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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…

Fruit Tree Update!

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So I thought I’d show how my new fruit trees are doing as I took a picture of each of them when we were out yesterday. Here is the funny part my delicious was the slowest to get started leafing out but look at it now.
Conversely the peach tree the first one to get leaves is going slow to get them full size. Maybe they go slower?

This is doing good to this is the Cortland apple, I think it’ll give my delicious a run for it’s money on speed of growth.
The Mac seems to be doing better, however the buds on the top that had the “rust” on them don’t seems to have produced any real leaves at all.

I hope they keep doing well, and that the peach tree gets a move on with it’s growing. I am pleased so far with these trees from Stark Bros, I do believe I will order from them again in the future. Granted, these guys still have a lot of growing to do.
On another note the grape we’ve had (now in the third year), is doing amazingly this year. It has loads of leaves and is growing like the proverbial weed. I think it’s happy.
So I’m 39 today, ugh another year and I hit 4 decades. Funny how it took me to be in my 30’s to decide living here this way was a good idea. I am happy   Though living here far from the hustle and bustle of the city. Funny how now when we go to town I have troubles dealing with all the people and the funny thing is I grew up in the Chicago area.
Our across the street neighbors are getting their power pole today and seems our power will be off for a short time while they do it. Guess what though our neighbor’s aren’t here to see it, it’s funny as they’ve been waiting two weeks for it to be put in so it’s funny.
Have a good day and be safe.
BE Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Looks like a short Work Week

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Seems we’re going to have rain all week starting tomorrow, which means no mixing dirt for plants as it’s to hard to do when the dirt is mud.  So we’ve been working our butts off this morning trying to get as much as we can done, thankfully it has been cool out today.

Hey Dogwood season is in full bloom:

I was worried she wouldn’t bloom this year as she didn’t last year, but see.  She’s putting a good show on this year for us.

So today’s work started with a tomato in a bucket, which if you haven’t heard of them is you grow a tomato in the bottom of a 5 gallon pail hanging from something so the air can flow around it good and no need to stake.

We picked up a “patio” cherry tomato yesterday:

It’s very dense in growth and has some flowers on it already, I am hoping it’ll be good for snacking tomatoes for Silver and the girls so I can can the garden ones.  So for starters you need a 5 gallon bucket with lid, you flip it over and cut a hole in the bottom:

So you do need to know that if you are doing a started plant that is firmly rooted (like in a peat pot) you make the hole smaller than the diameter of the whole pot.  Just big enough to fit the plant threw.

You do need to be careful when feeding the plant threw the hole to make sure you don’t yank too hard on it.  Oh, we are doing this across two sawhorses so we can stand the bucket up for filling without hurting the plant in the process.

The soil you fill the bucket with should be fairly “airy” so it won’t turn into a rock over the growing season.  Which would not be good for the plant:

This soil is half topsoil and half sawdust which will also retain water in dry spells here.  Now once Silver filled the bucket past the bottom of the peat pot I dug out some egg shells to crush in and he got some wood ash and sprinkled it over it.

So after that we filled it the rest of the way (eggshells are for calcium to prevent blossom end rot) to the very brim so that if turned over onto it’s lid (don’t for get to put the lid on) it’s not shifted any.  Now if you have a plant that was in a say “six pack” or doing it from seed you’ll need to leave it inverted until it is rooted well enough it won’t fall out when you turn it over again.  We left our’s inverted while we figured out how (as in with what) we were going to hang it.

We’re hanging it from the outdoor kitchen and we have no eye bolts nor do we have any strong hanging brackets right now.  However, we do have a bunch of nylon belts with the double metal pieces that is the buckle.  Effectively strapping so we strapped it to one of the 2X4’s on the outdoor kitchen.

That location should get enough sunlight for it to grow well.  It is now done aside from it growing, make sure the lid is no longer attached as that is how you water the plant.   I am thinking of sprinkling moss rose seeds over the top of the bucket as they do trail and it should be pretty as well.

..hmm this is turning out to be a long post.  But oh well…

My garden is moving along nicely.  I had a Oh my Gods moment over the weekend as my tomato seedlings started drooping and were getting burnt by their light.  So they went out into their bed.

