Sunday, September 17, 2017

Proof

Proof you can't poison your way to fertility.

And growing season is almost over, and no protection for winter rains.  And that equals less fertility.  And it makes me sad.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

revisit: Littling Along

I don't think the photo will come, but it is just a photo of some canned pickled broccoli.  What I was thinking about was having written about "stepping out of the stream" -- surely somewhere I've written more extensively about that idea but evidently not here as this was the only post that showed up to that search.  Oh well.  I'm doing everything I can figure out to do, and some things I'm not sure of but figure trying is trying, to change the status quo, end racism/sexism/xenophobia, turn the county and the culture toward compassion, tolerance, live and let live, an it harm none, and responsibility.  But in the end, this year seems to be a good year for winter squash and I think it is that, growing food, eating real food, making do for yourself (and your neighbors) and simply stepping outside of the whole consumerist, travel hither and yon, vacate from a life you can't stand living without drugs, success equals money to buy a life status quo -- and making our own success, defining our own.  So here's this blog post from twelve (TWELVE!) years ago.

Littling Along
 
Four jars of pickled broccoli (with garlic but no hot peppers because we've got none yet). It doesn’t seem like much. But it is the basis of prosperity, opulence, plenty.

Harlan Hubbard in his book Payne Hollow described ‘littling along’ and I understood it in financial terms. It really begins with not needing much. But the real thing is that it doesn’t end with not having much.

As with so many things, it is a matter of perspective. Four jars of pickled broccoli. It might seem like so little, but it is so much.


Littling Along 2
After having been in town all day, I hadn’t fixed supper or had any brilliant ideas for it. After having been in the garden all day, neither did husband. So I asked him to bring up veggies to snack on. We had kohlrabi and carrots (misshapen but carrot up you nose good tasting) and cabbage but my special treat was a turnip. Husband cut the top off for me and handed the bulbous root and a spoon to me. I scraped across it, like you’d scrape an apple for a baby, and put the first spoonful in my mouth. Spicy, cool, smooth. My great-grandmother McFall used to feed this to my mother and my girls came around for their spoonfuls. My mother never fed it to me, but at least she told me the story so that it could be a tradition that didn’t die out.

And eating that turnip, scraping it hollow, I thought, imagine a time when scraping a turnip like this was considered a snack food treat. Seems a better time to me. Seems like a better set of values.


Littling Along the Fringe

Can I just say, the problem is the industrial model. Before I have said that the problem is consumerism, at base. Individually, I think that is the case. But the industrial model brought consumerism and its accompanying greed to a more massive level than it could reach without the corporate citizen. But people grow even tiny little gardens in rows, which is the industrial model. People are tied to time, which is industrial. People sell themselves, their time, their soul, themselves out, willingly, which seems even more sad than people being sold involuntarily. People dream of winning the lottery (or even more stupid schemes of getting something from nothing), which is simply a dream of going from exploited to exploiter.

Exploited or exploiter. That is significant.

But there is a stepping out of the stream -- out of the mainstream that is. Living on the fringe of society, as Harlan Hubbard called it. I think it is more than giving up one thing, like a car, or eating meat, or some of the junk in your attic, or any other thing. It is more than giving up a lot of things altogether. It is rather embracing something else, something different. Having a dream and manifesting it.

I don’t personally believe very many people are ever going to do such a thing willingly. I do not for the life of me understand why people want to stay in the dichotomy of exploiter or exploited. But I undeniably see by their own actions that they do.

Friday, July 07, 2017

you don't get to eat and not participate in blood sport

Mack mows hay with a hay bine.  A hay bine mows the grass and "conditions" it by crushing it.  Mowing the inside of the 20 acre orchard grass hay field (he'd done 10 outside passes the last clear drying weather), a full grown turkey hen went through the haybine.  "I don't know why she didn't move.  I stopped, of course, to throw the pieces out of the hay, and I expected to find a nest she was sitting but there wasn't one.  I mow in low second so I was only going 7 or 9 mph.  I've never seen one not move like that before.  I don't know why she didn't move."

A full grown turkey hen is unusual.  But mice are not.  Smaller birds are not.  I've heard of families of skunks being mowed.  Hay may be dehydrated grass to feed vegan horses, but it is not bloodless.  

No food is bloodless.

