Welcome to the journey,the tale and the saga of our Suburban Homestead.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My life as an Urban Farmer

Sometimes it takes someone looking in from the outside to realize something about yourself to say something before you realize it. This evening I was talking with a good friend,we were talking about Urban Farming and what it means to the two of us. Like I mentioned in my last posting I don't want to be seen as one of the people who have jumped on the Urban Farming trend wagon because it is just who I am.My friend said to me "Oh, I see now you have always lived an Urban Farm life." The light bulb lit up as bright as day,yes,that is so very very true no wonder I feel so at home with it,it's the life I have always known.
I was born and raised in Northeast Portland. The early years of my childhood we lived in what is now called Sullivan's Gulch neighborhood. At the time it was neither here nor there as far as neighborhoods go,big old houses filled with families. We had an average city lot and lived in what is called an Old Portland style house pretty ordinary. But our home was a bit different.We had a large garden about the size of our back garden area here at Hrafinstaad, maybe 20x20. We had a big garage at the back of the house and now that I think back I never saw it as a garage but saw it as a barn instead.We had a flock of chickens and some rabbits that were for meat that were cooped in the garage. When you walked into the garage you saw hay bales,feed bags and rabbit hutches not a car.
I can remember standing on the kitchen stool turning the grain mills handle for my mother who was grinding grains for our flour, rows of golden Apricots sitting on the counter ready for the canning kettle and knowing that sometimes my Dad was butchering rabbits which meant that I his little shadow could not follow him around that day.It was just our daily life as a family.
Later once I was of school age we moved to a current hot spot to live the Cully neighborhood. Not a happy move for my Mother but my Dad wanted a bigger yard and more outdoor space so we moved.In those days the neighborhood was a rough one and now that it has been named and so many of the young hip crowd are flocking there I wonder at it. But live there we did.We had 13 feet shy of an acre of land which made my Dad very happy for awhile.We then had an even bigger garden and added to our flock of Chickens my pet Turkey. I was 5 and loved that Turkey hen.I was so proud of her for she laid me an egg every day.At the end of my kindergarten year my teacher bought a farm to live on and as a house warming gift I gave her my Turkey. I hope the teacher loved my Turkey as much as I did and enjoyed her eggs as well. My Mother continued to bake all of our bread and put up the canning. There were still days I could not follow my Dad outdoors because of it being a butchering day. It was still just our life with out a title to it.
Once my parents divorced things changed.My Mother went to work and did not have the time to cook and can for us like she had.My Dad lived for some time in a house filled with roommates.So there was this gap in my life when we went a different way.Later on my Dad moved to country and things restarted at his house.
As a teenager I started to garden on my own,I wanted that life back.I took over the cooking and baking as best I could. I got my "Chicken Fix" at my Dad's house by helping take care of his large flock. I canned with my Grandmother and learned to sew from her and my Aunt.I did not want to lose track of it all,I wanted to remember and to quote my Dad "Walk with my feet upon the ground."
The very first place Chance and I lived in as very young adults I asked for seedlings for my Birthday,I wanted a garden even if it meant I planted it in pots and in the flower bed. I kept cooking, sewing and hunting for wild foods in the woods. I kept going and have never looked back to those days when my Mother was to worn out to remember the life style we once had as a family. Now as I am reflecting back on it all I suppose I have come full circle,back to where I started and I am so glad I am here.
And like the neighborhoods I grew up in that once had no names my life style now has a name, Urban Farming. I puzzle over the names given and they mean nothing to me. They were places I lived once and my life is just my life still. I just am.
Rois

A great posting about keeping chickens

I wanted to share this posting from another blog about raising chickens in general.Rhonda Jean has done a very good posting on her blog.If you are just starting out or want some ideas for your own established coop this is helpful blog.
Rois

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hello All,

I wish I had some useful information to share today but I don't.I have been working at the
Urban Farm Store this week potting trees and I am wiped out. I lost count of the trees potted when we reached 100.About that same time I started a mantra "This is easier than bucking hay." Have any of you ever bucked hay? I know many of my regular readers are from outside of the states and may not be familiar with the phrase "Bucking Hay",bucking hay is many long days spent out in a field loading full sized hay bales onto the back of a truck then unloading them into the barn.It's tough farm work that Chance and I used to help my Dad with,I'd rather pot trees by far.

