Upgraded to a mechanical / hand-cranked fruit crusher and presser this week. I was planning to go the diy method and smash everything up with a sledgehammer but I gotta admit, this is easier.
On the production schedule is apple and pear must, apple and pear cider, apple and pear muffins, apple and pear chutney, apple and pear crumble, the list goes on...
One of the benefits of adopting old meadow land is that you can expect to find well established fruit tree's. Alongside the overwhelming amount of plum and cherry, we have around a dozen apple tree's here. Some of these are getting pretty old and have been out-shaded by the taller growths during the years the land was unmanaged. They still give a good enough harvest for two people though. We're probably going to clear out the tree's around them and plant new saplings to replace them in future years, so we can maintain the original landscape / layout.
Closer to the house and the fence-line are the bigger and more productive apples, and at least one massive pear that.. well I honestly don't know how big this variety of tree is supposed to get or even how much fruit it's supposed to carry but damn, it's producing so, much, fruit right now. This could be down to an unusually good year, as fruit tree's tend to go in cycles like that — one really productive year, one not so productive, etc.
We're trying to collect up as much fruit as we can but it's constantly dropping to the ground — a background noise of dull thuds . The fruit we leave on the ground and in the trees will provide some Winter food for everything from blackbirds to wasps — wasps are fucking great to have around — deer and boar, though we'd prefer to keep the latter outta the inner garden and its growing spaces as much as possible.
Not sure what more there is to say about chopping firewood. It's a repeating cycle.. a ritualistic life support system.. an essential task.. a necessary meditation. It's food and warmth and shelter and safety and a light in the dark.
It's September now and the long nights approach.
rotting sun consumed by dying earth
war-machine depletes soil / full ecosystem meltdown
inferno horizon / baptised in oil
iv. heavy metals scrape disintegrating treeline
v. napalm zone survival belt / baked beneath exhaust fume biosphere
My wife went on a Scything course recently and brought back a brand new Austrian Fux, which we've already put to good use in the meadow.
The amount of land you can clear with one good slice of this thing is fucking insane — providing you can use it skilfully, which is far more of a challenge than you probably imagine it to be.
This particular Scythe is made in the 'continental style', which is the most readily available and widely used variety around today. It differs from the traditional English and Anglo-American types mostly in the thickness of its blade, and thus too in the weight of the body that supports it. This Austrian style Scythe is lighter and easier to begin working with, and its blade requires far fewer trips to the grindstone than its siblings and precursors.
The ultimate low-tech tool, the beauty of the Scythe isn't purely found in its efficiency and sustainability, though those certainly factor into its continued use. No, the true worth of the Scythe is in its expansion of the body — to skilfully wield the Scythe is to allow it to transcend the realm of the object, to allow it to merge with the entirety of form. To become an expert, one must come to know the Scythe as a tendril of the mind, reaching out to touch the Earth. This flowing, focused experience is hard to describe and it doesn't all come at once, it takes practice, clarity, and a unique wholeness of being. If it can be effortlessly mastered, the user may find that with it comes a new awareness of the blurred boundaries between the self and the land.
“The longer Levin went on mowing, the oftener he experienced those moments of oblivion when his arms no longer seemed to swing the scythe, but the scythe itself his whole body, so conscious and full of life; and as if by magic, regularly and definitely without a thought being given to it, the work accomplished itself of its own accord. These were blessed moments.” (Anna Karenina)
Complicity with Anonymous Materials Reza Negarestani (2008)
“Delirious pulp collapsing “mad black Deleuzianism” and Weird Fiction tropes, distilling the result through an alchemical obsession with petrochemical geo-politik and desert demonology. Emerging adjacent to the CCRU cyber-occulture, Cyclonopedia feels like a polytemporal artefact / a cybernetic Wasteland gothic scatter-shot through with Middle Eastern theology→mythology.”
under the floorboards is where i store the hair and iron nails the withered red berries and the little pockets of skin sewn like leather
open the skull separating the teeth parting the bone
crossroads dirt rubbed into palms
i peel away the skein of the forest floor admiring the slick dampness of stone below
[connect] old stones [to] rewire fractured land
Been slacking on the updates here the last few months.. it's a cycle of harvesting / preparing / storing and freezing.
We're looking to get an apple press this week to start making cider. Have a bucket of rosehip sherry on the go and it's already smelling like it could kill a horse.. so that's promising.
It's been a while we had to drive into town to pick anything up in the shop. Pretty much every meal now is patched together from the kitchen garden, save for staples like rice and pasta. We usually have an ample of supply of every spice on the face of the planet, which takes care of most extra needs.
We for sure let some of the zucchini grow WAY too big — it's easy to miss the bloody things in the jungle of leaves.. and they turn from too small to kaiju in a matter of minutes I swear — so there's been a lot of “Let's make zucchini sauce / pesto / bread / cake / stuffed / roasted / crispy stir-fried”, but that's cool, it's a versatile plant and gives a ton of produce.
This all means we've been getting a good baseline for how much we want to grow next year to sustain us for a longer period, and how much space we'll need to expand into to start building resiliency. We probs get through garlic and onion and chilli the fastest — and if we run out of those there's gonna be a riot up in here — while the other crops come and go at different times and it's pretty easy to adapt cooking around that.
glacial core → puncture → breakthrough
protective pine channels lightning
apparitions pulse landscape signal
old stone attracts spark of life
ancient stone calls to power
The dreaded potato blight — that rot black fungus that once spread so much misery throughout Europe — took hold of our tomatoes last week. Had to destroy around two-thirds of our crop, wiping out my dreams of an immense Arabiatta stockpile. We managed to save a decent amount of uninfected green tomatoes though, and with a little luck they'll ripen indoors. The rest of the crop was farther away in the garden and seems to have been protected.. so far.
Blight is always a risk when you're growing both potatoes and tomatoes in the same space, although its possible the fungus/microorganism is already lurking in the land even when you aren't growing potatoes. It's a common risk so it wasn't entirely unexpected.. it's especially likely when you're growing tomatoes outdoors and not in a greenhouse where it's easier to control the environment. Unfortunately Sweden often also has the perfect moist and cool conditions for the Blight to prosper and take hold.
This unfortunate event meant we had to harvest our small potato patch earlier than we intended. The rest of the growing spaces are giving an abundance of produce so losing out on the full potential of these two crops isn't so bad. This is precisely why we — colloquially, in permaculture and growing circles — talk about cultivating a mix of crops, in an effort to build in resilience through variety, in case several crops have bad years or are lost entirely.
Overall, our project for this first season in the house/on the land was to have a functional kitchen garden — or, a garden that doesn't make you self-reliant, but provides a steady stream of daily ingredients — and we've easily succeeded my expectations there. Thankfully our freezer box is now installed out in the barn, so we can start preserving things like soft-fruits, jams and sauces. A lot of vegetables. especially root veg, will keep for up to around six months in a Jordkällare (EN: earth cellar or root cellar) garlic and onions will keep for even longer.