Sunday, March 28, 2010

garden prep

It's spring and I've been working in the garden. The fact that I am messing in the dirt makes the chickens happy. Every time I push the spade in there is a good possibility they get to eat a worm. It is a happy time of year. It's just so much work to get the garden ready! I've got about half the garden squares good to go, which means I still have half that need a lot of work! I can only put in about one square (16 sq feet) a day. First I pull out all the quack grass that has invaded from last year and then I put in a layer of homemade compost (full of worms), then I put in the ORMI compost, which is a beautiful dark black, but it is mainly made of chipped up wood and grass and doesn't have the worms. That is about it. If I have any other soil add-ons I'll put them in too, but I've sort of run out (I had some granite dust last year and used the last bits of it up early this spring). I use more a lasagna method of adding to the dirt. Other then removing the quack grass I really don't dig much. I have my garden squares set up so no one ever (EVER!) steps in them, so the dirt is pretty fluffy. I'm concerned my garden doesn't have enough biological activity going on in it. I'm still working on improving the soil. If anything I'm probably over doing it.

So am I a good gardener? No, but I keep learning more each year. They always say the best fertilizer for a garden is having the gardener puttering around in it. If that is the criteria then my garden has wonderful fertilizer.

I can tell you a lot of gardening tricks/techniques that DON'T work.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

my beautiful daughters

Well, three of my four beautiful daughters. Camilla flew out to visit her sisters. It was officially a college visit, but I think they did more visiting with each other. A wonderful time was had by all.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

there are plants in the garden

As soon as my daughter comes back from her college visit with the camera I'll be able to show off. I've actually got something green growing in my garden. It sure feels good to be out working in the dirt again. I know it is early and there are only a few things that can be planted, but it is fun to be out there again. The things I've had the best luck with planting this early are Chinese cabbage, snow peas, radishes, onions, and (well, some years they do ok) spinach.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

interesting websites

I've been hesitant to include some of the more extreme simple living ideas I've been working with. I know not everyone is interested in simple living to this degree but it is fascinating to know there are ways to simplify that are outside of our normal (for middle class Americans anyways) scope of thinking. If you are interested in learning more just click on the blue colored words, it'll send you right to the website.

Composting human waste. Just think, NO PLUMBING and lots of great compost. It is an elegant solution to a huge problem. This site includes the entire book, just click on the chapters and you can read it all on-line.

Making your own menstrual pads out of cloth. If you go down the page you'll see a suggestion for making wash cloth shaped pads. It works great. Wish I'd starting doing this years ago, I could've saved so much money. BTW Let me put in a vote for cloth diapers, but that is another post.

Living in a tiny house Obviously I haven't done this, but it sure does make my own little home feel really spacious. It looks like a great idea for me and Randall when the kids all leave. We stayed in a cabin this size when we were on a family vacation and I was utterly charmed with it.

And living without a car (or gearing down to fewer cars). I LOVE this book. This is an excerpt from Chris Balish's book "How to Live Well Without a Car." We've been living with one car for over a year and it hasn't been near as big hassle as I thought it would be AND we have saved so much money.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

thinking of spring

It felt like spring yesterday. The air was warmish and people were outside. I took the baby plants out to enjoy the fresh air and sun shine. Everyone is quite tired of winter and quite ready for spring. Now that we're not moving I can think of the garden plans. I've got the basic garden sketched out. I want to get a lot more food out of the garden this year.