We have a busy family centered weekend ahead of us.Our young man Issac will be attending his first formal dance at his girlfriend's school. Tomorrow I will double check for wrinkles in his brand new clothes,press his tie,pick up flowers,give his hair a trim and try not to cry over how handsome and grown up he is. I'll try and not embarrass him at his girl's house when we pick her up I promise! (Did I mention she is so dang gorgeous I wonder how Issac dose not swoon every time he see's her?) ***Note to self: Wear water proof mascara tomorrow.

Monday I have an interview that I am excited about,a local writer is interested in us for an article she is writing about families who are "urban farming". I was a bit uncertain about doing the interview at first but gave it some thought and will go for it. I hesitated only because we are not living this life because of the trendy-ness of it.We live this life because it is my roots,it is just the way I have always lived,the only thing different about it is I chose to write this blog about it.

I am now trying to guess at what the writer will ask me about our life and how to sum it up neatly.So much of what we do is so normal to us that I don't give it any thought.Well until I am sitting here writing and trying to share my thoughts with all of you. Wish me luck.

So I have a lurking reader out there whom I'd like to say hello to only because I curious about who you are.Hello to the reader in Grass Valley Oregon, boy you live out in the middle of some beautiful country.Thanks for stopping in to read.

Not that I don't enjoy seeing all of the other lurking readers especially when I see far away cities like Hanoi in Vietnam on a weekly stop by.Wow,that's a long ways a way. I'd like to hear from more of you and hear what you have to say and how you do things in your corner of the world.Sharing information and ideas is the thing I love about blogging and reading others blogs.Way better than a book at times and inspiring to boot.

I am going to bed,my arms ache, my knees are a bit mad at me and I get to sleep in tomorrow morning.Wow sleep in did I really say that,I did,that's awesome. Sweet Dreams or good morning depending on which side of the world you live on.
Rois

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chicken raising- part 2

After my last posting I was left wondering about our choice in Chickens for meat.I don't like the whole idea of Cornish Cross Chickens; they have been bred to grow quickly and deformed in the end,as our friend Jen says "They are Franken-Chickens." We don't want Franken-food on our table why promote Cornish's, the whole point behind the breeding of these birds goes against every thing we are trying to accomplish here.Why stick with them?

Why? Well it goes back to what we already knew,my Dad always raised Cornish's,they were easy and reliable. But like lots of other areas in our life we are and need to rethink the old ideas we are still holding onto. We got rid of our BIG gas hog truck and down sized as a way to follow our "new" way of thinking now it is time to address the meat chickens as well.

Jen whom I mentioned above sent me an email after reading my last posting with an inquire about raising a larger number of Chickens for meat together. It was a bit of a ponder because they live 3 hours east of us on many acres of land outside of Sister's Oregon.Could we do it? After a phone call we decided it could be done.

Our plan is to share an order for a dual purpose chicken like the Buff Orpington's which will live at their house until butchering time.We will split the costs of both the chicks and the feed.

Jen and her family's chicken coop is a better set up too,their coop is the size of our garage and the run area is the size of most of my front yard.Lots of room,no worries about the neighbors complaining about a large number of birds and oh darn we will have to spend an weekend at their house visiting folks who are part of our family,swim in the creek,cuddle their little ones and drink coffee to die for.It will be hard so very hard but you won't have to twist our arms to do it.We love it over there and coming home is always hard because we rather stay...forever.

We still won't be raising 104 chickens,our estimate for a years worth of chicken dinners. We will still raise a few meat birds here but will most likely rethink the rotation to fit around the birds out east butchering.

