Monday, April 25, 2011

Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm - Busy Weekend!

Sunday started out with rain but cleared up by 10 AM. I planted the remaining 13 Elaeagnus umbellata. I then measured out and marked the 10 locations for the Caragana arborescens. Then, I moved the Actinidia arguta from the 12" spacing to 12' spacing. Next I planted the 10 Caragana arborescens. Dirty from head to toe, tired and achy, crisped by the sun (even after multiple SPF50 applications), and after 10 hours of "I've got to get this finished today!", I cleansed myself in a nice, long, hot shower. Ahhhhh....
Some of this weekend's casualties... not counting worms
I still have 5 regular fruit trees to plant, but they're happy in pots at the moment. I also got 6 trees in small pots last week, but with 4 of them, the stems were snapped in shipping. I also got notice last week that my 25 Arctostaphylos uva-ursi shipped, so those should be arriving soon.
The Plan as currently planted
If each of these trees in the plan were shrunk to 1/8" and scaled down, it would be easy to see just how empty the field still looks. I can sorta make out each tree from the colored ribbons on the bamboo pole markers as well as the mulch around their base.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Garden - Playing in the Dirt!

Had a busy day yesterday...

Measured out 10' markers on all four sides of the planting area. That took about 4 hours. Next, using the markers, I measured and marked the 20 spots to plant the Elaeagnus umbellata. Getting tired, I took a short trip into town and picked up some topsoil, 1 cu. ft. of mulch, and several colors of ribbon (to better see and identify my trees). Finished up by unpacking the 20 trees, amending the soil with inoculant and finally planting 7 of them! Worked 11 hours total for the day and am very sore this morning.
Actinidia arguta
Planted hardy kiwi - misread 15" but should be 15'. Oops. Put two female plants on each side of the male. I like that arrangement :-)

Bamboo stakes marking 10' intervals western perimeter
In the foreground, potted Lonicera caerulea, Vaccinium corymbosum and Ribes uva-crispa. Just beyond is the compost pile and beyond that is the new mulch pile.

I'll post pictures of the planted trees later.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm - Weeds Mowed

Standing at the compost pile looking to the southwest
I took advantage of the few hours of no rain to mow down the 5' to 7' tall weeds. Mowing is not a permaculture practice, but it is still an available option for getting things done fast. And that is where I am. Gradual work to rebuild the soil by starting on areas near the house and moving outward as the land allows is the best way to go. With the mowing approach, I expect to run into many difficulties such as continued mowing to suppress the weeds, extra work to build the soil, and, as I've learned with my practice beds, grass competition. However, this high effort work is a tradeoff I'm willing to make in order to get the forest garden started. With rising gas prices, possible food supply disruptions and double digit food price inflation, keeping my family fed is my top priority.

Next up: mark where the trees goes. The continuous rain over the next few days should make that fun!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm - Planting To Seriously Get Underway

Yesterday I got my first big shipment in: 20 Elaeagnus umbellata. Need to hurry up and finish mowing down the tall weeds in the planting area and then need to measure out where they go based on the plan. Of course, typical spring Indiana weather (cold and wet) is making that difficult. Have several other orders shipping this week, so gotta get busy!

The Plan (click to see full-size)

Monday, April 18, 2011

More Evidence That Sitting Is Killing Us

From the New York Times Magazine: Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?
Hamilton’s most recent work has examined how rapidly inactivity can cause harm. In studies of rats who were forced to be inactive, for example, he discovered that the leg muscles responsible for standing almost immediately lost more than 75 percent of their ability to remove harmful lipo-proteins from the blood. To show that the ill effects of sitting could have a rapid onset in humans too, Hamilton recruited 14 young, fit and thin volunteers and recorded a 40 percent reduction in insulin’s ability to uptake glucose in the subjects — after 24 hours of being sedentary.

Over a lifetime, the unhealthful effects of sitting add up. Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, tracked the health of 123,000 Americans between 1992 and 2006. The men in the study who spent six hours or more per day of their leisure time sitting had an overall death rate that was about 20 percent higher than the men who sat for three hours or less. The death rate for women who sat for more than six hours a day was about 40 percent higher. Patel estimates that on average, people who sit too much shave a few years off of their lives.

Another study, published last year in the journal Circulation, looked at nearly 9,000 Australians and found that for each additional hour of television a person sat and watched per day, the risk of dying rose by 11 percent. The study author David Dunstan wanted to analyze whether the people who sat watching television had other unhealthful habits that caused them to die sooner. But after crunching the numbers, he reported that “age, sex, education, smoking, hypertension, waist circumference, body-mass index, glucose tolerance status and leisure-time exercise did not significantly modify the associations between television viewing and all-cause . . . mortality.”

