Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Absences and busy scheduals

Greetings to those people who think that perhaps we have fallen off the face of the earth! Things have been extraordinarily busy here as we have been house/land hunting and the kiddos have started their extracurricular activities, and me and the Mr have both been ill. Despite all of those issues we have had some huge self-sufficiency gains in the last month.

The tomato harvest is pretty well over, unless the new sproutlets that have decided to bloom out again does so in a hurry before it frosts. Peppers, I am swimming in them. I picked a little over two pounds of jalapeno peppers today.  We have gotten a few cantaloupe from our one lonely little vine and the poor lonely okra plant that was planted has been trying to make up for it's lack of having a friend near by.  My herbs are making sure that my house smells constantly like I am cooking as I am using fresh in everything and still having to dehydrate to keep up with the bounty that the basil, mints, rosemary (I thought they were supposed to be slow growers?) and parsley have been producing. The parsley had dropped off around the end of the hot spell mostly due to an absolutely horrible aphid infestation that I had that I thought had killed the parsley, my pepper plants, and my kale off completely...Nah, just stunted there growth for about a month and now all of them are doing well. Kale and Swiss Chard are as beautiful as ever now and prolific as well.

We haven't dug the sweet potatoes yet, but I sit and let my mouth water just thinking about it every time I go out and see how far and fast my sweet potatoes have grown. Winter squash is in the ground and doing well and started blooming this week. I hope to get a few to put up at least for this winter as it always makes wonderful comfort foods when it is cold.

I do have a cautionary tale however for whoever may be interested...Luffa gourds should not ever be planted where you want anything else to grow. I made the mistake of planting them in my raised beds this year. They have grown so fast in the last month that they have taken over my yard, my raised beds, a swimming pool ladder and have encroached into my traditional bed as well despite many attempts to keep it cut back. Now if you have a porch or trellis, or even a gazebo that you want to have a beautiful green leafy shade screen on, these things would be the way to go. They thrive in the heat, and have been really enjoying this fall weather too. I think next year they will be planted around my front porch to use as a privacy screen and shade for the summer months. And I only planted 4 seeds total btw. Just to give a little perspective.

So many things to do yet before tucking everything in for winter, but so many beautiful things have happened this year that I can't help but start thinking ahead to next spring and beyond. Hopefully I will have more time in the coming weeks to keep things going here a bit better than I have done in the past months.

Blogging seems to be a serious business and although this one is focused mainly on my gardening, there is so much more in our lives right now than the garden. I have tried to keep things here as politically correct and focused on the gardening part of our lives as possible but when I go back and read the things I have posted previously, they all fall flat. One dimensional slices of our lives that make us sound clinical, boring, and dull. We are anything but! I hope you will give me a chance to show you all more about us as I work on opening myself, and our family up a bit more to share with you and yours. For now though, while I have the house to myself, there is a bed of peppers out there mocking me with their full plants.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I am such a beginner at so many things I am trying to become knowledgeable about in short order. I believe that with GMO's raising their heads, and the current economy being less than stellar, and watching food prices rise all the time due to the wide spread drought world wide, that things are bound to get a whole lot worse before they start looking better again. There are lots of days that I feel pretty well trapped where I am in my little rural town with some rules that are more stringent than the bigger cities around us. We are lucky in that we have a pretty big yard, and our landlords give us almost complete free reign as long as we keep things looking neat and orderly. Not hard to do with my raised beds that I am so proud of.

My raised beds in march of this year.

They looked so neat and perfect this spring when I started putting my plants in. Nothing like the over grown jungle that resides out in my back yard now. But out of that overgrown jungle, before the drought hit full force, I was bringing in between 20 and 60 tomatoes a day. Plus a few cucumbers, more broccoli, and my peppers are just starting to go nuts. I have been dehydrating like crazy, made spaghetti sauce, salsa, and jam. And then I gave most of my dehydrated stuff away to some of my family when they helped another family out and gained three more mouths to feed for a little bit. I loved being able to do that and help them out. To be able to feel like I -could- do that without putting us in a bind.

Everything that you read about prepping, everything you read about food storage or survival tends to focus on putting yourself first.  PEOPLE! Isn't that how we -got- in this situation? Putting ourselves first? I agree, you have to take care of yourself so you can take care of others but taking care of  yourself to the exclusion of all else just seems a little silly and counter productive to me.  I am not going to go that way. I am going to extend my help, my expertise to everyone I can. Starting with looking for a few freebie Kindle books from Amazon to share links with from time to time.

