Sunday, September 9, 2012
Walking back, we decided we better get into the tomato patch to get rid of bad ones and pick the good ones. It was hard to not notice some green peppers that were ready, so we picked those. Then we could see cucumbers and found quite a few small ones to make those little pickles.
After checking the carrots and picking a few of those, we moved on to green beans. As we were finishing those up, we noticed our broccoli was ready too.
Eventually we decided our other plans had to be put on hold so we could process a bunch of this food.
Susan made five pints of salsa creating her own recipe in the process. I don't know why we canned all of them, we should have just started eating one.
I also made a couple more quarts of pickles when I was done with the jam. I postponed green beans until the next day, but managed four more quarts of beans out of this picking.
Susan and I were commenting during all of this how much fun we were having. She even felt guilty since we had other things "to do" and we had put them on hold.
In reality, we were doing what we needed to do. We were collecting and preserving food that would feed our family for the near future. In the process, we got our excercise in and didn't even have to pay a gym membership. Plus it was just the two of us with plenty of time to talk and visit.
Sure four cans of green beans and a couple jars of jelly could have been purchased in much less time for only a little more money. We find that we enjoy the time together and feel good about the work we do in providing for our food. Instead of going somewhere else to work all day, and then using that AFTER TAX money to buy food, we will continue to eat as much as we can that is grown, harvested, or hunted on the east half of the southwest quarter....
Thursday, September 6, 2012
I am excited about this first harvest of carrots because it means my picky eater, Logan, will finally enjoy something we grew. Grace is picky too, but likes a fresh carrot. Definitely a side dish on tonight's diner menu.
The only thing ready that I don't have pictures of is our sweet potatoes. They are still in the ground, as that is where they will keep the best until we need to eat them. Next time I'm out in the garden, I'll snap a shot of them as they are bursting out of the ground they are so big.
We must truly be blessed with good earth, because after all the dry weather in June and July, we still are managing a bountiful harvest. We don't want it to go to waste, so if you are nearby, come visit and I'll send you home with some. The food tastes better when grown on the east half of the southwest quarter.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Oh yeah, these are plants. They freely give me their seeds at the end of their production! So with a little research, (learning something new keeps the brain sharp right) and a little bit of effort, I am planning on saving my seeds to start my garden next year.
First up, asparagus. Pictured to the left is the drying process for the seeds I discovered the other day. I am particularly excited about this venture for a couple reasons. One, most things I read say we mostly have non seed bearing asparagus being grown, so I feel lucky to have found one plant in our patch that was seed bearing. Second, this patch was originally planted by Fred & Marian Worrell, my wife's grandparents. They planted it around 1975 and we are still eating from it. By propagating seeds from this patch, I believe that their great-great-great-great grandchildren will be eating asparagus as a result of their efforts.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
With so much we decided to get busy canning right away. We put up 9 quarts of green beans, 7 quarts of tomatoes, and 4 quarts of the spaghetti sauce. Previously we had frozen a couple bags of corn and some grated zucchini.
Speaking of the freezer, deer season is rapidly approaching. We have been working hard at cleaning out the freezer by eating what is left of last year's deer meat, and other frozen items from last year. Squirrel season is already in and we made squirrel and dumplings on Friday. I made my dumplings from scratch using a double batch of J.P.'s Big Daddy Biscuits.
It is so fun to be partially self sufficient. Many of our meals lately have come from things that we have preserved, saved, harvested, or hunted. In addition, like the biscuits, much of our ingredients we start from scratch.
We have always composted, but now a bunch of our fresh vegetable scraps go to the animals. My hope is to plant our own hay to be able to feed them next year instead of buying it. I guess if the Mayan's were right about December 12th, we will be prepared to survive here on the east half of the southwest quarter.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Based on the fact the stalk isn't knocked over, I think deer not raccoon. I found plenty of deer tracks near my tomato plants and peppers as well. While that isn't good for the vegetable garden, it is about to be hunting season. With the drought, we were worried about the health of the deer population. With them eating out of my garden, I think hunting season will be just fine on the east half of the southwest quarter.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
When I was in the garden today, I found seven of those nine ears. The bag I put them in was still sitting in the garden. The remaining seven ended up going to Norbert, Rocky, Donkey, and the chickens. At first I was a bit upset, but realized, I wasn't wasting any food. I was feeding food I grew to the animals, meaning I don't have to buy feed.
