4295 Calliope Painting a sign, 4-29-17

April 29, 2017…Granddaughter Calliope helps to paint her Mom’s sign for the Climate Rally in Eugene, Oregon.  (In solidarity with People’s Climate March in DC and nationally.)

This is her protest sign, the one she made herself. I’m so proud of her. At four years of age, this is already her third protest.

5135 Every gallon you burn, 4-29-17

I don’t know if many people are aware of it, but when you burn a gallon of gas when driving, you are producing 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. If this bothers you as much as it does me, try having a car-free day each week. We started that about 10 years ago and actually got as high as 50% car-free days. That’s an average of 3 1/2 days each week using either a bicycle, walking, or staying at home. When I think about the planet that my generation will be giving to my kids and grandkids, I’m very ready to sacrifice a little to help their future out.

The following video was taken at the 350Eugene Climate Rally on the steps of The Federal Building in Eugene Oregon, April 29, 2017.

4999 Turnip cover crop blooming, 4-21-17 copy

April 21…The turnips are blooming.  Why is that important?  Because the bees are getting the pollen.  Pollen that is high in protein, with all the essential amino acids, and is highly digestible.  Last October, we planted the turnips as a cover crop and intended the blossoms to mature early in spring, but we didn’t realize that the pollen was so nourishing.  Apparently, the bees do well on it, so well it can lead to swarming.  I just hope I can capture the swarm.

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Pollen sacs full. (A lucky shot with an iPhone)

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4966 Pat's Warre Hive, bees outside, 4-18-17.JPG

For several days (when it’s not raining) the bees have appeared on the front of the hive.  I think they’re waiting for a sunny day.  “Be patient, little critters, good weather is coming soon.”

Almost Stumped

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Feb. 5…We’re gone for two days and look what happens…Our 45 year old front yard tree decides to topple.

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it yanked the post clean out of the ground.

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Look at all those branches…I’m going to try out my new battery-powered pole saw.

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I like this saw.

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That little Greenworks 8 inch battery powered pole saw worked fast…It’s quiet with no mixed gas and no emissions.

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While I was looking over all the wind damaged trees, a City of Bandon ‘bucket’ truck drove by, turned around, and stopped. “Looks like you could use some help.” Kevin took care of the leaning eucalyptus tree while Mark started cutting the big one.

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Thank you Mark and Kevin and the City of Bandon utility crew.

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That left the bare straight part and the stump. I figured we could wait for the weekend, but my wife let it be known that it had to be removed ASAP. “The fence is open and Bailey (our old and very deaf dog) could get hit by a car.”

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A rented log splitter did most of the work with the two of us wrestling the sawn rounds onto the splitting plate.

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I love it when the splitter pops the ’round’ all the way through, but it doesn’t happen often enough.

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Load after load gets carried away with our DR Power Wagon. It will carry 800 pounds (362 kg) of anything, but it’s fossil fueled. We want to replace it with a battery-powered version. If anyone has a suggestion, please comment.   Cool hat, Sue.

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That stump was stubborn, but no match for the two of us, even though we’re in our 70’s.

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Carmen is going to miss her climbing tree.

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Sue shows off the latest in log splitting gear.

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…and her mighty stacks of firewood.

Bees on February Flowers

It might not be pretty…

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…but it’s pretty effective. This is my Warré hive winter protection from high winds driving copious amounts of rain against my hive. Since October, we have gotten 66.5 inches of rainfall (1689 mm).

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A look through the observation window in December shows lots of natural honey comb.

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I think this bright yellow pollen is from the Hooker Willow which thrives in soggy wet soil along The Oregon Coast.

I’ve been somewhat afraid to write about my bees.  They seem to be doing fine with my efforts to protect them, but I didn’t want to jinx them.  This is the end of February.  The Hooker Willow has started flowering and bees are returning with bright yellow pollen, so I think they will make it.  Also the gorse (Ulex europeaus) is blooming as it always does in February.  The video shows bees on both.

…and the bees love it too.

