Basswood’s Blog

The pictures in this post were taken by Basswoods’ little sister Marietjie.  She is nine years old and loves taking pictures with one of Basswoods’ old cameras.   The picture above is of the entrance to Garden Seeds private drive to the back of our property.

This picture is of our dog Binti and myself.  She used to be brown but now she is 12 years old and she is turning blonde.

 

On our walk down Garden Seeds’ drive Marietjie stopped to take pictures of the vegetation growing in the woods.

Just before the drive comes to the field we made by clearing the trees last fall there is a ditch filled with water from our last big rain.  This is where Marietjie’s camera battery died.  She was very upset because she wanted to take pictures of our corn patch for me.

This is a picture of Basswoods’ other sister Miriam.  She took the pictures in yesterdays post.

 

 

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Basswood is traveling around Europe so that leaves his little sisters to take pictures. He did write today to let me know he was Okay.  He wrote, “K.”

The girls and I went out to Garden Seeds’ gardens to see if we could get pictures of flowers.

 

Here we are at the garden gate. Our main garden is fenced to keep the chickens and deer out. We hauled several pickup truck loads of wood chips for the paths and walkways.   In between the plants we use leaves for mulch.  We hauled thirty pickup truck loads of leaves last year from the compost dump.  We are not using the tiller in this garden because we believe the earthworms, bacteria, and fungi grow better if not chopped up by the tiller every year.

This is our old faithful Ford pickup. It has 195,000 miles on it but keeps on going. It would just seem weird if I showed up at the compost dump in a new truck to get wood chips and leaves.  During the summer we go almost everyday to get something from the Chisholm city compost dump that is five miles from our house.  The city workers just expect to see us there and they set aside thing that they think we will take.

Here I am by a pile of wood chips near our back corn field,  In the background you can see the area we cleared this spring for next year…  Anyway for the flowers.

Garden pea flowers

Here is a potato patch that is in bloom. The picture below is a closeup of potato flowers.

This is yarrow. It grows as a weed here. We are selective in the weeds we pull. We save plants that we think are good for one reason or another. Yarrow is a medicinal plant. I believe that if we promote enough different flowers we will have healthier bees. Yarrow is considered invasive… but, then so are earthworms here in Northern Minnesota.

This weed with the tall seed stalk that we left growing on the edge of our garden path is plantain.  We leave it so that we can chew the leaves to make a poultice for when we get stung by bees or yellow jackets.  A couple of years Basswood was clearing a trail through the woods with his chainsaw when he got attacked by yellow jackets.  He was stung several times before he could get away.  He was stung once by his eye and It swelled up quickly to the point he could hardly see.  He ran into a tree on his way to the garden to start chewing plantain.  He put the poultice of chewed plantain on his stings and it brought the swelling down and helped some with the pain.

Our favorite weed is the dandelion.  These are the easiest greens for us to grow.  Dandelions are also the first widespread flowers for our honeybees in the spring.

This is Basswood’s little sister in the Hollyhocks.

Our dark pink Hollyhocks

Our light pink Hollyhocks. We planted one plant four years ago and it is just spreading. Below are our Elderberry bushes on the edge of the garden.

Elderberry flowers with immature berries.

On the back of Garden Seeds’ property Basswood cleared some land last fall where we put our corn patch this spring. We got a couple of pickup loads of dirt and made mounds because we could not till with all the stumps. In the mounds Basswood planted corn, peas, beans, favas, and squash. In this picture you can see a red flower that is growing as a volunteer. (Or some people call it a weed.)

These pictures are of fava plants that are flowering

I will put up more pictures tomorrow.

 

 

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I could not sleep this morning worrying about Basswood.  I got up at 4:30 and logged onto Garden Seed’s Facebook account.  Germany and France are several hours ahead, and I figured he would write soon.  I only had to wait twenty minutes before he wrote.  I was so worried about Basswood because the bank froze his card yesterday when he tried to get money out.

 

I do have the comfort of knowing that he can survive without money if he needs to.  He even has taught me how to stealth camp when needed.  Though when I stealth camp with Basswood we have the van with us.

 

Basswood wrote that he is in Annecy France.  He hitchhiked from Stuttgart Germany yesterday  He said he was able to get one ride across Switzerland through the Alps.  He checked out the Basel tower in Zurich Switzerland and then walked across into France.  He was finally able to get some money out of his account this morning.

 

Basswood is hitchhiking to  Carsassonne France for some kind of hippie gathering.  I Googled Carsassonne and hippies and found the Carassonne Festival.  The travel website I found said,  “The Carcassonne Festival is the unmissable event of the summer and in July puts on almost one hundred concerts and shows, including French and international variety shows, theatre, circus, dance, jazz, opera and classical, 80 of which are free, in prestigious venues around the city.”

