Water, water everywhere...
So, it's raining a lot. It's been raining since we arrived. Near non-stop, for 2 weeks. (You didn't hear about that yet, as the last post was the dew-eyed, Our Farm Can Save The World introduction to this blog. NOW we'll get real.)
So, like I said, lots o' rain. This excessive precipitation means we haven't had a chance to begin discing, tilling or much else having to do with putting hands or implements into the soil. Bummer, yes, but it would definitely not do to complain about rain in a state where too often the opposite is the case.
And here's the other thing...what can you do? Generations of humans have tried to manipulate the ground, water, air, magma, squirrels and so on for as long as we've been humans rather than primordial ooze. And most of the time it just won't work. The Earth wins, just as often as it wants. We aren't supposed to get what we want every time.
Sometimes we're just the sweaty bald guy, and pouty Stallone just wrestles us into submission. Nothing you can do about it but wait for the ground to dry, be thankful you're not hungry, can still watch Downton Abbey, (sorry Alex, it is amazing) and meanwhile plug some mushroom logs while it's wet.
Our mushroom project is exciting for both of us--there is something so grungy and magical about growing mushrooms. It makes me feel like David the Gnome...I think it just makes Alex feel hungry and pleased with himself. We grew some shitakes with some free plugs this past year under our porch in North Carolina, but this time around we're going at it a tad more aggressively.
For the uninitiated to shitake mushroom growing, I'll offer this super-brief summary:
You take a small hardwood log, drill it with some small holes, fill the holes with plugs of shitake spawn (called mycelium), seal it all up with beeswax and wait 6 months to a year. Then BOOM!
Mushrooms. Infinitely groovy, huh?
You'll be hearing more about these fun guys, as we plan to plug a bunch of logs with both Shitake and Lion's Manes mycelium soon. If you perked up at Lion's Manes, then stay tuned. We have much to learn about all of this, and I'll kiss and tell about the juiciest parts.
The rain has been a boon in other ways. Not only have the raindrops filled the old irrigation ponds out at the farm property, but they have shown us which areas drain the least. In other words, we know which spots on the land are most likely to have sloppy puddles.
From a permaculture perspective, gaining knowledge such as that is incredibly useful. It will inform future choices on how to use that land, from possible placement of new ponds to crop choices to what kinds of animals could be most happy there.
If you just squinched at the word permaculture, let's pause right here. Permaculture is a philosophy, for farming, design, day-to-day breathing and at it's biggest reach, whole communities. I'll be inclined to go on and on about the principles of permaculture, but I'll refrain from that today--suffice it to say that it isn't a new idea, but rather a commitment to intention and thinking about our nature/food/societal systems as connected to a bigger whole.
If we think about how each tree, puddle, duck, rock and person fits into one another, we can design way of growing and living that make life a lot easier and sustainable in the end.
Whew. That didn't even cover it, nor was it terribly clear. If you must know more now and can't wait for my own prattlings, I suggest reading this blog, created by Milkwood, a permaculture farm/education center in Australia that I find fascinating. Or try this or even this. But, I PROMISE I'll talk about it frequently, as it feels more right to me than most ideas about farming and living.
And so, lest you think it's all dreary wetness and 80's pop culture references here, I'll leave you with this...
...our first organized citrus harvest. Ruby Red and White Grapefruit, Meyer Lemons, Satsumas. Joy is holding something in your hand that looks like the sun and knowing you can eat it.
I wish you an edible-sun kind of day.