Early arrival of spring, Permaculture season 2014

Winter lasted only one month this year. Sheep were eating grass on the field until mid of January instead of November and in the mid of February I released them back to the field instead of April. Climate change or disbalance is inevitable.

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I was a bit late with harvesting maple and birch juice as well. But still, one branch gave 2l of juice per day during last waxing moon. Bending branches technique used to feed sheep is useful here as well. Plastic bag used to protect bottle from insects is not such a good idea. Flies still got in, so some linen cloth could be a better idea. But I don’t have this better idea yet. One should stop harvesting birch juice as soon as the tree starts to develop leaves. It is actually easy to tell by the taste and look of the juice, because it is not so good then.
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I decided to put some diversity to my vegetable list. I managed to get some wooden boxes from local shopping centers and some plastic and paper containers from yogurts. Then I went to the field and took some soil from the diggings of the mole-rats. Having box one on another is too little space for the light so sprouts trend to stretch, which is not good. That means some shelves are necessary, or boxes need some extra frame to have them more apart one from another at the window. Watering also will be much easier then. Now it is impossible without taking boxes down. Fortunately I have more windows and tables than boxes, so I distributed them for now. Some friend suggested if sprouts are stretching, to add some soil, then they are alright. Some other friend suggested not to waste your time at all and plant right to the field. I also heard about under-snow planting, but this is for the future.
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It appeared that bread making is easier than I thought. Maple leaves can be used as a baking paper. Ingredients can be only flour and water. Some sourdough from a friend to make it a bit puffy. I haven’t been too successful in making my own sourdough from scratch, so for now I borrow it once and make it my pet, my bread genie in a bottle. Bread in a form is much easier to eat, because form enables a baker to have more water in a bread. Bread on the picture is without form, it is traditional. I don’t have any special bread oven, I just put it in heating oven as soon as it is not too hot. Temperature is of course dropping and is not enough, but bread is still edible and nicer than shop bread with yeast. Getting organic flour is much easier than getting organic bread so there is no choice.
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I managed to learn to split larger and longer logs. This enables me to dry it on site and to transport it without strain. It is also easier to use handsaw with such wood, because of smaller radius. So chainsaw may rest. Moreover, I could use such split logs for some handcraft. To make benches for example. Axe must be quite large and it does not really work with dry trees. Branches also may cause difficulties. Wooden hammer can be improvised.
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I had one month excavator drivers course in neighbor town Balvi again, so I refreshed my traffic rules and tried out how is it to dig with these iron monsters and never do it again. During two bicycle-rides I managed to gather some deposit package 8 eur value to be taken to Estonia taarautomaat on the way and of course some ~90 eur support money for the course. So I have some coin to buy stuff I can’t make myself yet, for example, new bicycle. These long rides are resulting in a worn out bicycle and spare parts, hardly available, for some reason are more expensive than a new bicycle.

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About Pavels Melnis

Independent ecology activist, family farmer, gardener and forestkeeper. Musician: violin, guitar, singing. Hobbies: traveling by bicycle, learning to play different music instruments - accordion, piano, recorder flute, harmonica, drums; languages, theology, prehistory, logbuilding, repairing and recycling. Religious. Ecological. Love all things ethnic and traditional.
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