Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Can't wait to play in the dirt!

Whoa! I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last blogged! Well, time flies when you're...researching. Yup, that's what I've been up to. Isaac and I have massive plans for our yard this year. We're adding at least 8 garden beds, taking up over half the fence, and looking to level and fill some holes. Needless to say, this will be a big undertaking. We haven't been able to do nearly what we'd like with our yard since the boys were born so soon after we moved. So we are looking forward to this spring because we will actually be able to get our hands dirty and be productive!

Hence the researching. I'm a researching addict, I fully admit it. So the last month (Isaac says 2) I have been placing lots of holds at the library, picking up and dropping off lots of books, and pretty much spending all my free time reading about gardening. I know I'll learn many things through only experience, but I like to know what I'm jumping into. Especially when there's money invested. :) My favorite book has been The Vegetable Gardener's Bible. Super easy and fun to read with lots of great info, but also not overwhelming. (I found a few of those, and trust me, they went right back to the library!) So much I have to learn... I've also used the Mother Earth News site and Grit a lot for referencing, short articles and book suggestions. I've requested some organic and heirloom seed catalogs too. There are so many varieties out there and our local grocery stores offer so few! It's going to be hard to narrow it down, even with a whole 4 x 12 bed for each plant family. Did you know there are over 3,000 varieties of apples? Who knew carrots came in purple, red, striped, white and yellow too? It's crazy, I tell you.

Oh, and I've also been researching canning, preserving, freezing and drying. Isaac wants to build a solar dehydrator. (Seriously, if you'd told me 10 years ago that I'd be here, I would have laughed...) We're purchasing a pressure canner and supplies and building a pantry to store the jars. I'm also trying to win a grain mill because it turns out they are rather expensive. I can only enter the drawing once, so please feel free to enter yourself on my behalf. I would be beyond excited...because really, how fun is harvesting my own grain going to be this fall if I can't do anything with it?

As we begin these activities, it's been amazing the things God has begun to show us. Isaac said he had always thought of stewardship in terms of money. You know, if you can't be trusted to handle 10 dollars well, why would you be given 10,000? But then he realized we both have mentioned countless times how much we'd love to have a large parcel of land but have yet to do much with our 1 1/3 acres. Now, I don't think we were being disobedient this last year while the boys were young, but we are going to make our land fruitful and use it for more than just lots of mowing. I'm not hopping on the anti-government conspiracy theory wagon that I have to be completely self-sustaining and off the grid, but I think being less reliant is good. I mean, sure, we could go a couple days should a disaster strike, but beyond that, well... Basically, we just want to have more control over our lives and health. Plus, we both think it would be really good for the boys to grow up in an environment where it's normal to provide for yourself and also to question where their food comes from. They could learn how to garden from a young age, and that will give us many opportunities to teach them life lessons. Next year...chickens. Seriously :)


Ashley said...

1) I was thinking about chickens, too because you can use their poop for your garden! But I'm sure you knew that... :)
2) You should be a mormon-haha. Just kidding, but your whole spiel about being more self sustaining and having more in store in case of an emergency sounds like a mormon. Plus, they all have their own grain mill...I thought it was so weird when I was out there...
3) Go back and read your entry. Towards the end you have a glaring mistake that needs to be edited :)

You know I only do it because I love you!

LeeBeeP said...

I was thinking more Amish than mormon :)

And thank you for the editing. Seriously, what is up with me doing that lately?! That's like the 5th time (at least) that I have made an error like that... It's not like I don't know better. Maybe it's that anything I type averages between 10 and 100 interruptions :) lol.

Lauren said...

Lee, I think you're amazing. We have been planning and hoping to do some small veggie gardening for several years, and each year it just keeps not happening. :/ We haven't even begun composting yet, and seriously, how easy is it to build your own compost bin? (sigh)

Good luck with the grain mill!! Do you have a kitchen-aid mixer? I have one, and they sell a grain mill attachment. If I ever need one, I'll probably try that route. *might* want to hold off on the chickens until you have a larger parcel of land. ;) Seriously. I mean, I know you won't have 200 at a time, but have you ever been in close proximity to a couple of chicken's worth of their poop? You don't want that any closer to your house (and your neighbors sure don't want it close to theirs either) than it positively has to be. Just my little unsolicited .02. :)

Oh, and I want canning lessons. The wonderful thing about a pressure canner is that you'll even be able to do meat!!

You. Are. Amazing. :)

LeeBeeP said...

You are so sweet Lauren :) I have the kitchenaid 600, and I actually did some research on the grain mill attachment. The reviews were not very favorable towards it and said that it was poorly made and broke. Sooo...I was excited at first and then decided to go a different route.

As for the chickens, well, we live in a pretty rural neighborhood, but I hadn't even thought about the smell. I'll have to look into that when we get down to making decision. Because, even if the neighbors didn't complain, I will!

And I am SO excited about canning. However, I have never done it before! I will be happy to share anything I learn and give you tips to avoid the mistakes I'll make.

Thanks for your encouragement!

Lauren said...

Ooooh, good to know about the kitchenaid mill attachment! :)

I'll look forward to a canning tutorial from you in the fall. ;)