Chop Wood Carry Water Plant Seeds is a blog about Self-Sufficient Homesteading. How can we live by creating a sustainable bio-diverse world, instead of by consuming and destroying the only one we have? What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Making a new Shovel Handle

I dont understand why all shovels in swedish shops come with extremlly short handles. I decided to make a handle which suit my height.
So I cut down an ash tree with a suitable tickness and lenght. Replacing didnt take that much time. I will try the shovel once the ice has melted.
 here you can see how short the original handle is. It might suit short people but it sure aint ergonomic for the tall ones (Im 1.80 metres)
The new handle is not as streight but that doesnt matter. The important thing is that now I dont have to work with a bent back :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

48 Hours to Save Bees - Sign This Petition Please

Quietly, globally, billions of bees are dying, threatening our crops and food. But in 48 hours the European Union could move to ban the most poisonous pesticides, and pave the way to a global ban that would save bees from extinction.

Four EU countries have begun banning these poisons, and some bee populations are already recovering. Days ago the official European food safety watchdog stated for the first time that certain pesticides are fatally harming bees. Now legal experts and European politicians are calling for an immediate ban. But, Bayer and other giant pesticide producers are lobbying hard to keep them on the market. If we build a huge swarm of public outrage now, we can push the European Commission to put our health and our environment before the profit of a few.

We know our voices count! Last year, our 1.2 million strong petition forced US authorities to open a formal consultation on pesticides -- now if we reach 2 million, we can persuade the EU to get rid of these crazy poisons and pave the way for a ban worldwide. Sign the urgent petition and share this with everyone -- Avaaz and leading MEPs will deliver our message ahead of this week's key meeting in Brussels.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wood Chipper Stiga Bio Quiet 2100W

I am very happy with this wood chipper!

Needle and Thread

I cant imagine a self-reliant householder without a needle and a thread :)
So I started sewing my damaged clothes and it doesnt seem so difficult as it might seem at first. My working overall got a huge hole which needed to be fixed!
serious look for a serious job!
good to have!

Oh Deer! Something is eating my vegetable garden!

Deer-resistant groundcovers needn't just sit there and look pretty. Many herbs make excellent groundcovers and bring much more than just visual interest to the landscape. Besides being ornamental, herbs can have culinary and medicinal uses, for example. The herbs I will discuss here are all aromatic -- but not to deer, who refuse to eat them precisely because of their fragrance. Think of growing catnip or creeping thyme as sort of a reverse aromatherapy for deer control!

Catnip, also called "catmint" (Nepeta cataria), may not be aromatic to deer, but humans find its fragrance pleasing. To our cats, of course, catnip can be more than merely fragrant: Catnip plants can be pure ecstasy for our feline friends! In fact, catnip seems to be one of the few things cats aren't fussy about. They're just as happy rolling around in it as they are ingesting it, and it doesn't seem to matter to them whether this herbal delight is fresh or dried.

But catnip is not just for cats -- it has medicinal uses, as well. Tea made from the leaves and flowers of this herbaceous perennial has traditionally been imbibed to relieve coughs, for instance.

Sun or part shade is best for growing catnip, and it is not overly particular about soil conditions, so long as the soil is well-drained and slightly alkaline. It can be grown in zones 3-9. Catnip can attain a size of 3' x 3'. Thus it is best to cut it back if it is being used as a groundcover, to keep it short and promote a bushier, more compact form. Just give the cuttings to your cats -- and enjoy their antics.

Common Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) has an unforgettable fragrance, is drought-tolerant and tends to stay shorter than catnip and sweet woodruff (about 6" x 6"). It is an herbaceous perennial in zones 5-9. Although it does flower, it is for its delicate foliage, culinary uses and aromatic quality that it is cultivated. Thyme likes full sun and good drainage. For a picture of thyme, see the photo above on your right.

An ideal groundcover to plant in the cracks of a flagstone patio or stone walkway, or between garden stepping stones, is common thyme's relative, Woolly Thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus). Woolly thyme is one of the creeping varieties of thyme.

As you can see from the foregoing remarks, you have a wide variety of groundcovers from which to choose when deer control is an issue. There are groundcovers for areas scorched by sun, and groundcovers suitable for shady nooks. Some plants grow knee-high, others won't poke their heads above your ankles. Whether you want a pretty bloom or a culinary herb, there's a groundcover that will suit your taste -- but not the deer's! Source

Fencing the entire garden is also very helpful. I will be doing just that. as well as planting Catnip and Thyme (both very good nectar sources for Honey bees). And since I have Rabbits I will have to re-fence the lower part of the wooden fence with a chicken wire.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Nematode Killing Fungus can Save our Vegetable Garden

How the fungi do their work

The fungi destroy nematodes in a number of ways. In some cases the fine threads of the fungus have branches which form loops and these loops in turn form three-dimensional networks, something like crumpled wire netting. This network secretes a sticky fluid when they come into contact with the nematodes and the nematode is caught as effectively as a fly in a spider web. After the fungus catches the nematode it then sends branches into its body or grows into it and simply absorbs its tissue.

