Independence Days Update: Rain and More Rain

Sharon June 17th, 2009

Sorry, this is a couple of days late - I took Monday off to do something with a friend, and I’m running a bit behind.  Meanwhile, we’ve had, well, rain.  This is extremely good - it was an unusually dry May, and we needed it.  That said, I’m not quite sure we needed it all this week, but what are you going to do.

Now I’m wishing I made “weeded” a category for Independence Days. Not that I’d really have all that much to report, since I’ve been sitting inside watching them grow, but really, I’ve now moved mostly from planting to full-time weeding. Still have a little planting to do too, though.

Big changes around here are that we’ve begun figuring out a plan for a larger goat herd and a larger chicken flock.  We’ve decided we’re going back at least to selling eggs in the spring, along with my herb plans.  So that means more laying hens than the 15 or so we’ve got at present - I’ve got a batch of White Rocks and some Marans arriving in a couple of weeks, and I ordered more Buff Orpington’s and Aracaunas for fall  - our current hens need to be retired.

The barn can handle 50 hens, but we’re adding two new goat does, (and maybe the cute little baby I want for my birthday…hint…hint…Eric ;-)), and if Selene and Maia kid as expected in the fall, our goat facilities will start to get crowded.  That means moving the hens back up the hill to the stable - they lived up there for a few years, but we moved them down because the steep hill was a bitch to haul feed and bedding up to in the winter.  But short of building a chicken coop (which we will probably do eventually, but not yet), I think it is back to the stable for the chickens, and we’re swearing that we’ll keep the hillside shoveled - sliding down the icy hill while carrying a bale of straw, a jug of water and six eggs, no longer whole, in your pocket is not one of my fondest farming memories.  This mean repairing the stable and getting it chicken tight, and some other odds and ends. 

Otherwise, things are pretty quiet here - Simon and Isaiah are back from four days of being indulged by Grandma in New York City, and we had a great time soloing with Asher and Eli.  Posting will probably be on the light side for the rest of the week - my Mom is coming to visit, Eric’s 39th birthday is Friday, we’ve got strawberries and rhubarb to tend to (and strawberry shortcake to make for said birthday), friends coming to stay for Shabbos, weeds galore, Eric is starting up an online astronomy course, and much else.   

Ok, on to the point:

Plant something: Transplanted some inconveniently placed strawberries, wintergreen, melons, squash, mustard greens, pole beans, turnips, cabbage, nasturtiums, dill, burnet, cilantro, lettuce, orach, sunflowers, summer squash, cucumbers, catnip, borage.

Harvest something: Strawberries, lambs quarters, rhubarb, shell peas, snap peas, beets thinnings, bok choy, chinese cabbage, shepherd’s purse, comfrey (for the goats and chickens), eggs, milk, valerian roots.

Preserve something: Dried shepherd’s purse, dehydrated strawberries, made strawberry jam, dehydrated rhubarb, dried some greens.

Reduce Waste: Planted the last of the sprouted potatoes for a late crop, began cleaning out our room so that we won’t buy things that we already have but can’t find (our room is the worst kept spot in the house - every time we have guests anything that doesn’t get cleaned gets dumped there - I am determined to mend this fault.)  Gave some of last year’s hay to a friend, turned the winter’s hay-bale shelter into garden mulch, began another denim patchwork quilt for boys, actually measured out how much oatmeal for 1 serving for each boy, so that I will stop making too much when I eyeball it, began cleaning out the winter stuff for the synagogue yard sale.

Preparation and storage: Added a few more canning jars to the collection, otherwise, nothing new.

Build community food systems: Nope.

Eat the food - lots of lambsquarters, given the aforementioned weeds.  Strawberries, of course, and rhubarb.  But no really exciting new recipes.  Must work on this.


38 Responses to “Independence Days Update: Rain and More Rain”

  1. anitaon 17 Jun 2009 at 9:21 am

    My update is here:

    Cherries this week!

  2. heathenmomon 17 Jun 2009 at 9:53 am

    Nothing this week

    Green beans
    Wild blackberries
    Pea sprouts


    Waste Not:
    Mom has been canning like crazy and saving all the trimmings, hulls, etc. for my compost bins.
    Normal recycling stuff.

    Put up my clothesline this weekend (yay me … that was HARD work!).
    Cleaned out the old office in preparation for converting the entire room into a storage room (right now I’m just using that room’s small closet as a satellite pantry).
    Moved the grain mill and cabinet into the new storage room.
    Picked up some canned veggies on sale to supplement the home-canned stuff
    Got a cat for rodent control (okay, so we don’t actually have any rodents and this was a gift for my kitty-crazy girls :D).

    Community Food System:
    Got my share of the pickles, preserves, and peas that mom has canned so far this year.
    Helped harvest veggies from the communal garden and prep them for preserving.
    The dozens of wild pigs finally made it into the big garden and decimated the corn and watermelons. My mother’s fury at losing her watermelons finally motivated all the able-bodied men to get to building a hog trap.

