You guys made me cry. :-) Seriously, I had thought about what you meant to me and how I would miss you but hadn’t considered you might miss me….selfish of me.
So I have thought about this all day while thinking over your comments (which I don’t have the time today to answer individually) and want to say that I will come back to post on an infrequent basis. I can’t set up a schedule as life has to come first. More on that another day.I will also check in to answer comments as leaving the information online without responding to questions is just plain rude (to me at least).
Small Footprints, I should be thanking you as you put so much time into challenging us to do better in our lives one small step at a time. I was very proud to share your challenges. Cat, I love your comments! Your comments have felt like talking to a good friend, good friends don’t edit or count the number of words in a conversation. ;-)
Since you want more and I am in the middle of work I will leave you today with a post I wrote a while back but felt it needed a bit of polishing. I think the subject is important and hope you will enjoy it.
I just finished the book Paradise Lot by Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates and came away with a feeling of hope. Here are two guys who bought a duplex with 1/10th of an acre of compacted soil and turned it into an edible forest garden. What was amazing about their garden is the fact that it is in Massachusetts where the winters are more bitter than my area and yet they have a banana tree growing in their front yard.
Okay so the banana tree doesn’t produce fruit but to be able to keep a banana tree alive in their front yard in MA is impressive. Eric and Jonathan stated out with a goal of 300 species of plants on their small plot and at the time of writing had roughly 200 perennial or self-sowing species.
Their goals were lofty, they wanted an edible garden that would not only produce consistent food for them all year but wanted to see if they could take a barren plot of land in an urban environment and create an oasis for not only themselves but an ecosystem for insects, birds and other wildlife native to that area.
While the list of foods they have been able to grow in such a small plot is surprising they have taken the time to look at when each plant would be producing food and in the case of berries, they have enough varieties which ripen at various times that they are never without berries from early summer to be beginning of autumn.
As I read Paradise Lot I kept looking outside at my field, I already have the wildlife here. We already have the worms, snakes, bunnies, birds and even the praying mantis (a sign of healthy ecosystem) has paid us visits. But the field outside my door is not organized to support the life these two men created on their small plot.
The other reason this book has inspired me so comes back to water. If I can grow more food, even in partial shade, I will use less water to produce food. I have been saddened this past week to see pictures of farmers uprooting their almond trees because of drought conditions, water is a key component for life both for people and the plants we grow and depend on to nourish us.
Much of what they grow they have done in shady conditions. I had no idea the number of edible plants that could be grown in the shade. With drought conditions spreading the idea that we can grow even berries in the shade has inspired me to take a better look at how I can use the land available to me. I have wanted to plant fruit and nut trees but believed the area around them would then be of no use in growing food plants.
One year Jonathan decided to weigh all the food brought in from the gardens during a 6 month period.
From what I recorded-and it wasn’t everything-I estimated that for a household of four adults, over six months, we harvested four hundred pounds of forest garden fruits and vegetables from the perennial portion of our tenth of an acre, in addition to the many annual vegetables from the annual bets, tropical gardens, and greenhouse. Much of that forest garden harvest was from partial shade, and many of our plants are still getting established and should produce more in the future
I couldn’t find this book at the library so I bought it for the Kindle. it didn’t take me long to see this was going to be a book I needed in print to use as a reference as I try to turn my field (a little at a time) into the ecosystem that can support both myself, friends and family, and more of my community but also the wildlife I cherish.