Autumn Calamities

Chewed Up Apple TreeIt might not be clear in this photograph but this is (was) an heirloom “Freedom” apple tree I planted early this spring from Trees of Antiquity.  I had it nicely fenced in and it had grown about four feet tall with a nice healthy crop of leaves.  Then a deer came by (I think), ripped down the fence, and devoured almost the whole tree.   *sigh*  I’ve  mostly resigned myself to living in a yard of fences and barriers but it’s really frustrating when I think I have it all under control and then the tiny tree that  I’m counting on to produce apples in five years gets destroyed overnight.  (Actually, it has produced a couple of tiny leaves so I think there might be hope yet; Nature is amazingly resilient.)  I’m debating what to do to protect our latest additions – three gooseberries, two black currants, two red currants, and four pawpaws from Brambleberry Farm.  Maybe I should electrify the whole yard…

We also had a very small calamity this month involving our Earth Machine composter.  The dog somehow managed to wrap her rope around it and popped it right off the pile.  This revealed an exciting new food source, much to our disgust.  (She’s on a diet right now and her standards have dropped pretty low even for a dog.)  The composter kit came with screws originally so I guess I need to break down and screw the darn thing into the ground.  It’s a pretty nice composter although I must confess I’ve been shirking my compost stirring duties so I think it will be awhile before we actually harvest any black gold (you know, the garden kind).

Our major disaster this month is that our beloved Mazda Protege has kicked the bucket.  Will bought the car in 2003, hoping it would last him through two years of graduate school.  It lasted over six years but this weekend all the coolant drained out of the engine, causing major damage.  We could spend $3000 to get the engine rebuilt but that’s how much Will paid for the car six years ago.  So we’re now weighing our options.  Is this a sign that we should go car-free?  Could we get by with a scooter, our bicycles, and the bus line? Look for a future post with spreadsheets and complicated formulas and columns of pros and cons (we love making decisions).

Speaking of future posts, our current plan is to write one treatise… er, post per week that analyzes a project or product or concept.  We want to be generating quality articles that will keep everyone interested and also be considered for publication in our local newspaper, the Herald Times.  Drop us a line if there are specific topics you’d like to hear about.  Next week we plan to post about weatherizing our house, which is our home improvement project for the weekend.  We’re also planning to tackle passive solar heating, rain barrels, an evaluation of our portable dishwasher, an experiment with shredding fall leaves for more effective mulch, and of course our discussion of what to do with our broken car.  Will is also still thinking about green investing and I am doing some fun gardening projects with my new job at Nature’s Crossroads.  What green topics are on your mind? this!

4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    susie said,

    September 23, 2009 @ 10:59 am

    You might check out the various deer repellant srays – they seem to work fairly well, although you do have to keep applying them. There is at least one brand that billed itself as organic, and also being a fertilizer! I have also heard that if you string fishing line around things it keeps the deer away – they feel it but can’t see it, and are weirded out so they stay away. And then there’s hanging bits of dog fur around, or bars of smelly soap, etc. But unfortunately they all seem to be good at minimizing damage, not avoiding it completely…

  2. 2

    Andy said,

    September 28, 2009 @ 10:21 am

    Can’t wait to see more posts! I do enjoy the decision making process where you analyze all the choices completely (like the one about traveling by car, bus, and plane).

    My mother uses a locally made deer repellent, and the ingredients include eggs, garlic, and hot peppers. I guess rotting spicy food doesn’t smell good to a deer – imagine that!

  3. 3

    Maggie said,

    September 28, 2009 @ 9:17 pm

    I worked on a farm once that kept 55-gallon drums of rotten garlic around to repel deer but it did a good job repelling the farm hands too.

    We’re having trouble focusing in our decision-making process these days and seem to be taking the dartboard approach more than usual. Of course, I’m glad we haven’t broken down and busted out the spreadsheets for our current challenge of deciding on an anniversary trip…

  4. 4

    Andy said,

    September 29, 2009 @ 12:45 am

    Oh you would love my latest spreadsheet on where to travel….

    Basically it combines income, life expectancy, % English speakers, AIDS prevalence, and number of couchsurfing/ hosts (as a general index of acceptance of travelers). Here’s the top ten based on those: Iceland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Bermuda, Australia, Sweden, Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, Belgium. Those all sound like great places I want to go, so I’d say that it is indeed possible to make an equation to find out where to travel to!

    Gotta love spreadsheets…

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