A Good Neighbor

goose-eggs_4web.jpgLast Tuesday, our usual in-town errands day, we hitched the utility trailer and drove down the hill and over to Penn Valley for a load of horse manure for sheet mulching. Then back up a gently-curving country road to Rough and Ready, where we stopped at our friend Mark’s place. Several geese honked as we drove in, and four sheep gazed up from grazing on the gentle slope beside a narrow drainage.

Mark gave us a basketful of goose eggs, which he claims are as mild as chicken eggs. We love duck eggs, so this’ll be a new taste treat.

In passing he mentioned using his arc welder, which sparked my question of who he knew that could do a welding job for us. I’d caught the trailer fender on a post and bent it out 🙁 He volunteered to fix it, and within a half hour not only did that but also added reinforcement bars on both fenders, with the smiling admonishment, “now don’t do that again!”

Mark gave us a tour of the garden and his nifty fabrications: a huge rotating composter, a water bucket door-opening system for his chicken coop, the goose grotto in a pond, the tall solar food dryer. Then the small orchard and perennial vegetable plants (love that fresh asparagus), and the neatly-stacked oak logs for shiitake mushrooms, and plant starts in plastic half-barrels. He has tried raising many things, but aims to grow exactly what he and Mari really consume. He can supplement their diet with venison, too.

You can bet this’ll be a future Peak Moment show. There’s a lot of resourcefulness in that there yard, not only of scavenged materials but also of Mark’s personal skills. Robyn and I came home wanting to build a solar dryer.

Mark’s not exactly a nearby neighbor, but close enough. He’s the kind of friend I’m glad to have as we enter a powerdown future. He is experienced in carpentry, plumbing, electrical and just about anything. He has done “just about anything” on our homestead here at Lone Bobcat Woods. He says of his handyman jobs that he takes care of “his people” as best he can. I’m grateful we’re in that circle.


  1. Hiya,

    A simple pragmatic question; during this winter I want to make a ‘duck-coop’, and rather than reinventing the wheel, I’d be grateful if you could supply a photo of the timer/waterbucket gizmo which Mark developed and seemed to be satisfied with?
    -It’s high time we decimate the slug factor in our garden, however living near the forest we’re mighty aware of the risk of loosing our upcoming ducks to the fox/marten, which has kept us from getting some so far.

    Thank you for the shows which I’ve been really enjoying, typically through w.globalpublicmedia.com; It’s what makes eco-rural living in Czech Republic bearable!

  2. Stuart M. says:

    Another inspiring story about modern day pioneers thanks to Peakmoment.tv! While it is great to read about Mark’s ingenuity, some of us might get feelings of inadequacy! Mark is going to survive anything!

    Recently the Los Angeles Times had an article about food shortages in the developing world, a problem they referred to as a “perfect storm hitting the hungry.” Food riots are already occurring in Haiti, Ethiopia and Egypt, and food aid organizations are complaining they can’t afford to buy new emergency food supplies. The price of wheat has almost tripled, soybeans and corn have “only” doubled in price.

    One of your guests characterized the world’s population problem as “the elephant in the living room.” My elephant in the living room is whether food riots might someday happen in the USA. Both Europe and the USA are experiencing massive migration from poorer areas of the world and this trend can only accelerate as food shortages worsen.

    I can see the importance of developing closer community ties so that people don’t get isolated, become desperate and resort to violence. Thank you, Janaia and Robyn, for your efforts to open our eyes, for showing us there are people who can teach us how to survive.

Speak Your Mind