October 1st, 2006, 11:51 PM
does elliot colman have a website from gardening naturally
October 2nd, 2006, 01:01 AM
Who's Elliot Coleman? Is he the 'Gardening by the Yard' guy?
October 2nd, 2006, 07:06 AM
Is that the show he did with his wife? I think about 2 yrs ago Mother Earth News had an article on his daughter. It was about growing lettuce in the winter outside in cold frames.
Here is a link to his farm-
October 2nd, 2006, 01:26 PM
I mentioned Eliot Coleman in an article I wrote a couple of months ago, then dropped him a line to thank him for his help.
Louisiana Road Trips
Thursday morning, and it’s already getting hot. For the ninth time, I shut off the chainsaw, and haul it back up the hill to the clearing, preparing to put the thrown chain back onto the bar. Okay, so Paul Bunyan I ain’t.
Time to rest a little while, so I break out the water cooler and begin to drink, settling back in the shade of a cedar tree. The mountain, or hill, at my back extends up about eighty feet in elevation, through a dense stand of hardwood, and this little “shelf” is about seventy-five feet wide, flat and essentially clear of trees, about twenty feet up from the valley floor. I’ve cleared out a fan-shaped area in that lower twenty feet, knocking down a few dozen saplings and opening up a really sweet view to the northeast.
I’m looking out over the valley, bisected by a tree-lined seasonal creek, which I’ve learned is called “Puncheon Camp Creek”, and look at the rolling tops of the mountains on the other side. If all goes according to plan, this is the view I’ll see every morning for the rest of my life. In some ways, this has been a long, slow journey, but in others, it seems to be moving along with almost frightening speed.
Amanda’s dad has taken her, and Scout, to Austin for a long Father’s Day weekend. I was invited, too, but didn’t figure I could keep up with that pair in any Texas dancehalls, so I decided to come alone to Missouri for a few days. Only a month-and-a-half ago, I’d never laid eyes on this part of the world—now I was the owner of twenty acres in a valley in Douglas County.
I’d intended to just come up and piddle around on the place, clearing away a bit of brush to open up the view from the site where we planned to build our little house. We’d originally planned to build a tiny cabin—just big enough for shelter while we came up for weekends—while we worked on selling our Louisiana home. When that was accomplished, we’d build a larger home, keeping the cabin as a guesthouse. After awhile, though, we came to the conclusion that we’d make the cottage just a bit bigger, and use it as our final home. If it turned out to be too small, we could always add a couple of rooms later. This involves a lot of “downsizing”—getting rid of a lifetime of stuff that we don’t really need. It’s really a lot of fun. I get to see my kids bickering about their “inheritance” while I’m still alive!
We’d been looking for a place for awhile, almost from the day we married, four years ago. In some ways, this search seemed strange. The Sims family has lived within a thirty-mile radius of my current home since the 1840s. My great-grandfather, father, and I had marched off, during the Civil War, World War II, and Vietnam War, and had always marched right back home when we were finished. We’d always been involved in our communities. My uncle was a judge, my father a state senator, and even I had held a minor elective job. In fifteen minutes, I can take you to the graves of all my paternal ancestors, dating back a century-and-a-half.
Strangely, home just doesn’t feel like home anymore. Time to move on. Time to find a new place to settle, just as those pioneer Simses did a million years ago, as they moved westward from Georgia and Alabama to settle in Union, and later Morehouse, Parish.
We like the mountains, and had scoured potential sites all throughout northern Arkansas. Nothing seemed exactly right—quite perfect. We’d come to Missouri in late May, to attend a gardening festival, and from the first time we laid eyes on this part of the northern Ozarks, everything seemed to fall into place.
The first piece of property we looked at was gorgeous. It dropped down a hardwood mountainside to a grassy plain, just perfect for our house and garden, before sloping down to a year-round, sparkling creek. On the other side of the creek was an additional few acres, with a large pond. The realtor did mention, however, that the “hundred year flood” had recently covered the garden plain and the house site. As a fifty-five-year-old homesteader, I wasn’t too concerned about another hundred-year flood. Taken as we were with the land, we decided to talk with the neighbors, who quickly assured us that the “hundred year flood” came every spring and every fall. We moved on.
So, at four o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, we located another realtor. By five thirty, we’d driven out to the place where I was now sitting. Amanda was sold from the start, but I still wasn’t totally convinced. I’d have preferred the house site to face the south. It wasn’t exactly right—completely perfect. We went back to the motel to recuperate. I flopped down on the bed, and opened a book I’d bought at the gardening festival, The New Organic Grower, by Eliot Coleman. He wrote, addressing himself, I suspect, to me alone, “I suggest not trying to find that perfect place. Rather than the finished painting, look for the bare canvas. Every ideal farm at one time began as field and woodland. Its transformation was the result of some predecessor’s planning, organization, building and management. This is a satisfying process in itself, and the end result may be far more successful if it springs from the changes the farmer makes himself…Do not hesitate to buy the raw land and create the farm.” By Monday morning, I’d bought it.
