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Author Topic: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path  (Read 24064 times)

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #100 on: January 07, 2020, 01:25:04 AM »
Dear Martin, Walnuts are a forage crop for me and walnut trees end up on highway frontage and therefor free game. One of the amazing things about the “acorn challenge “ was that foraging turned out to be  the cheapest way to get to zero fossil fuel and NOT starve. Maybe it is silly to test out what no grocery store and nothing more than retained memory will get you but, it was fun. My wife wants to know why we aren’t putting ourselves to the challenge again ? First year one month, second year three months . We haven’t tried year round but who knows when circumstances demand ?
 If you’d ever like to limit yourself to forage or homegrown let me know. Organic SU was such an inspiration to me , he in Greece an my efforts here in S.Cal. We helped each other along !
 

Florifulgurator

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #101 on: January 17, 2020, 09:06:19 PM »
Alas there aren't many oaks around my new place here in Bavaria and they haven't had much acorns.

The forage tree for me would be European beech. The nuts are only slightly toxic, and that can be neutralized by simply roasting them. I will try them in quantity come September.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fagus_sylvatica

It might perhaps be a good idea to re-establish American beech in the West.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fagus_grandifolia

Google image search on my avatar image gives "wood". In fact it is the lower part of David Hilbert's tombstone.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #102 on: January 17, 2020, 09:38:48 PM »
It is planting season for frost tolerant crops here in SCal. I managed to get about a quarter acre of ground covered in compost made from manure and chipped brush. Cover crop of favas ,peas and oats went on another acre. In the composted area I have spelt, potatoes, shallots and cabbage. Timing everything to maximize what little rain we get means getting frost tolerant crops in before the first rain and if I am lucky I won’t need to irrigate.
 I bought spelt several years ago and have been growing more each year as I increase my seed bank.
I learned I can put the grain heads on a concrete slab and scuff it with smooth soled boots and dehull it. A screen pass and winnowing finish and clean up the grain.
 Potatoes are also from potatoes I have kept for several years , a variety called Yellow Finn. Shallots that I plant as bulbs produce seed so each year I plant both shallot bulbs and shallot from seed. Like onions the shallots from seed don’t produce seed until the bulb is planted the next year.
 Martin, I will buy a beech and name it for you.
 The electric wheel hoe is still working well for me and it cuts down on hand weeding. My biodiesel tractor isn’t working because I screwed up the fuel system with bad fuel.
 I have about 500lbs. acorns drying. I gleaned about 35-40 tons of butternut squash this year and I am still feeding pigs three squash per pig per day. I put the squash in a long pile under the pine trees where they are somewhat protected from freezes but nothing but minor frosts so far. I cover them with a roll of floating row cover.
 Less than 5 inches of rain so far and half the rain season is over. Looking like the long drought still is hanging on here in paradise. Last year we got a normal amount of rain and partly filled the reservoir but one year of normal rain doesn’t break a seven year drought.
 I am seriously thinking of building a very deep root cellar. Starting to think building a hole isn’t quite as crazy as the bomb shelters of the 1950s. I can rationalize cold storage but I might add some plumbing which is verging on nut job but I honestly  think the people in charge are nuts. How do you mitigate our climate roulette and governance dystopia?

