Monday, November 1, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Tarantulas - by Calvin White
Tarantulas are very large spiders. North American ones have a leg span of five and seven eighths inches. They make a silk covering over thier burrows, but they do not make webs. They are nocturnal. North American tarantulas are not poisonous. It eats insects, lizards, and small animals. The tarantula hawk is a wasp that eats tarantulas. Other predators are birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The males die just after mating, but the females live up to 35 years.
We saw one when we came to visit NE Oklahoma this time two years ago, and we're seeing them on the roads a lot right now, but hadn't seen any for the nearly two years in between. I wonder what they are up to.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
It used to be that when a person was referred to as obese, one imagined a several hundred pound person who has difficulty ambulating. Then we learned that so many of us are obese. A 5'4" person weighing just 180 pounds is considered obese. Maybe we need a new word for our old concept. And maybe this is also true for poverty.
When I think of poverty, I think of someone who is hungry sometimes. Really hungry. And who owns only a few items of clothes. This person probably can't afford to heat their home sufficiently in the winter. And they certainly don't warrant the increase in workers for the holiday season, since they don't have superfluous funds for gifts.
If poverty is so common, and on the rise, who are all the people populating the steady stream flowing out of Wal-mart with buggies packed to the brim?
In the United States, poverty is defined by household income (and household size). Period. No matter where you live and the cost of living. For a family of 3, it is $18,310. It goes up to $22,000 for a family of four.
We live below the poverty level, and while we are just one voice, I want to assure you that all is good at poverty-stricken Barefoot Farm. We all ate today - three squares. We had beans and potatoes (grown on the farm) for dinner. Sometimes we eat like kings and queens, enjoying exotic things like grapes and orange juice (in February).
Maybe you're thinking we aren't the norm, living without airconditioning (when it's still in the 90s in September), and driving beater cars that cost maybe $1000. What about those other folks in poverty who want decent cars and airconditioning? And a blackberry. And satellite TV. On a flat screen. And new clothes, not new-to-you clothes. And all those other normal everyday things.
The poverty level might be meaningful, say, in Boston where rent is at least triple what it is here. But in Oklahoma, one can live comfortably. Maybe our standards of comfort are off. In this time of obviously finite resources, why do we expect so much? A roof, heat, health, food, and we're good. Yet our government offers assistance to those in povery, and above it. If one's household income is 185% of the poverty level (over 33,000 for a family my size!), s/he qualifies for a lot of free financial help with food, electricity, phone, and more. So now poverty is nearly twice the povery level?
If we weren't taught to want so much, maybe we'd feel grateful for all we have, rather than slighted and disgruntled. By world standards, US poverty looks really good.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I'll keep you posted. If you have any insights, we'd love to hear them! Sigh...
Homeschooling my son takes time - usually 3 hours 4 days per week. Thankfully that eases in the summer, but that is when weeding, harvesting, and preserving food really kicks in.
I'm up between 6:30-7:30. I cook breakfast and clean house a little. I may have to dump the composting toilet or fill the peat/sawdust bucket. I may have to clean and package eggs. Harvesting produce takes hours daily in peak season with cleaning included. Canning takes a long time. This afternoon I plan to make roasted red pepper sauce. This involves roasting the peppers, waiting for them to cool, peeling them, slicing, and cooking with onions, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar before canning. Sure is worth it, though.
Today I played chess with Calvin (two games) before breakfast. Then I pan-toasted cinnamon-raison bread (that I baked earlier in the week) and ate breakfast. I messed around with Calvin and Johnny's archery lesson - shooting a few arrows myself, before showering and going to work. I put in three hours. Now I'm at the library checking on a few things and posting my monthly blog. I'll go home, and maybe jog. Then canning. Then swimming in the pond. Then re-heat leftovers (venison shephard's pie with our own taters, carrots, and meat), saute summer squash and red bell peppers (also from the garden) and a watermelon (also ours). At 7:00 Calvin starts getting ready for bed, and Johnny or I read to him until 8pm. Then we usually take a walk around the property before finally sitting down to either read or watch a movie (we have a TV, just no TV reception - so maybe 1-2 movies per week).
