The latest posts from Bacon And Eggs
Why am I bringing this up right now? Well I'll be honest. I'm seriously in "the weeds" right now. It happens. It sucks. I've got so many things going on right now with the garden and food preservation I can't seem to catch up. Or even come close. It happens every year it seems but this year is really bad. With almost 10 gallons of hot peppers to process, spaghetti squash to cook and dry, 3 hundred feet of beans to pick and process, bell peppers to dry, tomatoes for salsa and rotel to do, melons to pick, yellow squash to dry (yay for squash) okra to pick and dry, blackeyed peas to pick and shell.... you get the idea. And of course there is always weeding to be done. Add to this that it's time (almost past time) to get fall veggies planted and several other things I can't think of at the moment. Overwhelmed to say the least. The thing is though that this isn't a BAD thing. I'm happy the garden's been kicking butt this year. I just need to clone myself I guess.
I'm having a hard time with priorities for some reason. I just need to keep pushing on and eventually I'll get caught up and probably be really happy with the results. I've got a ton of post ideas but no real time to actually sit down and write. By the time I can sit down and relax and watch our nightly movie I find myself dozing off. I'm not trying to make excuses for not having written anything lately. I just thought I'd give you a heads up on why I've not been. I'll try to keep you all updated but right now I'm "in the weeds".
|Enter if you dare!|
I don't think the tomatoes know exactly how to act. I haven't been covered up in them like I was last year. I noticed yesterday there were some more blooms set. I haven't been able to put up any salsa yet, I keep waiting till I have enough tomatoes to make a big run of it. I just want to be able to put up 12-14 quarts for the year.
|Random Lilly Picture|
I've been making up some Ro-tel with the tomatoes that are getting overly ripe. I really don't like doing them that way because there's really no consistency of taste between the batches. It's just that I'm not getting enough ripe to do a big batch yet either. It looks like after the rain clears out and it dries up a little I should have enough for them. One thing I do have plenty of is peppers.
Speaking of peppers I went out yesterday and picked almost a five gallon bucket full of jalapeno's, Serrano's and hot banana peppers. There are enough still left out there in the garden to fill another one. I've got a couple of trays of each out in the dehydrator right now.
|Another random flower picture for Sandy|
I've been thinking of talking to the Mexican restaurant in town to see if they might be interested in buying some Serrano's and jalapeno's. I've got two jalapenos plants that are putting out these gorgeous large peppers just right for stuffing.
We need to do some grilling soon so I can toss some stuffed ones on the pit. Yummy!! Which reminds me... I need to start saving the ones that are turning red so I can make some more chipotle peppers. Those really turned out well last year and I've only got a tiny bit left from last year.
I didn't plant nearly as many onions as I did last year and now I'm regretting it. We use tons of onions around here and I find that I've not planted even 1/4 of the onions we need for the coming year. Why? I just wasn't paying enough attention to the time of year it was when I was able to find the onion sets. Before I knew it they had all disappeared from the feed stores and even The Evil Empire. I'm hoping they'll show back up again for a fall planting but I don't really think they will.
I don't know why but folks around here just don't really plant fall gardens. Weird, really. But then who am I to talk. We haven't planted a fall garden since we moved here. It is hard to drag myself out in the sweltering heat we usually have to plant anything.
This year just might be different! I planted another row (100 ft) of purple hull peas yesterday and have planted more lettuce and some spinach.
Once all the vine type plants keel over I'll work on getting some things in those areas. It shouldn't be much longer as most are starting to die back already.
The corn did ok this year. It just takes so much room for so little corn. We aren't big corn eaters around here anymore because most all corn these days is GMO. I'll leave that discussion for another day.
My dad sent this seed to us and has been growing it for a long long time. It's wonderfully sweet and juicy. We put up 8 bags (2 cups each) of cut corn and about 30 whole ears in the freezer. We also found out that the rabbits LOVE corn. I wish I'd have taken pictures of them devouring it.
OK that's enough to bore you to death for now. I sit down sometimes and can't think of a thing in the world to write about. Then once I start I can't seem to stop! I've got some cucumber chips drying and they should be about done. I've not done them before and am curious to try them. If they turn out good I'll let ya'll know!
Preservitis- A New Disorder Identified?
it now has an identifiable name.
That name is Preservitis. Symptoms include, but are not limited to the uncontrollable urge to can, dehydrate, freeze or otherwise preserve every fruit and vegetable that come across the path of the affected individual. This disorder may become more intense as the summer garden season winds to a close. Person's with this affliction have also been known to try unconventional recipes so as to save every known part of said fruits and vegetables.
There is no known cure for this disorder at this time. The prescribed treatment is to let the symptoms run their course.
To alleviate symptoms, it is recommended to allow the affected individuals to pursue their urges to can, dehydrate freeze foods until the symptoms have dissipated. It appears that once they have found that all fruits and vegetables have been attended to, the affected individuals return to a semi-normal state of mind.
Studies have shown that symptoms will usually ease off as the summer winds to a close
WARNING- In most patients these urges WILL return year after year. Researchers believe that Preservitis will become more prevalent as society begins to sense a growing need for self-sustained living.
As busy as I've been with things here on the home front I almost passed up the opportunity to read this series. I like reading post- SHTF books. I'm half way through the second book "Surviving Home" and I have to tell you it might even be better than the the first book first book in the series "Going Home" which is a real page turner as well and will leave you ready to crack open the next book in the series.