Sitting, it would seem, is an independent pathology. Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterward or hit the gym. It is bad whether you are morbidly obese or marathon-runner thin. “Excessive sitting,” Dr. Levine says, “is a lethal activity.” 
So, get up and move it, move it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm - Lesson Learned Today: Wind Protection

Wind Protection an Absolute Must

Today we've had brutal sustained winds between 25 and 35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. Not only that, but the wind has been from the east-north east -- the prevailing wind is usually from the west-south west. I have plans for Pinus koraiensis to block the winds out of the west but nothing for the east. Ugh.

So far I've lost the covering on the hoop house. I'm going to take a look around at the plants later to see what's made it and what's not.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Extended sitting, regardless of fitness, diet, leads to 54% increase in heart disease


PURPOSE: Although moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is related to premature mortality, the relationship between sedentary behaviors and mortality has not been fully explored and may represent a different paradigm than that associated with lack of exercise. We prospectively examined sitting time and mortality in a representative sample of 17,013 Canadians 18-90 yr of age.
METHODS: Evaluation of daily sitting time (almost none of the time, one fourth of the time, half of the time, three fourths of the time, almost all of the time), leisure time physical activity, smoking status, and alcohol consumption was conducted at baseline. Participants were followed prospectively for an average of 12.0 yr for the ascertainment of mortality status.
RESULTS: There were 1832 deaths (759 of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 547 of cancer) during 204,732 person-yr of follow-up. After adjustment for potential confounders, there was a progressively higher risk of mortality across higher levels of sitting time from all causes (hazard ratios (HR): 1.00, 1.00, 1.11, 1.36, 1.54; P for trend <0.0001) and CVD (HR:1.00, 1.01, 1.22, 1.47, 1.54; P for trend <0.0001) but not cancer. Similar results were obtained when stratified by sex, age, smoking status, and body mass index. Age-adjusted all-cause mortality rates per 10,000 person-yr of follow-up were 87, 86, 105, 130, and 161 (P for trend <0.0001) in physically inactive participants and 75, 69, 76, 98, 105 (P for trend = 0.008) in active participants across sitting time categories.
CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate a dose-response association between sitting time and mortality from all causes and CVD, independent of leisure time physical activity. In addition to the promotion of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and a healthy weight, physicians should discourage sitting for extended periods.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Permaculture Skill Levels

I'm a novice. Sometimes I come across as if I know what I'm doing, but I don't really. I think it's all a part of my hands-on learning style (that suits me well with my engineering day job), my desire to solve interesting puzzles, my strong ego that's relaxed enough to willingly make mistakes, and my deep need to leave a legacy for my children.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Hoop House at Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm

Built the raised bed and planted with blue potatoes too!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring Planting (so far) at Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm

 Black gold! Mostly finished compost in the front, not quite finished behind. New compost is in two big trash cans just to the right, outside the picture.

A few of the Narcissus spp. planted last Sunday already peeking out!

Our 2009 xmas tree. Was sitting in compost for the last year at our last place waiting for a permanent home.
That stand of trees in the distance is over a half mile away. That's the closest thing we have to woods.

Dinosaur Tree - Metasequoia glyptostroboides. It's tiny now...

Portulaca grandiflora for ground cover and pretty flowers. Hopefully will fill in nicely around the daffodils.

Hemerocallis fulva -- naturalizing daylilies. These can be found everywhere along country roads in Indiana. A very pretty edible.

Forgot I had some Helianthus tuberosus dug up from last year that I was going to send to some friends. The tubers decided it was their time to sprout! Sorry guys, I'll get some to you when I dig them up in the Fall. Also had a bunch more (different varieties) ordered for planting this Spring.

Feels really good to see my plan coming to life!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Blog Template

Was having javascript problems with my previous layout plus it wasn't very configurable. If you have any recommendations for the new layout, leave me a comment.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring has Sprung at the Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Garden!

Back in December I was in a Menards to get some remodeling supplies. As I walked past the clearance shelves, I saw boxes of various Narcissus - L. varieties for less than a $1 each. Considering they are deer and rodent resistant/deterrent and that they're one of my favorite flowers1, I bought them all (except for the double flower varieties)! Only about 5 of the 100 or so bulbs didn't sprout, so I'm very happy with their survival rate. Yesterday my youngest daughter and I spent most of the almost 70° afternoon planting those bulbs in the typical places like next to the house, around the mailbox, and around various other man-made eyesores. I'm hoping they'll be fruitful and multiply so I can then plant them around my young trees in the permaculture forest garden to protect the roots from our pesky field mice neighbors until the trees can mature.

All-in-all it was a beautiful day and a wonderful time with my Sweet-E. Well, except for my slightly sunburned bald pate and unbelievably sore knees and thighs!

1. Useful Functions: Pretty flowers, strongly deer and rodent resistant/deterrent, Spring flowering