1. New Tumblr Blog

    So I have finally started my new blog for my life in Finland. You can find it here.


  2. O… how sweet it is!

    Residency permit… check.

    Social security number… check.

    Unlimited travel for 90 days in Helsinki for less than $1.50/day? Check.

    Now I just need a bank account and a job. Once I am registered with the social fund Kela (application is pending) I’ll be able to visit a doctor and dentist in short order. For a little bit of nothing. 

    Like it should be living in a civilized nation.

    Oh- and I’m meeting with urban farmers on Friday. Going to discuss their plans, where I can help, and perhaps how I can start a garden in a place that is almost perfect for growing.

  3. Last slide show with pictures that I have taken. I may be able to put one together for July. We will see. So that means… I’m finally able to share photos about the rest, write up something, then launch my new blog. Whew!

    So really not all that much changes- the dramatic changes from the first year cannot be easily replicated when we are trying to grow biomass. Again, by 2015 we’ll be putting in more woody shrubs and such and we’ll be seeing a much different landscape. Too exciting.

    Anyway, here is the link to the last slide show——

    June 1-16 2012. 27:01

    Of course, cover cropping continues. Our addition of some vegetables does well in the new sheet mulched bed. Rapid growth of seeds from the seed bank (ragweed, etc.). Echinacea flowers put on a display and a rose is added to the garden.

  4. Mostly more of the same from the first part, more bird visitors. As building soil is our main goal for the next few years, nothing will get too exciting. However, it is still useful for us to revisit these photos to see just how dramatic the changes have been to our landscape. There is a palpable sense of satisfaction as the diversity increases, the soil retains more water (and seems to “want” less).

  5. May is for maintenance- continued coverage of our dynamic accumulating, nitrogen fixing, nectary sharing perennial ground cover. 

    We are focused on observation and increased fertility through “chop and drop” of comfrey, the brewing of compost tea, and better care of our worm farm. 

    Through the first part of May we plant out some more natives from the Baptisia line of indigos, Amorpha fruticosa (false indigo), Thermopsis caroliniana, Robinia psuedoacacia. Some squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and other summer favorites either sprout on their own (volunteers) or are planted into the new sheet mulched bed.

    Almost done with the slide shows! It’ll be nice to start my Finnish blog soon…

  6. Early spring in the garden. The cover crop more than doubles in size and we begin to see even more species bolt to provide the emerging insects with a food source and habitat. I talk a bit about how our system, even in its infancy, is able to respond to unexpected weather because of designed resiliency. The only thing facing our garden now is drought and we have yet to build very much organic matter into the soil and set up rainwater harvesting (to do!)

    I was very pleased with the way things were going at this stage!

  7. And another one! We are getting near the end. Ok, maybe not, still a few more months to go through. 

    This one has more information than any other video I’ve done. I talk in depth about our choice of species for the cover crops. There are some changes in the swales. I also talk a little bit about using birds (again). Anyway, I’m pretty satisfied with this one.

  8. So its been a while, with the wedding, a trip to the summer cottage, and other things happening. I’m still waiting on some things from the Finnish government before I can start working, so it may be another month or so until I can find a job. But that would still put me a full month ahead of schedule!

    I’m almost done editing all of the pictures and I have a little bit of time this week so I went ahead and made another slide show. Its a little slow but I was surprised that I had a satisfactory narration on the first go.

    This slide show covers January- February 6th 2012. It is 30:26 long.

    I talk about our cover crop, which cold weather veges we planted, future plans for the berm, the mounds under the pines are finally up to size- although not complete by any means at this stage. 

    For the next slide shows I’m going to try to pack more information besides just showing the garden around. We’ll see how that goes. Should be done tomorrow with the next one, but not sure when I’ll have time to go through to summer.


  9. Residency Permit has been issued!

    My Finnish residency application has been accepted! I just have to go to the police station and pick it up. 

    Alright! I can start working now! It only took one month for the application to be processed. How awesome is that?

    On the garden- if you remember, I was away for two weeks. The first week was my wedding week and the second week we were at a summer cottage relaxing. So now I can finish up with the slide shows (probably another 6 episodes), put up the remainder of pictures that I took, share some pictures my parents took while I was gone, and then write up a little thing on how it all went.

    Then I can start my new blog following my life here in Finland. (Which may be off to a good start now that I have a permit- I have spotted an absolutely perfect place for a garden that isn’t being used for anything and doesn’t look like it ever will be).

  10. September-November 2011. Run time: 31:51

    This sixth slideshow picks up after my visit to Finland in August. I returned to find that the garden was in a state of disarray. So I discuss that a little bit, walk you through what happened, and how fall of 2011 was the end of the stress test. Luckily we had never planned on it being more than one year long to begin with! As October-November show, our transition to a cover crop is well under way.

    This was the hardest slideshow I’ll ever have to make. 

  11. Fifth slideshow. July 2011, end of summer photos due to my absence in August. Run time: 33:32

    I backtrack into the end of June to show the storm damage. Straight line winds, erosion, the importance of digging swales on contour and showing evidence of why you need proper overflows.. I rant about American lawn culture for a couple of minutes. I show a couple pictures of our yields. More pictures from ‘around’ the garden rather than just the three main guilds. There is also some discussion about the polycultures used.

    The next slide show will be from September 2011. It’ll be a shocker ;)

  12. Fourth slideshow. June 2011, beginning of summer. Run time: 31:31

    I talk about our use of wood mulch in a new garden - its pros and cons- and the idea of the large annual garden being a “stress test” for ourselves and the soil. The green guild transitions from production to reproduction, the nightshade and four sisters guilds begin to see rapid growth (although the nightshade guild was many more times successful). 

  13. Spring 2011.

    Double digging, transplanting, temporary fence (I don’t talk about this), etc. 

    As followers on this site may know…

    "Also note that I tag this as "food forest" even though you will be seeing us plant typical garden vegetables and herbs. The reason for this is that our first year was a stress test- of both ourselves and the soil. As this was my first garden, I figured it would be easier for me to tell just how fertile (or infertile) out site was by cultivating mostly annuals. Once Fall 2011 comes around you will see us planting a perennial cover crop to prepare the soil for conversion to food forest."

  14. Second video. Covers February-March 11, 2011. More earthworks, double digging, pathways, some about comfrey, emerging spring.

  15. First slideshow with narration is now up. This video covers November 2010-January 2011; featuring site overview, initial earth works, etc. Hence the length. Future videos should clock in around half an hour rather than 47 minutes.

    I hope it will be enjoyable :p