    Eat the Food:
    Squash, squash and more squash, plus herbs and green beans from the garden
    Bread, beans, pasta from storage

  3. Lynneon 17 Jun 2009 at 9:59 am

    I, too, wish that there was a weeding category. I think I’m getting carpel tunnel.

    I just clicked on anita’s - beautiful tomato pic, I’m jealous.

    Here’s mine:

    Plant something: baby hubbard squash, lettuces, another brandywine tomato, late carrots, late beets (I’m experimenting with fall gardening, up here in Canada it’s tough)

    Harvest: broccoli, cilantro, bok choy, lettuce, radish, scallions, oregano, parsley and one strawberry :)

    Preserve something: dried basil

    decreased waste: using library, using our neighbour’s grass clippings in our compost (he now just brings it over for us, very nice) and I’m sitting here eyeing the grass clippings of our other neighbour

    build community food systems: took care of our friend’s chickens while they are away, gave more of our other friend’s CSA plants away for promotion - to our mailman’s niece!

    Prep and store: put up some pinto beans, cleaned and organized the canning shelves, took stock, got a few more lids

    Eat: what we harvested, plus last year’s chutney, and squash muffins from last year’s harvest.

  4. Heatheron 17 Jun 2009 at 10:04 am

    Weeded, laid down some mulch on the potatoes, planted loofah seeds & more parsnips, harvesting some nettles and strawberries, cut some long grass for an eventual archery project, and we’re back at the farmers market.

  5. Marieon 17 Jun 2009 at 10:10 am

    We’ve had a busy week. And we too have had much rain. Here’s our update for the week…

    Plant Something:
    Planted broccoli, kale, cabbage, marigolds, transplanted hosta away from the workshop to help the drainage and ant situation around the workshop. Brought out eggplant, pepper and basil seedlings to harden off in makeshift cold frame.

    Harvest Something:
    1 to 2 pints of strawberries a day, peas, lettuce and herbs.

    Preserve Something:
    Froze strawberries

    Waste Not:
    Read up on using more of our discarded paper for composting instead of recycling. Planning the location for a new hot compost pile.

    Preparation and Storage:
    Did the big shop for the month. Added to the long term food storage, more legumes, applesauce, seasonings. Moved some vases and china around in the basement to double our basement pantry storage.

    Build Community Food Systems:
    Located a great listing of all the farmer’s markets in our state to post on our company’s green page. This will go along with an article encouraging people to buy locally and eat fresh! Communicated with a local farmer about providing the entertainment at their fall harvest festival. Whoohoo!

    Eat the Food:
    Had MORE fresh strawberry shortcake with whole wheat sweet biscuits and organic cream. Still delicious! Had fresh salad mix from the local farm under our grilled salmon. Made a fritatta with fresh farm eggs, braising greens and shredded raw milk cheese. Heavenly. Made my first successful batch of yogurt. Drained some for Quark cheese.

  6. Susan in NJon 17 Jun 2009 at 10:13 am

    It’s your challenge Sharon — add a weeded category if you want. Meanwhile, a lot of rain, a weekend of social obligations, and sheer fatigue meant –

    Plant: Nothing, in fact a negative, since a torrential burst of rain while we weren’t home wiped out some seedlings; I did get in some ad hoc weeding.

    Harvest: Three kinds of leaf lettuce, tarragon, oregano, chard leaves, cinnamon basil, egyptian and bunching onion greens, big leaf shiso, a couple of radishes and radish tops, a nasturium leaf to sample

    Preserve: Froze sliced strawberries; dried oregano and cinnamon basil leaves; started another batch of tarragon vinegar with different vinegar; dehydrated kale for crispy kale [the result wasn’t so great, so now I have to figure out how not to waste it]

    Prep/Store: Made arrangements to have the baby maple forest cleaned out of the house gutters and gutters installed on the garage; researched and priced rain barrels and connecting hardware; ordered wheat berries; bought some white rice and shampoo on supermarket loss leader sale; got an amazing deal on clearance baker’s racks that have the same components as our other shelving and set one up in the kitchen instead of the chairs that were holding stuff and figured out where to put the others – but my partner winced when I said this would make canning season easier.

    Waste Not: Researched on-line and in-store bath to shower conversions for my mother, got her to reconsider an “as seen on TV” overly-costly conversion, and advised her long-distance on other options; found a local drop off for #3-7 plastic recycling and started saving the same at home; ran ice through the rarely used garbage disposal to clean out whatever was causing a problem with the sink draining; made yogurt with reserved homemade starter and frozen milk.

    Community: Shopped the farmer’s market and talked gardening with lots of different people; got some produce odds and ends from a friend who was going to be traveling.

    Eat: Leftover thanksgiving local turkey (from the freezer) with charmoule sauce (wow, we love this pungent take on cilantro/parsley puree) and israeli-style couscous; salad, salad and more salad; eggs scrambled asian style with lots of fresh onion greens; strawberries over biscuits with cream; a great odd and ends fruit salad with cinnamon basil

  7. risa stephanie bearon 17 Jun 2009 at 10:51 am

    So that’s where all our rain went …


    … report’s in the first half of that.