Tinker, tinker, tinker, we are always tinkering what we are doing here.We try and take what we know of farm life and skills and apply them to the Suburbs.We have no map,book or school to show or teach us the way,we are writing our own story here.
Rois

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Raising your own meat Chickens and butchering classes.

Chicken in public market, Mazatlan, Sinaloa, M...Image via Wikipedia

We are starting to plan out a rotation schedule for raising more of our own meat Chickens.Last spring/summer went just fine but we need to do a little fine tuning here and there.

The first thing we are changing from last year is the breed of birds we will be raising for our meat.Last year we raised Les Poulets also known as Amish Meat Chickens which are a heritage breed of chicken that take a bit longer to get to butchering size. Although the birds were fine and their meat was good, we want a bit fattier bird and one that grows quicker.

I want a fattier bird so when I make soup stocks I get the golden color I think of as a plus to raising your own birds,the Poulets did not have much fat to them so my soup still looked like stock made from a store bought chicken. Fat also helps make a cooked chicken moist and tender,just the way we like them to be.

The other point of the birds growing at a quicker rate is all about space for us.Since we live in a city environment and only have a larger city lot we can't raise to many birds at once.We figure 6-8 meat birds is our maximum and even that could be pushing our luck. If we add in the laying hens that would mean we would have up to 16 birds here all at once.Too m any to keep for long.By buying the quick growing Cornish Cross birds we can butcher the birds at 6-8 weeks.

I am not overly fond of the Cornish Cross Chickens,they creep me out.The Cornish Cross are the white chickens you see in all of the big mega meat plants.They have been breed to grow so fast and fat that they have awful habits that turn my stomach and make me a bit sad for the birds. Because of their rate of growth the Cornish's legs can not make muscle fast enough for the birds legs to support them; they end up being crippled by their own growing.Also because of their growth the birds just live right by their feed bins.So you have this crippled bird that eats,sleeps and poops in one spot from about week 3 on. When I think of these birds the movie Super Size Me comes to mind,if you have seen the movie you may get my point. I am not talking about Cornish Cross's that are living their days out in a meat plant here;I am talking about the Cornish Cross's living in my Dad's barn the same environment (on a city scale.) our birds will be living. But farming is not always pretty and sweet and we want our own meat.

So we figure we have room for around 6 birds at a time that was easy enough to work out.Now we are working on how to keep a rotation of birds going long enough to stock our freezer well. I figure we eat about 2 whole Chickens a week,that comes out to 104 Chickens a year. We are not going to be able to grow that many birds ourselves.We estimate,with much hopeful thinking,we will get in 3 rotations giving us 18 Chickens in the freezer or 9 weeks worth of meat.

Last years birds numbered 8 so the 18 will be a boost in our pantry. I have used those birds as a "treat" for us saving them for when we wanted an extra nice something for dinner.And I will most likely do the same with this years birds.

Now I want to talk about the cost of raising your own meat birds.Last year we added up the price per chick and the feed used while the Poulets were around. We did not include the scraps they ate from the kitchen,those scraps are a freebie in our home economy. The price we averaged per bird ended up being around $9 or maybe $10. I compared the price of a regular non organic chicken and an organic chicken at our local market.Our home raised birds landed right in the middle for price.We did end up saving $3-4 per bird because they were raised free range and organically. Not a huge savings but a savings.And lets not leave out the whole political conversation we could have about the benefits of our own meat.But I'd be preaching to the choir so I am moving on...

I want to go back to my comment about farming not being pretty or sweet.Many more people are looking into raising their own meat in an urban/suburban setting after watching the assorted movies or reading one of the many books out right now about the insecurity of the meat industry.I do understand the concern but I am asking you to think about your abilities,carefully and thoroughly.Can you really do this? Can you see it all the way to the end?

I want to point out raising animals for meat is a totally different world than having an animal as a pet.I even see this trend with urban/suburban chicken keepers,the birds are coddled and cooed over like they were a darling little child. Once you have made the choice to raise your own meat you have to look at that animal as meat,nothing else.Can you do it? Are you so sure of your politics that you can take a life?