 

Basswood has been hitchhiking around the world for enough years that he has friend who invite him to these different hippie events so they can meet up again.  He is planning on going to some kind of gathering in England next month.

 

Yesterday’s post about US Bank freezing Basswood’s card.

 

 

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Basswood has spent the week visiting in Germany. Last night he messaged that he was leaving for France in the morning. This morning he tried to get money at an ATM in Germany and US Bank froze his card. The reason I know this is the bank’s computer called me.  Last week after he left for Germany I went to our local US Bank branch and they put a note in the computer saying that he was going to be traveling in Europe. Well… I guess they have not taught the computer to read yet. I had to call and talk to a human today who apologized and said that the fraud department had not read the note.

 

Similar thing happened four years ago when Basswood went to Mexico for the first time.  He had gotten a ride into Mexico and had not had time to get money first.  As soon as he tried to get money at an ATM in Mexico… US Bank froze his account.  Back then we did not know that you have to let your bank know when you plan to leave the country.

 

At the time I was not on his account so the bank would not even talk to me.  He spent four days in Mexico eating what he found growing on the side of the road and sleeping at gas stations.  On the fourth day a semi driver with a machine gun sitting beside him on the seat picked him up and felt sorry for him.  He took him home, fed him, and the next morning took him to the bus station and bought him a ticket to Dallas saying  “Gringo go home.”

 

Basswood tried to contact me while he was in Mexico those five days, but was unable to because he did not have money and he did not know Spanish.  The federales stopped once while he was hitchhiking.  Basswood said it is hard to learn Spanish when a bunch of guys dressed in black jump out of the back of a truck with machine guns and surround you while hollering at the top of their lungs.   The federales did flag down a car and tell the driver to take Basswood to the next town.

 

Now today I am anxiously waiting to find out if Basswood made it on the bus to France this morning and is planning on trying to get money there or if he is penniless in Germany still.  Kathy at US bank did assure me that if Basswood tries to get money in Germany or France he will not have anymore trouble today.   (As I am writing this it occurs to me that it is already tomorrow over there…)

 

Two years ago while he was on a self guided bus trip form Duluth Minnesota to El Salvador the bank froze his card and classified it as a fraudulent card so it could not be reinstated.  They did this even though there was a note saying he was on a trip.  That time I had to Western Union him money each time he needed it for several months until he came home.  US Bank told me it was my fault that time also, because a note is only good for three months. ( I think that Basswood’s five day trip to Mexico is the only foreign trip he has ever taken that lasted less then three months and that was only short because he could not get his money out of the bank.)  Tomorrow’s blog post.

 

More blog posts about Basswood and his adventures.

 

 

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Each month we here at GardenSeeds.org try to promote a Landrace and/or Heirloom Seed Company.  We do not go about this in any scientific way we just pick one that interest us.  If you would like to recommend a seed company to be featured please contact us.

We usually try and blog about our featured Heirloom Seed Company to draw more attention to them, but I have been kind of lazy the last few months.  I am trying to rectify that with this post.

 

For July we are featuring Seed Freaks which is an heirloom seed company in Tasmania.  They contacted us and included a list of other heirloom seed companies to add to our list. Seed Freaks' seed saving passion stems from their concerns about global and local food security and anticipating that future generations will need to draw on a diverse open-pollinated seed supply.

Red shell Bean

 

For June we picked Seeds of Diversity.  Their name sums up what we are trying to promote here at Garden Seeds; landrace, adaptive, and heirloom seeds.  Seeds of Diversity's Seed Library is a collection of over 2300 regionally-adapted and rare seed varieties, backing up the work of their member seed savers and Canadian heritage seed companies. Although they don't actively distribute these seeds to the general public, they keep them viable and available for future gardeners and farmers. 

 

For May we picked Populuxe Seed Bank because their stated goal is to distribute their landrace and heirloom seed varieties to as many people World wide as possible.  I also liked them because they have a list of other seed banks and heirloom seed companies on their site. (I added these websites to our list of seed banks.)

Red speckled beans

 

Last but not least of the seed organizations I want to mention today is Open Source Seed Initiative which we chose for April. I was really excited to find their website because they are working to not only preserve the genetic diversity in different seeds, they are working to make sure we can share these seeds.  I am working on adding the seed companies in their OSSI Seed Companies Partners list to our list of landrace, heirloom, and non-GMO seed companies.

 

We encourage you to check our Featured Seed Companies page and learn about the other landrace and heirloom seed companies we have listed. 

 

 

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Here is a pod cast that talks about the life in the soil.  There are millions of living things in the soil that are working to help the plants we see above the ground grow.  We can not live without the fungi, bacteria, etc. in the soil.  There is a food web in the soil that consists of the fungi, bacteria, and the roots of plants all working together to feed each other.

 

 

Landrace seeds that are grown in an area for years have become adapted to the fungi and bacteria in the soil and have “learned” to grow well with them.