  8. Maryon 17 Jun 2009 at 10:55 am

    Here I am at the bottom of the curve…
    Plant– Rhubarb and tomatoes.

    Harvest–lettuce from neighbors’ garden. I walk their dog during the day, and they’re always begging us to eat their lettuce. Raspberries and blueberries from another nieghbor who asked me to watch house, water garden, and keep things picked while they’re out of town. Lambs quarter and purslane in a salad. Mulberries from the street, put some in cereal where their blandness doesn’t show and am trying to dry some.
    Preserve–see mulberries.

    Waste not…I had harvested five sofa cushions on big trash day a while ago. Took four to the Refugee Center as giveaways (used as beds for children). I have back problems that necessitate sleeping on my back and need less mobile support under my knees than the two pillows I had been using. I used the stuffing from the fifth cushion and an uphostery remnant to make a knee-supporting bolster. I haven’t slept this well in years. I used the cushion cover to recover the dog’s pillow. Also found a baby stroller and another baby holder in the trash. Gave one to an asylee at the center, took the other to a baby shower. Also made a baby quilt for the shower out of pre-owned scraps. Went to pick up a freecycle sewing machine three times. (I only ask for things in my zip code, so it wasn’t far.) The donor filled the car three times with womens/childrens clothing, housewares, fabric, and baby furniture–Refugee Center. Ate sour milk on my cereal. My Refugees living without refrigerators drink milk one day and make the leftovers into yoghurt for the second day.

    Prepare/store…my yard isn’t sunny enough for a summer garden, but it might be good for berries. First I need to get rid of all my non-native inedible invasives. Spent two hours on three days ripping out privet and honeysuckle. I’m now looking into hiring guys to do this.

    Prep/eat…The free-cycler also threw in a box of food. The sesame soy dressing is a real boost to my stir-fried mixed greens (Bill asked for them in his lunch bag), and I could easily replicate it from my stash. Packed Bill a lunch every day.

    Community…eating from other people’s gardens? Gave a talk on vegetable gardening at a drop-in center for the mentally ill. Will go back and do another on container gardening. Asked my next door neighbor for the two pallets they delivered his pavers on to build a more structurally sound compost bin. He said if they can use the bin, I can have the next two as well. Sure…they could hit the bin from their kitchen window. They would also like to take the lowest three branches off our holly tree. Offered rides to all three members of meeting who were going to a distant committee meeting. Two said yes–tripled my milage. Husband joined zipcar so he can bus to work and rent briefly when he has an internship site visit. On our last weekly visit to an 85 yr-old neighbor, he showed us his car insurance bill–high due to couple accidents. (I have offered rides to the grocery store.) Bill gave a spiel about how many taxis Rob could take for that amount of money, not to mention how many more he could afford if he sold the car. I enjoyed hearing Bill preach this gospel a lot, as I’m hoping we can go car-free when our 1995 Toyota dies. Only 186,000 miles, but it’s developed a drinking problem with oil.

    Reading my list suggests that I might be a forager/scavenger rather than a farmer. Oh, and I ordered a couple books from one of your forager recommendations and reserved a library book on edible weeds in my area.

  9. Lisa H.on 17 Jun 2009 at 11:21 am

    Our big push lately is to declutter boxes of old electronics and files (ongoing, never ending) and to re-arrange our furniture to use what we have and not buy anything new. Our biggest challenge is to find space for all of our books…

    Planted: n/a

    Harvested: weekly organic csa veggie box and flowers

    Preserved: started arancello using foraged oranges; made sugar syrup using orange juice and stored sugar

    Reduced Waste: cancelled paper deliveries: read at work; community composting/recycling; took old TV, scanner, cords etc. to electronic recycling company; donated 2 lamps to local charity; ‘harvested’ leftovers from a party: food, flowers and potted plants, trays; put new TV, receiver, video/DVD/CD player on surge protector w/switch to cut down ghost power loss; saved glass jars for reuse; froze lemon peels to candy later.

    Preparation and Storage: 4 tins kippered herrings, 1 tin smoked trout; yard saled: Wilton mini-muffin pan, pyrex pie plate, stainless steel shower organizer, basket to hold cloth TP, 3 sets of knitting needles, 100% cotton crib sheet (to cut up for TP)

    Build Community Food Systems: Traded kitchenware and sewing notions w/yard sale buddyl turned same buddy on to Azure Co-op

    Eat the Food: csa veggies: taco salad: csa lettuce, stored beans, frozen guacamole and pork, tortilla chip ‘crumbs’; pasta w/pesto: storage pasta and frozen pesto; storage: mac and cheese; straight up limoncello and pomegranate liqueur; 7 layer bars: storage coconut milk, brown sugar, nuts, dried coconut, choc. chips.


  10. Anneon 17 Jun 2009 at 11:22 am

    Plant Something:
    Planted basil, cucumber, swiss chard, carrots

    Harvest Something:
    four precious strawberries, a bounty of snow peas, lettuce, kale

    Preserve Something:

    Waste Not:

    Preparation and Storage:
    Began researching roofing contractors and replacing our asphalt roof with a metal roof that is safe for rain harvesting.

