Independence Days Update: HELP!!!

Sharon May 24th, 2008

Ok, that’s weird – there were words when I posted this – where’d they go?  Apparently I need more help than I know.

 My request for help was this – I’m being kept in a cage by my evil computer that says I can’t come out and play or write anything new until ANOF is done (8…more…days).  So please, post your updates and give everyone something to read!

 Sharon, filled with self-pity,  who is told this is going to be the perfectest, most beautifullest gardening weekend ever…and she’s going to miss it.  Whine. ;-)  

45 Responses to “Independence Days Update: HELP!!!”

  1. Verde says:

    What do you need help with?

  2. Chile says:

    Yeah, what’s up?

  3. Chile says:

    I’ll try to get something posted on my blog in a day or two. Today, I really need to get to the book review I’ve been meaning to write for a week….but not until I enjoy some of the beautiful cooler cloudy weather we’re having today. Soooo much nicer than the 100+ degrees we hit during last week!

  4. Jade says:

    I get to do my first update!

    The tornadoes we’ve had here in Colorado went to the north of us, but the hail from the storms completely demolished the garden. Well, the rhubarb may well make it, but most everything else is shredded.

    However, this being my first real time gardening I had grown triple the number of starts that I could use, assuming that I’d screw something up along the way. So today I replant!

    I even made rhubarb crisp for breakfast, thus using up the worst damaged bits.

    In the last two weeks we found a source for sustainably harvested eggs. As a bonus they’re only three miles away, and a short walk up the hill from the place where my daughter volunteers and rides horses.

    We also have a quarter of a cow coming, from the same neighborhood. Grass fed, no hormones, extremely local.

    I learned to make lemon curd, mulch with rocks and newspaper, and how to crouch in a small bathroom with a large dog, hysterical cat, and calm daughter, while tornado warnings go off all around. Emergency kits are good things, as is having an 11 year old who remains calm and takes the initiative in urgent situations.

    She’s turning 12 Wednesday, so we’re buying her a bike with a basket (from a used bike store- no new emissions) to use at the grocery store and farmers market.

    Wow, having seen all this in print I now feel really crunchy.

  5. Nettle says:

    I didn’t do a huge amount this week, as I was sick for a few days. I planted some anise, feverfew and a few peas that all came my way as donations from neighbors. Most of my gardening was just maintenance – weeding and watering. I have officially declared War On Slugs and am experimenting with various ways of getting rid of them. I’ve ordered some organic, supposedly-environmentally-friendly slug poison to use if all else fails, but I’d rather get rid of them some other way. I have read that they don’t like copper, so I’m thinking that some wide copper tape wrapped around each of my raised beds might do it. I have to get some this week and see if that helps. So far, the slugs are the only pests I’ve had to deal with. I hope it stays that way.

    My CSA is on a two-week break so I’ve been doing more supermarket shopping than usual. I find supermarket produce aisles kind of horrifying (it’s all so shiny and weirdly lit) but one discovery I made at our local shop-n-bag is the “rejected produce” section – anything that’s a little wilted or blotchy gets marked down and put there. I have no problem with blotchy and I’m fiercely tightfisted with money, so I wound up buying a bunch of marked-down produce for drying. It was interesting looking at supermarket prices. One of the criticisms I’ve heard about the push to eat locally is that it’s elitist because it costs more, but from what I saw, I would spend a whole lot more if I had to rely just on the supermarket for food and I would not eat as well.

    Not much harvesting, besides a bazillion radish thinnings and the usual sprigs of herbs for cooking. I did get a few leaves of French sorrel for salad – there’s still not enough of it for soup. I picked and dried some mint and lemon balm.

  6. Christina says:

    Sweden calling!

    It’s dry here, no rain for several weeks and I can’t water the garden as much as I want to – we have our own well and must be careful with the water. So gardening right now is mostly waiting for rain…

    Anyway, here is my report:
    Planted: onions, kale, corn, squash and pumpkins. Still a little too cold to plant beans.

    Harvested: salad greens, nettles, rhubarb, dandelions, various herbs, chili from over-wintered plants

    Preserved: Dehydrated blackcurrant leaves, mint, oregano and nettles. Made rhubarb preserve (to put on fresh bread for a delicious breakfast :-) )

    Stored: Some of the rhubarb preserve (we ate lots of it)

    Prepped: not really

    Managed: nope

    Cook Something New: Weed Wok – wok your edible weeds with garlic, chili and a little sesame oil. Serve with noodles.

    Work on Local Food Systems: No

    Reduced Waste: Composting as usual, nothing else

    Learned a skill: No time for that

  7. Sue says:

    I’ve been planting this week – so far, red, black, and white currants, two chinese hawthorne trees, pumpkins, yellow summer squash, and two rows of tomatoes. If we can find the replacement handle for my hoe today, I’ll get the rhubarb, grapes, and hardy kiwis in. Oh, and thyme.

    Haven’t really harvested anything. Am busily distributing extra seedlings to friends that I’m encouraging to garden, and waiting anxiously for our CSA to start.

    I’m scoring 10+ gallons on fresh raw milk from a friend today, so will be making cheese, yogurt, and all manner of deliciousness.

  8. Kim says:

    Week four saw a lot less planting, a lot more managing, and a huge amount of planning.

    1. Planted: sweet potato slips (25, and I hope to buy a few more today). I also filled in “holes” in the garden. There were places where the seeds didn’t germinate (or a rabbit got in and helped himself), those now have new seeds. I’m out of planting space now.

