Sunday, August 10, 2014

In The Weeds

There is a slang term used by waiters/waitresses across the country when for what ever reason they find themselves almost hopelessly behind and no clear way to catch up fast enough.  When it happens (and it does) You call it being "In the weeds".  It sucks. You can't just give up but there are only a few ways to get out of the situation. Say you just got three tables seated at the same time. You work through it and try to get as many things done at the same time as possible. Make as few trips as possible with maximum results. Or you ask for help. Maybe find someone to get your drink orders for you, for example.

Why am I bringing this up right now?  Well I'll be honest.  I'm seriously in "the weeds" right now.  It happens.  It sucks.  I've got so many things going on right now with the garden and food preservation I can't seem to catch up.  Or even come close. It happens every year it seems but this year is really bad. With almost 10 gallons of hot peppers to process, spaghetti squash to cook and dry, 3 hundred feet of beans to pick and process, bell peppers to dry, tomatoes for salsa and rotel to do, melons to pick, yellow squash to dry (yay for
squash) okra to pick and dry, blackeyed peas to pick and shell.... you get the idea. And of course there is always weeding to be done. Add to this that it's time (almost past time) to get fall veggies planted and several other things I can't think of at the moment.  Overwhelmed to say the least.  The thing is though that this isn't a BAD thing.  I'm happy the garden's been kicking butt this year. I just need to clone myself I guess.

 I'm having a hard time with priorities for some reason. I just need to keep pushing on and eventually I'll get caught up and probably be really happy with the results.  I've got a ton of post ideas but no real time to actually sit down and write.  By the time I can sit down and relax and watch our nightly movie I find myself dozing off.  I'm not trying to make excuses for not having written anything lately.  I just thought I'd give you a heads up on why I've not been.  I'll try to keep you all updated but right now I'm  "in the weeds".

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wandering Wednesday

Enter if you dare!
 It's been a really cool summer here. We've yet to reach triple digits around here which is pretty unusual for the end of July.  I'll take it though.  It's sprinkling now and the weather man's calling for rain up to two inches this afternoon and evening with temps in the 70's today.  Crazy!!

I don't think the tomatoes know exactly how to act. I haven't been covered up in them like I was last year. I noticed yesterday there were some more blooms set.  I haven't been able to put up any salsa yet, I keep waiting till I have enough tomatoes to make a big run of it.  I just want to be able to put up 12-14 quarts for the year. 

Random Lilly Picture

 I've been making up some Ro-tel with the tomatoes that are getting overly ripe. I really don't like doing them that way because there's really no consistency of taste between the batches. It's just that I'm not getting enough ripe to do a big batch yet either. It looks like after the rain clears out and it dries up a little I should have enough for them. One thing I do have plenty of is peppers.

Speaking of peppers I went out yesterday and picked almost a five gallon bucket full of jalapeno's, Serrano's and hot banana peppers.  There are enough still left out there in the garden to fill another one. I've got a couple of trays of each out in the dehydrator right now.
Another random flower picture for Sandy
It seems every year we get a flood of peppers.  Of course that's because I've been buying the plants rather than starting them from seed.  I've had very little luck starting peppers.  And when I buy the plants they come in 4 packs.  Which means we end up with enough peppers to feed the incoming masses of illegals flooding across the Texas border.

 I've been thinking of talking to the Mexican restaurant in town to see if they might be interested in buying some Serrano's and jalapeno's.  I've got two jalapenos plants that are putting out these gorgeous large peppers just right for stuffing. 

We need  to do some grilling soon so I can toss some stuffed ones on the pit.  Yummy!! Which reminds me...  I need to start saving the ones that are turning red so I can make some more chipotle peppers.  Those really turned out well last year and I've only got a tiny bit left from last year.

I didn't plant nearly as many onions as I did last year and now I'm regretting it. We use tons of onions around here and I find that I've not planted even 1/4 of the onions we need for the coming year.  Why?  I just wasn't paying enough attention to the time of year it was when I was able to find the onion sets. Before I knew it they had all disappeared from the feed stores and even The Evil Empire.  I'm hoping they'll show back up again for a fall planting but I don't really think they will. 

