One step at a time…

Action Proposal project for Geography 316 at Capilano University

The Last October post

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Much has happened since my last post.  Last Friday the clothing sale came and gone.  There were about 7 guys who were there all night and about 13 guys stopped by at some point to drop off some clothes or take something home.  I made some popcorn, coffee, and set up a bunch of tables.  I came home with a pair of shorts and two t-shirts.  I think everybody left with at least 1 clothing article.  I have 2 big garbage bags of left over clothes to go drop off at salvation army.

Lots has also happened in the garden.  This week we planted about 60 cloves of garlic.  For each one, we dug a whole, put a little compost in, layed in the clove (with skin on), covered it with dirt and poured a little diluted fish fertilizer over it.  We harvested the rest of the broccoli and even ate all the flowers.  We got some berry bushes in the ground for the winter as well.   We added two saskatoons, a blueberry and three haskap berries (honey berries).  I put all the gardens to bed.  Raked up all of our neighbours leaves, mulched them up, tossed up on the beds, mixed them in, spread a layer of our compost on top and then cast a fall legume’s cover crop mix on top.  We added mulch around a bunch of plants, did some pruning, harvested the beans for drying, and used some straw and landscaping fabric to create a layer of insulation around a potted dwarf pear tree that we have.  We spread up all of the compost that has been sitting for a long time and was like crumbly dirt.  Unfortunately i found two chip bags in the compost, (those don’t break down too well) and the roots of the nearby lilac bush had grown way up into the compost.  I am going to lay a piece of plywood down underneath it this time to try and stop that.  We finished this all before the rains come.  I am not sure if today was the first frost but it was the first time i have recognized it.  All we have left for harvesting are some carrots, beats, chard, kale (tons of kale) and like 5 or 6 boc choi plants.   I had some cabbage today from our friends farm and it tasted really quite sweet.  Apparently after frost leafy greens start tasting sweeter.

This has been the good news about the garden.  The bad news is that the bees are suffering.   I am concerned about if they are going to make it through the winter.  It was a depressing day on saturday when i looked in the hive to see that i have laying workers.  This means that my queen died and no new queens emerged (or else they were never fertilized).  The result is that I just have male drone bees being born – and they are really not good for much except mating with the queen (and subsequently dying) or eating stores of honey.  The numbers in the hive are not too bad but not having a queen is bad – even for the winter.  I am going to call the local beekeeping guru at strathcona gardens to see if he can give me some advice.  I could try and introduce a new queen if i can find one – or i could give my bees to another hive (someone else’s) for the winter and ask for a split (nuc colony) in the early summer of next year.   I have to e-mail him tonight.  Bees are responsible for pollinating, that is causing the plant to produce fruit or vegetables, for so much of the food we eat.  Some food is pollinated by wind, but it would be super detrimental to our economies and our livelihood if we lost pollinating insects (particularly honey bees).  Unfortunately this is not recognized by people who make big decisions.  A particular insecticide (chemical herbicide) made by beyers is now proven to be the culprit of millions of bees dying.  Whole hives are collapsing in what is called “colony collapse disorder”.  YET Canada and the US are not banning this chemical.  (some european countries have done so with great results)

I know that my neighbours also appreciate the bees.   A couple of them have told me that they have noticed much more bees and much better pollination.  I really hope something can be done to save them.  I really do consider them a big part of contributing to the health of the local food movement.

The sauerkraut is coming along.  I had some with eggs and cheese and garden tomatoes on the weekend.  It tasted better than last time.  I think i will jar it and give some away next week.  After i put it in the fridge, the live culture doesn’t grow as much and as fast – so if you want it strong let it sit for a long time before putting it in the fridge or canning it (which kills all the cultures/bacteria’s in the sauerkraut and seals it up).

As for walking I have done better than my goal of once a week.  I still have to walk once this week.  Yesterday i biked but today i drove.  I was really busy and it seemed like a good idea (i was too tired to bike).  On the way home i was reacquainted with what traffic looks like….. boring.  It really makes you want to speed when you get out of traffic, and you know you are in a fast vehicle but that if you were biking or on foot you would arrive at a similar time….ahh!

I had said i would put up some pictures so i will try to do that now.  Thanks for reading.  Hope you enjoyed my bloggery of my october action projects.

Also the picture that makes up the background for the post is of the community garden at our church parking lot.  We used to garden there a couple of years ago.  They are planning on building social housing on the spot next year. (don’t worry there will still be lots of garden space!)

this one is of a volunteer hazelnut plant that we have since planted – it is a pollinator variety for another local hazelnut that we hope to plant one day. ImageImage These are some shots of the garden earlier this summer – 32 tomato plants in that garden bed.ImageImageImage

ImageHere are the last harvest of tomatoes…. Almost all of the green ones are now red.Imagehere is one of me with the bees on a happier day this summer.Image Some shots from the bridgeImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage An early morning sunrise at Templeton schoolImage A slab of holly from the tree i cut down in the summer to make space for some more garden beds.Image The tree is the tall one at the back in the middle of the frame.

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