Butchering a Chicken is simple and not as bloody as some may think.Chance and I found our students at our Chicken Butchering Class very interested in the whole process. We were proud of them for coming and just doing what we were asking them to do,take a life so theirs could continue in a way that fit the students beliefs. Many students did exactly what we asked, read up on Chicken Butchering,watch a video or two on YouTube and think it over. The students had thought it through and came to the class, they were ready.

So think it all through before you leap.

Chance and I have started to receive emails about wither or when we are holding any Chicken Butchering classes this year. We are but at this moment I have no dates to share with you.We need to talk some things over with our Chicken Guy first.But I can share this over view.

We do teach and this is what we ask:
You have your own bird,The age is not important,you can eat an older bird too.
You need a sharp larger kitchen knife.
Are you ready? See above.

The costs: $15 per person for a group lesson min of 5 people max of 10.
( if you can get a group together great,or watch here for our dates to come.)
Or : We will do a one on one lesson for $30.

You can leave us a comment here or email us with further questions.

Well, Issac is studying for Finals this weekend and needs the computer to look something up and since I'd like to see him do well I must go for now.I have a few more postings brewing in my mind that I am hoping to post this week so check back soon.

Rois
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Citrus Celebration-Marmalade and an Orange Tart

Orange Marmalade and an Orange Tart.


Thursday my friend Alison came over to walk me through making Orange Marmalade.I had decided that I wanted some help since every single recipe for Marmalade was so different I felt a bit overwhelmed.Alison makes great Marmalade so she was my choice in teachers. You can click over to her blog for the full details on how to make various Marmalade's and a link to the book she uses for the recipe.

To make 2 batches took us a whole days worth of work with visiting in between. Four oranges and two lemons gave me 3 pint jars worth of Marmalade. The amount of jars verses the amount of work has left me wondering if I will do this again.We love marmalade but I don't know....maybe if next year I have company again to help make the time go by I'd do it again.Never the less the Marmalade is a treat and much welcomed in the pantry.




Wednesday's I like to bake us a midweek treat for dessert.I wanted to make something from my Grand Central Bakery Book but kept finding I was lacking one thing or another,dang it, but I came across their Lemon Tart recipe and decided to make it with a twist that fit what I had on hand.The recipe calls for Lemon Curd and lists the recipe for the Curd but I had Oranges in the pantry so my experiment started.I replaced orange zest and juice for the lemon in the recipe,I was not sure how it would turn out but it was awesome. The only thing I will change next time is to monkey around with the crust amount,I got the back edge of the tart crust a bit too thick.The first time I use a recipe I always follow the directions and make my own adjustments the next time.The tart was very rich and buttery with a pleasant mild orange flavor.I am thinking the next time I make one of these I will add a bit of zest to the tart dough too just to boost the orange flavor.


I had wanted this to be a longer posting with a bit more information but time is pressing me else where so away I go.I am coming back this weekend to talk about raising your own Chickens for meat and about butchering classes.I must zoom off so far well for now.
Rois



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Monday, January 18, 2010

Chicken Butchering Killing Cone for sale


Chance has for sale one killing cone for butchering chickens. The asking price is $35 which includes the shipping costs. From here on out we will be offering the cones for sale full time.Please email us with your inquiry and information can be exchanged.
Thanks,
Chance and Rois

