Apr. 16th, 2017 05:18 pm
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Spring used to be hard on me. There was a buzzing in me that wouldn't let me settle. I vibrated all the time unless I was in the garden.

These last years, with school, I've been disconnected from the seasonal cycles and spring has meant getting ready to leave. It'a been, perhaps, a fitting use of the energy and not as bad as it has been previously.

This year, well. School has been difficult. I'm usually okay with time management. I'd thought I wasn't great, but this year was nearly all group projects, nearly all the time, and I'm not sure I met anyone who worked on anything more than two days earlier than it was due, so I'm upgrading myself in my own eyes. I like having things due a couple days before deadline in case anything happens, and so I don't worry about it. But, with all the group projects, and in particular the capstone 10-credit course in which I worked with four other people who mostly didn't do stuff until well after deadlines, my time management this term was fucked up. I tried to front-load my parts of the work, but some things required group decisions that people wanted to wait on, some part relied on other peoples' parts being done, and I didn't feel up to just sitting out the last minute crunch altogether. So.

So basically I lost actual weekends off, maybe all in the last two months or so, because I was always worried about something or doing something last minute. There was always a deadline that was past but stuff wasn't done and my part was contingent on others' parts or somesuch. In a couple cases there was a deadline past and someone saying something was done but it just wasn't online yet, which was not in fact true. It was tremendously stressful, hard to plan (because then suddenly everyone would decide things should be done and work overnight to do them, without lead time to do them in orderly fashion) and intensely unmotivating (because if no one else is doing work, why should I? End product is gonna suck if it's not well-edited anyhow).

All school year I was in places I felt uncomfortable using the kitchen. Halfway through I ended up at A&T's, which was at least let me feel less guarded about clothing and whatnot, but the majority of my hobbies were curtailed. My sense of self lost ground, motivation to do even things I enjoyed lost ground, and I became pretty disinterested in anything at all. It was yet another semester I wasn't sure I'd survive, but because of the difficulty of getting in to counselling at UBC I didn't go see anyone.

And now it's over. It ended four days ago. I spent a day with Tucker doing errands (getting bike in to shop, cleaning house a little, packing up rabbits) and came up to Josh's for Easter weekend. I brought the stuff for marmalade I'd been meaning to make for a couple weeks at least.

The first day was very low-key. I've been researching animal options for a future property, even possible dairy animal options. I've poked a lot at nigerian goats, Guernsey goats (serves me right to fixate on a breed that is basically impossible to find), and highland cattle. The rabbits went to the vet to board for... well, until there's somewhere for them to go. The next day we got stuff for a rabbit hutch, rabbit-tractor-style, for them to live in outdoors over the summer wherever I end up. I cooked some stuff and made marmalade and wandered around the garden. By evening I was turning the main garden, which I hadn't planned to do.

Now the main garden is 2/3 turned and planted (doesn't sound like much but that's a lot of crab grass!), the sunny small fruits patch is mulched with straw, and I'm... not happy, but part of the world again. I'm sad that I may only see this garden once more during the summer, when I come through to go up to Fort. I miss the rabbits. My relationships are in a somewhat rough state. I don't remember much about the last eight months. But. I suspect I'm going to be okay, and that I'll be happy again.

And soon, I think, I'll be able to feel relief and happiness that school is over, and that I've made it out the other side.


Jan. 13th, 2017 09:59 am
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I had a very intense schoolweek, I guess it's been the second week of school. My classes are frontloaded into the week, there's mandatory home school stuff to get done in that period, and my intricate monthly schedule trying to see Josh and Tucker both in ways that are most convenient for them came apart, and I was exhausted (and still switching courses, since I didn't get my schedule till the first day of class due to "UBC is just like that").

Last night I made it to yoga. And then... I have every second Friday off. I woke at the normal time, then had breakfast and apparently caught up on some dreaming.

I dreamed I had a young/barely adolescent dingo I'd brought home, and I was trying to keep him in the room with the rabbits but he kept getting into the rabbits' enclosure, though he didn't hurt them, and also I was rooting around in the massive deep freeze trying to find meat scraps for him. I dreamed mom was making massive quantities of green and of purple grape jam from on-sale supermarket grapes (mom wouldn't do this). I dreamed dad (!) brought home a pair of rabbits (!) and put them in with my rabbits, and wouldn't tell me how old they were or whether they were neutered but they were mine now. I dreamed there was a family in the house that was going to an expensive student theatre production their kids were putting on, and they had so much money they just stank of it.

I know where a lot of these come from, and some have left me puzzled (hi dad?! Er).

In more outside-world news, the term-long capstone school project I was looking forward to because it had to do with the real world is... not the real world. They ganked data from a place (close to Josh's house) but our client is, unlike other years, entirely fictional. We will not be doing a field trip to the land, nor working with actual controllers of the land to give them a plan they could use. It is deflating, and changes the task considerably: our land is "private" and run by someone considerably like us who happened to inherit it; I've gotta learn about the rules for forestry on private land pretty quick, but we won't need to negotiate with a First Nation that's got actual human contradictions and needs.

One of the people on my five-person team is a gardener type, lives near Lumby with his fiancee, and they want to do market gardening in greenhouses. That's excellent. My chance of surviving this term with an sort of sense of self intact is suddenly so much higher. A tool I will use when I am about to spiral into awfulness is, "Nick, tell me X about your greenhouses/property" (they are currently rehabilitating a seabuckthorn orchard for the landowner).

