Garlic sprouts showing!!

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Now to keep the chickens out. I’ve been making them stay in their coop until 2 hours of daylight left. They destroy everything I do!! They had a field day with the leaves and straw I put out last week. I just spent nearly an hour raking the beds back together. They can stay. Gotta get a fence around the garden! I put maple leaves in the bottom of their coop so they could scratch around in there. It’s still so cool to open their nesting boxes and find 2 different colored eggs! They are getting a bit bigger in size too. I have the coolest looking dozen eggs on my street, I’m willing to bet!

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Covered my container carrots and strawberry beds with straw. It’s supposed to be 28 degrees here tonight. They are really flourishing, one thing chickens couldn’t get to! I call them Carrots for Eli to encourage an apartment dwelling friend of mine to garden anyway! I rearranged the chickens new design of the drip hoses. Creative little buggers.

Garlic is in the ground and the potatoes are piled high!!

We planted three rows of garlic cloves today! I spent the morning weeding the beds and hard raking all the loose dirt the chickens have been scratching away from the beds. They have really screwed my pooch on the Fall garden, I knew they would and the precautions I took just weren’t enough. I planted the garlic in the beds to the farImage left. Not like a regular Fall crop I guess, it stays until May. I think I’ll rotate out with a block of corn.

Writing down bed layouts for crop rotation is one of the biggest things I want to learn and work on. I planted legumes after the corn to hopefully fix nitrogen for the next crop. Each plant can help or hurt each other just by the way you plant it! I guess it’s time to reread all my Permie stuff. I have different questions this time through, just like they said I would. The old theory vs. practice. With Winter approaching, I’m sure I’ll get my fair share of catching up on my reading. A new GRIT came just today, with winterizing your chickens on the cover, just what we’ve been talking about!

I piled the potatoes today as well, tried to leave just the tops showing. This will be my first trial with growing them this time of year. I’m assuming just like the carrots, if I keep the tops from getting freezer burnt and die, they’ll continue to grow. The carrot tops in the container out front are a good 4 inches now. I’m glad they’re out front, the chickens would have had a field day with those fluffy tops! I plan on getting onions from Renfroe’s this week and a couple bales of straw to add some finishing Fall touches.

Keeping up the good work 😀

Potato Pull!!

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We had a great day potato pull yesterday of some white sweet potatoes. Less sweet and less nutritious than the orange variety, this was a new potato for us. This harvest had been growing for about 6 months. We covered the beds twice with straw and compost as the greenery raged.

We started by loosening the soil with the pitchfork and digging in and around for the potatoes. I always feel like an archeologist digging away fossils. Yeah, I grew up in the Jurassic Park era.. So I love digging up potatoes and garlic.. and onions,, 🙂 It was a great day to be in the yard. Lower 70s, great breeze. I love just being out there with Michael harvesting part of our dinner for that night. It was just a really good moment in all the stress we’ve had lately. The world sure doesn’t make it easy sometimes to go back to basics, ya know? That little cottage I want nestled in the foothills with a clean stream that runs by. We can’t catch and eat but so many of those fish due to mercury levels.

What do we do you ask? We cook potatoes. I pour enough olive oil to drizzle over the pan of cut potatoes and went out front and stripped two rosemary branches. Dropping those in with the oil, I chunk 3 small/med white sweets and one large orange sweet. I spread them out on a cookie sheet, drizzled the oil and roasted them at 375 degrees F. The rosemary made the house smell so good and even though the scent was strong, it did not out power the potatoes at all 😀

Goals…

So first things first, right? You’ve got to have goals and I need to establish some concrete and some flexible goals for myself and my family. I read yesterday a women took her family on a 100 day no preservatives stretch. Wow, I don’t know if we are ready for that big of a goal!!

My true long term goal is to live simply; off-the-grid and as harmonious with nature as we can. I think it is very important to try and mimic nature when designing and building. We want to build our home with our and hopefully many hands, out of earthen materials we find on and in the land. I want to teach my children to teach their children that peace, not materialism, rules the world.. We are only here for such a short time and it needs to be a common goal to leave this place a little better than we found it. I read yesterday, the average home of 2200 square feet takes roughly 13,000 boards of lumber. There are at least 5 of those American dreams sitting in my neighborhood empty from foreclosure. I feel the envelope is pushed here. We are encouraged as a country to live beyond our means. To buy the houses and cars that we can barely afford, to work ourselves into the ground, steady winding away from the true meaning of happiness.. For what? To come home at the end of the day exhausted, to a family you barely know, food you hardly have the concentration to really even taste. Then off to bed to do it again tomorrow! No Thanks!

Okay, that was a pretty windy long term spill.. Let’s see short term. I want to continue deeper into the practice of gardening organically, using companion planting and diversity in place of chemicals. I want to be able to attend more workshops to learn about any and all of my current interests. Sustainable agriculture, building with earthen and recycled materials, permaculture meetups are things that network us to like minded people as well as teach.

I want to work on our nest egg for “that piece of land”, you know the one where all our dreams come true 😉 We’ve read people doing away with their insurances and having a saving account for medical emergencies. (Michael reads the survival boards everyday) Saving money and getting out of the debt we can is our biggest goal here. We are figuring out what we really need and exactly how much income we need in order to make it without full time jobs.

We are spending less time with the t.v. on and more time together, which was my goal for earlier this year. We do more family activities without even leaving the house. Homework is more fun. I let her read to me almost every night, snuggled in her bed. We challenge ourselves to find inexpensive outings if we go out. A day at the park and nature trails with a picnic costs a lot less than taking 5 people to the movies or out to eat. We can’t do it anymore and the the thing is, we really don’t want to.

Wow.. that all sounds great and good!! So, let’s push through and stay focused. Right now we learn, save, look and wait. It will happen..