Well, she’s just about gone. The glorious garden that has given us so much this year is gone. The only thing left are celery leaves, no actual celery (I have no idea why), just leaves which I’ll harvest and freeze for stocks…works the same, 🙂
The glorious garden that gave us fresh veggies all summer, all that we could eat, is no more. At one point this summer, I couldn’t eat another cucumber… now, my onion dip is lonely and I’d love a garden cuke, but alas winter is near.
For our first large garden, she was very, very good to us…
Lettuces were eaten fresh and shared with others all summer
Tomatoes were plentiful and made into salsas, pizza sauces, marinara, soups, sauces
Cucumbers gave us canned and refigerator pickles and relish
Radishes were pickled and already eaten 😉
Squash is cured and waiting the the basement for a cold winter dinner
Corn is frozen and canned in soups
Green beans are canned in soups and frozen too
Snap peas, frozen awaiting stir frys
Zucchini, ever so abundant is canned into salsas and frozen for soups
Carrots are frozen for soups and stocks
And hot peppers are fermenting for our first try at hot sauce.
And finally chicken bones from processing this week are bubbling away as stock to be canned for the cold months.
I cannot complain at all. The work that we did this spring and summer has more than paid off and has given us a renewed sense of pride in growing food for our family and an excitement for next year. It was a trial year for us and we have some kinks to work out but we are happy and grateful to say the least.
We have a few things left to do to get ready for winter. Garlic goes in the ground this weekend, cleaning out the gardens, pig processing in a few weeks and closing up the bees are the major things left to get done before it gets colder.
Then we can start seed and chick researching for next year…maybe finally some fruit trees too!
We’d like to introduce you to the newsiest additions to our growing homestead.
Meet the worms. Can you see them??
This is most certainly a hubs venture. Gee, for a guys who wouldn’t kill a spider a few short years ago, he’s really taken to the stinging and slimy world of winged things and creepy crawlies. We now have approximately 2000 worms, which will grow in numbers to 10,000, living in the basement among the seldomly needed things and laundry. Thankfully they are contained in a bin where they will eat and poop, much like all other living things in and around this joint. 😉
Anywho, why worms?? Poop of course, silly!
Basically, we feed the worms compost worthy scraps and they give us poo (or castings). This worm poo is great for the garden! Worm castings have been found to stimulate growth in plants, they help to retain water and help to stop root rot. They reduce the carbon in soil and increase the nitrogen. They also have the ability to fix heavy metals in waste. How cool is that!
Fertilizer from food waste! These guys will hang out in the basement for the winter and then we’ll add the castings to the garden either by top dressing it or making poo compost tea to water the soil with.
So now I have worms in the basement.
This time we recruited more folks to come with us!
This was the one that my guy REALLY wanted to go to, it was a revolutionary encampment at a historical fort site on the banks of the Atlantic ocean.
These folks stayed here all weekend. They slept here, cooked, here and sold their wares here. Which my boy was certainly excited to see, as he scored himself a wooden rifle. 😉
What I found very interesting was the battle reenactment that took place while we were there. I never thought about it but it was so loud and felt so real. The ground shook when they fired the howitzer! I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like to actually be nearby for a real battle!
What a great group of people. They were very excited to talk to us, share and educate us on the official goings on of the time period.
Probably my favorite part of the day was just how interested my 16 year old niece was (although she’d probably never admit it) in the battle.
Another great day had learning and re-learning about our history.
What a privilege and a service that these folks are doing for our kids, young and old. I would have never suggested going to an event like this, but this homeschooling thing certainly has me out of my comfort bubble and muck boots long enough to experience new things. ❤
One gloomy day in July, my 9-year-old son joined the 1864 Army. It took all of 90 seconds and the chance to hold a civil war era rifle and he was gone.
I know that he is only 9 and that it is not real by any stretch of the imagination, but to him (and to my heart) it was pretty real. I felt a real excitement for him and a serious sad ping in my heart all at the same time. Silly huh?
What ever will I do in 9 short years when he is off to conquer the world?!? Although in his 9-year-old mind…he will be living with us forever. I think it’s ok if I hold onto that particular thought just a little while longer. ❤
What a beautiful day and a great experience.