    2. Harvested: arugula, little bits of mint, tastes of lettuce

    3. Preserved: more dehydrated onions

    4. Stored: soft wheat, navy beans, sugar, peanut butter

    5. Prepped: added another day of stored water, prepared one closet to be turned into a canned vegetable pantry. Since I’ve always dehydrated all our vegetable stocks we definitely need more space for canned veggies.

    6. Managed: Drug out all canning jars and stacked them neatly on a utility bookshelf. Counted and determined I need a few more cases for vegetables this year (since I have the pressure canner). Chicken coop cleaned out. Bunny barn in progress. Hay from barn to compost heap is proceeding very slowly. All gardens and orchards weeded and tended.

    7. Local: Still sharing seeds with neighbors and friends

  9. Cynthia says:

    Hello to all!
    Sharon, I have been following your posts for some time now. I first found you on TOD, and then John Micheal Greer’s site and I much appreciate your input there from a womans perspective, as you know, very few women on TOD ;)
    I love the Independence Day’s challenge! It trulely has motivated me daily!
    I hit the thrift shop weekly for canning jars,
    I bought a beach cruiser w/ large baskets for shopping, will organize a workday next week for the Community Garden, added some more herbs to the garden, (culinary and medicinal) BTW, Great article on the future of Medicine postPO… Committed myself to learning more about using medicinal herbs. My BF found me an old copy of Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening at the used bookstore, been green so long I think I’m turning BLUE!
    Urban Homesteading, 10 fruit and nut trees on my small suburban lot, 5 chickens… I even reuse/recycle the liners out of the cereal box ;) Keep up the good work my dear! You are awesome! Cyn

  10. Shira says:

    This is pretty cool, hearing what everybody is up to.

    So, how do you make lemon curd? I always loved the stuff.

    Finally, finally, I got my herb bed planted! This is 2.6 years after moving here. I transplanted a couple of dozen herbs from pots into the new bed. Some of the herbs that languished in pots all this time had been overcome by medicinal oregano and vanished, so I went off to the local wholesale nursery’s annual one day public sale for replacements. I started filling in the bed with seeds of annual herbs, violets, nigella damascena, evergreen scallions, and local garlic for sprouts around the perennials. There is a wonderful crop of medicinal oregano awaiting harvest this weekend. I’m racing to get it before it flowers.

    I went shopping and bought some underwear and a pair of socially acceptable shoes suitable for running for buses. I used to live in a major metropolitan area without a car, and it’s very important to have work shoes that can be worn while running flat out for the 7:15 while packing briefcase and lunch box. The underwear was quite the adventure. It seems that since the last time that I went bra shopping (OK, it was 2001), the standard method of assembly has changed from sewing bits of fabric and lace to injection molding and heat sealing nylon foam. I saved the old, shredded bras for the hardware and the pattern.

    I cleaned out a corner of the basement and found six liter sized beer bottles, the brewing gear, and a box of little jars of dried medicinal herbs. Most of them were still useable, a good thing, since a lot of the medicinal herbs are planted in the fall and won’t produce a harvest until next summer.

  11. Jade says:

    I’ll happily trade my curd recipe for Christina’s rhubarb preserve one!

    Hope no one minds if I just tell you how to cook it, and folks can scan for ingredients.

    Melt 1/2 cup of butter in a saucepan. Add 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 3-4 tablespoons of freshly grated lemon peel, and 1 cup of sugar. Stir until mixed, then slide off the heat.

    Have a bowl of 6 eggs yolks lightly whisked and at the ready. Add a thin stream of butter and juice mixture to the yolks while whisking like mad. Keep going until you have about half of the hot mixture whisked in, then reverse the process and whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the pot.

    Cook over medium heat while stirring with a wooden spoon. The spoon provides the test for doneness: when you can run your finger through the lemony goo on the back of the spoon and the blank space stays, cooking is done.

    Have a screen sieve set up over a bowl. Strain and cool until room temperature, stirring occasionally for smoothness. Store in the refrigerator for up to a couple weeks- I think. We’ve never had it last that long.

    The fresh farm eggs makes this a glorious treat. And if you’ve ever made homemade pudding you can certainly cook this.

  12. catskillmamala says:

    Planted: corn, green beans

    Harvested: endive, lettuce, burdock root (gobo), sheep sorrel, garlic mustard

    Preserved: nothing

    Stored: peanut butter on sale, more flour

    Prepped: cousin brought me a wild honey bee hive- a rescue from a house nearby facing demolition. They seem to be doing well.

    Managed: put fencing around the young plum trees. Sprayed beneficial nematodes on yard and garden to reduce ticks and grubs. Looking for guinea hens.

    Cook Something New: homemade french fries.

    Work on Local Food Systems: debating bringing my eggs to the farmers market- but the cost of renting a spot and feed may not make it worth it.

    Reduced Waste: recycling clothes among and between children. Got an entire bag of used for dd age 5. Began inviting empty egg cartons from friends and family.

    Learned a skill: studying to raise meat birds.

  13. Shamba says:

    I don’t have anythng like the updates of the gardeners that have posted so far but I’ve done a few things:

    1. New recipe I”m going to try after the weekend is a bean/pasta dish that I made suer I have all the ingredients for. This is significant because my mom never cooked anything with beans and I’ve really eaten them except for 3-bean salads.