  I don't know why but folks around here just don't really plant fall gardens.  Weird, really. But then who am I to talk.  We haven't planted a fall garden since we moved here. It is hard to drag myself out in the sweltering heat we usually have to plant anything.

This year just might be different!  I planted another row (100 ft) of purple hull peas yesterday and have planted more lettuce and some spinach. 

 Once all the vine type plants keel over I'll work on getting some things in those areas.  It shouldn't be much longer as most are starting to die back already.

The corn did ok this year. It just takes so much room for so little corn.  We aren't big corn eaters around here anymore because most all corn these days is GMO.  I'll leave that discussion for another day. 

My dad sent this seed to us and has been growing it for a long long time.  It's wonderfully sweet and juicy.  We put up 8 bags (2 cups each) of cut corn and about 30 whole ears in the freezer.  We also found out that the rabbits LOVE corn.  I wish I'd have taken pictures of them devouring it.

OK that's enough to bore you to death for now.  I sit down sometimes and can't think of a thing in the world to write about.  Then once I start I can't seem to stop!  I've got some cucumber chips drying and they should be about done.  I've not done them before and am curious to try them. If they turn out good I'll let ya'll know!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Last Day To Enter GIVEAWAY.

 The Forsaking Home Book Series   GIVEAWAY. Click here to enter.   Contest ends at midnight tonight.  Good Luck to you all!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A New Disease Discovered.

Preservitis- A New Disorder Identified?

There is a newly recognized disorder that has come to the attention of people across the country.  Although this disorder has been around for many years and for awhile having almost disappeared 
it now has an identifiable name.

 That name is Preservitis. Symptoms include, but are not limited to the uncontrollable urge to can, dehydrate, freeze or otherwise preserve every fruit and vegetable that come across the path of the affected individual.  This disorder may become more intense as the summer garden season winds to a close.  Person's with this affliction have also been known to try unconventional recipes so as to save every known part of said fruits and vegetables.

   There is no known cure for this disorder at this time.  The prescribed treatment is to let the symptoms run their course.

To alleviate symptoms, it is recommended to allow the affected individuals to pursue their urges to can, dehydrate freeze foods until the symptoms have dissipated.  It appears that once they have found that all fruits and vegetables have been attended to, the affected individuals return to a semi-normal state of mind.

Studies have shown that symptoms will usually ease off as the summer winds to a close 

WARNING-  In most patients these urges WILL return year after year.   Researchers believe that Preservitis will become more prevalent as society begins to sense a growing need for self-sustained living.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Forsaking Home Book Review and GIVEAWAY!

I really wanted to sit down and take the time to properly review the first book of The Survivalist Series written by A. American.  The fourth book in the series  is now available at Amazon and on the authors website. There is a kindle/electronic  version too if you prefer using an e-reader. 

 As busy as I've been with things here on the home front I almost passed up the opportunity to read this series. I like reading post- SHTF books.  I'm half way through the second book "Surviving Home" and I have to tell you it might even be better than the the first book  first book in the series "Going Home" which is a real page turner as well and will leave you ready to crack open the next book in the series.

The only thing that had me wondering through the whole first book "Going Home" was Morgans "get home bag"  That thing must have weighed a ton what with all the supplies he was able to carry in his pack.  This book reminded me somewhat of the James Rawles first book which was really descriptive but  with a deeper look at just how one might react being stranded 250 miles from home.  All in all I'm really enjoying reading this series.  

Here's the amazon description of the newest release. ( I'm looking forward to reading it too.)

Book 4 of The Survivalist Series
They survived the collapse, but can they survive the aftermath?

Morgan Carter has weathered the weeks after the collapse of the nation’s power grid, reuniting with his family and ensuring their safety, but his struggle isn't over yet. Carter must focus on survival in an increasingly unstable society—but the challenges he faces are beyond his wildest imagination.

Meanwhile, the enclosed quarters of the nearby government-run refugee camp make for an environment where injury, assault and murder are the norm. As Jess creates trouble within the camp, Sarge and his crew plot to take down the entire establishment.

From the author of the hit Survivalist Series books, Forsaking Home is an action-packed adventure that depicts the harrowing possibilities of a world gone awry, and the courage it takes to protect what matters most.

EDITED (PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY)  I tried to make this as easy as possible folks.