Here are today's












These were all free at the time of my posting, however I never know when Amazon and their many publishers will change the prices of their ebooks.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quick post, will go for the long shot later, but if you have ever been interested in dehydrating your food, enter this contest it is SO worth it! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rambling after work

I was sitting here tonight talking with the Dear Hubby, and after discussing a wonderful blog post about ways to give up Vick's chest rub by using olive oil mixed with essential oils to alleviate the same symptoms, and it hit me, I read a lot of blogs written by homesteaders, by people that are considered Preppers, or by people who are trying to figure out how to deal with the situation of what happens if SHTF (shit hits the fan), not one of them that I have seen covers easy to access, LOCAL oil/fat products in their home remedies.

Where I live, coconut trees would not thrive, olive trees wouldn't survive either, other than maybe the Russian Olive...So although all these wonderful natural fats will be easily accessible in some areas, in the colder climates, they just aren't viable options. So I was lead to wonder why more of these groups don't focus on the easy to access fats such as lard, or butter. I know they aren't ideal, but they might be all left to a large amount of the population if some major catastrophe hit and forced us all to fend for ourselves.

Perhaps this is something I should research more fully and share my findings here. It can be yet another excuse to avoid the masses of house work always waiting on me. I have never enjoyed cleaning my home, or any other, other than the satisfaction of looking at what had been accomplished when it was all done. I would much rather be out foraging, hunting, fishing, gardening, taking care of my critters, and spending time outside. I have a feeling that when we move out on to a farm of our own the Dear Hubby will be rather dismayed to discover all the tales told him of my childhood ring true. I will clean my house, for I cannot stand filth, but if I get the chance I will always be outside first!

In other news, I have been a dehydrating fool this last week. I have learned that frozen veggies and fruits dehydrate beautifully, and I have been working on cleaning out our freezer to prepare for some fresh, grass fed beef to be added to it. Plus if we do get to move soon, I fully intend to have my freezers as empty as possible so I don't worry myself sick over whether the food survives the move in the abnormally warm spring we have had thus far.

The garden WILL be planted by the end of this weekend, even if I have to do so in a coat and boots while soaking wet in the rain. A solid 1/4 of my beds are going to be almost 6 weeks ahead of everything else. All because I decided to plant things on a lark because of all of our 70 degree and over weather through February and March. I hope to start posting some photos soon of my new and improved garden beds however I wanted  to wait until there had been a chance to mow so that I could show it off in it's full glory instead of showing the yard that was neglected due to a broken mower. So soon, very soon.

I hope that to those who read my little blog here you are all having a marvelous week and that wherever you are the weather blesses you with all things wonderful.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

29 days later...

I am preparing to go to work and realize I have neglected this far too long. I have reconnected with an online friend within the last couple of weeks, which has been heavenly,  Mr S has turned 5, and requested a cake for his party next week that is 1/2 as tall as he is, The Bob has been enjoying school so much that I am sure one of these days he is going to try to find a way to go every waking hour. And my Boo, is gaining speed with his reading daily. I couldn't be more proud. 

We have had a disappointment in the last 29 days, the house we thought we were going to buy has been taken off the table for us. It was tested for meth and found positive in the house, one outbuilding, and one of the mobile homes on the property. I am sure if we were still keeping track of it, the soil samples would have come back positive too. It breaks my heart because that is the house that my grandparents owned my entire childhood. I had looked forward to creating even more memories there with my children. In other news, anyone want 20 meth tainted acres with a great view of Stockton lake?

I am starting to feel way behind, and overwhelmed with everything that is going on. I have a garden that I am behind in getting seeds started and things planted out in it. My house is a DISASTER Clean laundry in piles, dirty laundry in the back room filling the laundry hamper, a big box of toys in the living room where we took all the toys out of the boys room to try to re-organize and move stuff around the day we thought we were getting a new couch. I suppose we are just going to have to move our old couch out of the boyos room and back into the living room so we have a place for people to sit in the living room other than my rocking chair. The table needs a good scrubbing, the critter cages need cleaned, poor Pumpkin's cage for the last time. The poor guinea pig died a little over a week ago. He was apparently an old man (didn't realize they only lived 4-7 years and he was 4 when we got him over a  year and a half ago) and he got a respiratory infection that despite my best efforts to save him, claimed his life. 

It all seems so overwhelming it is hard to get started sometimes. Especially when I would rather be outside and spending time with the kids while I can while they are little instead of being inside cleaning and being June Cleaver. Don't get me wrong, I love to cook and I have been grilling the last few days for supper and enough left overs for us to have lunch the next day and it has been a breath of fresh air for me. I have also been grabbing little meditation moments here and there. Which have reminded me why it always used to be a daily thing for me. Whatever your version of prayer is, it soothes the soul.

