Monday, June 15, 2009

Independence Day Challenge 2009: Week 7

Dance season is officially over. My girls had their dance recital this weekend. It was amazing ... my girls are amazing! In one part of the show, they performed what basically amounted to an abriged version of the musical Annie and of the six numbers that were performed, Big Little Sister was in five and had to change her shoes twice - both times with only seconds to make the transition. Run off stage, swap shoes and run back on. I was so impressed - and even more that she managed to remember all of the different dances. My favorite was watching her perform the tap routine to Easy Street.

And, of course, I cried ... as usual :). I'm such a sap, but I love watching them. They are so talented, and either it's just something in their blood, or we have been lucky to find an incredible teacher ... it could be a combination, too.

The whole show was amazing - full of some wonderfully talented dancers, great music, and fantastic choreography. It was more a production than a recital, and I'm just as proud as I can be that my three little girls played a part in all of it.

I can't find enough superlatives to describe it, in fact.

So, the last two weeks have been chock full of rehearsals and recital pictures, culminating in this big weekend of dance, dance, dance, but some how, I managed to actually get some stuff done ;).

Plant something:

I bartered some plants for some stuff I had in the freezer, and I planted a couple of tomato plants (a plum variety - good for canning) and three chile pepper plants.

My chickens killed the broccoli seedlings, and I'll either be reseeding the bed with broccoli (again!) or putting something else in that bed. I'll have to see what's the fastest growing seeds I have on hand ... not more lettuce, though :).

With as cool as it's been, I'm thinking I didn't have a half bad plan when I decided to stick with mostly cool-loving plants. It should improve my crop while making the best use of my small space.

We also (finally) planted two hazelnut bushes. They are on the periphery of my "forest" garden. It looks very cool. As soon as they leaf out a bit more, and I get some perennial flowers in there, I'll take a picture. It may be time to head over to the garden center for our annual visit :).

Harvest something:

It's still early in the season. We've been harvesting fresh greens for salads, mostly. I did cook up a mess of beet greens for lunch to the other day, and they were awesome. I don't know why I never had greens as a kid, but now that I'm a big person, I love them. We've also been harvesting a few peas, which we've eaten raw in salads.

Preserve something:

I didn't do anything in this category this week. Now that we're done with our outside commitments, it's time to buckle down and get prepping. We should have strawberries soon, but in the meantime, I have some freezing and drying to do ;). Hopefully, there will be more to say on this next week :).

Reduce Waste:

I did some freecycling this week. I had to replace my transcriber, because while it would still play the tapes, it wouldn't rewind or fast forward, which made doing my job more difficult that it had to be. So, I found a replacement (at a substantial savings) on eBay, and I freecycled my old one. The woman who picked it up would like to "try" transcription as a potential work-at-home career, and so it worked out for both of us - she got a (fairly expensive when bought new) office machine for free, and I didn't have to throw away something that worked.

We set-up our rain barrels several weeks ago and have been using them to provide water to our animals and to water the gardens, when it's not raining ... which isn't very often, recently. Both barrels are full to the top and overflowing.

Build Community Food Systems:

*See "plant something" above.

The hazelnut bushes I planted were purchased at a local nursery. I've been wanting them for a while, but the place I thought I could get them, didn't have them, and so I was looking at ordering them online and had asked Deus Ex Machina if he would place the order. He didn't get to it right away, which turned out to be a good thing, as the other day, my friend, SnitchMom, found out that a nursery just north of Portland was having a HUGE plant sale, and as luck (or fate) would have it, hazelnut was one of the things they had to sell. She drove up there to buy herself a few things, and while she was there, she picked up a couple of bushes for me, too. I just thought that was the nicest thing ;).

Before we headed out the Farmer's Market on Saturday, we chatted with our neighbors next door. Mrs. B said when she's feeling better she might like to go to the Farmer's Market. I said to let me know, and I'd be happy to take her with me :).

When we got to the Farmer's Market on Saturday, we ran into a friend of ours from years ago - one we haven't seen in a long time. We stood, chatting, for a very long time. She was at the Farmer's Market to kill time, waiting for her son to finish his karate class, and had planned to just buy a few plants, but while we were talking, my girls were running around to our favorite vendors, picking up some baked goods from Grammy, and milk and butter from Harris Farm, and doggie biscuits from the Growling Gourmet. After seeing all the goodies my girls brought back, she decided to make a few purchases of her own :).

She asked about fruit, and I said, "Oh, not this time of year, yet. Except rhubarb, but there'll be strawberries in about two weeks."

Maybe I'll call and see what she's doing around strawberry PYO time ;).

Eat the Food:

You know, it crossed my mind that my girls might have a hard time when it came to eating Tree-ah, but they didn't. She made a nice pot of chicken-noodles, one of my family's favorite dishes, and they ate it all.

*See "harvest something" for more about what we've eaten from our own garden.

And every morning I make a fresh loaf of bread and a bread pudding from the previous day's bread to which I've been adding some of the frozen blueberries from last summer. It's Big Little Sister's favorite breakfast ... and everyone loves homemade bread for lunch :).

Preparation and Storage:

Freecycle is such a wonderful community. I've had my ups and downs with it, but this week was definitely an up. Not only was I able to keep a useful thing out of a landfill, and clear out some clutter from my house, but I was also able to score a really cool item. I couldn't believe it when I saw an 'OFFER' for a wonder washer. I responded, thinking there wasn't a snowball's chance in Hades that I'd get it, and wonder of wonders, I did! We picked it up after the Farmer's Market.

And, for a wonder, Deus Ex Machina didn't roll his eyes at me when he saw that I'd requested it ;) ... and that I expected him to get directions to the house AND drive me there. He's so awesome!

Oh, and on Friday, the feed store owner called me. I'd originally ordered two Khaki Campbell ducks. Unfortunately, one of them didn't survive the trip from the breeder, and, for whatever reason, they're having a hard time with Khaki duck fertility this year and so are having a hard time keeping up with demand. As such, they warned me that I wouldn't be getting a "replacement."

So, when I picked up my one little duckling, I bought a second duckling of a different breed (you can't just have one baby bird, ever) and we raised those two together. They're very good friends now -, but I told the guy at the feedstore that if they got anymore in, I wanted them.

On Friday, they called. They had two Khaki's if I still wanted them. Wait. Let me think ... yes.

Deus Ex Machina went to the feedstore and picked them up for me, because I had to be at dress rehearsals with the girls to help with costume changes.

And he didn't even roll his eyes at me - not once - when I told him I had two more ducks that I needed to pick up, but I wasn't sure how I was going to manage to do it all.

He's so awesome!

The ducks like nesting on the fluffy dog. The dog likes duck ... but not on her head. She'd prefer it wok-fried and served with a brown sauce.


  1. That is a great picture! Sounds like a really productive week.

  2. For a second I thought you guys had a bear-skin rug!!!! Ha ha!

    Freecycle is the best just for the STORIES you get!!! The story of how a food dehydrator could save a recipients life and the trials and tribulations of having a three legged dog keeping you from picking up a tv/vcr combo are my all time personal faves.

  3. I thought that was a bear rug, too.... till I saw the eyes.... Pretty dog! Doesn't look like he's TOO upset by being a floormatt for those ducks.