I got some dog-snuggling time yesterday at school, and realise it would be really nice to have a dog. Still logistical difficulties, of course, but...

And now that I'm circling around to it: the relationship with Tucker is starting to mature, or rather, the NRE is slowly lapping out like a tide and is leaving... us. So we are starting to want to set our boundaries and enclosures with each other, starting to feel the work it takes to make it go, and basically develop sustainability in the thing. I haven't written about him much; you never got an intro post to him. Someday you will. But, he's very special to me and he's here in town and he's also otherwise partnered and so there are things to be figured out.

Probably the relationship is in the place it is because this will be a very demanding term. It requires a lot of physical presence, a lot of writing, and a lot of getting along with people. It is clearly my priority, unlike last term where I didn't much care. I want to get things done, so I will. But, that leaves limited time and energy for everything else, thus learning to set boundaries rather suddenly in the eddies of NRE and also the complications of a distance relationship.

In great news, I've moved into a connected-but-seperate suite in a house shared by my ?girlfriend and her partner. It's been a great decision, though it puts me half an hour further away from UBC: I sleep better here, I can wander around naked (so, so vital to my wellbeing apparently), I can have loud sex, and there are often snuggles and food upstairs in the livingroom if I'm feeling social. I feel more rested, more at peace with myself, and moe comfortable here.

I guess that's the most of it for now. Time for schoolwork. Be well.
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I'm settling in here a little. A desk has been cleared for me, home to my sewing machine and my desktop computer. This means my music is accessible again, especially good because I left my cell phone on top of the land cruiser when I was taking lumber off before work and it fell off in the middle of a highway of logging trucks: no more cell phone. I have another on order but it'll be awhile to get here.

Went down to Vancouver to visit James last weekend. It was really good. That's settling into me more comfortably. I feel serious about it, and slightly overwhelmed by the logistics of that plus Josh plus career, but since nothing else is settled at all in my life right now it doesn't feel imminently overwhelming.

Starting to feel angry about Dave again, incidentally. It... feels good? Feels nice to be angry at someone who could be an hour late for a date and didn't care enough about relationship ground rules to notice when he broke them, let alone apologise. Being able to feel angry about it is liberating. I suspect the reason it's taking me so long to get past the anger part and into the 'we weren't good in a relationship' stage is that I haven't devoted any space to the anger yet. Either way, here it is.

The main garden is unrolling across the lawn like a carpet. Greenhouse is built, wired to ventilate at a high enough temperature, and planted. Raspberry bed is made, rose bed is dug and planted and has ornamental patterns of lettuces and tomatoes in it. This week we should plant fruit trees. I'm very happy.

Every day I want to go back to Fort in the summer more. It's difficult for logistics but it feels astonishingly like home. Even though this city lot in Williams Lake is also feeling a little homey and every garden I plant roots me somewhere, the city is not my home.

Revisiting thoughts of kids, but that's another post. Now I go help Josh with some experimental deep-dish pizza done with a really really high hydration dough.
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Almost forgot: planted lettuce (Plato) and shinguku this morning.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


May. 23rd, 2011 02:46 pm
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Also got:
friend gooseberry

Plato lettuce
magenta spreen
domestic purslane
edible chrysanthemum

tomatoes based on what the garden center had:
green zebra
mr stripey
cherokee purple
sweet million

Evidently I'll need to hit the farmer's market for stupice and black plum.

This is on top of yesterday's blueberry bush haul, which involves:
top hat
hardy blue

...So, I have some planting to do. Got my veggie marrow and basil in the ground, not my fancy basils yet. Also showed some restraint and didn't buy either wasabi (I need horseradish though, anyone have any they can split for me?) or citronella scented geranium but need to return for the citronella geranium because it smelled amazing.

Theoretically I grow food, but man does a nice scent turn my head.
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So I've decided to do my garden as if I'm not moving away from this place ever.

Yeah, it's a pretty big thing, right? Don't worry about it.

I got out today and potted up some kale for mom, started to thin my seedlings and distribute them, and generally got my hands in my own dirt (mmmm). I've got apple trees blooming, mint bounding along, no real semblance of a plan out there, and some empty rubbermaid totes that could happily be filled and planted. I'd also like to make a pallet bed and a couple upside-down tomatoes since I have room.

This leaves me with the always-expensive spring shopping list.

I need more beds (always more planting space, right?) which might be remedied by this.

If I get more planting space I'll need more soil, I can order bales from my boss.

I'll need tomato starts for the buckets, maybe nasturtiums for the top (I'll start those seeds and my basil today), and herbs for the pallet wall (!!). I have some thyme starts, I'd like to see what tarragon, creeping rosemary, more thyme, oregano, etc do with the space. Also maybe some more floral things. I could put in heliotrope too.

I should get some lettuce and maybe a couple root veggies going. Carrots would fit in the deep rubbermaids, beets, etc. Parsnips are good, I'd love to grow some salsify but it's too late to get seeds.

I'd like to grow cilantro, chard, and mustard greens as well. Wouldn't hurt to toss some potatoes at the bottom of those for a fall harvest, I've already got sunchokes layered under my kale and kale in with mint and apple trees and parsley in with some of those. I need more oregano because I use it All The Time.

Did I mention I've had an extraordinary parsley germination year? 100% within a couple of weeks. That never happens. I'm not sure what to do with the stuff.

Plus it never hurts to add some blueberries, I would kill for a nice gooseberry plant or two, and I'm always fond of evergreen huckleberries (which I always leave behind when I move).

