Archive for May 15th, 2008

Independence Days Update: Look Over There!

Sharon May 15th, 2008

This is definitely my week to direct people to other cool things folks are doing to achieve food independence.  I should claim this is from pure altruism, but it isn’t - it is because I’ve pretty much done jack this week. 

Check these out:

First, I must express my profound cow envy of Edson.  I’m sitting here thinking “we could get a cow.”  And, of course, trying to come up with explanations for why we will need a cow, when we are getting goats.  But six gallons of milk a day?  Come on, how cool is that?  And we’ll need the goats too, because after all, even with 6 gallons of dairy a freakin’ day, who could live without chevre?

I’m not quite as crazed with envy over Greenpa’s geese.  I mean I do want geese again - I like geese quite a lot.  But he’s bringing up bad old memories of our own wild escape geese.  Now it was pretty cool to be able to say to guests “You asked what there is to do out here in the middle of freakin’ nowhere.  Well, we can go out and try catch the geese.” Still…I think if I’m getting geese I need babies, who will get accustomed to the locality.  And I think my husband thinks that 50 Delawares (for meat sales), 10 cochins (for hatching out next year’s chickens), and 10 broad breasted white turkeys and 5 blue slates are enough poultry for this year.

Then there’s the garden.  I am presently spending 10 hours a day+ in front of the God. Damned. Computer.  I HATE IT!!!!  By the end of the day my butt hurts, my back hurts, and I’m tired in the way you get tired from the voluntary parapalegia of computer work.  I go garden afterwards, but on the scale we do it, I need to be spending many hours a day outside, and I can’t.  I feel like an animal in a trap, and I’m almost ready to chew my own leg off - but the reality is that freedom comes from sucking it up and finishing the bloody manuscript. (Thank you all for tolerating my whining here.  I know I am tremendously lucky and I will now just shut up, at least on that subject! ;-) )

 Now the good news is that  June 3 is not a terribly late date in my climate and I think I will mostly be able to catch up.  The bad news is that my main garden is a mass of thistles and dandelions.  But since you actually can’t see that, I’m sure you’ll believe me when I say that my garden looks just like Jedimomma’s, only prettier and bigger and much, much more perfect.  I’d be in agony of shame and jealousy at that wonderful garden, except that mine is even better.  Really.

Ok, on to my real accomplishments:

Planted an apple tree, blueberries, dwarf peaches, purslane, lettuces, alpine strawberries, peas, parsnips,  sea holly, breadseed poppies, kale, onions, beets, carrots, and a few tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in containers.  Also started cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts for fall.  This sounds impressive, but it is a. a tiny percentage of what I’m supposed to have done now, and b. really represents a lot of slave labor by the kids and Eric.

Harvested - nettles, asparagus, rhubarb, good king henry, raspberry leaves, dandelions, the first lettuce thinnings, sorrel.

Preserved -  Dried dandelions and nettles. Froze some eggs for winter, and preserved a few others with fat (this may be the only good use for shortening I’ve ever encountered - you coat the eggs with shortening and it blocks out air and they keep a *long* time in a cool place).

Stored: Big sale at the grocery store just at the moment we actually happened to be there, so we now have quite a lot of organic canned beans.  I should can my own, because it is really nice to have some beans available for a quick meal, and I have and will, but right now, not.

Prepped: Nope.   Although I plan to add some plants to my life on Saturday at the local arboretum’s annual plant sale.  Because, of course, I don’t have any ;-) .

Managed - I dug out the worm bins and did the great worm sort out.  In theory, our worms are supposed to seamlessly move from one bin to another when there are castings, leaving a layer of castings available for easy harvest.  In fact, the worms don’t do this, and a certain number of them have to be picked out of the castings by hand and tossed into the next bin.  I am clearly a failure at worm training.  This is not unpleasant, but it is boring, and does involve a certain amount of fending off chickens, who would like very much to participate in the worm-sorting process.  Done, and the castings spread on the garden beds.

 We also got our visiting sheep, and our guard donkeys last night.  But that I can’t take any credit at all for that - my friend Elaine and her husband and father did all the work of fencing, setting it up and bringing them over, while I worked.  The sheepies will keep our pastures down and give us a season of sheep practice before we decide if we want sheep ourselves.  In return Elaine gets free pasture and sheep sitting.  It is definitely a win-win thing.  So now there are 5 ewes and 9 lambs up on the field bouncing around.

 Oh, and I plucked one of the angoras again.

Cooked something new: Sort of.  We ate our traditional “Potatoes with greens and chipotle cheese sauce” with Good King Henry.  But otherwise, we’re really pulling out the staples, since Eric is doing virtually all the cooking, cleaning and childcare, plus his grading and end of the semester stuff. 

Worked on Local Food Systems: Nada - I haven’t left my house in days.  My local has gotten teenie weenie. 

Reduced waste: Used a bunch of old feed bags to create a new garden bed.

Learned a Skill: I learned, theoretically how to set up electric fencing for sheep.  Note, I did none of this myself, but at least it sort of makes sense now.

 Ok, what about the rest of you?