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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Good Sunday Morning!

It is a beautiful Sunday morning here, aside from the whiff of garbage burning.. and it's not me doing it. I do hope who didn't leave it burning overnight. Our rainwater levels have gone down, so much that our half dug pond has no standing water in it. Our walking paths were clear of water by yesterday morning.

Our onions have been taking off, and I imagine that soon we will be using some fresh out of the garden. The new “babies” in my garden seem to be doing just fine after their transplants, I am really watching the Rhubarb to see when it starts going.

I have some flower news, I had planted some Hyacinths when we first moved here; they bloomed finally this year a couple of weeks ago. This morning when I went to feed the dogs though, I discovered something else flowering. My Bleeding Hearts are starting to flower, they have been shooting up in this last week. I hope the Dahlias come back and flower this year.

The majority of our Dogwoods are getting ready to go into full flower especially our big one, that is going to be such a sight. I wish I had the camera working right now so I can get a shot of it like last year.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

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

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rain Tree Order Arrives!!!!!!!!!

Well... I said I was positively climbing the walls to plant.... guess what... I got to plant a few things. As you can tell from the title I got my Rain Tree order. I have to say... I am impressed with them. The Rhubarb crowns are HUGE the smallest was as big as my fist... about a pound in weight. The Russian Tea trees have flower buds already, and about 18 inches tall, and seem to be VERY healthy. The wintergreen still had berries on them, it looks like one of the 4 was just transplanted to a bigger pot before shipping. We tried one of the berries and.. WOW very nice minty flavor. Now the Goji Berry did look a little small.. based on pictures I've seen … but I have no clue on how fast they grow.

Now just to wait for more to come.....

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

After the Rain

Well considering all the rain we have gotten I'm glad we didn't float away, however I think I saw a small boat full of animals pass us by grins. We have some sun so far today, I hope it drys up a bit here real soon. The pond we haven't finished digging out is now full of water and it almost got where the dogs are right now. Good thing Paris likes to swim...

In my garden the onions have shot up like you would not believe, and my peas are beginning to reach out at people. I hope they get taller instead of how lush they are. My cabbages seem very happy, as are the sprouts and Broccoli. My Elderberries are getting their secondary leaves, and I'm still waiting to see if the fig will come back. I do have a few volunteer plants. I think I mentioned the cucumbers coming up in my chives.. there are 2 now. I also seemed to have missed at least 1 potato last year as I see one coming up from where the compost pile , was. I have also discovered one of the Rhubab's that I planted last year and died -did- make it.

I have gotten my first 2 deliveries, one was some waterproof notebooks and pen, the second was my Stokes seeds order. The only concern I have is the bean seeds have Streptomycin coating them. I hope they will be “safe”. I do know I should probably wear gloves handling them even if they are as I am allergic to e-mycin the medication.

I am waiting with baited breath for my plants to come in, I can't wait to get them in the ground and it'll make me climb the walls till I see them here safe. I hope everyone is safe (during this weird weather) and dry hopefully.

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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rainy Day Ramble

Well as today is a rainy day I figured it would be a good day for some random ramblings...

My girls (if I mentioned) are training/fostering some lab pups, and getting paid for it. My younger girl seems to be doing very well at it, so well that I am considering after these two get sold that we buy her a kennel and let her start a small training business. At least the beginnings and let her learn the trade as she works with pups. From my understanding a child can do such a thing, and out of the two pups hers is doing a lot better than the other is. It might do her some good to keep this up.

One of the people from the church my girls attend have asked THE QUESTION... you might be wondering what that is... well that's when the church members hint (flat out say it) “when are you and your husband going to come to church too?” What do I really say to that...? This is the church my girls attend.. they keep giving us a hand, and the one who asked is the gent who has the girls fostering the pups. Silver thinks that if I just go with my normal statement “I grew up in a Roman Catholic household”, it should be fine. What do you think...? I worry about people treating the kids badly if they find out I'm not Christian, and being we live in such a small towny area it could hurt them if it got out.

On a lighter note our garden seems to be doing well, I even have a volunteer cucumber; considering how warm it has been. It's growing where I planted my chives though.. so I don't know if that will cause a problem. Out of the six cabbages I started and transplanted it seems three have survived, and my cabbage seeds have started sprouting. I also think all my other “greens” have too, our peas are starting to take off. So fast that I'm afraid they might start reaching for people.

I have found out that the banana trees might not be edible, due to how fibrous and seeds are in them... so I will see if they can be made to be edible, and if not.. can I find another use for them? I did also place an order for some waterproof notebooks and pens from Brent and Becky's Bulbs in I think Maine. Along with that I ordered some of their “potting” mix.. which from reading what's in it sounds like a wonderful soil amendment for my clay(ey) soil. That shipment I know will arrive by Weds, my order from Stokes seeds is coming regular mail... so I have no clue when it will arrive.

