Tag Archives: farming

Life on the water, Inle Lake, Myanmar

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Photos: Best of Sri Lanka work for UMCOR

These are some of my favorite photos from a collection of nearly five hundred, taken in March 2013 in North Eastern Sri Lanka on assignment for UMCOR.  I visited village groups, mostly with women members, who saved together in micro-finance and small savings programs, and visited the farming, animal husbandry, businesses, fishing, and other projects they had been able to finance with loans from the micro-finance groups.  The people were happy, beautiful and friendly – it was a lovely visit, and yielded some magnificent photography.

Click here to see full gallery

Photos available for licensing and as photo prints – contact me.

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Harvesting Lavender, Garberville, California

I joined my friend Brian at his place near Garberville to harvest lavender in July, to make into essential oil.  The oil is ready, but has not yet been collected from the distiller.  I’m excited to give it a smell.

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Shiitake Mushrooms

The first fruiting of my home grown shiitake mushroom patch.  Only two years for them to incubate and start producing!

For the shiitake mushrooms, I bought ~1000 inoculated plugs from fungi.com and put them into oak logs that I had cut on the property. It’s a pretty labor intensive process: cut the oak (other hardwoods work too), let it age for about six weeks on the ground, drill a hole for each of the plugs, pound the plugs in with a rubber hammer, cover with wax, set the logs against something, water and wait. It took nearly two years for them to start fruiting. It’s normally meant to be about six months, but mine took longer for some reason. There are a number of variables, so I’m not certain why.

I keep the logs behind the studio where they are mostly in shade, and water them with a lawn sprinkler every two days for fifteen minutes on a timer.

The process of plugging the logs took me about two half-days, with intermittent help from Rob and Kurt. The bigger logs weighed around 70 pounds each, and my back was sore for about two weeks afterwards from lifting them – that was bad. Big investment of energy up front, but now I only have to water them and harvest mushrooms.

You can also buy kits with inoculated substrate, usually wood chips or grain or something. These incubate faster, but also produce for a much shorter period of time – just a couple months. The logs are supposed to produce heavily for two years and then continue for up to five to six years, until the log is basically gone. You can check out more about this at fungi.com, and they have a variety of different mushrooms you can grow.

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Photo: Man holding passion fruit seedling at grafting training, Tiret Self-Help Group passion fruit farmers, Project Nurture, Tiret, Kenya.

Man holding passion fruit seedling at grafting training, Tiret Self-Help Group passion fruit farmers, Project Nurture, Tiret, Kenya.

Man holding passion fruit seedling at grafting training, Tiret Self-Help Group passion fruit farmers, Project Nurture, Tiret, Kenya.

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Maize in Ghana

I visited several maize (corn) farmers in the North of Ghana near Tamale.  The harvest was under way, the plants dry in the fields, and the farmers pulling the ears of corn off the stalks and piling them on the ground.  Women and young men collected the maize into large piles, and then it was transported to a machine that removed the husk and kernels.

The program gives training and assistance to farmers to buy pesticides and fertilizers.  As a result, their yields increased by 400 to 500%.

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