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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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cuba's Organiponico's: Teaching the United States a hard lesson it need to learn.....

Cuba is definitely in the privilaged position of teaching us the hard lessons that we need to learn. For a couple of years now I have been reading about the many Organiponico's (small organic farms, self sustainable in type, and built using recycled materials and no synthetics) which are responsible for the production of 80% of all of Cuba's vegetable production.

Contrary to popular belief, Cuba is nowhere near the hell hole that our mass media has portrayed it to be, in fact in many ways they are far ahead of us, when the oil runs out in this country Cuba will be just fine!

Anyhow, without getting to deep into it, I'll allow you guys to check it out with these two videos via YouTube.

Working on the orchard/permaculture project....

The past two weeks have been very busy; cutting posts, building trellis' systems, grafting trees, starting seed of fruiting varieties of brambles and trees and planting them and oh so much more.

By next spring we plan to be a certified nursery, we will, with any luck, be able to provide grafted apple trees, wild and river grapes, raspberries, thorn less blackberries, gooseberries, pear trees and on and on and on....just another facet of our business, of course I'll keep that up to date here, but at some point in the near future I'm going to have to get a "real" web-site developed.

This year I have learned a number of grafting techniques that have turned out well and I ended up with 30 something pear trees which are coming along nicely, I planted a ton of gooseberries and blackberries, and some "sport" cherry trees from a local endemic population located on an old homestead which seem to come remarkably true to type. Our experiment with creating a persimmon seed bed in the garden last fall paid off in spades and we were able to dig, pot up and sell many seedlings in small pots this season as well as transplant the delicate little trees where we wanted them. A crop of early mulberries paid off not only in raw wine making material but in germplasm which germinated quickly and are growing vigorously, first in pots and now directly in the field, and at the moment we have a number of valuable varieties of fruit seed (varieties which do come "true" from seed) awaiting us in frozen suspended animation for next season.

This past Thursday I received an abundance of budwood from the USDA and took the crash course in teaching myself to "t-bud" onto rootstock ordered earlier in the year from Willamette nursery. Worked out pretty well and seems to be an easy and reliable system. Today I visited the old orchard down the road which was once run by the principle of the old school here in Pekin Indiana. It is in bad shape and in deep disrepair and most of the apples are of common types, however there are some real gems hiding in there including several which I could not identify, the lack of pruning and the abundance of fire blight as well as years of neglect and ice and windstorms has done the orchard little justice but the two "gems" I did find were baring fairly prolifically and unaffected by the lack of pruning or fire blight. I have 14 root stocks planted in the field which I will use to graft this material to early next spring.

The past couple of weeks I have been working hard on the old garden area (the garden my parents first tended when we moved to the farm, adjacent to the house, also the area where the old chicken coop was located) building a number of trellis systems, incorporating a new system, building a alpine/musk/sand strawberry selection nursery for the further improvement of those stocks, and re-incorporating the old chicken coop into the design. The first of the trellis systems was built this past spring and used to grow an abundant crop of blue lake, roma, and greasy beans which are still there, they were built from leftover fencing materials as well as cedar posts taken down in last seasons ice storm, they have now been expanded using nothing but pole nails and cedar posts. This area is going to be the center block of our "berry blocks" of the future (areas planted in between and underneath trees or in otherwise unused areas). Here we will trellis blackberries, raspberries, European gooseberries, rambling roses, wild and river grapes, wolf berry, and many others including the elusive "snowbank" black berry (a white blackberry bred by Luther Burbank, as well as orange, red, black, white, and yellow raspberries). Where the corn currently stands in the photos we will have some type of shrub or very small trees in a line.....still to come....the same goes for the opposite side of the old chicken coop which I am slowly trellising and incorporating in the design. Mull berries have been planted on the northern ark of this new "berry block".

This week several grafted apples, some sport cherries, some mullberries, and gooseberries will be installed on the grounds......and as always anymore it seems I will find myself in the Forrest cutting cedar posts and driving ridiculously long pole barn nails once again this week...