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #103 on: March 25, 2020, 09:40:26 PM »
With the help from organic SU I started the Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path thread.
Organic SU and I chronicled  a sudden reversion to home raised and foraged food as a sole form of sustenance . It was fun and I think both Organic and I  gained some confidence in our ability to find and grow enough food to get through a severe supply shock. The first year inspired me to put some food stores away to make the first few months of a food supply shock easier to bear should I ever have to get though a period of time without a grocery store .
 The second year my wife and I went three months without going to the grocery store because I had stored away dried corn, beans, winter squash and dried summer squash from my garden as well as foraged acorns .  It was way easier than the crash course Organic and I first attempted. I was more dedicated to the Acorn Challenge than current conditions because I have gone shopping with a mask and gloves once recently. 
 Preparing for an extended period without the grocery store requires gardening efforts at growing staples like corn, grain , amaranth, nuts, and dried fruits. Laying hens are also important IMO. There are ways to buy and store these same dried foods without growing them yourself . Waiting till everyone else has already panicked reduces your options to something like what Organic and I went through and we only went one month. We both lost weight ! 
 The food system that everyone depends upon is not as stable as everyone in government and the media are saying it is. Of course the panic that food shortages would cause are to be avoided but I hope the reassurances about how the US should  fair in pandemic and the shitshow we are experiencing should be some kind of warning about “promises “. 
 When very large portions of labor at slaughterhouses get sick those facilities will shutter. We are headed to that eventuality much quicker than people realize .  Those food infrastructure jobs are what are going to shock the system. Not production and maybe not transportation but the processing sector is susceptible to labor shortages especially if H1 visas are denied . If for any reason people panic the transportation sector may also become an issue . I am not trying to spread fear, I am saying that buying a 100lbs. of good corn and a few lbs. of hydrated lime while it is still available is cheap insurance. I know that amazon has run out of canned sardines because I get a case per month to supplement protein for lactating sows and amazon informed me my monthly order can’t be filled. All those refrigerated shipping containers stuck in China are also causing supply line issues.
 I would like everyone to think about how exponential growth of Covid-19 will impact food supplies .  This subject is totally absent in MSM but ignorance isn’t bliss. I think there are also other processing sector issues out there . The ones I named are those I have a better knowledge about. The California seafood industry for example is mostly shuttered because of zero restaurant sales and they would have labor issues soon enough anyhow if they were to continue operating . Protein supplies are what I predict to have have issues because they are highly dependent upon cheap labor in the processing business and lack of restaurant sales scrambles supply lines. Frozen food supply lines can’t instantly replace fresh protein sources because there isn’t freezer capacity to instantly change our food system.
 If any of these issues should be covered in the Covid-19 thread let me know.
 
« Last Edit: March 25, 2020, 10:03:07 PM by Bruce Steele »

TerryM

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #104 on: March 25, 2020, 11:22:42 PM »
Food insecurity may be closer than many believe.


In SW Ontario the wife has been ordering food online, making an appointment to pick it up, then phoning from their parking lot to have it delivered to her car.
Since today's lockdown the BB store has asked all to wait for confirmation before attempting a pickup.
Our order from 3 days ago was to have been ready for pickup today @1:00 PM - it's now 6PM and they still aren't ready. I suspect some minor glitch as they inaugurate their new system. If they should fail there are many other options open & we've plenty to sustain us for at least 10 days.


I don't imagine that this is anything but a minor glitch at a single store, but it does emphasize how dependent many of us are on a long chain of just in time deliveries.


Great thread Bruce, even for those of us unable or unwilling to make even minor adjustments.


Terry
OT - Vacuum packed dried mushrooms will store for a very long time & take nothing more than warm water to rehydrate. - cheap, tasty, compact and damn nutritious.


EDIT] - 7:10 PM
Store just E-Mailed to confirm that our pick-up is ready to go. Some items are not available but most is as ordered.
I won't continue unless a problem occurs.
Terry
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 12:16:16 AM by TerryM »

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #105 on: March 26, 2020, 12:32:34 AM »
For me it is fun ,but gardening , raising baby chicks, looking for wild mushrooms , and foraging should be fun . Cooking is fun and good ingredients make all the difference. For instance I bought some whole corn at the feed store put it through the nixtamalization process , made masa and then tamales.
Well it was OK but nothing like the aroma and taste of good Indian dent corn. It smelled like chicken feed which wasn’t surprising I guess , it was corn for livestock. The tamales were better than I thought they would be and a fifty pound bag for less than twenty bucks could support a family for weeks. So in a pinch feed corn is easier than collecting acorns and processing them . Not half the fun and not as renewable as eating acorns. Acorns are what you need to know when the wheels totally come off . Right now it is easy to just buy a bag of food grade whole corn online  , pick your color.
 We are just now at the place where grocery markets are struggling with stocking shelves. You can still get what you need online .
  Next stage is where stores can’t restock meats and online gets difficult to source staples.
  Acorns is last stage after long term storage starch supplies dwindle. As terrible as it sounds it can still be done . We will miss our sugar ,our alcohol, and the microwave.
 Arguing about face masks will be a mute issue . Having some company will be worth the risk .