The only thing that had me wondering through the whole first book "Going Home" was Morgans "get home bag" That thing must have weighed a ton what with all the supplies he was able to carry in his pack. This book reminded me somewhat of the James Rawles first book which was really descriptive but with a deeper look at just how one might react being stranded 250 miles from home. All in all I'm really enjoying reading this series.
Here's the amazon description of the newest release. ( I'm looking forward to reading it too.)
Book 4 of The Survivalist Series
They survived the collapse, but can they survive the aftermath?
Morgan Carter has weathered the weeks after the collapse of the nation’s power grid, reuniting with his family and ensuring their safety, but his struggle isn't over yet. Carter must focus on survival in an increasingly unstable society—but the challenges he faces are beyond his wildest imagination.
Meanwhile, the enclosed quarters of the nearby government-run refugee camp make for an environment where injury, assault and murder are the norm. As Jess creates trouble within the camp, Sarge and his crew plot to take down the entire establishment.
From the author of the hit Survivalist Series books, Forsaking Home is an action-packed adventure that depicts the harrowing possibilities of a world gone awry, and the courage it takes to protect what matters most.
EDITED (PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY) I tried to make this as easy as possible folks.
If you would like a chance to win the entire series it's really simple to do. Just hit the "follow" button here on the blog and leave a comment. The button to push is the one just under the Popular Posts. If you are already a follower of Bacon and Eggs (that means you have hit the follow button before, folks) just leave a comment letting me know. Make sure you enter before this coming Friday July 25th for a chance to win the entire series. I'll be picking the winner on Saturday.
If you are the lucky winner you will need to contact me no later than Monday July 28th with your name and address. If you miss the due date I'll be picking a second winner.
This is a US and Canada only contest. Hey I didn't make those rules.... Good Luck everyone.
He used some of the bricks left from the old house to make a pad for the stove.
|Leveling out the ground to get started|
The black mat came from the bed of the diesel truck I wrecked .
It makes it easier to walk on if for example it's been raining and the grounds a little wet.
I've been needing a table for some workspace for awhile. I've looked around several places for tables and even the camping tables many places carry now, but on an income of $900 a month even though they really aren't that expensive there was always something that we needed more.
Mars decided to make a work table from one of the pallets he'd been saving. Notice the whole top has slats unlike most pallets. The legs are part of one of the old cedars that we cut down here a couple of years ago. He set the posts and also used the top of the porch for even more stability.
Oh and the table is totally level too! (Mars wouldn't have it any other way) The table makes the whole canning process SO much easier! I just get everything prepped and ready, get all the jars, lids, rings, etc lined up and it's good to go.
We use a tarp to cover the stove in the summer when it's not in use and move it to the barn during the winter.
The outdoor sink is just a few feet away but there is also a hose I can use to fill the canners, wash my hands, rinse off stuff, etc... so I set up a hose right by the table.
There is talk about building a clay oven someday. That would be cool!
|Hey Susan... kymber.... See the weeds now?|
I'll just run down yesterday to give you an idea of what I've been up to. Since it had rained a couple of days before weeding is much easier to do. They tend to come loose (the weeds) without tools. The intention when I went out there was to pick squash and cucumbers to get ready to do some canning. When I get out in the garden for some reason I can't help but pull weeds. Heck I was in town the other day and saw some weeds growing along the sidewalk. I actually had to stop myself from bending over and pulling them. Does this happen to anyone else?
So for those who think my garden looks so "weedless" trust me it doesn't happen by itself and is still overrun in many places. I actually took some pictures of some of my weeds for Susan and kymber! lol When you have control of the camera you have control of what you shoot.
I spent the early morning dealing with the rabbits, washing some clothes and hanging them out. I'm still way behind but at least it's a start. Then I walked the garden to see what all was coming in. It seems like most everything is coming on at the same time. So as I picked squash and cucumbers I weeded where I was picking. Believe it or not I spent the entire day doing that so I could get the pickles worked up this morning. They are on ice and I'll get them canned tomorrow morning. Then I washed a bunch of dishes, cooked dinner and sat down about 9 to eat. While we were watching our evening movie I was shelling peas.
Speaking of shelling peas, I picked 3 six gallon buckets and one 3 gallon one of peas. The way I get them done is to shell them is that I shell them when I'm sitting down to rest up and cool off. I shell peas instead of reading in the evening like I normally do. I shell peas while we watch our evening movie.... well heck, you get the idea. Any sit down time is spent with peas until I get done with them. So far we've shelled a one gallon freezer bag full. Not enough to fire up the canner yet. Soon though, really soon.
The tomatoes are starting to turn red. There are a bunch out there but nothing like the huge amounts last year. The weather has them real confused and right now there are only a few blooms on them. We'll see how they do once it cools down a bit. I just need enough to make my salsa and the homemade Ro-tel's. I've got my fingers crossed.
This week we also
Now I can officially be called The Rabbit Killer. Those of you who have been hanging around with me awhile will understand that one! lol At least this time it's true. But this morning I had a real scary moment. What with the rabbits and all the freezer is over full. As in there isn't any tiny little space left. So I had to move some things around to get to the ice bucket. I can't start the morning without my ice tea. After that I can get my coffee fix. So I was pulling things out and all the sudden a big package wrapped in butcher paper (read rabbit here) This big package falls out of the freezer and hits me in the shin.
