farming (93)

Stone Cottage on Scottish Island

This is a restored “blackhouse” on the Isle of Eigg, off the west coast of Scotland, where we spent a week in May, 2016. Some time in the future, if I can get time off, we plan to go to Scotland and visit several of the islands. The Scots are the nicest, most friendly people I’ve encountered anywhere in the world.

Blackhouses were the dwellings of “crofters” or farmers on Scottish Islands, in the Highlands, and Ireland.

From Wikipedia: “(They) … were generally built with double-wall dry-stone walls packed with earth, and were roofed with wooden rafters covered with a thatch of turf with cereal straw or reed. The floor was generally flagstones or packed earth and there was a central hearth for the fire. There was no chimney for the smoke to escape through. Instead the smoke made its way through the roof. This led to the soot blackening of the interior which may also have contributed to the adoption of name blackhouse.…”

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Homegrown: A Year in the Life of a Humboldt County Guerrilla Grower

This is a great book. I found it so fascinating, I read it cover-to-cover. I’ve known growers for years, but never realized the full extent of what it takes (took) to grow out in the woods. It’s not only a book about farming, but about gardening, wildlife, plants and trees, and about treating the earth with respect.

Also, the drawings are great (see link below). Andrew told me it was about a year in creation.

Up until now, guerrilla growers in Mendocino and Humboldt counties produced organic, high-strength cannabis, grown without chemicals or electricity. Now things have changed. Yes, it’s become legal, but there are a host of downsides to the recent legislation. The 30 or so years of guerrilla growers hand-growing and homegrowing a clean product have just about ended, as Big Business has moved in. A lot of pot is testing positive for pesticides. People buy their organic produce at Whole Foods, yet don’t know if what they are smoking is laced with insecticides. How much are your lungs worth? Advice to pot smokers: Know thy grower.

Andrew’s book encapsulates the romance and righteousness of working with nature, and documents an era of wholesome cannabis production.

To get it (and to see some of the pages), go to: mollywestranch.com

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Wood Rat Nest

These nests are pyramidal, about 3 feet tall, all over in the woods around here. Woodrats are kinda nice critters, compared to disgusting Norwegian city rats. They’re like big mice, live communally, are craftily smart at getting bait off traps without springing the trigger. The ones around here are dusky-footed woodrats, often called “pack rats,” have white belies, and bigger ears and eyes than city rats.

They are herbivores and according to Andrew Santos:

Their lodges are architectural marvels with many entrances and lookouts. Ans interior rooms that service nests And pantries. They generally live solo in a matriarchal society of several lodges, comprising neighborhoods. Nests can get 6 to 8 feet tall.”

–From Homegrown: A Year in the Life of a Humboldt County Guerrilla Grower

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Farmstand

This was on a back road to Petaluma from the coast. They were selling chicken eggs and duck eggs. The gambrel roof shape is like taking a gable roof and lifting it up in the middle of each side. It makes for a lot more usable space. That’s why a lot of barns have gambrel roofs. This little building looks like a a Tuff Shed — prefab buildings that get erected in one day.

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Barn on Outskirts of Telluride

With this new blog format, I’m opening up random folders of photos and posting ones I like. This was shot on the outskirts of Telluride in 2003 when I went there to do a presentation at a Bioneers conference. I’m trying to do a post every week day.

BTW, I’ve been using Google Photos, which automatically downloads all my digital photos in one backup folder. Right now there are over 90,000 of my photos in storage. It’s an amazing system. You pay a small amount for storage. I can then go in and search for “barns” and it will come up with all the barn photos. I used it in my driftwood book: typed in “beach,” and it came up with hundreds of of beach photos, many of which I would not have found otherwise.

Wikipedia: “…The service automatically analyzes photos, identifying various visual features and subjects. Users can search for anything in photos, with the service returning results from three major categories: People, Places, and Things. Google Photos recognizes faces, grouping similar ones together; geographic landmarks (such as the Eiffel Tower); and subject matter, including birthdays, buildings, animals, food, and more.…”

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