As the thermometer gradually heads downward into the depths of meteorological winter, my thoughts go back onto this last season’s gardens, summer and fall vacations and projects, current world events, and what the future has in store for us. Needless to say, there is plenty to think about and ponder. There is big news as far as the Peak Oil movement is concerned. The IEA, in their 2010 summary, has said that Peak Oil started in 2006. Doing a Google search on this topic will provide more information and opinions than you will be able to deal with, but here is one with some nice graphs and information. This revelation is not surprising to me, I have been following the Peak Oil movement now for about five years and I think it is long overdue for this topic to get some real attention. We have a lot of work to do if we want to keep some semblance of order and cohesion through these up coming days of hardship. The recession we supposedly just finished was an appetizer compared to the three coarse meal of environmental, economic, and social collapse we are about to be served. As stated here and on many other sites and books, oil is in everything from our food to our shoes, and when oil gets expensive, so does everything else, welcome to the new norm! But all ye who enter, do not turn down your head in despair; there may not be a brighter future on the way, but there are things that we can all do to help land this crashing plane as gently as we can. This blog and all the other ones that I have listed as links all have something to offer and teach. Very few of us actually grew up with the skills that will be in high demand as we start the descent into a post-oil way of life, so all the knowledge and practice we can gather before it really matters will be very helpful. Once again the blog One Straw has a great post about the challenges ahead and the transition of suburbia as not just a place to live, but also as a food-producing and semi-self sufficient landscape. As always the Arch Druid, John Michael Greer has another great post concerning Peak Oil, the current economic collapse, and where we need to go from here. John Michael Greer has been busy these last few months with a new project he has dubbed Green Wizardry. It is his call to action concerning Peak Oil and the de-indusrtializing world. Influenced by the Appropriate Technology movement of the 1970’s, Green Wizardry doesn’t offer one solution for the Peak Oil predicament, but rather a tool box filled with all sorts of tools for all different projects in all different locations. With Green Wizardry there is no one right way, and personally that really suits my way of thinking. One last bit on Peak Oil, self sufficiency and transitioning to a simpler life, Sustainable Country is a nice forum I just found packed with lots of great information and excuses to stay up too late on the computer during these cold winter nights.
On a more personal level, our gardens in 2010 came in with some mixed results. We had probably the best year we have ever had with garlic and cooking herbs. We harvested close to three hundred heads of seven different varieties of garlic and the majority of those were near perfect specimens for each variety. Our rosemary and basil grew like they never have, along with lemon balm, hops, green onions, and mints. We always devote a sizeable chunk of our gardens to the Three Sisters: corn, bean, and squash, and this year we tried some new varieties with overall success. In the back garden we grew Oaxacan Green dent, flour corn, Hidatsa Sheild Figure dry bean, and Guatemalan Blue Winter squash. The dent corn did wonderful ripening to greens, yellows,
and purples. We have had better production with the Hidatsa dry beans and we only got one Guatemalan Blue winter squash. Our front garden was a different story! Up there we had Chocolate Cherry popcorn, Cranberry dry bean, and Queensland Blue winter squash. I have never seen winter squash grow like this. In the end we ended getting about seven or eight of these 20 pound winter squash, and are they tasty. Some of the downers of this years gardens were the tomatoes, peppers, onions, and potatoes. We had about 15 tomato plants and ended up canning a fraction of the amount of sauce we normally would have, the tomatoes just did not show up in abundance like they usually do. We always have a hard time with peppers so that one is not a surprise, and I will never do potato towers again – They do not work! Overall the gardens provided a lot of food for us and we will be eating pickles, relishes, jams and preserves throughout the winter. As we get deeper into this snowy winter I do have some high hopes for the blog! I would like to do some posts on my take of home brewing; including fabricating custom equipment for all grain brewing, roasting your own grains and a basic tutorial of the brewing process. I also want to update the site with current info, pictures, and links. I have been getting a lot more traffic on the site recently so if you are new and like what you see and read, drop me a line, I love hearing from my readers! Cheers!