Independence Days Update 1: Plodding Towards Spring

Sharon March 15th, 2010

Hi Folks – Sorry I didn’t do a first ID update this past week, but I was travelling.  So this is my first official post of year three!

Let’s see, what happened in the last couple of weeks.  Well, Frodo/Ring Bearer the goat boy came home to live here, bringing his musky-scented self along.  He bred one of our does the first day, so all the relevant bits seem to work.  We’re looking at a lot of babies in August.  Jessie and Bast should deliver in May (we think), with the rest of them following in late summer.

Our ducklings arrived on the same day as Frodo, and they are doing beautifully – Isaiah, after weeks of agony finally decided to raise crested ducks for the fair.  Simon was planning on raising cochin chicks, and those arrived while I was gone – but all of them were dead.  It was the only time (in many years of ordering poultry) that that’s happened – the box must have gotten left in the cold somewhere or something, but it was horrible for the boys.  They will re-ship, but it was a pretty miserable thing.

I’ve been starting seedlings – I put off most of my greens until after I came back so that they wouldn’t pop up before I came back (Eric would never notice ;-) ), so it has been a busy green-starting kind of week.  Also the snapdragons, which I love because I love to watch bees go into them, and which the kids love because they are cool.  Tomatoes are all in, as are peppers and eggplant. 

The snow is down to about 6 inches (from 4 feet at the beginning of March), which is good.  The flooding basement isn’t quite as desirable, but is probably an inevitable result of 2 inches of rain and the rapid transformation of a foot of snow to water.  The daffodils are up a couple a couple of inches, and the weather is supposed to be fairly consistently warm for a while.

Otherwise, I’m ignoring everything.  Book.  Book.  Book.  I’ve never really managed to get my groove back with this book, and it is going slowly and painfully, but it is mostly going.  I only consider returning the advance and bagging on the book two or three times a day now.  But there’s only two weeks left.  Sigh.  Ok, done whining now…for today.

Plant something: Broccoli, kale, chard, lettuce, various other greens, snapdragons, tomatoes, hot peppers, eggplant, sweet peas.

Harvest something: Eggs, Milk, willow bark

Preserve something: Not a thing

Waste Not: Made applesauce out of some of remaining apples, cut up extra softening sweet potatoes for slips, the usual composting, recycling and feeding things to other things. 

Want Not: Got a new batch of sourdough starter from my step-mom to replace the one that leaked all over.

Eat the Food: Made an applesauce spice cake to take to a friends’ house, ate a lot of chametz (grain based things) before passover.  Nothing particularly exciting – soba noodles in miso broth were the best.

Build Community Food Systems:  Gave two talks at least partly about food, otherwise, nada.

How about you?


14 Responses to “Independence Days Update 1: Plodding Towards Spring”

  1. Leigh says:

    I’m enjoying participating in this. It’s funny how things one does as routine don’t seem significant, until they are recorded like this.

    My second week is recorded at my blog, here –

  2. Anisa says:

    I ate soba noodle soup this week too, how funny.

    Here’s my second week update…

  3. The Mom says:

    My update is at my blog this week.

    This is my first week with an update, I can’t wait for things to really get moving.

  4. Lynne says:

    We had some cool weather but all told it’s been a crazy warm year starting in January. Snow has been gone for almost a month, so everything has been shifted forward….

    Plant: Indoors: Sweet Potatoes (yay!); tomatoes(7 kinds); peppers (6 kinds); fennel; flat leaf parsley; eggplant; 2nd planting cabbage and broccoli; romaine lettuce; bietina; spinach; dill; 2nd planting onions – red, storage, shallots and green; experiment – fava beans started early in a flat for quicker germination; sweet peas; Outdoors – radish (black spanish and french breackfast) and corn salad

    Harvest: lettuce, eggs +++

    Preserve: Nope

    Waste Not: Made delicious soup using ham bone for broth that we had frozen many months ago; composting and giving scraps, thinnings to chickens

    Want not: Made two more gorgeous planting flats based on Jeavons specs (half size) out of scrap wood; I cannot rave enough about how well these work

    Build Community food systems: Nothing formal. Continued trade of plants, sharing of the garden.

    Eat: Lettuce from garden, dressing with dried tomatoes, leeks, garlic; soup with homegrown dried peas, onions; canned peaches; beans; potatoes; pasta with homemade spaghetti sauce; butternut squash soup; tomato paste; bean pickles; local apples; raspberry crumble – homegrown berries, CSA grain; Cherry pie for Pi Day (local cherries)!