Recently a friend tried to grow some tomatoes.  She went to the beach for a few days and came home to half of them having been broken by a groundhog.  You might know my thing against trap and release (one, it is illegal and two, the animal almost always dies, usually of starvation, anyway -- these things ARE territorial and if you are trying to grow food you just might realize that it ain't that sure of a thing to feed yourself).  You trap and kill when you need to.  I mean, it just is.  Certainly you can hot sauce and pee and bitter spray and rotten egg spray and put out pie tins or old CDs, but if you trap, you kill.  So I was able to talk her out of trap and release but she "can't" kill anything so she'll just not grow food.  Ahem.  Oh yes, she realizes "because she eats meat" this is hypocritical.  But I'm like, it isn't hypocritical because you eat meat:  It is hypocritical because you eat.  It is removed, privileged, precious.  And by engaging in this avoidance of your own participation in life (and death), you are avoiding the good as well as the bad and settling for the safe warm kiddie pool of life instead of the full, wild, dangerous, not always comfortable ocean.

Yesterday daughter #2 and I went down to the garden.  This was after taking care of two barns together and (me) washing dishes and (her) wood burning on a harp.  Daughter #1 is neglecting her strawberries and either we all work together to save them or we lose them for the year.  Hot, humid, sweat dripping into my eyes, down my sides, even my legs were wet with sweat.  Maybe I sweat more with menopause but it was hot and humid.  After we pulled weeds for awhile (untangling smartweed from strawberry runners is not exactly fun), clearing a couple square feet each and finding only one red strawberry but it had been bitten by a turtle, we plunged into the maniacal growth that is supposed to be the blueberries and orchard to pick blackberries and wineberries.  About a pint of each and we came home.  And went back to both barns for evening chores.

I share things like this for so many reasons.  For those who think growing food is easy and anyone can do it (ok, it is and they can), I want to show that it is also difficult, and uncomfortable, and failure happens, and skill and experience count.  For those who think it is hard and not worth it, I want to show all the different things you get from doing it, AND you get food!  And so daughter and I had done all these things, we'd sweated, and bent over, and straightened up, and rolled our necks, and were tired and thirsty -- but we'd also spent all this time together, had moved our bodies and kept them strong, had talked about various and sundry things, had gathered food for the rabbits, had contemplated eternity -- AND we had blackberries and wineberries.

And you know the blackberries and wineberries probably had not killed anything to grow.  They are reclamation plants and had grown because we haven't mowed where maybe we should have.  Deer have bedded in them, had their young in their protection.  But in the picking, there is still blood sacrifice -- briars require it.  They require it from you. 

Did you read the YaYa Sisters?  The most delicious part of those books was the summers at the swimming hole -- when it was too hot to do anything else.  That wouldn't happen now -- air conditioning.  I'm not saying that air conditioning is 100% bad or 100% to be avoided or anything but I am saying that we do lose stuff.  And it is true also that sometimes we gain stuff -- this medium of blogs is a gain, being able to eat mangoes is a gain.  But to be disconnected from death, human or animal, is to be disconnected from part of life and that is a loss.  And to be disconnected from death of animals is to be disconnected from the real although hidden life of plants.  And minerals.  And inanimate objects even.  Because if you don't "kill" things but you kill those other things then you deny their way of being alive just because it isn't looking at you.

I suppose I've gone fairly far afield here.  But it is a heady and a heavy thing to hold a live rooster in your arms, feel his warmth, feel him breathing, and then take that away from him and put him into your body.  AND THAT IS BECAUSE IT SHOULD BE.  It isn't awful or terrible but it is awesome.  And if you are in touch with that, chicken even from Tyson takes on renewed significance.  The deer eating my beets becomes my venison, as it should.  If you pickle some beets, you understand that there is blood in the very earth too.  But if all your beets come from a can, you can wonder, "Why the heck do they dye them that color anyway?"  Full disclosure:  I asked that once.

It is really about full participation.  Full presence.  I don't know that anyone can be at the top of a mountain and not be present for that view -- probably one reason hiking to the top of that mountain is so popular, because people have to be reminded how to be fully present like that.  But with other things, sometimes it is doing without that enhances that awareness -- if you've done without running water, you are forever more cognizant of what having running water means: if you've done without hot water; if you've lived behind a locked door; if you've been been hungry.  If you've truly participated in the procurement of your own food, it is a full participation, an awareness that you never forget and may long for.  I only peripherally participated in my grandparents putting up apples and corn and green beans, and yet a very early purchase for me was a small chest freezer -- so I could put up those apples and beans when they were in season. 