I love homeschooling these little people! The wonderful experiences that we share, the memories that we make. Not only do they learn, but we do too. ❤
I forget to switch over the laundry and have to rewash it because it stinks…
I forget to take meats out of the freezer until it’s actually time to eat…
I forget important dates, like anniversaries (sorry to the hubs about that one)…
I forget to pick up needed items at the grocery store (thanks to the hubs for bailing me out)…
I forget lesson plans…
I forget planned activities for the kids…
I forget cleaning schedules….
I even forget meal times…
And sometimes, I forget why I stared this blog…
Today is a day to remember.
I started this blog as a way to remember the things that we do, an electronic record of the homeschooling and homesteading journey that we are taking. To have it all in one place that I can go to and remember just what we’ve done in the past year.
I came across this photo the other day and fell in love with it….
Isn’t it perfect!
I may forget quite a bit, but I can never forget to be grateful for the intentional craziness that surrounds us. ❤
We choose this crazy life and we love it. ❤
Ps…it’s ok to forget. 😉
For the past 3 or so years, we joined a local, organic CSA from their start up. While we loved it at first, we found through the years that we weren’t able to really save anything for the winter and although we are culinarily adventurous, we had produce in the CSA that we never used. 😦 So we were looking for a better way for us to have enough for the summer AND have plenty to can without having to pay farmers market prices for extras.
We were bouncing around the idea of a greenhouse, which is a big expense and not at all pretty to look at on our small property. I did not want to commit to an expense like that as I was not really comfortable in my black thumb gardening of the past so I suggested that we do a trial garden instead, to see if I could indeed grow things on a larger scale. You see, I’ve had gardens in the past, from purchased seedlings, that I’ve basically given up on mid season, every single year. Things get busy, weeds grow tall, I HATE hornworms and bugs…those types of things, so I was not convinced that I could do this, at all.
We had saved some seeds from the produce that we got at the farmers market to can last fall. Unfortunately, the kids mixed all of the tomato seeds, so it was sort of a crap shoot what we would have for tomatoes. What we also didn’t know is that your open pollinated squash second generation saved seeds can produce hybrid mutts of the squash world, which we have quite a few of. They’ll be interesting for sure when we crack them open. Lessons learned. 😉
Since putting in the 1 acre pig fencing last year, it left us with the old pig area which was super compacted and really rocky. We decided to find some way to try and amend the soil while adding more growing medium to the whole area. We found an organic dairy just up the road who was selling their composted cow manure. Score! The pigs had really made the already unworkable land, really unworkable so it was our only real option. They delivered 2 dump trucks full and we got to spreading. The kids were right there with us, knee deep in cow poo! Man, I love those kids!
Once we got it piled into mounds, we planted what little seedlings survived (which was not a lot despite my loving hands and pro grow lights)…which left me feeling a little defeated. My first foray into starting seedlings indoors left me with stalled growth at best and nothing growing at worst. Any who..the little ones went into the ground and I replanted the failed ones from seed.
After weeks of weeding and watering we began to see life! That was the most exciting part! I put these seeds into the ground, watered them and they GREW! Crazy huh?!? I knew how it all worked and had planted many times, but this year, something clicked. It was as if someone had set off a button in my head that allowed me to really appreciate what was happening. I spent lots of time in the garden, weeding, picking bugs off the plants (grow your own damn plants bugs!) and watering. I talked to the plants, I actually thanked them all daily for the bounty that they provided us to sustain us now and through the winter. It worked!
To date, we’ve canned over 200 jars of different sauces, relishes, ketchup, pickles and salsas. I’ve frozen quarts and quarts of green beans, zucchini, carrots, corn and pea pods. And stored away in the cellar are 50+ squash, yes even the hybrid mutts.
Moral of the story, the experimental season in the garden has been a success and I don’t think we’ll be needing a greenhouse after all. We have a way to go and are constantly learning, there will be some tweaking for sure but I believe that the words for this season are grateful and thankful. ❤
There really is something so rewarding about growing your own food once you see it as a privilege and not a chore. ❤
Seriously, if I can do it….anyone can!
How was your gardening season?