Off to do evening chores and feed the new sows their sardines and pasta . It is a little freaky that the internet is almost totally in control of my sales. The sows are going to miss their sardines when this case runs out. Strange that sardines are the first thing to disappear in current collapse.




 

TerryM

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #106 on: March 26, 2020, 01:23:53 AM »
"Having some company will be worth the risk."
Bruce - I hope it doesn't come to that.


I was kept in isolation for 10 days in a Californian penal camp once and it was mind breaking.
Spending weeks at home with my sweety and my toys ain't too bad.


Don't risk your health - please.
Having a connection with you, and others on this forum makes self isolating so much easier.
Terry


Sorry if I'm sounding like some sort of frigging ass, but I don't want a dirge in Bruce's Memory to be posted on the damn good music thread.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #107 on: March 26, 2020, 04:22:25 AM »
I bought eight baby chickens , they are a joy, baby chickens are always a joy. They will take six months to start laying and I wanted some laying hens also so I bought some layers . The chicks were about $5 each and the laying hens cost me $15 each. Chickens help me avoid the store. I wish there was a milkman who delivered bottled milk like the old days. Goat milk is an option when cattle are not . I do have some goat cheese made by a friend.
The spelt I planted in Jan. is almost ready to form grain heads. It has some ergot so we will see. I also planted some spring wheat before our March rains and it is up a couple inches. Rain season was good enough for cabbage , carrots, spelt and cover crops. The snap peas are looking good but potatoes look bad. So goes gardening with successes and failure , for me every year. It is still a learning process and I have to think about high temperature anomalies now and what I need to do to relieve stress when they hit. Water, Water ,Water.
It may get hot this summer. Terry, for what it’s worth the powerwalls are working out very well for me.
As long as the production portion of agriculture and fishing can somehow sustain we surely can figure out how to get production to market. For small farmers like me the collapse of the restaurant business requires a sidestep into direct to the customer and online sales. Restaurants that close may not pay bills but direct customer trade is PayPal.
 I talked to a fish processor today , same story. Collapse of restaurant sales and a doubling of online and store sales. A seafood processor may have some very large restaurant accounts not making payments for fish sold two or three months ago.
 



TerryM

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #108 on: March 26, 2020, 11:08:39 AM »
Bruce
Glad the powerwall is proving it's worth.
Just a guess, but I'd imagine that restaurants will be among the first enterprises to recover once this has run its course.
Food delivery services are doing well presently & they must need supplies. It seems possible that their usual providers might be having difficulty.


Stay Healthy & Enjoy the Chicks ;)
Terry

Bruce Steele

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #109 on: March 30, 2020, 09:18:28 PM »
Totally off topic. I have also been in the water with white sharks but not nearly as often as Ron Elliot.
We both spent forty years diving sea urchins but I have to admit Ron is in a class of his own.

https://www.nearmissfilm.com/?utm_campaign=f2eef0cc-eaf0-4bd2-9f3b-76284a21bcdd&utm_source=so&utm_medium=mail&cid=408c8c9f-d612-4147-82de-5e38ec7907cf&fbclid=IwAR2BZUjVlfpA4FV3EsRALaGzbH4TyxqdHN-On3CtO2BUYi45hV2wjFAz6wo

uniquorn

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Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« Reply #110 on: March 30, 2020, 09:49:15 PM »
Alcohol shouldn't be a problem. We make a lot of plum and fig wine but only one gallon of grape. Though it will be weaker if the sugar runs out. Anything that's undrinkable gets turned into eau de vie. If that's undrinkable it makes a good handwash. No shortage of vinegar either, some if it cider.
We'll go with chestnuts rather than acorns.