Independence Days Update: Better Late…

Sharon June 3rd, 2010

Sorry for the lateness of this update, but I was so tired earlier this week that I could barely function. We had a wonderful time at our weekend event - the kids had a fabulous time, the adults had a fabulous time, it was glorious, but it took two days before we recovered. 

And after that, we had to move all the furniture around so that Phil the official housemate of Gleanings farm could move in, which he did this afternoon.  He was here for three whole hours before taking off to spend four days with his girlfriend, but I gather this won’t be typical. 

Phil wants to learn to farm, so he was very nervous that we would have done all the planting before he got here.  He begged me to make sure there was still some planting left to do…oh, Phil, you innocent ;-) .

A lot got planted last week, not as much this one, since we’ve been tired and busy with other things, but I’m hopeful that the week that runs from tomorrow morning to next Friday will be good - before I head off for Washington DC next Friday.

We finally had some rain day before yesterday, which we desperately needed, and there’s hope for a bit more - we could really use it.  The weather has been so hot and dry it has been tough on the transplants and the early crops - this is quite unusual for us, I’ve only once before seen my lettuce bolt before the end of June.  Time to start another planting. But the projection is for cooler and wetter in the coming week.

The sheep still haven’t arrived - Elaine, my sheep partner-in-crime has had problems with white muscle disease and hasn’t wanted to stress the lambs by moving them, so the grass is getting tall.  I went and looked at a flock of Jacobs nearby, since I’m pretty determined to get my own sheep, but I’m leaning back towards icelandics.  Keeping an eye out for a local flock - if anyone knows a good one, let me know!

We lost some of the baby bunnies in the heat wave, despite moving them to a cool spot and the judicious application of ice packs, but the surviving ones have turned into little open-eyed bunny creatures.  I’m mulling over the purchase of another doe and buck, and trying to decide what would be fun to cross the cinnamons with.  The setting hens hatched out a few chicks, and the does are being dried off for July/August kidding.

First strawberries came to the table, although we lost a lot of blossoms in  a late freeze and won’t get tons ourselves.  But the local farms are open for picking and we’ll go tomorrow and probably Tuesday for the first batches of jam.  My kids can pick (and eat) an almost infinite number of berries. Yay!

Ok, onto the update:

Plant something: Elderberries, apples, filberts, pears, lady’s mantle, elecampane, liatris, dianthus, peonies, yarrow, maypop, hops, mulberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, onions, squash, cucumbers, orach, hollyhock, mullein, breadseed poppies, clover, zucchini, cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, maximilian sunflowers, sage, lemongrass.

Harvest something: lettuce, kale, scallions, spring garlic, mint, chives, raspberry leaves, rhubarb, asparagus, radishes, strawberries, milk, eggs, yarrow

Preserve something: dried raspberry leaves, dried yarrow, made rhubarb sauce

Waste Not: Cleaned out freezer, and found surprisingly few scary things.  Decided not to freeze broccoli in the future, as we don’t like it enough to eat it - prefer frozen lambsquarters, kale or chard, and like our broccoli fresh.  Gave frozen broccoli to chickens who liked it fine.  Froze some cream for butter making…eventually.  Cleared crap out of Phil’s space and donated many things to Goodwill. 

Want Not: Finally got some pasta that wasn’t orzo or lasagna to replace that which was eaten.  Children very grateful.

Eat the food: Learned to make hardboiled eggs in the solar oven (thanks for the tip, Bernard!), ate lots of thai salad (lettuce, broccoli thinnings, asparagus, other veg, hardboiled eggs with peanut sauce dressing).  Made asparagus rolls.

Build community food systems - had a bunch of people at my house ;-) .

How about you?


13 Responses to “Independence Days Update: Better Late…”

  1. Ms Betterhome says:

    Plant something: not this week. I suspect I will be doing next to no planting til we move.

    Harvest something: Mizuna, parsley, basil, 4 snow peas, sweet potato greens, pak choy, spring onions, rocket, radicchio, nasturtium, fennel tops.

    Preserved something: nope.

    Waste not: usual composting, worm-farming & recycling. Gratefully accepted excess lemons from Mr B’s aunt’s tree.

