I am so excited. We received our first heirloom seed catalog for 2017. I opened the mailbox a couple of days ago and there it was… A beautiful color catalog from Seed Savers Exchange. Their 2017 seed catalog of heirloom, untreated, non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds. Outside right now it is cold with snow on the ground. These seed catalogs that we receive help me remember the warm summer days that I worked outside in our heirloom and landrace gardens.
The pictures in this post are of landrace seeds Basswood and his friends are collecting on their trip through Mexico. Basswood likes to collect heirloom and landrace seeds on his travels. He said they collected these landrace corn seeds in a farming town in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Basswood said they do not allow GMO crops in the area so that they can maintain the natural genetic diversity in their seed crops.
We feature a landrace or heirloom seed company every month so that we can hopefully get you excited about collecting the seeds you will need for the next season. For the month of December we, here at Garden Seeds, are featuring Garden Medicinals and Culinaries which specializes in medicinal and culinary herb non-GMO seeds. They believe that seeds belong in the public domain and they are working to preserve and promote non-GMO seed varieties.
I believe a parent’s job is to prepare his children to face the challenges in live. Too often we as parents try to mold our children to be like us. We want them to excel in the things that we enjoy. We even want them to see things the way we see them. Basswood wants to see the world. He has a lot more courage then I do. I am afraid to meet people from the next town that speak my language and like the same things I do. But, Basswood’s Idea of a wonderful day is to spend the day with a group of people that only speak a language he does not understand and who like things he is not familiar with.
I believe that given the chance and the support that they need our children will learn what they need to survive in life. What they learn will probably not be what we would have taught them if we retained total control of their lives. But, if we allow our children to learn what they are interested in they will learn so much more than we could have imagined. They will even see things differently than we do, but that is okay.
I have been using Basswood’s sister’s pictures for the last few posts I have written. She has several great pictures but they are at an angle so I have been reluctant to use them. I asked her why some of her pictures are at an angle. She said that she likes to take them that way because that is the way she sees them.
Wait… is it possible that my daughter is different than I am? Could she see the world differently? Is it okay to encourage her to see the world in her own way like I have encouraged her brother to see the world in his?
I hope you enjoy the pictures on this blog as I try to experience and see the world as my children see it.
More of Basswood’s Sister’s Photos.
Basswood searches the internet for seed companies that sell heirloom and landrace seeds. On his Central American trips he meets farmers at the market and asks them about the beans they are selling to see if he can collect them for seeds. Last summer it rained so often that most things did not grow well. The exception to that was a couple of landrace varieties of beans that were grown by native tribes in the past, and the landrace fava beans that he collected.
Basswood will spend hours going trough his seeds planing what he wants to grow next year and which landrace seeds he wants to store for a few years. We never want to grow all our seeds out in one year. If the weather is bad that year we could lose a landrace variety that we have been working on. We save enough landrace seeds to plant for three different years just in case we have a couple of bad years.
Basswood also spent hours shelling beans and laying them out on drying trays so that they would dry enough to store.
I used sister’s photos in this blog.
When the weather is good for going outside Basswood can always find something to do. This summer it rained so often that it was hard to work in our landrace gardens. The ground never seemed to dry out enough. When it was too wet to work in the gardens Basswood would take his chainsaw out and make a trail through the woods or thin a stand of trees. Using a chain saw is relaxing for Basswood. When he is feeling stressed he goes out with his chainsaw and starts cutting. (One day Basswoods little sister told me that I am going to need to buy him some more wooded land soon or we will not have any trees left.)
You might not be aware of this but the world we live in is stressful. I work twelve hour shifts as a Administrative Representative in a hospital. When I am on a stretch of work the stress just drains the energy out of me, and I do not have the energy to help Basswood in our food forests or landrace gardens. On one occasion as I was getting ready to start a stretch of work Basswood said he wanted to thin a stand of trees beside the drive that goes back into our property. I told him that sounded like a good idea and I went to work.
After my stretch of work Basswood took me out to show me the work he had done. When we got back to the stand of trees a whole section was cut down. I tried to protest saying that I thought that thinning meant cutting down a tree here and there… Basswood said he decided this was a good place to start another food forest and landrace garden because it was a south facing slope. He is right after all… our gardens are all on level ground and we even have one that is on a north facing slope which is not the best idea in Northern Minnesota.
Basswood spent the next four weeks clearing that area. I helped a little when I could. Hauling away the fire wood and stacking and burning the brush. We are not going to work up the soil in the area because there are way to many tree roots to even try. We went to the compost dump down the road and hauled truck loads of black dirt and made piles about six inches high of dirt. Basswood got books from the library that he reads when it is too wet to go outside. He learned about how the local Native tribes hilled up the soil and then planted “The Three Sisters,” corn, beans, and squash. So, we are just making hills on top of the ground to plant our three sisters in our new landrace garden in the spring.