They did get a bit of a hair cut though as they had gotten leggy and I needed to bury most of the stems, good for more roots so they should grow very well.  though I do see after planting (only half a bed full) why I’d want 25 for my size family.  ..and here I only had twelve to start with.  The bell peppers went into the ground too because for some reason they were bending over, I never experienced that in peppers before so i rushed them out too.
I do wish they were bigger before planting them but It happens.

When we got the cherry tomato I picked up a couple more plants that I wanted as well, first up is an egg plant.  I love eating these but I don’t know enough to grow it from seed as yet nor grow more than one plant in case it doesn’t do well.  It is a Black Beauty:

This was the largest and best looking plant they had and it had some bad leaves on it that I am hoping will be ok as it grows.  We also picked up a mammoth jalapeno in the hopes we can have stuffed deep fried peppers again.  However last time I grew these they were hotter than normal jalapenos.  It is planted FAR from my bell peppers so no cross pollination in my herb garden.

I felt since we had a red colored tub it’d be perfect for a hot pepper to be planted in.  The last plant we picked up is an herb that I swear I will keep in a pot in the house this winter so I don’t need to buy a fourth one.  A new Rosemary plant:

I had heard it was possible to grow them outside and they’d survive winter’s here, yeah it didn’t last… TWICE.  So we bought another one and it’s staying potted and when we get a green house it’ll prob spend the winter in there.  So aside from us trying to get the rest of the beds done up and the last two planting tires filled the hard garden work is almost done.  Then we’ll move onto the “add to the soil as it grows” time.  Then the “stuff” we’ll pile onto the beds this fall.  I have bean plantings in my future and cantaloupe once my last two tires are done.  If my squashes don’t come up by May first I will replant them.  I was trying to see how early I could honestly plant since average last frost here is April 15th.

As for that tomato bucket please note the buckets are HEAVY with all that soil in them so be careful hanging them when you do.  I think I pulled some odd muscles when I lifted it, man did that hurt!  We got it in place though and it’s not budging until late fall.  I do know that Silver had a couple of those before I moved in with him in NY, they sat on his porch all summer long and produced so many that no one could finish them all and they were throwing some out.  I’m hoping it does as just a good of a job.

How you aren’t in bad storms or flooding right now.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Ah Freebies!

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I really like the people my girls go to church with because they can be so helpful.  We were asked to drive over on Saturday, to pick up a few things.

We got two of these tractor tires, Silver cut the side walls out and we’re going to put acorn squash in one (for now) and carrots int he other.  Our regular soil here isn’t good enough for carrots but having something that big will give me the chance to fill with enough soil to do carrots.

Then these two barrels, there are at least 6 more waiting for us when we can get them.

See how it’s sitting?  These are  going to be a bake oven for my outdoor kitchen.  We just need one more barrel but it has to be a food grade one.  The bottom one will have a rocket like fire chamber but permit larger wood pieces.  That top one will be split in half to be used as the way to let the heat travel around the baking chamber.  We’re going to use parts from a barrel stove kit to make this.

This wonderful person who gave us these items also has more regular tires, manure and garden soil they’re giving to us for free!  We picked up[ a load of the garden soil yesterday.. three “bucket” loads which only gave that poor 1/2 ton pickup 6 inch clearance on the road on the way home.  Silver said that it wasn’t “bottomed out” yet though.  However I don’t think i want that much in there again.  It looked like we had half a low rider when we got home and we scraped on our dirt road coming in because of it.

Oh as to the garden…  This is a sun choke sprout:

Eh ok a couple of sprouts, as when I tried for one it was too blurry to be seen.  However the sun chokes do have a war going on with a native plant that I’m not sure I want to kill as I’m like to harvest some when they are ripe.

Those are Mayapples… not a good idea to eat unless you pick when ripe and only eat the fruit.   Around here it’s common to make jam with them.  I’ve been wanting to make some for years, but they don’t like direct sun so I’m not sure why they haven’t died yet.  They are trying to give my sun chokes a run for their money however.

I have elected as it’s been so nice that I’m going to “test” plant a few things that have to wait till after last frost.  As technically normal last frost is about April 15th, however last year we had frosts till mid May.  So I am going to take a partial chance at some plantings and wait on the rest till after mid May to plant.  I am hoping for no more frosts.

Hope your garden is going well!

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…
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