    Want not: Stocked up on pasta sauce and greywater-safe laundry powder.

    Build Community Food Systems: Lots of chat online.

    Eat the food: Savoury muffins from pantry mix; pumpkin & pecan risotto with home-grown greens; soysages, garlic greens & mash with homemade (and homegrown) jerusalem artichoke relish; silverbeet (chard) triangles; savoury scrolls with homegrown basil in vegan pesto; guacamole with homegrown spring onion, big green salads, dal with homemade chutney.

  2. Fern says:

    You’re coming to DC? What venue?

  3. Evey says:

    Well I had a great planting weekend at the farm. DH and his sister have continued this week as weather permints.

    plant something: first rhubarb plant, 3 doz misc tomatoes, 2 doz misc peppers, 2 Oriential Express eggplant and 2 not sure eggplant,Country Gentleman corn, small bed of edamame to try it,two more rows of beets and insowed where there were spaces, 6 more celery plants (hope all 3 doz don’t mature at once!), butternut, spaghetti, long island cheese, TN sweet potato & giant pink banana winter squash, lots of head lettuces and mixed lettuce, 3 types of cucumbers, basil, fennel bulb. DH and Sister got in 1 4′x16′ bed of sweet potatoes with more beds to go as homegrown slips get big enough. Misc flower starts and seeds all over the place.

    Harvest something: lettuce everyday, kale, 2 peas- more this week I’m sure, service berries in NC. Chard that I froze teh last of from over wintering.

    Perserve something: Finally yes-froze chard, make stock from grilled lamb ribs for winter soup, I just made a few pints of service berry jam. I’m going to try drying some over teh weekend.

    Waste not: saved lamb ribs from trash, saved chard from compost. Composted other greens too far gone. Remade kitchen garden bed and replanted with new greens and basil.

  4. KC says:

    heavy rains (3 inches in 1 hour)! I’m grateful for raised beds, but still praying that garden wont wash away. Big thunderstorms. All my spring plantings grew huge (did I put too much nitrogen in here or is this typical?) trying to thin and weed and prune. Finally starting to pull out all my volunteer tomato seedlings (kept hoping I’d find a home for them). It has me thinking about next year - (just direct seed the tomatoes in the garden (under a nurse crop like a brassica). The self-seeders look so hardy. My peppers look anemic - I need to find a more reliable way to start them from seed. The planting marathon has meant that I am sometimes working during the heat of the day. Whew - trying to stay hydrated and filling up on electrolyte drinks. I cut the beautiful grain heads of my triticale and used the straw to mulch the garlic .

    More warm weather and rain - and all the vitamin greens disappeared. I think they just rotted to the ground. (perhaps I’ve been too generous with the soil bacteria innoculants!)

    planted: winter squash, naked seeded pumpkin, summer squash, pole beans, bush beans, more dill, mangels, sunflowers, okra, and parch corn. I left my winter cover crop on one bed too long (triticale was heading up and looking beautiful). I was hoping I could harvest it before I planted the bed (putting sweet potatoes corn and pole beans in the bed.) So now I have a bed of tough fibrous carbonaceous cover crop mixed with soil - not a pretty sight. Next year I will leave the cover crop in the bed where I will plant the fall crops or late summer. The cilantro and dill are heading up and ready to go to seed.

    harvest: summer squash, my first carrot! also, the early green beans (purple pods) are starting to come in. The weather has been rainy, hot and steamy so I harvested and pulled up all my spring salad greens (a lot of endive and put bags of it in the refrigerator , cooler and give aways to the neighbors. snap peas, dill, cilantro, lots of kale, mustard, vitamin greens, a giant radish - the size of a turnip, calendula, borage.

    waste not, want not: still working away on the root cellar items from last year (roasting beets and sweet potatoes) and eating lots of potatoes. I mentioned earlier - the big endive spring green harvest. I am using old pine logs in the garden to keep soil from eroding during heavy rains.

    preserve: froze several bags of kale. I wasn’t planning on doing this, but we had so much kale - I had to do something.

    community food systems: We played music at the farmers market. I gave away greens, sweet potatoes, and endive to neighbors. I brought kale, endive, borage flowers and calendula to the retreat center.

    eat the food: potato salad, fried potatoes for breakfast, grilled sweet potato slices,salads with grilled beets, chicken stew, greek salads with borage flowers, kefir cheese with dill,. I use a grill machine and grill veggies for a quick and painless meal. Borage flowers in the iced tea.

