In spite of the unusually hot and humid weather, the garden is doing very well. (as I type there is the scent of fried squash, green beans, and sweet corn coming from the stove, mmmmm) We're getting a HUGE amount of yellow squash and zuchinni, and quite a bit of blackberries. Squash and zuchinni are washed, sliced, dipped in eggs, battered with a flour & cornmeal mix, flash frozen on cookie sheets, then vacuum sealed and put in the freezer. I love fried squash. Set a plate of it in front of me and watch out. You may get stabbed with a fork for trying to get to one. Oh yea.....blog post.....oops.
Today we got the first small picking of sugar snap peas and broccoli. The peas will be eaten raw, and the broccoli is going to be blanced and frozen after dinner. So far we are just freezing green beans simply because it's just been too hot and humid to fire up the stove and canner. Hopefully things cool off this weekend so we can actually start canning. The freezer has one shelf jammed full of frozen strawberries and blackberries, and I'd love to get them out this weekend and do a few big batches of jam. Lisa has always done the jams and jellies, but I figure it's my time to learn since I've been canning everything else. Later this evening I'll rearrange the freezer and see what we have to work with.
As of the latest garden picking today, the total count stands at 278 3/4 pounds of fruit and vegetables off of our place. When I rearrange the freezer and start canning, I'll keep track of not only weight, but how much is put away. (canned, frozen, basement storage, etc.) We still haven't gotten into the big stuff yet either-corn, tomatos, cucumbers, and potatos. I can't wait until those start producing, just so I can see how high the total weight can go. I'm shooting for 1000 pounds, but I'm not sure we'll be able to reach that. I imagine if I add in eggs and chicken, I could; but 1000 pounds is a long way off from 278. I'll have to check just to see what a dozen eggs weighs and take that into consideration. Food production is food production, right?
OK...so after writing that, my curiousity got the best of me and I weighed a dozen eggs. They were over 2 pounds for all 3 I weighed, but I used the weight of 1lb11oz from the store carton to do the math. I have counted 160 dozen eggs since January 1st and used that number, so 160x 1lb11oz=270lbs of eggs! Holy Layin' Hens Batman! LOL So.....add that 270 to the count of 278 3/4 of produce and we get 548 3/4lbs. Now...if I add in 26 chickens at an average of 3lbs each, I get 626 3/4lbs of total FOOD production. I suppose that technically, I can count the eggs and chickens since they were layed/gathered/fed/butchered here on site. (even though the chickens were free and raised elsewhere) For all inents and purposes, I'll leave the count at that amount just for the sake of knowing how much food has come from our property and left us that much more non-reliant on the grocery store.
Sitting here looking at that number, I am still in shock. I never expected to get that much food from one acre. Never. It's amazing how much things have grown since that first small vegetable garden and since the very first 3 laying hens. It's almost funny now to look back at how excited we got over that first ear of home grown corn or tomato. I'm never one to brag or gloat, but this is a perfect example. For those that think you need a huge amount of property to grow a lot of food, take a look at what can be done on one acre, IF you make food production a priority. Sure it's a big commitment. Sure it's a lot of work and an almost daily chore, but wouldn't 626 pounds of food that you wouldnt have to BUY be worth it?????