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Book Reviews

Portland in 1890Image via Wikipedia

I want to share with you two books that recently came into our ownership. Both of them are great gems that are going to make some yummy things in the near future.
The first book is a baking book called The Grand Central Baking Book by: Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson written by the owners of one of our local bakeries,
Grand Central Bakery.
We enjoy going to Grand Central for a treat every so often. Close by to the hospital in Portland is one of their locations and after bigger tests at the hospital I like to treat Issac with lunch from the bakery.
Grand Central uses good quality ingredients for all of their food focusing on fresh seasonal items all the year long. The following is from the Introduction of the book, " The bakery and family recipes in this book are designed to showcase easy to find local and seasonal ingredients with ease and elegance while offering a thoughtful balance of practical wisdom and professional expertise." After reading the book cover to cover they have lived up to their hopes in my mind.
I love Grand Central's cookies and breads.When I saw they had a baking book I was pretty excited.Although the book dose not feature their breads it dose have all of the cookies they bake along with many more items that I am wanting to try here at home.Through out the book there are lots of tips and ideas for using their recipes at home.Some recipes even feature seasonal variations to try as the fillings of pies both sweet and savory.
I have only tried their Dutch Baby Pancakes so far,which were excellent, but I am planning on trying out several more in the coming weeks.The first cookie I am going to try is their Graham Cracker Sandwich Cookies. I like the looks of this recipe,the one I have already was a disappointment but Grand Centrals look easy to do and like they will come out better. I am also saving some bread scraps to make the Bread Pudding Muffins for a weekend breakfast.Chance loves bread pudding and I thought the muffin size for breakfast would be a fun way to make it.
The second book we now have is "Preserved" by:Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton with a the foreword written by: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
From the foreword: Preserving is about intelligent home economy.It is a matter of maximizing resources,using know-how both ancient and modern to get the most out of your food. But this doesn't imply parsimony or tight-fistedness.If understood and practiced well, preserving techniques will never produce food that seems meager,mean,or bland.Instead they introduce a whole range of flavors and textures to the cook's repertoire,which are as pleasing and exciting as they are diverse. And I say AMEN! to that.
What excited us about Preserving is the whole book shows how to preserve some really great foods.This is not just a canning book,in fact there isn't much canning at all but how to preserve through drying,salting,smoking,sausages,pickling,fermenting (which is different from pickling.) sugar,alcohol,bottling/canning,air exclusion and freezing.Mixed in with the how to's are tidbits of historical information about some of the foods presented such as, the first foods to be pickled in the 16 century were onions,eggs and walnuts.Also along side the history are scientific facts about the how of some of the sections.
This book covers things like drying your own mushrooms,making fruit leather ( I love home made fruit leathers they beat the store stuff hands down.) mincemeat and false capers made from Nasturtium seed pods.And at the end of each chapter there are recipes using the items from the chapter. The recipes are very modern and from all over the globe.
The updated-ness of this book is awesome.Chance and I enjoy cooking good food and are trying to produce more on our own,I think this book is goiong to be put to good use.
In our up and coming seed order I had ordered several packets of Nasturtium seeds because I love them.I have wanted to try out making the false capers using the Nasturtium seeds but always wondered how I would ever grow enough to have the seed pods all at once.My dilemma is solved according to the book I can start a jar with vinegar,salt and an herb mix and keep it in the fridge.Then I can keep adding to the jar as I have more seed pods. We don't use a ton of capers in our cooking but I just thought the novelty of the whole project would be worth the effort.The recipe says the jar will keep for a year in the fridge.
Preserved is going to fill in some gaps to our putting more of our own food up.Chance and I both felt that this book was written for the two of us,there are recipes that appeal to both of our interests in food.Lots of meat and sauces for Chance to try out and lots of fruit and veg stuff for me.
Both books are great and I encourage you to check them out.
The rain here has been awful,muddy and drenching.I think January is the worst month of the year,the weather is WET,there is not a lot going on any where and I get a bit shack whacked (aka cabin feverish.) but we are mostly through the month and all will be well sooner or later.In the mean time I am working on indoor projects,sewing some and reading lots of books.

