002 – Approaching Subsistence

First principle: approaching but never reaching subsistence, deer damage and deer fence, bed matters, progress on the barn – 10/22/09

Listen – 21:29

Show Notes:

Longleaf Breeze

Our Three Simple Principles

McGregor Fence Co. – Deer Fence

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Raw Transcript:

we talked about subsistence but let’s face it if I have to choose between coffee and subsistence coffee wins

welcome to Longleaf Breeze beginners learning subsistence farming using three simple principles approaching but never reaching subsistence it’s got to be fun while we’re doing it and we don’t make all misstatement and now me and Amanda Borden be on the first of our three principles which is we are approaching but we know we will never reach subsistence

we put this together a long time ago and when we first started talking about it but the expression I used Ford as we are approaching subsistence asymptotically but that quickly became cumbersome yes and I kept having to look up the word asymptotically what it is we are approaching subsistence but we know we will never reach so for example what that means is that we’re working to minimize the dollars we spend off the farm and our hope which we will measure is that we will spend less less money off the farm each year are certain crops that we cannot grow in South Central Alabama

among those are coffee beans right what else we talked about dark chocolate right probably some spices

for example nutmeg I’m just guessing we talked about the possibility of growing tea which is another important issue for us I’m I’m a big tea drinker Amanda’s if you’re a big coffee drinker so I wouldn’t be able to grow the type of grape that produces the the type of wine and I prefer we could probably do muscadine wine blueberry wine that could be palatable enough but a nice smooth Chardonnay was probably not be possible killer issue for us is that we have two children who live in California right now we’re campaigning for both of them to get back closer to Alabama where our farm is and where they grew up but the fact is that right now when we want to see them that very often means we need to travel out there that’s right. Takes money yes we’re working

and within that context we’re working to spend less and less off the farm each year so that means of course at a minimum we want to race the vegetables we need we want to raise whatever meat we needed one of the things we’ve talked about it that we’re probably going to end up eating less meat than we have in the past and possibly increase our Seafood food consumption because we hope that someday maybe this is naive at this point if you could see our pond you would understand why but I would like someday to be able to stock it with tilapia or bass or some sort of fish that we wouldn’t mind eating on a regular basis

and I should point out that out of context here that if you hear something in the background you may hear the noises of the lake we are recording this program from our Lake place on Lake Martin which is in Central Alabama can I take a minute and talk about absolutely impact on the way we’re planning the farm

the lake place is 30 minutes from the farm and part of that is by Design we were attracted to this particular parcel of land they were using for the farm at least in part because it was so close to the light place which means among other things that we don’t have to devote quite so much time and energy on the farm to figuring out what to do for recreation out there when we know people who have said all that we need to be able to put in a pool for example we’ve never been tempted to do that because we know when we need to jump in the water we can head on out to the light place and enjoy that so it has been nice we’ve been here for the last few days with our daughter Adrienne and her boyfriend Kenny and have had a very nice time here

it’s coming to an end now we’re heading back toward Birmingham but

we certainly have enjoyed this time to be here and there’s no nicer time to be at the lake then October so nice is that you’re not here and we joke about that obviously we would welcome all of you but we’ve also discovered that about the Gulf Coast and we were down at we mentioned in one of our other podcast at Point Clear those are also very nice places to visit in the fall of the year they are unfortunately they’re also our garden is a nice place for the deer to visit this time of year and Dolph I remember our telling you last week that we would be looking forward to sharing a watermelon with our daughter Kenny how would I daughter Adrian and Kenny and Dom the big disappointment is that didn’t happen

it was it was it was only about four days after we made that bold statement that we plan to eat one of those watermelons that we went back to the garden and all of the large watermelons were gone not a sign left other than a little bit of deer poop with watermelon seeds in it that’s it that was all that was left of those watermelon so we did kind of we found a couple of smaller ones that we hope we can protect for the future they’re about the size of a large grapefruit at this point so we’ll see them you found or maybe it was Kenny who founded found it ok was inside one of the concrete blocks of the raised bed so maybe the deer won’t be able to get to it we know but you should talk about the fact that they trampled the African blue basil we have told you about before the African blue basil that’s done such a great job attracting fall pollinators

