08 August 2008

Independence Days Update

Wow, summer is just flying by! Time already for another update.


Nope, nothing planted. The spaces I thought might be freed up are overshadowed by other plants outgrowing their allotted spaces, mostly tomatoes. I figure I'll let the tomatoes grow as big as they want - we use a lot of tomatoes when we cook, so I expect I'll be doing a lot of canning later on.


More lettuce, more new potatoes, and lots more snack peas. More greens too - more on that in the 'preserved' section below. Oh, we also got the first green beans of the year, and the first carrots.

We have a steady harvest of calendula blossoms, and I've been picking clover and yarrow as I wander around outside.

We also harvested three lambs and a ewe: they went to the butcher on Wednesday, and the resulting meat will come home tomorrow. I'm very excited about this!


I did a bunch of research on how to preserve beet greens, and found ... nothing. So, I thought I'd just try dehydrating them and see what happened. I mean, if it didn't work ... well, the chickens would probably eat the results, they eat just about everything. Happily, the dehydrating thing works really well. I just tear up the greens into small chunks, and cut the stems into very short bits, then layer it into the dehydrator. Allowed to sit for several hours, it turns into dry crispy leaves that grind up into a reasonably fine powder that smells like a fresh garden. I have been packing this into a glass jar and will add it to soup and stew as we cook - I figure it can be used much the way you'd use vegetable broth powder. I guess we'll find out.


The new freezer is downstairs, as the basement is finally finished (and it's a wonderful thing, too). We have done some fence work, patching up loose spots, and we walked through the unfenced land at the back of the property and did some thinking about the best way to make use of it. Even more of the outside mess has been cleaned up and hauled to the dump, so things outside are looking better and better.

The biggest prep job this past while has been the garden: The Reluctant Farmer used the bobcat to bring over some of the waste hay, straw and other 'animal residue' from the pasture and I've been spreading it out to compost down over the winter and make new beds for planting in spring. I hope to grow the tall things like beans and peas along the fence, and I've set aside a corner of the garden for a fruit tree of some sort, with room for strawberry plants around the base.

Manged Reserves

This would be the big category right now. With the basement finally finished, we are emptying out the storage unit that much of The Reluctant Farmer's household things have been sitting in for the past year. As boxes arrive, we are sorting, organizing, and filtering out what we don't need - but as we do this, we are keeping in mind that the future might not always look like today. I sorted all the spare clothing into boxes: ladies' summer clothes, ladies' winter clothes, extra coats, young men's clothing, kid's clothing, kid's shoes ... all the boxes are labelled and ready to be stacked in a reasonably accessible place once the sorting is complete. Extra dishes are packed away neatly, and will go into the crawl space.

These are the sorts of things that I would have previously gotten rid of, telling myself that if I needed new dishes or new shoes in a year or two, I'd just go out and buy them. Now, however, I have access to storage space and I realize that it's not always prudent to assume that you'll always be able to just run out and buy whatever you find yourself needing. So, if it'll keep, and we can see ourselves (or someone we know) needing it in the future, and we have a spot for it ... we'll put it by for 'just in case'.

Cooked Something New

I did a quick stir fry with some fresh green beans, snap peas and carrots to serve over rice. Not really wildly creative, I'll admit, but it was good, and not something I ever recall doing in the past.

Reduced Waste

Nothing new in this category ... unless you count the fact that I finaly scrubbed out the really nice stainless steel compost bin I had set outside some time last winter when it got unbearably green inside, and now have it on the counter again. This time I put a few of the wood shavings we use for the bunny's bedding in the bottom to soak up moisture and keep things a bit less soggy - so far that seems to be working.

Worked on Local Food Systems

Well, tomorrow night we'll be eating the first of our home-grown lamb ... and we've been eating out of our garden a lot ... but that's about it.


  1. Anonymous1:06 pm

    How is the "new" milk being tolerated? You still sound incredibly busy with all the planting, harvesting and canning etc. Maybe I remember helping with all that in my childhood...not fond memories !
    You are good stuff!!

  2. We won't be milking Sasha until spring, most likely. She is still in the process of getting used to us, and once we get our milking stall built (in a couple of months) then we can practice getting her in there and getting into the whole milking thing.

    Until then, still store milk!

  3. Anonymous8:47 am

    What!! no fresh whipped cream for your
    Thanksgiving pumpkin pie? A cow and no fresh cream...soooo sad!

  4. It's good to hear of all that you are doing! We recently bought a deep freeze as well, and it's really going to help me save time, food and money in the short run, while I learn things like canning and dehydrating and fermentation and such. Congrats on the new additions to your homestead as well!


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