 If you would like a chance to win the entire series it's really simple to do.  Just hit the "follow" button here on the blog and leave a comment. The button to push is the one just under the Popular Posts.  If you are already a follower of Bacon and Eggs (that means you have hit the follow button before, folks) just leave a comment letting me know.  Make sure you enter before this coming Friday July 25th for a chance to win the entire series.  I'll be picking the winner on Saturday. 

If you are the lucky winner you will need to contact me no later than Monday July 28th with your name and address.  If you miss the due date I'll be picking a second winner.

This is a US and Canada only contest.  Hey I didn't make those rules....  Good Luck everyone.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Outdoor Canning Station

Since it's raining today I get one of those things called a day off!  What it really means is that I've got time to show you guys the "new" outdoor kitchen site Mars put together.  He moved it off of the old houses porch and back behind it instead because it gets shade there most all day long. The back side of the old porch also works to help as a windbreak from the southern winds we get in the summer.  I was having problems with keeping the stove lit when the winds were blowing even with the "windbreaks" he added to the stove.  Those are the sheet metal parts hung on the front, back and side of the stove.
He used some of the  bricks left from the old house to make a pad for the stove. 
Leveling out the ground to get started
 This way not only is the stove level but it won't be sinking into the dirt in the long run.  
 The black mat came from the bed of the diesel truck I wrecked
It makes it easier to walk on if for example it's been raining and the grounds a little wet. 
 I've been needing a table for some workspace for awhile.  I've looked around several places for tables and even the camping tables many places carry now, but on an income of $900 a month even though they really aren't that expensive there was always something that we needed more.  

Mars decided to make a work table from one of the pallets he'd been saving.  Notice the whole top has slats unlike most pallets.  The legs are part of one of the old cedars that we cut down here a couple of years ago.  He set the posts and also used the top of the porch for even more stability.
   I just love this stove.  With the high pressure BTU's it heats to boiling in no time at all and stays at pressure like it should.  The old set up I had worked but it took forever to heat to boiling and then I was constantly adjusting the fire to try and keep it at the correct pressure for canning. 

   Oh and the table is totally level too! (Mars wouldn't have it any other way) The table makes the whole canning process SO much easier!  I just get everything prepped and ready, get all the jars, lids, rings, etc lined up and it's good to go.  
We use a tarp to cover the stove in the summer when it's not in use and move it to the barn during the winter. 
 The outdoor sink is just a few feet away but  there is also a hose I can use to fill the canners, wash my hands, rinse off stuff, etc... so I set up a hose right by the table.  

 There is talk about building a clay oven someday.  That would be cool!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Checking In

Hey Susan... kymber....  See the weeds now?
I know I've not kept up with the blog lately but like lots of other folks the garden is keeping me busy.  And I mean 12 hour days every day.  Well almost every day since it rained like crazy a few days ago and that always gives me sort of some time off.  Except that there are also tons of things that tend to get neglected when the garden starts coming in.

I'll just run down yesterday to give you an idea of what I've been up to.  Since it had rained a couple of days before weeding is much easier to do.  They tend to come loose (the weeds) without tools.  The intention when I went out there was to pick squash and cucumbers to get ready to do some canning.  When I get out in the garden for some reason I can't help but pull weeds.  Heck I was in town the other day and saw some weeds growing along the sidewalk.  I actually had to stop myself from bending over and pulling them.  Does this happen to anyone else? 

So for those who think my garden looks so "weedless" trust me it doesn't happen by itself and is still overrun in many places.  I actually took some pictures of some of my weeds for Susan and kymber! lol  When you have control of the camera you have control of what you shoot.

I spent the early morning dealing with the rabbits, washing some clothes and hanging them out.  I'm still way behind but at least it's a start.  Then I walked the garden to see what all was coming in.  It seems like most everything is coming on at the same time.  So as I picked squash and cucumbers I weeded where I was picking.  Believe it or not I spent the entire day doing that so I could get the pickles worked up this morning. They are on ice and I'll get them canned tomorrow morning.  Then I washed a bunch of dishes, cooked dinner and sat down about 9 to eat.  While we were watching our evening movie I was shelling peas.