That keeps us pretty conventional, I think. I'd best get this done soon because though it's been cold the season won't wait.
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if i love You
(thickness means
worlds inhabited by roamingly
stern bright faeries

if you love
me) distance is mind carefully
luminous with innumerable gnomes
Of complete dream

if we love each (shyly)
other, what clouds do or Silently
Flowers resembles beauty
less than our breathing

ee cummings

Okay, okay, enough with the ee cummings. I need a poetry buddy to call up and just read with, back and forth, you pick one, I pick one. I do so love reading poetry aloud. Words and voices make it; it was made for voices in so many cases. Language is quick and beautiful when it is words sliding straight into your brain from a page, but it is a sensuous experience in the mouth and the ear and we take that so much for granted. It's like food, like moving your body; we forget because we are given this most wonderful of experiences everyday that it is in fact so gorgeous.

Obviously I'm having an up day today. There are many reasons for this. A big one is the Vancouver freeschool at UBC Farm. You need to come to this if you live in Vancouver: http://summerfreeschool.wordpress.com/

Today at work was super awesome. I woke up early, got a couple hours of gardening done, got picked up and went to the greenhouse with my boss (who pays me for this! I guess after the long hours last week it's deserved) which happens to be the same greenhouse my boss two back used. It's absolutely the best for annual flowers anywhere. I spent some money I wasn't planning to (of course) but dude, at wholesale prices whatcha gonna do?

Then we did some planting in the rain, I got soaked through to the skin. The boss and I chatted about stuff-- he's part of a gay couple, and I think he just wanted to chat about kink some, honestly, and-- I can do that, you know? Lots of talking during work, lots of fun, and then a ride to the skytrain so I didn't have to wander around soaking wet too much.

Now home with plants and a super hot date with Angus tonight. Muahaha!

Last night was helping the Writer with painting his new place, it was a lot of fun. Last time I painted was when Bob and Ryan and Vikkie and I all moved into that one place together, so I know enough not to feel like an idiot but I don't do it enough for it to be boring. His new place has really nice energy to it, and trees outside the window, and it was nice to chill with him for a bit. Been missing that boy-- he's been crazy busy and/or burnt out a lot. I know a lot of my emotional rollercoasters (have you noticed? I have) come from not seeing him for 'too long'-- if you read back you'll notice that for the couple days right after seeing him I'm absolutely flying, and then eventually, depending on circumstance, there's a crash.

Ahwell. Things'll settle down eventually.

Yesterday at work was another long hard day. It's funny, we keep working through stuff to finish, pushing our edges, and then there's something more to do. There should be no more there now, though. If today was a soaked-to-the-skin day, yesterday was a sweating-buckets day. I did most of my normal day plus an extra four hours of pulling our dwarf alberta spruces (ewwwwww needles and rashes and poking) and putting in the tropical entrance to one of the hotels I do plants for. It looks spectacular. It'll look unbelievable in a month.

Monday I made yummy soup but the evening kind of sucked. Snuggles during the movie kept my head above water, that and a very understanding Angus.

Now I've gotta go dress up. More painting and/or moving/steam carpet cleaning tomorrow-- it's funny, I'm paying forward to the Writer all the stuff I got from Juggler when I was starting to do my own thing.

Friday PAUL IS IN TOWN and I am going to GO DRINKING WITH HIM AND HALF THE EARTH and IT WILL ROCK BECAUSE PAUL IS AWESOME and HE SHOULD CALL ME. But he won't cause I only get emotionally attached to people who are distant and aloof, at least sometimes-- Angus frontloaded that by breaking up with me back when, got his hooks in, and now he's a solid platform, but with everyone else it's ongoing, and I'm learning how to swing with that, I think. (note wecallthishumour tag. It's funny because it's true).

I need to get some upside-down tomato planters and get showered and fancied up or something.

I will do a tomato/gardening post shortly. Short form: I am planting three kinds of okra; a zillion kinds of tomatoes (trial testing I think 6 heirlooms (green zebra, nepal, Eva purple ball, cherokee purple, black prince, japanese black trifele) against some hybrids (sweet million, sungold, bush beefsteak, first lady, ultra sweet, ultra girl) in a sort of unfair setting; while I'm still gonna try two of each kind, one in each set of conditions (front/side of the house) I'm going to have a range of planter sizes and types and a range of companion plants); three kinds of sorrel (wood, blood, and garden), two kinds of summer squash (vegetable marrow and I think yellow pattypan of some kind), some different basils (anise, some italian lettuce leaf basil, maybe something else), nasturtiums, flat-leaf parsley, lacinato kale, a bunch of herbs (list later), a lot of mints (list later), some unreal beautiful coleus and fibrous begonias, a couple of rhodos, some purple jasmine stevesii or something like that, a couple kinda of violets, and I have yet to get cucumber and maybe dill seeds.

This is exciting.

I should do eggplant too but I'm chicken.

Enough! Will talk more about gardening later. Love y'all.

Old Friend

Mar. 29th, 2010 10:04 am
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Going back to some of these accounts after the space of years and tending the same plants is like seeing an old lover and touching their face after so long, which too has happened to me lately. It's so familiar and intimate and nurturing, and sometimes worrying or horrifying: WHO died? WHAT happened to you? It's lovely to feel this one sliding to it's natural two-week watering cycle, that one always greeting me so thirstily ...

And then there's outdoors.

