Friday, May 23, 2008

Independence Days #3

I am enjoying the Independence Days challenge. Now when I see gas prices climbing and hear the talk about Peak Oil, I at least feel as if I'm doing something for the future of my family.

1. Plant Something: We're not past the date of freezing but I've begun to get some things in the ground anyway. I've put in the greens mix I started indoors, 3 tomatoes, a couple of peppers, and a couple of squash. These are added to the peas, potatoes, and rhubarb. My biggest trouble right now is the dogs are taking out a bunch of what I plant. I have to wait until payday to do anything about little garden fences. I love the dogs but they do get in the way at times.

Mr. Greenjeans and I talked about getting a bunch more 1/2 wine barrels to line the sides of the patio as the raised bed garden is still yet a dream. This would help with the dogs running off the sides into the garden beds. I wish there was more to report here but I've got to get serious vegie garden beds in place yet.

2. Harvest Something: Nothing yet. I'm still waiting on the Rhubarb (maybe that will be ready when my mom visits - she loves rhubarb) and the peas are just an inch tall. I guess taking some snippets of herbs for the bread is about all.

3. Preserve Something I got 4 buckets of red wheat put up and sealed and labeled. I had a daughter cut apart the sacks the wheat came in and taped them to the sides of the bucket. I have 4 more bags to put up.

4. Prep Something We got our rain barrel situated right and caught 60 gal of rain. I came home after it had been raining a while and noticed the drain just wasn't going to work where I had it and so in the rain Mr. Greenjeans and I moved the barrel, cut the downspout, cut the inside of a shrub away to place the rain barrel and in 30 minutes our rain barrel overflowith. Now I realize I can use a dozen or so more.

I attended the end of a knitting group. I wasn't successful in learning to knit very well but I am am a quilter. I took along a quilt top I'd put away after sewing on the sides too short and began the task of unpicking all four sides. It went better with conversation and tea.

Ordered laundry soap making parts which have just shipped. I also began to hang entire loads of laundry out - including socks and undies. I'm not pushing the girls at this point but they are out of school this week and maybe with their extra time I'll get them going. Laundry lines are expensive! I'm using two cheap folding racks and may stick with those.

Also ordered a milk strainer since we're continuing to use the milk straight from the cow.

5. Cook Something (new): I tried to make cheese (see previous post) and realized that this is going to be an acquired skill. I also made a new bread recipe for foccia bread that the family really took to. We had it for dinner one night and then Mr. Greenjeans and I used it for sandwiches yesterday noon as it was his - his day off.

I did begin to start talking to the girls about each learning a new sill. Chibi is going to learn about soap making and Ni-chan is going to read the herbal medicine book that came. I talked they balked, but at 14 & 17 they are just that way. I paid for viola lessons for the summer for chibi. I think music and the ability to play will be a blessed skill in the days to come.

6. Manage Reserves:
Mr. Greenjeans put in two more full days on the chicken coop. we now have 4 walls, 2 windows, light and electricity, a door, and ceiling. Still needed: insulation for one more wall and it's skin put on that wall, trim for the outside windows (to prevent rain damage), a chicken door, nest boxes, and perches, an outside gate, and some kind of screening around the tops of the run to keep out pigeons.

7. Work on Local Food Systems: I have been talking with some folks facing hard times - job loss and disability. There is a great deal of depression and apathy and I've been talking about self-sufficiency, about what potential they have in their acre lot with animal rights, about using the money that's still there to lay in some reserves. They offered to not mow the wild alfalfa that grow on their lot so I can cut it and bring to the chickens - even dry some for winter for the hens. They are going to help butcher roosters and I offered them half the roosters and eggs in exchange.

OK, I'm also eyeing a plot across the fence. there is a piece of land that seems to be no man's land and is about 10 x 40 (very approx). I was looking to block off an opening in the fence where the chickens are going and looked at what appears to be good ground and not claimed. There is an apartment next door, my neighbors property fence, a fence for a business and this piece of land adjoining mind that is in the sun. I'm going to look into ownership and see growing something to feed the hens on it.

8. Learn something new: I am beginning to build up muscle specific to milking the cow and learning to milk better (thus make myself more useful to the cow owner as well). There was the cheese thing which is a learning curve.

I also learned about preserving dry goods for long-term storage using dry ice and allowing for expansion as it drives out the oxygen.

I'm reading the books that arrived. The "Gardening when it Counts" was written specifically for peak oil times. The climate he is in is quite different but the information is valuable. What gave me goosebumps is that a knowledgeable man with a lifetime of experience and knowledge is writing not so much for the status of publishing but to pass on what he knows about gardening and can foresee about coming times.

I've been watching the price of oil and reading peak oil stuff like crazy this week. Is it any wonder that I'm wide awake and blogging at 3:00 a.m. with business to attend in the ....morning?

No comments: