Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's all about the food, baby!

This is our fourth year here on the homestead. We are still learning, but things are coming along. This spring/summer, "Food First" has been our motto. That means forgoing other projects to get the garden in, keeping the produce picked, babying the plants, and making sure the harvest gets processed before it has a chance to go bad. In the past, we've been busy trying to make the house habitable, and not paid as much attention to the garden as we'd have liked.

We were a bit too ambitious at the beginning of spring, and planned to plant more things than we actually did. But those seeds will keep till next year, and the new beds should be ready by then.

I'm planning to spend more time babying our apple trees this year and next year, or at least until they are healthy. We have several very old apple trees that produce little inedible lumps that look absolutely nothing like apples, but make great slingshot ammo and bunny treats. Spraying, fertilizing, pruning, and all that other apple tree rehab that I've been meaning to do is actually going to be done so that we have real food instead of stuff for the squirrel to toss at me as I walk by.

Last year's birthday pear trees are doing well. One tiny tree has at least half a dozen pears, which I guess is impressive for the first year in the ground.

Our hazelnuts are also producing. We planted those year before last (I think). They were only about a foot tall, all 25 of them. Last year we got one hazelnut. lol This year we'll have at least a dozen nuts, and hopefully in a few years we'll have a real crop.

My berry patches are spreading like crazy. When I think of all the people I know that mow down berries because "those brambles are just unsightly"...*rolls eyes*. I have sevearal huge, very unsightly patches of brambles that are covered with sweet, succulent fruit. Free food. The same berries that are going for $7 a quart at the farmer's market. Yeah, give me that kind of unsightly any day. Oh, and it's a great excuse to reduce the area that needs mowing. ;)

Speaking of mowing, I've done a lot less of that this year. As a result, I have several new berry patches coming up and we have a lot more snakes. Snakes are good. I found a really cool brown snake in the potato patch this weekend. I didn't even know it was there until is slithered away from where I was weeding. I guess the reason most people think that snakes hiss is because of the noise they make in the grass as they slither away. I even heard one in my main garden, but didn't see it. I think it was underneath the landscape fabric.

There's just something about growing/harvesting your own food. I can't explain it. But if you've ever done it, even just a little, you know what I mean. I especially appreciate the wild food, like the berries. No work involved, just picking fruit.

Our plan is to eventually grow/hunt/raise all of our own food. We're going to get an incubator and raise some chickens for meat. We also have plans for a small fish pond. That means fish, chicken, rabbit, and anything we hunt, in addition to the garden and wild produce. A goat for dairy products is also in the lineup. We already have egg producers. That covers meat, veggies, fruits, dairy..what more could we want?

Someone told me that my lifestyle sounded like too much work. I suppose it could be, if I looked at it that way.

Here's a peek at what I've been doing the past week or so:

Blackberries: that's a gallon size freezer bag. I have two more of those to freeze just from today's berry picking. I'm not sure how many I already have put up. I think at least four, and that's even after we missed the black raspberry peak.

Green beans: This is a HUGE bowl. Little Sis and I had a nice afternoon sitting on the patio and breaking beans. Today was blanching and freezing; not nearly as much fun.

Peter Piper ain't got nothin' on me! 'Cept mine didn't come already pickled. ;)
Hot peppers. The long ones are Holy Mole, the shorter ones are Ancho chillies, and then the little red chillies. I'm hoping to get these into the solar dryer tomorrow morning.
I had a bad craving for potato salad, so I did some digging. Literally. That is one big tater!
Zucchini: there's so much more where that came from. I got most of it blanched and frozen today, but then I ran out of ice, so I have plenty sliced for a casserole tomorrow.
Cherries: a friend of mine took me cherry picking and I ended up with three times this amount. The photo was taken prior to sorting. I still have stained fingers from pitting them. lol

Hope everyone else is having as much fun as I am!!

1 comment:

Southern Goddess said...

Ok, this is literally after my own heart. How I wish that I had the land to do the same thing. Wish, wish, wish. Congrats on living your dream and living off of the land. If I can't, I'm sure glad that you can. SG