“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”
–Napoleon Bonaparte

I’m happy to report that construction has begun on the “Death or Glory” pub. I spent a good chunk of the weekend using Easy E, my tractor equipped with a front loader, to dig away at a portion of one of the naturalized railroad berms that run through the farm. Good progress was made, particularly considering I have almost no idea what I am doing. I generated a nice big pile of dirt and rocks. I nearly got the tractor stuck a few times, as the water I was soaking the earth with ran down into and expanded the tire ruts. That’s always fun. I figure it will take the better part of a month to get the whole thing excavated like I want it; the next step is pouring the concrete pad. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to construct the structure with cinder blocks or with treated beams. The finished pub will be a “dug-out,” meaning it will rest in the earth, and will have more earth piled atop it. The idea is that it may stay cool even in the scorching heat of summer, and provide an even temperature for storing various foodstuffs and libations.

Plum Wine

Speaking of libations, we’ve got a bumper crop of wild plums this year—at least ten times what I’ve seen before. I’m considering taking a stab at making a batch of plum wine. Heck, if prisoners can make “pruno,” I figure I’ve got at least an outside shot at making something drinkable. From the looks of it, the plums are going to ripen sometime in the next couple of weeks. Then I will be creating mash and beginning the fermentation process. I’ll keep you posted and let you know how everything is progressing.

Beet Farming

I harvested beets this weekend—prematurely. But the bed was a mess. I planted everything too close together, and I didn’t weed it well. As of yesterday, it was growing more of the goddamn wild plantain than it was beets. My friend up here tells me the plantain, mashed into a balm, is a soothing remedy for bee stings. I should be in good shape if those swarms of killer bees ever materialize. In the meantime, they are a major pain in my posterior, so I yanked them all. I pickled the greens and the beets themselves, but even after a second processing the pickling jars didn’t seal, so they’re in my fridge. I will be eating a whole lot of beet greens over the next few weeks.

I’m fried. I haven’t grown accustomed to the sunshine and the heat yet, and the hours on the tractor took a lot out of me, mentally and physically. Today I feel like I’m walking in sand. My head feels dumbed down and heavy, though that could be from the heat, or the wine, or some combination thereof.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.