Speaking of shelling peas, I picked 3 six gallon buckets and one 3 gallon one of peas.  The way I get them done is to shell them is that I shell them when I'm sitting down to rest up and cool off.  I shell peas instead of reading in the evening like I normally do.  I shell peas while we watch our evening movie.... well heck, you get the idea.  Any sit down time is spent with peas until I get done with them. So far we've shelled a one gallon freezer bag full.  Not enough to fire up the canner yet. Soon though, really soon.

The tomatoes are starting to turn red.  There are a bunch out there but nothing like the huge amounts last year.  The weather has them real confused and right now there are only a few blooms on them.  We'll see how they do once it cools down a bit.  I just need enough to make my salsa and the homemade Ro-tel's.  I've got my fingers crossed.

This week we also butchered dispatched the 6 rabbits that should have been offed a couple of weeks ago.  Our feed bill was getting ridiculous and to be honest I was glad to get it done.

 Now I can officially be called The Rabbit Killer.  Those of you who have been hanging around with me awhile will understand that one!  lol At least this time it's true.  But this morning I had a real scary moment.  What with the rabbits and all the freezer is over full.  As in there isn't any tiny little space left.  So I had to move some things around to get to the ice bucket.  I can't start the morning without my ice tea.  After that I can get my coffee fix.  So I was pulling things out and all the sudden a big package wrapped in butcher paper (read rabbit here) This big package falls out of the freezer and hits me in the shin.  

Well there was a sharp part of bone that clipped me right in that main vein that runs right up the leg.  I started bleeding profusely.  Lots and lots of blood was just pouring out.  I'll admit I was scared.  Mars was outside and there was no way I could holler loud enough for him to hear me.  Still flooding the kitchen floor with pools of blood first I grabbed a chunk of paper towels that only worked for maybe thirty seconds.  I had sat down on the floor to take any pressure off the leg.  I was able to get to the dish towel drawer and grab a towel and sort of tried making a tourniquet out of it.
 All I could think was apply pressure and oh my God there was a  LOT of blood.  The towel and the pressure made everything slow down and before long the bleeding stopped.  You talk about scared!  WOW I was truly scared.  I don't think I've mentioned it before but I have really thin skin and some sort of blood thing that I can never remember the name of. Thromb something.... Anyway, I bleed real easy.  I've now got a good dent in my lower shin that will be needing daily care but I'm still above ground. 
All this to say that the rabbit got me back from the "grave" as it were.  So the Rabbit Killer was attacked by the very  rabbits that were butchered dispatched.  Kind of funny when you think about it. Revenge from the grave freezer. 

I guess that's as good a place as any to wrap this up.  Lots of canning is in my immediate future.  The green beans, Cherokee beans, Limas, peppers, tomatoes.... Well you get the idea.This time of year is what we work for all season long.  I'll just keep repeating it to myself.

Have yourself a great weekend and I'll try to get back to you soon. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

 And so it begins. Everything up to this point has just been a warm-up for what's to come. What?  My first batch of green beans is sitting in a bucket ready to be cut and prepared.  As usual (for me anyway)  many of them are too large to be anything but tough.  The chickens like them though so it's not like a lost cause.

It seems like once the green beans start coming in  everything else will follow as closely as possible.  Don't ask me why.  I might be wrong but it's the way things happen for me.   

I put up some dill pickles using the recipe that Cristy suggested. I thought I had enough cucumbers ready for a full canner full but only ended up with 5 quarts.  It all worked out though because that was all the vinegar recipe I'd made.  I even made extra so next time it looks like I'll have to double the vinegar mix next time.  I've picked a whole bunch of cucumbers in the past couple of days and it's time to get them prepped and canned.

I also had one of the jars bust on me.  Thankfully it was just the bottom that blew out.  The brand?  It was one of those that Big Lots and Dollar General  carry?  Golden Harvest is the name I think.  It's the first time I've had one of them bust so I don't know what happened.

Miss Kitty has decided that she likes the outdoor sink.
I've got peppers to pick and it won't be long till I have to can them too.  These hot banana peppers are almost as long as this plant is high.  I'm thinking I want to  put some up for sandwich peppers.
The picture doesn't do justice to the size of these jalapeno's.  I'm seeing some bacon wrapped stuffed peppers in the near future.
Mars has a thing for serrano's and so I'm definitely going to have to put some up as well.

