Monday, October 26, 2009

Three Hundred and Fifty!

As the International Day of Climate Action (350 day) swept over the globe in a wave of demonstrations (and hopefully longer-lasting shared sentiments), I made my small contribution to the cause. Despite the driving rain, Colin and I headed out to mow our "official" 350 in the clover of the upper field. It's actually a bit smaller than the old one, the small clover patch was the only good display medium left on the farm, not like the bountiful bouquet of grasses covering many acres that I could pick from in the Summer.

There were demonstrations in Wolfville, Halifax, Ottawa (where protesters disrupted the House of Commons) and all over the world, now lets turn this sentiment into positive action to actually change things! We need to demand that the world's powers that be place our life-giving planet at the top of their priorities, where it should be. At the same time we can't continue taking, taking, taking while wanting government to do things for us, this is a problem created by 6,000,000,000+ people, or more accurately a small percentage of those taking far more than their share. The government is (or should be) a reflection of the people and if the people are complacent consumers, or worse yet, actively wallowing in the vast (and very temporary) material wealth created by exploiting millions of years of fossil sunlight, we're going to have similarly minded leaders in charge pushing for more of the same and denying that there's even a problem (look no further than our current government). Sure, the government has the power to regulate industry (and it will have to if there's going to be change) but we forget that we as individuals are largely responsible for that industry and many of the Earth's problems as whole by buying their products and amassing far more "stuff" than we really need. WE are the ones most responsible and we also hold the most power to produce positive change!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A big update on a wet 350 Day

Apologies for the lack of posts lately, although there isn't much exciting news coming from the garden this time of year there are still lots of projects on the go. Now that the harvest is all in I've been tallying the crop and writing the 2010 seed catalogue, I hope to have it up on the website in November. I have about 5 times last year's quantities and twice the number of varieties available (with many more grown in small amounts on track for the 2011 catalogue).

Aside from the seed work I'm beginning to focus once again on the forest, I'm working to remove the conifer seedlings from a two acre logged area so to encourage the growth of mixed hardwoods in this patch. The plan is to manage the hardwoods as a coppice, that is cut on a regular and continueous cycle of harvesting and regrowth. The trees send out many new shoots from the stump and when cut as 10 or 15 year old poles they aren't injured. Indeed they can have their life spans greatly increased, basically by being kept in a state of continueous youth. What's most appealing to me is that it's a style of forestry totally human scaled, the trees are cut at a size where they're managable without any machinery, all that's needed for harvesting and working are a few basic hand tools (billhook, machete, axe, bow saw, froe...). This regular cutting creates an interesting symbiosis between the coppice ecosystem and humans. I sometimes think of it as similar to mowing a wild meadow of grasses and wildflowers, both the coppice and the meadow can be cut in a human scaled and sensitive way to provide for us without damaging the ecology of the site.

I also want to mention the new community garden being set up in Middleton. There's been talk going on for a little while but the town council is now on board and we're in the process of selecting and clearing a site. I've been informally appointed the lead garden consultant for the project, the other day I checked out the four proposed sites with the others involved and we all agreed on the old field next to the ice rink (you need to be from Middleton!). It's a central location in town with fertile clay-loam soil and there's a path along side that connects to Main Street. I can invision a sign and an arbour directing people to the bountiful eden behind the trees. That's still a ways away though, we're hoping to get it cleared and plowed before the ground freezes so we can get everyone planting next spring.

Today was the International Day of Climate Action ( and in observance I mowed a second "350" in the wet, soggy clover. The rain was too heavy to get photos so I'll post a photo and a better write-up in a day or two...