Category Archives: From the Soil

When Our Forests Disappear

This is the first part of a four part series in the Floyd Press, first installment in this week's edition. -- FBF When the oak leaves fell from November trees along the crest above the house, we were shocked to discover that the rounded ridge beyond and above us was now as smooth as a baby's bottom against the northern sky. The south-facing flank of Lick Ridge had been clearcut. The sight alarmed and upset me--and not just because the aftermath of a clearcut is unspeakably ugly. The intended future for that cleared ridge long after we're gone from here is not that … Continue Reading ››

PeeCycling

It is true that the tomatoes are leggy and the peppers not a deep dark green as they should be. They seem to be telling me that they are in short supply of something--and probably on or all of N, P and K. I have a long list of excuses--and some reasons--why our garden is anemic this year. But I'll save the whining and move right to one possible partial solution. For the P, I recommend pee. I still have the Starbucks cappuccino bottle on the working shelf in the garden shed but have not used it thus far. I'm about the correct … Continue Reading ››

This Bountiful Land: Pasture First Cutting

AbbyTarynHaybales-03_680 It was not the purpose for cutting and baling hay that the grands have a place to play King (er Queen) of the Mountain. But the fact that they invented their own entertainment and burned off some youthful energy in the process (with digital devices nowhere in sight) is one pleasant side-effect of last week's haying. The purpose, of course, was to power the growth of meat animals who will digest the tens of thousands of round bales cut in Floyd County and turn it into protein for growing bodies like those of … Continue Reading ››

Poultry Palace Complete

IMG_4514henhouse480
Coop installation by Karl Black of Black Hawk Construction who also put up the garden shed a few years back.
So you long-time readers might remember the great Chickalanche of the winter of 2014. All the snow off the barn roof came down with a swoosh onto our chicken pen and destroyed it. (And one of us got to say I TOLD YOU SO but we won't go there.) And then one of us insisted that we needed once more to offer our well-fed hens to whatever creatures get a … Continue Reading ››

Tomato Horn Worm: Gotcha!

IMG_4481hornworm480Moveable Feast: Dinner is served. As a matter of fact, dinner is almost done for the eggs embedded with great accuracy and intention by the mother wasp into this otherwise invisible garden pest--the tomato (also called the tobacco) horn worm. See the horn up top? She found and then injected the host caterpillar many times with her hypodermic ovipositor  (at least as many times as you see white cocoons of eggs-turned-to-pupae). Those eggs have hatched, turned to tiny larvae who have eaten caterpillar juices and tissues, and emerged to the exterior to spin … Continue Reading ››

Got Legs Under Me At Last

While the cat's away...but it wasn't mice in the garden while we were out of town. It was beetles, weeds, and from the outside, deer browsing on the beans along the fence. Oh well. All that hard work to make pretty gone to seed. Point is, there is an incredible amount of catching up to do. The good news is: I am prepared and able to do it. Three days ago, not at all. I've never been so disabled by pain as I was Thursday night. After 4-5 dozen back muscle spasms (following a 14 hour drive home from MO) I was beginning … Continue Reading ››