The purple hull peas are just waiting on me for the first picking and I'm hoping I can get that done today.  I'll shell them and put them up in the fridge until I have enough for a full canner run.  Of all the beans/peas we eat these are our favorite.  I've got a goal of 52  quarts this year. 

I've also got the same goal for squash but that is probably just wishful thinking.  Slowly but surely those #%*$ bugs are trying to take over. It's an ongoing battle and I'm not ready to fly the white flag of surrender just yet.
There are other things I could share but it's all pretty much garden stuff.  Shoot, many of you are going through the same things as I am.   It's times like these I wish I could move as fast as I used to.  This going on at half speed truly gets old. It's frustrating but hey, we all do what we have to do with what we have to work with.  

The beautiful Day Lilly's up top are a sight to see right now.  This is the first time in three years that they've actually bloomed.  I just love the color.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lots of Questions

Today's Harvest minus the whole bag of broccoli
Where to begin?  It seems I've been gone from here forever yet not much has changed other than the work intensity.  The weather has played a remarkable role in it all.  That's what I keep telling myself anyway. 

I've got another question for you guys.  See the difference in color of some of the s
quash.  Some of it looks almost orange. They are hard to cut and don't seem to cook well at all. Why do you think that is?  

Everything in the garden seems to be behind  by at least a couple of weeks,  maybe even more with some things.  I haven't canned my first jar of beans or peas yet.  Not a single one. That in itself is pretty unbelievable for this time of year.  I know it won't be long though.  There are all sorts of blooms on everything.

My dill, cilantro, basil and other herbs either didn't come up at all and that that did make an effort went to seed before it ever even got big.  Some of these are required to be partners in different recipes.  *sigh* I'll figure something out though.

I need to find a decent dill pickle recipe this year.  Even with the squash bugs on full throttle the cucumber plants are really doing well.  Now the question is what the heck will I do with all these cucumbers.  There are only so many things I can do with it.  I've got several different things I can do with the fresh cucumbers and we are having cucumbers at most every meal. 

The broccoli has done well.  We are eating it at least once a day and adding it to salads. We just love broccoli! It's starting to bolt however.  Do I replant it for a fall garden or if I just leave them alone will they make goodies on their own?

Why is it that the tomatoes never get ready to eat until after the lettuce and other stuff has bolted?  lol just one of those things that make you go hmmmm.....
I need to be replanting some lettuce but I'm wondering if it would do better to start in a few weeks, after the heat of summer is backing off. 

I had finally got used to having a food processor in the house.  It was a garage sale find and  I really got my moneys worth for $4  One of those little things that you don't miss until you have had one and then when it dies you realize just how much work it did.  *sigh* Just in time for summer too!

I'm still fighting the #$*% squash bug war.  It seems to be working though as long as I'm participating in it's destruction.

Speaking of destruction I've been weeding like crazy.  In fact I've done so much that I seem to have pulled a muscle or something in my neck. I can hardly move it and if my buddies in the preppe'rs chat room could see it I'm sure they would have a super fun time giving me grief!

Well, like I said to begin with things are

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DIY Vegetable Powder.

Dried veggies (Left)Veggie powder (Rigjt)
 I was in the kitchen last night and trimming off some of the broccoli when it hit me.  I think I've only mentioned this once before some time back.  This time of year many of us have an abundance of vegetables.  Have you ever thought of making your own vegetable powder? It is so easy to do.   Did you know that Parmesan cheese lids will fit your small mouth jars? 

  You know those celery ends that get tossed to the chickens? (unless you saw the pinterest picture about growing the bottoms)  stuff given to the chickens, rabbits or the compost pile?  The wilted lettuce or the  cores.  Bell pepper tops, onions, squash ends, carrot skins, cucumber ends and skins, tomatoes or whatever gets cut away from your vegetables?   Well I save mine in a gallon baggie kept in the freezer till the baggie is full.  I pull it out of the freezer every time I'm making a salad or messing with fresh veggies  and just toss whatever ends and pieces I'm not going to use and stick it back in the freezer.

 Once that baggie is full I fire up my trusty dehydrator and lay it all out on trays and leave them there to dry.  You don't even have to thaw them out first.  Once they are dry I put them into something like a canning jar and vacuum seal it shut.   You are just trying to keep moisture away from it. What I've done is to store mine in canning jars and keep one jar  that I've ground up in  a coffee grinder. If you don't have a coffee grinder(they run between $10-$15)  You could also use your blender but it might be a little more coarse.