I was 24.  I lived by myself.  In an apartment. 

We still use that freezer.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

the Alpha and the Omega and the Alpha

The week before I'd visited with a farrier, a "proud deplorable" with a sticker that said as much on his truck.  He'd offered me one some time before but I'd declined to trade in my Bernie stickers.  But that day he'd asked, "Who do you think will win?"  "No question, Hillary."  And when I said it, I thought, oh fuck, I hope that doesn't come back to bite me.  But surely that many people can not be that stupid? 

Ah yes, but they were.  They were that stupid.  I believe at base they are that racist.  At base he is racist, black nephews or not.  When Ohio fell, I went to bed.  With anxiety.  At about 3 I woke up, pulled up the computer, and saw that my fear was fulfilled.  The next day I'm pretty sure I posted a status something like, "Ya'll have elected Hitler."  When I think about it, I still cannot believe that that many people were that stupid and that mean.

And it was likely that day I started looking in Baker Creek Catalog for seeds.  November or not, we needed a tRump Garden.  I needed a tRump Garden.  I needed to think that there would be something for me to eat when this fool and his mean minions say to me, "Do what I tell you to or you don't eat."  Extreme you think?  Nope.  I've had plenty of people tell me, Go get a job.  Move to go get a job.  Because if you aren't doing work that someone else makes an idle profit on, it doesn't count as work, and if you don't work, you don't eat or get health care or anything else, just die. 

So anyway, I ordered some seeds:  3 kinds of fava beans, some black kale, some daikon radishes.  We planted 9 seeds the first part of December, 9 more toward the last of January, all the rest of them sometime later.


These are the seeds I've saved from those first 18 plants.  We ate a lot from this patch.  I discovered a new way to eat them this year that I like (marinated), and I haven't (yet) eaten any my old favorite way (fried into chips).  Although it is mostly too hot for the blooms to set on beans, there are still some coming on on the rest of the plants.  But the first 18 plants we pulled up and saved these seeds, hopefully make a big patch sow in September maybe, space them out maybe.

In years to come may we remember the Trump fava beans with a bit of whimsey, marking a strange and short-lived dark time but encouraging anyone paying attention to grow food.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

you can't eat it

I wonder sometimes -- quite often actually -- what the hell people think that they are doing that is all that bloody important.

It is June.  Fruit is coming in by the basket full.  Maybe not bushel basket but, harvested diligently there are TONS of gooseberries, and harvested and weeded diligently the ever-bearing strawberries and whatever kind of dual harvest raspberries we have are producing wonderfully.  Luckily we have a daughter #2 to be diligent and encourage the rest of us.  And then there is the Trump factor which has put a bit of urgency to the task.  And today the blueberries joined in although today ran out of daylight enough to make the harvest what with everything else going on.

Everything else?  Normal chores first of all.  All animals have to be fed, including humans, and then there is clean up.  There are projects and I don't really know what happened on those but I'll bet something happened.  The farm I work at had a horse that had to be put down due mostly to age catching up to him.  We had a load of garden hay here already to unload, and another short load (15 bales) of good hay to haul home and unload.  The food adventure today was making Indian (from India) food for the first time -- kachori and samosas.  The diligent harvest of berries, including a smattering of the blueberries before the call for all hands on deck for them tomorrow.

But most of the garden hay today went to mulch around the raspberries.  We have a nice area reserved for raspberries now and they are being well taken care of and are doing well.  We're going to put some of that barrier fence up around them but are still working toward that.  But in the last few days there have been some unexplained losses -- the tops of some of the plants wilt, or break off.  What is going on?

In checking, there was some borer something making little lines and above that line would die.  Back home to google.  Turns out something is laying its eggs in there and the life cycle is thus:  it lays eggs.  Tops of plants die but that isn't a huge problem.   Eggs hatch, larvae migrate down the cane and eventually back up, doing some damage, maybe not fatal damage but some damage, and repeat the process.  The best control is simply to go behind whatever is laying its eggs and cut the cane off an inch or a few below where it is damaged.  Voila, eggs have nowhere to migrate, maybe never hatch even, life cycle interrupted.

