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Life and Garden Update!

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So sorry for not posting in a while.  Life is hectic, strawberry is still getting out of her pen so she now has a date with the freezer.  Won’t be till close to Thanksgiving but still.  The “last straw” is when she got all the way to the front of our property and to get her back Silver made a chain leash to go behind her front legs so we could at worst drag her back.  Well.. she dragged him.  Not good for a 56 year old with RA and diabetes. *sigh*   Also doctors put Silver on insulin, odd thing about that.  Last few mornings with his shot the night before his blood sugar has run high.  Last night he forgot to take his shot and is was much lower, go figure.   Sadly however, his toe is no better and might  actually be a lot worse.  So bad it might have to be amputated.  We’re waiting on the VA  to contact the podiatrist so he can go back to seeing him.  The VA drives me nuts sometimes.

Another downside, for those of you who know.  While I am trying to get us “food sustainable” here , right now we are not.  Also because of living on disability we get Food Stamps.  We just went up for re certification, was told a worker would call for an interview here back on Friday at 9am my time.  Ok, no problem.  ..yeah, I sat in the house all day waiting for that call.  At about 10 am I tried to “talk to a person” via their various phone numbers.  Yeah, nope sorry.  Seems you can’t talk to a person, but I did wind up leaving 2 messages on their  “person call worker” interview option.   So it’s possible we’ll lose our food money.  Plus side is it’ll be when our garden is producing and we have eggs so I’m not terribly concerned.  However it irks me.

As for the garden…

I have PICS!

This is my acorn squash, we are hoping to have a lot of these for this winter, I have put some marigold seeds in the center to both attract pollinators and to make the insects that don’t like them to run away.  Funny thing is I planted these about the same time as my zucchini and look…

Definite difference in size there.  The zucchini  is smaller right now.  Though I know it will catch up eventually.  We’re planning on drying over have of what we produce of these for animal feed this winter.

Here is one of my bunches of snow peas (I got my first pod off them this morning!), they are loaded with flowers though not many pods just yet.  I’m hoping they finish before the Cherokee purples and the lemon cucumbers get too big or the peas will be coming out.

Speaking of the tomatoes…

If you can see, just past that pea is one of my tomatoes.  They are starting to flower already!  We’re definitely waiting on these to produce fruit.

This is one of the bell peppers, it’s also looking like it’ll flower soon even though it’s not very tall yet.  I am debating pinching the first flowers off to let it grow more.

My pole beans have sprouted, we’re hoping for a lot from these for chili making this winter.  Also this is one of two varieties of dry bean we are growing.  I planted tiger’s eye as well.  They grow as a bush however and can also be eaten as a green bean.  I don’t have pics of those as they only just started coming up.

Here are the cucumbers I planted for pickling.  If we have an over abundance of the lemons don’t do well we’ll be eating these too.  They were planted next too the pole beans.  I am thinking of growing some kale for the rabbits and the chickens for winter on the other side of these.

Now, this “mess” is my spinach patch.  It’s really taking off after the rains we got this weekend.  Seems to be very happy.

These, would be the sunchokes.  They seem to be a prolific as I have heard and seem to be growing just fine.  That is a two foot stake in the foreground, so you have some prospective.  I have discovered that I have a few surprises in my sunchoke bed however.

Apparently, there were some tomato seeds in the chicken manure I added to this bed.  I staked two of the tomatoes this morning.  However, it seems there are five plants growing in my sunchoke bed and they seem very happy.  So I will let them grow where they are.  Also I have no earthly idea what kind they are as I  grew three different kinds last year.  So I will wait and see what they produce, here’s to hoping they are edible at least.

I thought I’d share this.  It’s one of the wild roses from around here.  Seems all the blooms came out white on the roses this year.  It’s wonderful to walk past this and take a deep breath in.  I do wish I knew why they all are white though.  Last year they were all pink, so maybe it’s yearly change?

Oh one of the rabbit moms had her littler and it seems she had between 6-8 babies, they have a date with the freezer in 2 months.  (yes i eat my rabbits and if one bit you they wouldn’t be cute anymore)

Well I need to head back out and weed some more, happy gardening!

BE Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

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Happy Sunday Morning!

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Thought I’d write up a little update though I’m still temporarily camera-less (my girls are away for the weekend). We finished filling 2 more of the tractor tires as well as one of the tubs yesterday, and Friday combined, I had gotten a Rhubarb plant from the MFA for $.75 and it went in the tub for now. We figure if it grows exponentially it’ll wind up in a tire.

This morning I planted some red onions, bushel gourds, and cantaloupes. Tomorrow I should have my pole beans in and my cucumbers as well. I also need to do more of my green bush beans. Not to mention getting in my herb seeds. One of the Zucchini seeds has sprouted so if nothing else comes up by this Friday I’ll replant the rest. I have about seven acorn squash coming up as well.

I noticed something yesterday in my sun choke bed. We have a volunteer tomato plant. Since I have no clue what kind it is I am leaving it where it is, as it’s on the edge of the bed anyway so it should be safe. I’ll just have to figure out how I’m going to stake it up. My peas are starting to flower, the spinach is doing well and I’ve been getting a little of it daily. (waiting for it to really take off) The eggplant looks to have a flower forming, and the bucket tomato is flowering.

My two Does are looking fatter daily (I wish I knew exactly when they got pregnant), I am hoping to have two sets of twins but as long as they are healthy and grow well I don’t really care. Still need a boyfriend for Strawberry, also a better cage for her too, but we’ll get there. We should have ducks any day now, as they have hatched and it’s a matter of when they get here.

I spent half of last evening making banana bread on our new (to us) gas stove. Our neighbors gave us a small propane stove. Makes me happy I can stop using the electric one. I have over a case of bananas in my freezer that I’m going to be making into more quick bread. One of those fun freebies we received.

We’ve been eating lambs’ quarters now that it’s growing everywhere. Silver gets a small amount in the morning with his breakfast wilted and dressed with a vinaigrette. Then we have some with our evening salad. The girls have about twenty days left of school, then when they are out we will move our big meal to midday-ish. Then have a snack like meal in the evenings. I like summer times as we eat better especially once the garden is doing well. I have hopes for over abundance. The acorn squashes no matter how many we get will be saved for winter eating..

Hope you’re all having a fun weekend.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Sunday Morning Chit Chat

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Good Sunday morning (for those of you in my neck of the woods). We’ve had a fun weekend so far, my girls were both gone yesterday morning. One went turkey hunting (didn’t see anything of course), her first time hunting too. The younger one was on a choir competition trip for school after which they went to 6 Flags. We have moved my birthday present (3 tractor tires) out to the garden and have started filling them with soil.

Friday I think it was I planted some bush green beans, in another week I’ll plant more. I am planning on putting cantaloupe’s into one of the large tires. The tomato bucket Silver set up, the tomato is starting to curl up and you can tell it’s growing. Still have lots of hope for that plant. WE were suppose to have a week of rain and it didn’t happen most of the rain had missed us so I had to water my fruit trees for the first time since planting them.

We set up a sprinkler we bought a month ago this morning. We had bought two of them but we discovered one of them didn’t work. So right now as I write this I have a sprinkler watering my garden. I do know that technically watering passively near the base of the plants is suppose to be better, however Nature waters the Earth from the sky so I personally feel as long as I make sure I water early in the morning (like before 10 am) and the sun light isn’t strong the plants should be just fine with overhead watering.

We have almost used up the truck load of top soil and all the composted sawdust we have on hand. I am hoping we can go tomorrow and get more sawdust, however we are suppose to help out a neighbor get his log splitter back from the mechanic so I don’t know if we’ll have the gas to do both before Friday. Helping the neighbor when we promised too is more important in my mind anyway.

I should be starting to pull lettuce out of my garden today as well as some spinach, The spinach isn’t doing as well as I thought it would but it might just be the amount of water it has had so we’ll see. I’m waiting on my transplanted tomatoes to put on some new growth, I am glad they haven’t wilted as they were very leggy. My peppers seem to be happy even though we had some cold nights. Thankfully none of the nights was below or at freezing, however we did brush near those temperatures.

Getting some greens out of the garden now is going to be a good thing as Silver had his yearly check up and the Doctor at the VA wants to put his on insulin because he’s not keeping his blood sugar down. Well since we had to tighten our belts when it comes to buying food lately we’ve haven’t been eating good for a diabetic of late so food from the garden means it’ll lower the blood sugar amounts. I have discovered watching his testing that is the heavy carbs are cut out (rice,pasta,potatoes) and only have nice healthy veggies (mostly greens) and a nice piece of protein his blood sugars run almost normal. I just have to be diligent with it and make sure he doesn’t cheat any.

Still waiting on our goats to give birth, and since I’m not sure when Oreo got them pregnant I am going to be surprised. I have ducklings coming soon and in a couple weeks Strawberry will have a new pen. We still need to find her a boy friend though. Why is it people always are selling what you need when you can’t afford it?

