If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here’s a story-in-pix that should be worth a good ten grand: Woody Waste -> Black Gold PS to the story: We’ve still got mountains of woody waste lying around… And now we’re back into heavy pruning once again! Little branches of young soft fruit trees are not such a problem, but gnarly old wood like we have coming out of our orange orchard is another story.
It’s been a long haul, and before the rainy season comes around again….
Tree-Huggers that we are, it’s always hard to cut living wood, but -as Nick Lowe put it tunefully, if a bit too cutesilly- “You’ve got to be cruel to be kind,” if you hope to enjoy a good harvest. Long story to tell about this, complete with annotated pictures that i’ve uploaded to this photo album at Imgur… In the Land of Fruits & Nuts … but for the purposes of this blog, i’ll be brief.
Having experimented with many forms of soil testing over the years, from simple DIY jar tests to the most sophisticated lab tests and everything in between, i can’t say as i’ve yet found a method that is both sufficiently rigorous AND agile enough that we can commit to doing on a broad enough scale and long enough timetable to inform good decision-making here on the farm. That being said: this “Sector Mentor for Soils” app looks pretty promising on the face of it -and comes well-recommended by my Regrarians Workplace colleague Stephen Barrow, so i might give it a try…
While government-approved organic certification standards are a good thing to have, they are by no means a guarantee that the produce under the label is of the highest nutritional quality. Indeed, as anyone who’s seen the film “Keeping the Soil in Organic” must admit, the standard -at least in USA (i.e. USDA Ceritified Organic)- is so broad as to admit of some very unhealthful practices… And because those practices are essential to the profitiability of those big agri-businesses that have lobbied successfully to protect them, they are in fact coming to increasingly dominate the organic food supply chain.
Since hosting our first PDC (Permaculture Design Course) here on the farm some 10 years ago, and having since then gained a measure of fame for our applications of this particular design science, i want to take a few moments here for celebration and critical reflection on that experience. One project in particular stands out for me as reflecting pretty much the entire rainbow of possibilities: the light, the dark, and everything in between.
A nice cool morning, so i finished sheet-mulching & composting the 3rd of 3 beds today… But then as sky remained overcast, with a moderate breeze out of NNW, it occurred to me that perhaps the wind would be hitting Cordoama beach just about right. So i took a chance -and bagged a nice 90min flight at my favorite site in all the world!
This blogging (given such power tools) takes so little effort… So why has it been so many weeks since last post? No excuse, but it does seem like quite a stretch these days, between all i’ve got to do on the ground AND “in the air,” to to speak -i.e. the infosphere. Typically, i am so bushed from the former sort of work that, whenever i sit down at computer, i’ve little attention for anything much beyond essential tasks.
Enchanted by “The Shiny Object,” as Dan Kittredge puts it so well in this video, i enquired of the BFA as to the prospects of getting a Bionutrient Meter over here in Portugal… But in the end, my decision to form a local chapter is grounded in my assessment that this organisation has what it takes to achieve Collective Impact.
The life of a ReFarmer tends to be so busy, one loses all perspective at times. So: here i am, “up before the chickens,” as it were -often the only time i can find in a day to address the pile of unanswered emails- when the long list in my inbox went all fuzzy, so i couldn’t bring myself to focus, and i found myself staring motionless at the screen so long, my screensaver kicked in.