 

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13 July

Agroforestry

Agroforestry is the combining of trees and shrubs with the raising of other crops or animals.  The USDA Agroforestry page says that in order for a farming system to be considered Agroforestry it needs to be intentional, intensive, integrated and interactive.  There are several different Agroforestry farming methods.

 

Silvopasture is growing trees in the pasture.  The trees are spread out so that the pasture grasses will still grow.  The cows and other animals that are being raised in the silvopasture benefit from the shade the trees provide.  The trees benefit from the fertilizer left behind by the animals, and since there is a lot of space between the trees they can grow into very valuable timber.

 

Alley Cropping is the practice of growing a crop between rows of trees so that you can get some income while waiting for the trees to mature.  If you grow something like alfalfa that fixes nitrogen it will also feed the trees and help them grow.

 

Forest Farming is the practice of growing shade loving crops under the trees in the forest.  Food forests are made this way by growing plants that grow to different heights so that you can have food growing on all the different levels.

 

Wind Breaks are rows of trees or shrubs planted to help block the wind to protect smaller plants and animals.  If you choose the trees and shrubs you plant wisely you can have rows of fruit trees, berry bushes or valuable timber depending on your needs.

 

Riparian Forest Buffers are strips of trees and shrubs that grow along the banks of streams.  These barrier areas help control soil erosion and help prevent fertilizer and other runoff from fields.

 

All of these agroforestry methods can be used to work with nature in supplying our needs for food and shelter.  Learn about more natural gardening methods.

 

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Basswood took a photo with his sisters before catching his flight to Germany to meet a friend.

Basswood and his sisters

 

He landed in Frankfurt okay after a direct flight from the Twin Cities Airport.  In Frankfurt he missed the bus he was supposed to catch because they changed the location it was leaving from.  He was finally able to talk the next bus driver into letting him on so that he could finally meet up with his friend.

Building by where Basswood is staying.

 

 

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Basswood left Fungi Academy with a friend in early spring and hitchhiked around Mexico and Belize for a few months.

 

Village Basswood stayed at in Belize
Hitchhiking in Belize
Basswood visited with a hermit in Belize

While in Belize, Basswood bought a cheap ticket from El Salvador to the Twin Cities airport to come home.  He and his friend started hitchhiking from Belize to El Salvador to meet his flight.  On the way they met a couple of girls in Guatemala that were driving to California and hitched a ride with them.  He did not tell me he changed his plans until he was in Arizona.

Basswood changing a tire.

They had to change flats three times on the trip, and they stopped several times to find groceries.

Food run
Relaxing in the desert
Hot in Death Valley

At the US border they asked him several times if he had any seeds.  They took a bag of garden seeds that he had collected in Mexico, but they let him keep a small bag of seeds that he told them were for his little sister to make jewelry.  He did have to promise several times not to plant the seeds before they would let him keep them.

 

Basswood tried hitchhiking from California to where we live in Northern Minnesota.  Basswood has always found it harder to get rides in the US than in other countries.  After getting sunburned trying to catch a ride in a town in California for a whole day..  He broke down and spent the $108 on a bus ticket.

 

Basswood spent a month and a half at home helping me plant landrace gardens before he could not resist the urge to travel any longer.  He flew to Germany on July tenth…

 

 

 

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For the month of February Garden Seeds is featuring Heirloom Seeds Seed Company.  They have been selling heirloom seeds since 1988.  All of the varieties Hierloom Seeds offers are open pollinated (non hybrid) and have been grown by generations of backyard gardeners.  Heirloom seeds are non-GMO seeds.

 

Here is some of the trivia that is posted on Heirloom Seeds website:

Eggplant was once believed to cause fever, epilepsy and insanity.  This  misconception was circulated by Sir John Mandeville, a fourteenth century traveler, who also told tales of meeting mermaids and monsters in his many journeys.

 

The most popular squash grown today is the zucchini.  While the zucchini has been popular in Italy for over 300 years, it did not gain widespread recognition in North America until the 1950’s.  Now it is so widely grown, that in some areas of the country, people are warned to look out for “Zucchini Fairies” …. gardeners who leave baskets of squash on neighbors doorsteps!  “Zucchini Fairies” like to appear during the middle of the night in order to dispose of their excess crops!

 

Lettuce has been in cultivation since at least 550 B.C.!   Herodotus tells of it being served at the royal banquets of Persian kings during this time period.

 

Did you know that on the average, each American consumes over 30 pounds of lettuce every year!

 

Flax has been used all throughout the recorded history of man.  It was used in clothing by the Swiss Lake Dwellers (the earliest Europeans for whom remains exist), the Egyptians used linen in wrapping their mummies, Christ wore linen as He lay in His tomb, Homer tells of sails made of linen in his Odyssey, and for more than two centuries, early Americans used flax to make their homemade linen and linsey-woolsey clothing.

 

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