We all thought that was pretty neat.  I told someone else about it.  Her reaction?  "That's a lot of work."  Do you see my furrowed brow at that?  What else exactly are you doing?  How long do you think that takes in a small patch like that?  When you are harvesting the daily ripe berries anyway?  You do like to eat, don't you?  Do you think that shit just appears on your plate?  In the produce section?  In the freezer?  Do you think whoever harvested it deserves starvation pay?  Do you really think laying waste to the earth, the water, the air is a solution for anything?  Do you want to eat those berries after you've laid chemical waste to whatever that little bug is?  Who are you?  Did you vote for Trump?

Well, yes, she did.  She also said, "That's what I believe and you aren't going to change my mind."  Classic Red Queen, "Verdict first!  Evidence later!"  Which really, that's religion, and especially the asshole Christians and racists and Christian racists who are behind this whole Trump fiasco.  "Some of my best friends are black" doesn't actually hold water.

It has always seemed to me that since we have to eat, we might as well be passionate about food.  It has always seemed to me that eating is vital to health, and health is worth more than your insurance is worth so why are you willing to pay so little for it?  Whatever it is you "do", you can't eat it.

Live smaller.  Grow food.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

It is delight

This is what you need to understand:  At times it kills you.  It is hot, hard, blistery.  It fails, and at the last moment too, after lots of hard work and hope.  Or right at the beginning, gut punch, feels like you can't even get up.  It is hot and your back hurts too.  And it is slow -- two hours turns into four.  Nothing works quite right.

But here is what else you need to understand:  It keeps you alive.  Not just in the physical sense, not just in the health sense, but in the real sense, the spiritual sense:  ALIVE.  It is family.  It is personal.  It is meaningful.  It is challenging.  It is rewarding.  It is risky.  It is beautiful.  It is love.

It is LOVE.  It is love but not "oh you are so wonderful" love: it is love bedrock, got your back, will tell you when you are wrong, will risk your wrath as well as your joy love.

It is reclaiming 20 feet of rectangle garden in which to plant four rows of sweet corn and sweating and sitting in the shade and getting dizzy and drinking water and breaking your back and straightening out your back and watching the buzzards wheel wondering if they are waiting for you to fall over and working and resting with each other in that work and rest dance that you do and thinking about ice cream and sweet corn and bears and beans and corn bread for supper and finding two tiny terrapins in the tilling.  And a baby red salamander in the potatoes.

It is delight.  In your heart and in your fellow travelers' voices and eyes.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"it"

even if I did neglect to get a photo of the strawberry bed.  I didn't forget to weed it a bit.  I swear that May has become my favorite month.  Even if it never stopped raining this May.










Sunday, May 28, 2017

satisfied mind

She said, "I don't really want to go down there and take care of the strawberries.  But there is something very satisfying about having done it."

That was a daughter before she took her boyfriend from the house down to the garden in the rain and put a net over the sour cherry tree and harvested a few strawberries that are about to flush.  This is where we are.  Cherries.  Strawberries.  Poke.  Salad.  Peas except something ate those and that always happens to something, you just don't know what it is going to be.  Trump favas.  The potatoes are about beyond hilling.  The corn is waiting for a break in the weather (actually, it isn't waiting at all, it is growing madly) for us to thin and hill it and plant in beans.  I know there are squash up too and there should be melons but I'm not sure they germinated.  And seed beds.

And death.  Our last parent died.  There is no one now between death and us, illusion tho that is, it is still true.  The last parent and do you have a relationship with your siblings or not.  For me that was a no.  For him, hopefully a different answer.

And dreams.  Such vivid dreams.  Do dead people talk in your dreams? Because they do not seem to talk in mine.

And I'd like to talk about the "something very satisfying about having done it" but in all these years I don't think I've managed it.  It's a good life.  I don't know that even the Nearings managed to really talk about it.  It may well be a way to save your life, but it is definitely a way to LIVE your life, not DIE your life, not do kindergarten to get ready for first grade and high school to get ready for college and career to get ready for retirement but a way to live, now and forever in as many different ways as there are ways and stars and bean varieties.  It isn't without stress, but it is stress you can live with -- it doesn't make you want to kill people or yourself.  Do you hear what I'm saying?  It isn't perfect because nothing is perfect.  Perfect wouldn't be perfect.  But it isn't soul sucking.

And it really helps to teach you what is really important.  And so much what is NOT important.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

confession

Despite everything of all this "living differently", of all this "consuming less" stuff, we've never successfully recycled long term.  That's the confession.

