I’m getting ready to head off tomorrow to the NE Permie Convergence in Holyoke, MA. Got a call today from a man in Springwater looking for a ride share, so I’ll have some company and meet someone new. Also got an e-mail from Brian saying he was going to head down from his internship in Ashfield, MA. I posted a link in the Permaculture section to the NE Permaculture Wiki which looks to have a fair bit of useful information and established community. I talked on the phone to one of my cohorts from the Hancock PDC this spring, and I’m jonesing for some Permie get-together.
My plan is to live-blog or pseudo-live-blog the event. I’m bringing my iPod and mic, so I may try to get a podcast going. I’m also bringing the camera, though video is out for this time. I want to start lo-tech. I also want to be present to what’s going on there, unseparated by a camera, so I may do most of the work at night in the motel.
Meanwhile, I wanted to give an update on what’s going on here at home. Monday night a friend gave me some sorrel, bronze fennel, lupine and a baby horse chestnut, and I picked up some asparagus by the side of the road and got that all transplanted. In my walks I’m seeing a lot of sumac which I’ve pretty much considered a weed, but which appears to be a fast-growing nurse plant for berries, grapes, roses, nightshades, strawberries. So I’ve transplanted a couple to an area between the spruce and red maple that faces the main street, to start to build some privacy and nurse a shrub area- honeysuckle, dicentra, cherry, blueberry I’m thinking- that will also attract birds. We found a small infestation of Japanese Beetles on the northwest side of the house in the dicentra there. Apparently, knocking them into soapy water seems the best way to get rid of small batches. They don’t appear to have any natural predators, although some web sites state that grackles, starlings and chickens will eat them. I don’t really want to get into nematodes and bT.
The hierloom tomatoes I got a couple of weeks ago have been pretty thoroughly trashed by the deer. They must be tasty because they’ve left the romas alone. I got rhubarb chard and some of the onions in the other day, and I’m going to put the tomatillos in where the munged tomatoes were. Everything seems to be growing rather slowly, which I’m trying to figure out. The lettuces are looking good, we’ve been eating a lot of salad, and I’m getting some peas now that the weather has turned cooler and wetter. The Liberty apple closest to the walnut does not look too good, but the Cortlund is doing nicely. I need to put some intervening leguminous tree and a mulberry between the walnut and the liberty to mitigate the juglone effect.
I started a water feature over the weekend to start moving water from the downspout near the herb bed over to the high point of the property where the pond will eventually go. I want a little rock-faced stream bed that will look nice whether there’s water flowing or not. I’m looking for some roofing slates to build up this water feature to flow the water from the downspout to the streambed. This all sounds romantic, but right now it’s some wet concrete slab and dug up dirt. I will post pictures when I get it working. As the Permies say: “happy little accidents and sad little failures.”