    Build Community Food Systems:
    Went on field trip to three community gardens with a group interested in starting a community food garden(s) in our suburb.

    Eat the food:
    Many snow pea recipes — Asian cabbage salad with snow peas, sauteed snow peas, and raw snow peas with lettuce, carrots. “Massaged” kale salad with feta, dried cranberries. Tried new honey whole wheat bread recipe.

  11. Edward Bryanton 17 Jun 2009 at 11:25 am

    Hi Sharon,

    I am growing that improved French cultivar of lambsquarter and it is really great! Great down to its pink petioles! We made a big spannikopita with blanched lambsquarter instead of spinach and it was better than the ones made with spinach. And lambsquarter does not bolt, nor need any watering and it out competes weeds. I love this plant…the only thing you have to do is remove the excess. The chickens seem to like is tossed in their tractor. Not a bad compost crop either as it gets gigantic by the end of the summer.

    Plant: Hickory trees, coppice willows,
    Eat: Lots-o-greens, strawberries
    Dry: oregano
    Waste not: Added four buckets of humanure to compost. Added two cubic yards of weeds to compost.
    Preserve: four quarts of Sicilian Fresh Tomato sauce…Jeff Smith cooks Italian is a great cookbook BTW.
    Community: Gave away great bushels of mustard greens, red Russian kale and the afore mentioned lambsquarter

  12. Emilyon 17 Jun 2009 at 11:29 am

    How many square feet do you garden?

  13. Heronon 17 Jun 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Sharon, your run of posts over the last week or so has been awesome. Just wanted to say that.

    Gotta have the Weeded category.

    Weeded something:
    Most of the grow boxes, but not the not the awful jungle bed that needs to become part of the fall garden.

    Plant Something:
    Did I really not plant anything last week? Was traveling for about half of it, but still, should have got something into dirt.

    Harvest Something:
    Blueberries, various peppers, tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, okra, squash

    Preserve Something:
    Froze some blueberries for Mom

    Waste Not:
    Making the most of volunteers - vincas, peach trees I almost pitched as dead from freezing last year but spotted a bit of root growth, ditto some tropicals.

    Preparation and Storage:
    Baking supplies. Started the horrible process of garage clean out so I can move things out there from the house and have more room in the house for food storage. Green with envy over people who live in places where they can have basements.

    Build Community Food Systems:
    Sharing garden goodies where I can.

    Eat the Food:
    Throwing harvest into salads and whatever I cook, pretty much every day.

  14. NMon 17 Jun 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Plant something: nada. But must soon, because of what I did plant before, One cucumber came up.
    Harvest something: strawberries and u-pick strawberries, farmers market, csa basket
    Preserve something: dehydrated strawberries, rhubarb, lemon balm. Strawberry jam!
    Waste not: Gave away five of the many jars of peach jam I have left from a few years ago when the peach jam making got out of hand. Brought some csa vegetables for a friend, because there are too many for us. Doing a better job of avoiding nearly all grocery store plastic bags.
    Prep and storage - no.
    Community Food systems - no.
    Eat the food - A friend came to dinner and we had a lovely meal of chard calzone with home-canned tomato sauce, roasted asparagus, green salad, a local white wine and lemon tart with strawberries and whipped cream. All the vegetables came from the csa or farmers market; that was fun. Spinach quiche, one of my favorite foods — so nice to have spinach back on the menu!

  15. Amberon 17 Jun 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Here is my update for the week.

    Highlight: Having some friends get really into eating the weeds I showed them! I expected they would dismiss it as me ‘being weird. Again.’ ;)

  16. sealanderon 17 Jun 2009 at 4:37 pm

    It’s not far off the shortest day here, Matariki is coming…..that’s the Maori New Year, when the Pleiades first rise.

    Planted: Got some strawberry plants for 70 cents each….usually they’re more like $2 each so I can never get enough. Planted 45 of them - do you think that will be enough for jam? ;)
    Also planted elephant garlic and shallots. I can’t seem to grow decent sized onions, so I’ll stick to shallots this year. Re-planted the mashua tubers that had greened up.
    Noticed I have self-sown kale and mizuna seedlings coming up, plus a million Italian parsley plants so I’ll move those to where I want them when they’re a bit bigger.

    Harvested: Mashua! I’m very pleased with the amount of large tubers I got here. (For those not familiar with this vegetable, it’s a sort of climbing nasturtium which forms big knobbly white tubers). Easy to clean and prepare, and they work well with the sort of casseroles and soups full of root vegetables that I cook this time of year.
    Also harvested the oca patch (we call them yams here, though they’re not really). Pretty pitiful crop, but they did have a eucalyptus tree fall on them, poor babies.
    Found a home for my last cockerel (just as he started practicing his crowing ;). I don’t know if that counts as harvesting? Also gave away persimmons.
    And I have eggs again, even though it is the middle of winter! One of the Silkies has started laying. They ain’t big but it’s still better than paying 50 cents an egg for the not very good free range ones I was buying for baking.