We only really tried one time, when we first moved up here and were so fresh, so idealistic.  We bought the bins.  They blew over and even when they didn't, they filled up with water.  Stinky water.  Then we couldn't find a place to even take the recyclables to.  That isn't to say there wasn't a place, or even places, but just that we couldn't find or happen upon anything that really met our needs.  It didn't take long to quit trying. We still did mostly cloth diapers during all those years in diapers, but we still did buy some paper diapers and I'll tell ya, I'd never be so holy again as to do cloth diapers when traveling as we did with our first.  Nope.  We mostly consume a lot less.  Period.  Of everything.  This is facilitated by poverty but honestly there isn't much we'd actually want.  Sure, if there were a windfall, a few things would change.  There wouldn't be any dirty kitchen towels anymore, there would be a pair of Muck boots for everyone, I wouldn't put off dental cleanings or worry about car repairs, I'd probably have all of us on the family plan at the chiropractor.  But the family motto of, "have less, be more" didn't come out of nowhere.  "Things" and having them are usually bandages over festering sores.

But now the kids are grown and we're basically adults living cooperatively.  And one of the kids said, "Why don't we recycle?"  And so we looked into it again and the county now has the recycle bins in a permanent place not far out of our way on our way to town and so now we do recycle.  Glass, plastic, cans, aluminum -- and also the disposable grocery bags go back to the grocery.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

sexy, year to year

It seems that 5 years ago today we were doing a first plow (we usually did two plows, then several harrow days with a horse) on the rectangle garden.  Today, although a year we don't have access to a horse to work it with, the corn and potatoes are in, along with some squash and melons and cukes and stuff.   And Jerusalem artichokes flourishing from those we didn't eat out of there last year.

Corn and potatoes aren't sexy.  They are calories.  They are also pretty faithful, pretty steady, pretty reliable.  It is good to go for a lot of calorie bulk plantings because you don't know what will fail, what will spoil.  After the cukes and summer squash and probably melons make, we hope to use that ground to bulk sow turnips and beets.  People don't think about being hungry. The US doesn't have food stores anymore: they should.

The Trump fava beans have BEANS!  Beans are a good bulk calorie planting, if you use them as dried beans.  To have greens during the winter is a bit iffier, at least it has been so far for us.  Can or freeze green beans of course.  Hopefully we can grow some greens and let them sit out the winter and harvest as we need.  Hole up some cabbages.  Make some kraut too.

But right now 8# of kale already got harvested (mostly eaten), and the poke and stinging nettles have added to that, along with stinging nettle dried for tea.  It is time for the annual mess of locust blossom fritters.  Some critter, most likely a rabbit, is harvesting a few things too -- a trap must be set.

I always say, "Grow food."  People will start, and probably should start, with "sexy" plants.  Tomatoes.  Green beans.  Salad.  Oh and yes, all of that.  And you could buy a sack of corn and a sack of potatoes and play with the idea of bulk, non-sexy food.  That would be a good idea even.  But even just a few potatoes in a tire will let you realize how much better your own potatoes taste.

Today a couple rows of potatoes actually got hilled just a little, they'd broken ground that much. Today one goat is in milk and another one has a bag swelling and we all wish the cow's bags would swell so we could eat that bull.  Today I can no longer see the mountain swing away south from the highway when I stop waiting to pull out onto it because all the leaves are out.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

solitary pursuit

It is quite the solitary pursuit.  As I age it seems more and more that is true of everything.  Why talk?  

So I walk and look, thinking "morel".  Thinking "they are invisible".  And I see wet because it has been raining except for yesterday and today.  I see where the creek has been up over the growing things and is still bold, and the wet spot there where it doesn't drain where it used to.  I see the green that is now everywhere, so that I even have trouble finding the may apples because now every second year tree is green at the same height as may apples and "all of that is trees" and "oh there are the may apples" after I go look where I know they were a couple weeks ago, where I have a reference.  But that's at the end of the walk and no, I don't find any dry land fish there.

Because they smell just like fish you know.  There was one really fresh shelf mushroom that I must look up so see if it is identifiable, edible.  "There are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hunters but there are no old bold mushroom hunters."  Only the really identifiable ones, thanks. And even then, go through the safety checks.  Puffballs are easily identifiable but if you assume it is a puffball and don't cut through the center, well, misidentification of puffballs is the most common cause of death for mushroom hunters.

