Friday, October 5, 2012

Farm-to-Table: Harvest and clean-up

Yesterday evening we cleaned out the garden.  Weeded what was the tomato bed and pulled out the soaker hose.  Harvested the last good watermelon (the other one was rotting on the vine) and pulled the plants.  Surprisingly harvested sweet potatoes in their garbage pail (we thought they didn't produce anything from when we had checked on them earlier.  Then we dumped the soil from the cans into the old tomato bed.  When I went to dump the soil from the failed potato experiment we discovered that it wasn't a complete failure after all.  From three trash cans we harvested a grand total of five small potatoes!!  We're gobsmacked!  There's a couple of banana peppers still on the plant, but we didn't harvest them yet.

After harvesting, we peeled back the damaged weed block cloth and threw it out, removed the rocks that helped hold it down and stacked them under the stoop so they weren't in the way for mowing, and dumped the soil from the empty containers into the wallows we had created to help keep the containers from drying out (but became mosquito cesspools instead) and into the old tomato bed.

The corn, green beans, and tomatoes failed this year.  They didn't survive the boys' lack of care.  We found that our garden grew better when planted into our clay soil rather than in a raised bed with "garden mix" fetched from a local landscaping company, so our long-term garden plans are reconfigured.

No fall garden.  Didn't have sufficient opportunity to get it put in when it was viable planting time.  I was thinking of experimenting with mini hoop-houses, but there's been no headway on that pondering either.  Compost happens...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What to Do About Memorial Day?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Family Lore Friday: A Table of Bread

Mom followed up her "I learned about Joy when I was a kid" story with an "I learned about yeast in the ninth grade" story:

While at a friend's house (note a recurring theme here?) they decided to make some bread for her friend's family.  Mom's friend had watched her mom make bread lots of times.  They also decided that instead of making one batch, they should double it.

Her friend's mom came home to a table full of bread dough that needed to be taken care of.

Mom is careful with her yeast measurements now.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Family Lore Friday: A Lesson in Joy

When my mother was a child, around mid-elementary school age, she had gone over to a friend's house in the neighborhood to play.  The opted to blow bubbles, and because they wanted super bubbly bubbles, they used a considerable amount of dish detergent.

So much dish detergent that their bubble-blowing activity left the porch with a sticky residue that the friend's mother required they clean up.  Mom said she doesn't remember how many hours it took them to rinse that porch--the more they rinsed, the more bubbles they got.

To this day she will not touch Joy dish soap--it makes too many bubbles!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Family Lore Friday: Nuthin'

During a conversation about how parents know when a kiddo has been up to "something," Mom shared a story about one of my cousins.  This cousin is about halfway between Mom's age and my age, and when Mom was a teenager she lived with her sister's family.  One night, my cousin was overheard talking in her sleep.  She spoke one single word:  "Nuthin'."

Mom said she wondered what she was dreaming about.


Other evening lore about this fabulous cousin of mine during her childhood:

Some evenings mom would walk down the hall to use the restroom, and notice my cousin's bedroom light was on.  And it was still on when she walked back.  A shortwhile later my uncle was at her room telling her to go to sleep.  Mom remembers my cousin asking how it was known that she was still up.  Hehehehe....parents have their ways!  ;)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Farm-to-Table: Pail Potatoes

These are actually Grandma's, but I'm counting them since they're at my house currently!  I need to do this for sweet potatoes!

Grandma found brand new trashcans for $10 at a local box store.  With the assistance of my husband and his tools, she has three holes cut in the bottom of each of these cans, and a few holes on the sides about two inches up from the bottom.  After washing and sanitizing the cans we placed coffee filters (on hand for brewing joe for roses and for when MIL visits) over the bottom holes and added some soil.

Then the seed potatoes were planted.

As the potato plants grow, more soil can be easily added.  According to the article that gave Grandma this idea, one can get about a half-bushel of potatoes per garbage pail.  It's less mess than some of the garden plot or pallet ideas, and it's not as health-hazardous as the used-tire ideas.  It's a space effective container garden, eh?  *lol*

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Good Friday Remembrance

My mom survived the Good Friday Earthquake.  Our family has a bit of lore about this event; though likely not as much as other families.  It is poignant for us.

On the evening of 27 March my mother was playing in the dining room with a toy electric mixer.  When she turned it on, her mother's china started falling off the wall.  She turned off the mixer, thinking for a nano-second that she had cause the plates' demise, then realizing it was an earthquake.

A month later, on the morning of 27 April, my mother asked her father to not fly that day.  She had dreamed that he would die, but her parents shrugged it off thinking of it as merely being a child that wanted daddy to stay home to play.  He flew delegates out to Valdez to survey the quake damage and, according to the family lore, those delegates watched helplessly as the plane took off from Valdez and crashed about a mile out to sea.  Bodies were never located, and only a few scraps of the plane were found.  This was the second husband with an empty grave for my grandmother--her first husband was lost over Sicily during WWII (they never found him or his plane).

According to wiki:  On 27 April 1964—barely a month after the quake—an Alaska Air National Guard C-123 plunged into the ocean shortly after takeoff from the Valdez airport. Killed was the plane’s three-man crew, including the pilot, Lt. Col. Thomas Norris Sr.; the co-pilot, Maj. James Rowe (who, circling Anchorage in a C-123 a month earlier, had served as the eyes and ears of the world in the aftermath of the earthquake); and the flight engineer, TSgt. Kenneth Ayers. Also dead was Maj. Gen. Thomas Carroll, the adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard.

We had this event marked on our calendar, but we did nothing about it.  I'm not sure how to handle this particular day of importance.  It's not a holiday.  There isn't a celebration.  But it is an important date in our family lore.  One that I want my children to somehow connect with--but how do accomplish that when you live far away from the location?  If we were in Anchorage we would visit Earthquake Park, take a picnic drive to view the trees standing naked at the end of the inlet where they were killed by the salt water of the tsunami.  Maybe an outing to Valdez next month and a visit to the memorial headstone for my grandfather?  But alas, we live some six time zones away.  How do you commemorate the second largest earthquake since 1900?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Farm-to-Table: Farmer Boy

We've been reading Farmer Boy as part of our Farm-to-Table study this spring.  After reading chapter twelve we hit Google to see why Nick Brown accepted rags for his tinware.

What did we find?  A fascinating blog entry about rag paper!  I'm looking forward to reading more of Nancy Cleveland's blog, As a Laura Ingalls Wilder Researcher Thinks.

Before finding that, we found this.  I hear a roadtrip beckoning me!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Farm-to-Table: Flock Swap

We attended a flock swap as part of our farm-to-table studies for this season.  It was pretty nifty.  There was an easily walkable variety of critters and folks, and we believe we have determined which chicken varieties we want to attempt.

We're planning to pursue Brahmas, Delawares, and Orpingtons. Tis a real pity we don't have our coop set up yet because I would have come home with these beauties!

Dark Brahma Standard pairs

The boys were enamored with the baby rabbits that were available as well, but I hold the same philosophy as a friend of mine who stated: Our animals need to provide a functional service, we all have to work for our food.  I don't have the mental constitution for skinning and eating rabbits at this time.  Too much of a city girl.