Although this trip was ostensibly to clear a small piece of ground, and decide on the exact siting of the house, I drove into town, cleaned up, and visited the bank. We’d already talked to a contractor, and had an estimate on construction. The loan officer, introduced as “James” spent hours with me, fine-tuning my loan application, and steering me to folks who could drill my water well, provide pumps, build a road to the site, level the foundation, install the septic system, and provide electricity. By Friday night, I’d met with all these folks, gotten estimates, and the bank’s loan committee had met and approved the project. After spending all that time with me, helping to walk me through all these pitfalls, the banker gave me his card. He’s the CEO of the bank. Nice service.
Dropped into the local café for supper, completely drained. As I took my seat in the rear, Autumn, the cute waitress, came up to me, recognizing me from our visit two weeks earlier. “Hi. Where’s Susan?” she asked, having spent lots of time goofing with Scout two weeks earlier. She brought me my tacos, and we talked for a couple of minutes before I dragged my aching self back to the motel.
This is a good town. As I entered from the west, I passed a horse-and-buggy alongside the highway, driven by a member of the substantial Amish community in the area. I drove around, passing the house where Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder lived their adult lives. Behind the school, I stopped in the town cemetery and walked over to their graves. I’m already on a first-name basis with James, and Jackie, and Mike, and Dan, and Bobby, and Leroy, and Autumn, and Cathy, the postmistress. I’ve even located a guy who’ll give me all the horse manure I want for my garden, and Jean, at the natural foods store, says she’ll buy all the garlic I can grow.
Back in the room, I opened up another one of my magazines, turning to an article on choosing land on which to settle. One quote caught my eye. “It should feel like coming home.”
Missouri feels like coming home to me.
George Sims can be contacted at 12178 Crossett Road, Log Cabin, Louisiana 71220-7717, or at email@example.com. Cathy says that his new address will be Route 2, Box 237-3, Mansfield, Missouri 65704-9510. Construction should begin in about a month, if the good Lord’s willing, and the creek don’t rise.
October 2nd, 2006, 07:06 PM
Oh, I remember who he is now! Organic farming author...
October 2nd, 2006, 08:39 PM
George, thanks for sharing your journey with us. Wonderful quote by Elliot Coleman for all of life...forget perfect, roll up your sleeves and get on with life.
October 2nd, 2006, 08:54 PM
I bought and read "The Four Season Harvest" and "The New Organic Grower", plus bought (not read, only skimmed) Barbara's Garden Primer (nice reference), too. He spoke at a local agriculture club, alas - on a Wednesday night when I was in church, and the newspaper article about four-season growing intrigued me. Bought their books before heading on vacation and devoured them while relaxing at the beach.
I really liked all of the books and found the NOG to be the most helpful to me. He does not necessarily grow heirlooms, but his organic practices and advice are pretty good. In one of the books, he spends a substantial amount of time on an idea he had for a moveable greenhouse ... which still intrigues me. I think I want to try it some day, but must move to the family farm permanently before I want to invest that amount of money and time in a project such as that.
Also, bought some of his tools through Johnny's Select Seeds:
Wire Weeder: Nice for up close weeding of weed sprouts. Not for tough, mature weeds.
Colinear hoe: Bought the one with the replaceable blade. LOVE this tool. Forget using a regular hoe ... this hoe is it!
Am thinking about buying a broadfork, but haven't decided, yet. Kind of expen$ive ... anybody else used one?
October 2nd, 2006, 09:32 PM
wow george that was great :) :) :) :) :) iam going to get both his books i have some shows on vhs he shows you how to sight a garden and i have on vhs elliot was on people places and plants if anybody wants a copy of the shows i have pm me
October 2nd, 2006, 09:45 PM
i wish i could get some of the garden shows on dvd gardening naturally,victory garden,the joy of gardening and square foot gardening
October 3rd, 2006, 06:51 PM
I made a broadfork because I couldn't find one to buy. They work great if your soil has decent tilth and no big rocks. I'd say almost as fast as a rototiller, too, but different results, of course.
October 6th, 2006, 10:56 PM
Hey Sandbar;I have "plans' for making one yourself.I got them somewhere several years ago.I don't weld but a friend did.It was not expensive.Only difference is mine isnt bright red.When I find them I'll post it here.-
October 7th, 2006, 09:13 PM
Thanks, Zman, I'd appreciate that!
October 8th, 2006, 07:32 AM
I don't have a broadfork, but that's one of my intended purchases for next year. We'll see.
October 8th, 2006, 06:50 PM
another similar web site same principal as mr coleman www.gardeningrevolution.com
Mr. Len Pense says Its a food factory and is in stratford missouri where he raises veggies year round
December 4th, 2006, 01:37 PM
I am want to make a broadfork for my partner for his birthday but can't find the plans anywhere...it seems like a couple people have successfully made them. If you don't mind sharing your plans I would greatly appreciate it!! Thanks
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