is tonight, but I won’t be able to go because of a previous commitment. The topic is situational awareness so it should be interesting. I do have a couple of good books on the subject, notably Left of Bang.

CERT

The big deal for me for the next 2 weeks is CERT training. If you don’t know what CERT is, it means Community Emergency Response Team. The training is provided by county law enforcement under the guidance of FEMA. I figure it’s a good way to learn how FEMA operates, meet other like-minded people, and learn some helpful skills.

Kifaru

I’m still pissed at Kifaru about the missing pulls on my Urban Zippy. TWICE now I’ve requested they be sent to me, twice now I was promised they’ve been sent, and twice I’ve gotten stiffed. And yes, I verified both times that they have my correct mailing address. I could just get some paracord and make my own, but I want the side pulls to match the other pulls. Hell, they wouldn’t even bother to tell me what brand and color they use so I can match it myself. Maybe it shouldn’t be that big a deal to me, but we’re talking about a day pack that cost over $300.

I’ve been saving for an AMR or Mountain Warrior, but after my experience I’m looking at Eberlestock and Mystery Ranch too. So far I don’t see anything I like as much as the big Kifaru packs, but I’m not very happy with Kifaru’s customer service right now. Hopefully I’ll be over it by the time I have the money saved up.

Garden

My garlic order showed up last week, so I got a bunch of really good planting soil and set up 3 raised beds for the garlic. Hope to get it planted next week. I have 2 more beds I’m going to plant with brussel sprouts, lettuce, and spinach. From what I learned last night, they’ll grow over the winter (even in freezing weather) as long as I keep them under a low tunnel cover.

Peace out,
porcupine

Permaculture for the Backyardsman?

Permaculture for the BackyardsmanWhat is Permaculture? The simple answer is “the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.” To tell the truth, I probably never would have heard the term ¬†except for this article by John Mosby. I don’t agree with all of his ideas, but if he writes about something it’s definitely worth checking out. So I decided to see if I could find an answer to this: Does Permaculture Have Anything to Offer the Backyardsman? It turned out to be easier than I thought. There is a Permaculture Meetup group right here in my town that meets twice a month. So I joined the group and went to my first Meetup with them last night.

So what is Permaculture?

The definition above is just a little oversimplified, so here is something a little more descriptive from Bill Mollison (one of the founders of the movement):

“The aim is to create systems that are ecologically-sound and economically viable, which provide for their own needs, do not exploit or pollute, and are therefore sustainable in the long term.”
“Permaculture uses the inherent qualities of plants and animals combined with the natural characteristics of landscapes and structures to produce a life-supporting system for city and country, using the smallest practical area.”

OK, that sounds simple enough but how do you practice Permaculture? By following and practicing the Three Ethics and Twelve Principles of Permaculture as defined by David Holmgren (the other founder of the movement).

Permaculture – First Impressions

The people at the Meetup were friendly and helpful. The problem I have is that they all advocate applying Permaculture principles to all areas of life and society. To them, gardening is just one aspect of Permaculture, and not even the most important one. Definitely far left leaning, in the 60’s hippy sort of way. I’ve found this to be a common thread in the online works on Permaculture too. Politics aside, does Permaculture have anything to offer the Backyardsman? Yes and no…

The 12 Principles of Permaculture

  1. Observe and Interact
  2. Catch and Store Energy
  3. Obtain a Yield
  4. Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback
  5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services
  6. Produce No Waste
  7. Design From Patterns to Details
  8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate
  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions
  10. Use and Value Diversity
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change

Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 12 have obvious application to the Backyardsman. Observing and interacting is what we do. Catching and storing energy is how we cook and avoid freezing to death. Obtain a Yield? Thank you Capt Obvious… Same for applying self regulation (self discipline) and using renewable resources when possible. And of course responding to change is something that should be second nature to a Backyardsman…

Principle 6 is something worth working towards but is impossible in the real world. Principles 7, 9, and 11 are useful too, but I need more time to think about how to apply them.

That leaves Principles 8 and 10, the only two I have a problem with. They are also the two which make it easy for the left to want to apply Permaculture to society as a whole instead of just to gardening.

Permaculture for the Backyardsman

I think Permaculture does have some valuable things to offer the Backyardsman. Learning how to observe and operate in your environment are valuable life skills. Creativity and being able to respond to change are valuable too. I’m not so sure about diversity just for the sake of diversity. Well, I am sure but I don’t want to rant… Also keep in mind that many of the people you’ll be dealing with in the Permaculture community have a leftist world view. A lot of them don’t like guns. A lot of them probably think Trump voters are knuckle dragging reprobates.