Soon to be a greenhouse

Anyone who has ever had a farm will understand this next statement: I’m willing to bet I don’t have one section of chicken wire or hardware cloth on this property that hasn’t been used for at least three different projects. You know how it goes . . . you build a chicken run and then six months you don’t need that run anymore, but you do need to protect the garden from roaming chickens, so you take the chicken wire and you build a temporary fence around the garden, but then after the harvest you need that wire to protect garlic planted in another section of the yard, so you pull the wire up again and move it . . . and . . .

And so it goes!

In fact, we recently went to the dump, and one load consisted of nothing but old projects using chicken wire which were all at least six years old. They had finally worn down to the point where I couldn’t use them for anything, so I was forced to get rid of them.

As I look around the place, I see quite a few examples of this “re-use” philosophy.  We have large plastic totes that are always being used for new projects.  I raised red wigglers in one and three months later modified it to raise mealworms, and six months after that I needed it as a portable holding station for baby chicks.

The aviaries I built to raise quail in have been used for the quail, for baby chickens, and as greenhouses. This winter one of them will store our firewood while the other will be for baby chickens again.

The carport made out of PVC pipe and plastic is being dismantled and will be a forty-foot greenhouse next spring.

And so it goes!

FIREWOOD DELIVERED

A cord of seasoned firewood was delivered the other day.  I spent the next few days moving it to its new home in the aviary.  It feels good knowing that chore is taken care of.  Next up is painting the shed out back, and then the next chore is . . . well, there’s always a next chore.

IN DEFENSE OF URBAN FARMING

I recently saw a cartoon on Facebook.  I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was about tomatoes, and it said “Tomatoes, something you plant and then wait four months in order to save $2.17.”

That’s actually a fairly accurate statement, but it’s also not a complete statement.

Urban farming is not about saving money.  If it were, most of us would be failing miserably.  Of course it is more convenient to purchase tomatoes at a supermarket.  It is also less expensive to do so . . . but . . . there is no way this boy is eating tomatoes sold at Safeway.  I’ve done far too much research about pesticides to ever eat produce or fruit from a supermarket.  Urban farming is a life choice.  I want to know where my food comes from, and if I don’t grow it I damned well make sure the produce we are buying came from a local farmer, one who practices organic farming.

Urban farming is also about community.  I can’t control what’s happening nationally.  National politics and policies drive me crazy.  I can, however, do my part to support local farmers and neighbors and businesses, and that’s what I will do.

And finally, urban farming is about joy and satisfaction.

WHAT DO CHICKENS, QUAIL, AND ME ALL HAVE IN COMMON?

The answer: none of us are worth a damn in hot weather!

I noticed this the last two years but still it surprised me when it happened this week: the chickens and quail all but stop laying eggs when the temperature gets too hot.  We are being promised cooler weather next week and then the girls will start laying again, but at first it’s a bit disconcerting when eighty quail and seven hens all of a sudden stop laying eggs.  LOL  Makes one think the end of the world is upon us.

Nope, nothing so sinister . . . it’s just too hot!  The fowl are on strike!

Buttercup is on the left

TIME TO GO DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE

I’ve got a shed to paint but hey, it’s too hot, so that will wait until next week. For now I think I’ll just make sure everyone has enough water and let it go at that.

Have a great week of gardening/farming. I know I will.

Bill

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13 thoughts on “Preparation and Flexibility

  1. Bill my first job was to pull and straighten nails for Grandpa. And did you know that prior to a certain date the forms used to pour the concrete building a new house were eventually yanked and used for the walls. Therefor the lumber was basically treated with lye and termite proof. Re-use it is right on!

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  2. There’s an old saying “Use it up, wear it out. Make it do, or do without” which is the philosophy we use on our property and lots of other urban homesteaders and farmer do too!

    I try to reuse as much as I can but some things need to be made with new materials to maintain the look of the property and the neighborhood.

    Farmers and homesteaders are a very creative bunch when it comes to reusing stuff! Thanks for sharing, Em

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  3. Every year we re-use wire fencing, posts, tomato cages, and not sure what else . . but I know I seldom throw anything out and try not to buy new stuff anymore–we just made the transition to having a year-round garden–and with that, I need to figure out a more permanent gray water system. We have been siphoning old tub and shower water, but it is labor intensive–got any ideas??

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    1. Audrey, I’m not sure where you live…here we could set up a system of rain barrels with a gravity feed. We get enough rain so I’m sure it would not be necessary to use tap water for any of it. That little project is on my to-do list.

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    1. Zulma, I’ve been convinced for a long time now that animals are smarter than humans. Chickens raised in say Texas would not be affected by our heat, but I’ll bet they would have the same reaction to unusual cold there.

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  4. Hi Bill. I always appreciate your musings from the urban farm. No, it’s not about the money, is it? (I’m the one who shared that tomato post.) It’s about high quality food produced in your own backyard. It’s good for you and for the environment! I hope you get some relief from the weather soon. It’s been beautiful in the Midwest for the last couple of weeks!

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  5. Thank you Deb! It is all about high quality food and I firmly believe that. Onward we go…the heat breaks today and back to normal Washington weather tomorrow. Football is right around the corner. 🙂

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  6. Billy, your writings about farming remind me of my childhood. We lived on a small holding. My mother supplied vegetables to the market. I remember eating raw vegetables, and swimming in the corrugated dam (getting filled by a borehole/windmill). Oh, and there were chickens, ducks and geese. And pigs, too, though I seldom if ever went their way, as I couldn’t handle the stench. Can still smell it when I close my eyes.

    I was 8 when we moved into town.

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