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Monday, May 4, 2015

History Lesson

So I imagine some people wonder how a Chicago raised city girl wound up out here in the Missouri wood. Now first my biggest reason for wanting to live here like I do is making sure my family has a good source of food, and that we get regular meals. This is because while I grew up in a middle class family (dad was a welder and mom went back to school to be a social worker). I married not long after high school to the biggest mistake in my life. The ten years I was with my husband we lived homeless and with little food for nine. This piece of work thought it was better to play things like video games, D&D and Magic: The Gathering and spend money on supplies for it rather than feed his family of five.

We had months where we'd be living on a pound of meat with about two cups of dry rice for dinners for all five of us. We were lucky we had WIC so we had cereal and peanut butter for the other meals for the kids. I generally wound up eating only once a day.

I eventually tossed my husband out (for something much worse but that's not for telling now), and even though I lost the home my father bought me (due to my husband not paying the bills while I worked 2 jobs), I did get a stable home and job. Then I met Silver and we eventually moved here to live our dreams of being in the country and having food we know where it came from and is healthier to eat.

As for my desire to live in the country itself, I was never one who liked to be around people much. I get panicky around crowds, including going to town to buy food when we need it; or when we pay the bills. So living out here where I can be away from a large group of people and just be me I am happy. WE manage, even if we don't get everything we want done here in a month. Biggest thing to me though is. We get the bills paid, we get the crops planted. We slowly add to our meat animals, and get all the buildings we want built. That so far is happening so I am happy.

Watching a commercial this morning while doing dishes made me think about posting this and to point out a few things. A lot of people think that there are countless people in other countries who have poor nutrition or not much food. That the people “over there” have to decide on if they pay their bills for their home or buy food for their family. Let me tell you, it's a hard choice to make. When you are sitting there trying to make you money stretch to feed yourself and pay everything so you still have a home and power and put food in your kids' mouths you wind up hurting yourself sometimes.

I still have a hard time eating three meals a day and most often than not I don't even think about a midday meal, because if I eat breakfast I tend to not be hungry until evening. It's leftover from only eating once a day and me learning what it feels like to honestly be hungry.

So now you know why I live out here in the woods and spend my time growing my own food and trying (desperately trying) to teach my girls that it's a good thing to do.


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed BE...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Happy Sunday Morning!

Thought I'd write up a little update though I'm still temporarily camera-less (my girls are away for the weekend). We finished filling 2 more of the tractor tires as well as one of the tubs yesterday, and Friday combined, I had gotten a Rhubarb plant from the MFA for $.75 and it went in the tub for now. We figure if it grows exponentially it'll wind up in a tire.

This morning I planted some red onions, bushel gourds, and cantaloupes. Tomorrow I should have my pole beans in and my cucumbers as well. I also need to do more of my green bush beans. Not to mention getting in my herb seeds. One of the Zucchini seeds has sprouted so if nothing else comes up by this Friday I'll replant the rest. I have about seven acorn squash coming up as well.

I noticed something yesterday in my sun choke bed. We have a volunteer tomato plant. Since I have no clue what kind it is I am leaving it where it is, as it's on the edge of the bed anyway so it should be safe. I'll just have to figure out how I'm going to stake it up. My peas are starting to flower, the spinach is doing well and I've been getting a little of it daily. (waiting for it to really take off) The eggplant looks to have a flower forming, and the bucket tomato is flowering.

My two Does are looking fatter daily (I wish I knew exactly when they got pregnant), I am hoping to have two sets of twins but as long as they are healthy and grow well I don't really care. Still need a boyfriend for Strawberry, also a better cage for her too, but we'll get there. We should have ducks any day now, as they have hatched and it's a matter of when they get here.

I spent half of last evening making banana bread on our new (to us) gas stove. Our neighbors gave us a small propane stove. Makes me happy I can stop using the electric one. I have over a case of bananas in my freezer that I'm going to be making into more quick bread. One of those fun freebies we received.

We've been eating lambs' quarters now that it's growing everywhere. Silver gets a small amount in the morning with his breakfast wilted and dressed with a vinaigrette. Then we have some with our evening salad. The girls have about twenty days left of school, then when they are out we will move our big meal to midday-ish. Then have a snack like meal in the evenings. I like summer times as we eat better especially once the garden is doing well. I have hopes for over abundance. The acorn squashes no matter how many we get will be saved for winter eating..

Hope you're all having a fun weekend.


