June 2019, week 2

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6 am (Eastern Daylight Time) on two different mornings this week. Each morning as I walk up the driveway I turn and look back it our little Idlewild farm-ette. The sight fills me with awe and joy. I can’t believe we get to live here, take care of this land, and in turn be nurtured by it.

It has been 22 years since we looked at this strip of corn field. Looking at it today I have trouble remembering how truly dead the soil was, how you could still see the rows of cornstalks even the next year, how the water would run off the land in sheets, and how nothing would grow. We tended it patiently and it has responded with a jubilant riot of growth. Each year the recovery becomes more apparent.

We are turning our attention to restoration and retirement. This land has always been our retirement plan — and this land if finally ready to fulfill that hope. The annual garden (1000 square feet of planting space), the perennial plantings, the woods, and even the “grass” are all something to behold.

We brought in 2 rabbits and 5 chicks this year. Next year we hope to double those numbers. I’ve been spending a few minutes every morning gathering grass/clover/weeds and drying it for rabbit hay. It seems to be working. It dries well, a vivid green, and I’m storing it in breathable bags. With luck, it will signal a transition to homegrown feed.

Cost of garden supplies + seeds this year: $78. Harvest in May = $40. Harvest June 1-15= $40. Garden supplies and seeds are repayed and all garden produce is now profit.

Reading List: 

  • The Resilient Farm and Homestead (B Falk)
  • The Stress Solution (R Chatterjee)
  • The Raven Boys (M Stiefvater)
  • Assault & Pepper (L Budewitz)

June 2019, week 1

The hurry-scurry of May has passed and now there is more time to simply enjoy the property. Don’t misunderstand, there are still hours of work needed to keep both our home and land operating well.

Life without an AC has changed a lot of things around here. Primarily, it means that I am getting up with the sun so my work can all be done before the day gets hot. Currently that means all the following take place between 6-10 am. Laud, yoga, garden work, feeding the critters, taking a walk or bike ride, breakfast, and all the housekeeping tasks. I spend the hot part of the day sitting in front of a fan reading, writing, doing Welsh, researching, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, taking a brief nap, jumping in and out of the pool, etc.

The Garden:  Is there anything in this world as good as a sun warmed, still wet with dew straight from the garden strawberry? I think not. At least not in early June. Ask me again next week . . .

We are still in the greens, radishes, and strawberry phase of the garden. I see signs that we’ll be shifting to summer foods within the next week or two. I am ready for some blackberries and squash. I’m hoping the shade of the rabbit house roof will allow some greens to continue to thrive.

Cost of garden supplies + seeds this year: $78. Harvest in May = $40. Harvest June 1-7 = $15

Reading List: 

  • The Resilient Farm and Homestead (B Falk)
  • The Stress Solution (R Chatterjee)
  • The Raven Boys (M Stiefvater)
  • Assault & Pepper (L Budewitz)

 

 

Radishes

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Radishes are one of my favorite foods . . . for a while. I love how they go from seed to harvest in such a short amount of time—30 to 45 days; they don’t ask for much just some soil and sunshine; and I love how when I harvest them they leave wonderful little holes for the next seed.

However, I can only eat so many radishes at a time. And I tend to over plant. So I’m on a mission to figure out what do with them after harvest.

  • Wash, pop in mouth, chew
  • Wash, cut off tops and root, then put in jar with cold water and store in fridge. Keeps them crisp for later in the week.
  • Prep and dehydrate as chips

Growing: Radishes are super easy to grow. I make sure all the “clods” in the planting area are broken up, rake over area, and the create little 1/2” or less deep furrows. Then you sprinkle the seeds in about 1/2” apart and pull the ridged up soil over the seeds. If there is no rain in the forecast, I given the row a saturating watering, but not soaking.

Saving Seed:  It is important to let a large number of radishes stay in the ground when you want to save seed. I try to go with 40-50. These radishes are usually planted separately. Basically, just leave them alone. In 4-5 months they will flower and that flower will develop into a pod. (I’ll add a picture later this summer) when the pods look dry, pull up the plants and hang upside down in a pillow case. In another couple of weeks, rub the bag so the pods come off the plant, add the plant to the compost and keep the pods. I roll the pod around until it cracks open and pull out the seeds.

Seeds are best stored cool and dry.