I was trampled and had basically collapse but we’ve managed to tie it back up now and we think it will be okay it certainly has been damaged but not dramatically so all right and I ate some of the cantaloupe that we so desperately wanted to eat ourselves already basically denuded all of the sweet potatoes what they did is they still miss but they eat all the leaves which we think probably has damaged the potatoes themselves but we’ve discussed we just decided would wait a little while longer and right before the first Frost would go ahead and dig up those potatoes and see what we’ve got any left will harvested at that time so it won’t surprise you that that makes our deer fence that we told you about last week on even more pressing priority we’ve now ordered it I have placed the order with McGregor Fence Company in Massachusetts and where

hoping to receive the components of the fence within a week or so you might talk a little bit about the way trees are incorporated into the design of the fence how we had to go around and figure out which trees we could hook to the fencing to experience for me to realize that one of the reasons that the people who understand deer fence tell you to use trees rather than all post is not just to save money and not just for stability but using trees

keeps the fence from being less visible to the deer helps keep them from being able to see where it stops and where the sky starts and at the deer can’t see the top of the fence there less able to jump over it so it’s all about trying to camouflage it not only from other people but from the deer themselves so we’ve tried to maximize the number of trees we used we ended up using about 16 trees on veg Hill and we’re going to augment that with about 18 posts so the difference is going to run about five hundred feet and

I’m a little embarrassed to say how much it’s going to cost so I guess I won’t but it’s a whole lot but we think in the long run it will be worth it because as we’re able to produce more and more of our own food we just realized that we must protect it from deer and and the rabbits will be kept out as well right we’re done so with the rabbits as well so it’s it’s an investment that’s a one-time deal for us and we hope will yield a lot more pleasurable trip to the Garden every time because not only are we paying this money but it also is going to take a lot of our time together to install I am going to be a big big job to do it and you will probably be hearing more from us about it because this will continue for several weeks I think several weeks the grass that we planted on the hillside

washing seems to be doing really well he said that goes on for several weeks because we have yet another Hillside above that one that we need to also address in a similar Way Grass taking root and digging in yes we do have a couple of breeches where it’s eroded a little bit but basically that he’ll sign that we have watched develop big ruts every time we had a storm appears to be

anchor now it appears to be held in place and what that means of course is that if it’s held in place that means we can start working on the driveway which was getting all kinds of silt and now will not be we hope so that’s great news we were just we’re just real pleased to see the way that grass is digging in this week was the another yet another fire in our stove in our wooden stove and we hope that that is going to provide enough work during the season we certainly have every reason to believe that a 600 square foot apartment will but it brought up the subject of how much cover do you need to have on your bed not as much as we thought yes about we’ve seen descriptions of a duvet which is a cover with a heavy quilt inside

did I guess get different weights I know when we went to Ikea there were the different than of course through L.L.Bean you can you can order different you all many of you know about this and probably could tell us something about it but we thought we might need to get sort of a mid-weight duvet that we kind of get us through the winter time we had visions of all it’s going to be so cold at night we’re going to need to have something really really thick and heavy well that works fine if it’s going to stay really really cold all night long and then you’re going to get up and you’re going to have really really warm the moment you get out of bed but that’s not reality and what we’re realizing is the way the wood stove works maybe we build a wood a big fire when we go to bed and it burns down overnight so by in a 1:30 or 2 it’s burned down in the the apartments cold again and

that I get up and put a lock or two on it and it revs it back up and it gets warm again and then it gets cool Again by 4:30 or 5 and then I get up and build it up again so the the apartment temperature is going to be fluctuating fairly dramatically over each night so we sort of changed our strategy from one big cover to a series of layers which dovetails nicely with what you wanted to do since it is a one-room dwelling and when someone walks in to see if they’re going to say our bed the minute I walk in there will not be no back areas except maybe the closet where I can hide things and the shop a storage room but to have a cut cut cut of a country looking quilt and I’m willing to wait until I find just the right quilt for the look that we want so now it looks yele so yay I get to have my quilt I’m happy about that

sorry I’m too I think it’s going to make sense and that will give you a nice country look that that you’ve been talking about for the apartment and that probably brings up that subject that you and I have been talking about talking about and haven’t brought up your little embarrassed to talk about this I’m not almost nothing embarrasses me but and that is what side of the bed that we sleep on and the reason I thought it was worthwhile talking about is that it fits in with this whole idea of subsistence and energy-efficiency that we make the most of which side of the bed is better for each of you each of us I am by Nature more warm natured

