It's sort of sad. I had my son destroy the garden yesterday. No garden this year. We're moving. Actually, my husband is moving to Minnesota pretty soon to start his new job and the rest of us are coming up once we buy a house (my husband will be staying in a small apartment while we house hunt). It won't be a swift thing because we have a senior in high school and we're going to allow her to graduate. Lots of stuff to get arranged. I really doubt I'll put in a new garden this year at our new place (which we don't have yet!), or if I do put in a garden it'll be small. I've got so much to learn! I've never gardened in such a cold place. I haven't moved in twenty years. This is going to be a big job, but a job I'm ready to take on. Once I make a decision I want to rush ahead with it. It is hard for me to have to wait so long before we move. But we made this decision as a family and it is for the best. I've done so much with our little place here. I've got several apple trees, blueberry bushes, a large strawberry patch, a nice sized garden, chickens, etc. I've done so much with the small amount of land I have. Getting the right type of yard is going to be top priority for the house we choose up there. Hodgson's Homestead is moving north.
eggs 13 x 2.1oz= 27.3oz Tomatoes 64.9oz Chinese cabbage 8.8oz peppers 12.4oz broccoli 28.3oz Total 141.7oz OR 8.9 lbs
total garden produce for 2010--- 761 lbs
I really don't expect it to go any higher. The chickens are on their winter strike (plus they are getting older, but I'm sure they'll lay a bit more in the spring). The garden is all done, other then the wintering over of garlic and wheat. I did attempt some winter lettuce, but it got to be too much of a hassle hauling it in and out of the house on cold nights, so I fed it to the chickens and that made them very happy. SOOOO I'd say, baring an unforseen event, my garden produce total for the year 2010 is 761 lbs. That is a a bit more then my 2009 total, but not by much. They're about the same.
These are actually cake balls dipped in chocolate. Everyone agreed they are stupid level cute. Food shouldn't be this adorable! They actually tasted pretty good, in a candy sort of way. I made them for the seminary kids. I was disappointed no one said anything. Camilla assured me no one would even think I did them, they look too professional. Oh well. They sure turned out cute!
I'm such a fiber geek. I'm just showing off some of the lovely yarns I've been spinning up. The light brown stuff in the bag is baby alpaca and, while quite unclean, is the softest fiber I've ever spun. It just takes serious fussing to get all the vegetable matte out of it (grass-type stuff). This also shows pictures of some beautiful colored yarns. I bought some dyed roving (50% wool/50% mohair) and spun it up. Then I plied it with undyed merino to produce a marled yarn. It is just delightful. I love spinning.
Here's my attempt at fall gardening. Broccoli, Chinese cabbage and cabbage. Fall gardening is so easy. Fall gardening means stick it in the ground and ignore it. The broccoli is looking good, the cabbage is basically vermin attacked and useless. Of course that was the state of my cabbage last spring, too. The Chinese cabbage is amazing. It grows well in the spring even better in the fall. It could be the perfect garden plant. I use Chinese cabbage in.... Chinese stir fry. It works great. All three of these vegetables are frost resistant, they'll freeze when a bad cold snap hits, but they do fine in a light frost (which is what we get this time of year).
I'm trying something new this year. I planted winter wheat. This is one of those rare garden crops that you plant in the fall and harvest in the spring. The wheat looks like grass right now. I'll ignore it until the spring harvest. The other green growing thing is garlic. Easiest thing to grow ever! Stick in the ground in the fall pull out of the ground in June. I love this sort of gardening.
Proof that Frankie-jeff gets to live a normal bunny life. This is her awe-inspiring bunny escape hole. I stuck the camera as far as my arm would go and took a flash picture. You can't see the end of the tunnel. I have no idea how far it goes. She doesn't hang out inside the hole too often, but she does hide in there once in a while.
The chickens are taking turns molting. Molting means they are losing their feathers. This is a totally normal yearly process, but they sure look funny when it is happening. There are feathers all over the yard. The new feathers look like paint brushes as they grow back in. This chicken is the last to molt. The rest of them look fine now and their new feathers are even softer then they were before.
Another magical day. I spent all summer spinning the fiber of Lumina, a black alpaca. It was so much fun. I got to visit the farm where Lumina lives and got to meet her! She's in the bottom picture, the black alpaca with a fair amount of white on her neck (her brother Nigel is in more of the pictures, looks very similar but only has bits of white on his neck). I gave her a carrot and she spent the rest of the visit following me around. Now, I know she was looking for another carrot, but it felt like she liked me and it was so endearing! I traded some of Lumina's spun-up fiber for more fiber and got to choose to take Nigel's fiber. He's Lumina's full brother. I LOVED visiting Wierworld (the farm) and meeting the llamas, the alpacas, and the wonderful owner. To see the llamas and alpacas roaming around, grazing in the meadow, stampeding past me to get to the meadow.... it was a magical day.
