Monday, March 28, 2011

Missouri's Madison County

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I mentioned recently the work I've been doing with our local main street group, Fredericktown Revitalization and the local Chamber. The latest work has been focused on organizing a First Friday event and a space for art and poetry in Madison County Missouri. We've made a good bit of progress with a variety of improvements to our historical buildings as well as several successful community events.

This is a fairly depressed area, economically and morally. It's hard to get folks out of the rut they are in, there's a lot of negativity. There's not much here in the way of art or spaces for teens or young adults. It will be interesting to see what kind of support and interest we get from the community, especially the younger part of it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Garden Rising

We're in the middle of what will, hopefully, be our last cold spell of the season. March has been pretty nice in terms of temperature and precipitation. Today it's cold and raining but over the past week I've gotten all my cold crops in. Peas, lettuce, chard, spinach, kale, radish, onions and potatoes. Larry Cooper's broadfork was amazing for loosening up the soil! So easy to use. Thanks again Larry! I'll be encouraging my local garden friends to take a look at these for their own gardening.

The tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant were all started about 2 weeks earlier than last year and have now been transplanted out into little pots and are sitting on my cabin table with a light on them. The fruit trees are all budding out and have flowers. The comfrey and rhubarb are popping up everywhere and the bed by the greenhouse most of all. Those plants are already full of leaves and nearly a foot tall. If they don't get killed off by the cold I could probably get a rhubarb harvest in another week or two! Is that normal?

In other news I've been seeing Petunia around several times a week and I've got two Canada geese  that have been hanging out. Not nearly as friendly as Loretta but they are less afraid every day and have been coming up for snacks and visiting just 10 feet from the front porch a few hours a day. I love geese. Their mannerisms are adorable and they are such beautiful birds.

I suppose that's it on homestead news. I'll post a few garden pics soon.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

First Friday Fredericktown




I've been working with the Fredericktown Revitalization Initiative for the past two years and one of our latest projects, in cooperation with the local Chamber, is First Friday. Fredericktown does not have much going on in terms of public art shows or poetry so we're going to remedy that with First Friday which is a monthly art opening/poetry reading/potluck the first Friday of each month. During the warmer months we'll be adding outdoor activities on the north side of Court Square and the adjoining park on North Main. In addition to acoustic and bluegrass music we're hoping to do movies in the park, karaoke, games and crafts.

We just held our second First Friday and had a fantastic turn out... in fact the place was crammed with about as many people as we could handle and still maintain a level of personal space. Very exciting. Even better, we've worked out an agreement to use the whole second floor space above the Chamber for our new gallery/visitor center. It's been unused for years and needs painting, track lighting, old carpet removed. A few weekends and a few hundred dollars and it should be ready to use. We're hoping to have it ready to go by May 1st which should be a pretty easy to accomplish goal.



Friday, March 04, 2011

Hugelculture Beds!


Hugelculture Beds!
Originally uploaded by Geek in the garden.
The Hugelculture beds are coming along and almost ready for planting. They've got a layer of soil and manured straw from the chicken coop which was all put on this past fall. I'll add another layer of soil and then get them planted with lettuce, spinach, kale and a few other cool weather crops. Will be interesting to see how they work out and if they hold the moisture as well as many claim. It does make sense that the wood logs would soak it up.

I've also buried our rooster, Boots, in that mass of wood. He was killed by an unknown attacker a day before I was planning on adding more logs and finishing the final bed area. I put him in between a few logs and covered him up with soil and then wood. He'll feed the soil for a while and then feed the plants and then me! I'll get these beds seeded early next week after we get through this next cold snap.

Seedlings!


Seedlings!
Originally uploaded by Geek in the garden.
I started my seedlings about a month early this year. Normally I'd just now be starting tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. This year I got them going the second week of February. The soil I'm using is also a bit richer in nitrogen content thanks to some aged chicken manure. In past years my plants, while healthy, never looked quite as good as commercial plants. I'm determined to make sure this years plants get off to a better start.

Another change in this years garden is that it will be much smaller with many of my plants going into two hugelculture beds near the cabin. It's an experiment!