Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Free Gardening books, Public Domain pre-1923

I’ve found that much of the “new” gardening information in (expensive) contemporary publications is más o menos recycled from old texts, those meaty, wonderful, captivating books that are in the public domain.

Some are available as PDFs, others must be read online or purchased from a book service.  Many are available as free e-book downloads, but OJO!  many times the illustrations are lacking and frequently the text is garbled by the limitations of the OCR (
Optical Character Recognition)  involved in the digitizing.   

Best to look around online, check
www.archive.org or http://www.gutenberg.org/, with luck the PDFs of the original transcripts are available, with non-garbled text and full illustrations.  At least one of these pre-1923 volumes is available on www.librivox.org as an audio book: Gardening Without Irrigation: or without much, anyway.

Here are a few that I’ve run across, in PDF, audio, and/or online reads.  Anyone who wants to add to the collection, just send them in.  The goal would be to avoid the OCR-translated volumes that frequently are hodgepodges of strange characters.  Of course once the PDF is located, it can be easily downloaded to an e-reader. 

1)   Farm Gardening, quick cash crops and how to grow them. (anonymous)   http://www.archive.org/details/farmgardeningwit00john

2)  The New Horticulture  by H.  Stringfellow   

3)   Dry Farming by J.A Widtsoe  

4)  Gardening Indoors and Under Glass  by F.F. Rockwell   http://www.archive.org/details/gardeningindoors01rock
5)  Gardening Without Irrigation: or without much, anyway  by Steve Soloman  http://www.archive.org/details/gardeningwithout04512gut 
And,  as audio book from Librivox.org  

6)  Crops and Methods for Soil Improvement  by Alva Agee

7) and my favorite:  My Summer in a Garden by Charles Dudley Warner.  Excerpt: 
The lettuce is to me a most interesting study. Lettuce is like conversation: it must be fresh and crisp, so sparkling that you scarcely notice the bitter in it. Lettuce, like most talkers, is, however, apt to run rapidly to seed. Blessed is that sort which comes to a head, and so remains, like a few people I know; growing more solid and satisfactory and tender at the same time, and whiter at the center, and crisp in their maturity. Lettuce, like conversation, requires a good deal of oil to avoid friction, and keep the company smooth; a pinch of attic salt; a dash of pepper; a quantity of mustard and vinegar, by all means, but so mixed that you will notice no sharp contrasts; and a trifle of sugar. You can put anything, and the more things the better, into salad, as into a conversation; but everything depends upon the skill of mixing. I feel that I am in the best society when I am with lettuce. It is in the select circle of vegetables.”

Friday, November 18, 2011

Making Adobe Bricks in Putre

After the bricks are dry enough to move, about a day, they are first turned over to dry more evenly, then put on edge to keep drying and to free up space in the yard for the new bricks. Then after about a week or 10 days they can be stacked on top of each other, or used for construction. They are very heavy.

But first, get a big pile of good dirt together, wet it down.  In the background, a good example of the walls or murallas made here, ie with a rock base with adobe on top. 

Then, clay must be added to the dirt, and mixed well. 

Next step:  add straw to the mud/clay mix, stomp on it and shovel to mix it all up.  The straw helps hold the adobe together, provides stability when dry. 
Shovel the wet adobe into the form, the consistency is such that immediately the form can be taken off. Note that 2 bricks are made at a time.
Cast: Mauricio (Mauri), Avelino (Ave), Sergio the Boliviano, Pelusa (Vontuti), and little Ratty the cocker.   

Aymara folk art & legends

Aymara folk tale:  The Fox and the Goose.  Eight of these legends are depicted on buildings in Putre.  
The fox and the goose 
Once upon a time the goose was swimming with her kids, as all the geese lived in the middle of the lake.  The fox passed nearby and was watching them.  “Why are your kids so pretty?”, the fox mom said to the goose mom.  “It's easy”, said the goose, “put them in the oven and count 1,2,3, and later take them out, they will stay pretty”.  The lady fox went home to her kids, heated up the oven, put her babies in the hot oven, counted to 3, opened the oven, and saw that her babies were burned and dead.  
The fox was infuriated, and wanted to eat the goose, and went to the lake where the goose lived and said to her   “Goose!  Why did you lie to me!  Come, I want to talk to you!”, but of course the fox wanted to eat the geese.

Meanwhile the goose mom was weaving her fabric and heard the call of the vicuña, the goose mom said “I’m coming, right away!”  The fox thought "I am going to drink all the water from the pond in order to eat the goose mom and her kids, and she began to drink water from the lake until she was very swelled up and could drink no more.  Meanwhile she was walking the fox mom said “Oh Please don't poke me little cactus, little paja brava!”    In a moment of carelessness, as she walked slowly, the fox poked herself by accident with sharp grass spike, exploded the water and she died.

The Puma, the Caracara, and the Condor and 3 sisters

The Puma, the Caracara, and the Condor
Once upon a time there were 3 sisters that were going to get married.  The condor married the middle sister, the caracara married the youngest, and the puma wed the oldest.  The condor carried his wife to live in the cliffs, the caracara to the top of the hill, and the lion took his wife to live in his cave, and the husbands all carried food to each of his wives.  

One day the puma was bringing a leg of an animal to his wife, when he met the caracara, and the puma, laying a trap, told the caracara "Take this leg of meat to my siser in law!".  The caracara flew with the leg on his shoulder and the meat flattened him on the ground.  The puma ate him when he fell down.  But the caracara was still alive, and the caracara flew out the puma’s behind and the puma died after that.   

The condor carried entrails to his wife, but she was getting very bored with so much tripe.  One day the caracara came close to the cliffs and found the wife of the condor and asked her  “Why are you crying?”  She said, “I am bored with living in this place and eating tripe all the time.  Take me down from here, please!!”  The caracara told her, but you will give me your chuspita (note: small colorful bag in which coca leaves are carried), the condor wife accepted and the caracara took the woman down from the cliffs.

Later on the Condor arrived at his nest, saw that his wife was not there, and went to look for her. Upon seeing that the caracara had the chuspita, he decided to chase him and eat him.  The caracara had to flee from the condor, desperately hid himself in one of the nostrils of a big cow.  The condor stuck his head into the other nostril of the cow so forcefully that when he took his head out he had no more feathers on his neck, the caracara flew out the other end of the cow with the little coca bag.  

From then on, the caracara remained with the colors of the chuspita around his neck, and the condor remained with one part of his neck bare of feathers. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Banana Passion Fruit!

Passiflora tripartita var mollissima

One plant that grows well here is Banana Passion Fruit, AKA Passiflora tripartita var. mollissima, or locally known as Tumbo. It's grown as a cash crop for sale in Arica, and most families have a few vines in the back yard.
Below right is my neighbor Avelino Flores Huanca, life-long Aymara resident of Putre and nearby Socoroma. 
I hung the old CDs to keep the thrushes and sierra finches away from the fruits, and strands of old video tape also work great. We water the plants every 3 days, and fertilize with either sheep or llama guano, a few days ago we spent all day digging up an old corral for 12 large bags of the "treasure". Recently a neighbor told me that the vines won't grow so rangy if the tips are clipped, so next time...

Resources for passion fruit enthusiasts:

Online Passiflora Journal
Passion fruit:  make juice, popsicles,
use it in baking or just eat it in the garden
Avelino Flores Huanca, Putre, 2011