The Journal Staff;

The Barnyard Manure article on page 42 of the fall 2014 issue of the Small Farmer’s Journal was helpful in prompting me to action in enhancing the soil in our prolific three small raised vegetable beds here, in the middle of the city. After 8 years of a certain mulching tradition before our late spring planting the soil in the beds had become very sandy, with insufficient moisture retention for my irrigation abilities and thus for the happiness of Blue Lake bean and Sweet Success cucumber vines. I got creative with the chicken compost and put it on top of an impressive blanket of all leaves and anticipate digging it all with improved moisture retention as a result. I also am installing a fine antique tractor seat as a sculptural element next to the vegetable beds. Don’t laugh. I think there was subliminal influence from the fascinating antique graphics which are a regular feature of your magazine.

On June 7, the small landscape that surrounds my small house, created with exclusively NW native trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals and bulbs will be one of 6 gardens on a fund raising garden tour for the city symphony guild. Ticket sales gets close to 1,000 so, whatever the weather…. I can anticipate countless footsteps on my stepping stones and log rounds and the gravel path past the vegetable beds and tractor seat. The vegetable garden will be barely started by then but I am betting a lot on the manure and leaves… and tractor seat for ticket holders’ satisfaction along with my lush landscape. This whole property is herbicide/pesticide/insecticide free and totally bird/pollinator/butterfly friendly. Your publication’s emphasis here is appreciated.

Randall Speck
Eugene, OR

P.S. Some full-time jobs come with no paycheck. Care-giving for family members of senior status is one of those jobs and that is what I am doing now. And small farming… in the city. Our folks always have.