Basswood spends a lot of time and energy clearing land and preparing it for a new landrace garden. We plan on reaping the benefits of this investment in time and energy for years to come. This is my retirement plan. I do not see the wisdom in investing my retirement in the stock market where a Bernie can make off with it. I want my retirement savings invested in landrace gardens that my son and I work each year to improve. Besides you can not get more nutrition than from foods grown in landrace gardens.
When Basswood is home he spends lots of time with his sisters teaching them different things. He takes them outside and teaches them about the trees and plants in the woods. He helps them plant a garden of their own and encourages them to care for it. (This year caring for the garden was hard because it rained so much.)
Basswood also teaches them how to use a camera and how to take pictures. This post contains pictures his thirteen year old sister has taken.
I was looking through some photos that Basswood took on his trip to Guatemala last year and found these beautiful flowers.
As I post these there is over a foot of snow outside my house. I am so jealous that Basswood gets to travel down to Guatemala again this year. I wish that when I was young I had the courage to venture outside my comfort zone and I could have seen more of the worlds beauty. Here are more of Basswood’s flower photos.
It is hard to believe that I have been working on this website for a year now. Our goal for the first year was to get people talking about and using landrace garden seeds with natural landrace gardening methods. Basswood went down to Guatemala last winter to meet the local people and to learn their gardening techniques. He also found varieties of heirloom and landrace seeds that he brought back and we grew out in our landrace gardens here in Northern Minnesota.
While Basswood was in Guatemala last year he ran into a group of individuals from several different countries that were starting a Fungi Academy. He joined up with them to learn more about Mushrooms and other fungi. He kept in touch with them over the summer and that is how he came upon the adventure of a life time. Riding the Fungi Bus from San Francisco to Guatemala.
So, for Garden Seeds second year we plan on learning more about gardening with landrace seeds, but we also want to learn how to improve our landrace gardens with mushrooms.
“Guadalajara is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and the seat of the municipality of Guadalajara. The city is in the central region of Jalisco in the Western-Pacific area of Mexico. With a population of 1,495,189 it is Mexico’s fourth most populous municipality.” Wikipedia
Basswood and his friends on the Fungibus have been in Guadalajara the last few days. He said they went to a school and taught the kids about mushrooms and the kids were all excited to learn all they could about fungi. Today they are going to get on the fungibus and head toward Mexico City. They have several stops planed before they finally get to the Fungi Academy in Guatemala.
A few days ago the fungibus broke down and Basswood and his friends spent the day working on getting it fixed. One of his fellow fungi travelers blogged about the experience. In the blog post she refers to Basswood as Tilo which is another word for the Basswood tree.
Basswood is planning on traveling on the Fungi Bus to the Fungi Academy in Guatemala. There he plans on learning more about fungi and working with the other staff to teach others about the benefits fungi offer us. Learn more about Basswood and his adventures on the Fungi Bus on Basswood’s Blog.
I measured 18″ of snow in our yard this morning. It started as rain the night before last and then snowed all day, stopping after sundown I had to park my minivan in the neighbor’s drive yesterday because I could not make it down our road. I could not get it home until after 3:00 this afternoon. I was supposed to go to work today, but I could not make it with the van. My back-up plan for bad weather was my 4×4 beater pickup. But wait! The transmission started having problems a couple of days ago. It will go in reverse, but I have no forward gears.
The power blinked off a couple of times but it never stayed off for more than a few seconds at a time. We were fortunate. Many in Northern Minnesota went without power, including our internet provider. We did not have internet access for about 24 hours. I was supposed to help my daughter with her online school but that didn’t work out.
The good news is Basswood and his friends on the fungi bus made it into Mexico without any trouble. They did have to stay a day in Juarez, Mexico, trying to get a special permit for them to travel. Basswood said he was wandering around on foot and got a little lost after dark but everyone he met was real friendly.
Basswood called 36 hours ago to say he was crossing the border into Mexico. He told me he would call when he was safely across. Well... he has not called yet. A couple of years ago when he went to Mexico by commercial bus the bus had to wait for him for half an hour because the US side held him for questioning. I guess they have never been to Northern Minnesota in the wintertime because they had a hard time understanding why a citizen of Minnesota would take a bus to spend the winter in Central America. On that bus trip he went all the way down to Ecuador, though he did fly home.
This time he is crossing on the Fungi Bus with a group of free spirited individuals from around the globe. I am hoping that he is just having so much fun that he forgot to contact me. I am praying that he did not have trouble crossing the border, and that they were able to get far enough south in Mexico that they are in a safe area now. Mobile Fungi Academy - Fungi Bus