Independence Days Update:

Sharon November 16th, 2009

It was the quiet week in between weeks of chaos.  First I was away twice in two weeks, meaning Eric soloed for 10 days out of 14, or was away himself.  All the travel was good, but it meant a lot of things were up in the air.  Then, finally the travel and the event I ran at our shul were over, and things were back to normal for a week.  Now my Dad is visiting, followed by family friends of his, and Simon’s birthday party (headcount is up into the 40s – lots of family and friends -  which is cool, but requires some advance prep), and the morning after everyone leaves, we’re off to Boston for five days for Thanksgiving.  Getting ready for that is a project in itself – we don’t usually leave the critters with our kind attendants for so long.

So last week was integral – we were supposed to get a lot of stuff done.  Of course, we also really needed sleep, and normalcy, so well, we didn’t.  We didn’t get the barn fully cleaned out (which means we have to do it tomorrow).  We didn’t get the turkeys into the butcher (this wasn’t slacking – they simply aren’t big enough to go – so we’re raising Chanukah/Christmas/Solstice birds, I guess).  We didn’t get new hutches assembled for the new bunnies.

We did, however, get the bunnies.  Michelle, who I met through the blog and classes bartered me four rabbits for one of my classes this summer, and Saturday night, as we drove back through Ida’s torrential rains from my book signing, we arrived to a van full of rabbits.  This was fairly awesome.  We received three cinnamon rabbits and an angora, named Parsley(cinnamon buck), Sage (cinnamon doe), Rosemary (cinnamon doe) and Thyme (french angora buck) by my children. 

My rabbit goals are two-fold – unfortunately, we can’t eat them ourselves (I like rabbit just fine), because they aren’t kosher.  But my goal is to seed the area with rabbit stock and encourage more people to breed their own meat, while also supplying our working dogs and cats with some of their feed.  The angora joins our other angora providing fiber to be mixed in with the wool I get in exchange for letting my neighbor use our pasture.  Now if only I actually had time to spin!  Fiber is building! 

Otherwise – we did clear out the kidding pen (which will be the rabbits’ winter quarters – by the time we need it for goat babies again, it should be warm enough to move the buns out for the season) and put some of the garden beds to bed.  I’ve had the goats eating down the garden wastes, and have a truckload of old salvaged cinder blocks coming sooner or later (another barter) to make new beds in the front.  I’m also collecting stone to do some terracing in the front yard in the spring. 

The rabbits officially belong to the children, and they are enthusiastic about their new jobs of bringing them greens, feeding and watering, etc..  They are also extremely excited because I’ve promised the boys that they can have silkie chickens in the spring, and take both the cinnamons and the silkies to the fair.  They are already debating colors.

Not many eggs these days – mostly because it is November, but also because they are hiding their nests again.  Goats are lowering their production as well as we head into winter – everyone is settling.

Otherwise, not too much to report – still harvesting greens and roots, still putting the last of the harvest up in the form of sauerkraut and kimchi, apple butter and quince jam, but mostly we used last week to recover our equilibrium.  Realistically, given what’s going on, it is just as well we did, since I don’t expect to see it again until December ;-) .

Plant something: Garlic, Tulips, a ginger root that was throwing a bud

Harvest something: Chard, sorrel, parsley, sage, beets, carrots, scallions, leeks, kale, turnips, arugula, celeriac.

Preserve something: Apple butter, kim chi, sauerkraut, sauerruben, quince jam, a few eggs

Waste Not:  Usual composting, etc… 

Want Not: Bartered bunnies, cinder blocks.

Eat the food: Root vegetable curry again, yum, stuffed cabbage, other good stuff.

Build community food systems: working on another school garden, lots of radio interviews.

How about you?


15 Responses to “Independence Days Update:”

  1. ctdaffodilon 16 Nov 2009 at 9:07 am

    had h1n1 – was a total slacker for 2 weeks on independence project.

    I am getting back to it this week though with these goals.

    Inventory food stored and restock.