Think of it!  You can make your own Mrs Dash or try experimenting new combinations of seasonings.  I've been using some veggie powder that I mixed up a few days ago that has kosher salt, cracked pepper, onion powder, cayenne peppers and  garlic powder as a base.

 Then comes the taste test .  If it needs more of whatever I'll add it then. Use it on beef, chicken, pork, or use it as a dry rub for BBQ and its even good on fish . It's good on veggies too. Use some dried hot pepper for a bit more  heat if you like.

Some of the other things you can do with vegetable powder is to add it to soups and stews, even meatloaf, dry rubs, use it to season your salad.  It's good as a soup thickener instead of using corn starch. And probably more healthy too.

 If you have picky kids you can sprinkle the powder in things and its a good way to sneak more vegetables in their diet!

And while we are talking  about powders don't forget that you can also make tomato powder easily too.  In case you didn't know you can even save your tomato skins when canning up your summer tomatoes.  The chickens are pretty ticked off when  I do this but I do it anyway. They are used to getting some!   Anyway... I just dehydrate the skins and make tomato powder from them too.

 Another neat trick I learned was making my own tomato paste and tomato sauce and even tomato juice with the powdered tomatoes.  Just stir in a bit of water with your tomato powder until you get the thickness or thinness  you want. 

There are several ways you can make your vegetable powders.  Just use your imagination whatever will  work for you.  If you want a green vegetable powder just use green vegetables. Kale, swiss chard, spinach or anything else you want to use.   You can add it to smoothies or whatever you would want green veggie powder.

The thing I like most (other than using it)  is that it didn't cost anything other than running the dehydrator.  It's all made from vegetables and tomato skins that you aren't going to eat anyway. 

 I find myself using the Sci's Mrs Dash on tons of the stuff around here.  Mark another (or several) thing I don't have to pay to the beast.

"I am John Gault"       :-)   

Sorry I couldn't help myself!  LOL

I hope the rest of your week goes well, Come back next time and we'll talk about........... well heck who knows but I'll have cookies and coffee ready when you get here.

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's Done

 First let me say right away that this was Mars' project 100%.  What you are looking at is something he's been wanting to do for a long time.  We have water, water everywhere. I'm so proud of his stamina and know how to get this project done.
This part runs from the top of the main garden to the lower garden.  In the middle where the pole bean row is we've got a faucet. Now I can water the two new red buds without having to drag two hoses to get it done.

Then he dug trenches to reach out to those trees in the front of the property.
There's now a faucet down there.  The next project will be moving the rabbits down under those trees with a permanent home complete with a self watering line for them. Woot!!! no more hauling gallon jugs to their hutches!!! We have enough old tin from the barn he'll use.  The plan is to have a removable back on it to block the winter winds.  More on that later.

See that trench dug to the right?  Later on he wants to plant fruit trees up on the top of the hill.  There is also a big garden spot over there.  Yet another project on the list.

The trenches are dug at about 17" and well below the freeze line.  Here's the water line he used. It's one inch poly tubing.  It's also the kind he hooked up to the RV and the barn.

 The line now runs down to the lower garden  across the driveway and ends with a faucet!!!!  (I took some pictures of the finished project but you had to look hard to see it once the pipe was installed and the dirt all tamped down.

We've been dragging hoses down there to get water to the irrigation system.It's also close to the future goat's home.Like I really want goats!!??!! I'm not so sure after reading about the antics.  Ahem     I'm SO HAPPY!! Water Water Everywhere and not a hose to drag.  I know some folks will say "So what" but this is big news  and a labor intensive too.
Mars did a great job!  That's a whole lot of digging.

And there you have it!   The Newest Project!

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Week in Review sorta....

This weeks progress
It seems another week has gone by since the last time I sat down and tried to "put pen to paper" as it were. It started out with yet another back procedure (yeah, that means needles) and a bit of recovery time. I think we are coming to an end to it for awhile though.  One more to go for now.

