Sunday, June 7, 2009

Independence Day Challenge 2009: Week 6

Plant Something:

Deus Ex Machina's mother gave him Shiitake plugs for his birthday. Working with Precious and Little Fire Faery, he innoculated the oak logs we got from a friend.

The logs were stacked back behind the fence in a cool shady area of our yard, but we wanted to hurry up the growing process on one of the logs, and soaked it in cold water overnight. If things go right, we'll have Shiitake soon.

I (finally) direct sowed the popcorn for the three sister's garden. I don't remember exactly when I did it, but the shoots are about an inch tall. When they get four inches, I'll plant the beans and pumpkin.

And speaking of beans, Big Little Sister was helping water the front gardens today using water from our rain barrel, and she asked me what the "tall plants" in the edible flower bed were. I had to take a look, because I couldn't remember. They're scarlet runner beans, and they're getting huge! I can hardly wait until they're big enough to start training them on the trellis.

Harvest something:

This last week was sunny and beautiful. Every day, the weather on said "today" would be partly cloudy and "tomorrow" it would rain. It didn't ... rain, that is. And I looked outside to see that EVERYTHING is getting huge and beautiful.

Precious decided she wanted to harvest a salad, and so she did. For people who grew up on a farm or with "fresh" food in the yard, this is probably not very remarkable, and given that this is what I wished for my children and have tried to give them, I should probably not think it's so spectacular, either, but I do. She grabbed the kitchen shears and a little container and went out into the yard, snipping a little lettuce, some spinach, a few beet greens and some herbs. The salad smells amazing and with a light drizzle of oil and vinegar and some feta (from the Farmer's Market) it will be amazing ... but only slightly when compared to the person who mixed it :).

Our first batch of broilers were taken to the butcher on Monday along with one of our old laying hens. I picked them up on Tuesday. Total weight for all nine birds was 38 lbs (including the old laying hen). At eight weeks, the broilers weighed an average of 4.5 lbs.

Preserve something:

Nine chickens are in the freezer.

Reduce Waste:

Nothing out of the ordinary this week. Kitchen scraps go to the chickens. Animal wastes go in the composter or straight to the gardens (rabbit only). So, there's no waste, but it's also not something new.

I have been putting the water from the duck's pool into the garden beds, and as a result my potatoes are HUGE. I hope that I'm not creating lovely large plants with diminuitive roots, though. I mean, ordinarily large plants are a good thing, but with potatoes, one kind of wants a large root :).

Build Community Food Systems:

Nothing new. We're regulars at the Farmer's Market, and a couple of the vendors I frequent have started giving me a slight discount ;). I'm hoping that, maybe, I can work out a deal with a couple of them so that I can visit their farms during the winter months. We just don't have the right kind of space for many storage vegetables, and it's not such a huge deal to take a ride out to the farm to pick up a 25 lb or 50 lb bag of storage potatoes or 10 lbs of carrots, rather than trying to get any of those things from the grocery. One of the vendors has already given me his card so that we can talk about potatoes, but I need to talk to the goat cheese people, too.

Eat the Food:

Lots of yummy stuff from the Farmer's Market and fresh salad from our garden. With all of the fresh local stuff, we have been successful in limiting our grocery store visits, which is awesome.

Preparation and Storage:

Deus Ex Machina split another third of a cord of wood today, and we stacked it so that it can dry. We're hoping for about eight cords to start the winter. We have a lot of pine, though, and we're hoping we can "acquire" without buying, some hardwood. We've been keeping an eye out on freecycle.

The next item, I'm listing under this category, because, while it may not seem to fit, I believe getting ourselves ready, physically and mentally, will be just as important as making sure we have the right tools and supplies.

I was so excited today, because we didn't have any commitments. I was looking forward to a quiet day at home, just puttering around, working in the garden ... maybe getting caught up on some of my work.

The sun came out and the sky was clear, and we had no commitments, and someone said, "Can we go on a bike ride?"

The *bike ride* turned into a cross country day trip. We rode from our house to where Deus Ex Machina works, and then through the Industrial Park to Tractor Supply, where the girls bought some animal figurines (their current favorite toy) with their own money, and came back home. It was twelve miles, round trip. One of the kids' bikes (which, admittedly, we don't take very good care of) ended up with a seriously flat tire (it needs a new inner tube, and probably a new tire). We ended up leaving the bike at the building where Deus Ex Machina works, and Precious rode back home sitting on the "luggage rack" on my bike and hanging onto the straps of my back-pack, and when I would need a breather, she rode on Deus Ex Machina's back.

We must have been quite a sight.

But the girls made it. Twelve miles. Without a full grumble between them. There were one or two mumbles of "my butt hurts" and the similar comments (but I said them very quietly, and I don't think anyone heard me ;), but mostly it was just pedaling, and chatting (Precious told me all about some nature show she'd watched once about snakes, and needed confirmation that no poisonous snakes lived in Maine :).

It was exhausting, and while we were on our trek, the blue sky turned an ominous gray, and there were a couple of raindrops.

But it was also exhilerating. Twelve miles!

Deus Ex Machina said, "We should go a little further each time," and we both agreed that it should be something we do more regularly.

He just wants to get into shape, lose a little weight, and feel better.

I want to be in better shape, in case we end up having to ride bikes to get where we need to go. The twelve mile round trip kicked my butt. My knees hurt, my tushy hurts, and my shoulders are aching. I can't imagine trying to bring groceries back from the store or ride all the way to the Farmer's Market, if I can't make it across the salt marsh without my body complaining.

So, once again, we're in complete agreement for very different reasons. I guess, though, as long as it happens, it doesn't matter what motivates us, right?

The girls are happy to go on the rides, too, because the mid point usually has some treat. Today it was the toys. Usually it's ice cream :). Whatever the reason, we're all getting something we want, and that's what makes it worth doing.

Now, if I can just convince my poor knees that it was a good trip ;).

1 comment:

  1. >EVERYTHING is getting huge and beautiful

    It's always such a relief when that happens!