July 20, 2024

Alas, Our Fig Trees

My first blog post about our fig trees is dated June 18, 2009 (Uncovered). We didn't know we had them until we started cleaning up the place. The house was empty for several years before we bought it, so there was a lot of cleaning up to do. That's when I discovered several fig trees hidden in the brush. 

Over the years, I've canned, dehydrated, and given away lots of figs. I've baked with them and we've eaten lots fresh. Then a couple years ago, one of them died. The next year another died. And the next year another. Now, our last remaining original fig tree is going the same way.

The leaves curl, yellow, and drop. 

I've done some research into this and it could be any number of things: nutrient deficiencies, disease, pests. Could be too little rain or could be too much. 

Nothing I've done has helped, so I'm doubtful the few figs the tree did produce will ripen. That will mean no fig harvest this year; a sad loss, for sure. 

Happily, we have a new generation of saplings, growing on their own and looking healthy.

It will be years before they produce much, but at least they're there. Hopefully, they won't succumb to whatever got the others. 

July 12, 2024

Slow Progress on the Front Bedroom

The last time I talked about this room was in April, when I got my floor loom set up in it. Even though the interior still needs to be finished, that won't happen until our priority projects are finished. In the meantime, I'm working to make it more comfortable and homey. One of the things I did, was to hang two old printed quilt pattern bedspreads as window draperies.

Front window before

Front window with full size bedspread.

Side windows with thermal curtains.

Queen size bedspread for the side windows.

Even though the walls and window trims still need to be finished, the bedspreads help cover up the mess! 

The front window is shaded by the front porch, but the side windows in the photo above get the full brutal force of our afternoon southern sun. That means the room heats up, even with energy star windows. So in addition to the bedspread, I also used the four thermal curtains; one pair on tension rods in the window framing, and the other two hung on the inner rod of the double drapery rod. That gives me a double layer of thermal curtains plus the quilt. That seems to be helping quite a bit.

What's on the loom? It's a throw rug for the entryway of this room.

I chose the yarns to compliment the bedspreads. You can see those photos here. It's finished now, and below you see it here it is in its new home . . . 

Technical details for the rug are at my fiber blog.

The book shelf cubes are new too, and create a nice visual partition. My large desk is behind them, so they help hide the clutter!

I've also been able clear this wall in preparation for future work.

The brick wall you see is the back of our woodstove alcove. Originally, this bedroom and the living room had back to back fireplaces, both of which have been torn down. Dan is still planning on having a masonry stove built, and this brick wall will be incorporated into the thermal mass. After that, we can finish the wall and do something about the closet. 

Old photo from when we first bought the house.

The closet is 6-feet wide and 17.5 inches deep. The door is only 72-inches tall. That gives the shelf above the closet rod a 7-inch opening for storing items on the shelf.

With our 9-foot ceilings, there's almost 32 cubic feet of storage space above the shelf, but that narrow opening means it's near impossible to utilize! This currently unusable space could easily accommodate the few boxes I have left after my sort and purge. Obviously, the entire closet needs re-vamping, which we'll work on once the stove project is done.

So progress has been made, even though it will be awhile before we get the room finished. But it looks and feels nicer, and that makes me happy. 

July 5, 2024

The New Keyhole Garden: Structure Complete

The new African Keyhole is built and ready for the next step. And that would be filling it with lots and lots of organic matter (rotting wood, sticks, compost, etc.) and good soil. I'm not in a hurry to do that however, because at the moment we have lambs quarter and cherry tomatoes growing happily in it. 

I'll start filling in the low areas, taking care not to smother the plants. And I'll fill the built-in compost bin. 

This feature is what makes the African design so clever and superior to the ones that simply have an alcove that enables the gardener to have a closer hand at planting and harvesting. The compost bin receives scraps and water, and once established, I find that my keyhole garden thrives better than my kitchen garden. And that, even though it's a raised bed, which I find don't do well in our climate because they dry out quickly in our hot dry summers.

So, that's a project checked off the to-do list. Anybody else making progress on their project lists?

July 1, 2024

Annual Permaculture Adventure Bundle

This year's bundle contains some interesting and unusual stuff. Things like, using mushrooms for insulation (who knew?) and an earthbag building guide. There's something in it to cover every aspect of homesteading! The bundle contains over $600 worth of resources, and will be available July 1 - 4 for the heavily discounted price of $35. After that, it goes up to $65.

Here's what's in it:
  • Earthbag Building Guide eBook, by Owen Geiger, with complete plans to build your own a Roundhouse Studio 
  • Finding the Perfect Homestead Property video Course by Curtis Stone
  • PawPaw Quick Start Guide (Video and eBook) by Michael Judd
  • Boosting Your Garden Yields by Growing Algae. A streaming video presentation by Matt Huber
  • Wooden Door with Mycelium Insulation and Proenneke Hinge Guide with 3-D Plans from the Low Tech Laboratory by Andres Bernal. 
  • Permaculture Guilds and Companion Planting  a Training Session video by Permaculture Gardens
  • Hugelkultur: The Ultimate Raised-Bed Gardening eBook (Draft) by Paul Wheaton
  • Easy Homemade Body Products eBook by Merissa A. Alink
  • The Design and Build of the Giant Solar Food Dehydrator. Movie by Paul Wheaton (and it is giant).
  • DIY Specialty Soaps eBook by The Nerdy Farm Wife
  • Building a Cob Style Rocket Mass Heater by Paul Wheaton, HD instant view
  • Wildcrafting Weeds eBook by Colleen Codekas & Joel Schwartz
  • Building a Better World in Your Backyard eBook by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klausen-Koop. Luxuriant Environmentalism!
  • Practical Mending eBook by Kate Downham. Kate is one of my favorite homestead authors!
  • How to Bake without Baking Powder eBook by Leigh Tate
  • 45 Low Tech Things Webinar Recording by Paul Wheaton
  • Thermophilic Compost For the Garden and Homestead PDF by Alan Booker
  • Helen Atthowe's Backyard Food Forest Webinar Recording
  • Water Biofilters and Composting Toilet Systems Presentation from Online PDC/ATC with Tim Barker
  • Why Chickens are the Enablers and Heroes of Permaculture Design Workshop by Patricia Foreman 
  • Living Wood Magazine - Issue 6
  • Core Site Layout: Zone 1 Site Planning Online Workshop by Ben Falk
  • Saving Our Seeds – The Practice & Philosophy. eBook by Bevin Cohen
  • Celery Wine: The Story of a Country Commune eBook by Elaine Sundancer 
  • Paul Wheaton Podcast Review of Botany in a Day by Thomas Elpel
  • The Beginning Gardener's Toolbox eBook by Carly MacQuarrie of The Little Green Shoot
  • Northern Great Basin Restoration Agriculture Biome Models Presentation by Neil Bertrando
  • Cooking with a Rocket Oven video by Paul Wheaton
  • Composting Toilet Design Plan PDF by Rancho Mastatal
  • Save Our Bees: Your Guide To Creating A Bee Friendly Environment eBook by Jason Johns
  • 6 Issues of Tiny House Magazine
  • Earthen Walls Webinar by Natalie Bogwalker of Wild Abundance
  • Permaculture Design Magazine, Issues 110 'Permaculture Ethics' & 118 'Wild Yields'
  • Paul Wheaton Podcast Gob: #281-320
I hope I've got them all because there have been several last minute additions.

And here's the link again (so you don't have to scroll back to the top of the page). 💁

Special price ends Thursday July 4th at 2 p.m. MT.