Saturday, August 05, 2006


Declaration of Independence from the Grid.

As August ripens, my Fall planting schedule kicks in for the third time in this wonderful experiment to extract total sustenance from my 148 square feet of garden. The only thing I can do wrong is give up, so I feel pretty sure I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life. With the exception of the items early settlers had to hitch up the buckboard to go to town for, I have gone through as long as a four month stretch without buying something I could grow myself. Texas summers though — when watering generously every evening barely gets the wilt out by dawn, you know its blistering hot. Last year I thought it was just my inexperience plus the error of allowing my tomatoes to block everything else that caused the summer slump. Now, after all fruiting species barely bloomed and only bore fruit until the summer began to average above 85°F, I haven’t harvested anything but okra for the past two and a half months.
Year three will begin with some adjustments. During July I deepened one bed to 14” with 3’ long 2"x2" posts at the corners for the purpose of supporting wire fencing upon which shading screen may be laid in whatever configuration may be called for to lessen the burn next summer. It has also occurred to me that the moisture in raised beds must evaporate faster than those into the environmental soil, particularly around the edges. So my plan is to use the soil from the tilapia pond I am going to dig this winter to not only deepen the rest of my beds, but to bank their sides for temperature isolation even if I have to make the paths between beds level with them.
As to the fall garden, I have begun starting broccoli in yogurt cups in batches two weeks apart and have already set out seven of them, still in the cups with the bottoms cut out, into two radically different beds, to learn what that will show me. The cups left on the broccoli serve as a shielding collar around the mature stem as protection from the crawling pests that love to devour it. Next week carrots, one block of 16 every two weeks. The shorter the time to harvest the later I can plant the other fall veggies. I have always gotten plenty of growth and food in the winter, its just the limited variety that makes me buy other food in that time period.
I am having better success in my spiritual, psychological withdrawal from the cultural grid, having started that many years ago. Rather than the loneliness inherent in living alone further from society being a bummer, I find that visitors are more welcome because of the rarity and the sincerity of those who still make an effort to keep in touch rather than just dropping because they’re in my neighborhood. I built my pond out of love for sleeping near the sound of water falling, little foreseeing the plant, fish and amphibian life that has sprung up and drawn me into the symbiosis with nature I expected only from my garden. It’s all good.
I began this blog as way to find kindred fertile minds back in the inert dirt and techno trash heap of culture gone mad. I think survivors of whatever this brewing world wide mother culture of a collision is between megalomaniacal new world orderers, technologically bloated population and planetary abuse need an exchange of ideas to develop a more symbiotic relationship with mother nature; our only sustenance all along. Upon realizing that the only people I was getting feedback from were those I emailed about the blog, I realized that if I wanted to fly with the wind I had to do more than just stick my wet finger in the air. So I began surfing the blogs just as I needed others to do if I wanted visitors. After three fairly nonstop day of it I left 7 or 8 comments amongst the only blogs intriguing enough to complete their archive. At this rate I will never surf the whole blogosphere because, using the "next blog" button gives you the most recent posts and a third of them were just making their first! But maybe in a few months I'll be bitching about the blog taking up so much time instead of my giving it up as willingly as now. Six of one, twelve dozen of the other.
"…until such time." —Countryman

1 comment:

Hound Dog said...

Lisa here.

Simplifying... living off the grid... how to achieve it?

One small footstep at a time? A vegetable garden that bears fruit (and vegetables). When to plant... to know the earth and the elements so well... to learn back that kind of intuition that was lost. I aspire to that humble goal, but have only lived a dream of it. It is difficult to peel away the grid's bindings which have also provided a sense (is it false?) of safety.

So you see, you inspire!