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I had forgotten just how much I like this work- so m uch that I'm taking this lunch to tell you about it. The annoyances will start later but right now I'm dealing with a neat little system.

We deal with some specific types of plants: three kinds of canes, various aglos, a few types of spaths, raphis palms, two or three kinds of ficus, etc. Each requires some specific amount of food, water, and sun.

Each building had four sides, most of which are obscured to varying degrees by surrounding buildings except in many cases to the north or east to a lesser extent. There is also sometimes film on windows, and each building has an HVAC system which is sometimes on.

My job is to clean plants, treat pests, and water and feed based on my projection of the next week's weather, amount of sun exposure (varies with season as the sun's path changes), building temp (if the HVAC is off it can get up to 45 C or so, or down to 5 or 6), type of plant, etc. It's complicated enouh that a lot of what I do is intuition, but uncomplicated enough that after a year or two it can be done well. I like doing things well.

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Also: I saw this saying on a greeting card:

To be happy for a night, get drunk. To be happy for awhile, fall in love. To be happy forever, take up gardening. It purported to be a Chinese proverb. I am enthralled.

Also Greatpoets says:


This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who say, Last night,
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you
were born at a good time. Because you were able
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

by Eleanor Lerman
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This is one of two things that are on the horizon, the other one being the BSc Sustainable Agriculture from Kwantlen in fall 2010. Since this fall when I realised (with a little help) that it was so hard for me, I've been saying "I want to be a farmer" once in awhile. The looks of stunned disbelief, horror, and total incomprehension I get really only make me more determined to end up there someday-- this is our food, idiots! You know that thing you do a couple of times a day without fail, eating? Well, there are people involved in that process, and I don't just mean celebrity chefs. You might think or hope that the people who grow your food will be doing so such that there is arable land left to grow food for you when you're older, or food for your kids, but that doesn't happen when the sum total of agricultural knowledge is left in the hands of the slowest kid in class and enshrined in the make and model of this year's tractor and the current theory on when and how many kgs of N-P-K to apply.

What the fuck is wrong with you that you think a smart, driven, and passionate girl wouldn't be interested in this sort of system? Are you completely ignorant as to what a food system or an ecosystem is? Do you think there would be a lack of career fulfillment in nourishing people? Perhaps you think there would be a lack of intellectual fulfillment in creating a sustainable human-productive ecosystem from a variety of organisms in a variety of (constantly changing) conditions in the most efficient manner possible, especially with ecology still in the dark ages? Maybe you think it takes a penis, a straw in the corner of my mouth, a a string of drool? I can wear a cowboy hat with the best of 'em, you know.

Jesus fucking Christ, I wish every single person who gave me that blank look (and this does include my friends) could go for a couple of weeks without eating and then come back to me with that look. Even a couple of weeks eating only food where the food producer (see how cleverly we only use the word farmer in negative contexts?) got paid a wage that made it seem like society values both our meals (we eat a fuck of a lot) and our planet (not gonna touch that one).

A friend of mine said of the progress on trans acceptance, "we're starting to get angry because we can imagine a world where our rights aren't trampled on. Every time we win a fight, we realise we can win, and then we get pissy, uppity, and (god forbid) assertive."

I'm not fighting a fight. There's no them and us here. We all eat. We were all raised on stores with named like "Save-on" and "Buy-low" where the low value of food was an incentive to buy it. We all breathe. But my god, these two classes are a step in the right direction, and that right direction needs to and will happen in one way or another. Somehow this makes me angry. If there is _anything_ to me personally, as a human being, it's caring about how the world can be fruitful and nourishing and it's the desire to be an active part of that system. It's not easy, but I'm gonna do it. And I am not capable of doing it with anything other than pride and competence.

When I was first landscaping, I used to tell people with kind of shy pride, "I'm a landscaper". I don't do that anymore.

Someday I'll tell people, "I'm a farmer". Sure I might be ambivalent -- it actually will be a fight to do it, it'll take everything I have in me and every strength I can develop to create an income selling food to you ungrateful sons of bitches who would much rather pay for video games, internet access, clothes without holes in them, watching a movie in a theatre, paying for a cell- or an iphone, flying around the countries of your choice, buying a new dresser, or going out dancing than paying expert rates for someone who grows your food. (Do you know how much a games programmer makes compared to a farmer? Seriously, priorities, people.) I'll do it, though.

So there.

Richmond Farm School- 2010

Announcing the commencement of the Richmond Farm School

The Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, in cooperation with the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project, the Richmond Food Security Society, and the City of Richmond is pleased to announce that the inaugural session of the Richmond Farm School is scheduled to commence this spring.
Objectives and Program Features: The purpose of the Farm School is to prepare people from all walks of life to engage in human scale, urban focused agriculture enterprises including production, processing, adding value, distribution, marketing and sales. The goal is to build regional agri-food systems in, around and for municipalities. The program will focus on balancing theoretical (classroom) and applied (field/ practical) skill development studies with the express objective of teaching agriculture as the applied science and art that it is. Actual farming, processing, marketing and sales learning experience are a defining feature of the program. Upon completion of a single course, a compliment of courses or the complete program students will not just know about urban and peri-urban agriculture but will also have developed the skills to engage in it. Farm School students will learn by doing.

A second defining feature of the curriculum will be its focus on sustainability. In this we mean teaching about farming and an agri- food system that is economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsive and just. We will also emphasize agriculture as an integral element of sustainable cities in compliment to existing agri-food systems elements.
Lastly but importantly, through our program students will have access to “incubator” farm land (up to one acre for three years at very reasonable rates) to begin their agricultural enterprises. Technical support and possibly shared equipment will be available to incubator farmers.

