March, 2010 - Issue #106

Celebrating the advent of Spring in all its forms




Bob unwraps our new board from Mr. Crokinole on the second day of the month.  Our next door neighbor Adam wears a smile and one of Chris's work shirt for work at Piedmont  Biofuels.




According to plan, we threw in with folks who know how to grow food and make fuel.  These photos were taken less than 100 paces from our back door mid month on a blue-skied day.  The greenhouse is part of Edible Earthscapes Farm where we get much of our produce and the cob building, otherwise known as the Tami Tank, is where we fill up our Mercedes with biodiesel made at Piedmont  Biofuels.




It was a beautiful day and we made the most of it by going on a walk with our neighbors.  More photos on this page: Walk to Abeyance with Jason and Haruka




Camille decided to see what would happen if she cut the pampas grass down.  Spot looks a little nervous about losing part of his savanna shelter.  Bob recommended we leave one alone and while at first, Camille was gung ho to take down both, soon realized how very difficult this job was.  Armed with a cane knife, rope and tarp, she tied the monster up and then hacked at it.

We're still looking for the answer to an easy way to trim these monsters back.  A week later, friend Lisa brought over her chain saw to see if it would work on the second clump but all it did was pull the grass into the chain.  The neighbor trimmed his much smaller pampas grass plant with a weed whacker and it looks as if more than a few people burned theirs.




Bob plants some of the perennial flowers Susan Harris generously shared with us into a bed on the sunny side of the pole barn and has started tomato seedlings under lights in one of our back bedrooms.




Bob plants pepper seeds on March 17.  He saved seeds from three of our favorites - Togabo, Pimento and Shishito peppers.




Spring is the best time of the year to see lots of baby critters, including this hungry lamb and precious bunny.  More photos here:  Barnyard and Field - Spring Babies




Little by little Bob is turning an old swimming pool into a container garden.  Stay tuned for more on this metamorphosis.  This month we fenced out the deer and began harvesting leaves to use as mulch and soil amendment.  We're also doing battle with ants and other critters that would make their home in ours.  Bob works for Ecoblend, the manufacturer of organic pesticides and herbicides and this product is extremely effective on ants.




A beautiful pear tree blooms in our front yard and attracts pollinators from near and far.




Two bees enjoy the rites of spring on a window screen.  Bob poses in the setting sun on our front lawn on March 24 with Spot and the pear tree in the background.  Camille mowed the grass earlier on this day.  This was the first mow of the season and she was quite proud of her work.




Lyle donated his time, truck and pallet jack to help Bob move the last of his garden otherwise known as Guantanamo from Oilseed.  They will become part of the Sunken Gardens of Moncure.


The right tools for the job help immensely but there was still quite a bit of muscle powered involved in moving the dirt (and plant) filled containers onto the lift gate and down the payment.




On Thursday, March 25, Camille heard sirens as fire trucks rushed past their home on their way to town.  Minutes later, Bob called from town to report there were smoke billowing from the top of the 129-year old Chatham County Courthouse in the center of Pittsboro.  It will take many months before this historic building is restored.




Bob uses a butane lighter to burn down the dead native grass and encourage new growth.  Which is akin to what happened with the courthouse although in that case, the fire was not intentional.  He captured some very nice photographs.


Smoke and flame rise above the container garden behind the plastic pot which melted a little from the flames. 




We joined Jason and Haruka on a  Manure Run to Nancy's alpaca farm on a chilly Sunday afternoon.  Click on the link for the rest of the story.




Every challenge is an opportunity for an epiphany.  Camille wasn't sure what these were or what to do with them but after doing a little reading, chopped them up and added them to sautéed onion.  She then added the rest of the greens from CCCC's Land Lab CSA and a new method for processing greens was born.

Now Camille cooks up the greens as they arrive in the house, starting with an onion and the sturdier greens and finishing with the lighter, more fragile greens.  A little peanut oil and a couple of tablespoons of tamari (or soy sauce) are all that's needed.  No more whining over space in the refrigerator or freezer and there are always vitamin packed greens ready to reheat and eat. 




Bob handed out seed to his sustainable agriculture students that he saved last year from one of our enormous crook necked pumpkins.  Related to the Butternut squash, these are tasty and have relatively few seeds.  The 2008  pumpkin plant was grown from seed that came from a pumpkin we bought in Texas in 2007.  This year our pumpkins didn't do so sell and we didn't get a harvest.  But this month, Bob went to visit Windy Meadows Farm and Gerry gave him a pumpkin he grew from the seed Bob had saved.

Camille roasted the buttery fleshed squash, cut up a couple of pounds of succulent carrots, sautéed an onion and added coconut milk, veggie broth, ginger, salt, cayenne and a bit of cilantro to make a delicious soup.  She then turned it into to bisque using the immersion blender wand and served it with rice and salad.

Photo of Camille with 2008 Pumpkin from Guantanamo at Oilseed

Photo of Bob with 2007 Pumpkin in Texas


"We don't intend that the pursuit of personal wealth should lead to the bankruptcy of an entire nation, but bankrupt we are." - Curtis White

There is a giant misunderstanding of capitalism by people who hate it.  They see it as a perpetual machine producing dollars and profits that they can skim, tax and take.  They have an ingrained hatred for the pursuit of profit and they have a double ingrained hatred for the people that make a profit." - Rush Limbaugh" If people are just left alone, a recession cannot happen in and of itself," he explained. "The whole point of people engaging in commerce is growth."

"The forces of a capitalist society, if left unchecked, tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer." - Jawaharlal Nehru

"No social system in any country will bring us happiness, health, and prosperity unless it is inspired by something greater than materialism." - Clement R. Attlee

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