Dennis has been being a huge help, emotionally, and around the house. I just don't know what I would do with out his never ending support, love, and acceptance of my craziness in this world. I have been doing a lot of research on homesteading, because ultimately that is the lifestyle I want to live. Dennis has been helpful in asking questions, listening when I go bulldog on a topic and just keep going on and on about it, but most of all, he hasn't called me crazy. He has agreed that it is a lifestyle for us to work towards together, for us to raise our children that way, and that it would be nice to grow old on a place of our own eating things we raised ourselves. I am truly blessed.

I have done a lot of rambling today, but I think as disjointed as I have felt today it came out with the
writing here. I haven't really opened up and exposed myself yet, but it is coming. I am just reacquainting myself with writing at all. A story is in the works, so perhaps writing on a novel will help me open up more about myself here. Until next time...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What is this white stuff and why is it on my bushes?

We had snow. Beautiful, lovely cold and school canceling snow. Fortunately the kiddos have all been really good today. The Bob has been his usual mess making self but in a good mood about it instead of showcasing the whiny threes. The other two have played nicely with each other almost all day which is nearly unheard of. I on the other hand have been lazy lazy lazy. I have piles of laundry that need done, critter cages that need cleaned, a living/dining room that is a major disaster still, but I soothe myself with that by repeating that I haven't gotten all my furniture yet. The kitchen is still the bane of my existence, I would much rather be outside with the critters, with my hands in the dirt, watching the plants grow than wash dishes....perhaps I should get into pottery so that I can make dishes that we eat off of once and then I break them down and start over again.....wishful thinking.

The boys are so excited about some of the seed they have started so far. They are coming up nicely and even the tomatillos that I have never had any luck with have sprouted. I suppose they just took Boo's touch to decide they wanted to come up....he is my Sunshine after all. 

Getting ready to move computers over to our new desk, I should return to finish this post after we get things moved around!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Never knew baby steps looked like bunny slippers....

My new bunbuns are beautiful. I have an angora male that is so absolutely beautiful he makes me cry thinking of all the beautiful yarn I will be able to spin with his fur.  Then there is my little baby doe, she is this lovely silver grey and so pretty to be only 12 weeks old. Then Gianormica, big, sweet, and shy shy shy.  I feel like I am finally on my way.

 For almost  21 years I have had the same dream. I have dreamed of owning my own acreage and working towards being self-sufficient. I had always dreamed that it would be me and my poly family. My friends, and people who wanted the same kind of life that I am striving for. People who knew how to be respectful to the land, grateful for what we got and worked for, and considerate and kind to one another. I have had a lot of friends and loved ones that I thought wanted the same things. And some of them I think still want something similar. They will always be welcome. It is who I am. Once someone is family to me, they are always family.

I got sidetracked. I was wanting to detail a bit more for myself and whoever reads this the things that are still constant in my plan. Right now the big D and I are looking at a house on 20 acres. It has some awesome outbuildings, and a couple of mobile homes on it. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to the whole place and a lot of elbow grease is going to be needed to get it up to snuff, but when I look out across it I can see my fruit orchard and my garden in the different seasons... I can see my children and ourselves out playing in the yard. I can see where the goats and sheep and llamas will be, the horses running up the hill when they hear us call. The kids coming bursting into my Den when they get off the bus after school to see what I am working on, and to tell me about their day. When I stand on this place, I can see and hear all these things...I can see Dennis and I snuggling on a glider rocker on the carport watching the humming birds flit around the feeders in the morning sipping tea as the sun comes up.

It is such a peaceful feeling to feel when I am there. Near enough to the lake that from the west sun room we can watch the sun set over the water. I will be able to walk down to the water with the kids in the summer and swim or fish either one, or both for that matter!

I am not crazy about preparing for a natural disaster or some other, but I do believe in preparing ahead. I had neighbors as a kid that always had enough of everything. Anytime any of us ran low on food for what ever reason, they had enough to give to any of their neighbors. I didn't find out until way into my high school that they were Mormon. Their beliefs led them to have at least a year's worth of food on hand, to be able to help people in need, to be prepared when they needed something, and to appreciate the bounty that they had received. I always admired the rows of home canned veggies and fruit, their garden that always had things in it I hadn't seen grow before, like learning as a kid that peanuts grew underground...I never knew. My mom always bought eggs and milk from them for us when we didn't have hens for whatever reason, and she had the hardest time getting me to leave their barn. How could I leave? It was full of turkey's, peafowl, guineas, chickens, cats, and if I was lucky a new litter of kittens or two. A calf or two was not unusual, and of course the ducks and the geese. Gail always had  a smile on his face and a joke to play on me or my sister, but the tricks (treats in themselves) were always followed by a treat from the kitchen from Mildred.

