Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hunting & Gathering

We are in harvest mode in the garden.  Yesterday alone we picked 40 pounds of tomatoes and 8 pounds of green beans.  We are still getting zucchini, cucumber, green peppers, onions and garlic.  I found a spaghetti sauce recipe that is fantastic and I can make it entirely with contents from our garden.

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

Good News Bad News

I went out early this morning to pick a few ears of corn, which I was sure would be ready.  I intentionally left them during the last picking, thinking they needed a couple more days.  Well, there are not any good ears left.  Something is eating them.

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

My Animals Eat Better Than I Do

Here is a picture of today's harvest, excepting the sweet corn which I already put in the fridge.  I intend to eat it tonite.  I had been looking forward to eating the corn we harvested two nights ago.  We were sure I brought it in, but neither Susan or I could remember seeing it in either fridge.  When we harvested those nine ears, we gave away all that we already had figuring we had enough for our family.

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.