Well hope everyone has a good Sunday.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Homestead Happenings

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Yesterday right before getting a little bit of rain we planted 8 potatoes in those tires I lined up in between my fruit trees. (yes 8 even though I have 7 tires) They are Yukon Gold’s as I’m hoping for some nice potatoes out of them. It’s also a trial on what I see/have seen from some other homesteaders using old tires to grow potatoes. Especially after any time I did a potato “bed” my chickens would get loose and wind up digging through the patch and eating them. Guess what chickens love potatoes.
My peas are starting to grow faster, and I am hoping for a good amount of peas off of them. My spinach is starting to set true leaves and the onions are coming up now as well. I am hopeful that I will be thinning the lettuce in a week. I had to rebuy my Dark Star zucchini as I could not find the seed packet, thankfully a lot of local stores carry Seeds of Change and they had them in the display. For the most part I do buy my seeds from Baker Creek but this one variety I happen to really like and Baker Creek doesn’t carry it.
Yesterday had some interesting happenings on Craigslist here, I’m not sure if it happened near you or not. However, due to it being April 1st some idiots decided to post some fake free items with other people’s phone numbers. I was caught by one as if it had been real it would have benefited us a lot here. I do hope however the person didn’t get many calls. I don’t understand why people would do something so asinine though.
Yesterday we went and got another truck bed load of composted wood from the lumber mill (free is good in this case). We did mix in some of the sawdust with it to help keep it a bit more loosened. It will soon become part of new beds that will grow as time goes on.
…and speaking of that “style” of gardening I did find the video of Ruth Stout’s garden on youtube. I had forgotten that someone did a video on here in the 1970’s. I was very excited to see it, her methods are very simple and if you take hers and add in lasagna gardening and regular no till it makes wonderful soil.
We have a few days of rain ahead of us (yeah spring), so we’ll be working as weather permits us to here.
Be Well, Be Safe,and Blessed Be…

It was a Dark and Stormy Night

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..it really was too…

It overfilled my pond a wee bit, the young willow on the right of the picture has wet feet.  However it’s not the only one with wet feet…

That would be my Macintosh tree.  It’s kinda swimming, so as soon as it dries up a little bit (yeah Spring and dry prob not anytime soon) I need to get more dirt around it to keep it from happening again.  I just need it dry enough to move the dirt without it being clumped.

The other side wasn’t so wet thankfully:

Not sure how well you can see it, but the Redhaven peach is in water that isn’t in water now.  It soaked up in a few hours where as the Mac is still in all that water.  See the tires?  I thought I’d try the grow potatoes in tires since I have 7 tires right now.

Also I have  another picture of the cinder block stove.

The back will get raised up like the sides, then we’ll fill up the holes of the  cinder blocks then they’ll be capped and some rebar will be put across to cook over.  Also the center will get a solid block for the burn surface.   I can’t wait for it to get done so we can cook in the mornings on it.

Hope you’re safe with the severe weather moving about.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Garden Sprouts

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I went out this morning between rain drops and this is what I saw:

 That is a pea.. and it’s not the only one either, seems so far half of the peas have sprouted and I’m waiting on the rest.  I can’t wait to see them climbing all over the place.

Then there is this:

There is a row of spinach seedlings there.  I am sooo excited.  I have lettuce sprouting too but the pictures did not come out at all what so ever.  I know my red current did survive and is putting on growth big time and the willow I planted last fall near my pond is alive as well and greening out.

I LOVE Spring.

BE Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Wood Fired Waterheater

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This was written by Silver and I, Riven have posted it for Him.


A couple years ago
we were given a gas fired water heater. Upon inspection it was
apparent that the entire burner assembly was useless. So a week or
so later I removed all of the burner and the insulation from the
bottom foot or so, at first thinking the tank might be useful. About
that time I watched a couple videos on using wood fired water heaters
and decided to see what I could do with it.
Other than keeping
the heat shield used to hold the burner assembly, I found a old
unused steel tire rim that the shield fit into snuggly. The lower
half I filled with dirt and gravel to help keep it in place. The
opening in the shield where the gas burner had entered I opened a bit
and used for the wood feed.
Given the fear of
over pressure and possible explosion fed by all the warnings we had
seen on the net, I only filled the tank with water and left the lines
unattached. After filling the “fire box” and lighting it using
small branches and kindling, we found that to heat the initial forty
gallons took approximately a hour. After, it took less time,
refilling the used water, keeping the fire running with only small
pieces of fire wood.
At the time we did
not have a water heater so it was a godsend for us. Much easer than
heating the water on the stove or a fire a gallon at the time. Some
time later we were given an electric water heater that with some
parts worked and so we stopped using the wood fired one. Given the
setting up of our outdoor kitchen I moved it to that location and am
setting it up once again for use there. This time I will not have any
fear of running it under pressure as it is fairly easy to tell when
it is getting hot enough and the pressure relief valve is attached.
Given the fire box is less than a cubic foot does not hold enough for
a long burn time.
One last thing the
warnings online also mentioned the chimney being too small to work
accurately. We had no trouble with it on ours nor do we expect to. My
guess on others experiences is they were trying to have to big a fire
going in it. As we were not in a hurry to have the water heat up we
did not over feed it.
 I hope this helps
any that are interested to try there hand at it though only if you
feel comfortable with attempting it.
Silver has said if anyone has questions feel free to post them and He’ll do His best to answer them.
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