    2. Added flour to my pantry; I used to be a fair bread baker, muffins, biscuits years ago. I’m going to try that again.

    3. Finished kitchen reorganization so I won’t have “hidden” things at the back of the cupboards.

    every action is a step forward, I figure.

    Looking forward to your book so hang in there a finish it up!


  14. Christina says:

    Jade (and others) – here is the recipe for Rhubarb Preserve. It’s very easy actually.

    1 part rhubarb
    3/4 parts sugar
    a few drops of water

    Chop rhubarbs and put in saucepan with sugar and a little bit of water (just enough to cover bottom of saucepan).

    Cover with lid and put over low heat until sugar has dissolved and rhubarb is starting to “melt”.

    Remove lid and let boil on higher heat. Stir occasionally.

    Check now and then for consistency. When it reaches desired thickness put preserve in hot glass jars and screw on lids immediately. Keeps very well in a cool cellar, refrigerate when opened.

    Put on freshly made whole wheat bread and enjoy together with some herbal tea from the garden :-)

    (hope you understand, I’m not used to writing recipes in English, it’s not my first language)

    in Sweden

  15. Lisa Z says:

    My update for week of May 16 to 23:

    1. Planted: 6 raspberry canes from a neighbor; 14 “All Star” strawberry plants; 16 cabbage seeds over 16 sq. ft.; 8 sq. ft. of beet seeds; 10 seed potatoes in two tire “containers” a la Backwoods Home magazine; and herb plants including 2 thyme, 3 lavender, 2 rosemary, 1 parsley and 1 lemon balm

    2. Harvested: chives, parsley, lemon balm for salads

    3. Preserved: tried to make a dandelion syrup from Susun Weed’s Herb book, but after making the decoction with the dand. flowers I realized I should’ve taken all the green off and used only the yellow part of them–it smelled too green and wasn’t going to be sweet and tasty so I composted the decoction which was probably great for the compost; otherwise nothing yet

    4. Stored: nothing this week

    5. Prepped: well, I made a list of things we need to do to get the basement pantry ready for storage! Hoping for a rainy day to get that done…Also added more compost, manure and peat to all the garden beds before planting them; purchased supplies for a gutter and downspout to the rain barrels, and plumbing supplies to turn the 55 gal. barrels I got into rain barrels

    6. Managed: weeding and watering daily or as needed; talking to all the plants and trees and shrubs to tell them they’re beautiful and should keep growing! (yeah, crazy lady here, but I know it helps–my plants are always beautiful); put the 5-4 lb. packages of sugar I’m storing into a 5 gal. bucket to keep dry

    7. Cooked new: well, we made this once last year but I made a frittata with local asparagus and ramps and it was awesome! It’s from Jessica Prentice’s _Full Moon Feast_ cookbook, pub. by Chelsea Green; also started brewing two gallons of kombucha from two different “mothers” I received from friends

    8. Work on local food systems: bought the asparagus at the Farmer’s Market and it was delicious. Also, I’m setting an example for the neighbors! Many are planting gardens this year (less b/c of me and more the gas prices and needing stuff to do at home, I suspect) and some are planting potatoes in containers–5 gal. buckets, etc. Several have said if my potato tire container thing works this year they are definitely doing it next year. Great. I said to them we’ll become known as the “Southside White Trash” neighborhood if they do that. To which they replied “we already are!” Oh, I didn’t know that…thought we were just “crunchy”.

    9. Waste reduction: nothing new but always composting and recycling; also getting ready for an August garage sale

    10. Skills learned: well, by my mistake I learned how NOT to make dandelion syrup and will try again later; also learning how to successfully make kombucha as the batch I tried last year failed–so far it’s working great this time!

    Lisa in MN

  16. Heather Gray says:

    Hey Sharon,

    I know you have a big deadline, but maybe a 1/2 hour break here or there would be a good thing — help keep your sanity, enjoy a little sunshine, not have the anxiety of all the undone farm work hanging over your head…. just a thought. Hang in there!

    The week here in Ashfield:

    Seedlings Planted: zucchini, butternut, and bush delicata squashes and pie pumpkins too. Some of them suffered from the cold but I have some more seedlings so I’m going to put some more out.

    Seeds: wax beans, kentucky pole green beans, rutabaga, cardoons, various lettuces and sorel, hops, eating cukes.

    Also 4 hops rhizomes, which I’m more hopeful of than the seeds, but we’ll see what happens.

    Lyle sowed oats (for people and maybe chicken food) and flax (for fiber for spinning).

    Planted three of the 4 fruit trees – the apples (Macoun and Cortland). Still need to plant the apricot. And we found what we think is a baby off of an existing fruit tree in the backyard (no one is sure what kind of tree it is…)

    Moved my two blueberries out of their pots in the herb garden and into the ground next to the one farm bush. Moved the rest of the green onions out of the herb garden and in with the other onions next to the potatoes.

    Would have planted more seeds but I was fighting an infection and finally had to concede defeat and go see the doctor Friday. Doing better now!

    Turned in the farmers market application — we’re selling maple products and eggs. Lyle and I will be running our stall most weekends, except when we have SCA or other obligations. His folks will cover for most of those times.

    I know Saturday’s part of the next week, but our town’s farmers market started today, and we had a lot of fun! Good turn out, nice folks. More on that next Friday.