    Preserved: More dried persimmons. Almost to the bottom of the pile - I think I’ll be baking persimmon cookies and persimmon bread this weekend. Tried out some eggs I froze a few months back for baking - they worked okay, although the yolks get kind of congealed and need to be mashed up before you mix them in.

    Preparation: Signed up as a Civil Defence volunteer. You get free courses in emergency preparedness, and you can do emergency rescue as well if you like dragging people in stretchers out of rubble. There may be a fetching red jumpsuit included too. Oh, and you get to lecture people on preparation without needing to mention peak oil. Our whole country’s riddled with earthquake fault lines, flood zones and volcanoes after all ;)

    Eat the food: Casserole with mashua, home grown parsnip and salsify. Managed to feed the family a pumpkin lasagne without anyone asking where the meat was, which just proves my theory that they’ll eat anything if you put melted cheese on it ;)

    Build community food systems: Delivered some seeds to the local seed exchange. Carefully avoided the temptation of the seed swap table as my seed collection is getting on the over-large size.

  17. TLEon 17 Jun 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Plant something: started a new foam box of salad greens, baked experimental raisin bread - (needs more research!)

    Harvest something: greens, parsley, sprouts, mushrooms

    Preserve Something: not this week

    Prep & Storage: stocked up on soymilk powder, soyflour, and 60/40 whole wheat/plain blend, ordered seed potatoes, started organising ‘bugout’ bucket.

    Build Community Food Systems: Shared a number of links & tips on budget container veggie gardening in a money-saving online forum I visit fairly frequently.

    Reduce Waste: usual composting & recycling, froze portions of tomato paste so they wouldn’t spoil before we finish the jar.

    Eat the Food: raisin bread, stockpile & fridge pot-luck burritos, sandwiches with backyard greens, veggie pie with leftover filo, homegrown mushrooms & freezer breadcrumbs.

    Sealander, I have discovered my ‘meat & potatoes’ partner will eat any veggie if it’s finely chopped & a) baked in a lasagne or b) mixed with chopped nuts & fetta & wrapped in pastry :)

  18. sealanderon 17 Jun 2009 at 5:58 pm

    That’s right, TLE, I also often grate, mash or puree vegetables so that our teenage can’t pick out the chunks she doesn’t like the look of. It’s like feeding toddlers sometimes ;)

  19. Eliseon 17 Jun 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Plant Something: dug new garden bed and planted buckwheat cover crop, which is growing nicely. Planted cranberry beans for the 3rd time. Some actually came up this time (sigh). Planted rutabagas, red carrots, parsnips, nasturtiums.

    Harvest Something: lettuce, peas, chard, snow peas, mint, bee balm, sweet woodruff, sage, lemon balm, tulsi basil, oregano, strawberries (39 quarts so far).

    Preserve Something: made strawberry jam (cooked and freezer jam), froze strawberries, dried strawberries. Dried herbs.

    Waste not: Made jam from remainder of last year’s blueberries when cleaning out freezer. Gave away strawberries and herbs. Loaned lawnmower to next door neighbor on condition that they use the grass catcher and give me all the clippings for compost.

    Prep and Storage: took inventory of storage and made a spreadsheet to record it. Made butter for the first time from my raw milk cream.

    Build Community Food Systems: worked some more on our local economy website: Communicated with the people in our Garden Buddy program. Participated in planning a community simulation game where the scenario is no food coming into the county - doing a test run of it tomorrow with some volunteers.

    Eat the Food: strawberries, strawberries, strawberries (almost have had enough for a while now). Peas (yum), lettuce, chard.

  20. mnfnon 17 Jun 2009 at 6:23 pm

    It’s been a bit more of a solo effort this week, as BB is away. I’m also counting down to the midwinter solstice - it would be nice to see the house and garden in daylight during the week :)

    Plant something: wild rocket and argula, pak choy all in the bottom bed. Picked up some jerusalem artichokes at the farmers market and put them in as well. Blackcurrant bush from the market and strawberry that arrived earlier in the mail planted out into pots. Lettuce and silverbeet in a seedling tray.

    Harvest something: nope.

    Preserve Something: More preserved lemons (rapidly becoming a kitchen staple. I miss my year round fresh lemons.) Made stock from odds and ends.

    Reduce Waste: Replaced washers in shower taps - all by myself! (though with long-distance phone consult from my father) No more drips. Usual recycling/composting. I’ll count hackign the jungle here as it will ultimately reduce waste of garden space.

    Prep & Storage: Tidied freezer (still overwhelmed with lamb) and pantry - starting to write up the ideal pantry inventory list.

    Community Food Systems: Shopped at local farmers market on the weekend. Reinforced the idea that if you ask around someone will have what you need - the seed company stall didn’t have jerusalem artichokes, but directed me to the baked goods lady who was selling them.

    Eat the Food: Using BB’s absence to make basic meals that basically use up anything old-ish in the fridge, then moving on to make simple comfort food. So potato, leek and bacon soup; roasted vegetable salad with haloumi; scrambled eggs; pumpkin and silverbeet lasagne; last of the red curry for lunches; risotto-style spicy tomato penne and carmellised fennel.

  21. Robj98168on 17 Jun 2009 at 7:16 pm

    my update is posted here.
    Good gawd womman- how many chickens you got?

  22. AnneTon 17 Jun 2009 at 8:26 pm

    My update is at

  23. Claireon 17 Jun 2009 at 9:14 pm

    It was soggy in St. Louis this week. We got 2.9″ of rain in two days - and that was one of the smaller amounts reported around here.

    Plant something: only a few extra parsley and cutting celery plants into the cold frame, after I’d weeded it. I weeded part of the garden, so I can harvest and/or plant something in succeeding weeks. Had to rescue the purple onions, leeks, black beans, and sunflowers from dastardly weeds, and get the remaining Jerusalem artichoke regrowth out of the beds the popcorn and zucchini will be planted into.

    Preserve something: not this week. Still waiting for the DH to complete the solar dehydrator. Then we;ll have to wait for some sunshine so we can use it.

    Reduce waste: making more compost from all those weeds I pulled. Made sun tea from collected rainwater (purified by being left in a glass jar in the sun for several days [when we had sun], then filtering through cheesecloth).

    Harvest something: it’s the June glut, so I harvested lettuce, bok choy, kale, collards, bulb fennel, potato onions, garlic, topsets from topsetting onions, snow peas, parsley, dill, basil, nasturtium flowers, raspberries, blueberries, and a strawberry or two.

    Prep and storage: the usual checking of the food and staples supply before ordering at our food co-op.

    Community food systems: brought peach tree seedlings I grew and extra tomato seedlings to the Zen Center to give away.

    Eat the food: salads and stir-fries galore. Good thing I love both!! The DH varies the starch and seasoning of the stir-fries each time (I grow it, he cooks it).

  24. Gabrielleon 18 Jun 2009 at 7:18 am

    (This is our update. I posted it to the blog on Monday).

    Plant something—leeks. I didn’t get anything else in the ground this week. I must say that I appreciate the weekly updates, as I may not have planted anything in the ground this week had the challenge not motivated me to do so.

    Harvest something—the first of the cucumbers, zucchini, green tomatoes, and bell pepper; we also picked lettuce, green onions, yellow onions, a few peas, beets, parsley, oregano, dill, basil, thyme, mint, and lambs quarters

    Preserve—I put borsht, turnip greens, and green onions in the freezer. I dried some dill.

    Waste not/reduce waste—We continue to use the rain barrel, compost, and recycle. I thinned butternut squash and gave the thinnings to friends for their garden. I cleaned out the fridge and freezer. We collected more rainwater in buckets from a few heavy rains this week. Our daughter was thrilled with the hand-me-down shoes, videos, and clothes she was given from friends at church. She doesn’t watch much television and kept saying about the Sponge Bob shoes, “Look at my cool cheese shoes, Momma!”

    Preparation and Storage—My hubby is working on cleaning privet out of a garden bed in hopes that it might be another flower or vegetable bed next year. He continues to work on plans for the playhouse. He hilled the potatoes and added the last of the boards on the potato boxes. I added raisins to storage and bought 2 months worth of local cheese for the fridge. I began planning for fall garden and bulb order.

    Built Community Food Systems–I passed lettuce on to friends from the garden and CSA. I taught a friend how to make hummus and yogurt. I met with a church friend to iron out plans for our July food preservation class. I am planning a mozzarella and yogurt making class for July as well. I bought for the food pantry at church and organized it some. I handed out pamphlets about Angel Food Ministry. We gave friends bamboo for stakes in their gardens.

    Eat the food—We made a black raspberry version of the Easy Cobbler recipe I put on the blog. We are looking forward to fried green tomatoes tonight. Yummy!

  25. gaiasdaughteron 18 Jun 2009 at 7:22 am

    To Susan in NJ — in regards to the tub conversion, my mother’s therapist convinced her that she was better off with a tub transfer bench than a conversion. Much, much cheaper, too!

    And for those of you with cool, rainy weather who are wondering where is global warming when you need it, I assure you it is alive and well in the panhandle of Florida!! Supposed to get 98 today and not a drop of rain for weeks. My poor nasturtiums are too crisy to harvest despite frequent waterings. But my squash is doing great!!

  26. ctdaffodilon 18 Jun 2009 at 7:48 am

    well - we are in the end days of the school year so thats my excuse for not being too good.

    Plant - I didn’t plant anything, but I weeded while the kids swam and came across 8 volunteer tomato plants (must have left a few on the ground last fall). They are where I wanted to put my squashes but haven’t yet - so we are skipping squash I guess and going with 14 tomato plants.
    will plant potatos this afternoon - If I’m not working on the ark…

    Harvest - radishes that the littlest one insisted on growing. He loves them. A few baby spinach leaves for my sandwich the other day.

    Preserve - nothing yet

    Reduce - we just got single stream recycle bins from our carting co. Its 1/2 full and so is our trash bin - looking into getting a smaller cheaper trash bin

    Prep/Store - bought sale sneakers in the next size up for the kids. Stocked up on dried coconut and almonds and more TP

    Comm Food S. - made donation to church soup kitchen.

