Sunday, March 18, 2018

March 18, 2018

Beets, spinach, carrots
Sunflower seeds and potatoes
Life is normally good, but this weekend it has been over the top good!!  Oh my goodness, I just love having a bright sunshiny St. Patrick's Day when we plant our potatoes and cool season crops!  So this weekend we planted 5 rows of potatoes and Black Oil Sunflowers in our chicken garden (close to the chicken coop and the sunflowers are for the chickens).  The potatoes were:  one row of Corolla potatoes from last year's leftovers, 2 rows of Organic Rio Grande Russetts, and 2 rows of Organic Sage Russetts.  The russett potato varieties are new this year.  Before we planted the potatoes, we spread the ash that we have been saving from the wood stove to try to keep the wire worms away, and to add potassium to the soil.  Can't wait to see if this is successful.  We would have preferred the Burbank Russetts (as we have been very successful with these) , but we could not get them from our local store this year or last.  We planted in our main garden two rows of Detroit Dark Red Beets, one row of Red Core Chantenay carrots (new to us this year), and one row of spinach.

We planted 4 rows of Silver Queen corn.  This will be the second year of planting seed that we saved from last year's crop.  At first we were worried that this corn was a hybrid.  However, often a variety that was created by being mixed with another variety will normalize over time, and since this has been available for a long time, we thought we would take our chances.  So far it has been very tasty.  I know, these pictures all look alike except for the background.  I guess you have to be someone who looks forward to planting to share the excitement.  We planted a new hazelnut tree in an empty spot among our pecan grove in the front of our property.  Since we have power lines up there, we planted the shorter hazelnut trees where the power lines cross our planting area so we won't have trouble in the future with them growing into the power lines. 

Mushroom stems in pot of compost and manure
Making spore prints
I started the "Great Mushroom Experiment" where I am trying to grow some mushroom from some store bought mushrooms.  The mushroom mycelium has just gotten outrageously expensive (especially for the Portabella mushrooms that we really like.)  So I found this youtube video that explained the process.  I found another suggestion (if I could remember where, I would give them credit) that you would be more successful cutting up the stems into 1/4" pieces and planting them, so I am trying both.  So far I have put in the Portabellas (my first priority), but will work with the button mushrooms once I get them finished.  Of course, my husband helped me (as in almost all projects), particularly this time with the gathering of the compost and manure.  My husband is such a good sport with all of my harebrained ideas.  Thanks honey!

It was time to set up our sweet potatoes (from last year) in their jars to make sweet potato slips.   Additionally, the plants have been progressing to the point that I really need to plant them in their own cups.  The only plants that were not successful this year were the cumin (I think one came up - unless that is really a weed) and the Manitoba tomatoes (maybe old seed).  However, the only cumin seeds I could find were in the Hispanic spice section of the grocery store.  It was worth a try, though.  We have been carrying all the plants outside most days to get the natural sunlight directly as well as the wind the make the stems stronger.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February 28, 2018

Winter.  So full of cold weather, getting caught up on rest, tweaking things that are not working correctly, and maintenance of the farm and ourselves.  One of the things we wanted to accomplish was to find a way to bring more water to our drainage pond.  This last year we were in drought conditions and the pond was beginning to look like a deep mud puddle.  We were worried about our fish and the health of our pond.  We devised a way to bring a pipe to the road from the pipe under the driveway that drained into the pond.  Much work was done, the pipe covered and the grass planted with the replacement of our daffodils.  We are so glad we have a friend and neighbor with all the right equipment to help us out with these kinds of projects.  His dump truck and skid loader and his skillful operation of said equipment was invaluable.

We wanted a way to put an alarm on our driveway so we would know when someone was coming up, if only so we could have time to put on our shoes to meet the delivery people at the gate.  We bought a driveway alarm and devised a way to put it inside a birdhouse so it would not look bad.  We have found, however, that our dogs usually bark before the alarm goes off,  the alarm does not go off every time, especially after the rain, and we have problems somewhat with the birds setting it off.  We will try to tweak it further, but it may be a failed experiment. . .

It was time once again to plant our garden plants, which we have done inside, and buy our seed potatoes.  So far everything is coming up except for the cumin which is a new addition this year.  Fingers Crossed!

It was also a good time for my husband to have some time to make some of his favorite Brown Ale!  Winter is a great time to slow down and get done some stuff that is not quite necessary, but an awful lot of fun.  We must have these kinds of times!

Last, but certainly not least, it has also been a time for me to slow down and actually do some care of myself.  Through fasting and intermittent fasting, I have been able to shed about 34 pounds since January 15th.  I am at least halfway to my goal of getting into some jeans that are the same size I was wearing before I got married.  Unfortunately, fasting also means that you do a great deal of resting, which is perfect for this off season time of year.  I am hoping to reach my goal by our anniversary on May 23rd.  Wish me luck!  I am so thankful to have found all the information put out on youtube by Dr. Jason Fung, as just regular dieting that once worked for me, did not budge my weight after menopause.  I am strongly hoping that the healing that fasting creates will heal my body's hormonal imbalance.