Part of the goal of growing our own food is being self sufficient. I have to remember that I don't have to actually eat everything. We have bartered food this week for things we are short of. We have given food away, knowing that our generosity will be repaid at some point in the future. My mood changed as I watched how much the animals enjoyed the semi fresh corn.
So in this drought, where we have had slimmer pickings on sweet corn, we missed out on one meal. But our loss was the animals gain, here on the east half of the southwest quarter.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Our peas didn't tolerate the heat well and we only ate a few ripe ones while standing in the garden. We had good results from our lettuce, but didn't continue to pick it enough and it has all gone bitter. The radishes did well and we pickled quite a few along with some "non-garden" vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, and asparagus. You can see them in this picture as they age amongst my collection of growlers.
Cucumber and zucchini seem to be the hit of the garden and we are working hard on keeping up with new ways to cook zucchini before it gets bad. We pickled seven quarts of cucumbers just this week, using dill from our herb garden and garlic from our own garden. Fairly self sufficient, wouldn't you say?
Finally we ate sweet corn out of our garden this week too. The first couple dozen ears we probably waited too long, so we froze most of that for use in winter soups. The second batch we picked was exactly what we hoped for; tender, sweet, juicy corn on the cob!
Tomatoes and green peppers are coming along nicely now too. We made a small batch of salsa with the first pickings, and have been eating tomatoes with about every meal this week. In my future I foresee a lot of tomato canning.
We are still waiting on our carrots, and our green beans. We watered again because our beans have flowered and we think we are only days away from a tremendous crop. More updates to come as August arrives on the east half of the southwest quarter.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
For this project, my raw materials came from a couple different places. In the picture, the boards are old fence boards from the property. The grey square behind them is the back side of a mirror I salvaged from a bathroom remodeling project.
I have planed the boards to remove the old really weathered wood, plus make them uniform thickness. I cut them to size and joined them together to make a frame for the mirror.
Grace and I went and retrieved some this morning. They are soaking in some vinegar and hot water to clean up a little bit and then they will be ready to attach.
I still need to stain the frame before final assembly. I attempted to use black raspberries from the property as a stain, but it is too purple a finish for me. I am going to end up with a store bought stain for this project.
I finally wrapped this project up. Here is the final version, hanging in my kitchen. I ended up with a polyshades that worked really well on that old oak. Two coats gave me the color I wanted and the protection level I was after. We bought vinyl lettering to apply to the bottom. I found the saying while searching for recycling quotes. Once I found the saying, I also found a blog with that same title. I will give a shout out to that blog as it espouses many of my beliefs and the core of this project.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
So we weeded and thinned our lettuce and radishes today. Overall I'm pleased with the growth and our efforts at weeding.
This is just a picture of our corn, which meets and exceeds the old adage. In late July we should have a bountiful harvest.
We harvested two full brown paper bags of radishes and a plastic Kroger bag full of lettuce today. Anyone in the metro Indy area needs some, call me.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I am looking forward to continuing to eat fresh from the garden as a part of every meal. The leftover lettuce, we wilted in some bacon grease and included in a frittata the next morning.
We will replace the chickens, after a little more security goes into their coop, and soon a whole meal will be made of food grown, raised, or harvested off of the east half of the southwest quarter.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
This past week I picked up some garlic and asparagus that Lowe's had on clearance. Cost me $1.50. We have an existing asparagus patch but at some point it will cease to produce. I figured with a two year lead time, I better plant before I notice we don't have enough asparagus. And .50 for three garlic bulbs was too good a deal to pass up. We can never have enough garlic in this house.
On Friday I went out and bought some tomato, green pepper, and sweet potato plants. Those are all in the ground now. Some time ago, I learned that newspaper is good for preventing weeds, it holds water, and you just till it into the garden at the end of the year. Normally the tomato cages will help hold it in place, but I haven't put the cages up yet. As the previous night's watering was wearing off yesterday, you could see the papers flapping in the wind.
I got a lot of grief from my brother-in-law Rick and my friend Chuck as they watched newspaper blow across the field towards the pond. Luckily, it was only the extra paper, not the ones I used. That only stifled their enjoyment slightly.
This morning while writing this on the back deck, I saw a raccoon at the back edge of the garden. I had seen him earlier by the pond when I was out by the garden and again on the north side of the pond when I was heading down to the chicken barn. I love watching all the different animals and listening to them in the morning while enjoying a cup of coffee. However, if I find out that raccoon is the reason we are missing four chickens, I'll be enjoying my morning cup of coffee with a loaded .410 close by my side. When I see him headed for the barn, I will make sure he has enjoyed his last free chicken dinner on the East Half of the Southwest Quarter.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
The first thing Susan and I agreed on is that next year we are sowing all our seeds indoors. We would prefer an earlier start, plus we can accomplish the thinning task when we transplant. We are still novices at this, so we were a bit unsure of some of the directions.
