Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
But now? After ONE NIGHT IN THE GARDEN? It's nothing but shreds. The culprit? Earwigs. Pincher bugs. I despise them. And there must be millions of these stupid bugs in my yard. Millions. And I hardly think that a rolled up newspaper and a bucket of soy sauce and oil is going to do a dang thing.
And the newspaper? I opened it up and there were three earwigs. Three. One. Two. Three.
The earwigs. They mock me. And I don't know what else to do. If it weren't for the chickens I'd use poison. Organic schmorganic. But I let the chickens roam around in the evening...and I don't want to accidentally hurt them. I would be devastated if anything happened to one of the girls.
So...what to do? I don't know? I'm at my wits end. I am dealing with major amounts of reality. Bugs. Devastation. Anemic vegetables. This is not what I imagined. Not at all. And I don't know what to do. Other than be glad that we aren't having to survive off our land. Because we'd be very hungry.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
OK, now this next photo is not for the faint of heart. This is the reality that is my garden. On the left: watermelon. On the right: Eight Ball zucchini. Hacked. Overnight. That's all it took. I was very sad. I didn't think it was fair to only take pictures of beautiful strawberries and dainty tendrils. I thought that it would only be fair to take photos of ALL aspects of the garden. The good. The bad. The ugly. And the funny. (I'll explain in a minute) So I began snapping photos of the pitiful remains of these poor little half-eaten seedlings, too. As you can see, in a pathetic attempt to stop the earwigs from eating their fill of my plants, I did the whole "organic roll up a damp newspaper to catch them" technique (which is bunk in my opinion...but whatever). I'm sorry...but one cannot stop an army of 42 billion earwigs with a few rolled up newspapers. It just can't be done. I'm beginning to understand, more and more, why people invented poisons to rid their gardens of pests and diseases. They had to have been desperate, too! OK. So, for the "funny" part. You may have already noticed what I'm about to point out. As I was looking at the garden photos a little later in the afternoon I noticed the headline on the newspaper. Can you read what it says? Right next to the leaves eaten to smithereens? Yes. You read it right.... It reads: "That Smarts". How appropriate. It still gives me a little laugh. And trust me...as I continue to lose the pest battle to something 1/1,000,000th my size...I needed a good laugh!
Monday, May 25, 2009
Until I remembered my most favorite thing in the world: putting books on hold at the library online. Man, I love that feature. (Have I mentioned how much I love putting books on hold online at my local library? What? Only 22 times? Well...I LOVE putting books on hold at my local library! I love it so much I even tell strangers! I may even tell the people around the corner with orange trees in their front yard. That would give me an excuse to knock on their door!)
I put the book on hold a few weeks ago and the other day I got the anticipated call that it was IN. Yes!
I started reading it last night and so far, so good. And definitely worth owning. My plan was to actually TRY it today but after reading the intro there is some set-up and preparation involved in making this happen. Thermometers...large covered containers...cooking stones...etc. I have most of the items...but need an oven thermometer and a container to store the dough in the fridge. And...I have to make sure I have the ROOM to store a large container in my fridge. This is where a garage fridge would come in handy. This is always a touchy subject...we have a one-car garage. And it's packed to the gills with...stuff. Much of which we'll be getting RID OF when I can schedule my dang garage sale. And now that baseball season is over...I can.
I digress. Somehow it always boils down to my messy garage! I really need to DO something about that.
Anyway...where was I? Oh yes...artisan bread. Not just bread. But artisan bread. Doesn't bread sound so much more yummy and good for you when it has the word "artisan" in front of it? Yeah...I think so, too. (I think I need to slow down on the coffee this morning...)
So...yeah...I need supplies first. Luckily, I get to keep the book for three weeks. And I can renew once online. So that's six weeks to get ready. That should be plenty of time. Good heavens I should HOPE so. If I can't get a grip inside of six weeks then I deserve to eat store-bought bread full of preservatives and fake sweeteners.
I'll let you know how it goes!
Oh yeah! In doing a search for a decent picture of the book cover I came across the official Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day web site. Nice.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The Simple Wife shared an amazing YouTube video this morning...and I'd like to pass it on to you. Be warned...it's a tear-jerker...I went through four tissues and lots of sniffling. I had to press Pause once.
The Path to Freedom inspires me daily. Daily, I tell you. Some of it is a bit "over the top" for me, personally. But they've created a beautiful homestead right on their city lot. They are "blooming where they're planted"...which is what I'm trying to do. So it gives me hope. And lots of ideas to incorporate into our lives and our home. For those of you into chickens...Chicken Keeping is a simple, beautiful site. And one more...Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply. This company is somewhat local for me. It's in Grass Valley which is about 2 hours or so away from here. I have yet to visit it in person. But someday I will...when it comes time to buy fruit trees and berries. And possibly even mushrooms! Take a look around...enjoy...order goodies...decide to keep chickens! Be inspired!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
In the foreground of the picture you can see some nasturtiums...and I have to say, they are doing really well, too. Then along the fence, on the right side, are my Sugar Snap peas...and so far they're doing great. Oh I hope they make it...I love snap peas! So far, so good. I also planted more beets because the first go-around didn't do so well. I don't know why...too much water from the rain? Not enough sun for days on end? Bad location? Well, whatever it was I changed it ALL...which probably wasn't the right thing to do. I should have changed one variable. But...too late!
