Saturday, January 29, 2011

Just a few bags of seeds... and Otto

  My stash of seeds are sitting there, ready for their chance. The propagation unit as of yet is still in pieces as one of the major quirks this place has is the undulating floors. There is enough snow outside that the thought of building a cold frame, a raised bed is quickly thwarted. The only thing you can construct out there is possibly a snowman replica of the terra cotta army.

 The humidity is indeed novel. I never paid much heed to it growing up, but returning to it after almost a decade it is amazing. The landscape is swallowed up at night frequently by thick intense blankets of fog. The deep cold able to freeze the moisture and suddenly you are standing in a vortex of swirling glitter. Then reality kicks in and I race inside for something warm to drink, right after I hit up the Kleenex. 

  The anticipation has me constantly checking on my seeds. Each one with their own built in life force energy reserves, just waiting for the signal to go. They are sorted and organized, they are currently the only things sorted and organized around here. Cool season crops, warm season crops.. then further divided up and grouped together according to species & strains. 

 This would be the reorganization I should say.. as my Mom paid us a visit just the other day. She had found a box that had her seed stash in it and she is unsure of their viability. Aside from packets, there are jars and ziplock bags of seeds from neighbors and friends... of which the year is a mystery. The box with "just a few bags of seeds" is like Christmas. Can't open it until a certain date.. don't know what's inside and after that the challenge of seeing what sparks of life can be fanned into flame.

 Bringing the seeds over was an excuse. What she really wanted to show me was her new dog. He's not quite 1 1/2 years old and he's from the local shelter. A coonhound mix (that thumping sound you hear is my head repeatedly hitting the desk).. he's a problem child that was returned a few times. Well, he has his forever home now but this is going to be interesting. 

 In less than 2 seconds from entering our door he managed to leap over the couch into the boxed off "dog tail free" zone.. where I had my seeds. My boxes, packets, piles, etc. went flying everywhere. 

 This little boy is going to need some training and to have his energy run out of him. His temporary name is Otto... which does not fit and we have yet to come up with one that does. I keep leaning towards Fletcher or even more so Sabre. He's tall and thin.. so a wild guess is greyhound is in the mix. You can't miss the coonhound in him though.. and he stabs you with his nose (his nose that is in overdrive checking everything) as well he is a nibbler. Like a clingy little kid.. he gently bites on to your sleeve to hold on to you. He has enough energy that at any moment I wonder if he is going to go all super Nova on us and explode.

 The name Otto... it makes me think of my Mom's cousin. If I had to stick a dog with that name it would be an older rottweiler that is laid back.. and usually found snoring and farting. No doubt and no matter what his name will be... we will be the ones watching him when needed. Getting him to focus will be interesting to say the least. He knows "sit"... sort of. Ask for his paw.. and he will lay down. His nose.. it consumes his attention entirely.. and maybe now we may have just found the means for my Mom to locate the tv remote. 

 I have compost already started. Not enough materials yet to build a pile that could defy the winter, but I am working on it. Critter proofing is a high priority out here. Not only to keep the woodland scavengers out, but the biggest troublemakers of all... my sister's dog and no doubt the overly curious new addition. (My poor dog went from being the youngster, to the old man.. but out of them all he is still the best dog ever.)

 As sort of a clarification about the previous post.. this is where I get torn..  I understand not wanting additional legislation but the problem was ignored to the extent where now only radical action is the only option. As the population grows at the rate that it is.. and controlling the growth of the population is taboo to even speculate on.. lack of resources becomes an issue. 

 Water in many places is taken for granted as being plentiful. Fresh, clean and safe is expected.. demanded.. an unalienable right in many of our minds. Tapped into city water supplies, only when the bill arrives is the concept of reducing use brought to mind. Unless a well runs dry or is contaminated.. that too is not given much thought. 

 The pond in the backyard of the home I grew up in is a perfect example of what's going on in general. It was a typical murky fresh water pond filled with bluegills, crappie, frogs, crayfish and the like.. it was very alive... and diverse. All the neighbors who lived along the pond mowed their own lawns, raked their own leaves, etc. When 1 family got a lawn service.. that sprayed their yard and kept it emerald green even through summer's sweltering times.. that chemical lawn service got more customers. The rains would come and the pond would turn green with algae from the fertilizer run off. The fish, the frogs, the crayfish started to die off. The mosquitoes, which were always plentiful, were now in obscenely big swarms. So they began to spray..   The luxury of a super green lawn killed the pond. Every solution except giving up their swatches of perfect blades of grass was and still is explored. I can tell you that almost every neighbor around that pond... their dogs got cancer. Ours included. 

 This is what is happening to the watersheds and underground reservoirs. Some areas are more aware of limited water than others. Indeed in Colorado, the rain that falls on your roof in a storm isn't even yours to collect, yet ironically they will dump over a million gallons to flush out a water system. 

 Pressed for time, hard up for currency.. the fast and easiest choices often leave us with a huge price to pay later. The band aid to address the situation instead of solving the problem just leads to needing a bigger box of band aids. 

 While I'd rather not have more legislation.. there is not enough time to ignore it. There are too many people chasing the bottom line to see the effect of their actions until forced.

 Thankfully... there are a lot of people out there taking heed. To those people who grow their own when they can, and do what they can in regards to so many things..  you are amazing.


  1. The problem with regulation is scale.

    They can regulate anything bad like puppy mills, commercial hog farms, chemical companies etc. yet they then turn these regulations on the regular people in stupid ways.

    Like TSA agents they eventually turn on the honest citizens because they are defenseless and easier targets. Next thing you know people are getting fines for having a spare tire in their barn or something stupid like that.

    Oh ya I have 7 tomato seedlings growing all sprouted from seeds saved last year using your saving seeds directions.

    Guess that makes you a tomato grandma kinda :)

  2. It sounds as though you have quite the seed stash and will be very, very busy this spring.

    We have a neighbor that loves to spray chemicals and fertilizers any chance he gets...wish I could "legestlate" him before he poisons our property too. At least he is down hill from us...but not always down wind. He also has some sort of unusual health issues, wonder what might be causing them...hmm.

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on all of this.

  3. @ Pioneer I agree, but.. we've moved beyond being able to afford the common sentiment that what 1 person does doesn't matter. That's where we get cornered.

    Woot for the tomato seedlings! Tomatoes are great in that once you have it down, you can in a summer, collect enough to be set for the next decade plus.

    @ Mr. H I am with you when it comes to chemical dependent neighbors. It can trigger reactions in those who are sensitive.. as well the exposure can develop sensitivities. The neighbors at the small farm stopped spraying after my sister was air lifted to a hospital because of it. It surprised them that it could have such effect.. and even though they stopped spraying.. they also were surprised that they didn't have the crop loss they were expecting either. They haven't totally stopped spraying, but they do notify us when/if they are.. and they do it much much less than before.

    Until it hits home, or close to home.. a lot of these chemicals are written off as harmless. They are pushed, advertised and perceived as the quick fix... safe.. harmless (until you read the fine print).