Program overview:
Core classes- The Farm School program will consist of the following core courses that will be delivered over the course of the season. Each will have a field based component. An excellent team of practical minded, experienced, skilled and dedicated teachers to support and guide your learning, skill building experience has been assembled. Classes do not have exams or graded assignments. You can expect to be given readings. No grades are assigned or academic credits awarded. Classes will be held at Terra Nova Rural Park facilities, 2631 Westminster Highway, Richmond BC.

Title Hours

Soils and Water Management- 40 hrs

Plant Science- 40 hrs

Pest Management 20 hrs

Farm Production and Operations Planning- 40 hrs

Market Crop Production- 50 hrs

Animal Husbandry 40 hrs

Fruit Production- 50 hrs

Composts and Composting 20 hrs

Farm Business Planning/Management 40 hrs

Total 350 hrs of formal class
Practicum- All Farm School students will also participate in a minimum of 350 hours of practical crop production and post-harvest experience under the direction and/ or supervision of Farm School staff and/ or Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Program farm staff. As you gain experience practicum activities may also be pursued independently. The majority of practical farming experience will occur at the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project Farm at the Terra Nova Park and the Orchard (south end of Gilbert Rd) in Richmond. Other sites may be utilized to enhance the practical learning experience. Note that students are responsible for transportation to practicum sites. Plenty of additional practical on farm experiences will likely be available as we want you to have the opportunity to gain as much real farming experience as possible.
Many topics such as sustainable agriculture systems, farm safety, mechanization, construction, cover crops, resources and certifications, farmscaping, habitat enhancement etc. will be integrated into core courses as appropriate. Complete course descriptions will soon be available.

Other courses (not part of the basic Farm School curriculum), such as Ecology, Plant Propagation, Pasture Management and Apiculture, will be offered on an ad hoc basis throughout the year and available for a separate fee.
Additionally we plan to hold dinner seminars once or twice a month. Students will organize and lead these seminars (which may include a guest speaker, showing of a documentary film, a demonstration etc.). The public will be invited to these sessions.
Dates, days and times:

The Farm School will start March 4, 2010 and conclude November 12, 2010. We are scheduling courses and practicum on Thursday and Friday late afternoons/evenings and all day on Saturdays so that students can fit farming studies into their schedules. Expect this days and times to be occupied with Farm School classes, practicum and other activities. Specific class and activity schedules will soon be available.


The Farm School is not a profit generating endeavor, nor is it subsidized in any way and therefore must operate on a full cost recovery basis. This means that all fees you pay are used to cover the costs of delivering the program; they are plowed back into the Farm School. We have checked into other similar programs and our cost/ fee structures are competitive.
We have established two categories of students that will be subject to different fee structures for classes because they represent differing intents and levels of commitment. They are Cohort Students and General Interest Students.

Cohort Students are committed to and sign up for the full compliment of core classes and practicum. The cost to be a Cohort Student is $5,000. A non-refundable deposit of $500 is due to the Farm School by February 1 and the balance ($4,500) by March 4. Cohort Students are also eligible for incubator farming sites. Couples, an incorporated entity, or community organization may qualify to be considered as one enrollee with one designated representative eligible to attend individual core classes. Contact us to see if you or your group qualifies.
Students who complete all core classes and the practicum will be issued a Certificate of Completion by the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture.

General Interest Students are those that only want to study farming on a class by class basis and do not want to participate in the practicum component. Anyone is welcome to enroll in Farm School classes if space is available. Cost for individual class enrollments is $30 per class hour. So the fee to take an individual 40 hour class such as Soils, Vegetable Crop Production or Fruit Crop Production would be $1200. Enrolling in individual classes can be done at any time.

A General Interest student can opt to become a Cohort Student at any time. Upon doing so all fees previously paid to take individual classes will apply to the Cohort Student fee rate.
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So today I started a little later, but didn't get home from work in Mission quarter after ten or so. I poured a good twenty-five gallons of water on my poor wilty deck (yesterday had time to do rats but not water after work) and ate a beautiful raw ear of fresh corn on the cob and now I'm writing a little.

There was a lot of wonderful in today. It started when I was awoken by my favourite person crawling into bed beside me at first light, headed through working in one of the loveliest pieces of property in Mission with a view of the Abbey (and bells chiming every half hour or so) and also of the river and through being given g&ts by these same clients, who then sent us home with bottles of wine, fresh corn and basil, and asparagus pasta and scones that they'd made, through napping on the ride home and then on to my garden and rats waiting for me and soon a shower and a bed and the surprisingly yummy corn. Next time I tell you I don't like corn, remember it's only because it isn't fresh.

The tomatoes on my deck are blooming like crazy. I heard from Piotr, who makes me remarkably happy to be in contact with. I had a good idea for the masquerade. My roses are doing well, and I'll have more space on my deck soon. I will be tired at work tomorrow -- the morning comes too soon -- and bed will be a smidge lonely, and I didn't make masks or make it to the salmon festival today, but you know, more than enough is certainly enough, and there are other days.

I have decided I need a mister on my deck if this weather is going to continue. The water kind, not the boy kind. Well, you know, I could do with both.
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"stifles my ability to live at precisely the same time as it enables it."

