On writing a book

My view from the milk stool this morning is on throwing seeds into a compost pile and seeing what grows. I honestly think that’s a better way to grow things – vegetables included. 

Wally and I keep a scrap bucket on the back deck. I put all of my food scraps (not meat, at least not much) in it and when it gets full, it gets dumped into the compost pile with the rabbit pen cleanings. 

We used that compost to plant stands of buckwheat and sunflowers and to fill tomato buckets and some of my plant containers. Lots of other things, including several massive butternut squash plants came up. 

A cherry tomato called Matt’s Wild Cherry (which is a really cool variety – Johnny’s Seed carries them. According to their description, Matt’s Wild Cherry seeds can be traced back to Teresa Arellanos de Mena who brought them to Maine from her family’s home state of Hidalgo in Eastern Mexico (the region where these tomatoes grow wild). Teresa gave the seeds to her friend Matt Leibman, a former Univ. of Maine AG faculty member, who then gave the seeds to us. Apparently they grow wild in Mexico and they’re growing wild here. They’re blueberry sized and take time to pick but oh are they good!

Anyway, plants (good and bad) are one thing that you can expected to reseed in good compost, but I think other things do as well.

In the master’s program at Prescott, as is the case with most master’s programs, there’s a capstone project that you need to complete. I’ve thought of several ideas for the project, but then thought, why don’t I write a book? I wrote to the dean for the program and she thought that was a great idea, but that I likely wouldn’t be able to finish it during the 16 week capstone period. I told her that no, I’d work on it throughout the two (or more) years it takes me to get through the program.

This would be a way for me to sort of redeem the two semesters I spent in the creative writing program at Lenoir-Rhyne. The book would be a combination of stories, photographs and how-to information geared towards people who want to raise some food in their backyards. 

I think the days of Victory Gardens are gone. In my opinion, growing food is harder now than it once was for a lot of reasons. Climate change is one, pest pressure, and the mindset that it takes to grow food. It’s just too easy to get these days. If a garden is going to pot due to lack of or too much rain, pests, inattention, etc. it’s easy to just let it go and get your food elsewhere. That’s okay I suppose if the food is sourced locally, but if not, then that’s just supporting the global monster that our food system has become.

For example, our slicing tomatoes are all gone. We didn’t get a whole lot of slicing tomatoes because I didn’t manage our tomato plants wisely. I hope to do better next year. We have lots of cherry tomatoes – many of them the Matt’s Wild Cherry plants that volunteered. My cucumber plants didn’t do well this year either. I only planted one variety. I plan to try different ones next year. So I went to one of the local produce stores that sell locally grown vegetables (At least during season they’re local. They go to South Carolina and buy vegetables off season.) and bought slicing tomatoes and cucumbers. I needed both to make Bread and Butter Pickles and Peach and Tomato Salsa.

Call me nostalgic – and I never lived in this area when more food came from local farms – but I feel the void left when they stopped growing. There are still some farmers growing vegetables for market, but not like there used to be. There used to be a farmer’s market in Lincolnton that these farmers sold at but it’s long gone. There’s one in Denver, but I don’t go to it. I buy from a produce stand that’s local to my neck of the woods.

There’s so much to share that may help someone. Even how to grow your food when you’re old and decrepit. <smile> How to keep a dairy goat or two, or meat rabbits. It’s my opinion that meat rabbits are the key to sustainability – they offer so much – but so many can’t get past the cute bunny picture.

Until later …