One more thing... if you haven't been following the “pink slime” news then you should go and look it up. I personally am disgusted that the FDA has said that it is nutritious. Also that if the schools which can opt-out of having it next year needed to know that if they took the non-pink slime meat the meat would be more fatty. Gee... you know... if the “slime” was originally a product that was relegated for dog food... why would a human want to eat it...? A dog's dietary requirements are -VERY- different from a human's. I am going to ask our school if they are opting- out next year and if not... I am going to find a way to give my kids a lunch from home next year. I can't right now otherwise I would, as it pisses me off. We grind our own ground beef unless it is coming from a just slaughtered animal, if I wanted “beef trimmings” to eat I'd eat a hot dog.

Well, have a nice day all.

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

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Plants are on their way!

Well... today is going to be a semi-long day. All the kids are off school for today as it's the end of the marking period. So grades are out too, which my kids are not terribly worried over.

We have peas sprouts, cabbage sprouts, onions popping up. Not to mention we picked up some red cabbage plants and some brussel sprout plants. Also... I received my plant investment from my mother and aside for the money I had set aside for Baker Creek (which went to something for a pick me up after some bad news) I have placed some seed, plant orders. We have a irs check the mail... after we discovered the bank wouldn't accept the check. We are going to use that money for a car when it gets here. Problem is we found 3 that we really wanted that we looked for when we thought it would be directly deposited. Then find out the bank wouldn't accept the check, it wound up be a big let down. One that required a “pick me up” meal. It entailed beef fajitas, followed up by chocolate cake for the adults macaroni for the kids. So the money I put aside for the bulk of my seeds will be coming out of the remainder of our irs check. I am planning to take Queen sized Tink with me when I go shopping (I hope we don't run them out of inventory grins).

As for the plants/seeds I ordered with the companies, now note I did buy plants from Burgess... aside from 1 due to it being the only place that carried it, the other plants are ornamental from them.


Screen trees/shrubs:

Russian olive (5 plants)

Hybrid Willow (20 plants)

Butterfly/insect attractant shrubs:

Old Fashioned Lilac (2 plants)

Pink Honeysuckle (3 plants)


Daylilies (20 plants?)

Dwarf Flowering cherry (8 plants)

Cold Hardy Banana (4 trees)

Luffa sponge squash ( 1 pkt)


Weeping Willow (2 trees)

Bushel Gourd (1 pkt)

Stokes Seed Company:


Purple Millet (1 pkt)


Corn salad (1 pkt)

Blue Lake bush beans (1 lb)

Celery Root (1 pkt)


Wintergreen (4 plants)

Goji berries (1 plant)

Russian Tea (2 trees)

Rhubarb (4 crowns?)

I think this is a very nice start plant wise, the cold hardy banana is suppose to be edible, and with how we go through bananas. I do hope they taste good... we eat bananas like most people drink water. Burgess is the only company that offers it, so that was a necessity. We are getting a goji berry as I want to try them, I figure if they have an odd flavor I can always mix them into something and we'd get the health benefits from them. Anybody know if you can harvest from a tea plant in the first year you plant it?

I replaced the potatoes the former roosters ate today, then watered all the garden. Mind you, we were suppose to get rain for the last few days... it has all avoided us. I'm figuring that because I watered it will rain today. Had a funny moment while watering the potato pile, one of the kittens was trying to catch the water and not understanding why he was getting wet.

Well that's it for now, everyone have a good weekend!

Be Well, Be safe, and Blessed be...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

One nice Saturday morning...

Good Saturday morning all!

Nice warm-ish morning here, and we started the morning off with a fresh loaf of my sourdough cooked in my new cast iron dutch oven. However, I think this new “toy” has a slight problem, I believe the lid handle is painted.... I hope the paint will safely burn off. As the handle itself seems to be metal and probably is cast too.

I have taken up to making a very multi grain sourdough for now on, our discount grocer has a “7 grain” mix, it also has flaked barley, then I add oatmeal, hulled (non salted) sunflower seeds, and flax seed. It makes for a wonderful tasting bread.

Our first two “dinner guests” actually did not come to dinner, we gave them to Queen Sized Tink and now are deciding what to do with our two polish roosters. Now I said deciding as well, even though we keep a good amount of “water bowls” out for them and our couple cats that prefer to be outside; they prefer to drink out of our septic. I don't think I want to eat them now.... I'm sure a few people will agree with that.

