So. Harvest season. Jeez, Louise! Our cold spring and summer put us basically six weeks behind on the harvest. The Gods of Agriculture were smiling, though, and we’ve had pretty nice weather since the middle of August. Penny’s been busting hump harder than I have on it, because she’s had more time to spend on the farm. We’ve got most of the stuff up now, but about half of the potatoes are still in the ground along with some other root crops (parsnips, for instance) that can benefit from a good freeze. Continue reading
It’s winter. The calendar may still say “autumn” but -18 and snow is winter, darnit. Now that it’s winter, you can start thinking about what you’ll spend spring doing. I suggest that you plant a garden. As much as you feel you can manage — after a sober evaluation of your needs, space and abilities. The preparation part is easy. Weeding’s a pain, but necessary. The real challenge comes in the harvest. Continue reading
I’ve been accused of being a pessimist. Wrong. I often spoof a pessimist view, but at heart I’m really an optimist. Lately I had to lay this out in front of some people, and this is what I told them:
I always root for the pessimists. “Plan for the worst, hope for the best” is my motto. In all truth I’m very optimistic. Now let’s talk about what I’m optimistic *about*.
The number one thing to keep in mind is that nobody can get through this alone. If you’re not in a good community, with neighbours you can trust and support, change that right now. It’s almost too late. These things take time. Continue reading
Lately some of my American and Canadian friends have been agonizing about the economic meltdown. Unfortunately, many of them seem to have swallowed the official news media line that all the foreclosures are the result of no-account shiftless deadbeats lying to the banks and stealing money to buy houses they couldn’t afford. Some of them don’t believe that, but have other articles of faith that give them that same false sense of moral security. I don’t lay any claim to have more insight than the next person, but as I always say, “There’s some stuff I think I know.” I thought I’d put some of my responses to them up here. Continue reading
Snow on the ground, full woodshed, crops all in — time to think instead of do. Plan for next year, think about what went wrong this year and why, look short-term and long-term. It’s time to change tracks here on the blog as well. Old trucks, old tractors and old bikes are fascinating, but they’re not all of my life. Also, now that I have some stuff ready for the Dim Technological Pleistocene project, I’ve found a better place to put it. If that pans out, I’ll simply roll that project up and send the files to them and post a link here. Continue reading
Sunday, October 31 — It’s sunny outside and I really wanna be out in it, so this will be short. Man, what a beautiful fall so far! We had time to get the crops in, debris off the gardens, and most of the gardens tilled up so far. All that’s really left is the little patch of flax. I don’t know whether I’ll mess with it this fall. I had the idea that I’d experiment with turning flax into linen fibre. For lack of anything else to do with it, I had thought I’d spin it into twine. Great idea, but of course there are a few processing tools I shoulda been building last summer. Sigh. I may just yank it up and toss it in the compost heap. Continue reading
…or at least write a little more often. Not much happening in the Dim Technological Pleistocene or the Old Hippie’s Garage lately. Mainly that’s because we’ve been spending a lot of time working the farm, and the equipment hasn’t broken down. I managed to resurrect an old grading blade that I got as part of the deal that netted me Eminence Grease, a utility trailer, and the blade all for free. If you’ve paid attention you know how Eminence Grease worked out. The trailer is a real white elephant and I’ll give it away for free to anyone who drives up to get it. Hint. Email me. Continue reading
Comes a point when ya just have to pull the plug. I hit that point when Jim called me up and said, “I found shims under the main bearings.” If this particular 1950 Ferguson TEA-20 had been Grandad’s, I would have said “spare no expense! It’s got sentimental value.” But it’s not. It’s an old tractor that was abused and poorly rebuilt (at least once) and abused until it finally broke. End of story. Kinda sad, but in the end I need a working tractor, not yard art or a parade queen. Continue reading
After posting that I’d like a little bike to blast around on for short distances, I am in LUST… Continue reading
Rather than address comments piecemeal (though thanks for the comments — wow, somebody reads!) I will use this post to briefly share some of the evolution in my thinking as I get deeper into this thing.
First: let’s hear a big shout-out for blind optimism. 🙂 Years of working on motorcycles has given me a sense of what can and cannot be done, but except for the broadest outlines that understanding goes by the boards when we talk about bicycles. A setup that would push the limits a little on a motorcycle pushed the limits too far on the bicycle. Continue reading