Our Philosophy

Festina lente
-make haste...slowly

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall's Full Sails

 I have to admit, summers in South Georgia without A/C take some getting used to.  The garden for the last few months has not been particularly photogenic, nor have I felt much like cataloguing our sticky existence through the horse latitudes of the calendar.  There was nothing pleasant about it, no refuge or recovery from the oppressive weather, for three solid months.  On at least 3 different occasions I couldn't fall asleep until well after midnight.  It's the first time we've gone without air conditioning, anywhere we've lived below the 47th parallel.  In a climate like this it takes the wind out of your sails for sure.  But the forecast calls for 49 degrees as a low tonight, 70 for a high tomorrow, and 43 the following night.  I think we've dipped below 60 once since the dog days finally ended, I think, if that gives you some perspective.  This is thermometric territory we haven't seen since about March.  And it's bloody welcomed!  I personally can't wait to bust out the fleece and some long pants!

To celebrate the passage of summer and a return to full, non-fried egg brain function (yeah sure), I feel like posting some pictures of the place.  Ella will be your tour guide today...

I've got the onion now, so no talking unless I ask you a question directly!  OK, here we go.

Daddy picked up a new hobby after receiving a call about a wild swarm of honeybees at the country club west of town.  Can't wait to taste our very own top-bar honey!!

Here's my little brother, Oliver, inspecting the peppers.  He doesn't actually like peppers very much, but he still thinks he's an expert on the subject.  Not sure where he gets that attitude.

There's Mama enjoying a wonderfully pleasant day after such a long, hot summer.  Behind the blanket on the fence is the new rabbit doe condo, recently converted from our old large chicken tractor. 

That's our new breeding trio of Black Copper Marans.  The roosters were being mean to each other so we separated them temporarily, until Uncle Andrew gets here Saturday for a rooster cleaning lesson.  Dad's going to show him how to clean his two by clearing out this guy's competition!

Here's why.  The chocolate egg up front is what the Marans lay.  Isn't that pretty?  I love them!  I've heard that good chefs will pay 20 bucks a dozen for these babies!  They must be made out of really good chocolate.

This was our big doomer moment.  We loaded up on some staples this summer, you know, just in case.

Here's that crazy okra again.  Daddy can barely reach the top these days.  Did I mention that he's 6'3"??  That okra must be pushing nine feet tall by now.

Hey, how did this get in here;)?  There's that cute little Ella again, helping build the arbor at the orchard entry.

Without a goat around that mulberry has sure had a good year!  I miss Briggsy, but I can't wait to taste these Illinois Everbearing berries early next spring!  They are first on the list of seasonal fruit.

The peaches have had a good year too.  Maybe Dad will let them ripen a few fruits for me next season.

The pomegranate is like 7' tall now.  See the two fruits hanging at the bottom?  I think we're going to eat them this weekend while we have family in town!

More figs and loquats looking good.  The three little tea camellias in the background have settled in nicely too.  Can't wait to try fresh tea from our garden!

We make most of our living off of the waste stream in Tift County.  Here Dad is preparing a Stropharia mushroom bed out of free pecan shells he gets by the pickup truck load.  He layers whatever he can get on this bed - pecan shells, cotton seed hulls, peanut shells, peach pits, whatever - since the wine caps like a complex substrate in which to grow.  We'll be inoculating this bed by next weekend.

I've been waiting all summer for this!  The first 4 dozen broccoli starts are in, and making me wish it was November already.  We try our best not to buy produce out of season so it's been a while since we had broccoli.

This is one of our new buck rabbits, Clover.  He's a big boy who will hopefully throw some big kits soon.  I haven't eaten any rabbit since we went to the mountains in July, and I'm missing it.  The breeders do double duty as fertilizing machines.  A new pomegranate variety will go in this spot next spring, and Clover and Yarrow will move to the next spot.

This is Clover's view of the garden.  I wonder if he dreams about asparagus, roselle, lemongrass, and strawberries?  I feed him fresh greens every morning, so he eats pretty well I think.

I (Daddy) grew these sunflowers for my cousin, Monique's wedding this Sunday.  I hope she likes them!

Ooooo, look what Grandma Betty bought for us a couple weeks ago!  Wasn't that nice of her?  I have no idea why, but none of us are complaining!  That MIG beef operation is looking more likely by the day.

