Our Philosophy

Festina lente
-make haste...slowly

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I'll Have the Double Supreme Gordita, Please...I Mean, Now.

First off, why does the "new and improved" version always end up sucking worse than ever? I HATE the new blogger interface. When will it just be good enough? Why can't we just get used to something and keep it how it is?? I'm pretty sure I've gotten a decent nap in the time it took to get from entry to here, and, to be honest, I'm not sure the muse is lurking about anymore...In the words of Jimmy Buffett, "I don't want 8 ounces of watered down cherry coke for an extra 25 cents! I don't want that much organization in my life! I want...Junior Mints!! Where did Junior Mints go in the movies?! We need more fruitcakes! Less bakers! We need people who care!!"

Never mind that it's "fewer," Jimmy, not "less," this isn't an English lesson; I just get god danged tired of always having to learn new systems when the old one is almost always easier! I'm with you...keep it simple, stupid...

Went out to get my monthly debaucherous pizza from the local pizza joint a little bit ago and on my way in there was this huge lady, easily 300 lbs, and her sadistically-large son, tipping the scales at...oh, somewhere near my weight, let's say, 200+. I don't think he was 12 yet. That's child abuse in my opinion. Why can't we call it what it is?? People like her are dooming their children to sub-standard lives. And they had no choice in the matter. Why is that OK? Are we afraid of these people? I mean, it's not like they could catch us if we needed to run from them. Twenty yards and out, baby. Fuggedabout-it. Fatties aren't built for speed OR endurance.

Anyway, these two bohemoths were all of about 4 feet behind me on the way in, and I did the unthinkable. I dropped the door right on top of them. All I could think was, burn the 2.5 calories to open it yourself, chunky monkey. It's high time we stopped coddling your fat asses. I don't know if you know this or not, but global energy peak has come and gone, and every calorie you eat that you don't need is a calorie someone else doesn't get. We're overpopulated even without your excess, you lard-asses.

I understand that our food is 50% less mineral dense than it was 50 years ago, because of the way we are abusing our topsoil, and that making up for that loss of mineral density causes us to eat twice as much as we used to, but there are alternatives! Lots of folks are still thin out there. And it's not because they were "blessed" with better genes than you got. It's because they actively seek better food than you're eating. One of the hallmarks of "organic" is mineral density. Start there. Grow your own, buy your own, but do it organically. It's cheaper than eating McDonald's. Stop being lazy. Look into the matter. You're not a victim. Your brain isn't working properly because of your shitty diet. But that doesn't mean it has to stay that way, that it can't change. The planet can't afford your non-chalance anymore. The planet's people can't feed themselves on your table scraps.

Find another way. Jesus. Can we please stop accomodating these folks? Obesity isn't a handicap. You need to park at the very back of the grocery store lot, not the very front. Walk a little, ride a bike, dump the bun on your burger, do something. Just stop expecting everyone else to pick up the tab for your ridiculous behavior.

Rant off. Tripp out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Workshop – Building a Cob Chicken Fortress on the Cheep!

This will be a three-day workshop spread out over three consecutive Saturdays - 5/5, 5/12, and 5/19.

The workshops will be held at Small Batch Garden, our new food forest in Talking Rock, GA (between Jasper and Ellijay, an hour and a half north of Atlanta).  Choose one or come to all of them!

1st Saturday (5/5): Foundation building.  We will be excavating (with shovels) a small site for a chicken coop with interior dimensions of 4’x6’ (the walls will be about 18” thick!), laying a French drain and rubble trench foundation, and packing old poly feed sacks with gravel to lay for the plinth wall, mortared with barbed wire.

2nd Saturday (5/12): Cobbing!  We will be adding a short cob wall – about 2-3 feet – with a couple of windows and chicken-size doors to the gravel bag plinth wall we built the previous week, building in roosts and nesting boxes as we go up.  We will also anchor door jambs and top sill plates to prepare for the carpentry workshop on the last weekend.

3rd Saturday (5/19): Roof and water capture.  In the last workshop we will build a simple pitched metal roof onto the top sill plate we anchored into the cob wall the previous week.  We will also build and attach the little doors, and set up the very simple water capture system.

Space is limited to four cars.  Please carpool if possible.  Workshops will run from 10AM to whenever we finish, but you may leave early if necessary.  Lunches will be provided (vegans should bring their own); please consider a donation to cover our expenses for this.  Email me to reserve your spot and get directions to Small Batch.  Really looking forward to it!!