Well there was a sharp part of bone that clipped me right in that main vein that runs right up the leg. I started bleeding profusely. Lots and lots of blood was just pouring out. I'll admit I was scared. Mars was outside and there was no way I could holler loud enough for him to hear me. Still flooding the kitchen floor with pools of blood first I grabbed a chunk of paper towels that only worked for maybe thirty seconds. I had sat down on the floor to take any pressure off the leg. I was able to get to the dish towel drawer and grab a towel and sort of tried making a tourniquet out of it.
All I could think was apply pressure and oh my God there was a LOT of blood. The towel and the pressure made everything slow down and before long the bleeding stopped. You talk about scared! WOW I was truly scared. I don't think I've mentioned it before but I have really thin skin and some sort of blood thing that I can never remember the name of. Thromb something.... Anyway, I bleed real easy. I've now got a good dent in my lower shin that will be needing daily care but I'm still above ground.
All this to say that the rabbit got me back from the "grave" as it were. So the Rabbit Killer was attacked by the very rabbits that were
I guess that's as good a place as any to wrap this up. Lots of canning is in my immediate future. The green beans, Cherokee beans, Limas, peppers, tomatoes.... Well you get the idea.This time of year is what we work for all season long. I'll just keep repeating it to myself.
Have yourself a great weekend and I'll try to get back to you soon.
It seems like once the green beans start coming in everything else will follow as closely as possible. Don't ask me why. I might be wrong but it's the way things happen for me.
I put up some dill pickles using the recipe that Cristy suggested. I thought I had enough cucumbers ready for a full canner full but only ended up with 5 quarts. It all worked out though because that was all the vinegar recipe I'd made. I even made extra so next time it looks like I'll have to double the vinegar mix next time. I've picked a whole bunch of cucumbers in the past couple of days and it's time to get them prepped and canned.
I also had one of the jars bust on me. Thankfully it was just the bottom that blew out. The brand? It was one of those that Big Lots and Dollar General carry? Golden Harvest is the name I think. It's the first time I've had one of them bust so I don't know what happened.
Miss Kitty has decided that she likes the outdoor sink.
I've got peppers to pick and it won't be long till I have to can them too. These hot banana peppers are almost as long as this plant is high. I'm thinking I want to put some up for sandwich peppers.
The picture doesn't do justice to the size of these jalapeno's. I'm seeing some bacon wrapped stuffed peppers in the near future.
Mars has a thing for serrano's and so I'm definitely going to have to put some up as well.
The purple hull peas are just waiting on me for the first picking and I'm hoping I can get that done today. I'll shell them and put them up in the fridge until I have enough for a full canner run. Of all the beans/peas we eat these are our favorite. I've got a goal of 52 quarts this year.
I've also got the same goal for squash but that is probably just wishful thinking. Slowly but surely those #%*$ bugs are trying to take over. It's an ongoing battle and I'm not ready to fly the white flag of surrender just yet.
There are other things I could share but it's all pretty much garden stuff. Shoot, many of you are going through the same things as I am. It's times like these I wish I could move as fast as I used to. This going on at half speed truly gets old. It's frustrating but hey, we all do what we have to do with what we have to work with.
The beautiful Day Lilly's up top are a sight to see right now. This is the first time in three years that they've actually bloomed. I just love the color.
|Today's Harvest minus the whole bag of broccoli|
I've got another question for you guys. See the difference in color of some of the squash. Some of it looks almost orange. They are hard to cut and don't seem to cook well at all. Why do you think that is?
Everything in the garden seems to be behind by at least a couple of weeks, maybe even more with some things. I haven't canned my first jar of beans or peas yet. Not a single one. That in itself is pretty unbelievable for this time of year. I know it won't be long though. There are all sorts of blooms on everything.
My dill, cilantro, basil and other herbs either didn't come up at all and that that did make an effort went to seed before it ever even got big. Some of these are required to be partners in different recipes. *sigh* I'll figure something out though.
I need to find a decent dill pickle recipe this year. Even with the squash bugs on full throttle the cucumber plants are really doing well. Now the question is what the heck will I do with all these cucumbers. There are only so many things I can do with it. I've got several different things I can do with the fresh cucumbers and we are having cucumbers at most every meal.
The broccoli has done well. We are eating it at least once a day and adding it to salads. We just love broccoli! It's starting to bolt however. Do I replant it for a fall garden or if I just leave them alone will they make goodies on their own?
Why is it that the tomatoes never get ready to eat until after the lettuce and other stuff has bolted? lol just one of those things that make you go hmmmm.....
I need to be replanting some lettuce but I'm wondering if it would do better to start in a few weeks, after the heat of summer is backing off.
I had finally got used to having a food processor in the house. It was a garage sale find and I really got my moneys worth for $4 One of those little things that you don't miss until you have had one and then when it dies you realize just how much work it did. *sigh* Just in time for summer too!
I'm still fighting the #$*% squash bug war. It seems to be working though as long as I'm participating in it's destruction.
Speaking of destruction I've been weeding like crazy. In fact I've done so much that I seem to have pulled a muscle or something in my neck. I can hardly move it and if my buddies in the preppe'rs chat room could see it I'm sure they would have a super fun time giving me grief!
Well, like I said to begin with things are
|Dried veggies (Left)Veggie powder (Rigjt)|
You know those celery ends that get tossed to the chickens? (unless you saw the pinterest picture about growing the bottoms) stuff given to the chickens, rabbits or the compost pile? The wilted lettuce or the cores. Bell pepper tops, onions, squash ends, carrot skins, cucumber ends and skins, tomatoes or whatever gets cut away from your vegetables? Well I save mine in a gallon baggie kept in the freezer till the baggie is full. I pull it out of the freezer every time I'm making a salad or messing with fresh veggies and just toss whatever ends and pieces I'm not going to use and stick it back in the freezer.
