Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Keeping Better Notes and Documents

I made myself a promise last season that I would start keeping much more efficient notes and particularly pedigrees in the coming years as well as document all of my work where and when possible, mostly for my own use, but also for any interested in the vagaries of daily life and record keeping on a small sustainable farm. Kim passed onto me a cell phone (without service, I don't keep a cell phone active for various reasons) complete with a word pad option and from there I kept a few notes beginning in September of '09. Here they are, mostly for my own reference, but some may find some things of interest. If nothing else it is interesting to compare these notes and the ideas that I present in some of them to how those ideas changed in the weeks afterword as evidenced by my posts here on the blog and at Homegrown Goodness. ( spelling as appears via that tiny damn keyboard )

Sept 5 2009:: Why use a sterile and "soiless" seed starting and potting medium purchased with funds that are not available when resources such as worm castings, bat guano, creek sand, Forrest dander, and leaf mold are abundant. Spent the day gathering material for "living Soil." Dampening of and fungal infections lead to advanced insights into survival of the fittest and allow only the strongest stock to remain for future selection. The small 8 x 8 Rion greenhouse and humanure house has been prepared as a potting shed and the stratification site for the nursery stock seed in need of such treatment. Earlier seeded blueberry plants have been transplanted to four inch pots and find themselves in the southh-easter facing kitchen windows along with the seeds of date plums, asian persimmons, jujubees, wolberry seed and wolfberry cuttings.

September 6-20 2009: Have started and collected seed of persimmon, pawpaw, blueberry, blackberry, yellow, purple, and red raspberry, gooseberry, white, red, and pink currants, black walnut, pinion nuts, zuni peaches 12 types of sweet and sourr cherries. Researched Luther Burbanks books and Johnny Appleseed. Determined to work with genetically unstable apple pips in field and timber clearings to develop new varieties and also sell as cider apple stock in nursery. Cut 150 cedar posts and build trellis and arbour systems. Started many plum varieties and planted "blue River Peaches. Also cut out lane along back fence for firewood and plan to plant high value orchard/timber in it's place including hickory, persimmon, black cherry, black walnut and possibly apples. Gathered apple pippins from cider press at "Old Settlers Days" in Salem Indiana and seperated seed from pulp with the help of the worm casting harvester. Cleaned out the goat pen and fed bedding and old compost to the worm heard and cleaned out the chicken coop which filled two four by four by four compost boxes. Resultant compost will be used as soil amendment in 2010 as well as for "living soil" for nursery. High nitro chicken manure for corn in 20010 and for the nursery as well.

Sept 19 2009:

Purchased and ungrafted purple plum tree and planted in block five of west facing hill in orchard. Four distinct yearling rose of sharons planted in front of west facing porch as future nursery stock.

September 22 2009: Today saw the planting of the apple seeds obtained via the local apple press. I planted a myriad of them and have yet a couple ounces left to go. First new "living soil" mix must be created. Also planted sweet pecan nuts and chestnuts in nursery.

Oct 3 2009: Last of the genetics for the orchard still rolling in. Plums from New Miexico in "living soil" four inch pots and chessnuts in ground next to strawberry nursery. Playing with grocery store fruit genetics such as black asian plums, asian pears and apples. Those fruits from the Southern Hemisphere are already well stratified with apples sometimes having sprouted inside mother fruit. Particularly is the cas of Pink Lady. Also recieved josta cutting from Lieven David that is already rooting. Pinion nuts from Silver seeds have already germinated and apparently stratification is not needed. Fruit seed from crocery not yet stratified will now be seedied into "living soil" contained in egg cartons and stacked ins spare refrigerator for winter stratification. Should be convinient. Also prepping greenhouse for winter and bringing fall crops to table. Have been clearing back wooded lane for fire wood and site of future orchard of ungrafted trees. Will also include alpine strawberries and white blackberries as well as Tim Peters perrinial grain varieties. My good friend Jason Carty alerted me to Khazakistan wild apple seed sources via ARS GRIN GENEVA/Phillip Forsline. Seed coming in November with scion wood of elite lines coming in spring of next year via lines already tested for disease resistance and cullinary qualities. "elite germplasm". So far have cleared nearly an acre of land in the project. Poulty breeding program comin along well with two turkeys of standard bronze type reaching maturity and mating way ahead of season. Currently treating bronze hen for a case of bumblefoot.

Oct-Nov 2009:

Finished cutting orchard space from woods and dug 10 foot by 10 foot by 6 foot deep irrigation pond for watering the seedlings in this new ungrafted orchard. Ordered and am currently stratifying quince, French Walnut, Heartnut, Filbert, Apricot, Hickory and pear seed which was obtained from ARS GRIN USDA. Recieved a number of plum, apricot, apple, pear, pecan, walnut and other seed via trade. Also recieved the Snowbank white blackberry via Bob Hornback. Total cost with shipping and inspection is sixty dollars but very well worth it. Lost my Naragansette turkey to a predator but was quickly replaced with five Royal Palm Turkey poults and two broad brested bronze hens. Also obtained some Harlequin meat rabbits from May Finn Farm and donated some Hip-Gnosis foundational seed stock to the Long Island Seed Project.


Learned to slaughter chickens and turkeys. Culled a Bourban Red Hen and a Standard Bronze for Thanksgiving. Easier than I thought. Expanding in 2010.

As you can see, at some point I stoped taking notes so vigorously, it takes a lot of time and from now on I'll just be recorded the relevant and important things as opposed to vagaries. Anyhow, just wanted to have this on record somewhere. The 2010 notes will be posted in 2011 as part of the finished five year Grimoure.

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