Plus: list of stuff I have more-than-I-need for my garden, with The Final Tomato List

Gardener's delight: red cherry: 12 plants, keeping 2
Stupice: small earlyish red, tasty: 6 plants, keeping 2
Sungold: orange cherry, super prolific, very sweet: 14 plants, keeping 3
Longkeeper: big red with winter storage potential: 4 plants, keeping 3
Black Krim: black beefsteak: 10 plants, keeping 3
Viva italia: red paste tomato: 6 plants, keeping 1
Yellow brandywine: yellow beefsteak: 6 plants, keeping 3
Regular-leaf plant that grew from the yellow brandywine (which is a potato leaf plant) seeds: one plant, all mine
Jaune Flamme: orange-red smallish tomato: 4 plants, keeping 2 (juggler labelled it as 'flambe')
Prudens purple: purple globe: 7 plants, keeping 3
Speckled roman: roma-shaped red-yellow bicolour with sparse foliage cover: 6 plants, keeping 2
Black plum - 1
Silvery fir tree - 1
Druzba - 1
Gren zebra - 1 but I may take a cutting for 2
Altai black - 1
Cherokee purple - 1
Unlabelled pot with 2 potato-leaf and 1 regular-leaf, so either stupice or yrllow brandywine plus a cross-pollination or dropped seed (like with brandywine, se above)

My okra seeds are up -- I've planted six so far of each kind. Cukes are up too. Watering is picking up with this weather.

This is my seed list. Some of it I'll part with easily, some a little less so:
okra- mammoth spineless and red velvet
onions- this was a red storage variety
cuke - satsuki midori - good variety
ground cherry - aunt molly's don'e seem to be germinating, poha we'll give a try
basil - tons of genovese
lettuce - red romaine, red looseleaf, mixed
mustard greens
swiss chard - couple of varieties
parsley (late to sow this)
kale - this was a cross between red kale and lacinato
gai lan
edible chrysanthemum (highly recommended salad green, it's so yummy)
sprouting broccoli

I won't be growing much in the way of beets or gai lan or broccoli till fall cause I just won't have the space. I likely won't be growing the ionions because 1) they take up space for a long time and 2) onions aren't really good for me. Sad.

I WILL be breeding rats in the next week. It'll look like this:
Mona x Sekai-chi = agouti roans and roan carriers
Camille x Bullet = russian blues and silvers
Cocoa x Quartzie or Rizzo = minky havana-y lilac-y yumminess
Princess x Quartzie or ? (sky?) = lilac & other mink-based yummies
Mikaela x Sky = dumbo black and russian blues maybe? We never did get Jackson figured for colour

Princess, Cocoa, and Mona might be a little later on.


Apr. 27th, 2008 05:55 pm
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Jiro persimmon
Saijo persimmon
Cotton Candy rhododendron
Sun Chariot rhododendron (fragrant azalea)
Cannon's Double rhododendron (fragrant azalea)
Pineapple guava
Ardwick cinnamon geranium
Bronze fennel
French tarragon
Sweet sicily (though I can use more Beth!)
Summer savory
Golden oregano
Tomatoes: druzba, black krim, brandywine sudduth strain, black plum, green zebra, silvery fir tree, cherokee purple, Altai
Bonus eucalyptus in the pot with a persimmon

The plant sale is electric-wonderful every year, but especially this year. It felt like a long-awaited festival or celebration. It was as busy as ever, despite the rain that started partway through the afternoon. As always Ellen is super-awesome-wonderful.


Apr. 25th, 2008 10:09 pm
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So here I am, at home on time for sleep so I can do VanD volunteering tomorrow, slightly drunk, and very happy.

In the last twenty-four hours I have 1) had enough sex (!!!!) 2) handled hundreds of sexy plants (omg pineapple guava, chinese quince, sajo persimmon, jiro persimmon, oranges, ribes, grapes, sun chariot azalea, cotton candy rhodo, irene koester rhodo-- how does one decide?) 3) got slightly drunk on Drew-suggested candy-wine 4) been in a household full of people who I had never met before but were all gardener-permaculture people and awesome at that with email names like 'smartplantguy' 5) who fed me yummy food 6) recieved lots of painful massages and 7) not so painful snuggles and 8) rode double on a bike for the first time ever and 9) smiled and laughed through the point where my face hurt and back into it not hurting anymore and 10) been greeted joyously by people I like and 11) packed about a third of my stuff and 12) made silly lj lists on bob's computer and 13) found a birthday gift for Doug and 14) been greeted by people who remembered me from two years ago where they saw me once and remembered me well enough to ask details about my garden and 15) been so happy over and over and over.

And I have the feeling one of these people might be a dance partner in the future, and she's also a vegetarian gluten-free cook. And there was this green man wall hanging. And I am too happy and incoherent to write much more than this right now.

I'm really glad to be doing this VanDusen thing. It's consistent, I've been doing it for years (I wonder what a past check on this lj shows at this time every year? I missed it last year) and it's nice to have that.

I'm also looking forward to moving. And to my life. And to these people-- the awesome ones already in it, who love me and are kind to me and who care so much, and also to the awesome ones joining it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Greenie's on a big happy again. Sure, there'll be a down to follow, but with enough sleep and a bellyfull of food it'll be not so bad.

Meantime-- seriously, on the plant question. Also, what about amelanchier? I don't know if I'll do any clems, I can get those elsewhere later, ditto most herbs. I could *totally* plastic in the porch to make a citrus-friendly overwinter place though. They're blooming right now and smell so so good. OTOH they're expensive.