Once that baggie is full I fire up my trusty dehydrator and lay it all out on trays and leave them there to dry. You don't even have to thaw them out first. Once they are dry I put them into something like a canning jar and vacuum seal it shut. You are just trying to keep moisture away from it. What I've done is to store mine in canning jars and keep one jar that I've ground up in a coffee grinder. If you don't have a coffee grinder(they run between $10-$15) You could also use your blender but it might be a little more coarse.
Think of it! You can make your own Mrs Dash or try experimenting new combinations of seasonings. I've been using some veggie powder that I mixed up a few days ago that has kosher salt, cracked pepper, onion powder, cayenne peppers and garlic powder as a base.
Then comes the taste test . If it needs more of whatever I'll add it then. Use it on beef, chicken, pork, or use it as a dry rub for BBQ and its even good on fish . It's good on veggies too. Use some dried hot pepper for a bit more heat if you like.
Some of the other things you can do with vegetable powder is to add it to soups and stews, even meatloaf, dry rubs, use it to season your salad. It's good as a soup thickener instead of using corn starch. And probably more healthy too.
If you have picky kids you can sprinkle the powder in things and its a good way to sneak more vegetables in their diet!
And while we are talking about powders don't forget that you can also make tomato powder easily too. In case you didn't know you can even save your tomato skins when canning up your summer tomatoes. The chickens are pretty ticked off when I do this but I do it anyway. They are used to getting some! Anyway... I just dehydrate the skins and make tomato powder from them too.
Another neat trick I learned was making my own tomato paste and tomato sauce and even tomato juice with the powdered tomatoes. Just stir in a bit of water with your tomato powder until you get the thickness or thinness you want.
There are several ways you can make your vegetable powders. Just use your imagination whatever will work for you. If you want a green vegetable powder just use green vegetables. Kale, swiss chard, spinach or anything else you want to use. You can add it to smoothies or whatever you would want green veggie powder.
The thing I like most (other than using it) is that it didn't cost anything other than running the dehydrator. It's all made from vegetables and tomato skins that you aren't going to eat anyway.
I find myself using the Sci's Mrs Dash on tons of the stuff around here. Mark another (or several) thing I don't have to pay to the beast.
"I am John Gault" :-)
Sorry I couldn't help myself! LOL
I hope the rest of your week goes well, Come back next time and we'll talk about........... well heck who knows but I'll have cookies and coffee ready when you get here.
This part runs from the top of the main garden to the lower garden. In the middle where the pole bean row is we've got a faucet. Now I can water the two new red buds without having to drag two hoses to get it done.
Then he dug trenches to reach out to those trees in the front of the property.
There's now a faucet down there. The next project will be moving the rabbits down under those trees with a permanent home complete with a self watering line for them. Woot!!! no more hauling gallon jugs to their hutches!!! We have enough old tin from the barn he'll use. The plan is to have a removable back on it to block the winter winds. More on that later.
See that trench dug to the right? Later on he wants to plant fruit trees up on the top of the hill. There is also a big garden spot over there. Yet another project on the list.
The trenches are dug at about 17" and well below the freeze line. Here's the water line he used. It's one inch poly tubing. It's also the kind he hooked up to the RV and the barn.
The line now runs down to the lower garden across the driveway and ends with a faucet!!!! (I took some pictures of the finished project but you had to look hard to see it once the pipe was installed and the dirt all tamped down.
We've been dragging hoses down there to get water to the irrigation system.It's also close to the future goat's home.
Mars did a great job! That's a whole lot of digging.
And there you have it! The Newest Project!
|This weeks progress|
I suppose it worked out though. I laid up for a bit while it rained the first of the week. We've been rain free for about 3 days now (unless you count the light overnight bit we got on Wednesday) I was looking at some pictures I took of some of the rain we got last week and realized just how much everything (including the weeds) has grown. This is a picture from last week.
I spent half a day sitting on my bucket and pulling weeds for the past couple of days. I am in no way caught up but at least I was able to put a healthy start on it.
I'm working on re-dusting the squash and the melons. I've seen a few of those &^%^ squash bugs and killed every one I could see. There aren't many though. Not like the past couple of years. I've checked out most all the leaves for the eggs they lay and there are tons of them. It's a struggle to try and keep up with them but I'm giving it a heck of a shot. If I can keep ahead of the suckers we just might be able to put some up this year. It's a slow process, checking every single leaf but it's necessary. If I don't those suckers WILL take over. Good news is I've been able to harvest a good dozen nice squash. Can you say fried squash?
The lower garden has gone wild. The corn looks good so far and I'm trying to keep the weeds under control. It's got no tassels yet but I'm sure it won't be long at this rate. There are some sort of melons (including some Canary melon)and maybe some squash down there. All of it was volunteer plants from the main garden. We just dug it up and transplanted it down there. Everything looks great so far though don't you think?
Here's some proof positive that we've had a LOT of rain. The only time we see any of these guys is when it's been really really wet. Just don't tell my sister-in-law or she'll never ever come back here to visit!
Mars has been working on the newest project here and has put in some tremendous labor making it all happen. I'll have pictures soon so I can share it with you. It's amazing just what will make some of us happy!
