Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chore List

It's somewhere around 50 degrees outside and our nightly lows have been in the 30's. So you know what that means....Time to Prepare for Spring!!!! When you intend to truly replace much of your store-bought diet with food produced in your own backyard, gardening is a year round task. For our area, there is almost always something that can be planted. Heat tolerant things like okra and peppers and black eyed peas in the summer; onions and carrots and strawberries in the fall; broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts through the winter (in those years we actually HAVE a winter); then start spring garden seeds indoors in February, transplant in March/April and start all over again!

Our chore list for this weekend:

1)Uncover strawberries. We had freezing temps this week, so we picked up leaves neighbors had put out for trash and spread them on top of our strawberry bed. Now that the freezing temps are gone, time to uncover the leaves and let them continue building up nice, healthy foliage.

2)Pick up manure. We're getting a truckload of composted horse manure from a local family today.

3)Bake bread.

4)Plant more indoor lettuce pots. Started two last week, will start another two this week (so we get a small, steady flow of lettuce instead of a huge amount all at once)

5)Start preparing for seed planting. We need to make newspaper pots, start filling pots, clean off our table we use for indoor planting and check out the grow light to be sure it's in working order. I'd rather start this now, then try to do it all and plant seeds in one weekend (I'm thinking we'll have nearly 200 pots)

6)Prune fruit trees? Not sure on this one--we just planted the trees last year and we're still learning on this one. Typical pruning time is February around here, but I just have a feeling we're gonna have an "early spring" this year.

We accomplished quite a bit already today. Had a good time uncovering strawberries, working on spreading the manure, filling one of the new beds with soil and thinning carrots. It was an experimental bread baking day that turned out better than expected. The lentil bread was a recipe I picked up from TennZen and it came out pretty tasty. It's almost like a whole grain, nutty bread taste, without all that "bird food" in it (as my father in law would say). Josh really liked it. For my oatmeal bread, I tried substituting some of the flour with oatmeal baby cereal (just for the sake of using it up) and it didn't go quite as well as I'd hoped, but it wasn't a total disaster. The texture of the crust is just slightly off.

Had a close friend ask me one time (well, actually, it was originally her husband's question) what we do for FUN. She guessed (and was correct) that this IS our fun. Despite the term "chore", these things are our hobbies. I don't always enjoy all the tasks (watering the garden with a 23 pound kiddo on my hip probably nears the bottom of my list), but there is a wonderful sense of accomplishment to stand at the window with a cup of hot peppermint tea and watch an entire produce section grow in your backyard. It gives a calming sense of security to bring in a basket of fresh veggies and to know how to cook with them and how to preserve them. It's incredibly freeing to know that (contrary to popular belief, unfortunately) you don't NEED 100K a year, or 50, or even 25 to live comfortably. We have (nearly, perhaps) escaped the cycle of needing convenience items, which require more money, which requires more out of the home work, which requires more convenience items....

In other quirky "you think that's fun?!?" hobby news....Josh is making fabulous progress on a bookshelf for the girls. I requested something similar to what they have in the kid's section of the library so that it will be easy for the girls to see what they have without spreading the books all over the floor, and also easy for them to put the books away neatly. He's been making updates at his website. (Check out the link about making your own paint!)

And I think I have recovered from the holiday season and am ready to put an end to my sewing hiatus. I'm itching to make a quilt for Josh and I (which I haven't done yet!). I'm thinking a simple, repeating Amish Star. I've actually got this idea in my head because I've been reading the Abram's Daughters series by Beverly Lewis. They're fiction, but the characters are Amish. Lewis' grandmother grew up in an Old Order Mennonite community and from what I know, the setting she portrays in these books is fairly accurate. If there's anything I shouldn't be reading, it's anything concerning an Amish or Mennonite type lifestyle! It feels my head with all sorts of to-do lists!

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I read those Beverly Lewis books when Josiah was a wee one. I'm sure they are right up your ally! (Beware, after the first series, the books all start to seem the same.)

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