the mysteries unfold

Greetings from project central. Seedlings and kittens and chickens somehow keep on miraculously growing. The mysteries of life continue to astound. Some discoveries are mysterious, such as these white mushrooms that have cropped up with my bergamot seedlings.

Bergamot is a lovely example of how I am striving to create a garden that follows the heart of permaculture; that is, that nothing has one role but serves multiple functions, creating a network or web of beneficial relationships. For example, bergamot will not only add beauty, color, and aroma to my garden, I will also be able to use the leaves in salads and teas, and the flowers attract bees.

My chickens also serve multiple roles: they will hopefully help be a predator to slugs and other garden pests; their waste feeds the soil; and they will provide eggs and meat. And damn, they're amusing!

Their coop is almost done. We just need to paint it.
Brian gets the credit for 95% of the work on this one. He's the carpenter in the family, although I feel that I'm learning a lot by helping him here and there.

As the chicks get bigger, I am beginning to think that I've mislabeled them. I originally thought this girl was a black australorp, but now, because of the increase in white speckles, I feel fairly confident that she's a Plymouth barred rock chicken.
I still feel safe in saying that this girl's an Americauna:
But this funny looking one below I'm at a loss to identify. She could be an americauna, but she could also be any number of other types.
My seedlings are doing fairly well, with only a few casualties. I have dozens of tomato plants and about half as many peppers. Brian bought a pressure cooker this week and a food dehydrator, so food preservation will become a major pursuit come August and September. I don't want anything to go to waste.
I grew tomatoes upside down last summer with little success, but I believe that was more the fault of the gardener. I didn't feed the tomatoes much initially. And we left town for a particularly hot weekend and had no one watering for us. Then we moved, so they had to suffer the car ride, etc. All that was probably fairly traumatic for them, actually. Initially, I wasn't going to grow any upside down, but now I feel compelled to. Why not? I have so many, I might as well experiment. Last year's failure may lead to this year's great success.
My herbs are growing well, but I feel compelled to start more seeds. I have tulsi basil, sweet basil, thai basil, oregano, marjoram, bergamot, lavender, parsley, thyme, and peppermint all started with dreams and wishes of many that I lack.

Tomorrow, I pick up my bees and enter into the world of beekeeping. Stay tuned for pictures and details! We have a window on the hive, so I look forward to having a front-row seat to the inner world of bees.


  1. wow, those mushrooms! i have never seen mushrooms like that--they look sort of like halved sea anemone shells on stalks. how fascinating and beautiful. have you ever tried growing edible mushrooms? i watched a program about it the other day. you can buy mushroom kits that produce almost immediately, or you can get plugs of mycelium and drill them into logs--they colonize the host log and it begins to sprout mushrooms after a few months. it looks like a fun project to try sometime.

    your chicken coop is awesome! i can’t wait to see your garden all planted. and your beehive. and whatever that funny-looking mystery chicken grows up to be.

  2. Last fall we went chanterelle hunting and picked a bunch of them and lobster mushrooms. Since they were so easy to find, we're thinking about cultivating portobellos and morels. We borrowed a couple of fascinating books from a friend about planting and composting with fungus, including one called Mycelium Running.