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Morning Chit Chat

Good Sunday morning (for those of you in my neck of the woods). We've had a fun weekend so far, my girls were both gone yesterday morning. One went turkey hunting (didn't see anything of course), her first time hunting too. The younger one was on a choir competition trip for school after which they went to 6 Flags. We have moved my birthday present (3 tractor tires) out to the garden and have started filling them with soil.

Friday I think it was I planted some bush green beans, in another week I'll plant more. I am planning on putting cantaloupe's into one of the large tires. The tomato bucket Silver set up, the tomato is starting to curl up and you can tell it's growing. Still have lots of hope for that plant. WE were suppose to have a week of rain and it didn't happen most of the rain had missed us so I had to water my fruit trees for the first time since planting them.

We set up a sprinkler we bought a month ago this morning. We had bought two of them but we discovered one of them didn't work. So right now as I write this I have a sprinkler watering my garden. I do know that technically watering passively near the base of the plants is suppose to be better, however Nature waters the Earth from the sky so I personally feel as long as I make sure I water early in the morning (like before 10 am) and the sun light isn't strong the plants should be just fine with overhead watering.

We have almost used up the truck load of top soil and all the composted sawdust we have on hand. I am hoping we can go tomorrow and get more sawdust, however we are suppose to help out a neighbor get his log splitter back from the mechanic so I don't know if we'll have the gas to do both before Friday. Helping the neighbor when we promised too is more important in my mind anyway.

I should be starting to pull lettuce out of my garden today as well as some spinach, The spinach isn't doing as well as I thought it would but it might just be the amount of water it has had so we'll see. I'm waiting on my transplanted tomatoes to put on some new growth, I am glad they haven't wilted as they were very leggy. My peppers seem to be happy even though we had some cold nights. Thankfully none of the nights was below or at freezing, however we did brush near those temperatures.

Getting some greens out of the garden now is going to be a good thing as Silver had his yearly check up and the Doctor at the VA wants to put his on insulin because he's not keeping his blood sugar down. Well since we had to tighten our belts when it comes to buying food lately we've haven't been eating good for a diabetic of late so food from the garden means it'll lower the blood sugar amounts. I have discovered watching his testing that is the heavy carbs are cut out (rice,pasta,potatoes) and only have nice healthy veggies (mostly greens) and a nice piece of protein his blood sugars run almost normal. I just have to be diligent with it and make sure he doesn't cheat any.

Still waiting on our goats to give birth, and since I'm not sure when Oreo got them pregnant I am going to be surprised. I have ducklings coming soon and in a couple weeks Strawberry will have a new pen. We still need to find her a boy friend though. Why is it people always are selling what you need when you can't afford it?

Well hope everyone has a good Sunday.


Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fruit Trees Update

So I thought I'd show how my new fruit trees are doing as I took a picture of each of them when we were out yesterday. Here is the funny part my delicious was the slowest to get started leafing out but look at it now.



Conversely the peach tree the first one to get leaves is going slow to get them full size. Maybe they go slower?



This is doing good to this is the Cortland apple, I think it'll give my delicious a run for it's money on speed of growth.


The Mac seems to be doing better, however the buds on the top that had the “rust” on them don't seems to have produced any real leaves at all.



I hope they keep doing well, and that the peach tree gets a move on with it's growing. I am pleased so far with these trees from Stark Bros, I do believe I will order from them again in the future. Granted, these guys still have a lot of growing to do.

On another note the grape we've had (now in the third year), is doing amazingly this year. It has loads of leaves and is growing like the proverbial weed. I think it's happy.



So I'm 39 today, ugh another year and I hit 4 decades. Funny how it took me to be in my 30's to decide living here this way was a good idea. I am happy though living here far from the hustle and bustle of the city. Funny how now when we go to town I have troubles dealing with all the people and the funny thing is I grew up in the Chicago area.

Our across the street neighbors are getting their power pole today and seems our power will be off for a short time while they do it. Guess what though our neighbor's aren't here to see it, it's funny as they've been waiting two weeks for it to be put in so it's funny.

Have a good day and be safe.


BE Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Looks like a short work week

Seems we're going to have rain all week starting tomorrow, which means no mixing dirt for plants as it's to hard to do when the dirt is mud.  So we've been working our butts off this morning trying to get as much as we can done, thankfully it has been cool out today.

Hey Dogwood season is in full bloom:


I was worried she wouldn't bloom this year as she didn't last year, but see.  She's putting a good show on this year for us.