Rois

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fare well to a hard working friend

This past Sunday we took our boys to a Skate Park in Battle Ground Washington which is about an hour north from home.We had a lovely time watching the boys zoom around the park on their bikes.We brought a picnic lunch, the dog and Sol's guitar to make it a full family day out.
When we started for home Chance's Toyota was not running right so we ended up stopping several times so he could tinker it. Once we were back onto I-5 the car was not happy at all.By the time we were half way home we knew we were in trouble.Luckily for us our friend Alison lives not far from I-5 and the bridge that crosses into Oregon.We limped our way to Acorn Cottage and in a puff of smoke our dear truck chugged it's last breath at Alison's door step.
We called my Mom for a ride home,sent the boys and their bikes home on the MAX (Our local train system.) left Alison a message on her answering machine since she was not in and safely came home.
After many calls to find out how much or if the Toyota could be fixed we were hit with a whopper,$6,000 to rebuild the engine.Holy Moly man,the truck is not even worth that much,it is a 1973 project in the works.Chance's much loved "Pig" is a goner. So we took inventory.
1.We still have my little wagon that is only 5 years old and runs like a top.(knock wood.)
2. We could take a micro loan out through Chance's company.
3. A car loan was not an option.
4. We would figure out something even if it meant having one car for a bit.

We started out thinking we needed another truck but first the loan. Chance was able to get $3,500 with an interest rate of 4.25% (unheard of.) and we can take 5 years to pay it back making the payments $62 a month.Looking good things are rolling along. But once we looked at trucks for that price we were a little gloomy,not that we said that to each other,we were both trying to be hopeful for the other one. So today we started thinking outside of the box and asking ourselves some questions.The biggest being "Do we really need a truck?"
We don't want another project car to sink our money into.We do have a wagon that will go any place we are likely to go. We have the loan of our neighbors truck when ever we need it.Do we want to be still spending so much in gas so Chance can drive the 15 minute drive to work?
The only down side we were seeing to not having a second set of wheels is if I have no wheels while Chance is at work I have no way to pick up the boys when they are sick at school.This happened last week with Issac so it dose come up.But what were the choices?
We found the perfect solution to our need,a 1979 Vespa Motor Scooter with only 838 miles on it. Chance had scooters for many years and in fact that is how we first got around as a younger couple.All of the perks to buying one also fit perfectly into our current goals and desires.Here they are.
We found a used scooter that leaves us enough money left from the loan to cover the fees, two helmets,rain pants for Chance and the endorsement Chance will need on his drivers license.
We will save $120 a month once we deduct the loan payment other wise it would be $180. This savings comes from gas, parking fees and the insurance. Cutting out spending is a big goal of ours.We want to have more money to use the way we want to.Also by buying used we are recycling in a way.
Although it is another motorized vehicle it is a bit more environmentally friendly.If Chance uses the scooter just to get to work and putter around the neighborhood one $4 tank of gas will last him for 200 miles which would be most of a months worth of driving.Using less gas is a huge environmental plus to us.
Parts for Vespa's are a dime a dozen and Chance can do the repairs himself. In the long run this will save us money as well.
We put to use the 7 R's of Cycling. We could not repair or reuse the truck so we rethought our needs with a solution that will reduce our footprint and spending.We are putting the truck up for sale as a parts truck which will enable someone else to recycle or reuse the truck.
We did ponder Chance riding his bike to work.The ride is not to far and fairly easy.There was a big down side to this for Chance.Chance starts work at 4AM and would have to leave here 45 minutes earlier than he all ready dose, by weeks end he'd be wiped out from losing sleep.Also Chance is on call at work all the time.Sometimes this means he needs to be at work at odd times of the day or night and he needs to be there pronto.45 minutes is not pronto.
I don't know which one makes me the most excited about our choice the savings or riding on the Vespa with Chance. Either one is going to be a good thing I just know it.
I know this posting is not really about any thing homestead-ish but I wanted to share this with all of you.We are all now living in a era where we have to let go of old ideas and create new ones.It's like Chance's question to himself "Why am I holding onto the idea of a truck?" Why was he? Because of the old cliche of the "American Dream". And that is all it is, a dream,one to let go of and find a replacement that better suits our times.
My next posting will be more homestead like.I have two books I will be reviewing.One on preserving and the other a new baking book. I am excited by both of these books and what they will add to our home.
Rois

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dark Days Dinner,Seed orders and Excitment.

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.)
Rois