See I almost started again!! I just had to delete half a page of rant! Ok... deep breath....
Let's see. The garden is growing like gangbusters. Apparently it doesn't need my help either since every time it dries out enough to get in it... here comes the rain. I really thought yesterday's high winds would dry out everything so I could get out there and do battle with the weeds. Only a 30% chance of rain in the forecast when I went to bed last night. I woke up to dark clouds and the promise of more rain. And rain it did. Of course it was just enough to get everything wet again.
We have all sorts of volunteer plants popping up. Last year I had about 6 potted moss roses sitting up on the porch. They dropped seed down in my tiny herb bed and pretty much took over. I'm finding other places for them so I can take back my herb bed. Notice the lemon basil growing in it. Yup more volunteers!
and I'm sure the #$*^# squash bugs are having a huge party out there. I had finally dusted the whole garden on Sunday and it rained like crazy Monday night. Go figure.
UPDATE: I was able to get out to some of the squash and was surprised to find only a handful of those spawns of Satan. It seems the new dust is working pretty well. I can still see residue from it even after all the rain.
We've used The Three Sisters method of planting out in the lower garden.
My dad sent some of his sweet corn and it's doing great. The beans are finally starting to come up and the squash and melons over there look all right. I tested out the ground when I went to feed the rabbits this morning and I'm planning on trying to get the lower garden weeded this afternoon.
Notice the plants under the corn? Those are volunteer lemon basil. It seems we have several plants that decided to come back up this year. They are everywhere.
This is a stray moss rose that decided to come up in the beans. I don't know how it got so far away from the vast majority of the other volunteer moss roses.
Things are starting to bloom!
The black-eyed peas have a few flowers on them, some of the tomatoes are starting to flower and we are starting to pick broccoli. Man, that stuff is soooo good!! I could eat broccoli every day. We didn't have much luck with it last year so I'm really excited. So far there's not enough to put up, and if we keep eating it like we are there won't be either!
Check out the marigolds all in a straight line under the peas. You would think by looking at them, they were planted there. You would be wrong! That's where they were planted with tomatoes last year. I'm keeping them!
There are always things to be done around here. We need to get the tomatoes staked up when it dries out a little. Right now I'm trying to get some beds weeded and waiting for the rain to stop. Mars has a cool project he's working on. I'll get some pictures as it progresses. It's a lot of labor but it will make a huge difference in the way things have to be done now.
Heads up out there people... it seems we are living in troubled waters, and all I can say is Wow! What an interesting time in history we are living.
We got a ton of rain this week. May is usually a rainy month (or so they tell me) I think we got an entire month's rain in just a couple of days.
The garden seems to have loved it. Things are growing like crazy. Today I was able to get out there and try to work on the weeds because apparently they loved all the rain too.
I'm just now able to get out there and get some weeding done.
So what does it do late this afternoon? Yup, rained like crazy for about 15 minutes. It'll be a few more days before I'm able to walk out there again.
I've been reseeding places where things didn't come up. The turnips didn't make much of an appearance so I'll need to re-plant those along with a couple of other things. I've been wanting to plant herbs in some of the bald spots but that's going to have to wait until it dries out some too.
Everything is looking good for the most part except for the squash bugs. Yeah, they are back. I can't tell you how much I'm beginning to hate them. I've also been trying to keep close eyes on them. The dreaded squash bug has found its target. I've been checking all the leaves and scraping off eggs, smashing the dang bugs and laying down some more Eight. It's a merry go round with the dang things. Sometimes I feel like I'm fighting a loosing battle but I will keep trying till I get some dang squash! Only problem now is that it's to wet to get to them without having my shoes sucked off my feet by the mud. We really need to get some kind of mulch down, at least something in the walk paths. It's tough not having a truck though. I can only get two bales of straw/hay in the car at a time. We need much more than that!
I've had to rearrange the rabbits to accommodate the babies. The first litter will be ready for butchering in the next week or so.
I need the space for at least one more litter before it gets too hot. The last litter started at 12 and we are down to 4 babies left. Something like diarrhea struck and it struck hard on this litter. Not to mention the ones that got squished. I need to get something to have on hand should it happen again. I cleaned out the cage and the nesting box real good and put in fresh straw after I scrubbed everything down. The remaining four seem to be doing ok.
Since I've never had any luck OR any babies to deal with I'm still a raw rookie. I refuse to give up on them. They are generally easy to raise and easy to butcher. Besides, I like rabbits!
With food prices skyrocketing and forecast to rise dramatically this year it's so very important to try to somehow stay afloat. Do a search on food price increases over the next couple of months and you will find all kinds of articles on what lays ahead. We are already feeling it here. This is a big reason for raising the rabbits, as well as the garden.
And then there's the chickens....
The four hens and the Roo are driving me nuts. We just went through them molting and then two went broody. We started getting two eggs a day for awhile. Now the ones that were laying are back to being broody as well as the "loner" . She's the low hen on the totem pole and hasn't moved off her nest in weeks. I'm about ready to start all over again. It ticks me off that I'm still having to buy eggs AND buy feed for them. It's always something.... lol
I am the perfect example of a rookie trying to become more self reliant. At least I am learning. Just think if/when SHTF and I was starting from scratch how far behind the eight ball I'd be!
Prep on folks, what you learn now might keep you from starving one day. Add to that what you purchase today I guarantee will only be higher in the coming months.
You know those cartons that have the pour sprouts on them? Like on orange juice cartons? Well I found an excellent use for them and it's super simple to do.