Basically, I'm busy. I love doing everything I'm involved in, but there's not much lag time in my life. Trust me.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
July has provided a bounty from the garden so far. We had a great market day July 17th. We sold edamame, okra, the last of our carrots, potatoes, summer squash, green beans, sun gold cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, and eggs. We already spend so mcu time harvesting - I can't imagine what next year will be like.
I realized our current good fortune the evening of the market as we were eating dinner and it occured to me that everything we were eating we grew or purchased locally. We had corn on the cob (TFM - Tahlequah Farmers' Market), potato salad (our 'taters, carrots, bell peppers, chives & dill), canned dilly beans (us), edamame (us), baguette with Italian bomb - goat cheese with pesto (both TFM), cherry tomatoes (us), cucumbers (us) and watermelon (us). I feel good when we contribute or procure just one item locally, but being connected to the entire dinner felt great!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I don't have internet access at home, so this will be sporadic - maybe monthly. And these pictures are all months old now, but I had to start somewhere.
So, where are we at. I recently read a blog (which I NEVER do, but an acquaintance here told me I needed to meet this lady) about a woman who owned a restaurant in Seattle and relocated to central Oklahoma to farm. Her blog states she was abducted by aliens and placed on a farm in Oklahoma. When I read that I nearly died - that's how I feel sometimes, only I wasn't clever enough to come up with it on my own. I moved from the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina - the Cullowhee/Sylva area, which is really spectacular in both natural beauty and community. And this move would not have been for everyone I know out there. In fact, it might not suit anyone. However, the more I try to own this move and reconcile my choice, the more I realize this did actually suit us. We wanted to farm and have access to a bounty of locally grown food. And guess what - so many people around here farm! In the town closest to me I can get locally raised beef and pork. A man 10 minutes down the road sells raw cow's milk (cheap!), and we have enough land for our garden, a crop field for a market garden, pasutre for cattle, and woods for firewood. Plus our property includes a root cellar (aka storm shelter), a livestock pond, a spring-fed swimming hole pond, plus some really cold pools in the canyons, adjacent wild land that goes on for miles, and more. It really is good, affordable farming land. The only drawbacks are that I left a whole community of friends behind, and we drive 35 minutes to Tahlequah. But, this actually kinda suits us.
We really are better able to realize our life goals here. Hmm, what are those. Well, I think I've got a working draft:
1. Don’t go into debt.
2. Live close to nature
3. Don’t work full time
4. Have only one child
5. Home school your child(ren)
6. Minimize media exposure
7. Be energy independent
How close are we? Check out "About us" if you're really intersted. I moved this section there.
What else? I probably shouldn't write more in a blog - sorry. We have two cows who are growing well and nearly weaned. We harvested our first crop of spring wheat. It is still drying and awaiting threshing and winnowing. We are drying food, canning, fermenting, and making wine like mad. 33 pints of jam already, elderberry wine, rose blossom wine, and wild plum wine (5 gallons!). We've dried summer squash, herbs, greens, and cherry tomatoes. I'm making mullen flower oil, and tinctures of yarrow, St. John's wort, Passion flower, and dandelion root. We're growing all the garden produce we always have plus an heirloom Hopi Blue field corn for chicken feed, spring wheat, and okra. We planted over 100# of potatoes, and are storing loads of them plus some carrots. We sell eggs at the market plus produce. Our crop field is scaled way back - we are cover cropping to choke out the bermuda grass - thanks to a new tractor tiller from an OK Dept. of Ag grant that we were awarded. We hope to have the full acre in production next year, at which time we may have to give up sleep.
Ok, I'll stop and leave something for our next post. And maybe some new pictures too! Love to all!