Hi everyone out there. Posting from chilly Uruguay, winter is finally here. Luckily we are now almost completely installed in the straw bale house. Just a few details missing and it is sooooo nice to go to bed in a warm house! It feels like such a luxury after the 8 year container experience. Its not like our old apartment in Oslo was super warm either (first floor on an 1920’s badly insulated apartment building), so we had been freezing for enough winters, though the damp container took all the prizes.
On other notes, I still persist in my attempts (sometimes seemingly futile) at growing food. The animal kingdom is being harsher and harsher on us for every month that goes by. We ended up installing a field camera and even though we only got our own ferocious and exotic cats on camera, I did manage to spot the major destroyer during my trips to and fro done to install or fetch the camera. So the skunk does small “volcanoe-like or torpedo-like” holes with its snout, sometimes only on the sides of my beds. Armadillos on the other hand, they dig half of their bodies into the middle of the bed and dig like there is no tomorrow. Itś a freaking war zone after they go for food there. I don’t want to kill them but we are not succeeding at trapping them so I have no idea how this is going to end. The summer heat+ voracious ants took many of my fruit trees and quite a few ornamentals. I am actually a bit “depressed” about it and I won’t be buying any new trees anytime soon. I think I will just plant things I can make from seed myself. I started with apples and we have some acacia (Ñandubay) seedlings that germinated under one of our trees.
One thing that was getting out of hand was my composting. I ended up with big piles of dried mustard and mizuna plants (they went completely crazy last year), corn stalks, lots of chard and other green stuff that had to be cleared after the summer and even though Magnus’ friends had built three new big compost bins in November, I had no space to compost all that stuff because the bins were already full and nothing was happening in them. Well, I spread the pile into a long sausage and actually emptied part of the content in the bins and continued to build on my “compost snake” as I continued to clear old stuff to prepare for winter and spring crops. Then I drove over it with my grass mower accesory in the tractor and after a few passes I had some nicely chipped material with a bit of brown and a bit of green and I chucked it all into the bins again. It is looking nice, seems to be composting just fine and it even got warm. I say Charles Dowdling would be proud of me if he ever saw it :).
On the pictures above, you can see the mega compost bins, the resulting “mowed” brown stuff and the very clear place where all the mizuna, mustard and rocket stalks were lying. I have a micro green lawn there right now!!!
Paycheck work is good. I love working only once a week and teaching only fun stuff about microorganisms, frogs, bread mold, fruits, seeds, plants or generally anything natural science related.
At the moment having a hard time with my microorganism project. I wanted to capture soil microorganisms (IMO#1) to reproduce them and set up an experiment to see to what extent adding microorganisms to the soil by watering with an IMO solution actually helps in plant growth. But I am having a hard time at capturing them. It is supposed to be fairly simple and all the info I have just goes about how to do it but no troubleshooting as to what might be going wrong when you do not succeed. I seem to be capturing only green/black sticky/clumpy microorganisms instead of a white fluffy thing. Anybody out there have any recommendations?
Posting a picture of one that should have been dug up earlier. But I got almost the same result with one that we followed really closely and it went from nada to green/black overnight.
And one last thing. We are looking for house sitters from mid December to mid January. Anybody know anyone who might want to stay here and take care of our place, animals and veggies? It must be someone who understands that you cannot just ignore a leaky tap when you have solar powered energy and that can be here a little bit earlier so we can get to know each other and figure out whether the arrangement will work for all parts involved or not,