Take an empty carton and open it up. (notice the markdown? Yet another
Then you trim around the edges of the pour spout using the jar rim as a template. Grab a ring and put it on snugly. That's it. Now you have a pour spout on your jar! It makes it so much easier to pour from a jar. I use it for my DIY French Vanilla Coffee Creamer. Pretty neat, huh?
I've also noticed that on each end of every row there is a bit of space where nothing is planted. It has to do with the irrigation system I suppose. I've been thinking I might have just found some spots to try and start some flowers after all! I'm not sure they'll all get enough water but a girl's gotta try. Especially since my flower beds have been hijacked!!
I have to admit though that the garlic is looking really good and the lettuce is at least a mix of seeds with varying colors and textures. Besides I see some volunteer flowers here and there anyway. And since I'm in charge of weeding at the moment there is no way I'm going to pull them up. lol
Well enough rambling for today. The winds have died down enough that I can get out there in the garden and do some plant dusting. Something is eating my beans. Well they are actually cutting the plant off at the stem. I have no idea what is doing it so I'm going to try a dusting of Eight and see if that helps. I've been reseeding the areas they are messing with. Mostly beans but they have also done the same to a couple of pepper plants.
Any ideas out there as to what just cuts the stem and leaves the leaves of the plants just laying there beside it? And if so, what can I do to treat it?
This year Mars pretty much has most of my three tiny flower beds spoken for. How I managed to let that happen I just don't know. To be fair though, one of them has always had herbs in it anyway, and that didn't change. Then there's the one that has garlic in it. It should be ready to harvest sometime soon so maybe I can find something that is more of a summer/fall flower. And then there's the nice bed he worked up for me a couple of years ago. It's not very big but still much more roomy than either of the other two. It's got 10 strawberry plants in the back. They aren't looking too good though. They are starting to brown around the edges of some of the leaves. I'm not sure what's going on with that. I HAVE been pinching off the flowers as they come on though in hopes of a better show next year. The rest of the space is filled with a mixed lettuce blend. As a matter of fact we had our first green salad with our own lettuces night before last.
I don't think I mentioned it before but Mars has put in three new 100 ft rows this year with plans for one more when we can afford to get some fittings for the drip lines. So that (along with the bottom garden) gives us a bit over 5000'. I know it sounds like a lot, and it is, but I believe the reason behind it is solid. If you were watching the news this past week you might have seen the article about the increase in food costs for April was a whopping 2.6% and there is no end in sight for extreme prices to come down.
Food storage is becoming more and more important as prices rise at an alarming rate. Think of it as a tangible asset. What you can put back now will only increase in value. You can't argue with that logic.
Mars has decided to try growing corn again this year with some of the seed my Dad sent. We are "kind of" leaning toward the 3 Sisters method in the lower garden. We've planted butter beans this past week and had the corn in about 3 weeks ago. We also transplanted some volunteer squash from last year. The corn had a 99% germination rate. Pretty cool. The corn has been in the family for many years so I think that's pretty awesome in and of itself!
We lost a few tomato plants and are down to 21 now. I looked in Tiny Town for some 6-packs but all they have are the bigger ones at $3.59 per plant. No way am I going to pay that much for a single plant! I'll be starting some seeds today and hope for the best for some fall tomatoes. We'll see how it goes.
All the rows are planted now. I think I'm going to fill in spots where nothing came up with different herbs and see how that works. It looks like I've only got 2-3 cilantro plants that came up and none of my dill came up. I've said it over and over though, I cannot seem to grow herbs. *sigh* OH, that reminds me I planted several lemon basil plants last year and they did really well. I was out weeding and noticed there are bunches of volunteer's coming up. Someone told me that planting basil with tomatoes will keep away the hornworms. I'm going to see if it will work with the lemon basil. No harm no foul right? Another surprise in the garden this year is that the marigolds I planted with the tomatoes last year came back on their own! I'll leave them where they are but did plant more marigolds in the tomato row this year again. I don't know if it was just blind luck last year planting them together but I had no problems at all with bugs on the tomatoes. We'll see...
Well I suppose I've rambled on long enough. Time to get back out there and pull some weeds. I'm trying to weed one row a day with the hope that I'll be able to keep up with them. With 12 rows and the "flower beds" I'm not sure I'll be able to get to them all without bunches of weeds trying to beat me on this venture.
Have fun with your gardening and if it just gets to be "too much" work remember that you are growing tangible assets.
Ya'll take care!!
I hope everyone had a good weekend. Around here we had really nice weather if you don't count the wind. I couldn't believe just how hard the sustained wind was blowing. It was probably around 25-30mph for most of the day. It was gusting at least 40mph and maybe more than that. I felt like I was back home on Galveston Island with those winds.
|Check out the rocks|
Why am I talking about the wind? Well Mars and I were taking a break from the garden, sitting in the shade with big glasses of ice tea. All of the sudden there was a HUGE bang. I kid you not! A gust of wind had blown over the rabbit hutches. I'm talking about completely blew it over, including the stands. We use some old tin on top of the hutches (for shade) and very large rocks to hold the "roof" on too.
Shoot I know how heavy just the hutches are, much less the 3 stands. We were moving them out of the barn and into their summer spot just the day before. I can barely help him move them. The big nesting box he made is super heavy on its own. Not to mention about 25 rabbits involved.