    Catch up on laundry

    just 2 but daunting tasks nonetheless

  2. Gabrielleon 16 Nov 2009 at 9:49 am

    Plant—Nothing planted this week.

    Harvest—Yellow and red onions, parsley, turnip greens.

    Preserve—Saved butternut squash seeds. Froze butternut squash puree (will use later for muffins). Froze more chopped green onions.

    Reduce Waste—We continue our energy reduction, recycling, and composting efforts. My cousin passed some hand-me-downs to our daughter. We donated some blood glucose meters to local organizations that work with seniors.

    Prep/Storage—I stocked up on a few toiletry items, olive oil, flour, honey, organic apples, teas, and eco-friendly toothbrushes. Hubby planed the wood this week and the walnut is absolutely beautiful, really too beautiful to be used outside. He’s contemplating making some furniture with it and possibly consigning some at a local woodworking shop.

    Building Community Food Systems—I made up a couple of boxes for the food pantry, and this week we’ll be putting together multiple holiday boxes for those who visit the pantry the rest of November and December. I made a huge pot of soup with 95% local ingredients or those from our garden. I fed our family a few times with the soup, brought some to Memphis to feed my family there, and then had supper with my cousin last night and brought the soup there. I still have a little left over that I will share with a friend coming for a visit tomorrow. I picked up the pecans that I mentioned last week and have been distributing them.

    Eat the Food—I enjoyed bringing some “real” food for my family in Memphis this weekend. It was my father’s birthday, and I delighted in picking a “mess” of greens to bring to him as his present. (All Southerners will know what I mean by a “mess of greens”. For the rest of the folks, it means a huge amount and the perfect amount to eat). I have enjoyed the soup so much, if for no other reason than the pride factor. It is so nice to know that so much of that food was grown and preserved by our hands.

  3. Mia @ agoodhumanon 16 Nov 2009 at 10:00 am

    My weekly update is here:

    This week I actually learned to crochet. It feels good to have a new skill.

  4. limesarahon 16 Nov 2009 at 10:17 am

    We got the first half of our winter share…mmmm, potatoes. I made some tasty kale soup, and Ben inadvertently discovered a *delicious* faux-beef broth recipe. Chinese black mushrooms, star anise, kaffir lime leaves, black pepper, soy sauce. Not exactly local, but all nice light trade goods.

  5. risa stephanie bearon 16 Nov 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Beloved had the pig flu and was a red nose poking out of a nest of blankets for a week. So I mostly practiced my rusty nursing skills, with a lot of hand washing.

    Plant something: Garlic, Tulips, a ginger root that was throwing a bud

    Harvest something: Mizuna, boc choi, chard, lettuce, onions, garlic, parsley, rosemary, chives, kale, turnips, arugula, strawberries, tomatoes. “Strawberries? Tomatoes??” Well, it’s been an unusual year here.

    Preserve something: Mashed turnips

    Waste Not: grabbing bags of leaves off curbs

    Want Not: grabbing stacks of cardboard. Updating the insulation under the house.

    Eat the food: tons of stuff this year, seems like. Barely scratching the surface of the stuff on the cold room shelves.

    Build community food systems: not so much; incurably shy. Advised a neighbor on ducks and geese as a “bug moat” for the garden, with tour.

  6. Claireon 16 Nov 2009 at 2:49 pm

    What can you say when you can still harvest fresh hot peppers in St. Louis in mid-November? (You can say it’s an unusually late first frost, at least.)

    Plant: garlic (2 varieties), shallots, topset onions, potato onions, perennial leeks, all 24 echinacea seedlings I have been nuturing since June

    Harvest: the abovementioned hot peppers, green onions from topsets, arugula, lettuce, storage radishes, raspberries, sorrel, calendula blossoms, shiitake mushrooms

    Preserve: echinacea roots, by tincturing. I tried out the solar-powered food dryer my DH built this year; it’s done enough to use. It works fine, but there wasn’t strong enough sun last week to dry the hot peppers, so I ended up freezing most of them. Next year I’ll be a drying fiend ;)

    Waste not: nothing beyond the usual

    Want not: nothing out of the ordinary

    Build community food systems: my DH and I talk about the food we make and the harvests we get on our Facebook sites … at least our friends know what we are doing. I always hope it will inspire them to do something similar. Nothing else other than this in the past week.