So I have to spend part of today seeing how many of my seed potatoes they ate, and how many more of the onion sets they dug up. If you didn't know, chickens (at least mine) don't eat onion. Also as a friend on another website has asked me some info about my chickens after I posted the Record Keeping post I'll post what I wrote there in case anyone wants to know this information:

I buy feed from our local feed store as the organic feed is about 4x's the price here. I feed my 16 birds (1 rooster) 3, 50 pound bags a month @ about $8 per bag. That is the lest expensive feed here and it's mixed at the local major feed company on site. They get kitchen scraps and in summer the odd "weed" that I found they like. (chickens will eat almost anything).

We haven't used extra light, but our coop has that big screened opening at the east side that gives them tons of light. They have their "yard" that they if they chose to be in at any hour. They get cicadas (in season), and tomato horn-worms (in season). They are also almost a year old and haven't had their molt yet.

we also don't have extra heat, this winter was mild, we are going to upgrade our coop this year (crosses fingers) with a power box in it for if it is necessary. I do not feed them back their egg shells, I buy oyster shell only, I don't want to risk them eating their eggs in any way.

... also I would occasionally add milk to their water or some molasses (heated water and added it). We have also made our own suet when we had tallow for deep frying and it would get a tad "old". I'd mix in some grains I have for my bread making, some milk powder, dried berries, and pour in the hot tallow then let it harden overnight in a cool spot (in winter outside works well) Then I'd put it into the chicken yard in a suet feeder for them to inhale (which they did, the one time I had walked back to the house to get them some water and by the time I came back it was gone).

So they are pampered a tad...

I thought this info might be helpful and if it is good.

We have as of today shrunk our “indoor” wood piles down to just one as if we need heat it might be a first thing in the morning to rid us of the chill. So where we had the one wood pile under my girls' ladder, we are putting in some shelves. ...I like shelves... shelves are nice... I don't have many shelves, now I'll have two more.

Out during my normal garden walk this morning I noticed one cabbage sprout from the seeds I planted. Now from the cabbage plants I transplanted only one seems to be “holding on”, the others have changed to an odd color, and I can't figure out what is causing it. According to what I know I transplanted them at the right time, the broccoli I planted near them are actually doing about 100x's better, and has some noticeable new (and better) growth. The Hyacinth that I saw coming up (which I planted 2 years ago and this is the first year it has come up) has bloomed with pink flowers. The elderberry trees(?) are coming along in their leaf growth. I am worried about the fig however as the buds don't seem to be getting larger, but we'll see what happens with it. The rosemary plant that I transplanted into the ground last fall has new growth on it, Silver thinks we might wind up with a bush of it this year. The prickly pear that I planted last summer also has new growth, as does my yucca plants. I planted some chives in one of my trunk “pots” and they have sprouted, and about ½ of my tomato and peppers have as well.

So far this year is promising to be pretty good on our food production side, I am hoping it will only get better. I am waiting, and waiting for our dogwoods to finally bloom, they've had their flower buds on them for months. I do hope they bloom soon they are always a good show in the spring. With all the nice weather and not seeing much green yet outside I've been looking at ornamental plants with lots of color, just to see some color. Anyone else feel that way right now?

Hope you have a good weekend!

Be Well Be Safe and Blessed Be...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Record Keeping

I was filling out my record keeping info this morning when I thought that I should make some kind of statement on it. First I will say I am the worlds WORST record keeper. I have a tendency to forget to write things down, however I know with how I am living I can't be forgetting to do it.

I have a couple odd notebooks hear there and everywhere, I also have an accounting journal. I have one notebook just for my “daily” info, i.e. weather, eggs (when produces/size/how many), seedlings sprouted, food harvested (non-egg). I read in a book once that it's important to write down the weather or anything “out of the ordinary” so if anything seems “odd” in your accounting you can figure out why.

I have also made sure that our bills and receipts are stored in one location that we cannot lose. We have a lovely binder that stores each bill in it's own place (aside from the non- “regular bills) I keep the feed receipt and receipts from my seed purchases in one. The idea behind this is at the end of each month (we have money once a month) I add up our “harvested food (eggs included) and then keeping current store prices in mind I subtract my cost in. Then I let myself know how much we “made” by not buying the finished product.

Last month we made around $30 in our egg production, by not having to buy any eggs. All I did was add up the eggs I gathers over the month, broke them down into dozens and then multiplied by “going” store price for basic eggs (I wasn't even going with “organic”, or “free range”) and then subtract any feed I have bought for them. I am hoping this year we might be able to start making our own feed if things go well, then our “made” money will be higher.

just in case you didn't understand the way I stated it... no I don't sell my eggs. I am basing this on money I didn't spend buying eggs

… just wanted to clarify on that one. I hope that if you are homesteading (no matter how) you remember to keep the “books” in order, you might be surprised.