Another way in which fungus traps nematodes is by sticky branches which reproduce rapidly and form little circular loops in which the nematode is trapped.

The third way the fungi works consists of sticky knots at the end of stalks. These knots hold the nematode and form a structure inside which spreads out and destroys it.

The fourth way is by the formation of a constricting ring of three cells on a stalk. The nematode gets its "nose in a noose" or ring accidentally; the cell swells and the ring closes.

Predatory nematophagus fungi

Over 200 species of fungi use specialized structures to capture free-living nematodes. They produce traps at intervals along the length of their hyphae that capture, penetrate, kill and digest a nematode’s contents. 

 Scanning electron microscopy (Magnification=560x) of nematode-trapping loops of fungi imperfecti (Arthrobotrys oligospora), nematophagous fungi. Close-up of hyphae with adhesive matrix.

Scanning electron microscopy of the carnivorous fungus Arthrobotrys anchonia capturing a nematode.
Fungi can capture nematodes in a variety of ways but the most sophisticated and perhaps the most dramatic is called the constricting ring. An erect branch from a hypha curves round and fuses with itself to form a three-celled ring about 20-30 microns in diameter (30/1000th mm). When a nematode "swims" into a ring it triggers a response in the fungus and the three cells expand rapidly inwards with such power that they constrict the body of the nematode victim and hold it securely with no chance to escape. It takes only 1/10 th of a second for the ring cells to inflate to their maximum size.

Fungi Nutrition

Predatory fungi have evolved these trapping devices to
obtain nutrients and give them an edge over other types of
organisms in habitats where population densities are high
and consequently competition for resources is fierce.
The primary function of predatory fungi is wood decay.
Wood is mainly composed of carbohydrates: cellulose and
lignocellulose. The carbon to nitrogen ratio (C:N) of wood
is very high at 300:1–1,000:1 or even higher. For good
growth to occur, most organisms require a C:N ratio of
30:1 to produce nucleic acids, proteins and enzymes. For
predatory fungi nitrogen is the limiting factor for growth.
Nematophagus predatory fungi get their extra nitrogen from
digesting the nematode’s biomass.
This means that predatory fungi are not true saprotrophs
(which live on dead organic matter) as two phases that run
in parallel are necessary to supply them with the correct
nutrients for growth – the predatory parasitic phase and the
saprotrophic phase. Predatory fungi are facultative parasites.

 Wood Chip gardening as the perfect environment for various fungi and microbes.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gardener's best friend

I've got a perfect birthday present today from my dear wife and her parents :) a new wood chipper, Stiga Bio Quiet.
This chipper is extremly quiet and instead of knifes has a grinder.
The result is finely grinded wood chips ready to be spread as a cover material in our garden this year. The earth worms and fungus will love it!
 I thank you Kristine, Anne-Marie and Jens for this fantastic present which I will use to create black gold :) , compost soil!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lagotto Romagnolo got a new house

I have made a new dog house for my dear Bailey. I used wooden pallets which I got for free from a local shop. The roof is made of reused materials. This project didnt cost anyhting.
 1 half-pallet for the floor and 4 half-pallets for the walls
Bailey enjoying the finished work :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Red Currant Bushes Framed

We have a few red currant bushes on our land and they are growing wild, usually covered and entangled in tall grass and stinging nettles. I decided to organize the bushes a bit and give them a more uniform look. I framed them so I can easily cut the grass around them. This will make harvesting much easier and faster.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Chicken Tractor is Finally Finished

Yes, the chicken tractor is finally completed :) I am realy happy with it!
 to the right are two nests (35x35cm), at the back is the DIY feeder, the little bucket to the left is for crushed snail shells and coal dust (good for digestion and egg shell production) and the bigger bucket to the right is for water. The nest will be filled with hay and dry fern leaves (against pest)
I have made this feeder from 3 different buckets. The red lid is from a big bucket, medium bucket body and another lid from a small container which will close the hole on the feeder after filling it up with chicken food. The whole structure is fixed with wire and a screw.
 the chicken wire was stapled to the timber
 finished chicken tractor :)
Im still to paint the inside with chalk which is to prevent pests laying eggs in the walls. Im also to paint the outside, especially the legs which will be exposed to rain and snow.
I will buy 3 hens as soon as the weather gets warmer.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Lonely Winter Veg

The only vegetable growing in my garden at this freezing winter time is garlic. Its so nice to see all the planted cloves sprouted into green leaves :) We will have lots of garlic this year!

Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It

We can do things for ourselves or we can pay others to do them for us. These are the two "systems" support us; we might call them the "self-reliance system" and the "organisation system". The former tends to breeed slef-reliant men and women; the later tends to produce oorganization men and women. All existing societies support themselves by a mixture of the two systems; but the proportions vary.
In the modern world, during the last hundred or so years, there has been an enormous and historically unique shift; away from self-reliance and toward organization. As a result, people are becomeing less self-reliant and more dependent than has ever been seen in history. They may claim to be more highly educated than any generation before them; but the fact remains that they cannot realy do anything for themselves. They depend utterly on vastly complex organizations, on fantastic machinery, on larger money incomes. What if there is a hold-up, a breakdown, a strike, or unemployment?
Does the state provide all that is needed? In some cases ; in other cases, no. Many people fall through the meshes of the safety net; and what then? They suffer; they become dispirited, even despodent. Why can't they help themselves?
Generally, the answer is only obvious: they would not know how to; they have never done it before and would not even know where to begin.

John Seymour can tell us how to help ourselves, and in this book he does tell us. He is one of the great pioneers of self-sufficiency. Pioneers are not for imitation but for learning from. Should we alll do what John  Saymour has done?
Of course not. Total self-sufficiency is as unbalanced and ultimately stultifying as total organization. The pioneers show us what can be done, and it is for every one of us to decide what should be done, that is to say, what we should do to restore some kind of balance to our existence.

Should I try to grow all the food my family and I require? If I tried to do so, I probably could do little else. And what about all the other things we need? Should I try to become a jack-of-all-trades? At most of the trades I would be pretty useless and horribly inefficient. But to grow or make some things by myself; for myself: what fun, what exhilaration, what liberation from any feelings of utter dependence on organizations! What is perhaps even more: what an education of the real person! To be in touch with the actual processes of creation. The inborn creativity of people is no mean or accidental thing; neglect or disregard it, and it becomes an inner source of poison. It can destroy you and all your human relationships; on a mass scale, it can -- ney, it inevitably will -- destroy society.

Contrariwise. nothing can stop the flowering of a society that manages to give free rein to the creativity of its people - all its people. This can not be ordered or organized from the top. We cannot look for government, but only to ourselves, to bring about such a state of affairs. Nor should anyone of us go on "waiting for Godot", because Godot never comes. It is interesting to think of all the "Godots" modern society is waiting for: this or that fantastic technical breakthrough or automation so that nobody, or hardly anybody, will have to lift a finger anymore; government policies to solve all problems once and for all: multinational companies to make massive investments in the latest and best technologies; or simply "the next upturn in the economy".

John Saymour has never been found "waiting for Godot". It is the essence of self-reliance that you start now and dont wait for something to turn up; and though the technology behind John Saymour's self-sufficiency is still quite rudimentary, it can, of course, be improved. The ggreater the number of self-supporters, the faster will be the rate of improvement, that creation of technologies designed to lead people to self-reliance, work-enjoyment, creativity, and therefore the good life. This book is a major step along that road, and I wholeheartedly commend it to you.

- foreword written by Dr E.E. Schumacher to the first edition (1976) of The Complete book of Self-Sufficiency by John Saymour

Friday, January 4, 2013

Composting Toilet

Composting toilet is also known as the Dry Toilet where poop is separated from the piss. Dry toilet doesnt smell bad which is not the case in wet toilets which stink! Since our toilet was wet and it always stinks bad I decided to do something about it especially because our composting toilet is indoors.
This toilet is designed so it separates the poop from the piss but it is not effective because poop and piss get easily mixed and this mixture is very smelly
so I added a plastic bucket in the middle for the poop which is covered with wood shavings
Once you put down the seat its easy to see where goes what ;)
I think both men and women can easily separate the piss from the poop in this composting toilet of mine
 I aslo placed another bucket on the outside of the wall where the piss is being drained into. I drilled a few small holes in the lock to help evaporation
 to minimise the smell and to contain all of the nutrients from the piss I filled the piss bucket with BBQ coal (I need to fill some more coal this is too little)

With this method both piss and poop get composted without poluting the nature :)

Back to wood chopping

The snow has melted and the plus Celsius had replaced the freezing point. Even the sun was shining all day today which is very nice. So I went outside to saw some more wood. After a few hours of work there is still lots left to do and it made think of the chanin saw ... the chain saw would cut this in max an hour but how sustainable is a chain saw? Oil, petrol, parts, noise, fosil smoke, protection equipment and is far more dangerous than the hand saw. Not to mention the exercise I got for free ;)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Where is the Organic Meat Gone?

I went to my local store to buy some organic meaty products and to my surprize they had nothing to offer!!! I was shocked! So I asked the manager how come the biggest chain in all of Sweden doesnt have Organic meat products. She answered that they cant have products sitting on their shelves for ages since no one is buying it! WOW!!!
This was right in the face! I dont blame them. They are running a business and they stock only that which sells well which is not the case with organic meat.
So its up to us consumers then! I was looking for a while at the customers around me ... one woman took 2 packs of non-organic milk which cost 12 krowns yet the organic milk cost only 14 krowns (10 krowns is roughly 1 Euro). Such a tiny difference and she decided not to support Organic farming!!! Im done!

I cant wait for us to buy a farm this year in Denmark :D to start organic farming!

Ica Maxi's meat section without even one single Organic meat product;
Do we as customers care what we eat and how our farm animals are being treated?