Monday, March 8, 2010

Staring out the window...

Today is the first whole day I get to spend at home in over a month. The side work and odd jobs have kept me fairly busy, and our weekends have been spent visiting family and buying the sale items to restock the pantry. I've already done the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, put away laundry and sat to take a break before I take some tools back out to the garage and run the sweeper in the living room.
It's a warm day again, maybe in the mid to upper 40's. I'm sitting at the kitchen table looking out over the backyard and the FINALLY receeding snow. We had a record snowfall this year for February, totalling 31.7 inches. Counting other accumulation and drifts, we had spots close to 4 feet deep by the garage, chickenhouse and the woodpile. I do love winter to a point. Watching a nice slow snowfall is beautiful and a wonder of nature, but I really have to say I'm sick of it. We haven't had this much snow in a long long time, and we haven't had this much snow on the ground consistantly in more years than I can remember. Yea...all fine and dandy, but I'm done. I'm sitting here looking at the garden area, and the snow is melted just enough that I can see the contours of the raised beds, when a week ago it was a flat area covered in 3 feet of snow. I want this snow GONE! lol I want to get outside, get my hands dirty, and start the garden for the year. Of course, I can't do very much since we aren't even close to being out of danger of frosts, and with all this snow melting and the impending spring rains, it's going to be a mudhole. But I don't care right now. I'll pop on the rubber boots and get something accomplished at the first sign of open soil warming in the sun.
We have lots of plans for the garden this year. We'll be adding things we don't normally grow and adding more of things we grow little of. We'll be cutting back on a few others, while doubling or tripling 1 or 2 basics. I plan to find more older railroad ties and make more seperate beds just for greens. I plan to make another one just for carrots and celery. We'll double the onions and potatos, and cut back on my hot peppers. We'll be taking another shot at growing brussel sprouts since we have been eating so many lately, and I want to grow larger amounts of spinach and other like greens to process and can or freeze. This year will be all about producing to store, whether that would be canning, freezing, dehydrating, or basement storage of root crops; but also about growing more healty vegetables to eat during the growing season.
I'm also taking another look at growing wild edibles like dandelions, lambs quarters, and some other greens that people normally see as greens. These I want to plant around some trees and other area's in the front yard. They may look like ornamental plantings, but they are actually something edible. I've grown far past the point of caring about growing flowers and such just because they look pretty. Pretty has no use to me unless it is edible, just the same as grass in the yard. I see no point in wasting space just to plant things that are attractive to the eye and not the stomach. There are hundreds of edible plants and flowers out there that look just as good, if not better, than things we all normally stick in the flowerbeds with no concern other than how they look. I'll be doing a lot of research between now and "official" spring, and planting things accordingly. Of course Lisa will have her few small areas for some flowers that she loves, but I want to slowly do away with a lot, replacing them with edibles and herbs.
Since I mentioned herbs, the plans for the 30 foot circular herb bed out front are still on. We'll plant edible herbs, herbs for using as spice, and some medicinal herbs in that area. I'll be adding a small (4 foot) pond to the center of the area, hoping to attract frogs and toads to take care of the insect problem for me. I want this area to be something special. It won't only be for growing and cultivating herbs, but an area that stands out as a beautiful example of how something useful can be planted rather than a flower that just sits there and looks pretty. The pond can attract frogs and toads, and the herbs themselves can attract honey bees and hummindbirds. I want to start another area to grow a fairly large quantity of stevia since we have been using it as a sweetener more and more, but I have to find the right spot and make a bed for them. Being the same as everything else; when the snow melts off I will walk around the yard and pick out the perfect spot. Arrghhhhhh melt already!!!!!
So once again, our little homestead will be growing in production. I love looking back over the past nearly 11 years at this place and seeing how we have grown from a small 20x20 vegetable garden to where we are now and what the new plans are. I love knowing that each year we rid ourselves of more useless grass and palnt another area for things that are edible. With everything we add, we have the need to buy less, we eat better, and we're sending that message to the grocery stores and big agriculture. We don't need you, we don't want you. We can do for ourselves!

Well...enough for now folks. I'm off to get these tools to the garage, so another egg check, run the sweeper and plan dinner. I sure hope I can find something in the freezer to make LOL.

7 comments:

Happy Days said...

Chris! our snow is finally all gone except for the piles in parking lots and non sunny spots. The temp the last 2-3 days here has been in the lo 50's! It's wonderful! We worked in the yard, getting all the dead and broken limbs from the trees from being snow and ice covered and broke from the weight. Guess you'll be getting rid of some more yard again this year. lol. One of these days you'll be just one big garden! Wow! look at that freezer! That's a lot of food!! Have a good week!...debbie

Jen said...

What is snow? lolol. Seriously, I cant wait till yall get out in the garden again. I think I would be sick of all the snow and slush mush too. Glad to hear you got some jobs goin' on. ~jen

Call me "MOOD", Mahmud. said...

I like your full-hearted enthusiasm.I guess that goes together with being independant.Hope the coming spring will spring you back into action with all your new plans.Good luck:)

small farm girl said...

Chris, you are heading in the same direction that I want to be going in. I'm getting there slowly, but just really started last year. Maybe if I were doing it for as long as you, I would be where you are too. lol

Barb and Steve said...

We are in the 50's today here. So glad all the snow is almost gone. One thing to research is the railroad ties. I know you are not using dangerous chemicals on your garden & they have chemicals applied that are not safe for food. Don't know if wrapping them in a thick tarp would work. Is worth checking out though. Someday we will live at the farm & be as self-suffient as you I hope.

Chris W said...

I'm nowhere near where we want to be, but we get a bit closer each year. I love watching the changes and growth.
Barb, the RR ties I am getting are over 20 years old and really dry. If they were newer I would worry about creosote, but being this old, it's dry and gone. I wouldn't use them otherwise.

Barb and Steve said...

Didn't think you would...glad to hear it :-)

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