Saturday, October 29, 2011

Caged Hazel

Two year-old hazel, caged for winter. I lost half of my ten hazels last winter, and all ten of their predecessors. I don't understand, because deer are supposed to think they taste awful. I'm not taking any chances with the rabbits and mice this year. Notice the lid. The bit of silver immediately above is the caged Rabella.

Phone Conversation With Steve

Nice phone conversation with Steve last night about eco-village project, and general premises. Good communication. Sent him a copy of the current version of the Intro and outline for the Operating Manual.

Left voice mail message for Noel about TC Daily Planet story.

Winterizing The Rabella

Mellow late-October afternoon, first-season espaliered Rabella apple on dwarfing rootstock. Two three by three-and-a-half foot sheets of half-inch hardware cloth, spread with a piece of light lumber and stitched together with baling wire. Tried to anchor the cage with staples made from wire clothes hangers, but couldn't get a good grip on the ground. Scraped a groove with a garden trowel, and buried the bottom with dirt from a harvested potato tower to exclude mice.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Winterizing My Apple Trees

Two apple trees, planted about a yard apart. "Freedom" on the left and "Liberty" on the right, purchased from St. Lawrence Nursery in Pottsdam, NY. The names claim freedom and liberty from disease. A couple of big, permaculture orchards I know have had good luck with them. They are not on dwarfing rootstock, and I'm expecting to have to prune them to keep them at a scale that's reasonable for their site. I plan to graft branches between them, Freedom to Liberty, to form a ladder, and train other branches to a single goblet shape.

The top photo shows the trunks wrapped with "Tree Wrap," two inch-wide paper, to protect the bark from winter cold and temperature changes. In the bottom photo, they're caged with hardware cloth to keep snow-tunneling mice from gnawing them to death.

I will do something similar with my hazel bushes, whose predecessors were victims of predator bunnies, and an espaliered Rabella apple, as well as several more established, but still young fruit trees.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Landmark Forum, Breakdown-To-Breakthrough, Eco-Village Breakdown

Tuesday night was the last night of the Landmark Forum. Most of us brought guests. I didn't. Barbara was specifically not interested, and I didn't invite Sam, having made an executive decision that he should save his five hundred bucks.

Not a whole lot new. For the most part the affair was a sales presentation for the guests. It was an accurate presentation, and the guests received useful information, gratis. The value I got from the evening was a refresher of something I'd missed:

Landmark calls times when you're frustrated "breakdowns," and talks about how to turn them into "breakthroughs."

The way you do this is to work from the commitment the frustration highlights. The commitment's the important thing, and you need to act in some new way to further your commitment.

On the eco-village front, I've had a breakdown communicating with my colleagues. They are way under-capitalized (read "real broke"), and one way this manifests is e-mail accounts but no computers, pager accounts and balky voice mail, but no phones.

Breakthrough will come from initiative, persistence and creativity on my part. Use of the USPS? Regular, expected, calls to the voice mail? Regular, scheduled, meetings?

Maybe finding phones, computers and internet connections will be the ultimate answer. This will require funding, and I'm not that flush myself. A benefactor will want to believe we're capable of something beyond what little we've done so far. The Daily Planet story will help, as will production of the manual I've begun and that we will write. I've encouraged Steve to get together with the community garden in his neighborhood, so as to establish a track record.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I've known a guy, Steve, for about fifteen years. He's passionate about peak oil. He's also a client of the mental health system, and lives on a disability stipend. Something brilliant about him is his idea that an eco-village would be a good home for marginalized people like himself.

I have been helping him and two of his friends. We got together to prep for an interview that Steve had landed with a public affairs program on KFAI, the local community radio station. We're also working on a story we plan to submit to Twin Cities Daily Planet.

I'm working on an operating manual for the eco-village. My winter project. The technologies and lifestyle I'll describe in it are ones that I want to promote, but as a retired bus driver, I really don't have standing to be heard. The beautiful, ironic thing about Steve and his friends is that these marginal guys have standing. These confused social dependents want to live ecologically. Creating and building this way of life would demand a level of initiative and self reliance from outcasts that few normal folk show.

Landmark Forum

I complete the Landmark forum tonight. It's a seminar to help me be more effective. The thing that it's left me with is a better self-bullshit detector. Part of my bullshit -- they call it "rackets" -- is being unenergetic about the things that I want to pursue.