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Want to grow spinach? We have been wildly unsuccessful in growing it, but guess what…steamed turnip greens taste just like spinach. It turns out they are very easy to grow and are good for you too. This was supposed to be a mixture of several cover crop seeds, Fava beans, Winter Rye, and Hairy Vetch included. It looks like the turnips took over. Uh, I might have broadcast them a little thick. My “solar-roller water pump panel” is positioned for the afternoon sun. Gotta keep the flow going. 🙂

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Turnip flowers in January provide nourishment for bees in the critical winter months.

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October 8…This bed was planted August 1. Turnips grow fast. Plant them thick, then you can harvest the thinnings by steaming the greens.  Leave a few to go to flowers in winter.

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We’ve been getting three crops a year in our raised beds. This was lettuce last winter, then kale, now turnips. In between we bury crab shell when we can get it. This being October, that resource will soon be gone.

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Oct. 10…My sweetheart made a delicious turnip soup for dinner this evening. These turnips were planted in early August. They grow fast!!!

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Oct. 8…just in case we haven’t planted enough turnips, here is another bed started…complete with drip water grid.

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Oct. 15…Turnips are up already. The shade cloth is to protect the little darlings from the hurricane force winds and 12-18 inches (300-450mm) of rain that was forecast…didn’t happen, at least, not yet.

Turnip soup recipe

Chop an onion, saute in olive oil, add 4 to 5 cups of peeled chopped turnips, two garlic cloves (peeled and cut in half), add two teaspoons of smoked paprika, and teaspoon of thyme  leaves.  Cook until lightly brown, add three cups of vegetable or chicken broth, salt to taste.  Bring to boil and simmer until veggies are cooked.  Blend in blender, return to pan, add a cup of milk, or milk alternative.

The bees have been busy and so have we.   Gerard Van Duinen of La Tabú (The Hague) graciously let us use his Tango music.

Independence Day

Returning from our morning walk, my wife turns to me, “Pat, the field is looking seedy.  Should we mow it?”  “Yeah, let’s mow it,” I say, wondering if there’s enough gas.  Hmmm, I think I’ll try the new EGO battery mower to see if it’ll work on the thicker grass.  To my surprise it works well.

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July 4th…Independence Day. Mowing thick grass with the EGO cordless electric mower. I’m not producing carbon emissions. I’M INDEPENDENT OF FOSSIL FUEL.

We usually mow the field with the big DR Brush cutter.  It’s about 11 hp and uses quite a bit of gas, so I was very impressed that the EGO cordless mower could handle this thicker and taller grass.

3529 Leave some Heal's All, Bird's Foot Trefoil for bees, 7-4-16

Leave some “No Mow Zones” for the bees. Here’s some healsall plants and some yellow Bird’s Foot Trefoil.

3527 Left some tall grass for the deer, 7-4-16

I left some tall grass too, for the deer. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to feed the deer, but there are so many juicy temptations in the garden that they feasted on last year. In a way, I am thanking the deer for not jumping the new deer fence into the garden. Maybe it’s more of a distraction, but so far it works. We’ve been picking up the “June drop” apples along with the mountains of ripe plums and scattering them in an area where we can see them eat (outside the garden, of course.)

3514 Wheelbarrow load of clippings, 7-4-16 copy

We fill several wheelbarrow loads. What are we using the grass clippings for, you ask? For mulch in the garden. We are coming into the dry season. We’re on a shallow well, so we try to conserve on water usage. Mulch cuts down on the need for water. I scatter the lawn clippings out in the sun. I’ll turn them tomorrow morning. It only takes a couple of sunny days to dry them out enough. (I’ve learned my lesson. Years ago I used fresh lawn clippings over newly planted potatoes. I couldn’t figure out why no potatoes were growing. Pulling up the mulch, I realized the grass had burned off the sprouts.)

With the advances in battery technology, it’s exciting to be able to do more and more things without using fossil fuels.  If it’s true what most scientists are saying, then our grandchildren are facing a future of mass starvation, cities underwater, and out of control wildfires.  With that being a possibility, we are very willing to reduce our carbon emissions as much as possible.

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July 4…Our grandchildren.