I suppose it worked out though. I laid up for a bit while it rained the first of the week.  We've been rain free for about 3 days now (unless you count the light overnight bit we got on Wednesday)  I was looking at some pictures I took of some of the rain we got last week and realized just how much everything (including the weeds) has grown.  This is a picture from last week.

I spent half a day sitting on my bucket and pulling weeds for the past couple of days.  I am in no way caught up but at least I was able to put a healthy start on it. 

I'm working on re-dusting the squash and the melons.  I've seen a few of those &^%^ squash bugs and killed every one I could see. There aren't many though.  Not like the past couple of years. I've checked out most all the leaves for the eggs they lay and there are tons of them.  It's a struggle to try and keep up with them but I'm giving it a heck of a shot.   If I can keep ahead of the suckers we just might be able to put some up this year.  It's a slow process, checking every single leaf but it's necessary.  If I don't those suckers WILL take over.  Good news is I've been able to harvest a good dozen nice squash.  Can you say fried squash?

The lower garden has gone wild.  The corn looks good so far and I'm trying to keep the weeds under control. It's got no tassels yet but I'm sure it won't be long at this rate.  There are some sort of melons (including some Canary melon)and maybe some squash down there. All of it was volunteer plants from the main garden.  We just dug it up and transplanted it down there.  Everything looks great so far though don't you think?

Here's some proof positive that we've had a LOT of rain. The only time we see any of these guys is when it's been really really wet. Just don't tell my sister-in-law or she'll never ever come back here to visit!

Mars has been working on the newest project here and has put in some tremendous labor making it all happen. I'll have pictures soon so I can share it with you.  It's amazing just what will make some of us happy! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Storms Brewing

 OK I give up.  It seems every time I've sat down to write this week I go off on a raging rant.  Every stinking time. I've decided that at this point in the game if you don't know what's going on, there isn't much I can do about it. 

See I almost started again!!  I just had to delete half a page of rant!  Ok... deep breath....

Let's see.  The garden is growing like gangbusters.  Apparently it doesn't need my help either since every time it dries out enough to get in it... here comes the rain. I really thought yesterday's high winds  would dry out everything so I could get out there and do battle with the weeds.  Only a 30% chance of rain in the forecast when I went to bed last night.  I woke up to dark clouds and the promise of more rain.  And rain it did.  Of course it was just enough to get everything wet again. 

 We have all sorts of volunteer plants popping up.  Last year I had about 6 potted moss roses sitting up on the porch.  They dropped seed down in my tiny herb bed and pretty much took over.  I'm finding other places for them so I can take back my herb bed. Notice the lemon basil growing in it.  Yup more volunteers!
 I can still get in "around the edges" though so I'll just do what I can to things.  I still can't get to the yellow squash and the other squash out there.  It looks like I've got one plant that's being destroyed by the squash vine borer. I'll pull it up when it dries some. 

 and I'm sure the #$*^# squash bugs are having a huge party out there.  I had finally dusted the whole garden on Sunday and it rained like crazy Monday night.  Go figure.  

UPDATE:  I was able to get out to some of the
squash and was surprised to find only a handful of those spawns of Satan. It seems the new dust is working pretty well.  I can still see residue from it even after all the rain.

We've used The Three Sisters method of planting out in the lower garden. 

My dad sent some of his sweet corn and it's doing great.  The beans are finally starting to come up and the squash and melons over there look all right.  I tested out the ground when I went to feed the rabbits this morning and I'm planning on trying to get the lower garden weeded this afternoon.  
Notice the plants under the corn?  Those are volunteer lemon basil.  It seems we have several plants that decided to come back up this year. They are everywhere.
 This is a stray moss rose that decided to come up in the beans.  I don't know how it got so far away from the vast majority of the other volunteer moss roses. 

Things are starting to bloom!  
The black-eyed peas have a few flowers on them, some of the tomatoes are starting to flower and we are starting to pick broccoli.  Man, that stuff is soooo good!!  I could eat broccoli every day.  We didn't have much luck with it last year so I'm really excited.  So far there's not enough to put up, and if we keep eating it like we are there won't be either! 

Check out the marigolds all in a straight line under the peas.  You would think by looking at them, they were planted there.  You would be wrong!  That's where they were planted with tomatoes last year.  I'm keeping them!

