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Archive for January, 2010

Fruits and Nuts

Last week, I walked around the farm with my handyman inspecting the barn, checking fences and laying out future projects.  Imagine this… he once owned a farm (Former Farmers of America?), understands sustainable living, and thus far has identified two almond trees, a fig tree, a plum tree, an abundant quantity of blackberry bushes and two different grapevines, all of which require some serious attention.  And none of these were in the orchard.

Five more days until I take up residence.  I see a pair of Muck Boots in my future!

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El Nino Treachery

These past few days have been not-so-gentle reminders about why I want to live in the foothills rather than in the mountains.  When the original date for closing escrow was in mid-December, I rejoiced over the fact that I would most likely never have to pick up a snow shovel again.  However, now that it’s almost the end of January and I’m still not living at the farm, I find it ironic that this final winter here in Twain Harte is almost avenging my decision to leave!

Snow, snow, power outages, and more snow… could this be my swan song, my last dance, my last chance…?  There was a time when picking up the snow shovel seemed like a novel thing to do.. a melancholy throwback to the stories of my father’s youth in Iowa.  But I was born and raised in San Francisco.  The only shovels we knew were those that my mother used to transplant her abundant flower garden; certainly a far (and much more productive) cry from the flaky white stuff that never ceases to end.

I’m thinking of having a yard sale once I finally move onto the “farm” and you can guess which item will be set out closest to the gate. A drop dead, knock out, ergonomically designed snow shovel!

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De Lays and El Nino

I learned today that my farming endeavors may not begin as early as planned.  Escrow was scheduled to close next week but has, once again, been delayed due to the conflict between  El Nino and an “engineered” septic system.  California is experiencing a January with rains heavier than usual which is causing the delay in getting the system completed.  Last month, the delay was caused by the inability to get a permit while the county took a furlough during the holidays; this month, it’s a new ballgame.

I can’t help wonder if the utility companies will think I’m crazy when I call them to postpone installation once again.  I suppose the silver lining is that it’s happening during the winter months and not at a time when my plantings will be delayed.  My only regret is that there aren’t any rain barrels collecting all of this nitrogen-laden liquid for Springtime watering.

However, if I’m going to learn to live in accordance with Mother Nature’s time clock, what better time to start than now.

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To Bee or Not to Bee

I started thinking about the honey bees today and began my investigation into what’s required to be a keeper.  Actually, I went searching around the web for bee sites and came across something called “The Lucky 7” premium beesuit.  Naturally, I started thinking about which 7 parts of me would get lucky and then realized I was heading in another direction.

So much to consider… hives made from polystyrene vs. wood, including or excluding the queen, mice guards, etc.  Sounds like I will need to do some searching around for local beekeepers to find out where to start.  And then there’s the problem of the bees themselves.  Do I go searching for them or will they find me?

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I Have a Farm in California…

… at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Three weeks to go!  I sold my mountain home in the snowy hamlet of Twain Harte and am moving to a one-acre “farm” in the Foothills town of Sonora.  While that might not seem like a noteworthy event, consider that I am a former urbanite from San Francisco whose only experience with a chicken has been on a grill.  I have this image of Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen in “Out of Africa” and imagine that my learning curve will be much like hers.

So much to learn… chickens, goats, honey bees, composting, organic veggies, fruit trees… in that order (or so I’d like to think).  Meanwhile, there’s the business of being on a well and a septic system rather than public services.  What happens if I lose power?  Does that mean I can’t flush the toilet?

And when on earth will I find time to manage my real business?  You know… the one that pays the bills?

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