    Eat the food: the pumpkin pie I made from scratch using the pumpkin I grew turned out great, even the crust! I made pumpkin bread from the remaining pumpkin, also good. My DH made chili yesterday using some of the ancho peppers and some of the frozen tomato sauce from my tomatoes. He used some of the shiitakes in scrambled eggs.

  7. sealanderon 16 Nov 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Been doing the rounds of the spring country fairs with my mother. Much enjoyable rummaging through flea markets, book sales and plant stalls. And she lets me fill her car with horse manure ;)

    Planting: The rest of the tomato plants will be planted out this evening. Also the first pumpkin and zuchini seedlings. Maybe the pepper seedlings too, but they’re not very big yet. Got a line up of good sized herb plants from the markets to find places for, mostly herbs for teas – lemon catnip, lemon mint marigold, anise hyssop, curry plant, lavender. And a hops vine, not sure what I’m going to do with that ;)

    Harvested: Eggs, leeks, chard, herbs, asparagus, lettuce.

    Prep/Storage: Inventoried preserving jar collection prior to ordering new lids. Bought some second hand storage jars and baking dishes.

    Preserved: Made some lemon syrup…….it makes good lemonade.

    Build community food systems: Shopped at the new farmer’s market in my old home town.

    Waste not: Making vegetable stock from the leftover bits of leeks every time I cook leeks.

    Eat the food: Got the “Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day” recipe book as an early Christmas present. Tryed out the pizza/focaccia dough recipe and it is yummy :)

  8. aimeeon 16 Nov 2009 at 3:45 pm

    the next task on my farm is one I’m avoiding: goat butchering.

  9. AnneTon 16 Nov 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Still harvesting greens and lettuce. I even picked some young dill this morning! — here in southern Ontario!

    Used the balmy days to build an over-winter compost heap with rotted horse bedding and bagged leaves. Moved some unused books out of the house via Freecycle.

    Made a great green chile stew with the last of our own potoates and basement ripened tomatoes. Had a squash my husband found while cutting the branches from the dead elm tree in the garden stuffed with chopped apples and honey and then oven-roasted. Still moving through last year’s preserves.

    Got some crafting supplies on sale and began putting together Christmas presents.

  10. MEAon 16 Nov 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Spent most of the week before last with what I assume was flu — lying on chesterfield with 103 temp and 70lbs of dd the younger with 101 degree temp on top of me for 5 days — and then felt too weak to do much but go to work (where on the first day back I made a record number of errors — should have taken a 2nd fever free day)

    But today, in a childfree 2 hour block, I lifted the rest of the potatoes (and discovered some had what I think may be blight — they are on one side to go to county extention office next week, dug the turnips — nearly 50lbs.

    (You know how sometimes you find things you never planted — I found I huge purple globe turnip, several onions and a red-handled trowel I swear I never saw before among the neeps.)

    I also covered 3 10 X 6 feet beds with newspaper, compost, green material and 3 feet of leaves and weeded the raspberries canes prior to their very late application of pine needles, which I have yet to get from a neighbor’s garden.

    I’m out of green to add to the beds, but have lots of leaves mixed with grass I liberated from various curbs on my drive to work a few weeks ago.

  11. mnfnon 16 Nov 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Perfect growing weather here – though my parents-in-law in South Australia broke my heart when speaking to them on the phone this weekend. The current heatwave has meant that a lot of their food gardening for the year is over before it could start. I’ve been irregular on my updates, so I think I’m lumping together more than a week’s worth below.