  17. Verde says:

    Phew, I’m glad we didn’t have to come to your rescue!

    My update has too many words (and a few pictures) so you can find it on my blog.

    Having fun!

  18. bernie says:

    We got our tiny raised bed up and the plants are in it and a chicken wire fence around it. Mostly DH’s work. We had our first CSA box Thursday and tried two recipes with arugula – a salad and a large baked savory “pancake” that used some of the mushrooms and chives from the box, too. We are keeping track of what is in the box and how we use it. Guess that would be “managed.” DH also set up the rain barrel and with rain predicted for this weekend we are all set.

  19. Wow, I had a really unproductive week from the perspective of the Challenge. Although, part of the reason was because I had some extra paid work time I had to spend this week, so it wasn’t entirely unproductive entirely. Mainly I just was feeling lethargic, plus we had some really weird weather that didn’t help — 90s F over last weeked, which was really too hot to work well outside, though I did quite a bit anyway, then turning chilly, windy, and wet on Monday, making it unappealing to work outside, especially pre- and post-business hours. So, here’s the wimpy tally:

    Plant Something: Well, I planted the rest of the catnip (in pots) that my friend gave me. This doesn’t really mean anything other than I was lazy enough last week to only plant some of them, so I’m not sure it should count. However, since I planted nothing else this week, I’ll count it :) I didn’t transplant anything either. It was all I could do to keep things watered and thus alive. Oh wait! A neighbor brought me some spring onions, and I’ve been eating the tops and planting the bottom inch. I have three sprouting. So, I guess I did plant something!

    Harvested: Nothing, unless I can count the cat gnawing on the catnip.

    Preserved: Nope. Those test onions are still outside in the dehydrator; in my lethargy this week, I *looked* at them a few times, but did not open up the screens to see how dry they actually were. And now that it’s been raining for 2 days… I’ll just leave them for another while and see what happens…

    Stored: Took possession of a bucket of limp root cellar carrots from R’s. These need to show up in the ‘managed’ category soon, by my making soup or something from them, before they’re post-consumer. Also stocked up another 30 pounds of dog food.

    Managed: I bought a toilet seat for my, uh, ‘nitrogen bucket.’ Should be much more comfortable than that sharp-edged bucket rim!

    Prepped: Last weekend I did quite a bit of digging garden beds and working on the garden fence. Still lots to go before I’m done, though. Our typical frost-free date is the end of May, though if there’s a nice-weather opportunity this weekend I might plant something sturdy like potatoes before that. Placed my co-op order which includes some 5-gallon buckets that should fit the gamma seal lids I already have. Also ordered ten T-posts which are destined for the garden fence. Also ordered some wheat berries, which I’ve never worked with or even seen before, and 5 pounds of baking soda, mostly as a cleaning agent (and for cleaning up pet messes on carpet, which I’m once again dealing with, since the rental is mostly carpeted).

    Cooked Something New: Thought I was a bust on this one, but then I remembered that I did, inadvertently. I made some black beans recently, ate from them one night, then put the pot in the fridge. Several days later, when I looked in the pot, it had started to get a ‘going bad’ film over it. I scooped away the film, then rinsed and smelled the beans — they still smelled ok. So then I put a little oil in a cast iron pan and sizzled up the beans, and discovered… …refried beans! Or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. I’d never known how or tried to make them before. They were good!

    Advocate for Local Food Systems: Hmm. I took possession of a tomato plant from a friend — we’d agreed to give each other one of the unusual varieties we were trying. He gave me one labeled “Ping Pong”, and I owe him a Marvel Stripe. However, what he brought me is well over a foot tall and ready to go into the ground. My Marvel Stripe starts are about 3″ tall and just getting their second set of leaves. I think my friend has a greenhouse. I’ll wait a few weeks and them give him the best start I’ve got… Also, I attended the open house for the community radio station I mentioned last week. It’s not directly about a local food system, but I do believe that the intention of the station owners is to use the station to help create the kind of localized community that a local food effort would require. I contined to tell people about the new farmer’s market (starts June 14) and to plan which of my starts are destined to be offered there. And, my neighbor brought me a bunch of spring onions, as I mentioned. They were volunteers from her last year’s garden. I gave half of them to a girlfriend and am eating/planting my way through the rest. I offered the neighbor a catnip plant in return, but she already had all she needs.

    Reduced Waste: Nothing this week.

    Learned a Skill: Nothing this week.

  20. Kati says:

    Almost nothing to report this week as I got my butt thoroughly kicked by bronchitis early on in the week and have been too sore or breathless to do more than hobble from bathroom to couch and back.

    BUT, 4 of the 5 seeds I planted in seedling pots in my kitchen window last week have sprouted. BOTH of my cucumber plants (One “Bushy” type, one “Parade” type) and 2 of my 3 tomato seedlings (all 3 Stupice type) have sprouted. I need to set them out back for just a bit this afternoon. Sitting in the window all day, they’re getting “long & leggy” well before they should. Literally, watering that little tray of 5 seedlings has been the extent of my energy for food independence this week.

    The goal for the coming week is to prepare the spots where these tomato and cucumber plants will wind up, as well as a bed for my strawberry crowns, and to get the seedlings prepared to be transplanted NEXT weekend.