  5. Sue says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Hot and dry here too (also upstate NY). Too dry.

    Plant: tomatoes, eggplant, hot and sweet peppers, more beets, watermelon, winter and summer squash, pumpkins.

    Harvest: eggs, sorrel, rhubarb, greens

    preserve: nope

    waste not: still using up stuff out of the freezer. Nothing else much

    want not: nope

    eat the food: smoothies from preserved fruit from last year, rhubarb sorrel crisp- so good.

    food systems: local farmer’s market shopping and found a local source for flour.

  6. Barbara says:

    Sharon, if you’d like a place to stay or stop off, under an hour north of NYC (right off the metro-north train), we’d love to have you!

  7. Tamara Griesel says:

    Plant: Well, we replanted ourselves in what we hope to be our permanent home in Wisconsin last week (a 1000 mile move). Secured a spot in the community garden, and have been promised raised beds in which to plant donated plants (I’ll buy more myself, but someone ought to get the donor plants into the ground).

    Harvest: We have a tiny lot, soon to be a Biergarten, but it grows a lot of dandelion, plantain, clover, and honeysuckle…all of which the guinea pigs adore.

    Preserve: Not in the food department, yet.

    Waste not: Used up several fillets of fish from our restaurant that would not have made it to the next time we serve dinner (we’re only open three nights a week at present). Also fed the children some fruit salad from a baby shower we hosted, and made casserole out of leftover restaurant chicken. Recently instituted a Sunday Brunch at the restaurant to use up food not ordered for dinner Friday and Saturday nights.

    Want not: Just getting lots of storage bins for the children’s things.

    Local food systems and building community: My community garden plot, met with the steering committee working on starting a food Co-op in our town, bought clothes and supplies from local thrift stores, including one that funds our free clinic, met with local homeschoolers to tour a CSA, had chai with a woman who runs a more local CSA and discussed using our commerical kitchen as a resource for small farmers in the area. Whew!

  8. Leigh says:

    Time certainly flies, doesn’t it!

    Here’s mine -

  9. AnneT says:

    We had a couple of good rains and my grape vines and rhubarb are very, very happy, as is most of the garden. It was a welcome break from watering the seedlings everyday!

    Plant: tomatoes, melon, cucumber, sweet potato squash, hubbard squash, zucchini, Trail of Tears beans, Blue Lake beans — everything came out of the greenhouse because it was just getting too hot in there for it. Also planted lettuce plants, broccoli, kale, Malabar spinach, greens, and tomatillos.

    Harvest: baby spinach, baby chard, radishes, onion greens, garlic chives, parsley, sorrel, mesclin, oregano, spearmint, sage, chive flowers, yellow strawberries, rhubarb, red strawberries.

    Preserve: dried soup greens (wild greens, domestic greens, and herbs mixed). Canned mango/pineapple cocktail, mango raspberry (frozen berries from last summer) spread, rhubarb concentrate.

    Want not: found good deals on mangos and pineapple, so our winter exotic fruit cravings will be taken care of. Found a great drilling brace at a street-long yard sale as well as some sturdy reflective material for some solar cooking experiments.

    Waste not: found pails, planters, and pots in nearby recycling bins. Passed on some toiletries I had extras of to someone via Freecycle.

    Community food systems: a friend is sharing some of my garden space. We’ll share outputs; she’ll water the garden when I’m away for two weeks in the middle of the summer.

    Eat the food: getting down to the last of the grass-fed beef: great burgers, meatballs, steak, kebabs, and stir-fry from it all. Enjoying the pickles from last summer as a pick-me-up snack at various points of the hot days we’re having.

