Sunday, August 15, 2021

I have existential reasons for reviving this blog

 Is that not a crazy blog title or what? Truthfully, most of you are nodding your heads, and saying, "girl. I get it."
Did you ever think we'd be where we are as a planet so soon? Most non-scientists will say, "no."
Most hippy dippy types - kind of like me - are taking a deep breath and thinking we'd better get busy if we weren't already. We have one planet, one lifetime and long lives ahead of us. So it's time to think about sustainability and how to approach it again.

Tammy and I have avoided Covid. We followed the science, and did what was recommended. Admittedly, I'm tired of being at home so much, but I'm also grateful for the country place so that we can get out and move around! We're also of the mind that along with human activity helping to speed global warming, it's human activity that unleashed the horseman called death. Therefore, we aren't putting on blinders while we sing, "la la la."

Backyard Garden in the Shade

Over the last 5 years, we have not put in a vegetable garden in Austin because our yard is so shady. Any non-food plants I've planted are kind of wimpy. Most things need more sun. (But if you're looking for something scrappy for your yard - plant salvia. It seeds and pops up everywhere, and that means flowering plants galore - even in the shade.) As of this past week, I am going to try to put in a vegetable garden or two. 

I hung out with my longtime friend Kiya Heartwood this past week, and she showed me her permaculture gardens. I was re-inspired that food plants are heartier than I thought. I'll be asking her a ton of questions as I try this myself. She is a small farm pro. This weekend, however, is about figuring out where to put the beds and then start breaking up this hard-ass Austin dirt.

I think I can grow leafy vegetables, and I may try sweet potatoes. I'll try carrots and turnips, too (I'll be giving away turnips because I only want the greens). Then I need to figure out what kind of vertical food will grow in minimal shade. Maybe nothing, but I'd like to try something. I've studied the sun pattern in the backyard for years, and I never settled on the best spot to grow vegetables until I realized that there's a sort of deadish spot in the grass where the dogs like to sun. So.... guess where most of the sun lands? I'm feeling only slightly guilty about taking over their spot. I fully expect some retaliation.

Don't Take Food, Water and Health for Granted

At the risk of sounding doomsday like, we are no longer taking our food, water and health for granted. Covid has been surreal. As a people, we could have slowed the spread, but politics and conspiracies got in the way. Supply chains will once again be disrupted. In fact, I read that wheat yields were down worldwide. What's next? 

Water. Not one thing on this planet can live without it. As the polar ice caps melt, the salinity of the ocean changes, and life in the seas will change, too. The coastlines are shrinking. People are moving inland. Housing costs are skyrocketing around migration. And droughts mean less water for more people. 

Needless to say, I'll be adding a cistern or two to the house in Austin. As much as possible, I'll use rainwater to water my garden. I should probably try hill gardening to reduce water usage. More to come on if I do that. I'm probably not that patient, though.

And finally, solar. Y'all know I'm about the solar energy. I'll writes some entries on how my journey is going. More to come. In the meantime, if your yard is shady and you want a garden, leafy green vegetables are your best bet:
Carrots - sort of
Turnips - sort of

If you're in Texas, always refer to Texas AgriLife for tips on what to plant and when to plant in your region. 

** I'm pretty sure Elizabeth took the photos in this blog entry, so credit goes to her.

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