Poultry 2009: Turkeys and the such.

The heritage turkeys are coming along nicely with the toms learning to "puff up" and strut at the same time, the males are fighting for dominance and seem to have their "favorite" hens that they already have paired up with and "claimed". The off color guinea types are coming along nicely as well, picking their partners now and learning to bark rather proficiently. The chickens as always are coming along nicely. The amarcauna flock is laying terrifically at the moment, they haven't stopped laying as of yet....ever, I've got a banty setting a next of eggs for a friend at the moment.

The younger chickens, mostly polish, buff orpingtons, cuckoo marans, and some Rhode Island Reds haven't started laying yet, but the roosters have mastered won't be long 'till the first eggs come along.

I thought now would be a good time to post some photo updates and elaborate a bit on future plans.

As you can see we have developed a new coop for the birds, it's working out well in the warm weather and I will put some roll down flaps of tarp or plastic on there for this winter for added insulation from the cold due to the chicken mesh only lower sides, this is actually my original greenhouse which then evolved into the first worm house and now finds itself at use as a bird house.

Kim and I have been considering buying another section or two to add to this coop for the adoption of a further and larger turkey breeding operation...of course they will still be free range as they are now, coming and going as they please, really the coop is just there for protection from night predators and the turkeys and guineas really don't care for it much, prefering to try and roost in trees and the currently empty compost bins at the back of the coop, they have to be reminded to enter the coop nightly, hopefully they will eventually learn.

In the long run I would like to look into the regulations for how many and how you would be able to slaughter/sell turkeys in the state of Indiana for the holidays, this season everything is breeding stock minus two extra toms which we will enjoy come Thanksgiving and Christmas. Anybody know how to find out the regulations?

We also now have two high quality incubators in our posession and plan to breed and sell chicks, keets, and poults in the coming years, we plan to work towards breeding some new colors of turkeys and selecting for the sizes historically depicted in the varieties we already have. We finally picked up a high quality hygrometor for the incubators today on our bi-monthly trip to town, I'm going to be firing up the incubators in a couple weeks in time for fall hatching although chickens will be all that's on the menu for this season due to turkeys and guineas not breeding/laying until they are a year old. Our current breeding stock of turkeys includes: Black Spanish, Slate Blue, Bourbon Red, Naragansette, and standard bronze, plenty of genetics to go around but we plan to add the genetics of royal palms and eastern wild as well as Rio Grande wild types in the future.....much like my plant breeding we enjoy diversity in our birds.

If you live locally and need some chicks this fall please give us a call at 812-967-2073, just ask for Alan.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Is this racist?

Do I think this is racist? No. Do I think this is offensive? No.

Of course when the house of cards starts to fall those who live within the house walls will throw up whatever they can to keep it from falling.

What do I think of the image? I think they got it all wrong. You want to paint Obama as he really is, use the Batman. After all, here is the Batman in the movie the Dark Knight percieving himself as upholding the law all the while breaking the very rules and laws he has sworn himself to protect, engaging in conspiracy, and pretending to be a hero. That my friends is what Obama does.

Now, while the Joker is portrayed as a psychopathic killer in the movie and the comic, the truth is that many of the ideas presented in the character of the joker are more akin to the way that patriots are feeling these days........after all it is their engineered economy that is collapsing and it is our system of cheap and free bartering and self sufficiency that so throws a monkey wrench in their plants....."It's not about the money, it's about sending a message." A profound and true statement if ever one did exist, an utterance that gives birth to new ideas, a seed that has been planted.

Let me ask you something. How far away do you think this world is away from someone painting up their face and pulling the same stunts as the Joker? Only this time those whom we know as bankers, those who are corrupt politicians, and those behind the scenes animating the corspe of what was known as the U.S. will represent the mobsters from the movie.

All of this race card bullshit. All of this "left"/"right" bullshit is a fucking joke.

Not only does the fed deserve to be audited, it needs to be shut down.

