Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fire, Frost and Fertilizer

Hello everyone! I must apologize for being MIA this past week. Admittedly, I'm still slowly adjusting to the change in seasons - my motivation to get things done seems to be deminishing as the days become shorter. It seems as though my fall veggies are feeling the same way as their growth has slowed way down.

A few weeks ago, we had a cord and a half of wood delivered. We love our fires so hopefully, this will get us through the winter. Last year, we burned almost two cords. One of my favorite things is coming home from a stressful workday (especially when it's cold and rainy outside) and seeing that Marc has gotten a good fire going. I feel instantly better.

The nights are dropping down into the mid to upper 30's F now and this morning, I noticed frost on our front lawn. Luckily, it didn't reach back into the garden. I guess it's time to put up the hoops and plant garlic. It will be a busy weekend for sure.

On a final note, I came across this rather disturbing NY Times article this morning. Here is an except:

"Saskatchewan is home base for the Potash Corporation, the fertilizer company...A consortium of state-backed Chinese companies and financiers may make a takeover offer for Potash that rivals a $38.6 billion hostile bid from BHP Billiton, and that prospect has lawmakers in Washington, regulators in Canada and bankers on Wall Street all talking...45 percent of Potash’s production is sold to farmers in North America. The big worry, in part, is that the Chinese could seek to redirect that supply to China, starving other counties of a much-needed commodity."

Our world seems to operate on the notion that all of the material things we take for granted in our daily lives will be readily available to us in perpetuity. It makes me wonder how the present and future conflicts between countries and multi-national corporations over the world's precious resources (in this case, fertilizer) will impact our children's generation. All the more reason, in my opinion, why it's imperative that we as individuals take on more responsiblity for own personal (and sustainable) food production.

Should we be alarmed?


  1. Just reading that has me worried. China has and is positioning themselves to be the next major power. Before we know it, the work market is going to revolve around the yuan. They are slowly and quietly cornering many world markets.

    And of course, many of the stimulus funds came mainly from China - making them major players here, too.

    Scares the heck out of me.

  2. I meant 'world' market, haha. But work market may work, too...

  3. Nice pile of firewood! I wish we had a fireplace, I love having fires in the winter. The smell is fantastic.

  4. I've been the other way around. It gets cooler and I like to get things done more. It is not just the more pleasant work weather, but the desire to get it all done before winter hits.

  5. What a man! You come home and there's a fire going? Spectacular!

  6. I agree with Ribbit, very lucky indeed! Also jealous, since i have no fireplace. I completely understand about that "changeover" from season to season mood - I just came out of it myself. Seems like a common occurence though - we gardeners call it "metamorphosis" instead of laziness, right?!

  7. We heat our home with our woodstove and only use the electric heat as a supplement during the shoulder seasons (too cool to do without heat but too warm to get the stove going). My husband usually has the fire going as I walk in the door in the evening from a stressful day of work and (just like you) it does miraculous things to cheer and warm me up. There are benefits to wood heat beyond the warmth it provides.

    On the potash, this is an issue that has been brewing for a while now as it is a critical fertilizer input and the reserves/supply are limited. I had not read this latest news on the fertilizer wars though - so thank you for posting it. Geopolitical resource wars area already ramping up and will only get worse as the populations continue skyrocket worldwide, climate changes put pressure on food produciton, and finite resources are depleted such as certain minerals and (of course) fossil fuels.

  8. I've been following the potash story for a while. It's all over the news here in Canada, as the Saskatchewan government has been asking the federal powers that be to halt any hostile takeover from foreign interests. Potash is big business in Sask, and many are worried about the mines falling into Australian or Chinese hands. It seems like we are poised for a fertilizer war.
    But like you wrote, Thomas, it is high time everyone take a serious look at sustainable ways of producing food. How much longer can we go on pillaging the earth before it stops giving up its riches? I realize that potassium, nitrogen and phosphate are essential to plant growth, but growing food needs to take a more holistic turn. We -gardeners and farmers alike- need to feed the earth with more than just raw minerals for it to continue sustaining us. Just as we cannot live on multivitamin pills alone, the soil that feeds us cannot survive on powders.

  9. Thomas,
    My thoughts on food, ect. has been similar to how you feel. We had gardens when I was a child but I guess I took it for granted. I got into gardening rather accidently as an adult. Now the more I learn the more astonished I am about how things are and noticing things that previously I would not have paid attention to. I went to Patagonia and saw the glaciers crushing boulders into minerals. When I was watching a TV show on the dust bowl, It was heartsicking to realize all the precious minerals that took billions of years were just blown away.

  10. I have been hearing a lot about the potash deal. I have watched the stock for a while but never owned it. Way to volatile, in 3 years it has gone from $30 to $250 to $50 and it is currently about $150.

    The China bid has just been a rumor, it is BHP that is actually trying to take it over. I'm guessing it will not go through.

  11. I think China will be the world super-power when our children are grown, they already 'own us' in many ways financially, and other countries may replace our high consumer demand if the economy continues on the way it is. The finite recources and shifting of world power is all head-spinning if you ask me, I just hope the world gets it's act together sooner rather than later or all people will suffering, no matter the place they call home.

    (That bread is making me drool again. Damn!)