I wanted to be like them when I got to be that age. I wanted to be out puttering around my farm, planting another year's garden, picking another bushel of beans, telling my neighbor kids to make sure they got all the blackberries off the bushes ...every single one, because I didn't want to mess with putting up any more of them that year.

I am working towards that, and I see the three rabbits in my shed right now as the first step in that direction.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A baby step....

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to own a place of my own and have a small orchard, a HUGE garden, and raise critters of all types. To know where my food came from and what it ate, and know that it was treated with respect and love while it was alive, and gratitude and honor as it died. I feel like I am one step closer to that this weekend. I am going tomorrow to pick up my three new rabbits for breeding and fiber. I am getting an Angora male that is white, A New Zealand jr. Doe that is grey, and a Flemish Giant/New Zealand cross doe, I will meet them tomorrow to decide if I want the white FG/NZ cross or the sandy colored one.

This is going to give me rabbits that should be great for meat rabbits and also at least the one buck for angora fiber for spinning. They are about the only thing that I can raise in town with me having a grumpy neighbor who refuses for me to be able to have chickens for their eggs, with food getting higher and higher and higher, I just want to do something to help cut the costs of our living, and to make me feel like I am doing something to help the environment.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Today I woke up and almost couldn't move due to having something out of place in my back. I haven't been able to really get anything accomplished today other than the lights and heat mats put into my little seed starting greenhouse. The boys and I have managed to plant one flat full of seeds, now they are all old seeds so I am not holding my breath, but I have been pleasantly  surprised in the past with seeds that have been even older, so there is still hope.  I have had time to devote to more intellectual pursuits and have started planning my garden.

We are expecting closer to average temps this week, so much of the work I had planned I am likely going to wimp out on doing simply because I don't want to be out in the cold but I can promise I will use the excuse that I don't want to drag my nephew out in it as a way to save face. Dennis and I are going to be putting out what I am going to call my one-two punch garden. We are going to have around a 35x20 foot in ground traditional garden and then some of my raised beds...or possibly all of them, we haven't decided yet. I have 12 raised beds that are shorter and good for everything except your longer root veggies, and one bed that is a foot deep and perfect for carrots parsnips and potatoes. The garden bug always hits me about mid winter especially if we have a handful of nice sunny warm days. We have had more than our share of those nice sunny days this winter and I shudder to think of what may still be in store for us yet, or what our summer may be.

The boys are recovering from their sudden snotty noses, and all three are still loving being in school. Hard to believe that The Bob is going to our local co-op school to help him with his speech. Thankfully he doesn't seem to have the behavioral or the sensory issues that Turkey does. So far they are doing great being in the same classroom together despite my fears that they may clash and fight being in the same class. Boo is LOVING kindergarten and doing very very well, which isn't surprising at the rate he likes to learn. I don't know how the girls are doing in school this year as they are going to a different school this year than they did last. Their previous school sent us their report cards each time and we often got emails from their teachers talking about how they were doing and what they were studying. This year we haven't been lucky enough to receive such communications.

Hopefully there will be photos of our new rabbits up this weekend as I am preparing to go and get a little herd of rabbits started again as long as the wicked wizard of the east doesn't complain just to hear himself rumble.  And I am going to make like a potato...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

And thus another chapter begins

It seems like for every chapter in my life, I can find some way that I have chronicled my journey. I kept written journals in elementary and in high school, poetry in high school and college, then when I started getting online in college my electronic journals began...with my first marriage I was on live journal more often than not talking about my day, my hopes my fears, then I moved to facebook and now I am on facebook and finding that short little posts aren't what I am wanting to share with friends, family and strangers alike mostly because a stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet. I want to share my life. My story.

Every oddity that crosses my mind, my often contradictory interests and thoughts, the things that bring me joy and laughter (with five kids there are plenty of those) and the things that bring sadness and anger. My tales of reaching for my dream of homesteading, of being more self-sufficient, and crafting every moment I can craft. I am here to share those things with everyone and the knowledge I am gaining along the way as I learn about the things that interest matter how varied they are.

I welcome anyone as long as you don't try to start drama, a good conversation is one thing, I have a low tolerance for trolls they tend to upset the goats.