Do you know I've resisted buying an olive tree for years now?
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When the sun rises the light doesn't look pink, but everything it touched when it slants low and long like that in the morning turns a golden peach. In the last twenty-four hours the maples have really started leafing out instead of just blooming outside our window. Leaves are darker than blooms, more green and less lime, and the network of branches will soon be obscured and then the sky itself. We haven't lived here long enough for me to know what that will look like.

I am going to fry some bananas and try going back to bed-- seems like the thing to do at 6:30 am on a Sunday, no? I should be playing Johnny Cash. Instead it's Devendra again.

Awhile ago I set out a couple of goals for my life, and I realised the other day I never follow up on those things in writing. Well, this has become a much more honest and open space for me, that's for sure. I've also allowed those walls I developed for awhile there to stay (for the most part) broken open like Angus left them, and so people can get in again-- but not as wholesale free-for-all as before.

I need to get a spathyphyllum or two for the new place. I bet a ming aralia would live there too! That's super-exciting.

For the deck I'm thinking perennial-wise:
Queen Anne or Rainier cherry
Sour cherry
black cherry
Greengage plum
Persimmon - fuyu or jiro, hachiya or tanenashi, rosseyanka
kiwi Anna (arguta) or Blake or Emlwood or maybe Ken's Red

Apricots x2
Plum x2 additionally- maybe a japanese and a tiny yellow?

More Lists

Apr. 19th, 2008 11:05 am
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Snow and cherry blossoms
Snow and daffodils
Snow and tulips!
Snow and ribes
Snow and magnolias!
Snow and clematis armandii
Snow under maples that are blooming their fool heads off

I can't even see the grass by my house it's so deep.

Cherry blossoms fluttering down over snow is such a moving experience that I think I need to stay indoors. I can't deal.

Except... it's sunny out and there's so much to do.


Apr. 18th, 2008 04:32 pm
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I have a garden again. I went and walked it the other day. It's long and narrow and covered. What this means?

I walked into a nursery today (David Hunter, the one on Arbutus and Broadway-ish) and they had some own-root Austin roses for $17. Not all their Austins were own-root, but Teasing Georgia and Abraham Darby were. Z0MG quartered roses are so hot!11!!11!!!!!11!!1oneoneleven!

So you can tell I have a garden now because I am going to be sinking money into it like crazy. And I have some money, so that's good.

I promise I will not spend more than $200 at the VanDusen plant sale, and less than that if I am in any way uncertain if the plant fits my criteria:

*hot deck (west-facing, some overhang, so hot-shade is fine for the third row of plants in, but nothing that needs to be cool in the summer)
*mostly can deal with dry
*good screen, edible, fragrant, stunningly gorgeous, a climber, evergreen: at least two must apply
*not super-ridiculous-huge plants if only pruned/maintained once per month. Plum tree: fine. Cherry: do they make those in super-dwarf?

I'm expecting lots of herbs, a couple of impulse tomatoes, a couple of juneberries, maybe some antique roses, soem fruit trees, some exotic fruits, and I JUST REALISED I COULD HAVE SWORD FERNS ON MY DECK. No need to buy them, of course, but... oh, wow. hot shade, third rank, edging the trees and vines which are in turn edged by tomatoes.

I'm going to go be alone for awhile.
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Music of the Day: Devendra Banhart, The Body Breaks:

Just play it and listen.

Today I moved, as best as I can tell, 8 tons of stone, half of it twice. I worked a nine-and-a-half hour day, that despite being pretty late. Yesterday was a big lifting-moving-carrying-hustling day too. My back will be sore (half of that eight tons was pulled out from under a 4 1/2' patio. I am 5'8". Hauling stone while bent over? Wow.

I am happy. I feel good. I had dinner with mom and my brother, and I'm going to hang out with said brother more on the weekend. I haven't talked to him in forever. I noticed tonight that he has a beautiful smile. I hadn't seen him smile in some time.

Other weekend plans include two passover dinners, climbing with brother at noon on Sunday (anyone else want in?) Tomorrow I go and give seeds to Doug and maybe Kat. This is awesome. I've been buying seeds for years and only using a fraction of what I've bought. Now I'm giving them away to people who will grow and appreciate them! I'm helping people with their gardens every weekend! My own garden will go in soon! This is what I was born for, yannow?

I just got home (when I got off work I was so tired that I just wanted to sit down and cry, eating did help) and I was feeling pretty lonely, then I put this CD in. Youtube doesn't have a good version of 'Will is my Friend' which is the song I played on repeat in Kelowna and that almost-not-quite replaced human contact for me there, so you can't hear it. I put it on, though, and I relaxed immediately out of the loneliness, and now I'm just trying to stay awake long enough to write.

I guess the thing is I'm not sure what I'm trying to write. It would be good to write about change, I think. Paul is almost certainly moving to New York (he'd better) for some very important personal reasons, and he'd just kind of been settling into my most-reliable-friend role. You know, when I say everyone leaves me it's not some sort of melodramatic hand-to-the-forehead. It's just plain truth. Paul, like many, will come back and it will be wonderful-- and of course he's not gone yet.

Maybe I should write abou tthe mahonias all blooming right now. The air is so full of perfume it really does make ya dizzy. Masses of yellow blossom atop holly-looking leaves: surely some of you have noticed them? And the magnolias look like oil paintings now, masses of those thick heavy petals just starting to litter the ground. The cherry petals are dropping. The world is love. Does anyone remember that lj meme?