OK...so let's see...so far the things that are thriving in my garden are:
- snap peas
- Birdhouse gourds
OK, so not bad, right? I mean, things are growing. Not everything is a wash. But I think what got me was that everything that was thriving was not going to sustain my family. You can only eat so much lettuce. We have one artichoke plant and from what I understand we'll only get 2-4 artichokes from it. Peas and beans and radishes are all great...but there won't be enough. And Birdhouse gourds? Cool, yes. And interesting. But not edible.OK...so keeping it all in perspective, let's go back to the beginning where I said it was for the "learning experience". Right? And thank you to so many of you who have reminded me of this! The reality is...I am learning. And fortunately, we do not have to survive on what I grow. And someday...I will know what I am doing. And I will grow enough food to eat, share AND preserve for the winter. Someday. But no...not over night. And not always on the first try. And...that's OK. It's a process...a fun one, a frustrating one...and one that's worth every emotion that goes along with it.
Monday, May 18, 2009
After griping about the state of my garden I decided to go out and DO something about it. I ripped out the diseased plants and replaced them with healthy ones. I planted more beet seeds, more lettuce seeds and fertilized everything. I watered, weeded and staked. Then I washed up and got a cool drink of water. Then I noticed the neighbors cat in my backyard. I was worried that he might be seeing the girls as cooked up fryers like on the old cartoons so I shoo'ed him off and tucked the girls back in their coop. Then I hung the sheets on the line. Then I stood back and admired my work. Amazing how happy it made me to know that I was NOT wasting energy by using my dryer. You'd have thought I won the lottery. I am loving my clothes line. And I think the sheets and clothes dry FASTER than they do in the dryer!! I'm feeling a little better about this whole "self-sufficiency" thing...
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Well, just now, as we're at the shop trying to conduct business, I spring it on Chris, "Hey Honey...I'd like to install a clothes line in the backyard!" (And you know...and I know...and he knows...that I use the term "I" very loosely. As a matter of fact..."I" in this case means "I'd like for YOU to install a clothes line FOR me. Please. Please? Honey?")
Regardless of the context...or proper grammar...before I'm even finished stating my case he says, "Hang on. Hold that thought."
He goes out to the shop and returns with a retractable clothes line and says, "Your wish is my command."
I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I swear...since I turned 40 the strangest things make me happy. Apparently he had it here at the shop for some time. He was going to use it in the spray booth for something but it didn't quite work out. Lucky for me! I can't wait to hang some clothes...and it's supposed to be nice and hot this weekend, too. Perfect! Thank you, Honey!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I harvested (I love using that word...it sounds so official) some loose leaf lettuce yesterday. I was so excited! I brought it in...washed it (had to make sure no little baby slugs made their way into my meal...I have my limits)...and put it in a plastic bag for later.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
We went to church...it was nice. Not much new...but nice. Chris played guitar with the worship team which is always nice. I like to hear him play.
We came home and got down to some serious relaxing. Although I did run to the store for some corn on the cob (no local places are open yet!), macaroni and soda. Then I decided to run by the strawberry patch for some sweet, local strawberries. I cut them up and sugared them really well and put them in the fridge for later. Then I made a macaroni salad and let it chill for an hour or so. The boys mowed the lawns and Chris weed-eated...weed-ate?...you know what I mean...they got the yard so nice and neat and tidy. It looks great. Then we put the dog in the house and let the chickens "free-range". We cleaned out their coop while they ran around. They loved it!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
It's really just one of those "life" weekends, a typical weekend during baseball season with a little Mother's Day thrown in...baseball...family...fun. Then tomorrow...Mother's Day...we'll lounge around here, per my request...work in the garden, barbecue something simple, clean up the chicken coop and be homebodies! Something I'm wanting to do more and more lately...sounds like a perfect day!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Would you believe that the DAY AFTER I planted the second batch of bean seeds the FIRST batch started sprouting? Um...yeah...call me Murphy.
Hey look! A harvest! A small harvest. But a harvest nonetheless.
So I'm being nosy and poking around the radish bed...looking for more immature baby radishes I can rip from their warm cozy bed and eat when I come across this....
At the encouragement of my husband...who LOVES these dang chickens very much...I brought two of them into the garden with me in hopes that THEY would eat the dang pincher bugs. Libby and Betty were the chosen ones...
They enjoyed it very much. They caught many mosquito hawks. And plucked a few other tasty bug-like morsels from the grass. They wandered around...explored...pooped a few times...and reveled in their little bit of freedom.
It was Nellie...frantically calling for her sisters. As soon as Libby and Betty heard Nellie's call...they responded with the same loud distress call...pining for their sister.
That was our cue to call it a day. These girls really do NOT like being separated from one another...it's quite sweet really. Ahhh...safe and sound and together. All is well.