    Plant: victory! over the refusing to germinate seeds (combination of moving indoors for less temperature extremes, more attention and less watering fluctuations seems to have worked) so have potted on tomatoes (black krim, cherokee purple, beams yellow pear, baby romas, tommy toe, green zebra, riesentraube), green squash, rockmelon, pumpkin (black prince, baby blue), borage. Planted out more advanced tomato seedlings (amish paste, heirloom surprise mix from neighbour), coriander seedlings, parsley seedlings, lavender. Attempting to strike box cuttings.

    Harvest: broad beans (in large amounts), silverbeet, lettuce, herbs, lemons from a neighbour’s tree.

    Preserve: marinated feta, lemon curd, preserved lemons, made stock to freeze.

    Waste not: netted strawberry patch – take that blackbirds!, rode bicycle to yoga (first outing as solo commuter cyclist!), usual composting and recycling

    Want not: keeping pantry supplies topped up, more pea straw for mulching

    Community food systems: challenged people to a preserve-off, traded broad beans and preserved lemon with neighbour for excess tomato seedlings and use of their lawnmover.

    Eat the food: BB made a delicious coriander curry; gnocchi and broad beans; mushroom tart with homemade ricotta; grilled eggplant with balsamic and oregano, plenty of salads.

  12. Judyon 16 Nov 2009 at 9:14 pm

    I’ve got an IDC post up. We had what my daughter dubbed zombie broccoli for dinner tonight. A plant that we had harvested earlier sent up side shoots that ended up big enough to provide enough for 5 for dinner. The broccoli that wouldn’t die! and it’s still growing!!!
    I’ve been working on building some cinder block raised beds with salvaged blocks but have had little time to work on that between projects trying to get our (new) old farm house livable for the winter.

  13. TLEon 16 Nov 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Was beyond crazy at work this week, but managed to attend a course I had my heart set on, so that was an achievement!

    Plant something: built (and planted out) a no-dig garden bed with my Urban Permaculture classmates at a local community garden – very rewarding.

    Harvest something: spring onions, basil, mint, lettuce.

    Preserve Something: not this week.

    Prep & Storage: Restocked freezer staples.

    Reduce Waste: Superb use of leftovers/pantry food :) Usual composting & recycling.

    Eat the Food: Peach salsa on ‘all storage ingredients’ black bean tamale pie. Seitan wraps with kim chi.

    Build Community Food Systems: Attend 2-day Urban Permaculture course, shared bucket of bokashi slime with neighbour (consensually!).

  14. Lorrieenaon 17 Nov 2009 at 9:22 am

    Our update is here.

    We had a ‘prep check’ for my nerves when Ida turned into a nor’easter over our heads (also blogged). My main concern right now is a way to cook without power – I’m working on getting the chimney cleaned (have to get the property management to fix that) and also getting a camp oven and/or a camp stove. Between the two that should be taken care of.

  15. KCon 18 Nov 2009 at 12:51 am

    Plant something: I bought some shallots to plant this week. also want to plant more cover crops! (The fava beans are coming up). I also see vetch and wheat and oats and some baby clovers.

    Harvest something: found three more delicata squash in the garden. They were in great shape. Also found a stash of green (and some ripe) cherry tomatoes in the weeds, and I found one lonesome Mexican gherkin hanging on the fence – (it was in great shape – delicious!) It has me thinking about extending the season of some of my warm season crops next year. Harvested kale, parsley, collards, chinese cabbage and other asian greens, turnips, radish, arugula , broccoli raab, nasturtiums, and marigolds.

    Preserve something: kimchi, sauerkraut, and fermented radishes. The big round radishes (the size of turnips) and green on the outside with beautiful red centers – they are delicious (and mild).

    Waste Not: composting and preparing garden beds – covering with compost, brewery waste and leaves.

    Want Not: ordered lentils.

    Eat the food: eating lots of mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes, winter squash. Mashed potatoes with turnips, arugula and radishes. Enjoying fermented vegetables with most meals. Oatmeal with cranberries and apples! beet greens, homemade tomato sauce.

    Build community food systems: not this week

    `Kim in VA

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