I walk and stare and sit down now and then to try to make sure I'm not missing something. I look up to check the species of trees.  I look at the base, the moss, the sunshine, the rocks.  There's solomon's seal and enough stinging nettles to gather for supper and fragrant bedstraw and wild ginger and teaberry and cohosh.  There's violets blooming, and white violets.  There's whatever that is that I misidentified for years as bloodroot, and the bloodroot, evidently offended, won't show itself to me now.

I think of snakes, out here by myself.  The family knows I'm in the woods, they will discern my general direction, but I'm off the paths, not far but that often doesn't matter.  I have on boots, I'm careful with my hands.

Crossing the creek I hesitate.  We've just had flash floods.  It is high but not that high, strong but I've done it before.  Is there a good place?  The old place isn't good.  I go back along the creek a ways, still mushroom hunting but also creek contemplating, danger contemplating, mushroom contemplating.  Oh, there is Tennessee iris blooming, so much of that out this trail, and there is a mushroom and another under the leaf litter and while not edible they beckon me to go on, to cross the creek.

My boots are old and worn and no longer entirely waterproof, but I can still cross and only a heel gets damp.  Rocks are slick.  Current is strong.  Really strong.  People don't realize. It is so doable but only with respect for how strong that is.  And it could still bite your butt.  Which is really what life is like but people don't realize that either I don't guess.

I cross the creek and look to my right and gasp.  There is a golden morel.  Right.  There.  Bold.  Not hard to see.  I search and search there for more and find three total -- that one, a small one, and one emerging.  I take two.  I pay attention.  Poplar.  Slightly north side of bank.  I search that area a lot.  I go on up the path until I decide there are too many pines here, and not enough water, and productive out this way is further than I want to go today.  The flat behind our pasture instead of out this way, maybe I'll get someone else to go look there today.  Maybe I'll come back for those nettles.  Huge patches of irises.  I get called along a bank and think I see one . . . but it was just a leaf pretending to be 3D for a moment.

What if you ate like this?  What if you ate by fishing?  What if you ate by someone actually taking these things and cooking them?  What if it were up to you and skill and tenacity, not money?  What if you weren't so damn self-important?  I am so fucking tired of self-important people.  Like presidents.  And rich people.  I'm sick of heaven and hell.  I like mushrooms.  And bees.  And muddy, bumpy, itchy horses.  I like turnips, and kale, and stinging nettles.  And abandoned cats.  And the sounds of my family in this house.  And walking around with my horse girlfriends, the ones I actually like, the ones who aren't fucking self-important.  Gawd, you know, have some humility.  Have a swarm of bees; a garden; an old cat; a clothes line; be a mushroom hunter; a gardener; a horseman; have some passion (lawd I will just about forgive anything for a passion); actually know how to do something.

Find some dry land fish.  Gather some nettles.  Be home in your head.  And your stomach (and thus every cell).

Monday, April 10, 2017

Persisting

Persisting through Trump or anything else, although he and his idiocy has certainly given some immediacy to the need.

The original tRump fava beans are blooming
 the original nine
The nine, the next set, and then the next bulk (not up yet)
 peas
discern the seed "beds" (gallon water jug size squares of started seeds we transplant from)
 some lettuce, some palm kale, and something just transplanted under tubs to keep the sun off and moisture on
 some spinach, some other stuff, I think the fourth bed down is daikon
 two radishes and some lettuce (the radishes have been replanted)
 Buckets of rabbit manure going on the to be planted strawberry plants. The rabbits, this time of year anyway, can and do eat mostly weeds, and we eat some rabbits, and their manure does this.  To create this much organic material as a vegetarian requires a LOT of space which is why vegetarianism in general, and veganism in particular, is untenable.  Grow food.  Eat your friends.  Because "rescuing" a chipmunk is not a kindness.
 Russian kale.  And rhubarb.
 the strawberry bed, half transplanted
Since the horse is sick this year (will he be rehabbed enough for next year? We just don't know but are giving him more time to see), SIL has let us borrow her tiller and this was first day's work with it.  It will be different this year without the horse, but this winter was different too, not being able to use him to drag up wood.  I hope he stabilizes enough to be useful.

And that is where we are at the moment in the garden.  Grow some food.  No matter who you are.  No matter where you are.  Grow some food.  Use less gas (travel less, stay home).  Be colder in winter, warmer in summer.  Consume less period.  Do more for yourself.  Clean your own toilet, wash your own dishes, cook your own food.  It isn't all or nothing, but it is what is what you value.