Well I was on my feet in an instant thinking "Oh Cr*p I hope the babies are ok." We got every thing right back up and all the babies were fine. Poor Gladys got a busted nose during the fall. She looks better now. I'm just glad that was the only injury.
This is her first litter and she's turning out to be an excellent mother. She had a huge litter too. 12 babies in all.
Unfortunately we've lost 2 of them. I think she must have stepped on one from what I could tell. But the 10 that have made it are all pretty sturdy. Even the runt isn't a tiny baby. I've read several places that anything larger than 7 or 8 and the mama can't feed them all. So I'm real proud of her. She takes care of them all.
I still can't believe that the wind actually pushed over the entire hutch.
Stands and all!
Anyway.... I sort of got off topic! (no, really?? Did someone say squirrel?? )
Let's get back to what I wanted to tell you in the first place. We were at The Evil Empire picking up a couple of things Friday afternoon. The stuff we needed was in the back of the store so we parked out near where they had fruit and shade trees. They were mostly crispy and leafless. They had a few fruit trees left and had the price knocked down to $9.97. Not much of a deal for dead and dying trees. We went over to check them out and saw a few that might be saved if they got in the ground soon. We found a couple of plum trees that looked like they actually might make it.
Mars told me I should go find the garden center manager and see if she would mark a couple of them down even further. See if she might make a deal on a couple of them. Long story short (yeah right, huh?) She didn't have a problem with marking the two plum trees we wanted down to $5 each.
We thought the two we got would be just fine if we could get them in the ground soon and baby them. It must be a karma kind of thing because 1)We've been wanting plum trees long before all this and 2)Mars had already started getting ready to transplant a couple of Red Buds. He already had the holes almost ready.
Anyway..... he planted the trees and was leaning on the shovel and was smiling when he said
"Happy Mothers Day".
I had started to leave a comment and realized it was so long that I had the makings of a new post myself. If you have been blogging any time at all you know that when you get an idea for a new post never turn it down! You run with it. I'm going to put up her "homepage" link because you have GOT to read the one under it. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.
And now for the comment I deleted over there.... Read on!
There was a time some years ago that I was really curious to find out what Soul Food really was. I was around 20 when I finally found out. There was a little cafe who'd just opened their doors and the sign on the building read Mama's Soul Food. I was SO excited!! I was going to finally find out what "Soul Food" really was.
The big day came and a friend and I headed over to check out the place. When we got there we found the cafe was sort of like a cafeteria type line where you got to choose what you'd like on your plate. The menus were rotated out day to day. So that day there were fried pork chops and fried chicken with a beautiful crispy crust, There were turnips and turnip greens with bacon, fried cabbage w/ham, black-eyed peas and ham hocks, mashed potatoes and white gravy, pinto beans w/bacon (pork n beans southern style), fried squash, cornbread and fresh baked rolls. For desert there was dewberry cobbler and banana pudding. Everything looked so darn good but I still wanted to know where the soul food was.
It seems I missed the days that they made things like chitterlings (pronounced chitlin's) and pigs feet. Not that it made much difference to me because it wasn't like I'd not eaten those before. I love me some chitlins! The cafe was only open for dinner (some folks call it lunch) from 11-2 on weekdays. If they ran out of food they just ran out of it. Once it was gone that was it. They had a chalk board with the menu printed out. They'd cross off what they ran out of. It turned out to be a huge success with folks around town. You would see business men in their work uniforms (suits) carpenters and craftsmen, folks from other service businesses. If you wanted the best selection you had to show up early and stand in line for it.
The meal was wonderful but it was on that day I finally found out that all the years I'd wondered just what Soul Food was that I'd been eating it all my life. For some reason that sort of bummed me out since I pretty much cooked the same way at home as did my mom and grandma did. But it sure was a great place to go have what I call comfort food but apparently also called Soul Food.
One evening a week they served All You Can Eat Catfish n fixin's every Friday for supper!!! It was the only day of the week they would cook a dinner menu and reopen at 5 for the catfish supper. Once it was gone they'd close the door.
Unfortunately Mama's Soul Food burned to the ground a few years after I'd found the place. They didn't have the money to rebuild. What happened after that was amazing. Folks started to donate money to help re-build the place. There were "tip jars" on dozens of business' all over the place. Even the little hole in the wall bars were raising money for them. Even the local tv news stations were covering it. It took over a year but they finally were able to re-open! That shows you just how community can come together and make things happen.
So I headed out to the feed store and to do some grocery shopping. Mind you, I don't like going to town much in the first place but to do it on a Saturday? I must have lost my mind. The feed store was like a bee hive with what seems to have been the entire population of farmers in at least a thirty-five mile radius. I had to pick up chicken and rabbit feed and get some propane bottles filled. While I was there I checked again and they FINALLY had 1lb packages of yeast. Yay!!! I snagged up three of them (I store my yeast in the freezer) and headed to the counter to put in my order and let them know I needed propane as well. Are you wondering yet why I wanted to pick up yeast there? For some reason (and I'm sure it makes sense to someone somewhere) they are the only place I can find 1lb packages of yeast. I can find those little brown bottles everywhere and of course the single packets in the grocery stores but not a single one carries the big packages. After going to put in my feed order I went out to check on the propane and the guy said it was already in the car. This guy had stuck them in the trunk of the car laying them on their side. A BIG NO-NO. Anyway I told him he was gonna have to set them in the floorboard of the back seat. (which is where he pulled them out of in the first place) I didn't want to be a statistic somewhere in a class on propane safety.