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

Saturday, March 3, 2012

1st Big Planting Day!

Well we have had a nice day today getting a nice bit of plantings done, also we are dealing with a minor animal issue. Now we had a couple of Polish crested roosters that we left to free range once we discovered they were roosters as, one... they are scrawny. Also they are very cute looking, now just recently we received two more roosters from a woman who needed to get rid of them. So we set them lose with the other two.

Well that worked for a bit, but this morning we discovered a small problem. They are eating our seed potatoes, well the ones we had already planted anyway. We have decided they need to be dinner guests. We have managed at this point to catch the two newer ones, the Polishes seem to be a tad harder to locate. Yes I said locate, we had an issue catching them in day light hours so we waited for “roosting time”. WE have not been able to find yet where the Polishes are sleeping tonight.

OK, not onto my plantings for today; we planted the 2nd half of our potato plot (11lbs worth). I have planted 6 yard stick long rows of yellow onions and 1 of red. Planted some Swiss chard Fordhook Giant. Hot Peppers; two types... Lemon Drop, Craig's Giant (Jalapeno) in two peat pots each. 12 peat pots each of Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge, & Amish Paste; tomatoes. I also planted 3 peat pots with Purple Beauty sweet pepper. Then plant wise I put in four Pacman broccoli, and 6 of my cabbage plants that I started myself.

I picked up yesterday some fish emulsion and gave each transplant a small feeding after planting, I am hoping it will help them; I've never used it before. My soil this year is wonderful compared to last year. The “bed” I have my cabbages, etc... have the remains of last year's soil, overwintered straw blanket, my finished compost, and chicken manure from our coop. Now that chicken manure of course has some straw in it. I was able to gently push the extra onion sets straight down in the soil, that makes me a very happy camper.

Our potato bed is in a new spot this year and is much larger, the plan is; because the straw did a nice job as a “late compost pile after potatoes. We had noticed when we dug out the “finished” compost that the ground under the “pile” was very pretty looking that it might be a nice way to “clear” land for future garden spaces. We will see if this idea works or not.

I am for the first time going to be growing eggplants, and I hope they grow good. I have three very small started plants and I hope they grow bigger before transplant time. I picked a drought resistant variety, I'll list the name later as I have to look it up. The plan for the tomatoes this year is to only grow them in pots in different locations. Three plants per “pot”, and we are going to use straw then a mixed soil over that with some oyster shell mixed into as the soil for them. After the plants are spent I'll remove the plants and move the soil into the garden beds. Then the following year(s) we will just redo the pots.

Well that's it for right about now, the only other thing on the “near” horizion for me is that we have a very good possibility of getting our fruit trees and berry plants this year if every thing goes the way we are planning.

Happy Planting Folks!

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

Friday, March 2, 2012


Well folks, it's been a bit but I am kind of back for a bit. We just “bought” today a “smart” phone that has internet capability. I am for now able to plug it into my computer for some internet usage but it's very limited so I'll update when I can. I also hope to hopefully catch up on my favorite blogs to read if I don't eat our data plan in the process!

OK, so to my updates....

We’ve had such a mild winter this year I have started my plantings. I already have ½ my potatoes planted, some cabbages, dwarf pak choy, edible chrysanthemums, peas, and lettuce planted. Tomorrow I will be finishing my potatoes (had to buy more seed taters), onion (sets and seed), kale, broccoli plants, and cabbage plants. I will be starting my 24 tomato plants as well, ½ will be paste as I am hoping to can a ton of spaghetti sauce before winter; next year.

Our chickens are earning their keep finally as for the last few months we have gotten so many eggs they have paid for themselves. The last month (Feb.) we had just over 21 dozen eggs out of 16 hens. … I can tell you we are starting to get tired of eggs.... I (and the rest of the house) can't wait for some fresh veggies.

I am trying to get some meat rabbits this year, I contacted a breeder today and hope they will get back to me on a purchase order for 2 does and a buck. So we can breed our own meat. We aren't quite ready for a pig/goat/cow yet though I am sure if someone offered we'd find some way to have it pastured.

We now have a full kitchen in our shed home as well as a full size water heater in our bathroom with that pretty bathtub from my last post. Again, Thanks to Little Creek Baptist Church out here you have been a great help!

Oh, on another note my kids are earning themselves a little money. One of the people from the church has them training/fostering 2 hunting labs, and paying them for it. So they are learning a little about how to take care of money.. and how to -not- spend it. They are doing a pretty good job as the owner is very pleased with how well the pups are getting along in their basic instruction. Of course one is learning better than the other, but that happens.

Well that's all I'm updating for now, I hope everyone is safe in this odd weather we've had in this last week, and...

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