For example, they kept referring to drills. We googled it, and found that just means a row or furrow, which we already knew and had done. I hope that the amount of time between our final tilling and our planting didn't hurt us too much. This ground hasn't been tilled since at least 1976 and six times through still left a few clumps. That worsened with some rain. The ground seemed better the deeper we went so I think the plants will root well.
We still need to go buy some green pepper and tomato plants and get those in. We plan on doing a watermelon patch as well. I went out to water this morning before checking on the goats and chickens. I was pleased to see that last nights post planting watering was sufficient for most of the areas.
I tended to the goats and chickens, which continue to increase in number. We brought Gus home this week and picked up a bantam rooster as well. All told, we should have eleven chickens. However, I only saw seven or eight. I am afraid more have gone the way of Bud and Helen, whom we are pretty sure were eaten. The only thing that makes me sad about that is I wasn't the one eating them!
I thought of posting a picture of the garden, but decided to wait until things start to pop up from the ground. With the exception of our garlic starters we planted, everything else was seed. So the only thing you would see would be the few weeds we already need to pull.
By the way, my sweet potato experiment is failing. I am going to have to look that up again and find out if I have done something wrong. Anyone with advice on growing potatoes and sweet potatoes from eyes, I would appreciate you sharing.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
Well...my beautiful daughter Grace, who herself takes more twists and turns in five minutes than any one human should experience in a day, stayed quite focused, and found a mushroom within 30 seconds of getting to our honey hole. Here she is with a tiny morel that has long since been battered, fried, and consumed.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Gus can reclaim the title of newest when he finally is weaned from mama and comes to live permanently here at the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 34.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Now, I spend my walking time in the woods. Here on the property we believe we have about 40 acres of woods. They start at the edge of the farm fields and cover hills, ravines, and bottom land that leads to a creek. Regardless of the reason for my walk, I rarely come back frustrated.
Yesterday's reason was mushrooms. A couple friends met me in the morning with a cup of coffee, and we proceeded to stroll through the woods in a very random manner. At times we followed trails made by the deer we so love to hunt in the fall. Then we would roam off the path to search a patch of Mayapples that supposedly contain the elusive morel. Sometimes we were merely yards apart, and could share stories each trying to make the others laugh. At other times, we were so distant it was as if we were alone out there.
As social as I am, I very much enjoy that time. I find myself thinking about everything and nothing, all while trying to find wild mushrooms. Yesterday wasn't a great success. I found two pluteus cervinus, or deer mushrooms. I researched and found they are edible, but easily confused with a couple inedible types. I am leaning towards not eating them and living to hunt and write another day.
Often when walking, when I stop to focus around a fallen tree or another patch of mayapples, when I glance back up I notice what a beautiful surrounding I am in. I snap a few pictures like these and take a relaxing breath, knowing even without a bountiful harvest I have communed with nature and my soul is better for it.
Even though yesterday didn't result in an edible harvest, I did manage to not come home empty handed. Along a ravine on the northern end of our property, I found a few intact old bottles. Apparently this particular ravine, many on the property contain old metal trash, was used to dump old glass and ceramic. I waded through, careful to not get cut, and found a variety of bottles and jars which I am sure will decorate our house at some point.
I also grabbed an old well head, I assume from the unused well for the original farm house. I am going to use it as a chimney on the smoker I build. I really enjoy trying to reclaim old materials for use in my projects. There are bricks from the old farm silo which I intend on using for a fire pit in our backyard. Those were also discovered on a walk, unspoiled, on the east half of the southwest quarter.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
My goal is to feed them a breakfast of eggs from the farm, cooked with some of our asparagus picked from our own asparagus patch, with a side of venison sausage from deer we hunted on the property in the fall. If only I had my dairy goat to put some goat cheese in the eggs. YUM!
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
I forgot to mention this in yesterday's post. On Sunday when we were preparing the barn for Gus' arrival, we didn't want to miss the NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The boys and I took a small TV from the house, with an HDTV amplified antenna, and set it up in the barn so we could hear and occasionally watch the action.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Our hens getting used to their new digs combined with summer like weather produced a new daily record egg production.
We visited our baby fainting goat today too. If we get a little work on the stall doors done this weekend we could bring it home next week.