Tripp Tibbetts
Steward of Small Batch Garden

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mountain High - Home Sweet Tent

I did the whole build manually. Here I am clearing the site and the scary 70' tall overhanging pine tree I'm chopping on here.  That's the biggest tree I've ever dropped and I did it with my great great grandaddy Hunt's axe.  The generations in my family flowed so quickly for a few generations that I actually got to attend Grandaddy Hunt's 100th birthday party when I was almost 20!  Can you imagine?  Nice axe; so glad to have it.  Cleared the whole site with it.

Here's my pro crew knocking out the decking on a fine day in late March in Ellijay, GA.

I had to crack the whip a bit more than I like (and their skin is so tender at that age), but those kids finally got the front porch decked so we could all have a proper look at our little mountain forest.  We have 2.34 acres (almost a hectare) of southeast-facing suntrap.  The road in is also the ridgeline of the local landform, so we get some sun over the back of the land too.  I think a small summer veggie plot will do nicely up there.  We're thinking about building a dam (one day) along the bottom property line to try to get a small pond going down below the house and workshop.

There it is, in all its glory.  Not fully adjusted and strapped down yet, but finally erect.  The poles for the internal frame were a lot more than Davis Tent and Awning quoted - $200 instead of $70! - but we got it done.  Still need to trim the deck edges, brush a linseed oil/beeswax finish into the floor, tack a 1x4 strip around the sod cloth at the bottom to seal up the edges and keep the legs of the tent on the deck, where they belong, and then move in!  Shouldn't take too long to do that;)

There's the crew, celebrating a little, after 8 long days of hard work.  Hopefully they are getting rested up for all the cob work ahead of us over the next few years.  We've got several volunteers pledged to help mix mud and build, but please come on out to help if you want!  There will be plenty of easy, one-day building sessions coming up if you want to check out cob cottage construction, (or maybe prefer to help me design and plant a bit of our food forest).  Our first two cob projects look to be a chicken coop/fortress and a garden wall out front to hide the tent from the only neighbor.  We're hoping to get a good decade of service from this structure, and plan to use it as our herb shop and guest quarters after we move out.  The light inside is incredible; I hope artists (or houseplant lovers!) are cashing in on such inexpensive and well-lit studio space.  We've got about $3500 total invested so far, not counting the cost of the land.

They say that the best way to insulate the tent is to tie the rain fly off a few inches higher than the roof of the tent.  I'm going to have to get some longer ropes or wires to tie off the downslope side, and I'm trying to stack a grape trellis into the design.  Muscadine grapes are the dominant plant species right below the tent, where I need to tie off, so why not grow grapes there?  This little bit of firewood I cut up with a small gas chain saw, but other than that, everthing was done with muscle power.  I felt really great, and really strong, after several days of manual labor with my axe, handsaw, post-hole diggers, and hammer.  I was already selling my electric tools, but now I'm actually thinking about selling my gas-powered ones as well.  I don't really enjoy working with them anymore, and I love the peace and rhythm of hand tools.  Just have to scale back our activity a bit.

Pretty minimal impact on the landscape.  I did buy the deck lumber from a big box hardware store since we were in such a hurry to set up base camp, living in both south Georgia and north Georgia at once, and preparing for a huge farmers market season with at least 10 times the market exposure we had last year.  But we'll try our best to make up for it with our lifestyle - no electricity except for battery powered devices we can charge off the car or a small solar charger, like the laptop I'm writing on now.  All water will be used at least twice, not a drop wasted.  I'll be carrying our drinking and cooking water up from the creek (about 1/4 mile away and 200 vertical feet below our camp site) to pour through the Berkey Light Water Filtering cooler we just bought today from Lehman's.  Woo-hoo!  You can pour raw mud puddle water into it and get better quality drinking water out than most people in the U.S. have access to, and the U.S.-made replaceable filter is supposed to be good for about two years, assuming you're not pouring raw mud puddle water into it every time.  Also ordered a two-burner propane cast-iron cook top, and a tiny washing machine that works sort of like a salad spinner. 
And so the next chapter begins with a giant tent on a wooden platform in the forest southeast of Ellijay, Georgia, with gravity-fed, sun-warmed water, solar oven local grass-fed pot roast, a family of four nutty permies, a bunch of fruit trees, four meat rabbits, seven laying hens, and a calico cat named Wednesday.