Six inches of rain in two days, swamp full 2021-07-05

A month of no rain ended mid-June, capped by 3.5 inches July 4th and another 3 inches July 5th, according to the bucket-and-yardstick rain gauge. Our cypress swamp, which had only puddles, is now full and overflowing.

[3.5 + 6 inches of rain, cypress swamp]
3.5 + 6 inches of rain, cypress swamp

That chair was above the cypress swamp high water mark for this year. Now it’s in the water.

I’m renaming the front driveway Twin Creeks. Most of its flow goes into the swamp. Continue reading

Spider hat, garden vegetables 2021-06-28

A common occurrence in the woods: a banana spider on my hat.

[Orb weaver spider on hat]
Orb weaver spider on hat

These golden orb-weavers, genus Nephila, weave webs many feet across between trees, often at human eye height.

I left this one on a nearby bush.

Here are a few vegetables from the garden that day. Continue reading

Yellow Dog, Rosemallow, Beautyberry, Treat’s Rain Lily 2021-06-12

On our daily walk to the field, Yellow Dog encountered the first Swamp Rosemallow of the year, and perhaps the last Treat’s Rain Lily, while the Beautyberry remains in bloom.

[Halberd-leaf rosemallow, Yellow Dog]
Halberd-leaf rosemallow, Yellow Dog

Continue reading

Okra Paradise Farms is disappointed in farmer Bill Gates 2021-06-08

Okra Paradise Farms doesn’t always get into national news, but when we do it’s about Bill Gates.

April Glaser, NBC News, 8 June 2021, updated 9 June 2021, McDonald’s french fries, carrots, onions: all of the foods that come from Bill Gates farmland: Gates does not appear to count his farming investments as the nation’s largest farmland owner as part of his broader strategy to save the climate.

The story goes into some detail about how a few big corporate farmland owners crowd out small farmers. She didn’t go for my comparison to Wal-Mart, and I suppose my comparison to the Highland Clearances was a bit too obscure, but she got the point and backed it up with documentation.

Then there’s this part:

“Shell of a shell of a shell”

Public records suggest Cascade Investments has bought its farmland through a web of at least 22 limited liability shell companies across the country. These shell companies have made it difficult to find out where and how much farmland the Gateses own even for local farmers, like John S. Quarterman, a farmer and landowner who grows okra, corn, squash and other vegetables in Lowndes County on the southern edge of Georgia.

[John Quarterman on his farm in Lowndes County, Ga. Matt Odom / for NBC News]
John Quarterman on his farm in Lowndes County, Ga. Matt Odom / for NBC News

That’s where the Gateses began buying land in 2013 through two limited liability corporations registered to an address in Kirkland by Derek Yurosek, then head of agriculture operations for Cascade.

When Quarterman first heard about Gates’ firm buying land in the area, he began digging through local property records, linking addresses and business records from registered owners to Kirkland-based companies, until he was able to piece together that the companies buying multiple tracts of land in the Suwannee River Basin were all a “shell of a shell of a shell company investing for Bill Gates.” NBC News’ independently confirmed that there were, in fact, shell companies tracing back to Gates’ firm that purchased 6,021 acres across four counties in Georgia.

That includes Continue reading

Pigweed 2021-06-08

Pulled this out of the corn this morning.

[Palmer amaranth]
Palmer amaranth

We have very little of it. Nearby, where renters grow cotton doused in Roundup (Glysophate), they have a lot of it. Because it has mutated to be resistant to Roundup. So over there, it’s the only weed growing. They’ve resorted to everything from 2,$-D to Paraquat to pulling it up by hand.

In our fields, pigweed has to compete with everything else, and it is not very successful. We have more issues with dog fennel and sandspurs. Nothing a little hoe work and weed pulling can’t fix. Good morning exercise. We do not use any pesticides.

See also Andre Gallant, Modern Farmer, 18 July 2013, Pigweed in the Cotton: A ‘Superweed’ Invades Georgia.

-jsq

Happy and Sad times at the farm

May has been a bit of a tumultuous month for us on the farm. At the beginning of the month, our Nellie was killed by truck on GA122, at Hagan Bridge. It has stunned us all that such a horrible thing could happen to our pack. Our grieving has been deep and continues.

However, we are lucky to welcome Blondie to the fold. She is a one year old Carolina dog and Honeybun and Yellow Dog are now showing her around the farm, introducing her to the delights of the woods, the fields, and the swamp. We don’t know much about her, she was a stray that managed to find her way to a rescue organization, and from there to us.

Dogs [Dogs in the cypress swamp]

[Nellie: forever young]
Nellie: forever young

Dogs and snake of the day 2021-05-18

Honeybun was happy to back off. She is barely visible, bottom left.

The snake was making a big show of striking at them.

[Honeybun, Yellow Dog, snake]
Honeybun, Yellow Dog, snake

Yellow Dog was more, “I hate snakes. That’s a snake. I’m gonna get it.” But eventually she gave a huff and flopped down to sit near the snake. I had to pick her up to get her to move away.

Then the snake slithered quickly into the woods.

-jsq