So today's work started with a tomato in a bucket, which if you haven't heard of them is you grow a tomato in the bottom of a 5 gallon pail hanging from something so the air can flow around it good and no need to stake.

We picked up a "patio" cherry tomato yesterday:


It's very dense in growth and has some flowers on it already, I am hoping it'll be good for snacking tomatoes for Silver and the girls so I can can the garden ones.  So for starters you need a 5 gallon bucket with lid, you flip it over and cut a hole in the bottom:


So you do need to know that if you are doing a started plant that is firmly rooted (like in a peat pot) you make the hole smaller than the diameter of the whole pot.  Just big enough to fit the plant threw.


You do need to be careful when feeding the plant threw the hole to make sure you don't yank too hard on it.  Oh, we are doing this across two sawhorses so we can stand the bucket up for filling without hurting the plant in the process.


The soil you fill the bucket with should be fairly "airy" so it won't turn into a rock over the growing season.  Which would not be good for the plant:


This soil is half topsoil and half sawdust which will also retain water in dry spells here.  Now once Silver filled the bucket past the bottom of the peat pot I dug out some egg shells to crush in and he got some wood ash and sprinkled it over it.


So after that we filled it the rest of the way (eggshells are for calcium to prevent blossom end rot) to the very brim so that if turned over onto it's lid (don't for get to put the lid on) it's not shifted any.  Now if you have a plant that was in a say "six pack" or doing it from seed you'll need to leave it inverted until it is rooted well enough it won't fall out when you turn it over again.  We left our's inverted while we figured out how (as in with what) we were going to hang it.


We're hanging it from the outdoor kitchen and we have no eye bolts nor do we have any strong hanging brackets right now.  However, we do have a bunch of nylon belts with the double metal pieces that is the buckle.  Effectively strapping so we strapped it to one of the 2X4's on the outdoor kitchen.


That location should get enough sunlight for it to grow well.  It is now done aside from it growing, make sure the lid is no longer attached as that is how you water the plant.   I am thinking of sprinkling moss rose seeds over the top of the bucket as they do trail and it should be pretty as well.

..hmm this is turning out to be a long post.  But oh well...

My garden is moving along nicely.  I had a Oh my Gods moment over the weekend as my tomato seedlings started drooping and were getting burnt by their light.  So they went out into their bed.


They did get a bit of a hair cut though as they had gotten leggy and I needed to bury most of the stems, good for more roots so they should grow very well.  though I do see after planting (only half a bed full) why I'd want 25 for my size family.  ..and here I only had twelve to start with.  The bell peppers went into the ground too because for some reason they were bending over, I never experienced that in peppers before so i rushed them out too.


I do wish they were bigger before planting them but It happens.


When we got the cherry tomato I picked up a couple more plants that I wanted as well, first up is an egg plant.  I love eating these but I don't know enough to grow it from seed as yet nor grow more than one plant in case it doesn't do well.  It is a Black Beauty:


This was the largest and best looking plant they had and it had some bad leaves on it that I am hoping will be ok as it grows.  We also picked up a mammoth jalapeno in the hopes we can have stuffed deep fried peppers again.  However last time I grew these they were hotter than normal jalapenos.  It is planted FAR from my bell peppers so no cross pollination in my herb garden.


I felt since we had a red colored tub it'd be perfect for a hot pepper to be planted in.  The last plant we picked up is an herb that I swear I will keep in a pot in the house this winter so I don't need to buy a fourth one.  A new Rosemary plant:


I had heard it was possible to grow them outside and they'd survive winter's here, yeah it didn't last... TWICE.  So we bought another one and it's staying potted and when we get a green house it'll prob spend the winter in there.  So aside from us trying to get the rest of the beds done up and the last two planting tires filled the hard garden work is almost done.  Then we'll move onto the "add to the soil as it grows" time.  Then the "stuff" we'll pile onto the beds this fall.  I have bean plantings in my future and cantaloupe once my last two tires are done.  If my squashes don't come up by May first I will replant them.  I was trying to see how early I could honestly plant since average last frost here is April 15th.

As for that tomato bucket please note the buckets are HEAVY with all that soil in them so be careful hanging them when you do.  I think I pulled some odd muscles when I lifted it, man did that hurt!  We got it in place though and it's not budging until late fall.  I do know that Silver had a couple of those before I moved in with him in NY, they sat on his porch all summer long and produced so many that no one could finish them all and they were throwing some out.  I'm hoping it does as just a good of a job.

