Summer Staples

August 10, 2010 at 2:40 pm (Uncategorized)

tomatoes and kale

This time of year can be difficult to keep up with harvests. Tomatoes are everywhere falling off the vine, and so many have been picked each day that it’s hard to keep up cooking them. Kale is more kind. Both kale and collards age slowly, and the plants continue producing leaves after cuttings. Kale and collards are very hardy, and, unlike fruit and beats, you can take your time harvesting. Given their leaves and texture are very much alike, the plants must be near kin. Even better, they compliment each other nutrition-wise. While generous in iron and C, kale is a rich source of  vitamin A while collards have more B12. Topmatoes and kale have become my summer staple, and in CA I expect these plants to continue producing until November.

While kale will grow all summer and fall, I have pulled up my beat rows and will probably remove and turn over some of the older kale. Last week I planted jack O latern seeds with the expectation of All Hallows Eve arriving in two-and-one-half months. If the pumpkins don’t ripen by then, they will make great Thanksgiving squash. Also planted are more beats, brussel sprouts, collards, a couple rows of corn (which are coming up nicely), and chard. The radio said chard, like collards, has high germination rates. This means you can trust the seeds to sprout.

My father recently fell and broke his neck. Many prayers have been offered, and the Lord has been kind. My dad seems to be recovering well in the hospital. Please keep James Bartlett in your prayers. Our family hopes to have my father, Jim, back for the holidays. Though Amanda and I are not married (Aug. 14th is the ceremony), and, of course, we have no pregnancy, we hope my dad is with us to see his first grandchild. My father is 93-yrs old.  Praise God.


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July 13, 2010 at 5:37 pm (Uncategorized)

Here is pretty much the final version. Our web person will probably modify it for html, most likely improving it. Now we have to start the second page, SABCL, which will carry forward the great catholic quotes of Anglican Divines for four councils, five centuries, etc..  I think we pretty much have the final form for the Rule page as well. Within the next month we can finish the ‘vow’. We’ll really need Fr. Hassert for that one, and it might have an evolution of sorts, comparing Weslyan covenants with Sarum subdeacon vows,etc..


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Dream House

May 4, 2009 at 4:21 pm (Uncategorized)

glass houseWhile driving from Concord to Castro Valley, I spotted this charming farm house near route 580. It so happened the house is owned by the San Ramon park district, and they were holding a farmer’s market. The Boone Family farm is a 16-acre lot with a mini-farm, dating back to the 1860’s. You can pick up free compost (not as good as my bunny soil), visit their chicken and lamb farm, and tour the historic buildings on site. If I were to own property outside the bay area, I’d certainly shop for a run-down version of the Boone farm and fix it up. Victorian only! Oak creek has been restored with pedestrian bridges and gardens. Very beautiful.

farmers market  What passed through my mind as I visited was  the tragic loss of historical memory and sites  such as the Boone Farm. The East Bay (only a  generation ago) was primarily agricultural. We  developed so fast due to Silicon VAlley, we have  missed the forrest for the trees, and generally recognize the need for open land, agriculture, and historic buildings after they are lost to strip malls and chains. Development should keep history and community in mind, and I think small-scale development tends to be more sensitive and have less negative impact than mass. I am for strict limits on development and urban growth. As a ‘traditionalist’,  I  have a backwards view of development, rather desiring stasis than change as well as a healthy suspicion of the “big” or “impersonal”. 

end of marketThe Farmer’s market was also quaint. I caught San Ramon’s first market of the season, and while I was there I was handed a bullentin of other local markets and eco/sustainable gardening activities. Something that caught my eye were the vermiculture and backyard chicken classes scheduled for July. I bought an avacado which I intend to plant.

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What’s Missing?

May 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm (Uncategorized)

dsc000091 I only picked a bunch of spinach and have a lot still  growing. As I made this salad the other  night, I had  to ask, “what’s missing”? Mushrooms would have  been good, but not sure how to properly grow table  mushrooms. I’d probably end up eating todstools.  But wouldn’t feta cheese be delicious?!? 

I’m missing a goat! This blog explores an angle of micro-farming/gardening for the poor or suburban person who has limited cultivation space and/or land (less than a quarter-acre).  In suburban backyards you may find some room for “pets”. I already have four rabbits with a hen on the way. Even if I had my own 5 acres outside the Bay Area, I’d be hardpressed to feed a cow or any large animal from the produce of the land. I’d want some grazing range.


sooo CUTE! must have a mini-goat!

sooo CUTE! must have a mini-goat!

A person who lacks land ought consider mini-breeds. I’d love a goat. Goat milk is sweet and the cheese is good (though not an easy process). But even a normal goat is a bit big for my intentions. I am now looking into mini-goats. Mini’s are abut 2/3rds the size of norms. Goats in general are very hard to milk and require stockades to lock them down. (you can build a quick and easy one from two shipping crates). Even then they kick, and they must be ‘broken into’ daily milking. Also the teat is relatively short and hard to handle compared to a cow. I imagine dwarf goats are more difficult than their regular-size counterparts though there are some breeds less aggressive than others. I plan to look into the matter, and suggest a similar investigation for anyone else considering a milk animal on a small plot of land. There are dwarf breeders in northern CA. Will keep you posted.

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