Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Barn Hoppin' Monday


Continuing my quest this week to fill containers to grow good things to eat I researched potatoes. I found a variety of blog posts and articles on how people have grown potatoes in garbage cans. I might have even read about it on someone's blog linked to Homestead Revival last week Barn Hop(so many to read). I can't remember what first put the idea in my head, but it got there, I researched it and now I have four 32 gallon trash cans set with potato seed inside.

What I did after reading several resources, was to drill holes in the bottom of 4 trash cans. These were old cans just laying around not being used any longer. I then put in about 6 inches of potting soil that was mixed in with some of my homemade compost. I arranged the potato seed in a circle about 4 inches from the sides and 4 inches apart with one in the center. I was able to fit 8 in 3 of them and 7 in the other (it was a slightly smaller can). I covered the seed with about 3 inches of dirt. As the potatoes grow I'll add more potting soil/compost mix and keep adding it until the can is nearly full. I'm excited to see the outcome of such a little space!

I also planted 12 broccoli starts and 8 cauliflower starts. This is the first time I've grown cauliflower so if it goes well I hope to do a LOT more next year. I wonder if I couldn't get it to grow under cover late into the fall, by starting 2nd crop in July. I might try.

I'm still busy decluttering. I did fill about 5 boxes this week. The goal is to be ready for a rummage sale by July 7th. I have a lot to do but am working hard. We leave on vacation on Thursday night so I need to be nearly done by then because the sale is the weekend after we get back.

Fermenting food is another thing we like to try our hand at around here. Not just fermenting and then canning but lacto-fermentation to create a heavenly bite of good lactic acid that will give you a boost to your gut. It aids in creating a healthy intestinal system. To buy these things is expensive, so we make them. On top of that, did you know it is virtually impossible to buy pickles from the store without dye yellow#5 in them. I have yet to find any, even the ones in the refrigerator section. So making your own fermented foods is the best! This week I strained 4 gallons of kombucha tea. We like to add grape juice concentrate to ours for a nice yummy flavor. I'd like to experiment with other flavors but haven't yet. A great place to find out more about fermenting and culturing is Cultures for Health.

Kombucha tea getting ready to ferment.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Barn Hoppin'


We've had a busy week. I've worked hard in the garden this week, determined to make it bigger than I have before. I was truly inspired after reading so many wonderful homesteading blogs linked to Homestead Revival's Barn Hop over the last couple of weeks. I've always loved to garden and have always had the goal to be able to support our family from the garden but my vigor has been renewed! One of the posts I read from Proverbs 31 Woman, really inspired me to make use of every space possible to grow food. So I've gotten out pots and buckets (which I get free from local bakeries and drill holes in the bottom) and planted seeds and starts and am setting them out all around the garden. I think I might even try potatoes in large buckets or small trash cans.

These are my 6 tomato plants (I've given up trying to raise tomatoes to can, near impossible here) that will grow in these buckets. I will move them to a tented area later this week. They need a tent in order to really do well here in Western WA.

In these buckets and pots I have purple cabbage starts. I also planted some mint and cilantro seeds.

Here is my bed of cabbage and chives. In the pots I have pepper plants under cover in their little mini-greenhouses.

I just loved this picture of the bumblebee hiding under the chive flower while it drizzled out. There were a couple others like this too.

These are my pole beans. I need to get the rest of the trellis up before too long. I also planted a row of carrots down the center.

Another thing that has recently inspired me a great deal is a show I watched recently with my family. We watched PBS Frontier House. Three families went back and lived like those lived in 1880's Montana frontier. One of the goals was to raise enough food to make it through the winter. These people had to garden as if their life depended on it. I believe that we need that mentality. Sure we have grocery stores not, but if I truly wanted to make a difference on my wallet, eat non-gmo, organic produce and become self-sufficient, I'd grow a garden like my life depended on it.

We also been working on the inside of the house. I'm preparing for a rummage sale that will take place on July 8th and 9th. A few weeks a go I started going through the house room by room and really analyzing it's functions and needs. I've culled a LOT!

I've also been able to hang quite a few clothes out on the line this week. I absolutely love hanging clothes out on the line. It's been a slow start to that this year due to such a wet spring. Once this winter I hung clothes out on the line. It was crisp and cold, but sunny and breezy. It was fantastic. I remember reading in The Long Winter (Laura Ingalls Wilder) about how they had to hang the clothes outside in the winter and they'd freeze-dry.

My goals this week are to continue filling pots and continue decluttering the house.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monday Barn Hop...one day late


We certainly had a busy week.
We had some gorgeous weather, finally making it into the 70's for a couple of days and seeing the sun bright and beautiful. The garden loved this! The grass loves this!
(And I can't keep up with it.)

I spent Friday mowing and weeding the garden. I have grass that grows between the paths and all around where there aren't beds. My goal is to eventually get rid of that by putting mulch paths down but I haven't gotten that far yet.

Saturday was our big homesteading day. We decided to finally get the old flock of chickens into the freezer. This would save money in 2 ways. I can now cut down on my feed bill and I put meat in the freezer! I first went to the farmer's market to get my tomato starts and then came home and set up the assembly line. We told our 4 children that they were all to help and that they would be rewarded! We also had our 10 year old niece here for the weekend and she was ready to help out as well. We got a great assembly line going and the kids were real troopers! I was so proud of all their help. We processed 19 hens in 4 hours. Most of the time the 3 girls did the plucking with a little help every now and again from the 2 boys. I did the eviscerating.
This picture is awesome. My husband took it with his phone. This is towards the ends after at least 2-3 hours of work and they are still smiling. I love this picture too, because of the plucked chicken sitting there waiting for me to eviscerate! Nicholas is also plucking here, but you can only see his little blue-gloved hand. He's behind Charissa.
It felt so good to get so many hens in the freezer. I've been wanting to cut this old flock out for months. I'm very thankful for the meat. Yes, it's stewing meat, but meat nonetheless.

Thanks for stopping by!! Have a great week!