June 24, 2011

Pot swap through Monday

No, I'm not posting this for the multi-meaning headline. I'm posting it because I suspect there are a lot of folks like me who accumulate plastic pots from nurseries and would like to get rid of them in some more...

Posted by simon at 9:58 AM

May 24, 2011

Two months of garden in twenty-two seconds

The game cam photos are great fun, and the weather station provides up-to-the-minute information on what's happening here, but some things happen over longer times. For those kinds of things, time-lapse cameras are a lot of fun. I used to...

Posted by simon at 6:59 AM

May 23, 2011

And another critter

I posted some game cam pictures of skunks and raccoons earlier this month, but now we have another night visitor: a possum. Possum exploring Possum visits chicken coop. The possum came by a couple of nights, but doesn't appear to...

Posted by simon at 6:20 AM

May 6, 2011

Game camera catches skunks, raccoons, cats, kids

A few weeks ago I bought a game camera to try to figure out what's moving around in our woods - particularly deer and coyotes. Although pretty much everything I've seen suggested I was getting the right camera, they seem...

Posted by simon at 9:27 PM

January 29, 2011

Not quite natural plans for the new land

We bought 5.46 acres of land behind our house and neighbors' houses last month, and are starting to work out what to do with it. As I noted before, there are clauses preventing building houses on it and hydrofracking it...

Posted by simon at 2:00 PM

December 29, 2010

Pollinators of the Laurentian Forest

It's hard to think about pollination when I look out the window and see snow, but this is also the time of year when gardeners drool over seed and plant catalogs and ponder their spring projects. The Pollinator Partnership's "mission...

Posted by simon at 12:26 PM

March 19, 2008


No, not the marshmallow kind. The kind that actually peeps and cheeps, kind of like last year. Chicks in the brooder box. There's much more on this year's arrivals at An Hour a Day in the Garden....

Posted by simon at 7:12 PM

January 7, 2008

An hour a day in the garden

If Living in Dryden looks a little lighter lately, it's probably because I've shifted some of my content to An hour a day in the garden, a new little blog that that I'm using to keep track of my New...

Posted by simon at 8:08 PM

January 1, 2008

Welcome, 2008

2007 had its heart-breaking surprises and its wonderful moments, some strife, and some victories. 2008 will likely be the same - but all different. There's going to be a lot of change around here, as Angelika is expecting a baby...

Posted by simon at 3:50 AM

December 8, 2007

Lawn replacement

Dryden resident - and my wife - Angelika St.Laurent went over to Oneonta on Wednesday night to join a panel discussion on peak oil and climate change. The local paper picked up most strongly on her call for people to...

Posted by simon at 2:26 PM

November 16, 2007

An inside day for chickens

I don't think the chickens have figured out snow yet. We gave them a bigger enclosure behind the coop to enjoy, but so far today they seem to think that the coop and its fenced front porch are enough excitement....

Posted by simon at 12:13 PM

September 24, 2007

Building a chicken coop

I'd been planning since July to take a week off and build a coop for our chickens, but that week never arrived, and it's getting cold now. I finally broke down and bought a Chick-N-Barn kit. The kit was easy...

Posted by simon at 5:50 PM

September 10, 2007

First egg

Ever since we got the chickens, we've been wondering when exactly eggs would show up. We got our answer yesterday, sometime during the pounding rain. First egg, under the shelter. First egg, inside and cleaned up It's a small egg,...

Posted by simon at 8:54 AM

August 27, 2007

More local (food) discussion

I mentioned some skepticism about local food from the market-oriented side of the world. Lately I've been encountering more skepticism about local food and broader relocalization from a different set of critics. On the Sustainable Tompkins mailing list, a New...

Posted by simon at 5:53 PM

August 23, 2007

Stone walkways

One of the more problematic features of my house has been the approaches. The front entrance has steep wooden stairs that lead mostly nowhere, though at one point there must have been a brick sidewalk. The back entrance has tilted...

Posted by simon at 12:22 PM

July 10, 2007

Black caps

Strawberry season is ending, but there are other opportunities to enjoy. My parents' house in Corning had a row of arborvitae with a steep slope behind. It wasn't every year, but many years there were great black raspberries back there....

Posted by simon at 1:00 PM

July 9, 2007

Photos of Gracie Manos benefit

This morning's Journal shares photos of the Gracie Manos benefit held Saturday at the Dryden VFW. It's not directly tied to Dryden, but there was a permaculture convergence this weekend at Cayuga Nature Center, and Angelika spoke on work we're...