    Evidently we have melons, watermelon, eggplant, onion, cabbage, broccoli, cucumber, and tomatoes sprouting & growing very nicely over at the father-in-law’s house, in the greenhouse. Those are all to be transplanted this weekend. Probably Monday when we’re over there for Memorial Day. I hope I have the energy to help. None of our peppers have sprouted, unfortunately. They were purely experimental, the peppers, but I can’t say I’m not just a bit disappointed.

  21. Karin says:

    It’s been rainy here off and on all week. Which is great because it has come at night and everything is now nice and green and the rain Barrel is full.

    Planted something: KIng of the early dry bean, vermont cranberry dry bean, soy bean, kennebec potato, more onions, carrots, hops

    harvested something: Dandelion, chives and lettuce, last of the parsnips.

    Preserved something: more dandelion syrup, 16 pints ofpickled fiddleheads, dandelion wine 2 gallons, dandelion herbal vinegar.

    Learned something: how to darn socks, how to scythe.

    Prepped something:scored some more canning jars at a yard sale and a woman from church might have a lead on a mother load of quart jars. Found a cool afghan at a yard sale for 2.00

    REduced waste and compost:Turned compost bin number one. Found a free desk by the side of the road. good sturdy antique-ish. Was given a bag of clothes for wee one. Many clothes in larger sizes so I think this can also go into prepped something.

    Cooked something new: tried to make veggie burgers from stored food. Tasty, but didn’t quite get the cohesion I was hoping for.

    managed reserves: took stock of last years home canned food. Some pretty nasty beets need to go. Bucketed up some garbonzo beans. Took some canning jars with metal clasps and switched them out with canning jars that are storing dried herbs and fruit from last year.

    Local food: got sour milk for baby pig at local farm. got baby pig (then chased him 3 seperate times around the yard) from local farmer, purchased fiddleheads from an oldtimer who sells them out of the back of his truck.

    my personal goal: make something, made a hat to go with mittens I made for friend’s daughter birthday coming up in June. Hats and mittens in June? WEll, she really needs them and this way maybe her mom won’t have to buy them next fall.

  22. Linn says:

    Hi Everyone… I’m not sure the sequence for Independence Days, (recent, new reader of your blog!) but have been busy here in my little woodsy homestead in Downeast Maine. Cool and damp but beloved Garden moving along. Went to the annual organic plant sale up the coast today and purchased kale, swiss chard, cherry tomatoes and a few other veggies and flowers. Hope to plant them tomorrow, which will fill up my fenced in garden’s raised beds. Left overs will go along the south side of the house and some things should do well. (I hope.)

    A bear visited a few days ago; raccoons still sleep under the shed. Saw moose prints this evening on a walk; AND the first dolphin I’ve seen in Maine swimming in the bay while I sat on a rock at dusk. How beautiful!

    Learning to make handmade Japanese stab bound books and making paper is on my list of things to learn in the future. Perhaps this skill will prove to be useful at some point.

    Need to get my bike off the garage wall and test the tires, etc. Gas prices daunting now. Yet the changes MUST come.

  23. Deb G says:

    Here’s what I’ve been up to:

    Saturday: Mom gave me lettuce from her garden-she grows it in a hoop house so it’s earlier than mine. Also got some parsley and tomato starts from her.
    Sunday: Tried new recipe with emmer (farro). The emmer was grown locally. Turned out very tasty. Planted sweet potato slips in containers. Hoping they’ll get enough heat that way. Planted sprouting broccoli seeds. Harvested rhubarb and made bread. Also harvested sage, thyme, rosemary and lovage. First time I’ve tried eating lovage.
    Monday: Bought extra pasta and nuts while I was at the co-op.
    Tuesday: Planted summer squash and sunflowers.
    Wednesday: Made it to work and back and called it good :) Glad I take the bus/walk. Gas is over $4.00 here now.
    Thursday: Got broccoli starts from Mom.
    Friday: Encouraged co-worker to plant a vegetable garden. Offered another co-worker some of my extra kale starts.
    Today: Went to farmer’s market. Got: turnips, beets, asparagus, carrots, and cheese. Harvested my lettuce.

  24. Rosa says:

    Planted: the other half of the sweet corn, various herbs (how on earth did I run out of basil seed? – planting basil tomorrow)

    harvested: nothing. Noticed garlic mustard but didn’t get kitchen clean enough to cook after boyfriend cooked all week

    managed: scrounged 3 non-cook meals out of things in my freezer, plus caught some avocados just before they went bad & made guac for the party we went to.

    reduced waste: my son wore underpants today! This will be a HUGE change to our waste when he is completely out of diapers.

    Also, we used to compost cat litter. Stopped 3 years ago, just this weekend finally started sifting through the compost. We had piled the cat litter compost on the ginormous stick pile the previous owners conveniently left for us – the sticks are GONE. It’s amazing. Just a pile of not super rich dirt, but with a lot of roots and bits of trash in it. This was a project the toddler could help with, too – sifting rocks out of sand is one of his favorite games.

    local food – this one is not so good. My son fell asleep on the way to the farmer’s market and I left him sleeping in the burley. I was *going* to buy eggs and honey and asparagus but the dude at the egg stand had the world’s longest conversation with the guy in line ahead of me, and I kept thinking my son had woken up (the band was a little loud) so I ditched and just bought honey at a stand with only honey. And cheese. No veggies at all yet, even greens.

    I am giving up on the egg people. Last year, someone from that same farm had a long political conversation with someone in front of me while my son WAILED in my arms. I’ll just buy my eggs at the coop this summer.

