13 July 2008

Indepenence Days Update

Well, what's been happening on the Independence Days front?

I finally got some seeds put in the 'empty spots' in the garden: some more radishes, more lettuce, and a zucchini. The zucchini is a bit of a 'wild hope', I had a spot that sorta looked in need of something, and stuck a seed in. We'll see what happens.
Oh, and I planted some of the flower seeds the kids got me for my birthday. I don't usually bother with flowers, so this is a nice addition.

Ate a few more radishes, and have had several salads straight from the garden. I love being able to go out and pull off a few lettuce leaves, just enough for my meal, wash them and tear them into bits and eat them within an hour of having picked them. Ah, the joys of the 100 metre diet! I also ate the first baby beets the other night, I just couldn't wait any longer. Actually, the greens were looking weary so I harvested them primarily for their greens ... and ate the little baby beets on the ends as a treat.

I'll put this in the 'preserved' category although I suppose it could just as well fit under 'managed reserves'. We got a pig slaughtered in the spring, and we asked for all the fat and organ meat to be kept for us as well: the guardian dogs live outside all year, and in the winter, they need extra protein and fat to keep themselves warm. In anticipation of winter, I made dog food: the organ meats, a couple of pork hocks and some water went into the canner, which went outside on the side burner of the gas grill (stewed pork innards is just not a smell I need in the house on an already hot day). The cooked meat was removed from the pot and put through the grinder, then the remaining broth was thickened with oatmeal and the fat chunks were dissolved into it, along with a variety of aging leftovers from the fridge. The resulting "porridge" was mixed with the ground meat, packed into bags, and put back in the freezer to await the inevitable cold weather. It's a messy job, but the dogs will sure appreciate the meals when the wind is blowing.

Ten pound bags of sugar were on sale for under $5 so I got one of those. I dried some yarrow (it grows wild here) and tried it as a tea (more on that later).

I finally got the support up for the beans and peas: a piece of snow fencing stretched between two t-posts makes a perfect support. I also added a latch to the garden gate, as a stray sheep managed to get in there and nibble the tops off several pea plants ...

Managed Reserves
Well, getting dog food ready could go under this category as well, I suppose. The leftovers from the ham we cooked tonight went into another bag in the freezer for winter dog food, so I think that'll count towards reserves.

Cooked something new
My mom will say this isn't anything new, but I don't know that I had ever actually cooked beet greens myself. They were way better than I remember them, too!
I also made a cup of yarrow tea: it's supposed to be rather generically good for you, particularly if you have a cold. I thought it tasted good, but The Boy, who is suffering from terrible allergies, adamantly refused it.

Reduced waste
I have been diligent about using my reusable shopping bags, although the odd plastic one still happens.
We did build a new chicken coop today, using only two new sheets of plywood and one can of paint: everything else was scavenged from around the property. Pictures of the Chicken Coupe de Ville will be posted soon. :)
The Reluctant Farmer picked up a new-to-us deep freeze today: it was posted on Kijiji. This actually leads into the next category...

Worked on local food systems
In order to sell lamb direct to customers, we have to be licensed, and part of that means having a separate freezer to store the meat we will sell to customers. So, we need two freezers: one for us, one for the marketable meat. We have one freezer already, so the freebie we acquired today will bring us one step closer to the next step in marketing our meat. The first step has been completed: our first lambs were officially sold this week! We had some muddles dealing with the processor, resulting in an unfortunate delay for our customer, but the sale is complete and we are officially lamb producers. :)


  1. Anonymous5:48 am

    You guys have taken the word "work" to a whole new level. You make me tired. Applejack loved his beet greens...or beet tops as they were known at our house. Good with butter and vinegar.

  2. It seems like a lot of work, I know ... but going to the office every day is the part that *feels* like work. Puttering around on the homestead feels like ... investing in our own future directly. It's very real, and very rewarding. It's a good kind of tired. :)


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