Giant Cocks Comb Flower
I have fallen off the wagon a bit regarding the Dark Days of Winter Challenge because although I wholly believe in it our money is needed else where right now. We are SO close to having Issac's medical bills paid off that every spare dime has been put into them.We are facing another surgery in the coming months and starting from a zero balance will be nice. I do have a Dark Days dinner for this week to share along with some bits of other news.
This weeks Dark Days Dinner was not intended to be slated as one but as I looked at what I was making I was thinking "Well what do you know,all of this is local!" How many dinners there will be in the coming weeks as I use up our stash of garden produce is yet to be seen,medical bills will win in the end so we shall see.
This weeks dinner:
Smoked Salmon Chowder
Onions and Garlic - Homegrown
Potatoes - the last few from the local farm
Smoked Salmon and Ham Hock- Wild caught and home smoked.Hock from Carlton Meats and home smoked as well.
Local butter and a bit of local milk.
Carrot - not local but I only used one.
S&P and Dill are things I don't count for the challenge.
Chance and I are like two horse standing at the gate ,waiting to here the word GO! It is almost time for us to start working on digging the new garden beds in the front yard.Our souls are itching to get to it but wait we must.First of all it is pouring rain currently and it really is a bit early still.
To tie ourselves over we have made our final list for our biggest seed order yet.We have carefully picked out 17 different seed packets to order.Each seed was picked for its hardiness, heirloom roots, yields ,storage abilities and could we put some away for next winter.The Dark Days Challenge has really put all of those criteria on our radars.We want to be eating organic local foods but find the only way for us to do it well is to grow it ourselves.Even once we have the bills paid off there just is not enough to spare to buy the more expensive local foods. So we are planning out the garden to carry us through the year with a 4 season garden.
What little we did store for winter this past fall has been great to have but it is running low.I am sure our bins will be empty before the early Spring crops are ready to eat.Not having some of our own food for a bit is going to seem strange.
Let me get back to the seeds we are ordering.This year the bulk of our seed will be ordered from Baker Creek Seeds which carries mostly heirloom seeds that are non-GMO. I was very impressed with the selection they offer and impressed with their desire to save some of these seeds from totally disappearing. What we don't buy from Baker Creek will come from local garden stores around town.We are not set up as of yet to start our own seedlings so some things will have to be bought. We will also stop in March at Territorial Seed in Cottage Grove for more Onions.We like their Big Daddy's,this year we are doubling the amount we plant.
I am certain the $70 we are spending on seed will more than pay for it's self in the long run.Something that people don't always think of as they buy seed.I am hoping this year to track better the amounts harvested and what it would have cost us to purchase it all. I also have a better idea of how much of each thing we will want to either can or put away and (hopefully) how long it will last us.
So far what we spent last spring and summer is holding out rather well.Most of the canned goods will last until summer while the stored foods should last us a couple more months.The things in the freezer of course are still there and will last until I use them up,maybe until April.
I have also chosen 5 kinds of flower seeds to plant.We enjoy having fresh cut flowers around the house.And sharing them is a great pleasure of mine.One of the flowers I chose is called Giant Cocks Combs,they grow 12-14 inches across and dry easily.I am hoping to plant other flowers that dry so Chance and I can make some wreaths next fall to give as holiday gifts.
It is a bit amazing to my mind to be thinking so far ahead with a clear idea of what needs to be done and the hopefulness of the out come. A few years ago I was happy to have the garden veggies until frost now I am planning to keep things going all year long. I now know that my family only needs a dozen jars of pickles to keep us happy,how many cucumbers that takes and that I don't have to hold onto the idea that canning means days on end of canning just one thing.My new challenge will be learning how many plants to plant to get the 20 pounds of cucumbers I will need for pickles.Realistically I may end up having to buy my cuc's just for timings sake but we shall see. (Note to myself, Order/buy Dill seed for cucumbers.)