  5. Psunflwr says:

    1. Filled in spaces in the cold frame with radish seeds. Replanted parsley indoors since other did not germinate. Too wet to plant the bed in the garden I prepared last weekend.

    2. A few leaves of mustard greens from the cold frame. (Makes cheese sandwich more interesting) and experimented with added catnit pinchings to my tea.

    3. Preserve something. Nope but I did the complete Spring inventory of all my canning from last year. I’m impressed! Most things I have left but identified a few items to make more of.

    4. Waste not. I’ve been on a campaign to identify the unidentifiable in the freezer and to use in a meal.

    5. Want not. Went through all the clothes to come up with stuff for the Easter Clothing Drive at church. Working on finding stuff for a garage sale in April.

    6. Community Food Systems. I’ve been talking up the Farmer’s Spring Expo March 27 to anyone who will listen. (At Shawnee Community Center for those of you in the KC area). My Lenton Resolution was to go to a church fish supper every Friday in Lent. I’m enjoying this exercise much more than I expected and am meeting many people.

    7. Eat the food. Always! Tried sprouting pea seeds as suggested by the Coop and then cooked with a recipe found on line for pea sprouts fried rice. Easy and good.

  6. Evey says:

    Not too much new this week; more I’m sure after first visit to WV farm in two months due to weather.

    plant something: raddicco, frisee endive, Marvel of 4 Season lettuce- a few of each
    transplanted wee red & yellow onion seedlings; they have not fattened up at all, I hope more space around them will help

    want not: purchased 4 doz. wide mouth canning lids for $1.50 per doz. Cheap around here.

  7. Claire says:

    Spring is obvious now in the St. Louis, MO area – the earliest of my daffodils started blooming today!!!

    Plant: 2 varieties of lettuce (Michelle and Anuenue), elecampane, and parsnips, all in a flat for later transplantation. A la Ecology Action, I am starting many root crops in flats this year. Lynne, I also use the half size flat plan from Ecology Action. My DH made several for me this year. They are great! I also re-seeded one lettuce variety and two pepper varieties that didn’t germinate well after 2+ weeks in their flats. I pricked-out 96 tomato seedlings and 10 nasturtium seedlings from their flats and planted them into roomier quarters, either 2″x2″ pots (for the 30 tomato plants for our garden) or 6-paks (for the extras I’ll give away or maybe sell).

    Harvest: a few sorrel leaves for a quick snack.

    Preserve: my DH made kimchi from (purchased) napa cabbage and Serrano hot peppers I’d grown, dried, and stored in the freezer.

    Waste not: ate one of the stored butternut squashes, the one going a bit wrinkly, for lunch; it was as delicious as ever. Saved the seeds too, for later roasting and eating. Checked on the potatoes I’m storing for planting in the next few weeks; they are fine. Put the flats that had been on the heat mat in the basement out into the cold frame, as most nights are above freezing now (that could change next week, but I can bring them back inside for a few days if needed), and turned off the heat mat and lights. The seedlings grow better in sunlight anyway.

    Want not: it looks like we will get some old bricks from a chimney being torn down at the house next door to our Zen Center. We can use these for various garden projects. Our neighbor had several bread knives, we had none, so she gave us one of hers. We in turn fed her dinner, as she got to our house just in time for that. We got the filter for our collected rainwater up and running, so we are now drinking and cooking with collected and filtered rainwater coming off the roof.

    Build community food systems: I posted on Facebook about having extra seedlings. My DH posted about his newly made batch of kimchi.

    Eat the food: stored Jerusalem artichokes from last fall made it into a stir-fry and a potato-choke-onion-carrot-cabbage saute. Last season’s frozen Ancho hot peppers also made it into various dishes. The week before last I made a pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread from one of the two remaining Lady Godiva pumpkins from last year’s crop. My variation on the pie is to use coconut milk in place of cream and cardamom in place of the usual pumpkin pie spices. Both the pie and the bread (made from the excess pie filling) got rave reviews. And, of course, I saved the seeds for later eating.

  8. Erika says:

    I feel like I’m getting in a rut… ugh! I thought that wouldn’t come on in week 2!!!

  9. Plant something: silverbeet, endive, tuscan kale. Baked bread.

    Harvest something: lettuce, parsley, oregano, lemon thyme, basil, chillis, amaranth

    Preserved something: made yogurt.

