Friday, October 16, 2015

Growing Season #2 on Lockie Farm

MARCIA POWELL -- Blog article (#18) – October 16, 2015 –
Growing Season #2 on Lockie Farm”

My last blog was April 12th—the beginning of spring. For those of you who remember reading about last year's battle with the superweeds, I am happy to inform you that my plan worked, i.e. cutting them at ground level if I couldn't pull them out by the roots and then dumping 3-4” of wood chips on the stumps. That did kill most of them. The ones I had to pull up this year were in the areas where some flooding had occurred, and some patches out in the adjoining alfalfa.

In May I purchased two beehives and packages of bees. Had to shout out a HELP! To the Central Illinois Beekeeper Club page on Facebook, resulting in an amazing beekeeper named Mike coming to my rescue. The bees are for the plants and the environment, so I'm happy for him to do the work and sell the honey for his exchange. He gives me my percentage of yummy honey for my personal use.

As food for the bees, in late March I scattered Dutch white clover seeds all over my yard and some into the WPP (Woody Perennial Polyculture) rows, praying they would make their way through the mulch, take root, and grow. Some made it; some didn't. But, as you can see from the photo, the green clover beautifies my front yard. (Remember, I chose not to have a grass lawn.) I've earmarked a section of my property to plant native/pollinator plants next spring. Doing my bit for the bees! :-)

The son of an L.A. friend, who visited me for 9 days in May, helped me plant strawberries on the septic lines, but they all died. :-( We also took down the four [ugly] raised beds, and use the dirt for some vegetable garden rows. Then we created a little patio of bricks on the west side of the house. Bought an antique red pump from my bro-in-law as a decoration, and added an arbor vitae tree and some shrubs as the “necklace” for that side of the house.

June was unusually wet. One day/night we got 6”! The irrigation ditch rose so high it reached the bridge I-beam, which stopped the corn husks, beer cans, whiskey bottles, styrofoam, and other junk. To prevent this stuff from ending up in the Gulf of Mexico dead zone, I recruited my friend Tracy and we pulled some up with rakes; then I braved the wicked current, waded in and got more. Felt so righteous! But the bad news was that the 6” rain took out the seeds I had just planted into my new square foot garden. :-(

Another downside of all the June rain was that my farmer was not able to do the first cutting of the alfalfa/grass. It grew so tall it both shaded the WPP and pulled nutrients away. Once he did cut it, I had to go out with my newly purchased weedwacker (you should/ve seen lil ol me trying handle that baby!) and take down the “fringe.”

Met a fellow, Brent, in August who was good enough to come out many evenings and lend a hand in exchange for some home-cooked organic dinners—plus my delicious blackberries. Together we rescued the poor struggling hazelnuts from the tall alfalfa/grass all around the property. Brent also dug up a lot of grass clumps which were close to the WPP plants, which we put over in the rows of poplar trees as some extra mulch. Plus we together managed to get the dried up paint (and big spiders!) out of the (ugly) 300-gallon bin in front of the garage; put it in the pickle buckets I've been getting for free from Burger King and used them to create a border on the SW side of my yard. We used lead pipes to roll the still heavy bin over to where the others are along the road. What a win to then be able to put a beautiful big pot of geraniums where the bin had been. It's been interesting to find out just how important aesthetics are to me.

In September I hosted my first Savanna Institute Field Day. Was misty-moisty, so glad that all 20 attendees were able to fit into chairs in my garage. Told them what all I was doing, especially about the Woody Perennial Polyculture and restoration agriculture, and then did a quick tour, followed by refreshments.

The Field Day motivated me (well, Pete Havranek) to create a website for the farm:

As I think you know, I have long been concerned that GMO food causes adverse health effects. There is a new book entitled “Altered Genes Twisted Truth” by Steven M. Druker that is probably the definitive work on the issue.

While we're on the subject of health, I have just watched the first four episodes (of 9) of “The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest” created by Ty Bollinger. I highly highly recommend watching the series. A couple of years ago I made the decision to NOT do chemo/radiation were I to be diagnosed with cancer. This data corroborates this decision.

Drove to the Outer Banks in North Carolina at the end of June to spend a week with family at a lovely beach house. Ashley and Ethan flew out from Portland. Ashley's leg was in a cast from an accident she had (walking down stone stairs in the dark!)--broke the tibia, fibula, and ankle—not good, especially since she is a massage therapist! She is finally now out of the boot and able to walk with a cane—and drive. Yea!

Sister Jane and I continue our lifetime Scrabble tournament (she's ahead), and we can play a ton of piano duets from half a dozen different books. Also enjoyed some family get-togethers at the pond.

Attended the Illinois Libertarian Convention in August—always informative and enjoyable. Had a booth at a couple of local festivals and garnered 50 new names. More and more people these days are turning to the Libertarian party.

Am still on a quest for a “mate.” There was a fellow in Lincoln, Nebraska... we needed to meet, so each drove halfway and had a long lunch in Williamsburg, Iowa. Not a match, but a new friend made.

And, of course, people continue to match up through the Affinity Exchange. See success stories on home page: Please refer your friends!

Hope you all are flourishing and prospering (thriving)!
Please write and give me an update on your adventures.

Love to all, Marcia (217) 582-2112 home (818) 552-2211 cell