I've decided that "microfarm" is too big to describe what we have here. As such, I've dubbed our quarter acre homestead a nanofarm.
And it is a very diverse piece of land. We have such an array of different things growing here, some we planted, some that volunteered. Every time I turn the soil, I'm both pleased and astounded by the amazing richness of it.
This morning, before the girls' dance show, we were all outside in the drizzle working around our nanofarm.
We discovered that most of the baby bunnies have opened their eyes (very exciting). So, Deus Ex Machina cleaned out the cage (while I held the mama, because she kept attacking him) and checked the nest to be sure we had all live ones. There are seven - all alive and all fat, roly-poly little bunnies.
After all of the animals were tended to, I did some planting ;).
I did a little better this week with this one. Last week, I was gifted Jerusalem artichoke (or sunchoke), and they were all planted this week - next to the house on the opposite side of the chimney from the iris/lily bed. The flowers on both sides should provide a visual balance to my house. As much as I don't really care what my neighbors think about how my house looks, the truth is that *I* care how it looks, and when I see the pictures of similarly-sized suburban/urban homesteads, I know I have a lot of work to do to improve the aesthetics of mine. So, pretty irises and lilies on one side of the chimney and pretty sunchokes on the other side, should improve the curb appeal ... a little.
This morning I planted more lettuce (I'm staggering the plantings so that we have mature lettuce over a longer period of time, but, hopefully, not so much at one time that it goes to waste), more beets (in between the seedlings that are just coming up - again, staggering the planting to extend the season), and cabbage (now I have to figure out how to keep the dog out of my cabbage bed).
Eggs. Every day it's about four eggs. One of our hens will probably join the broilers when they go to *see* "Ken", and we'll be getting two new pullets, probably in July.
I also harvested a little bit of lettuce (it's still not quite ready to harvest) and some herbs for a salad. It was a very small salad.
I didn't do anything in this category. I should be gathering and drying dandelion greens, but I keep putting it off until tomorrow.
Sheesh, for as far north as I live, I sure do suffer a lot from Scarlet O'Haraitis.
We've been using water from our rain barrels exclusively for the animals, which reduces our water consumption. In fact, with as much rain as we've been having, I've contemplated filling 5 gallon buckets with water from the rain barrels to bring inside for flushing the toilets.
I had a massive failure in this category this week, too, though. I cleaned out our refrigerator and found way too many "science experiments" growing in there. A couple were really gross. For a long time, I was doing really well with incorporating leftovers into meals, or being sure that leftovers went to the chickens and not to "science." After dumping several containers this weekend, I realize it's time to start stepping up my efforts. The one that bothered me the most was the chicken bones that should have been broth, and what bothers me is that I could have boiled the bones into broth and put them in the freezer, but ... well, see above - Scarlet O'Haraitis :).
Build Community Food Systems:
Nothing new in this category this week. I'm anxiously awaiting the opening of the Farmer's Market this month ;).
Eat the Food:
With the exception of the SNAFU above, we do eat the food, for the most part. We still enjoy Chinese (or other) take-out once a week, but compared to three years ago, our eating out is significantly reduced.
In 2006, I started a spreadsheet, where I logged what we spent on food. I wanted to prove that we could "survive" on $600 per month for food (including eating out), which is the food stamp allotment for a family the size of mine. At the time, we spent more than $600 per month on just eating out - mostly fastfood. It was a real eye opener, and it was then that our eating habits REALLY started to change.
I've revived my spreadsheet, and it will be interesting to see how this year, with buying in bulk, cooking mostly at home, growing more of our food, preserving more food, and "eating the food" compares to prior years.
At very least, I hope I can feel better about how much we're not eating out ;).
Preparation and Storage:
I don't have anything new to add this week in this category.
We made it through another (long) winter, but next winter is already on our minds, and we've been "harvesting" wood wherever we can find it from the piles on the sides of the road from downed trees that were damaged from ice and/or snow this past winter. There's a lot to chose from, and we're hoping to glean enough wood to get us through the winter without having to buy any.
It already feels a little like the season is getting away from us. I have so many things I need/want to do (build a tomato trellis, get the new bed built for my edible flowers, build my three-sisters bed), but it's just not happening. There are so many things going on, and our weekends - the only "real" time we have during the week to work on our homestead - always seem filled with other stuff.
I'm hoping to get my hands on 18 cinderblocks this week so that I can build my 4'x8' three sisters garden and get it ready for planting on Memorial Day weekend (the traditional planting time here in Maine).
I'm hoping I'll find the time this week to build the new bed with the trellis system.
I'm hoping we can clean up some of the debris in our yard so that it's "purtier."
I'm hoping ....
For now, though, I'm wicked behind in work. I'll be babysitting my granddaughter, probably, every day next week. We're picking up our next batch of broilers on Friday, and we have to find some time to build an outside pen for the ducks, as they're still a little small to be safe in the chicken coop with a couple of our more aggressive hens.
It's going to be a very busy week, as usual. I'm looking forward to getting caught up with work so that I can get those overdue library books back ... although they tell me they very much appreciate that I pay my fines, ... er, make "donations" ;).