  25. Shaza says:

    My list is pretty weak, but my husband and I live in Japan and are moving to New Jersey in 8 weeks, so that limits what we can do at the moment.

    Planted: talked with my in laws about the seeds
    they have started for us for when we return in July. Requested the planting of additional nasturtiums and tomatoes.

    Harvested: wild rose petals in abandoned fields for snacks during walks

    Preserved: pickled cucumbers

    Stored: since we are leaving this place so soon we are focusing on eating our stored grains and beans

    Cook Something New: going to find something new to do with lentils tonight, changed our usual pancake recipe over to whole wheat flour.

    Work on Local Food Systems: Talked with friends about what we are doing and shared information. Asked in laws to share excess baby onions and seeds I purchased with anyone likely to plant them.

    Reduced Waste: Gave up our refrigerator last Monday. I was surprised how upset I was at the thought of unplugging it. Agreed to a one week trial without it and have no desire to plug it back in. The apartment is so much quieter and our electricity usage has dropped a lot. So far there has been no spoilage. We just have to think carefully about what to buy and cook when.

    Learned a skill: how to manage living without a refrigerator or freezer

  26. Kasa says:

    Apartment in Seattle….

    Well, I now have two pots on my landing outside – chives and cilantro. And I have a hanging strawberry set up in the mail. That’s about it. It doesn’t seem like much, but I’ve never grown anything in my life, so…. I’m pretty proud. : ) They already look much healthier than they did at the plant store!

  27. Hummingbird says:

    My results are similar to the last few weeks. I’ll have to see how I can expand my preparations into the other areas.

    Garden: fertilized the bean bed and planted pole beans. Watered the garden.

    Harvested: lettuce thinnings, wood sorrel. Located wild carrot patches.

    Prepared: Located an article on planting potatoes in garbage cans in sawdust. Something that I will try next year to avoid the chipmunks eating all the potatoes in the ground. If sawdust is still available at the nearby pallet factory, that would solve the “not enugh good soil for a can” problem.

    Stored: An extra pair of reading glasses, stronger than I now wear.
    Continued splitting and stacking firewood.

    Learned a skill: practiced lighting a fire with Swedish firesteel. Got sparks but no fire as yet. Still practicing.

  28. Megan says:

    Planted: Project edible hedge is complete! It’s going to be a few years before it’s a hedge, and I’ll probably let the birds eat a lot of it this year, but here is what I ended up with: Rosa rugosa, blueberries, gooseberries, black and pink currants, and down below are stella d’oro daylilies on the sunny side, huckleberries, and one lingonberry in the shade that I couldn’t resist because it was COVERED in flowers. These all joined forsythia, pavement rugosas, yucca, and a monster thorny rose that were already there. Martha Stewart would throw herself off a cliff, I’m sure, but I’m loving it!

    Until later in June when I do starts to go in the winter garden, I’m done putting seeds in dirt for a while. I might get a few starts to fill in spaces, but the seed trays are empty.

    Prepared: I look at my yard entirely differently now. In my head, I’m making room for more edibles.

    Harvested: Lettuce, chives, chickweed, and got a pile of rhubarb from my aunt that will soon be…

    Preserved: Freezer rhubarb sauce is pending.

    (Does anyone know how much longer I should wait to see if my beans come up? About half are up and 3 inches tall, and I want to consolidate them for space if that’s all I’m going to get. Give them another week or so???)

  29. Susan says:

    Since I got a ton done last weekend and reported late last week, I’m assuming I already reported through Monday, so from Mon through Sat, I have not much to report. All the veggies I’m likely to plant are in and beginning (most of them) to come up.

    Planted: Today I’m finishing planting the herbs and edible flowers. I feel like I’m running way behind, but since it still hasn’t decided to be summer here in Seattle, let alone a reliable Spring, I may be in better shape than I think.

    Harvested: Nothing yet, except that I keep eating the lettuce leaves on my way in and out of the house. I’m not sure any are actually going to make it to a salad at this rate.

    Preserved: I made lemonade yesterday. Does that count? Yeah, probably not. But it was so good that I’m making more today, as well as lemon-rhubarb-ade and limeade.

    Stored: Picked up more sugar while at Costco yesterday. Didn’t see anything else I felt I needed there, though I did look a few times at the 25 lb bags of pinto beans.

    Prepped: Did lots of weeding. Will trim back the grape vine that’s dragging on my car roof as I drive under it today.

    Cooked: Made baked beans with pinto bean stores yesterday.

    Learned: Bought Tibetan prayer flags to hang on my garden fence, and learned all about the rituals of hanging them and the best day to do it based on my birth year. Wasn’t expecting that.

    Local food: Went to the local farmer’s market on Friday…the local, local farmer’s market. We have many in this city and I seldom go to the one in my neighborhood, but managed it this week.

  30. Kate says:

    I have been reading these posts for a while and thinking that I didn’t have much to say, but today I decided to change my attitude and know that every little bit counts, so I am going to post something here. I have a chronic wrist injury that prevents me from doing a lot of heavy labor, but my mom was visiting me this week and so she helped me get a TON done.
    We planted 6 raspberry canes, 1 apple tree, 1 hazelnut (a squirrel planted seedling that we moved to a more appropriate place) 1 akebia vine, 1 china blue vine (these are marginally edible evergreen vines that I am using to cover a metal wire fence), some salal, 1 jostaberry, 1 aronia bush, and 3 strawberry trees (again, marginally edible evergreen shrubs I am using as part of a hedge).
    We weeded and mulched many of the other beds.
    Perhaps best of all, we cleaned out and organized most of the basement and created an area to store the gardening supplies.
    It feels really good to be able to share these accomplishments with all of you, and to be inspired by your own hard work. Keep it up!!