There are always  things to be done around here. We need to get the tomatoes staked up when it dries out a little. Right now I'm trying to get some beds weeded and waiting for the rain to stop.   Mars has a cool project he's working on.  I'll get some pictures as it progresses. It's a lot of labor but it will make a huge difference in the way things have to be done now.

Heads up out there people... it seems we are living in troubled waters, and all I can say is Wow! What an interesting time in history we are living.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Time Out (Again)

We got a ton of rain this week.  May is usually a rainy month (or so they tell me)  I think we got an entire month's rain in just a couple of days. 

The garden seems to have loved it.  Things are growing like crazy.  Today I was able to get out there and try to work on the weeds because apparently they loved all the rain too.  

I'm just now able to get out there and get some weeding done.   

So what does it do late this afternoon?  Yup, rained like crazy for about 15 minutes.  It'll be a few more days before I'm able to walk out there again.
I've been reseeding places where things didn't come up.  The turnips didn't make much of an appearance so I'll need to re-plant those along with a couple of other things. I've been wanting to plant herbs in some of the bald spots but that's going to have to wait until it dries out some too.

Everything  is looking good for the most part except for the squash bugs. Yeah, they are back.  I can't tell you how much I'm beginning to hate them.  I've also been trying to keep close eyes on them.  The dreaded squash bug has found its target.  I've been checking all the leaves and scraping off eggs, smashing the dang bugs and laying down some more Eight.  It's a merry go round with the dang things. Sometimes I feel like I'm fighting a loosing battle but I will keep trying till I get some dang squash! Only problem now is that it's to wet to get to them without having my shoes sucked off my feet by the mud.  We really need to get some kind of mulch down, at least something in the walk paths.  It's tough not having a truck though.  I can only get two bales of straw/hay in the car at a time.  We need much more than that!

I've had to rearrange the rabbits to accommodate the babies.  The first litter will be ready for butchering in the next week or so. 

I need the space for at least one more litter before it gets too hot. The last litter started at 12 and we are down to 4 babies left. Something like diarrhea struck and it struck hard on this litter. Not to mention the ones that got squished.  I need to get something to have on hand should it happen again. I cleaned out the cage and the nesting box real good and put in fresh straw after I scrubbed everything down. The remaining four seem to be doing ok. 
  Since I've never had any luck OR any babies to deal with I'm still a raw rookie.  I refuse to give up on them.  They are generally easy to raise and easy to butcher.  Besides, I like rabbits!

With food prices skyrocketing and forecast to rise  dramatically  this year it's so very important to try to somehow stay afloat.   Do a search on food price increases over the next couple of months and you will find all kinds of articles on what lays ahead.  We are already feeling it here.  This is a big reason for raising the rabbits, as well as the garden.

And then there's the chickens....
The four hens and the Roo are driving me nuts.  We just went through them molting and then two went broody.  We started getting two eggs a day for awhile.  Now the ones that were laying are back to being broody as well as the "loner" .  She's the low hen on the totem pole and hasn't moved off her nest in weeks.  I'm about ready to start all over again.  It ticks me off that I'm still having to buy eggs AND buy feed for them.  It's always something....  lol

I am the perfect example of a rookie trying to become more self reliant.  At least I am learning.  Just think if/when SHTF and I was starting from scratch how far behind the eight ball I'd be!

Prep on folks, what you learn now might keep you from starving one day. Add to that what you purchase today I guarantee will only be higher in the coming months.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

I cannot find the words to express my deep gratitude to those who gave all so folks like me could live free. You are not forgotten.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

DIY Pour Spout For Mason Jars

I ran across an interesting idea somewhere.  I can't remember if it was on Face Book or Pinterest so I can't give a h/t for the great idea.

You know those cartons that have the pour sprouts on them?  Like on orange juice cartons? Well I found an excellent use for them and it's super simple to do. 

Take an empty carton and open it up. (notice the markdown? Yet another cheap frugal item lol) Get a pair of scissors and cut  the part of the  that has the pour spout on it. 

Then you trim around the edges of the pour spout using the jar rim as a template.  Grab a ring and put it on snugly.  That's it.  Now you have a pour spout  on your jar!  It makes it so much easier to pour from a jar. I use it for my DIY French Vanilla Coffee Creamer.  Pretty neat, huh?