Happy Earth Day everyone. It seems like an appropriate time for your bi-weekly Maya Creek update. The last several weeks of sunny 70 degree weather have given me the chance to get a lot done. I’ve built two new sheet mulched no-till garden beds, one of them being a 4th vegetable bed so that I can do a 4 year crop rotation, and the other is a 2nd perennial bed. The new vegetable bed is already planted with 5 different kinds of potato, and the perennial bed is now home to asparagus and soon to have some jerusalem artichokes added. I made a video while I was making the 4th garden bed, but I’m not particularly happy with it. I’ll probably post it anyway after I take another look at it.
It seems that we’ve past the last frost in the area, and so my gamble on getting a few things in the ground early might well pay off. I’ve already learned a couple new lessons in the garden. I’m going to start planting trap crops of radishes for the flea beetles. They attack the radishes and I yank them and burn them, seems to be the only method I’ve come across for handling them organically. Otherwise they pretty quickly make my turnips and eggplants look like someone shot them with a really small shotgun.
I’ve done a lot of interplanting of flowers and things this year, and I’ve planted a number of perennial flowers in the perennial beds to draw in some beneficial insects. I’m aiming to plant even more once I figure out where I’m planting the rest of the fruit trees and berry bushes that I’ve ordered.
Last year it got pretty tiring hauling the generator up to the garden to run the pump for the solar shower. I considered setting up a small solar power rig, but it just seemed like way more time and money than it was worth. So essentially I built a fancy solar bucket shower. I still heat the water the same way with the black barrels under a clear plastic drop cloth, but now I just pour a couple buckets of the hot water into a small holding bucket with a faucet and shower head I stole off one of the solar shower bags, and whallah. It doesn’t have much pressure and it comes out fairly slowly, but I can easily take a shower, wash my hair, and shave on around 2-3 gallons of water. We were easily using 7-10 gallons with the pump system.
One of the two work exchangers I have coming this summer is heading over from Nebraska early next week. He’s about my age and he’ll possibly be staying a couple months. I’d been needing to get tarpopolis set up again and this was my excuse. I’ve got all of the tarps hung again, which went significantly faster this time around now that I know what I’m doing and have all the pieces cut to the right size. I’ve also set up the two guest tents and put mattresses and some shelving in them as well. I’m still looking for more work exchangers, so if you’re interested shoot me an e-mail.
Apart from that I’ve set up the storage tarp area and have been moving all of the stuff from inside the straw bale place out to it and organizing it as I go. It was kind of a disaster area in the place since I left in kind of a hurry last year when the temperatures plummeted last October, and now I’m paying for it. It’s like coming home from a vacation and you’ve got dirty dishes in the sink, no clean clothes, etc. I already feel a little more bounce in my step and I’m only about half way done with the clean-up.
Once the house is cleared out I can start on the roofing insulation again in earnest. I’ve got a wonderful source of trash Alpaca wool. Basically the wool from the legs is very coarse, and since it’s not good for clothing gets thrown out even though it still has excellent insulative properties. I’m sure that process will go much faster with a second set of hands as well.
I’m also reading a natural plaster book and starting to refine my ideas and plans on how to plaster the building. I’d been thinking about a lime or possibly paper-crete covering for the gravel bags to protect the areas most likely to get splashed, but I’m now thinking about covering everything in earthen clay plaster and then adding a mortared rock splash guard around the bottom. I think it’ll look really nice and be more environmentally friendly to be sure. In the meantime, Pink has certainly been enjoying rolling around and sunning himself on the clay mound outside the house.