    Eat the food - worked off of leftovers most of the week - blew it on the weekend. But been cooking from the freezer this week

  27. Sharonon 18 Jun 2009 at 8:48 am

    Hi Rob - at the moment we’ve got 15 hens and 40 meat birds just out of peep stage. At peak in early Sept. we’ll have 40 meat birds, 15 hens and 50 potential layers in various stages of development, but then we’ll probably drop back again - the meat birds will be gone by October or late September, and come spring, we’ll probably work ourselves down to 50 with the new layers, and use the old hens for soup.


  28. Susan in NJon 18 Jun 2009 at 9:16 am

    gaiasdaughter — thank you for the suggestion. I mentioned the bench possibility to my mom but she’s pretty adamant about “no bench” (sigh) and it turns out there are other plumbing issues that need to be addressed plus the tub is so high that I have trouble stepping over the wall.

  29. Sarahon 18 Jun 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Harvest: well, this is the only kind of harvest we have, but we got our first CSA pickup last Thursday! And we get more today! Lots and lots of leafy green things, along with some sugar snap peas, garlic scapes, and radishes. No strawberries, since there hasn’t been much sun. But also no rain on the farm, despite it being only three miles from our house, which has been soaked in depressing early summer drizzle for *weeks*.

    Organization/Preparation: Set up a big whiteboard on the side of the fridge. On it go the CSA veggies each week, and next to it I will write what we do with them and cross each one off as we use it up. This should minimize surprise bags of brownish-green goo in the crisper drawer as well as give me something to show off.

    Also cleared out the fridge of freezerburned 2-year-old hot peppers and other assorted things to make room for new deliciousness.

    Eat the food: Delicious soup with noodles and greens. Also used up rice porridge that was in the freezer and the last two butternut squash from December (Which were fine, if slighly dessicated. They’d just been sitting on by bookshelf. The things are indestructible so long as they don’t get dented.). The butternut squash became pumpkin bread, pumpkin brownies, and two kinds of pumpkin cookies (one of which was both gluten free and vegan. And *delicious*. They are being held together by sheer faith. And lots and lots of coconut cream.). I’m running the food for a sci-fi convention this weekend, hence the baking spree. The fan community likes pumpkin-based desserts, I’m sure. People tend to like most free food.

  30. Sarahon 18 Jun 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Oh, and Organize Local Food Systems: had another brainstorming session about CSA, composting, and gardening networking at our synagogue with actual plans for action this time, and reserved a chicken with my friend who’s raising some roosters for slaughter in August (along with some *adorable*-sounding new breeds of hens for eggs). I also found out about a Community Supported Fishery that sounds awesome but is sadly not very sustainably run.

    And if we get more garlic scapes today, I’m going to preserve some in vinegar to offer at the fundraising auction this weekend. Garlic scapes in vinegar make very convincing strange preserved alien worms, especially if I make a nifty enough label.

  31. Heatheron 18 Jun 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Hm, not sure if this counts as reducing waste…. we’re using hay chaff off the barn floor to mulch the garden. Also, while working to recover one corner of the garden, L discovered some onions. I’d had some baby onions that were too dry to eat last fall, so I figured I’d try sticking them in the ground and see if anything happened… and now we have some onions! I’ll need to harvest a few this week, as he discovered them by scything the tops off of one bunch :D

    Today, L cut up some of the strawberries and threw them into our oatmeal for b’fast :)

  32. Heatheron 18 Jun 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Sorry to be posting in bit and pieces, but I just got an interesting email from a former neighbor! One of the reasons the folks who bought our house wanted it was because of the work I’d done on the property, putting in garden here and there, two apple trees, strawberry bed, herbs, etc. When we moved I brought some of the strawberries up here but left half of them down there. They’re doing really well this year and the new owners shared some of the strawberries with my friend and former neighbor. And then she said “I have a veg garden this year too. Silly not to these days.”

    Nice to know the old garden is still going strong and spreading through the neighborhood!

  33. Shiraon 18 Jun 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Ah, Independence Days are here again!

    Actually, I just planted, weeded, repeat. Spring was cold, planting is late and I am behind. Cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, potatoes, squash, snap beans, radishes and lettuce for a mid-summer salad, even a 4′ by 4′ square of soup beans, and that’s without getting to the peppers and basil.

    Still eating up the stuff in the freezer from last fall. Spring onions are coming on, and there is a continuous supply of green crunchy stuff. In fact, it is a challenge to intercept the kale, lettuce, and bok choi before it bolts.

    As to saving the world, a topic of a recent post and an attitude embedded in the whole concept, I quit. I’m just sitting here on the western fringe of the continent, looking at the bay and breeding those beets. That’s what I can do. I can breed beets, leeks, kale, bok choi and chard for great flavor and tolerance of the casual abuse of backyard organic gardening. I can share seed and explain to anyone who will listen that the winter garden (actually the three seasons that aren’t summer) is where backyard gardeners really save money in this climate. I find that there is no point in trying to convince people who have never eaten a leek and aren’t sure what one looks like that frozen dinners from Costco are not a food group.

