Mid-Summer in a Urban Oasis

To be effective in caring for our “out the front door” environment, each and every Now really needs to be experienced as a separate occurrence. Solutions for the many challenges to harvesting abundance do not include wishing we had some of last years’ abundant moisture, yet without the presence of Brown Marmorated Stinkbugs, Spot-Winged Fruitflies, and Gray Squirrels.

Native Pollinator Sleeping in a Hollyhock

Native Pollinator Sleeping in a Hollyhock

This growing season has been very dry: we have had to use municipal water to keep plants alive between the very infrequent rain events.

Two Male Turkeys, Investigating...

Two Male Turkeys, Investigating…

On a very bright side, last years’ disastrous stinkbugs are a no-show (see past postings for 2013). Fruitfles, although present, are in much lower  numbers. Squirrels too, seem to be few in number.

Arising in their shadow though, voles (root-feeding, underground rodents) are acting out devastation. Castor Bean is touted as a vole and mole repellant, and I planted some very near a young muscadine (thick skinned,extra Yummy, southern grape) that was severely compromised by extensive root damage: a vole ate the roots of the castor bean, killing it.

Castor Bean killed by root-eating voles

Castor Bean killed by voles…

This is a sign of serious vole issues!

And still, the garden and orchard look great.

Garden scene in mid-June

Garden scene in mid-June

Other Happenings at Barefoot Permaculture
A large Siberian Elm, (located semi-between our home and front orchard/gardens) developed a serious split, and had to be removed. We’ve lost some eastern shade, yet gained late afternoon sun for the front gardens.

Smart Fellas Tree Service: Great Job!

Smart Fellas Tree Service: Great Job!

Black Bears continue to wander through fairly regularly, enough for us to remove the bird feeder for the summer; depriving us of some delightful opportunities to see parent birds introduce their young to this food source.

3 Year Old, Eyeing the Bird Feeder

3 Year Old, Eyeing the Bird Feeder

The woodchip-mulched, semi-forested church lot, across from us, on several occasions, has provided us with tastes of the wild: Winecap (Stropheria rugosa-annulata) and Deer (Pluteus atricapillus) mushrooms: deeply delicious treats!

Winecap Mushroom

Winecap Mushroom

Making a Sporeprint: To Be Sure...

Making a Sporeprint: To Be Sure…

Better Size Winecap for Eating

Better Size Winecap for Eating

Partially in celebration of our new gas range (our 38 year old range could not be repaired safely) after a wait of almost 3 months, we hosted a Summer Solstice / “Home and the Range” gathering. We supplied the artisan pizza dough, and friends showed up with topping materials and other potluck delights.

Artisan Pizza Dough, Awaiting the Fire...

Artisan Pizza Dough, Awaiting the Fire…

It was one of our best gatherings, and our new American Range rose to the occasion!

From the Oven: Artisan Pizza!

From the Oven: Artisan Pizza!

In the weeks since, we’ve made several artisan sourdoughs, enough to keep me very bread-rich and happy.

Two Different Sourdoughs...

Two Different Sourdoughs…

Currants, Gooseberries, and Goumi’s have deliciously and abundantly come and gone. Everbearing Red Raspberries are finishing out as Blackberries are beginning. Blueberries too, are just beginning to be ripe. Peaches are colored and still ripening. Apples and Asian Pears have much ripening ahead.

Champaigne Currants and Gooseberries

Champaigne Currants and Gooseberries

Our Blue Hopi maize and our cross-pollinated Martin Prechtel / Blue Hopi Corn have tasseled and ears are developing. Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans, risen on their own (from last year’s crop) have fed us several times, with more to come.

Our own (saved seeds) heritage tomatoes are ripening (had my first today… deeply Yum)!

Three of Our Several Varieties of Tomatoes

Three of Our Several Varieties of Tomatoes

Last year’s cukes (Little Leaf and Lemon) have reseeded themselves and are feeding us well: upon our kitchen counter is a 1 gallon crock of salt-fermenting pickles.

Nearby, on the other side of the kitchen, is a 5 gallon carboy of  Serviceberry Mead, a 1 gallon jug of serviceberry / wild cherry wine, and a jug of apple cider: all under vaporlocks, all still actively fermenting.

Mid-Summer has passed: the ripening time is upon us, as we head towards autumn and winter…

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About goodheart

Education: Warren Wilson College (BA Environmental Studies) 1987: University of Wisconsin Stevens Point (MSc. Natural Resources) 2005 Permaculture Design Certificate (The Farm, TN) 1994 Presidential Volunteer Award: 2005, 2006, 2007 Experiences: National and international Permaculture teacher and practitioner since 1995; Sustainable land use and permaculture consultant; International consultant for small plot sustainable agriultural projects; Home orchard consultant; Endangered species observer for sea-turtle and whale projects; Field biologist and naturalist; Gourmet natural food chef and teacher; Home baker (artisan breads) brewer & fermenter; Home orchardist; BeeKeeper; Ecological gardener; Broom-maker in the Southern Highland Craft Guild, and general bio-philiac...
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