How you aren't in bad storms or flooding right now.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Strawberry Takes a Walk

So we've had an interesting day today so far. On such a nice gentle rain (honest slow easy rain) we decided to sleep in after I go the kids moving and most of the animals fed. I learned feeding the rabbits and goats work better after the sun rises they eat better. Upon waking as I get ready to make Silver some instant coffee (we ran out of ground), I hear our oldest dog Midnight doing his playful/you shouldn't be out bark. He is so helpful when one of the other animals gets lose he has a special bark for it. I head out to see what/who got lose, so I head back as all three goats are in their pen.

As I get close to the chicken yard (btw it's still raining at this point), and see Blu our heeler/lab mix standing in the rabbitry looking miserable. Of course she had tore the side (tarp) of the rabbitry down. Blu does love chasing chickens and had tried to get to them. I get to here and discover how she was lose. She had snapped her choke chain. I did a cursory look over the rabbitry to make sure nothing else was broken on it as Strawberry has her bedroom on one side of it. It looked ok, so I put Blu back and went and made breakfast.

So about an hour or two later I hear Midnight again. I go out and this time it was Strawberry out, we chased her back into her yard (took 15 mins) and we thought we found the problem. We thought she used the heavy tire we placed on her last escape to climb out.


So we go back in the house and ten to fifteen minutes later Midnight starts again, Strawberry made it out of her yard again. I was alone this time and after setting her door as a “chute” I slowly and quietly walked up to her grabbed her tail and an ear. Did you know while pigs like their ears scratched they don't like them grabbed? So I let go of her ear and kept a hold of her tail and she ignored that. Yeah I'm thinking so I make sure I can't lose my grip and I start trying to get her back to her pen. If she went a way I didn't want I held her still saying no. That worked, and after I stood around trying to figure out how she got out. No idea, how she got out though and I went back inside.

Ten minutes later she does it again, I repeat the process to get her back and then as I am standing next to her pen trying to figure out how she got out. She strolls into her bedroom and I hear a weird noise. So I walk in and see her pushing at the bottom of the wall to get out. Yeah I told her no and held it in place trying to figure out what to do next when Silver made it out asking me if I found the spot yet. Looks like Blu's fun this morning damaged more wall than I had thought. We got that fixed so she can't get out (she tried and failed) and now I can breathe easy until next time.

She's a good girl, but damn she's almost too smart for her own good I swear. Enjoy your day!


BE Well BE Safe and Blessed Be...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ah Freebies!

I really like the people my girls go to church with because they can be so helpful.  We were asked to drive over on Saturday, to pick up a few things.


We got two of these tractor tires, Silver cut the side walls out and we're going to put acorn squash in one (for now) and carrots int he other.  Our regular soil here isn't good enough for carrots but having something that big will give me the chance to fill with enough soil to do carrots.


Then these two barrels, there are at least 6 more waiting for us when we can get them.


See how it's sitting?  These are  going to be a bake oven for my outdoor kitchen.  We just need one more barrel but it has to be a food grade one.  The bottom one will have a rocket like fire chamber but permit larger wood pieces.  That top one will be split in half to be used as the way to let the heat travel around the baking chamber.  We're going to use parts from a barrel stove kit to make this.

This wonderful person who gave us these items also has more regular tires, manure and garden soil they're giving to us for free!  We picked up[ a load of the garden soil yesterday.. three "bucket" loads which only gave that poor 1/2 ton pickup 6 inch clearance on the road on the way home.  Silver said that it wasn't "bottomed out" yet though.  However I don't think i want that much in there again.  It looked like we had half a low rider when we got home and we scraped on our dirt road coming in because of it.

Oh as to the garden...  This is a sun choke sprout:


Eh ok a couple of sprouts, as when I tried for one it was too blurry to be seen.  However the sun chokes do have a war going on with a native plant that I'm not sure I want to kill as I'm like to harvest some when they are ripe.


Those are Mayapples... not a good idea to eat unless you pick when ripe and only eat the fruit.   Around here it's common to make jam with them.  I've been wanting to make some for years, but they don't like direct sun so I'm not sure why they haven't died yet.  They are trying to give my sun chokes a run for their money however.

I have elected as it's been so nice that I'm going to "test" plant a few things that have to wait till after last frost.  As technically normal last frost is about April 15th, however last year we had frosts till mid May.  So I am going to take a partial chance at some plantings and wait on the rest till after mid May to plant.  I am hoping for no more frosts.

Hope your garden is goign well!

Be Well, BE Safe, and Blessed Be...