Not only does our government no longer work but it is our responsibility to fix it, weather peacefully or by revolution. Doesn't matter to me one way or the other, the straw that will break the camels back could be stacked onto the heap at anytime now.

This country is undergoing an awakening and real Change is coming.

Not the "Change" handed to Obama by his banking buddies and shaddow government.

Not the Euginicist dream that the Rockerfellers and Rothschilds dream of.

The American Dream. The change will be one away from tyranny to one of free exchange of ideas.

Like it or not, get on your horse and ride into the battle when it comes motherfuckers, there will be no where you can run, no where you can hide.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Working Away!

Been planting the fall garden the past few days.

-Yellow Cabbage Collards
-Late Flat Dutch, Winter Drumhead Savoy, Discovery Cabbage
-A mass cross of slicing cucumbers
-Roma II beans
-A mass cross/mix of kale
-Purple Top Globe Turnips
-A new bed of alpine strawberries from my selections
-Daikon raddishes, cherry belle, and a mix I've made
-Sugar Snap and Snow Peas
-Hip-Gnosis Lettuce Mix

Also been busy saving seed from everything under the sun.

This year we grew out a selection I made two years ago from Astronomy Domine, grew it last year and though it was a straight ahead F1 hybrid, this year it is remarkably stable and much like last year. Very pretty 8 row bantam type, about 65 days to fresh eating, starts out bi-color and large kernel and proceedes blue and then starts to dry down to red and black. Definitely and normal sugary type (SU), would probably have relatively high protein. Pretty happy with it for the moment and sticking with it for a few years along with Rainbow Inca.

We have had an incredibly we season here. Apparently Indiana has moved to the Pacific Northwest. Rain like no one has seen in Indiana for at least a hundred years, temperatures that fair the same as well, the coolest year I ever remember.

We have learned a lot of hard lessons this year. We did a number of Open Pollinated sweet corn growouts which I plan on writing a report on later, most of them were so poorly maintained over the years by the likes of seed banks that they were far to inbred to actually be of any merit. The wet weather also brought out the raccons, possums, squirrels, rabbits, deer and other pests like never before, we lost a lot of corn and subsequently a lot of money. Weeds have been another issue all together and we have moved forward with plans for next season to use black plastic mulch in the vegetable gardens, going far more bio-intensive than we ever had this year worked out well, better than I would have thought, I just have to get the weed issues under control.

We have also been working on our "orchard" when the time allows. We have taken on some of the ideas that Thomas Jefferson was espousing at Monticello in regards to "berry blocks", applying this even to strips of orchard trees on the periphery of our fields.

We have filled 95% of the gaps in our seed "library" in the past five years with our newly bred varieties. We now believe we truly have our "repitor" down to a system, we will publish our master seed list later this year for those in this area interested in what we are growing along with why.

We have made the decision recently to invest the next several years into researching field corn varieties. Partly because of our new association with the Becks Mill project and volunteering on the site to help with the agricultural history of the site and partly because someone desperately needs to be working with the time tested open pollinated types.

Next year we will be growing five acres of dent corn for use as on farm chicken feed, grains for sale for farm animals, and also for those who want to feed the squirrels or birds on their property. Hip-Gnosis seed development and Bishop's Homegrown will also be donating this seed to the gift shop at Becks Mill in order to place varieties once grown by the locals and ground at the mill back into the hands of the community which we love.

I just finished uploading about 500 pics from the farm and from mine and Kim's summer journeys onto the computer, I'll upload them to the net along with my more frequent posts over the next few weeks, we have had a blast going on our every other Sunday adventures this summer. Becks Mill, Spring Mill, Marengo Cave, Onedia Kentucky and Daniel Boone National Forestry, and the little Swiss Amish community right down the road in Salem Indiana.

I expect to start updating this blog with small updates on a much more regular basis now, at least once every couple days. Could be a new research article, could be a blurb, could be a simple as a picture, the truth is though that if I hope to help anyone with this blog or to get their attention and interest in agriculture I'm going to have to spend a bit more time here in the future.

I hope everyone is doing well and having a terrific summer!