  10. Karin says:

    I feel so lame this year. We are between households until August. so I have been trying to plant those veggies that we can harvest before we move. But our local farm stand sells shares in 100.00 increments so we will purchase those as required. In the meantime here is my update….

  11. Claire says:

    Very warm and wet, again, in St. Louis. Had nearly 9″ of rain during May and so far in June about 1.4″ of rain. Highs have been in the upper 80s, today’s high was 92F.

    Planted: Several varieties of tomatoes, basil, nasturtiums, and lettuce as seedlings; cucumber and melon seeds.

    Harvested: the Nanking cherries came on all at once and I managed to harvest close to 9 pounds before the robins found the rest. Also harvested the last few garden strawberries; some musk and alpine strawberries; the few serviceberries that the birds allow us to get; and today, the first raspberries and lots of them. Also lots of lettuce and bok choy, green onions, green garlic, garlic chives, lavender flowers. Lettuces are bolting early because of the heat.

    Preserved: dried raspberry leaves in the solar dryer. I’ve figured out how to dry herbs and other thin leaves in it. Next is figuring out how to dry thicker stuff, if we ever get two consecutive sunny days again. Froze the Nanking cherries till my DH gets around to making wine from them. Drying the lavender in the house. My DH made kimchi using most of the bok choy and some of the green onions and garlic, as well as some of last year’s dried hot peppers.

    Waste not: my DH is saving some of the wood from an enormous pin oak limb that fell off the tree next door and ravaged the redbud in our yard that it crashed onto. We’ll have to wait and see if the redbud recovers. At least it missed the persimmon, which has the makings of a good crop on it. My DH will use the saved wood as mushroom logs. So far have avoided using the AC, but we did get it fixed in case we want to use it later, as usual avoiding using it till lows don’t drop below the low 70sF.

    Want not: the 500 gallon tank to hold rainwater coming off the garage roof has arrived. The DH still has to plumb it to the downspouts and devise a treadle pump for pumping the water to the veggie garden (uphill). He spotted an exercise bike left out for the trash and grabbed it for use in future human-powered projects.

    Build community food systems: showed the yard off to friends of ours, who liked seeing (and tasting) the jumble of food plants.

    Eat the food: lots of lettuce salads. Stir-fried bok choy. A cereal-bowl-sized helping of fresh raspberries for each of us for dinner this evening. Soup made from leftover bean paste from a burrito dinner and leftover liquid from last year’s pickled green tomatoes.

  12. Ann says:

    Northern York County, ME

    Plant: Put seed in 3 weeks ago, and too dry. Just old buckwheat came up, which may crowd out some things that are now coming up with recent rain. Planted nothing last weekend because we were closed into the house the whole weekend from dense smoke from a Quebec wildfire. Too dry to put in the tomatos, anyway. This weekend we are housebound again due to tornado watches and severe rainstorms. Maybe next weekend.

    Harvest: Chicory for salad and stirfry. Orange hawkweed and purple Siberian irises for the table. Spearmint. Chive flowers.

    Waste not: The usual compost.

    Eat food: Chicory salad and stirfry,
    pumpkin, spaghetti squash, potatos, chard, onions, rutabagas, mint tea, duck eggs. Chicken, ham, hamburgs, cottage cheese, cream, butter from local farms.

  13. NM says:

    It’s raining buckets over here, and has been for months. I don’t mind but nearly everyone else in the state appears to be on the verge of losing their minds. Haven’t managed to get a thing into the garden yet, due as much to lack of time as to the rain, and so I have no update. Except maybe community food systems; currently cooking for my parents for a few days, since my mom just had surgery.
    Harvest: hahahaha. Well, there are greens. Lots of greens … from the CSA and from the market. And we are getting strawberries, despite the nonstop rain, although by we, I don’t mean my own garden, because the slugs are eating all the berries. Ah, well. Thank goodness for farm stands. The little lettuces I started are looking great; they love the rain and would like to get into the ground.
    Eat the food: Many meals of local eggs and greens (delicious. One of my favorites is to saute greens and onions and garlic in olive oil and put a fried egg on top).Tonight we’re having spinach quiche. Strawberries.

Leave a Reply