Monthly Archives: March 2012

Workshops Posted

Update: The date for the Primitive Skills Primer is actually June 16, NOT June 19.

We’ve finally settled on the workshops and the dates that we’ll be holding them this year.  We chose these based on how much experience and success we’d had with each of these topics.

All of the workshops are free, but we do ask that you register ahead of time so we know how many people are coming.  We doubt that we will have too many, but you never know.

We’ll be hanging flyers around the area, specifically in Columbia.  Although if anyone wants to print some out and hang them around their areas we can either give you some or you can print your own from this pdf.

Looking forward to seeing some of you there!

 

Summer Kitchen

Also thanks to the efforts of the new volunteers, we’ve now got the kitchen moved out onto the porch.  The new layout gives a lot of space for prep, serving, and dishes.  The dishes are especially easier since you don’t have to go far to fill up the water container or dump the dirty water.

Everything will hopefully stay considerably drier and cleaner under the porch than it was under the tarp in the campground.  Gusts of wind still stir up the dust from time to time.

Hopefully when we move the kitchen in this winter it’ll be the last time we have to go through the ordeal of moving it all.  Hopefully…

Shed Prepping

We’ve been getting tons done with the new volunteers here.  Over the last couple of days they’ve helped clear out the spot behind the common house where we’ll be building a combination storage shed/workshop/root cellar this year.

The new chainsaw has really sped things up, but with any chainsaw it’s still stressful to use such a dangerous tool.

Foraging for Breakfast

Mallard Duck Eggs

 

After a long weekend of cleaning barns and making compost piles, I woke up with a craving for eggs.  Luckily we introduced 4 Mallard ducks into Mom’s pond a few years back.  4 ducks soon turned into 50, then their numbers began to shrink gradually through attrition (and the families of fox that moved in).   These days we try to keep the population around 15.  With 8 ducks producing eggs, there are plenty to go around if you can find them before the Great Pyrenees do.

Pea and Bean Trellis

While Jesse and John finished hauling alpaca manure from Jesse’s mom’s farm to a compost bin here at Maya Creek, I was busy working in the garden again today.  I’ve been trying to find a simple trellis design that’s cheap and easy to clean up at the end of the season.  I found a guy who used fence stakes and fencing wire and then weaved bamboo between the wires, which held the bamboo pieces in place.

We don’t have bamboo, right now anyway, and I wanted to avoid getting out fencing wire and stretching taught and then taking it down next year.  Instead, I put 3 fence stakes in and used 5 strands of sisal string.  Then I wove different kinds of branches I had laying around or cut from places that needed it on the driveway.  In between the branches I wove pieces of jerusalem artichoke stalk from last year, it kind of looks like bamboo but isn’t as strong.

Since the branches reached well above the top string and the branches wanted to slide along the length of the string I put another string across the top wrapping it around each branch.  That really seemed to give it a lot more stability.  My plan is to leave the pea vines on when they die, then plant the pole beans, and once they’re done I’ll cut the strands and roll everything up, string, branches, and vines.  Then I’ll bury that in the bottom of a garden bed as a type of hugelkultur.

Maya Creek TV: Improving Our Raised Garden Beds

It’s March 9, 2012 and we took advantage of the beautiful sunny day to improve some of our raised beds in the garden. We raked off the mulch covering, yanked out all the weeds and put them in the middle of the beds, then dumped alpaca manure on top. The idea is that the weeds and manure will compost in place, heating up the soil, and increasing the fertility. We are also broadforking the beds, which means using a broadfork to loosen up the clay subsoil. This allows the soil to hold more water and makes it easier for the vegetable roots to access the nutrients in the clay as well. Finally, we put some more straw mulch on top to keep the beds moist and facilitate the composting process.

Stumphenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were so many stumps in the front “yard”, we decided it was time to clean up a bit.  We tried burning a few out, but it was talking forever.  It was time to bring out the big guns.  We sawed about 10 stumps as close to the ground as possible and stacked the pieces around the largest stump for a camp fire.  Three days later, it’s still smoking.

Rainwater Hand Washing Station

I finished up the rainwater hand washing station that’s attached to the composting toilet.  I put up a gutter covered with windows screen to keep debris out a several weeks ago, and John built the bucket/soap platform.

Today I added the downspout and secured a piece of window screen over the top of the bucket as a secondary filter and to keep mosquitoes out.  I drilled a bunch of tiny holes in the back side of the bucket near the top in order to keep the max level of the water lower than the window screen, otherwise mosquitoes could still lay eggs in the water.

I also added a little carabiner to hold a hand towel that Jesse put down there.   That water can be pretty cold, so drying your hands helps a lot.  There’s nothing but a couple inches of mulch catching the water.  If it becomes an issue we may dig a small french drain.

Early Spring Welcoming Party

We had a few guests over Saturday night for dinner, drinks, and a bonfire.  I can’t speak for everyone, but I certainly had a good time.  I heard some good stories and generally enjoyed the company all around.

Spring still hasn’t quite arrived fully, but we’re looking forward to a great year, and more good times like that ahead.  There seems to be growing interest not only in Maya Creek, but generally in the type of things we’re doing here.

 

Beavers

We all took a walk back down to the Auxvasse creek that borders the property.  The lowlands back there are filled with giant sycamores and a few giant oaks.  We saw evidence of beavers going to work.  I believe it was a cotton wood tree.  We’re wondering why they chew the bark off of the trees after they cut them down.  Maybe to keep them from rotting in their dam?

At the part of the Auxvasse that borders the property there’s a large rockbar.  Kita loved rolling around in the sandy areas.  There’re also quite a few mussel shells back there.  I’m sure the beavers have been enjoying those.