October 49 eggs x 2.1oz = 102.9 tomatoes 149 beans 7.7 peppers 72.5 yard long beans 7.4 bok choy 34.7 chinese cabbage 13.0 onions 1.0 sweet potatoes 310.4 October total 698.6 = 43.7 lbs 2010 year to date total 752.1 lbs
Things are slowing down, gardenwise. I am very impressed with the bok choy and the Chinese cabbage. Both of those are fall vegetables that did better than I expected.
I pulled up the sweet potatoes. I got almost 20 pounds worth. They were huge (and did I take pictures? N0). Sweet potatoes are the easiest thing to grow. Stick the slips in the ground in the spring, pull sweet potatoes out of the ground in the fall. I'm trying something new this year. I planted some winter wheat. We'll see if anything comes of it. The idea planting it like you plant garlic. You stick it in the ground in the fall. ignore it over the winter, it will grow a little in the fall and continue growing as soon as possible in the spring and be ready for harvest in early summer.
Garden update-- bok choy and chinese cabbage work great as fall vegetables. I've tried to do bok choy as a spring vegetable and it just doesn't work. I was thinking I just couldn't grow it at all. So in early fall/late summer I literally poked the bok choy seeds in the ground and ignored them and they grew beautifully. We eat them up for two different dinners last week. The chinese cabbage grows great in the spring, and are growing great in the fall, too.
Frankie-Jeff, the girl rabbit. Does that poor bunny have an odd life. On the one hand she gets to run around the yard and dig holes to her heart's content and on the other hand she has to endure the worst hair cuts know to bunny-kind. I wanted to harvest her fur one last time before the cold sets in (and she needs it to stay warm). I only got half the job done before I left on vacation and this is what the poor animal looked like for about two weeks.
I did something yesterday I've wanted to do for years and years. I made homemade sausage. We're having it for dinner tonight, so it is a bit early to comment, but the taste testing went great! Over all I probably found out what NOT to do then what to do. The casings I bought were really too small, and I froze the meat, and had to let it thaw a bit before I could grind it, so the meat was really hard to cut. But, at the end of it all, the sausage tastes absolutely wonderful and, while I doubt it'll be on the weekly menu, I will be doing this again!
My line in the sand is tanning. Was it as horrible a failure as buck tanning? No? then it was a success.
The wedding was lovely, seminary been going for a couple of weeks, I no longer am a homeschooling mom, seems like I ought to have all the time in the world, right? How do people go to work every day? I just don't get it. I have a terrible time keeping up with everything I'm committed to do and everything I'm trying to do and I can't imagine taking on a full time job on top of all of this. I'm behind on making soaps for the Farmers Market and I haven't even started sewing that dress I was going to make for the wedding. I can't even keep up with my garden. Fall gardens are such a wonderful idea but it is so hard to keep up the umph to do it. In mid summer, when the heat is miserable, I should be thinking ahead to fall, but I rarely do more then poke a few beans seeds into the ground. My big goal for this week is to get some Chinese cabbage planted. If I do that I can say I've done something for a fall garden.
August garden total-- 177.0 lbs This makes the year to date total 680.3 lbs.
This August we got Peppers (I grow the hot stuff, not sweet peppers), cucumbers (did great!), tomatoes (didn't do great), yard long beans (not hard to grow, but no one really likes them much), apples (got a disease, but I picked them green and processed them for cooking, they taste great, they just looked icky), and finally, green beans.
In spite of the fact that I've been neglecting my garden this last month it still produced pretty well. We'll see how it makes it through the fall.
I wanted to give proof that I did make a beautiful cake. I was so happy that the only disaster of the wedding was my cake. I did manage to redecorate the bottom layer, so we did have something. This was the first wedding I've ever been to where the entire wedding cake was actually consumed.
It was a beautiful day and I actually enjoyed every event. Binod is a wonderful young man and the two of them are very much in love. They were married in the temple and the actual ceremony was very small and spiritual. This picture is of them as they came out of the temple to greet the family and friends.
We're on the count down to my daughter's wedding. The only thing that matters in all this is the marriage, but it is the wedding that is taking over my life. As a fairly capable, crafty sort of person I am sourly tempted to do it all myself. I can't. I don't think I've ever had a situation like this where I couldn't do it all myself, even though I have the ability. There is just too much to do! I've made more wedding dresses, fancy dresses, and elaborate wedding cakes then I can count, but for my own daughter's wedding I didn't make her wedding dress (I did alter it), I didn't even make my own dress (I started it, I just ran out of time to finish it), and I'm making a very simple wedding cake. I have a ton of friends willing to help, I sure love all of them. I've got every day this week mapped out as to what I need to do. Today was make all the final shopping lists (mainly food). Tomorrow we're going out to buy food.... lots and lots of food. Wednesday is mainly for cooking/baking, Thursday is for flowers (a friend is doing the actual flower work)and finishing the cake, Friday is setting up the reception and Saturday is the big day. Whew.
I told the kids that the cat foreclosed on the bunny. Actually neither of them seemed that impressed with it, but we all thought it was pretty funny to see Pippin hanging out inside the bunny hutch and Frankie-Jeff hanging out underneath the hutch and both of them totally oblivious to the other.