I need to figure out moving day, and also do some paperwork stuff for the place on 42nd. Still, it's decided. That's what I'm doing.

I need to start my tomatoes!!!!!! I will do that this weekend. Have you seen my tomato list yet? I'll type it up when I'm less tired. I have longkeeper this year. I wonder if the VanDusen plant sale will have anything interesting? They always have good clematis, but perhaps I'll luck into a mutabilis again? Or a camellia sinensis? Or.... something? I should check out their fruit trees, that's what I should do. Pawpaws aren't deck-friendly I don't think, nor are mulberries (damn) but so many trees are.

The deck is fully-covered. This means: hammock = yes, greenhouse = not necessary, just string up some poly, water feature = important.

Today as I was working I totally had stuff I was going to write about polyamory (the less practical kind of poly) and about how jealousy is often a sign that you're not getting what you need in a relationship, but I am again too tired.

Mmmmm. Sleep. Night, folks.
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Morning again. The poem goes:

Whether it's sunny or not, it's sure
To be enormously complex—
Trees or streets outdoors, indoors whoever you share,
And yourself, thirsty, hungry, washing,
An attitude towards sex.
No wonder half of you wants to stay
With your head dark and wishing
Rather than take it all on again:
Weren't you duped yesterday?Read more... )

I created some order this morning: dumped out all the empties and glasses, put the bottles out in the back alley, threw out a bunch of party trash, I'm doing a bunch of laundry now: towels and sheets. I'll really miss having in-house laundry where I can wake up and just toss my sheets in the machine. If I end up at Angus' place there's a laundromat right downstairs; I wonder if they have drop-off service?

I'm feeling pretty okay. I think I slept a full eight hours last night, and I had a fantastic and very soul-nourishing day yesterday. I need to keep going to bed earlyish. It works. I really regret missing the show last night, but not as much as I would have regretted missing sleep and waking up a little more centered.

Pablo Neruda wrote:

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

Little by little, little by little. I've been repeating life is a process to myself lately. It helps me to find perspective because I can feel that I've come so far, but that I've got some distance to cover yet. Because of this it reminds me that I'm not stuck right where I am right now, I don't need to stay here and I won't stay here. It won't always be like this. That reassures me, and I can go on to follow Jack Gilbert's advice: we must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world he says, and fuck it, I'm nothing if not stubborn. It's all a matter of pointing it in the right direction. I'm finding my other land.

When Karen and Angus broke up and I was trying to comfort him, I sent him the breakup-comfort poem. You know,

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Life After Love, Derek Walcott

I've always had a person in that role, some Other Person to smile at, to come home to, to share with. Now I find I'm swinging around a bit, trying to orient it: not on people, because people really aren't big enough or reliable enough to contain it as steadfastly and constantly as I'd like (well, perhaps it's more fair to say the ones I want most aren't) but on stuff. Now, this isn't where it should end up, but it's an interesting process to watch. It wants to center on home, a place that is mine, created inside by my hands and shaped to fit me uniquely. It wants to center on gardening, on service to the earth if you will and the interaction with plants and life systems. These things are feeling much more important to me, and their prioritisation kind of rises up like a shell around me that keeps people at a little bit of a distance.

I think it's a bit of a healthy distance. I've always been an intimacy junkie (how often I've written this since I've coined the term six or eight years ago!) and within the last few years I've also learned to do, and to enjoy, the social round. Now I'll settle into the middle distance for awhile. It's easy to do because it's where people are settling with me. In some ways it feels a little crippled, a little broken: contact but not full-on walking-in-each-others'-skin contact. In other ways it's nice: more people can be included in it because it's incident-based rather than relationship-based and it's not so damn complicated and doesn't stir so much sense of duty and entitlement.

It's an awkward way to live for me right now, like wearing a new pair of jeans that's so stiff and hasn't been broken in yet. I think it'll break in, though.

This entry reads like a student's classroom assignment: read three poems and respond to them one to three paragraphs each. I'm done with the poems now, though.

Yesterday I hung out with Piotr for awhile and then Ellen and Adrian. All these people are super-awesome, and both Piotr and Ellen are plant people. Piotr was also super excited when I told him about my pottery wheel (score another point for him). He and I did some floofy fun design stuff on his garden (are espalier apples too much work for you? That corner needs something that won't bother the neighbors but covers the space, how about a plum tree? Why don't you move those rhodos to the back fence and put a cherry tree there? Maybe take this bed out and around like this and cut out the lawn there, leave the lawn there, and put flagstones here?) and then wandered around Cedar Rim nursery for two hours until we were slightly sunstroked/sunburnt/thirst (what a lovely day it was! Like summer!) and I didn't buy a single thing. My abbreviated want list looks like this, though:

Read more... )

If we pare the fruit tree list down some (mulberries!? I've gone crazy!), all this is do-able on the balcony at 42nd (which is the new designation for Angus' place, dammit) and it'll leave some room for tomatoes, okra, greens, my current bamboo (they had sucky bamboo there and I didn't want any, haha), a water feature, and a hammock. And really, who could ask for more than that? Well, an automagic watering system might be advisable, but yannow, you take what you can get.

And it wouldn't be all that expensive, especially if I can deal without the magnolia, if I can wait on the maples, and use pots and soil from work.

Okay, this has taken way longer than I expected, gonna head off for my day now and add merely that it was super-amazing-wonderful to hang out with Ellen again.


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