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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Independence Days Challenge 2009 begins

This week for our Independence Days report, we:

1. Plant Something: planted Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce and some kohlrabi in flats, golden edible-pod peas in the garden, moved some wintered-over chard, ditto parsley, rhubarb and sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), and potted-on some peppers -- I forget what kind. Silly me.

2. Harvest Something: Bigleaf maple bracts (yes, edible and nutritious and not at all bad), kale, Egyptian onions, elephant garlic bulbs, stems and leaves, leeks, chard, romaine lettuce, broccoli leaves, spearmint, peppermint, parsley, chives, dandelions, rosemary, marjoram, red cabbage leaves, duck eggs, goose eggs, chicken eggs. We discussed culling a hen but she's still in the land of the living -- it was 80F here today and I'll wait for the cold front to roll in.

3. Preserve Something: Ummm, painted three windowsills! Does that count? :)

4. Store Something: Put away some bigleaf maple bracts, and a soup, froze a loaf of our "spring" bread.

5. Manage Reserves: Eating down freezer things for more freezer space (some lamb coming in next week); apples, pear sauce, bok choi, blueberries, blackberries. Added to our stash of Gasoline, with a dollop of stabilizer in each container. Bought Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth and Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman (I recommend buying Ashworth, and other goodies, through Sharon's online Amazon store).

6. Cook Something New: Never used the maple bracts in bread and pancakes before, just in stir-fries. We'll call this "spring bread" -- also contains dandelions, chard, green onions, kale, and the like. Healthy! Healthy! Healthy!

7. Prep Something: mulched and weeded around all the new trees and the strawberries. Noticed buds on the figs, nectarines and quinces, and the new pears and cherries are in leaf! Put up the wall brackets above the south-side windows -- as summer approaches, we'll make burlap awnings and bolt them to these. Well, screw them, actually, but, oh, that doesn't sound right ... umm, and split some firewood. Oh, and! Chitting five pounds of German Butterball spuds from Seed Savers Exchange.

8. Reduce Waste: We have formed a habit of collecting everything that might otherwise go down the drain and using it in watering gardens and fruit trees. "Household liquid manure" included. Due to the presence of considerable poultry manure in bedding for compost, we're also on a three-heap rotation in an effort to keep the manure off the garden for ninety days. This weekend I emptied the garden heap onto the garden beds, the under-the-barrel heap into the garden heap, the barrel into the the under-the-barrel heap, and the under-roost bedding into the barrel. The under-roost bedding was ... very ripe! Yeesh!

9. Learn a New Skill: built a portable shed for the new Ancona ducklings, who are already chasing flies and taking turns in their bath water.

10. Work on Community Food Security: Our son still works at the food bank gardens, and he and Beloved are now Master Gardeners and are attending the badge ceremony tonight (New Skill here too!). They put in their first shift at the extension office today!!

11. Regenerate What Is Lost: Am serializing an amazing book via blog posts: A Self-Supporting Home, by Kate V. St. Maur, published over one hundred years ago. How to build a profitable poultry, mixed stock, orchard and beekeeping operation on no capital and without access to electricity, a combustion engine, or Monsanto.


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