Friday, December 16, 2011

Joel Salatin on the Survival Podcast

Interview with Joel Salatin on the Survival Podcast

"You can't offer freedom without also allowing people the risk of making stupid choices" (16m25); "Joel: I mean, think about it, if a neighbor had a dog get loose, and bred all the neighbors' female dogs with some form of 2 headed frankendog thing, the neighbors would be up in arms and lynch that guy for letting his dog get loose and run rampant in the neighborhood impregnating everybody's dogs, but here we have a situation where Monsanto is doing exaclty this, and the courts are holding the people with the new frankendogs as patent infringments on the life form that Monsanto owns. Jack: They have to pay a stud fee to the neighbor that let the frankendog out!"(20m30); more on property rights, ancient/Biblical law, and the reason we should never have needed the EPA (22m30); things from Salatin's farm that are useful for the small homesteader including (1) you want to grow food for yourself, you need fertility, which means recycling your carbon onsite - have enough chickens to take care of your chicken scraps and use the manure, (2) produce as much produce as you can including season extension (24m30); 12 box CSA of mostly greens in Minneapolis from Oct1 - Apr1 in Minneapolis in 20'x30' greenhouse using heat sink technology (27m); (3) things like beehives, every house should have a solarium for heating and winter greens (28m); primary difference between rabbits and chickens are (a) rabbits eat 75% of what they need from pasturing on the lawn - more herbivorous, and (b) if they get out they're very hard to catch (31m); specs on portable rabbit pens so they can eat thru the bottom but not dig out - an acre of grass is worth $45k with rabbits (32m); use stacking principles to bring individual enterprise density down to a level that's not attractive to pathogens (36m45); why you shouldn't slaughter animals everyday: you should have some feeling of regret whenever you kill something, and Jack: regret has earned you the right to take the animals life (37m30); Chickens can get 15-20% of their food off the land and when uncrowded almost all of it, with pigs, they'll take up all the oak acorns from an acre and save $300-600 - using the edge, omnivores running in woods (43m); pigs fattened on acorns have olive-oil like lard (47m); still thinks the best way to get started as a farmer is to rent 20 acres and raise pastured broilers, nothing has as quick a turnaround, 8 wks as fast as a radish (53m20); our pasture's all whatever's growing - we haven't planted a seed in 50 years (54m); if arid cold, take your time off in the winter (56m); issues with "organic" including "the beginning of integrity is transparency" (57m); the problem with Jared Diamond's "Collapse" - none of the collapsed societies had herbivourous livestock, and more on how the herbivore is the key to ecological enhancement and nutrient density (1.03m); still raising turkeys with grapes, and using mycellium in wood chip mulch in the grapes and orchards so the turkeys can't scratch through it (1.06m); if it's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly, first - let yourself be wrong and learn and enjoy! (1.10m)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Carol Deppe on Beans (Audio Interview)

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Why beans are important: beans and grain the two crops that can be stored a LONG time, over a year all we'd have are the grains and the grain legumes, the beans, peas, favas, garbanzos, lentils... (6m); On homescale, grains aren't so easy to handle and process, beans are and provide carbs and protein, you need to be able to grow storable crops, and carbs and proteins, and can be grown on only modestly fertile land (7m30); beans fiber, ruffage, digestion issues (10m15); preparation (11m); cut the plants instead of pull them to avoid getting rocks in the beans (15m45); full description for soaking and preparing (16m15); cook them for at least half an hour before adding any spices, esp salt and vinegar, until they're almost completely soft, then finish em, and don't add cold ingredients once you've started (18m); always add fat and something acidic like vinegar at the end (20m20); soaking NOT necessary for dried peas, lentils, cowpeas, can just toss in (25m); every variety has a different optimal time to soak and cook, so don't mix them (33m); garbanzos take about a day to soak and an hour to cook; trialing beans to know if they cook well (34m); all the different kinds of beans - tepary, cow pea (e.g. black-eyed pea), lentils, fava, garbanzos - there are lots of varieties, and green vs. dried vs. shelly, what we want in each kind of plant (38m20); why she grows beans on late or full-season corn only (water), usually a green bean or shelly not dry bean, nmatch the corn and bean varieites, corn should be sturdy and at least 6' tall (46m); timing of planting corn and beans together to get almost the same corn yield with fewer plants (49m); dealing with the harvest (~55m); storage and more recommendations for bean and pea varieties (61m20); overwinter favas, plant garbanzos in the spring and neither need water (63m30); threshing - the fan technique in DETAIL (65m30); more on storage (76m30); how much she puts away - tries to have about 50lb, often has 100lb with all the varieties and breeding projectes, tries to keep it to no more than 20lb of 5 different species, so doesn't do all the harvest and threshing work at once (79m); thumbnail sketch of bean breeding - the need for space has a lot to do with where you live, crosses don't show up in first generation, grow different varieties and you they won't cross, put two of same species on opposite sides of the garden, don't have to be perfect... "If I remove more junk than I create each generation, that's good enough" (81m30)

Still eating from the garden

Without having preserved any food this season, I ate lunch yesterday almost entirely from the garden: winter squash, kale, broccoli shoots, squash seeds. Last night we had plenty of cilantro as garnish from the seeds Davi scattered around in September. There are still little lettuces enduring frosts without cover. They haven't grown much in the last month or two.

Lessons learned this season:

(1) When you eat the leaves of a broccoli plant after harvesting the main head, it totally fails to put out side shoots.

(2) Crimson clover crop planted in mid-October grows about a half inch before it stops. It will pick up and get some more growth in the spring before it's chopped in, but is this enough to protect against soil erosion?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Farm productivity (point of clarity)

Sustainable farming has the capacity to be more productive per acre, but will generally be less productive per farmer. Resource (land) productivity goes up while labor productivity goes down.

What's the sense in pursuing any other way of farming when we have so many unemployed? It's asinine. And does sustainable, labor-intensive farming need to be miserable? That's the argument. I would guess no. I'll develop this more over at thesparrk.