Monthly Archives: June 2008

Independence Days Update

1. PLANT SOMETHING: Some of my watermelon plants are coming up now. I planted three different kinds of cucumbers: one for slicing, one for pickles, and lemon cucumbers. I also planted my six little blueberry bushes in front of the house. One of them is mysteriously missing now and since ordering season is over for them I guess I’ll have to get another one next year. I have a feeling that the puppy must have dug it up but I couldn’t find it anywhere in the yard. What a bummer. On a good note, the potato plants that were accidently run over with the rototiller are coming back up again. I’m not sure if it is the same stems or new ones so hopefully it didn’t hurt the yield too badly. At least we’ll have some! 🙂

2. Harvest something. Not much ready right now. Next year I’ve got to plant some lettuce! My gooseberry plants have some pretty big berries on them but I don’t think they’re quite ready yet. I guess you could say we are harvesting hay because that is stockpiled feed for our animals all winter. We got 85 good bales off before a hailstorm hit and then the rest of a 7 acre field got poured on and will be cattle feed. Brian cut a couple rounds on the 15 acre field today. He has decided to say forget the weatherman and go with his gut instincts. I think he’ll be better off.

3. Preserve something. *sigh* This is become more of a to-do list then notes on what I have done. I’ll have to e-mail my Mom after this post and see if I can get more of her rhubarb to freeze. Oh, and my friend at work did leave some in the fridge for me so I’ll get that tomorrow. Who knew I would love rhubarb so much. Plus I found a new recipe for it today so I’ll try that.

4. Prep something. I have a couple of things to do here:

-Build a compost bin: we currently have to haul the table scraps across the road to avoid having them end up as dog food. Even then sometimes the puppy sneaks over and grabs a bite.

-Clean out the little red shed: this is the place where my chickens are housed and my sheep were at originally. I need to clean out the thick bed of hay and straw before the slatted wood floor gets rotten. Then I can finish the chickens’ coop.

5. Cook something. Not much new here. I did make another patch of rhubarb muffins – Mmm Mmm!

6. Manage your reserves. I’m still doing okay here with the pantry. I was a little bummed when my fiance proudly announced he found a great sale on Powerade and then bought 2 cases of 15 bottles each. A few months ago I would have been excited about his find (and I was still a little proud at how price-conscious he is!) but it sucks to buy all those plastic bottles. We do reuse them until they get slimy or smelly but I’m afraid that probably isn’t too healthy. Of course they go in the recycling bin after. So in an attempt to prevent this problem in the future we also bought a huge thing of Gatorade powder so I can mix up our own batches at home once the other stuff is gone.

7. Work on local food systems. Okay I still need to find a local source of feed for the sheep and chickens but I’ve got my flour source now! Atleast I think so. I called and talked to Shirley at Hampshire Farms and learned that they have several different kinds of flour and beans available. The flour is sold in 2# packages but larger quantities are available for order so I am going to try out a few different kinds and see what I like. Funny thing, as we got to talking we figured out that the farms’ owner went to school with my fiance’s parents and although there main farm is about 30 minutes away they also have an organic vegetable patch only 2 miles from our house! What a small world. I am so excited to get my first flour from them!

Independence Days Here on the Farm

I decided to join the Independence Days Challenge so here is my first post about it:

1. PLANT SOMETHING: Well let’s see… already this year I have planted carrots, onions, bush beans, pole beans, snap peas and sugar peas, potatoes, and tomatoes. The seeds all came from Baker Creek Seed Co. and are heirloom varietes. The tomatoes plants came from a small greenhouse at a local farm but I’m afraid they shipped them in from somewhere else. I tried to start my own tomatoes from seed but I killed them – better luck next year I guess. The potatoes came from another local greenhouse. They do come from out of state but the family personal selects them and brings them home every year.

Everything mentioned above has been planted for atleast a week now. Oh I also planted sunflowers (heirloom), and some raspberry, black currant, and gooseberry bushes. Today I got the dward blueberry bushes that I ordered. Tonight my fiance rototilled another section of the garden one last time and we spread a thick layer of composted hay over the top. I planted 3 different varieties of watermelon in hills in this new section. I also finished mulching the rest of the garden with straw. It is really coming along!

2. Harvest something. About the only thing I have harvested so far is asparagus. This is pretty tasty stuff, I have a piece every morning on my way by as part of the garden tour. I have also been given rhubarb and made some delicious muffins with brown sugar topping. In fact I have more in the fridge waiting to be used.

3. Preserve something. My Mom and sister and I spent Saturday afternoon picking strawberries (Oh I also planted my own of these this year!) and making 72 4-ounce jars of jam as favors for my wedding. We picked the berries at a local U-pick farm and I plan to visit another farm and make atleast as many more jars before the season is over. I am hoping the jam will actually get used and maybe I’ll even get some of the jars back. It will be better than some silly plastic favor anyway.

4. Prep something. Well I guess I’m doing more in this area than I originally thought. I’m reading Living With Sheep to develop my skills as a shepherd. I am thinking about requesting a sewing machine on our wedding registry so that I can make my own scrubs and I’m trying to figure out if it would be cost and time efficient to make my fiance’s t-shirts instead of buying them. We sorted through all of our clothes and have a big pile to go to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Our winter wardrobe is going to go in a rubbermaid container in the attic to make room for the summer stuff. I have a large supply of shampoo and toothpaste (more than I’ll ever use) so I was thinking of putting some of it on Freecycle and trying out the shampoo bars that FakePlasticFish found. We have tried to pick eco-friendly items for our wedding registry and avoid junk. I really want a food grinder to make apple sauce and a bean frencher but I’ll have to buy them later because none of the stores with registries carry them.

5. Cook something. Well I tried to make homemade bread from scratch twice last week and it failed both times. I think I might have had some crappy yeast. I’ll try again this week. I’ll also be making more rhubarb muffins.

6. Manage your reserves. This is a neverending project for me. We have a great system for the pantry where each item goes on the grocery list when there is only one extra left in storage. So if a bottle of mustard goes in the fridge and there is one left on the shelf it goes on the list. Then I have time to watch for a sale. I’d like to make a grocery price book like I use to have where each item (bread, PB, etc.) gets a page and you note what you pay for it each time with a breakdown per ounce, etc. This made it easy to find the best prices. I also keep trying to eliminate processed foods and replace them with homemade items. I quit buying poptarts in hopes of supplying us with homemade muffins but have yet to make any that Brian likes (he’s not much for rhubarb). There are a lot of jars of old canned food that were here in the farmhouse when we moved in. I need to dump them out and wash the jars someday.

7. Work on local food systems. This is not as easy as I thought. I found a Mennonite store in the area that sells organic, unbleached flour in bulk. I was very excited until I questioned them and found that they buy it from a company in Indiana that ships it in from Montana. 😦
I am still looking for a local supplier of organic (certified or not) chicken and sheep feed. I guess supporting the U-pick farm will have to be my local contribution for this week.