I found the coolest crafty thing to learn. Raising silk worms! I've always been fascinated by silk and love the fabric. I know how to spin lots of fibers but silk is about reeling, not spinning. ANYWAYS, a lady comes to the Farmers Market and talks with me about her adventures in raising silk worms. She told me about a website devoted to raising silk worms wormspit.com Isn't that the best name for a silk site? I think I'm going to try this next spring! I just fall into this sort of thing. Of course sometimes it is an utter disaster (see my brain tanning posts, what a fiasco).
We were wedding shopping all day long. Shopping for what? You might ask. Shoes, necklaces, earrings, lace, gumpaste, fabric, tissue paper. This and that. And how could that take ALL day? I have no idea, but it did. My life is draining away with this errand running. AND I have yet to accomplish much of anything for the actual wedding. I just look at the list I've got to do and I have no idea how this will actually happen. Rebecca mailed me her wedding dress in order for me to do the necessary alterations. BTW I would never suggest trying to do alterations long-distance. This could be one of the stupidest things I've ever tried to do. The main thing it needs is sleeves. The fabric has to be similar, right? So, I go to our one remaining fabric store and it has magically converted itself into a craft store. I guess I noticed that they were doing some remodeling but I didn't realize it would impact my life. There are so few fabric stores left. That's the sort of day it has been and I'm exhausted. Will I get my life back after this wedding? One of the downsides of being able to do lots of stuff myself is that I think I can do everything myself. Nobody in their right mind tries to do a wedding by themselves. PS There is a fabric store in another part of town, that's where I'm going tomorrow, wish me luck.
July 163 eggs X 2.1oz= 342.3 oz onions= 310 oz tomatoes= 528.7 oz blueberries= 0.4oz yard long beans= 13.5 oz green beans= 44.0 oz apples= 1711.2 oz cucumbers= 607.6 oz peppers= 27.7 oz July total--- 3585.4 oz or 224.0 lbs 2010 year to date total--- 503.3 lbs
We're down to seven chickens. I (we) had to kill one today. She was really sick, my guess is she was egg bound and it was really nasty, festering, and disgusting. I never noticed it before this morning. When I finally took a look at her behind it was all swollen, dripping blood and had maggots in it. I bet this has been going on for a few days, at least. My wonderful husband did the actual dirty work. I don't think I'm cut out for meat production. I've never had to kill a pet before. This means we've lost two of the the production reds.
I love our backyard. It's my happy place. This picture is of me with my animal friends. The bunny is finally getting used to me and is mildly friendly. The chickens adore me. The garden gives us food. Even the local squirrels act like it is a playground (with a cat that wants to eat them). The backyard is a happy place.
Just a couple of pictures from the farmers market. Nothing of me, nor of my daughter (who runs a shave ice stand). But we love our farmers market and it has been very good to us. Without our farmers market I wouldn't have a soap business.
Total produce for the month of June-- 108 lbs. Total year to date produce--- 279.3 lbs
This month we've been eating strawberries,lettuce, peas, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, cucumber, potatoes, beans, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and we're just starting on the apples. It's been a good gardening month.
Here's a more "engagementy" type photo of my daughter Rebecca and her future husband. They are so sweet together. This wedding stuff is a bit overwhelming. I've done lots of wedding cakes and I've done several wedding dresses/bride's maid dresses, but I've never had to do the entire wedding before. It feels like I am working for Rebecca this summer.
Another week in paradise. It's been so hot. The chickens and the rabbit seem to be able to deal with the heat. I wish I had someplace cooler for them to hang out, but they stretch themselves out in the shade, snuggle down in dirt depressions and extend themselves. I guess it helps. Frankie Jeff the girl rabbit seems to be happy here. I let her out every morning and she hops around, eating, digging, and investigating. She even lets me hold her for fur combing. The chickens, of course, own the yard, and they very happily eat as many bugs as they can. They especially like to eat the Japanese beetles (that are driving me crazy). The chickens do not have to be coerced into letting me pet them, they come running to me for affection. The garden is growing. I got 20 lbs of potatoes and a whole bunch of garlic. We're eating blueberries, but the bushes are producing so few it hardly seems worth counting. The peppers, onions and tomatoes are doing fine. I love this time of year in the garden.
The chickens got into the cucumbers and trampled them, but it looks like the plants survived the rampage (for the most part). Tomatoes are starting to ripen. I took this picture right after I'd picked the red ones, but lots more will be ripe soon.
We gave Frankie Jeff a haircut and she looks a lot more like a rabbit and a lot less like a sofa cushion. It is so hot I figured I was doing her a favor. Now I have a bag of lovely angora bunny fiber waiting for me to spin it up. Frankie Jeff loves hopping around the yard and eating grass. I was trying to get a picture of her eating and she hopped away mid-picture. She loves being free and hides in the raspberry bushes. I don't think she'd ever go back in the cage if I didn't put her there.
My son Chris and his good friend Chris were not only born on the same day, in the same hospital, they were born practically the same time! Chris got married this week. Not my Chris, his friend. It was fun. Instead of cutting the cake, they cut the pig. It was raining so hard when they made their "escape" from the reception no one decorated the car. They are wonderful young people starting out their lives together.