Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More planting today...and a furry little new member of our family!

Let me start with the seeds that went in the ground today:

36 Blackeyed Peas
36 Bountiful Beans (Green Beans - Bush type)
8 A & C Pickling Cucumbers

Yes, yes, I know...the average last frost date is still a bit out, but I couldn't resist! If temps drop I'll protect the gardens. If I loose some, I'm prepared to replant. It just seems so silly to wait until April 15 when the weather is just lovely. So far...the 7 day forecast backs me up!

And the furry addition to the family, you ask? A precious little Newfoundland Dwarf bunny. Photos to come! He's just adorable and tiny and cookies and cream speckled and they way he wiggles his little nose makes the girls and I just melt. A side note...it seems that adorable little bunnies do not have this effect on men as DH is not yet in love with this new family member. No worries. He'll come around.

Anywho, the bunny is here on the homestead primarily as a pet, but I'm figuring he's also a great kitchen waste composter! Speedy results! We fed him an apple core this afternoon after a sunny picnic in the backyard. Minutes later...POOP!! Okay...perhaps it was not the actual apple waste, but who cares? It's FERTILIZER!! WHOOP! Oh, and also the girls "mowed" a little section of our yard pulling up nice tender green grass for the little guy! ;-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What's growin' on?

Here's the list of what we've got growing in the square foot gardens:
48 carrots
10 spinach plants
64 onions
10 red lettuce plants
9 swiss chard plants
32 sugar snap pea vines
32 beets
16 radishes

And we've still got plenty of squares left over! I love square foot gardening!

The vertical supports are yet to be built. DH has met with an unexpected knee injury that threw a serious wrench into our Spring Break plans. I may attempt to build them before the end of break...we'll see.

In other news, as I was pulling prickly weeds with roots that reach to China, I noticed that some of the strawberry plants are blooming. I had a really profound thought about weed pulling and how it is sometimes a metaphor for life...I'll share that some other day.

I stumbled upon...

...a DE-LICIOUS website that I'll be visiting often! Check this one out if you're interested in new recipes:
http://www.thepioneerwomancooks.com/

The Pioneer Woman won me over with the apple dumplings...yummmmmmm!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Houston...we have signs of life!

I love spring! I took a tour of our acre this morning...armed with my trusty Nikon and caught some signs of life. Check it out!

Our pear tree...I can't help but hold out hope that we'll have some fruit this year, though I know it is unlikely the first year.

What's that? A white onion poking through its nice warm blanket of straw?

Okay...you can hardly see this, but if you look super close you'll catch a glimpse of a oxheart carrot top!



This is my swiss chard. I've never grown it before, but I've read that the leaves are similar to spinach and the stems are also fantastic steamed with a bit of butter & seasonings. We'll soon see!

This is a square of the garden filled with buttercrunch and romaine lettuces. Still thriving outdoors because I cover them with the tops of milk cartons on especially cold nights.



Our chives, dill, and rosemary seem to be doing well and the strawberries are showing promise. I need to read up on some organic boosts for fruit as they've been in since last summer & should produce some fruit for us this year. Strawberry jam? Dehydrated strawberries for cereal? Perhaps some strawberry shortcake! Yummmmmmm!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Oddly Enough...

...a fellow grad student, during an exercise called "Compliment Bombardment" last semester, labeled me "odd." (Seriously...he stuck a label on my compliment sheet that contained only that one word.) I've been mulling it over ever since, tumbling it around like a roughened rock hoping to end up with a shiny chunk of knowledge...inner awareness. How does the outside world see me? Odd?

Now I'd prefer unique or even quirky, but that wasn't the label I was branded with. Did he mean "odd" as in "oddball?" The online etymology dictionary (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=odd) gave me a tad bit of insight. The word "odd" has been around awhile, since 1300, apparently. Here's a tidbit of what it had to say:

Sense of "strange, peculiar" first attested 1588 from notion of "odd one out, unpaired one of three"; oddball "eccentric or unconventional person" first attested 1948. Odd job (c.1770) is so called from notion of "not regular." The international order of Odd Fellows began as local social clubs in England, late 18c., with Masonic-type trappings; formally organized 1813 in Manchester.

Hmmmmhmmmmmmm...so...I can somewhat embrace eccentric or unconventional, but I really like the idea of being "not regular." Regular is not so appealing to me. Especially when I look around and see what "regular" has become. I do not want to be a slave to money and consumerism. I've been there for 32 years and I'm finally learning that there is no amount of stuff that will bring me happiness. Is it odd to be interested in homesteading? The real ideas behind homesteading are based on self-sufficiency, right? Odd? In this day when "green living" and "ecofriendliness" are trendy and high-fashion...even Hollywood has bought in!

Yes, I enjoy growing my own food, the spring smell of damp dirt is heaven! I love to knit and to see my family find the things I've made my hand useful and comforting. I've just found that I love to see rows of Mason jars lined up on the shelf filled with the food that I processed for my family. I love to hear my daughter say my Plum jam is the "bestest ever." I guess...it's empowering to be more self-sufficient.

I may never be a true homesteader...but I'm going to keep reading, keep learning, keep mastering new skills, and keep moving toward more self-sufficient living. If all of that is odd...sign me up! Who wants to be "regular" anyway?

Examining the issue from another light...I am a Christian...a believer in the beautiful truth that Jesus died on the cross to pay a debt for me. In a Biblical sense, I am an "alien" here on Earth. I am not "of" the Earth, but of Heaven. I strive to be "odd" because I do not want to fit in to the Earth's standards. Odd? Yup! Indeed!
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