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.

 

drying laundry

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One way I express my creation care is in the way I do laundry.  Specifically the way I dry laundry. I have 6 drying racks: 2 like the one above and 4 folding floor racks.

The hanging rack above has 1 pair of shorts, 3 t-shirts, 1 tank top + 1 pair cut off long johns (my pjs), 3 pair of underwear, 1 sports bra, 1 regular bra, sport socks, and 3 washcloths.

I’m hanging laundry inside today because it’s been raining for two days and I keep 4 days of cloths for myself. Since it’s humid (sooo much rain) and not windy, I’ve got the fan blowing over the cloths.  It’s not wasted energy because I’m sitting on the sheepskin on the floor with Jasper, writing this post, doing my Welsh, and reading.

April (week 2) 2019

 

Garden bed 2: squared up, turned over, and planted with: kale, turnips, lettuce, radishes, lettuce, carrots, and zucchini.

Garden bed 3: squared up, turned over, and chopped up. I haven’t it planted it yet.

Yard: lawn mowed for the first time. Yearly planning for plantings (trees, fruit, flowers) completed.  I’m starting to see seedlings in Ellen’s (pollinator) garden. The peach, apple, and cherry trees are all full of blossoms. We moved 14 blackberry babies from the main rows to a third row and started them around the main yard fence.

Rabbits/Chickens: Hlao-Roo is eating pellets + hay + grass + willow. We went to get the other rabbits, but they didn’t have more ready to go. We’ll try again in a week or two.

 

 

April (week 1) 2019

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Garden bed 1: dug, chopped, and planted. This is an older bed and just needed an easy turnover and to be squared up. This bed has: kale, turnips, lettuce, radish, lettuce-2, and peas.

To the south of garden bed 1 is garden bed 2. It will get turned over and planted in April week 2. We will continue to dig and plant a bed each week as weather and other tasks permit. We have 5 more easy beds to turn and 4 more difficult beds to do.

Chicken/Rabbit Run: posts are in and framing has started. This will be slow as we are just doing a bit each payday.

To the south of the chicken yard is our second compost area. Right now it’s mostly cardboard, sticks, weed stalks, and some food waste. It will fill in pretty quickly with soil, grass clippings, weeds (from weeding) and rabbit manure/waste.

This week also saw the pool area re-leveled and the pool set up, Ellen’s memory garden weeded, and a shopping trip for organic seeds.

We do all our gardening with hand tools, organically, and with a view to restoring the soil so that we may use this smaller area to grow more so that the majority of our land is left to wildness.

Hlao-Roo

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Meet Hlao-Roo.

He’s the newest edition to Idlewild Farm. He’s a 12 week old lion-headed dwarf rabbit. He weighs a mere pound and a half and will only be two pounds at full-size. Right now, he spends the cold nights in the laundry room and the warmer days outside. He’s acclimating after living his whole life indoors.

He’s eating rabbit pellets primarily (He just came home on Saturday) and I’ve introduced a tiny bit of hay. I’ll slowly increase his hay until he has unlimited access. Today he was also given an apple twig. He wasn’t sure about it at first, but I’ve seen him gnawing on it a few times.

Hopefully he’ll be joined by two more rabbits over the the next four weeks. After that, we’ll be ready to bring home the chickens.

pour over coffee

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I have found a new (to me) way of making coffee that is so easy and tastes so good. It was born of desperation. I have used a French coffee press for many years when I wanted a cup, but in December I broke mine. It went tumbling off the counter along with my newly ground beans, and 12 oz of nearly boiling water. It was such a mess.

My daughter kept a pour over carafe in the cabinet. She bought it shortly after beginning to work in coffee shop, but for the most part it just sat in the cabinet — unused. I can’t tell you how close I had come to popping it into the Goodwill bag, but I never did because it wasn’t mine.

So after the cleaning up the disaster of my broken press, I still wanted a cup of coffee. It was just one of those cold, overcast, grey December days where you just want what you want. A quick google told me to very roughly grind 1 TBSN of beans for each cup of coffee.

The grinder came back out, the beans came back out, and I got more water going in the kettle.

Beans in the basket.

Pour the water over.

And coffee! Wait, what?! No waiting? No plunging? Just grind, boil, pour, and sip?

Yes, it was really that simple. I find the coffee very smooth, light, and not as bitter.

My favorite way to sip is 8 oz coffee, 2 oz macadamia nut milk, and 1 squirt of flavored liquid stevia.

 

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What I’m reading:  The Celtic Way of Prayer, Cherringham 16-18, Educated

What I’m listening to:  Circe, Welsh

What I’m watching:  

What I’m learning: Igniting the Flame, Welsh, Permaculture

What I’m thinking about:  Paper #1 part 1 is written, edited, and ready to be turned into  my mentor. Paper #1 part 2 is outlined and rough form is copied into the outline. Now to get the ideas to flow, the words to be correct, and then edited.