    Waste not: usual composting, worm-farming & recycling. Borrowed large roasting pan from neighbour instead of buying extra stuff for the kitchen.

    Want not: re-stocked bulk supplies of basmati rice, soy milk, soy sausages & chai tea (all were on sale). Made bulk pancake/muffin mix for pantry.

    Build Community Food Systems: Last week’s veggie shop was from farmer-direct market.

    Eat the food: More pancakes with home-made cherry jam, ‘pantry & garden’ dinner of homemade falafels, bulk-purchased flatbread & salad with garden lettuce & herbs.

  10. Gabrielle says:

    Plant—We didn’t get anything into the ground this week. I’ll try to plant the first wave of beets when the garden dries out a bit. (We had a bit of rain off and on near the end of last week and over the weekend.)

    Harvest—We picked some of the spring onions.

    Preserve—I added 4 quarts of vegetable soup to the freezer. My sister brought me some more venison from the deer that my brother-in-law took this weekend. We added it to our stored meat in the freezer.

    Waste Not/Reduce Waste— We didn’t do any better this week with our garbage as compared to last, which was a little disappointing. Yet the fact that we had the same amount of trash even with guests in town, our daughter’s birthday, and the prep work for her party I guess is a positive. We recycled what we could at her party at the church, and we used read plates, cups and silverware for most of the dishes. (We ran out of plates and had to switch over to paper plates. We didn’t have enough punch cups and used some paper cups.) The castle that my husband made out of refrigerator boxes was moved to the church basement after the party was over in hopes that the church can use it for the children’s program before recycling it.

    We ate leftovers from the party on Saturday evening and Sunday to avoid food waste.

    Want Not/Prep/Storage—I bought some teas, organic lollipops, and eco-friendly toothpaste from Frontier. I added some canned corn and green beans to the pantry.

    Building Community Food Systems—I picked up local milk for our group of friends. I worked with a friend on a group order from Frontier co-op. I worked in the food pantry for a little while last week, and I have a lot more to do this week. I’ve been helping some with the annual FREE tamale and chili supper at church (March 20th, 5-7pm, all are welcome), and I’ll be doing some more shopping for that this week. The stewardship committee met this week at our home, and we planned a pancake breakfast for March 28th (again, all are welcome).

    Eat the Food— The birthday party food was pretty special, and it was so nice to see so many people enjoying it. It pained me a little to use so much of our homemade jam on the cream cheese and strawberry jam sandwiches, but it made me happy to know that it was appreciated. We’ll have to ration the rest of our jam until the strawberries are in season again. The farmer who we have always bought the berries from, per info from friends, isn’t going to be growing them again this year. If anyone knows a farmer in the East TN area that either does not spray or has a only “if necessary” spray policy, I’d appreciate the info.

    I used the last jar of the canned green beans this week. Having home canned green beans in the pantry has been such a nice treat. I hope to put up at least twice as much as I did this year.

  11. Sonrisa says:

    Plant- Tomatoes, peppers, and beets in flats. Reseeded the alfalfa patch. Peas went into the garden (they won’t come up for a long time, but I’ve found they do better when I put them in early so they can come up when they are ready). Perennial flax (grows wild out here). I also planted some fish in the aquaponic tank and some quail eggs in the incubator;).

    Harvest- Turnips, lettuce, green (Egyptian) onions, broccoli leaves, eggs, and milk.

    Preserve- nope

    Waste not- Every year at butchering time I salt and save my hides intending to tan them, but it never happens. This week I tanned up three hides only using lye and egg yolks (and a lot of elbow grease). Like most of the self sufficiency skills I am amazed at how time consuming but simple it is. I had been putting it off for nothing! Considering I am the kind of person that would have no problem walking around in buckskins this is a really exciting step. Our goats provide us with milk, meat, wool (cashmere), tallow (which I use to make soap and candles), and now beautiful leather. Not to mention the manure and phosphorus (burned bones) for the garden. I’ve come to understand why in some cultures livestock equal wealth.

    Want not- No, I spent the first part of the week digging in the garden and the rest of the week snowed in (gotta love spring in the mountains;)).

    Building community- nope.

    Eat the food- Turnip greens and spaetlze in chicken broth. Lots of salads. Though we’ve been eating a lot of garbage this week too.

  12. Melissa says:

    I just posted my first Independance update and photos on my blog at:

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