    Shira in Bellingham, WA

  34. gaiasdaughteron 18 Jun 2009 at 4:29 pm

    This is totally off-topic but I wanted to post it before the links went into paid archives. Sharon has often mentionned that the day may come when we can no longer afford to pay for necessities. That day has already arrived for some.

    We’ve had another shooting in Pensacola. It seems a certain mobile home park got behind on its water bill and so the more than 100 residents (who have been paying their rent all along – which supposedly includes utilities) had their water cut off. No water for over a week and the sewers were beginning to back up . Well, a local church decided to help out. They came over with water, food, and giving hearts. In the midst of this community bonding, a 17-year old from a neighboring town showed up. He had a beef with one of the residents over a stolen wallet, so he shot him in the face. The victim has since died.

    If that wasn’t bad enough, a few days later some deputies responded to a call for assistance with a young man who was having a seizure at this very same mobile home park. Somehow, someway, their K-9 dog got out of the sheriff’s car and attacked the patient’s mother, sending her to the hospital with multiple bite wounds. Police aren’t sure how the dog got out of the car, but suggest that the woman aggravated the situation by reacting inappropriately, “’It didn’t help that she was hysterical,’ Roy said.”

    Bottom line is that if your water is cut off, your sewer is backing up, your neighbor is shot and killed during a church cook-out , your son is having a seizure, and you are being attacked by a police dog, by all means don’t get hysterical!

    I am struck by how readily a trigger gets pulled. I am struck by the callousness of the water company and how readily they turned the water off. I am struck by how easily things can go awry when deputies overreact. I am struck by the ‘blame the victim’ attitude of law enforcement. I am struck by the one ray of light in this story – the church members who showed up to offer relief.

    I am concerned about the number of guns in this country. I am concerned that hardship brings out the worst in some people. I am concerned that this story is only the beginning . . .

  35. ehswanon 18 Jun 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Sharon. I recently, at my local liquor store, talked to the grand daughter of a woman who is 102 years old and is still sharp as a tack. I asked how she had done it. The grand daughter said she stayed active. The 102 year old woman grew up on a small farm in central Ky. Before cars, electricity, phones, refrigerators… Well I imagine you get it! This ELDER knows how to live in a post oil world. She is thriving, lives alone, saddened that her children are dieing before her. But what a store of knowledge for the rest of us. We need her knowledge. There must others like her. Please find them and release their knowledge to us.

  36. ehswanon 18 Jun 2009 at 10:40 pm

    P.s I drunkenly realized in re reading what I wrote to you that I was putting off on you
    what I should be doing myself. But then we should all be asking our elders for advice. I’ll get back to you.

  37. Rayeon 19 Jun 2009 at 8:08 am

    Plant - runner beans, chard, cabbage

    Harvest - last of the asparagus, lamb’s quarters, lettuce, a few early carrots, bee balm, garlic scapes, mache seeds

    Preserve - dehydrated strawberries

    Reduce - nothing out of the ordinary, we compost, buy some things bulk, recycle

    Prep - reading up on skills, Orlov’s recommendations, bought a water purifier

    Community - talking to local land trust and others about transition, peak oil, resilient community

    Eat - garlic scapes, lettuce, lamb’s quarters

  38. Katon 19 Jun 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Planted:Sage, hyssop, peppermint, lemon basil, cinnamon basil, thyme, dill, dhives, catnip, chamomile (german), rosemary, lemon balm, sweet basil, oregano, 2 kinds of lavender, sweet corn, popcorn, more parsnips, morning glories, cypress vine, butterfly wildflower mix, four o’clocks, straw flowers, bachelor button, aster, sunflowers, nasturtiums, marigolds, calendula, cucumbers, mixed bell peppers, candy onions, beets, broccoli (1st batch didn’t do well, ditto on the beets), Roma tomatoes, carrots, bunch onions, 3 more raspberry bushes (planted 3 earlier in spring). Then I watched the rain strom wash my little herb seeds down the slope this morning. Should be an interesting mix when they come up!

    Preserved: Bought more canning jars and lids

    Reduced waste: have been saving all cans and jars for recycle/reuse. Composted tops of strawberries and radishes, coffee grinds, mystery items from bottom of crisper. Ate supper leftovers for lunch all week. Using paper waste to make new paper (fun to do with the 7 year old!), bought a bigger feeding pan for the chickens so they won’t scratch so much food into their yard.

    Harvested: Half dozen little peas in pods, radishes, basil for tomato sauce

    Prep and Storage: bought a pressure canner, discussed with hubby the merits of a larger pantry in the kitchen (I think I convinced him!)

    Community food systems: I have been buying my milk, eggs and butter from a newly-opened health food market that sells locally produced dairy items.

    Eat the food: Peas, radishes, basil

    And I weeded a LOT!! My husband and I are enjoying this garden and the chickens so much (will that make them taste better later, I wonder?) We check every day to see what has come up!

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