  31. Sealander says:

    Planted: went to annual seed/plant swap. Donated beans, oats, peas and amaranth. Came back with a marvellous haul of raspberry plants, black currant cuttings, garlic, mashua (nasturtium with edible tubers) and a wineberry. Planted everything in soggy cold garden.
    Made something new: made soup with homegrown Jerusalem artichokes and kale. Decided later that night that was not such a good idea. Soup seems to greatly increase the fartichoke factor. Will try roasting them next.
    Preserved/stored: dried last of lemon verbena for tea in front of fire. Hopefully will be ready soon as husband wants the laundry basket back. Baked fruit loaves with feijoas and persimmons.
    Learned a skill: chicken lecturing. Discussed with the chickens the fact that several people had told me their chickens were still laying despite the season. Threatened them with chicken casserole. Chickens listened attentively. Still no eggs.

  32. Alan says:

    Rain came back after a couple of weeks and filled all my rainwater storage — 1500 gallons (although it was far from completely empty before the rain).

    Whole yard is so green it almost hurts my eyes and dozens of columbines blooming.

    Planted: last half of tomato starts, 6th of 9 new blueberry plants and set up folding tomato cages

    Assembled: bean trellises (last year, after years of poorly designed, badly built collapsing trellises, I bought some steel fence posts and galvanized wire and build really sturdy trellises using bamboo poles and the aforementioned materials)

    Stored: more canned goods, pasta, and olive oil

    Harvested: lettuce and spinach (neverending struggle against slugs seems to be finally paying off — at least a little)

    Prepped: beds for peppers and onions

    Local food: bought pepper and cuke starts at the farmers’ market, also goat cheese. Bought free range eggs from a lady at Audubon House where I volunteer.

    Local food: continued promoting the new Food Co-op store which will open in our neighborhood in late August (nothing particularly new here — I’ve been a member since 1986 and work there part-time, but it will great to have it within walking distance after all these years)

  33. Alan says:

    Kasa -
    Tomatoes (certain varieties) and spinach can also be grown in hanging baskets

    Megan -
    Beans should be sprouted in two weeks or less with plenty of water and some sun.

  34. Hamster says:

    Planted: not planted per se, but done a lot of tending – potting on, planting out, weeding, watering etc.

    Preserved: FINALLY got around to making rhubarb schnapps

    Managed reserves: found some good bargains in the supermarket the other day and have lots of organic mince in my freezer

    Cooked: made yoghurt, found something new to do with asparagus

    Worked on local food systems: started putting together a directory of suppliers, markets and other green things, as well as leaflets on suggestions for cooking with seasonal produce, for my local environmental group (work in progress)

  35. Carol says:

    OK, my update (saw the original challenge and didn’t officially join but have been busy…)

    I live in Virginia, have a fulltime job and two kids. In the last month, we are seriously reevaluating how our family wants to live. In the last two weeks”

    We just yesterday put in a 20×20 garden for winter “keeper” vegetables in what was an empty field, tilling and de-sodding by hand, planted canning tomatoes, potatoes, squash, dry runner beans, and sunflowers. As I say, took the matted wild grass sod up by hand and every part of me is SORE. 8′ fence is half up, rest going up today

    Ordered onions, leeks, shallots, garlic for an alium garden (the deer don’t eat it) outside the 20×20 fence. Don’t have strength right now to think about tilling to get them in…

    Researched pressure canners and wish there were better resources on canning how-tos out there (other than Ball’s blue book)

    bought 40% of our items local, and another 25% of our items without packaging

    researched plans for a chicken tractor

    Am hosting an “eat local” dinner for four couples in ten days

    Developed a family 2-year agreement to:
    buy nothing new (with a few exceptions)
    save target amount of money away
    reduce our impact in general
    build community
    buy local

    Measured our water and electric consumption

    Line-dried all our laundry

    Purchasing a small motorcycle in lieu of buying a new (or used) car

    Paid off ALL BUT $1,000 of our credit card debt ($687 of which is emergecy surgery for our dog who has a talent for leg and paw lacerations requiring anesthesia, suturing, lab work)

    Yesterday made biscuits, cookies, sun tea, lentil/pasta thing, roasted root vegetables (all local)

    I think that’s it..

  36. Anonymous says:

    Apartment dweller here, but while visiting, helped baby boomer parents put in a small garden this weekend.

    Planted: beets, radishes, scallions, lettuces, cukes, tomatoes, basil, chives, rosemary, thyme, beans, and flowers. No storage crops, but hey, got to start somewhere. Taking extra seedlings and seeds home to try patio tomatoes and radishes and scallions in pots.

    Harvested: two scallions, dandelions

    Stored: extra seeds for next year?

    Prepped: garden beds; also compost bins (explained to folks how to compost and set up two bins for them).

    Local food systems: Farmers’ market up and going strong. First CSA box comes next week and goes through Thanksgiving.

    Learned a skill: This was our first time creating a garden, tilling, composting, planting; also made colonial-style garden border by weaving fallen branches.

