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Jumbo Shrimp

Funny question: What is the purpose of “urban” farming and “rural” tiny houses?  It’s like jumbo shrimp, right?

I’m a fan of the tiny house movement and a bit less of a fan of urban farming (though I’m trying).  There’s something fascinating about the Swiss Army knife construction of tiny houses.  There’s a place for everything and everything in it’s place.  The tiny house dwellers say their primary reason for living in limited space has to do with a sense of freedom.  Freedom from rent or mortgages, freedom from the tyranny of “things”, freedom to go where they like.  They can save their money for more important things, like the ability to live a more self-actualized existence without being enslaved to a system that forces them to commit so much of themselves to the attainment of someone else’s vision of a good life.

The urban farming movement has to do with sustainability, providing for oneself and not feeling dependent on, or at the mercy of, a profit driven, finance directed food industry and oil based economy.  You grow your own stuff, raise your own chickens, make your own fertilizers.  You’re not going to get sticker shock when you walk in the grocery store with a hankering for grilled chicken only to find that a single package of breasts cost almost ten bucks. I’m beginning to suspect that there’s a speculator working the other end of the food deals in a way that is similar to the Enron guys manipulating rolling blackouts in order to stick it to the grannies.  I’m not there with the chickens yet and my backyard garden is still on the small side but I’ve got a lot of room to work with and I intend to put it to good use.

I suspect that financiers will find a way to profit from these trends eventually.  Or maybe we will devolve to a somewhat less affluent culture.  Think of England without the Empire.  We’ll live in increasingly smaller houses, giving up the McMansions, in order to snap back in line with our decreasing wages.  Our front and backyards will bloom.  Maybe we’ll raise bees.  It wouldn’t be the end of the world.  Yeah, the economy will plod along and we’ll have a lot less to live on when we retire and we will be like the elves, diminishing and going into the West.  But maybe that is what it will take to take down the financiers, when more of us take our balls and go home and refuse to play the game.   At least we’ll have a roof over our heads and our kids won’t starve.

It only takes one devastating layoff from the best job in the world to make a person a convert.  In the future, I predict that building your own tiny house will be a teenage “rite of passage”.  You heard it here first.

Here are a few of my favorite tiny house/urban faming links:

SmallHouseSwoon

TinyHouseSwoon

Kirsten Dirksen has been documenting the tiny house movement on YouTube.  Here’s her latest entry:

The Horticulture Channel

Titli’s Busy Garden

 

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Adventures in gardening

As God is my witness, I’ll never cart soil again

I must be mad. Blame it on Titli Nihaan or Lambert.  I swore an oath when I moved into this new house that there would be raised beds.  I have a lot of yard and lots of sunshine.  There’s no reason why I can’t put some of it to agricultural use.  So, I watched a lot of YouTube videos and thought, that can’t be so hard.

Right?

RIGHT?!

Two raised bed kits and 1 cubic yard of topsoil mix later, the beds have been about 75% planted.  On the menu: Tomatos (early girl, roma, juliet, better boy, some weird pink german variety, patio and black cherry), peppers (red bell, yellow bell, poblano, jalapeño, mini sweet mix), beans (yellow, green, something else in a mix packet), peas (sugar snap, snow peas), lettuce (mesclun, endive, red leaf, my arugula is missing), radishes, green onions, eggplant, zucchini (for “Sneak a Zucchini on your Neighbor’s Porch Night”), and summer squash.

Will let you know if any of it comes to fruition.  Ha-ha!  Get it?  Ok, nevermind.  I’m exhausted.  You don’t even want to know what I had to do to get that soil from my driveway to the backyard.  And surprise, surprise!  There’s no outside tap for my hose in the backyard.  Nooooo, that would be too easy.  I have to hook together two hoses from my front yard.

Anyway, this whole ordeal has meant I have had to exercise my project planning and carry thru skills.  I’m out of practice.  It was challenging.  And since Brook is still in NJ finishing up school, she wasn’t here to help.  But I have a pair of gardening gloves just for her when she finally gets here.  Bwahahahahahahaaaahhhh!

IMG_1956

Don’t let the shadiness fool you. Late afternoon is the only time this part of the yard gets shade.