if there is a cold side of the bed and a cold side of the room we probably won’t be on it and then the warm side we want you to be on well in the past we’ve always had this habit driven by me of my sleeping on the right side of the bed and you’re sleeping on the left and the reason we’ve done that is because of the way my nose works if I sleep on my right side I can breathe freely if I sleep on my left off and it clogs up but that we’ve pretty much calculated that the right side of the bed where I normally would be sleeping is going to be the warm side of the bed and the left side is going to be the cool side so now we’re talking seriously about changing our 35-year long sleeping habit and having me sleep on the left up to the task because I can sleep almost anywhere

but I am looking forward to getting into the apartment but it is kind of going slowly we had originally said that we would be moving in sometime during the summer of 2009 and here it is the fall of 2009 and we still are not yet calling Longleaf briefs home but we have had some developments recently that give us both reason for encouragement and I think you should talk about those because you know a little bit more about the all the technical goings-on and then working with the electrician Etc that I want to all the technical goings-on but briefly we have a standby generator propane generator growing out of our

assumption that the utility grid will be less robust and the be prone to failure more often to the Future than it is now so we designed that in the beginning and weed for the first time yesterday were able to fire up the standby generator and confirm that it is working and ready to take over if there’s a power failure so that was a nice relief and I guess the other piece of it is because it’s so

endemic to our utility system everything is it’s right in the flow there are some things that our electrician Scott Miguel couldn’t finish doing until we are able to confirm that the generator was ready to fire up so now that’s done and he can finish up some of his other tasks that he was waiting on for the generator so it’s more than just knowing the generator is there it’s also allowing him to see the light at the end of his tunnel and we also for the first time yesterday we’re able to fire up our tankless water heater yes and that’s such a relief because I definitely want a nice hot shower in the morning when I get up talk to the past that the world thinks that we must be waiting on a toilet we now have a toilet that we can flush but in reality what I’ve been waiting on and what makes the difference for me is the ability to take a shower so now we

take a shower there and it’s going to be a lot more like home now and the lighting is is nice that works out well the bulbs are in and everything is is switch it on and off the only thing that we’re waiting for now is a couple of decorative rings that need to be attached and then we’ll be finished with that and I guess Scott the electrician really wants to get finished and that always has a good sign so now we have a plumber who needs to finish punch list items for our plumber to finish up and a few for electrician to finish up and we got a fellow Scot Rupert who is helping us with some Framing and finish carpentry in that sort of thing and he’s got a few punch list items and at that point we will be finished with the construction phase

and I use the term locus of residence I’ve ended and I use that to indicate how vague all of this is our locus of residents right now is Birmingham that’s really is home that’s where I keep my office going and so for now I think we’re about to change our locus of residence to Longleaf Breeze all right but we will keep you posted about when that happens what other thing we need to be thinking ahead to the month of November which is going to be upon us very soon because that is when we need to plant our very first Orchard residents some fruit trees some nut trees at cetera we have a little bit of time left why don’t you talk just a little bit about what we’re hoping to accomplish with the Archer what are the first phase is is that I would like to plant blueberry bushes and those we picture some of them going in between the house and the barn and house is not there yet of course but where we hope

house will be and also maybe scatter some amongst the other fruit trees but we’re certainly thinking about pears apples be hope plums figs what am I leaving out terms of fruit that would be good to Persimmons sure we have a wild persimmon tree up on bad chill but the Persimmons that it is producing are very small and I don’t know that we would ever really enjoy eating now probably not to nut I think I should go pretty well but somewhere else right over on the Greenfield which is on the west side of our property on the other side of the creek which is the only real cultivation were talking about doing over a bit away from the the house and the barn pecan trees and we’re hoping to enter crop those pecans with some wheat

that’s it that’s a subject for another day we’ve not been able to confirm that will work yet but we hope it will instead about our progress as the week in the weeks to come and we will look forward to visiting with you next week you’ve been listening to Longleaf fries with Lee and Amanda Borden we’d love to hear from you you can call the farm at 334-625-8682 send email to letters as Longleaf breeze.com or you can send us honest-to-goodness mail at PO Box 78044 6 Tallassee Alabama 36078 to browse are archived to learn more about the farm in about me and Amanda and a talk with other service nurse visit us at Longleaf breeze.com

thanks for listening see you next week

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