I must apologize for the lack of quality content this week, but I’ve decided it’s against my principles to blog when the weather is perfect for outdoor work. I have also been a bit rebellious in regards to house work in favor of getting outside. Last week we were sitting under seven inches of new snow. Life felt busy but not much was happening. This week, the snow has melted, and we are being very productive.
Last fall we cut down a pair of crummy cherry trees. Tuesday we dug, and pulled the first stump. When I say “we” pulled it, I mean Nate did most of the work, with a very little help from me. Our intent was to pull the stump, then temporarily fill the hole back in until we get a peach tree to put in it. Plans change. Our kids have been in the hole for nearly three days straight. They are having a great time with that hole. When we put in the peach tree, we’re going to have to find another place to dig a big hole.
We’ve also been busy getting the garden cleaned up and ready to plant. It’s still a few weeks off, but we’ll be very busy when the time comes, so we’re doing what we can now. We’ve had more weeds than anything for the last couple years, so we’re hoping to get ahead of it now by burning the area with a propane torch, and laying down landscaping fabric. We’ve pulled up our raised beds, burned weeds, turned the soil with a shovel, and raked rabbit manure over the surface. Next we’ll rototill, lay down the weed barrier, and decide where the raised beds go. We’ve also moved the rabbits out into the garden area, though the new hutch isn’t up yet.
Last fall we stored some clear plastic, tomato cages, and random garden junk in one of our raised beds, and when I cleaned it out to move, I discovered several lettuce and spinach plants which had over-wintered and look great. I couldn’t bear to till them under, but couldn’t leave them in place since we are re-arranging this year. I dug them up and transplanted them into peat pots, but I’ll get them back into the soil as soon as we’ve finished prepping the area. I plan to let them bolt when the weather turns hot, and plant the seeds out in the main garden again in early fall. Any that over-winter again get the same treatment next year. This way we can slowly build stock perfectly suited to our winters.
I found a potato planting sack at the home and garden store a few weeks ago. It’s heavy plastic with a hatch on one side which opens from the bottom up, for easy harvesting. I was planning to put a potato plant in it when we start the rest in rows to compare how it performs, but since we had a few potatoes setting eyes in the pantry I thought I’d see if we can’t get an early harvest. I planted three eyes in it and now it is in the green house. While I was in the green house, I brought some more lettuces out and let the chickens have them. I planted them last winter, and they did survive, but they look sickly and never got large enough to harvest. Nate started on a cold frame we can put near our back door for greens next fall and winter, but for now I’ll start some fresh plants and the volunteers in the main garden.
Since I’ve temporarily given up flour, the food around here has been pretty boring. It doesn’t have to be, as there are plenty of good recipes out there, but we’ve been busy so I’m keeping it simple with soups,salads,beans, rice, oatmeal and eggs. Of course the kids are always glad to eat PB&J! I really wanted a sandwich yesterday! Last night I made a “quick and dirty” rice with some leftover brown rice, venison summer sausage, 1/2 a pack of onion soup mix, and a dry black bean soup cup. I scoured the ingredients lists and the soup mixes checked out flour-free. I mixed all of it in a 2 qt casserole, added enough water to just reach the top of the mixture and baked it at 375 for 40 minutes, then topped it with cheese and baked another ten minutes. MMM.
It’s almost 9:30 am here in North Central Washington, and the sunshine is just getting warm on the Half Acre, so it’s time again to get outdoors and see what we can accomplish today!