Friday, July 8, 2011

Bountiful Harvest

Primitive watercolor painted at my kitchen counter on the farm
I read blogs all the time written by new converts to growing one's own food. Etsy frequently features people who grow their own food on their blog. There are "movements" of young farmers, and gardeners who have discovered the satisfaction of putting what one grows onto their table, and into their mouths.  I guess I am showing my age when I say "Victory Garden" is old school.  My opinion is: you better learn how to grow your own food, period.  Being dependent on grocery stores frightens me! Having a generation of "right nows" scares me too.  It takes patience and hard work to grow one's own food. 
Cukes starting to climb trellis, eggplant middle row, tomatoes in the back.
I recently unearthed a watercolor pad that had farm house watercolors from back in the days when I had my own farm.  I taught myself to can in the 90's when it was difficult to even find canning supplies. My local Farm and Fleet had the big pot, jars, and such I needed.  Now I see canning supplies in the grocery store!  As I am writing this, I realize I also taught myself to farm.
Karen wanted sweet corn...
I see that I am going to have a bumper crop of tomatoes this year.  Exciting !!  So 3 apple trees, a pear tree, peach tree, strawberries, chickens, and vegetables  feed more than Bob and I.  We also feed our vegetarian neighbors.  My goal was to grow enough food for our whole block. What I didn't foresee is how my neighbors would be inspired to plant vegetable gardens too.  We have a new neighbor who moved their hens all the way from California!  The cost of getting soil and raised beds, shade cloth, mulch and fencing was high.  It would have been cheaper to go to Albertson's or Smith's.  But it wouldn't taste as good, nor would I be able to walk 10 feet and snip chives, parsley and cherry tomatoes.  It's so worth the time and labor and cash invested. 
Apple trees planted last year doing very well.
 I no longer have a  Midwestern farm with a red dutch stone bottom barn. I had acres of fertile soil there, and long cold winters.  Now we have an acre in high desert. I read somewhere that all each family needs is 1/4 acre to grow food for themselves.  In some ways I am happy to report I have come full circle.  We eat daily out of our garden.  I plan meals around what is harvested.  For a few months I eat tomatoes and veggies that TASTE like something besides the foam and shrink wrap packages in the produce department.
"Missy 2" hops on my lap as soon as I sit down.
She needs a name, and English Langshan who give me the chicken eye constantly.
The only Silkie hen...what a cutie. She is unnamed also. A Japanese breed.

This year I am gardening year round.  I have hoops arriving and greenhouse cloth to cover the closest two beds near the house.  One cannot grow fruiting items in this.  But we'll have root veggies, and greens all winter long.  I will continue to teach the generations younger how to do this. I am grateful for my neighbors who have helped water and shade my garden while I recover from my broken foot.  I am passionate about growing.  I imagine I will be until the day I am planted too. :-)
Breakfast "mash" of: milk, cornmeal, stale bread, pea pods, and crackers.
I invite you to share what you are growing. Canning recipes, and garden tips.  I loooove learning new things! I need names for the above chickens....any ideas?
Strawberries are starting to overcrowd.  Still bearing fruit in this heat.  Yum!

Thanks for reading.
Each day is a gift. Open now.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The 3rd of July

Star shaped sugar cookies going in the oven.

It's almost here...and this year I said I wasn't having the gathering here this year because of my broken foot.  But I caved and am having a few guests.  All bringing many things.  Knowing people are alone on a holiday is one of my buttons.  I can't help it.  So here we go.  Cookies baked, peach and green chili chutney will be made today to top the lamb burgers on the grill.  I am threatening to make a blueberry pie. :-)
"Bobbles" all feather out with a big rose comb!
"MysterE" has no comb.

It seems that 2 of our Silkie chicks are roosters.  Their combs have bloomed: one did not.  "Bobbles" the non neurotypical chick with tics has grown a comb.  The other little rooster is posturing, and confronting all hens to show them he is the boss.  Bobbles doesn't care about dominance, just surviving.  "MysterE" has not grown a comb, and appears to be a hen.  She is the most talkative hen of the bunch. Constantly muttering to herself, and anyone who will listen.  The bantam buff Cochins hop on my lap every time I am out feeding. They are the sweetest of the flock.
Kale and chick peas have been a favorite from our garden.

Happy 4th to you all, whatever your plans may be.
Thanks for reading.
Each day is a gift. Open now.