We spend so much time in this room that it seems a shame not to include a picture of it.  The garden is wonderful, no doubt, but the kitchen is where my parents really hook it up.
Oliver says thanks for all the good groceries!!
See you next time...


  1. Please thank Ella and Oliver for their gracious tour of the home place.

    A couple of questions and observations. The eggs? Easter came early? The colors...the colors! Ooops. 60s flash back....

    Was interesting to see the tea plants. I also plan to put in tea. We have a local nursery here (Rain Tree) that carries them. So, acclimated to the local climate.

    Wow. So many exotics that would never grow here. Pomegranates, loquats, figs and ... okra. Although there was a guy who was pretty successful with artichokes in his green house.

    I thought that was an interesting bit about the mushrooms in the mulch. Not in a log? Sounds less labor intensive and self perpetuating.

  2. P.S. I really like the shot of the house. First we've seen, I think. And that kitchen! Wow. Obviously, a center of industry.

  3. Isn't that an incredible selection of eggs? My dad turned me on to Americaunas, which are the ones that lay the Easter eggs. Had them for years now, and will hopefully never be without. The dark chocolate is the next adventure.

    Raintree is where I got my first tea plant. Picked up the other two from a friend here with established bushes. They seem to reseed pretty readily, so don't spend too much on a starter colony. I'm hoping to propagate an entire commercial-scale operation from my three as we go. Raintree rocks! Very pro-permaculture. I've spent a couple thousand dollars in their catalogue pages. I highly recommend them.

    Yes, pomegranates, figs, olives too, but no cherries! Argh!! I love cherries! (Actually I have a Lapins cherry planted here just to try.) You might be able to grow the Chicago fig Raintree offers? Pomegranates and olives are probably a loss.

    This will be my first real soil-based mushroom bed. Inoculating this evening actually. Shipment just arrived. I'll update the blog about how it goes.

    I also think that is the first shot of the house. We sure love it here. Except for the gnats. Jess said I should've cleaned up the kitchen a bit before I photographed it, but I wanted to give a snapshot of daily life in the Small Batch kitchen. Definitely a busy place!

  4. Tripp,
    Thanks for the kids-eye-view of your farm. I envy how much food you can grow in Georgia. Our summer was cold and wet, so I still have lots of green tomatoes to put in the window to ripen.

    The arugula has reseeded and the asparagus has bright red berries. Soon my woodstove will be installed and I can switch from natural gas to wood. In a couple of weeks our neighborhood will have its annual barter fair and cider press as we prepare for a future where cash is increasingly uncommon.

    Yesterday I completed Toby Hemenway's fabulous permaculture design course, which packed my brain with amazing ideas. It sounds like you have been practicing permaculture for some time.


  5. "the asparagus has bright red berries"

    My asp is only 4 years old, but this year it grew about 5' tall, and all green/spindly fine. Will it eventually produce "fruiting seeds" (which are 'red')?

    I love those *light blue eggs*. Damn, when will I ever be able to raise my own chickens *legally*? I s'pose, once we enter Marshall Law, I'll have *free reign*...

  6. Eewwwww.. did those eggs come from a chicken's bum? ;)

    The homestead looks great, Tripp. You need to let me know how you grow those 4X4s.

    Have you started actively breeding the bunnies again? I just had several 'graduate' recently so our 1.5 month break from having any rabbit meat is now over. I learned that -too- many kits can indeed slow the growth process after having a small litter greatly outpace a litter of 12 in growth recently.

    Nice to see you back online.

  7. Su, very jealous of the PDC with Toby! I have the utmost respect for him. Congrats. And good luck with your overflowing fount of ideas; it's quite a ride.

    Ix, from what I understand about asparagus, the red berries are what you're trying to avoid! I think the females are the only berry bearers, and they pull energy from stalk production to do so. The males, with no berries, are supposed to be more desirable, so count your blessings, good sir! (And just get some chickens, dammit, screw the planning regs...)

    Jason, howdy! Those 4X4s are tough to grow, and I'm loathe to divulge my secrets, like a protected Morel patch;) Rabbits are indeed back online; our first litter is due in a couple of weeks. Have enough does to breed once a month now. I can already taste those delectable little babies. Trust all is well (and freezing cold) in Alberta?