Posted by simon at 12:16 PM

July 2, 2007

Chickens return home

After an extended summer camp at Town Board member Mary Ann Sumner's house, the chickens have finally returned home. They didn't love the brief journey home in feed bags - "Bright white! Is this chicken heaven?" - but they snapped...

Posted by simon at 8:25 AM

May 15, 2007

Chicks head outside

Last time I reported on the chicks, they were sprouting feathers. I should have taken some pictures of their vulture-like phase, but didn't. Chicks with feathers, and an inquistive dog. They're not pullets yet, but they're getting closer. Their big...

Posted by simon at 8:48 PM

April 27, 2007

Cheepings and peepings

It seems that the stories I post which include farm animals on my property are the ones I hear the most about, whether it's last summer's plowing of the back yard or my more recent piece on six chicks coming...

Posted by simon at 12:48 PM

April 10, 2007

Chicks come home to roost

The weather outside may be frightful - snow Wednesday night? - but we've got a very small army of very small peeping chicks here reminding us that it's springtime. Angelika, Spring, and the brooder box. Spring seems a lot too...

Posted by simon at 6:54 PM

December 9, 2006


While the sudden burst of plant growth in my backyard was a change, especially since so much less of it was grass, the permanent work we did this summer was mostly digging. Some of that was digging to plant trees...

Posted by simon at 12:45 PM

June 14, 2006

Plowing the back yard

Although we've done some very large things to my yard and gardens this year, there was still a large area in the back yard that was basically just lawn. After turning a smaller area in the front yard by hand,...

Posted by simon at 6:09 PM

June 8, 2006

Log rolling

When I had trees cut down in preparation for the gardening work, I had them leave the logs in place. It wasn't pretty - they stayed where they fell - but today we cleaned that up. It didn't even take...

Posted by simon at 6:14 PM

May 27, 2006

Adding potatoes and an herb spiral

The garden work has slowed down a little as planting season comes to an end. We planted lots of trees, including plum, hazelnut, birch, poplar, maple, and chestnut, but work on major changes to the overall landscape has slowed down...

Posted by simon at 9:52 AM

May 6, 2006

Planting into the forest edge

My yard is surrounded on three sides by trees. Two of those edges are narrow strips of forest that separate me from neighbors, while the area in the back is many acres of forest. Last week, after stopping by 4-H...

Posted by simon at 4:39 PM

April 29, 2006


I wrote earlier about the beds and paths we built outside my back door on Monday, and on Thursday and Friday we continued that project. Behind my house there is a deck, was a yard, and is then a series...

Posted by simon at 7:39 AM

April 24, 2006

Swales, raised berms, and paths

Joshua Dolan and his partner Grace came by my house today to work on contour mapping and also some construction. I'll cover the contour mapping more when there is a complete map, but the work we did to the small...

Posted by simon at 9:32 PM

April 21, 2006

So what is this permaculture stuff, anyway?

I've written a bit about permaculture lately, and haven't explained very much about it except to point to the wikipedia entry for permaculture. It's helpful, but it's maybe a little abstract, so I'll explain a bit more here about how...

Posted by simon at 12:38 PM

April 20, 2006

Planting an apple orchard

The main reason I had trees cut down last week was to increase the amount of sunlight my yard received to make it easier to grow things. This past weekend and Tuesday evening my girlfriend Angelika and I put ten...

Posted by simon at 9:55 PM

April 19, 2006

Mapping land to get ready to grow

I mentioned earlier that I was working on permaculture design for my house and its surrounding area. A key part of that is planning, and I've hired Joshua Dolan to help with that and more. To get started, he and...

Posted by simon at 10:49 PM

April 18, 2006

Losing trees in preparation

I'm starting a multi-year project this spring, changing the current mix of shade trees and ornamental plants on my property and increasing the number of edible or otherwise useful plants. I'm planning to use techniques from permaculture, developing a system...

Posted by simon at 10:33 PM

February 21, 2006

Soil survey maps

There's a lot of discussion of soil types at Town Hall. Soil types affect everything from agriculture to septic tank placement to erosion and runoff. The Town of Dryden Comprehensive Plan includes Map 4-1, Natural Constraints to Development (1.9MB PDF),...

Posted by simon at 8:34 AM