    Enjoying a nice holiday weekend of outdoors, non-consumer activities: beach strolling, gardening, bbq-ing with family, reading, writing emails to Congress about the 350 project.

  37. Gail says:

    I love this challenge!

    Under the weather this week… How can a brain disorder flare up? But it kept me around the house and I have to be useful.

    Planted: Indian corn and pole beans in the front yard. Also broom corn for the chickens. A chokecherry over by the neighbors. Saved a wild rose seedling and potted it up and put it in the cold frame. Got a compliment on my garlic .
    Harvest: chives,parsley,turnip thinnings,lettuce and spinach. Lots of eggs. You go girls! I have trained the neighbors to bring over pulled up grass and dandelions for the birds. Jim brought leftovers from the chinese dinner.
    Stored: 100 pounds of beans and rice and flour in pantry downstairs. Also get credit for local food as I bought (with my govt money) from a brand new food coop.
    Cooked: whole wheat tortilla made with saved turkey fat were pretty good.
    Reduce waste: My reusable produce bags generated some attention at the grocery store from the lady at the next checkout. “Where did you get those bags??! “, she yelled. We went out in the parking lot and I sold her 21$ worth! Also got a call from a friend of a friend who wants to put them on ebay? Meeting this week. The young lady from the electric lawn mower service saw my bags (I was sewing when she stopped by) and she turned out to be from New Zealand and I love Kiwis and she loved the bags and will stop by some day on her way home from work and buy some. Go through the open door… I guess this is where it is at!

  38. Harmony says:

    I love these updates! They motivate and inspire me!

    Planted: pole beans, wax beans, more carrots, 60 potatoes (russet, kennebbec, and bintji), garden huckelberries, ground cherries, two pumpkin, cantelope, and some spaghetti squash.

    harvested: nothing yet

    prepped: bought a 61/2 foot bookcase at yard sale, now full of buckets of dry goods, and bought 10kg powdered milk

    learned something: studied more on companion planting, used it in planting.

    Finally finished one area of new garden. Hoping to plant in it on monday. It is only 4′ by 4′, but it has taken me so long to clear it that I decided to go with a smaller area this year. As a blessing though, I’ve now got enough large river rock to circle the new garden area, and then some!

  39. Gina says:

    Here is the week rap-up (a few days late):

    Planted: Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, watermelon and beans (I feel so behind this year).

    Harvested: More eggs; mint; wild ginger; cattail shoots; radish, beet and turnip seedlings (thinning them out and couldn’t help but eat them!)

    Preserved: Dried the wild ginger tubers, mint, froze some (bought locally) rhubarb

    Stored: Baking soda, apple juice, vinegar, lemon juice, canning supplies. I think I am going to include reference book purchases here too as they are my main source of knowledge (but it could also easily go under “managed”,”prepped”, or ‘learned new skill” as well). I bought two books this week: Stocking Up (excellent!) and Peterson’s Guide to Edible Wild Plants (I already had the medicinal plants one).

    Prepped: Bought more canning lids and extra jars (and noticed lids were sold out at the local dept. store), made some local contacts with other “homesteader” types, put down payment on three milk goats I am picking up soon, made bread every other day (love that no knead recipe-a working, homesteading mom’s dream!)

    Managed: Purged clutter via yard sale and made about $200. I am using the money to buy hog panels and equipment needed to build stanchion.

    Cooked Something New: Nothing completely new, but I made a carrot cake using honey as the sweetener (i.e no white sugar). Oh, I also started a kombucha SCOBY (I’ll be repeating this below).

    Work on Local Food System: Bought locally grown rhubarb, made a contact with one of the board members of the local farmer’s market, invited friends & family over for a locally made meal (some of the friends have started a garden for the first time in their lives and they want me to teach them how to can).

    Reduced Waste: Composted veggie and coffee/tea scraps to pigs, chickens and garden. Hardly bought anything this week, so little garbage or recycling for that matter. Reduced possessions by selling them at yard sale. I even sold items I thought would only be good for the dump.

    Learned a New Skill: From one of my new contacts, I learned some new things about raising dairy goats (and I thought I knew it all, LOL!) I also was given a SCOBY by this remarkable woman and I learned (via her instructions) how to start it successfully. I look forward to giving a “baby” SCOBY away soon!

  40. Danielle says:

    Finally got my blogpost up:

    Week 4

  41. Bess says:

    Harvested: more mint

    Planted: 22 tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, yellow peppers

    nothing preserved

    stored — a few extra canned goods

    prepped — finished digging the trench for the fence for the chicken yard — now we’re ready to build the framework for the yard.

    Managed — nothing really.

    Worked on local food systems — found homes for extra tomato seedlings — they’re all gone now. Gave a garden tour to a friend who was rather inspired by it. Eagerly awaiting the start of our CSA

    Reduced Waste — not much beyond composting unfortunately.

    Learned a new skill — Cleaning up after chicks!

    I’m not quite sure what this falls under — we got our chicks this week! 2 White Leghorns, 2 Black Australorps, and 2 Black Sex-link. They’re really cute and a little over a week old now.

  42. Rosa says:

    Carol, for canning, google USDA canning recipe – they have a whole bunch of stuff, and it’s the centrla source for all the county extension agents people usually refer you to if you have canning questions.

  43. plumbing supplies should always come from reputable suppliers so always check their backgrounds ~~’

  44. Will you be focused on trading back links?

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