Plant a Tree

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time in now.

-Chinese Proverb

Man, that’s a pretty picture. That tree sits right by the river on the property I’m living on, and I love that tree. It’s an old tree, half-dead, but the craziest part about it is the huge, dead grape vine wrapped around it. Usually a vine like that will kill the tree, but in this instance, the tree won the battle and the vine is but a skeleton, still gripping the tree even in death. I can’t take credit, that picture was taken by a guy named Remy Thurston, who is a great photographer. It’s making me anxious for spring. I just finished a book last week titled The Man Who Planted Trees by Jim Robbins, which was a great read. In summary, it describes the efforts of a gentleman, David Milarch, who, after surviving a near-death-experience, claims to have been commissioned by spiritual beings to seek out and clone the “Champion Trees” of this planet, the biggest, most robust trees of every species, in an effort to preserve their genetics in a world where deforestation is rampant, either directly by the hands or man or indirectly due to environmental changes caused by the warming climate. There is an argument that deforestation is far and away a greater contributor to the shifting climate than our consumption of fossil fuels, for not only do trees sequester a huge amount of carbon, they also cool the earth by their shade and their respiration, as well as act as buffers against solar radiation, and the massive clearing and die-outs of our forested lands are having an exponential effect in the warming of our planet. The author also describes some of the more obscure research being done on trees, which is a severely under-researched field of study, theorizing the other benefits trees have to not only our environments, but to us, such as emitting aerosols that help regulate our hormones and keep other plants and animals healthy, filtering ground and surface water much more effectively and efficiently than our modern water-treatment facilities, and even that trees hold clues to our connection to the celestial bodies outside of our atmosphere, the stars above. Just down the road from me, a new solar field was installed. A massive one. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for transitioning our energy inputs from fossil fuels to more sustainable means, but to install this solar field they had to clear-cut a lot of forest. After reading this book, I’m under the assumption that the trees were providing much more benefit to our planet than that solar field ever will. David is doing his work of securing these genetics at the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, check them out and read the book, I highly recommend it! Be warned, it will make you want to plant some trees!

Lot’s going on here at the farm… the microgreen/germination chamber in my basement is getting a much-needed facelift, and I’m making some improvements and experimenting with some bottom-watering techniques to hopefully better streamline that enterprise and make it more automated. At the same time, I’m increasing my microgreen production, so get ready for some tasty shoots! I’ve also been able to take advantage of this stretch of dry weather to get some initial tilling done where I’ll be installing my two 14’x100′ caterpillar tunnels for under-cover growing! With my first plantings going under these tunnels in just over a month, it’s high time! Aside from that, I have a hawk that is picking off my chickens, and I really need to do something about that. Pronto. I have a few ideas: hawk netting, locking the chickens in their coop for a week to break the predators routine, or, as a last resort, a rifle. Once I take care of that issue, I need to re-stock my flock ASAP, for demand is rising but eggs are dwindling! I also plan on getting some other fowl, a few geese to protect the flock, and maybe some guineas to knock down the tick population in the spring and summer.

I hope to see you all at the Piedmont Farmer’s Market on Winecoff School Rd. tomorrow from 9am til noon! It’s going to be a mite chilly in the morning, so bundle up, we’ll have the heaters on! I’ll have Pea Shoots, Radish Shoots, Sunflower Shoots, and the return of the Micro Mix! Of course, I’ll have eggs, too. I wanted to share something I’ve been doing with my Pea Shoots, a delicious side-dish. Heat your pan (I use this cast iron skillet for everything) medium-high with 2-3 tbsp the oil of your choice. I like all the oils, so I usually do butter, bacon grease, and coconut oil, just to run the gamut. Chop up AT LEAST 3 cloves of garlic, cuz one clove is just not enough. When the pan is hot, take a clamshell of Pea Shoots, rip them in half, and throw them in the oil with the garlic. Sprinkle with salt, and stir until all shoots are coated with grease and the tiny leaves turn dark green and start to wilt. Boom. Delicious. I’m going to have some with my eggs right now!

I wanted to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Gina Guthrie, who passed away early Tuesday morning after a long bout with cancer. Gina was a great friend to the Piedmont Farmer’s Market, The Lomax Incubator Farm, and farmers all across Cabarrus County. She was very supportive of my farming efforts from the very beginning, sourcing produce from me when she could for her farm-to-table catering company, Bocca Felice, and was a wonderful crusader working to change the way people thought about the food that they eat and where they get it from. She was also just a wonderful lady who always had a smile on her face and a sweet and caring temperament. You will be missed, Gina, but now you are in the presence of glory!

Have a great week, folks. Be excellent to each other, and party on!


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