Thursday, May 21, 2009

Independence Days Update #3

How come when you have time to post there is nothing to post about and when you finally have something to say, there is no time!?!

Better late than never :o)

Plant something: Still busy getting the garden ready to plant, just got the last section weeded out. For some bizarre reason my nicely weeded front garden was a mass of weeds this spring. So bad that I didn't want dh to rotovate it and risk spreading the roots.

It took lots of work to shovel it all out! I did take a break from shoveling weeds to get the pole beans in. As you can see in the photo the poles are REALLY long. I had a choice between 5' and 10' poles, the 5's were just way too short and the 10's are ridiculous!

I'm thinking to trellis tomatoes between the bean tripods. Maybe??

Harvest something: As I was digging away a friend roared by driving a moving van, she is moving back here!!! I sent the girls to bake a fresh rhubarb cake to take over for a welcome home!

Preserve Something: Not yet....

Reduced Waste: Repurposed some pasta sauce jars for local honey, and took unwanted clothes to food bank's second hand shop. (They sell the clothes and use the money to purchase food, it is one of the most popular stores in town!)

Preparation and Storage: Bought a bucket of local honey, melted it, and poured it into smaller jars, I think we will need 2 of these buckets for the year. (Miss it when dh worked for the bee guy and got paid in honey! And also miss when we bartered peppers for honey other years. GADS that stuff is pricey!) Stocked up on pasta and sauce at the warehouse store. Slowly restocking pantry.

Building Community Food Systems: Gave away lots of raspberry canes when I was weeding them out of the garden. Gave away some parsley and sage plants too. Dh and children very busy putting in the market garden, he has 800+ tomatoes planted, carrots, beets, etc. He took this week off work to get it done. What a great idea, it's been much more relaxing than in previous years! More will be planted today and tomorrow. Supported local growing by ordering chickens from new source and as usual bought eggs from local farmer too. It has become our practice to NEVER buy store eggs no matter how much more convenient it would be.

Eat the Food - Local or Storage: Ground CSA wheat for bread and buns as usual, made rhubarb cake from garden, drink mint tea from last year's dried mint. Didn't go grocery shopping this week, too lazy, so most meals are from cupboard or freezer.

Try Something New: Tried the put yogurt in cheesecloth and hang it to make a soft cheese thing and it worked! The children ate it on toasted bagels and liked it. I know how to make yogurt from back when dh worked on a dairy and got free milk so this is a 'value added' skill for me. I wish there was some way to get local milk, we have dairies here but it is all shipped far away for processing and it is illegal to purchase it at farm gate. Only dairy farm workers get the good stuff, you can't even barter for it!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Independence Days Challenge Update # 2

Plant something:

The tomato seedlings are starting to recover now that they have been transplanted into other soil, they might make it yet! The cucumbers are doing well too, the peppers though are really really slow in growing. I'm thinking they need it much warmer!

We did get the peas planted finally, still no sign of them coming up though. It is still quite cold and wet, unusually so, thus I'm holding off on planting anything else. We just mowed the grass for the first time for an example of what our weather has been like!

I'm also still waiting for dh to rotovate the garden, we usually use Grandma's tiller but it is broken. Dh bought a little one at a yard sale but it needs work before it is useful. He borrowed a friend's tractor and large rototiller and did his market garden. Way, way, way, too big to do the house garden with!

He has planted his beets, carrots, peas, onions, and radishes so far in the market garden. He salvaged some of last year's failed potato crop, it got too weedy, and is going to replant them.

Harvest something:

Finally! Some rhubarb that I tossed in the kids' bag lunches, I needed to put a fruit in there and this came to mind. I could harvest more, I just need to bake to use it and I hate sweet baking!

OH!!! Yes, we 'harvested' flowers. I love having fresh flowers on our dining room table and my 11yo girls are great about finding flowers and other 'stuff' for display.

Preserve something:

Nothing yet, I could preserve rhubarb but we still have lots still in the pantry from last year! I am going to start drying herbs soon as they are up and growing in spite of this horrid weather!

Preparation and Storage:

Thinking about how to change our storage areas for this year's harvest. Making plans...

Starting to purchase on sale items to restock pantry after gouging it last week.

Reduce waste:

Instead of recycling glass jars with resealable tin lids I've begun saving them for preserving jams in. This is something my Grandmother was supportive of and I dismissed as I knew better than to reuse commercial jars, would only use proper canning jars. Older and wiser now ;o) I'm also saving jars with plastic screw lids, it won't be long now before I have a lovely matching set of 1.5 litre storage jars! FREE!

Finally took all of the winter's recycling to the depot. We won't let that pile up again! It was interesting how much we took to the depot thus saving it from the landfill. Reorganized the sunroom's recycling bins.

Still drying clothes on the clothes line even though it keeps raining!

Keeping firm to the 'no lights on during daylight hours' learning to live with only natural light. This was REALLY strange at first, now I find it relaxing.

Doing way too much driving as ds has a broken leg. Can't make him walk to school now can I?!? And I've been feeling too yucky to do any biking. It's been a rough couple weeks.

Build Community Food Systems:

Dh is working on his market garden, third year for this incarnation.

Continuing to buy only local eggs now that Lent is over. Supporting local growers this way.

Visited our chickens at Uncle's farm, he is growing 2 or three batches of 300+ meat birds for sale this year. Since we can't have chickens in town...

A new thought, or articulating a thought that has been brewing....

We do buy some transplants every year. These are available everywhere you turn even at the grocery store and dh's workplace. (very tempting!) BUT ... We have truck after truck hauling little plants into our valley, why??? We have local greenhouses, at least 4 commercial greenhouse operations that grow transplants. Why can't we concentrate our dollars and shop locally grown in this venue as well? So ta-ta! bargain prices at the grocery store and hardware store I'm off to local growers for local transplants supporting this branch of my community food system!

(We have a local greenhouse grower growing out dh's market garden peppers and 700+ of his tomato plants from seeds I saved. No way we were attempting that at home! We are closing the loop of what we can supply locally vs. what we have to ship in.)

Eat the food:

Last of the green beans, some pickles, ground CSA wheat for bread, local beef from our freezer, ate mainly from storage last week, looking to what we can add to our list of 'make it don't buy it'.

Try Something New:

Last year a fellow wanted our old cornstalks for his cows and brought us some cobs of multicoloured corn as a thank-you. He said we could use the seed to plant corn for next year. So my something new is husking(?) the kernels off the cobs for dh to plant in the market garden. Since we don't grow corn and neither do the neighbours it shouldn't cross pollinate. I'm not to sure what this corn is good for??? I'll have to track down his phone number and ask! If nothing else it is pretty and might sell just for looks.

I'm planning on making dd climb up on the roof every Monday to take an aerial photo of the garden. (This isn't as mean as it sounds, she is nearly 20 and our roof is flat.) It will make an interesting slideshow if IF IF we remember to do it regularly!