Anyways..... Next stop, Grocery Store stop #1. Jeez, and I thought the feed store was busy! Maybe it's just me but it seems everything on my list has risen in price since last month, which didn't help my crankiness about all the people in there jockeying for position at every turn. Then it was off to the Evil Empire to finish up what shopping I had to do in Little Big Town. Someone should have smacked me down for that decision!
Last stop of the day.... The Evil Empire, packed with every sort of humanity walking the world! If it weren't so funny to watch folks I'd have backed off till another day. Anyway....I pulled up my big girl panties and went for it. Every since I found out that they HAD to match advertised prices of ALL the other stores in the area (I'm not going to T Town if it can be helped) Aldi's (50 miles from home)
must really make them cringe with the excellent prices on produce they run most every week. So I picked up four lbs of strawberries @.99 a lb to make my first batch of jelly this year and some bananas@.33 a lb and they had avocados on sale too @.33 each. (I see another Tex Mex meal in the not to distant future.)
The reason I'm sharing all this with you? I have a perfect example of how much AND how fast groceries are going up. I buy tortilla's. I don't like making them but I can and I do know how. I just would rather not. So one of the things I pick up every month are flour tortillas. Four months ago they were $1.48 for twenty tortillas, two months ago they changed the packaging and went up to 1.98 for the same tortillas. This month I just about fell out when I saw they had bumped the price to $2.48. That makes a dollar increase in just four months time. Looks like I may be going back to homemade tortillas soon.
I've been telling folks for what seems like years that prices are going up and only going to get higher. Just about everything is going up even faster right now folks. And just wait till this summer when you start seeing things go even higher. That drought out there in California will certainly be taking its toll on food costs this year. My advice? Stock your larder as deep as you possibly can while you still can.
I had one jar of black beans left from last year and all I needed was to find a good Spanish rice recipe. I've never had much luck at all with Spanish rice. It's usually either to dry or to drab so when I found this recipe I just had to try it. Since we ran out of propane a couple of days ago (don't ask) I found a recipe for Spanish Rice that could be done in the nuke machine. I'm here to tell you it's actually far and away the best I've made and I'm adding it to my "line-up".
As usual I pretty much had to make it work with what I had on hand the original recipe was just a sort of a blueprint. So here goes!
SPANISH RICE (Microwave)
1 lg. onion, chopped (subbed re-hydrated onions)
1/4 c. chopped green pepper (subbed re-hydrated red and green bell peppers)
2 tbsp. butter
1 c. stewed tomatoes, chopped and drained - save liquid (subbed my own salsa recipe and tomato juice)
1 c. long grain rice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
In 2 quart casserole combine onion, green pepper and butter. Cook on High 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Add enough liquid out of tomatoes to make 2 cups. Add to dish with tomatoes, rice, salt and pepper. Cover. Cook on High for 5 minutes then on medium for 20 minutes. Stir only once. Let stand covered for 5 minutes. (Time may vary with each microwave.)
I re-hydrated onions and some green and red bell peppers and used them instead. In place of the stewed tomatoes I used a cup of salsa. (my recipe for a wonderful salsa)
and subbed a cup of homemade tomato sauce and one cup of water for stewed tomatoes and the saved liquid.. After that I actually followed the rest of the recipe.
So we had Verde Pork, Spanish Rice and Black beans.
Sorry I didn't get a picture of the whole dinner but I promise you it was lip smacking good. I've finally found a Spanish Rice recipe I'm sure to be making again. And again.
It's pouring rain right now. I'm glad I got up early enough to put the new potted seeds out of the weather. Last year I had a whole tray of seedlings (tiny ones) that were left out in the rain and the entire tray pretty much washed away.
Oh wow- now it's hailing. I hope it doesn't tear up the plants. I wouldn't want to cry like John Milandred over a few plants. I've never seen a grown man cry like that before over some plants that can and were easily replaced. *snork*
Anyways......It looks like a day off today. Well outside anyway. A real familiar line from every restaurant I've ever worked comes to mind though. "You have time to lean you have time to clean". I wish I had a penny for every time I heard that one. Today I'm going to enjoy the rain and do a little reading instead.
Gladys Kravitz the rabbit had her babies night before last. I've got no idea how many just yet. I don't want to go digging around in there much. There's life in there though because all the hair she pulled is moving around!
The Psycho Demon rabbit tried to "rush" me yesterday (again) so I popped her on top of her furry head with the plastic feed scoop(again) She must have no idea that she is making sure she doesn't land on the No Kill list. Now that I know I have some good breeders I'm having to make some choices. There's no need for four does. I've already gone through 50 lbs of feed and I've had to go to the feed store and get another half a bag of rabbit pellets to finish out the month on. With the new babies I'll have to up the amount I pick up to double at the first of the month.
I've been checking on the chicken's that are setting. I've found that where there used to be 15 eggs they were sitting on there are now 0. I'd guess some sort of snake had made it his dinner stop again. Mars killed the one that was actually eating the baby chicks last year. Bad news is no chicks this year. Good news is the hens should start laying again soon. If it's not one thing its another. *sigh*
The garden's doing ok so far. Other than the fact that I have run out of room for all the things I wanted to plant that is. Mar's has the lower garden planted in beans and corn sort of like the 3 sister method without the squash. I've still got to find a spot for some spinach and some odds and ends. Some of the pepper plants I picked up and planted didn't make it. Something ate the entire stems off a few of them. I'll get some D.E. put out there as soon as it dries up enough to get out there. I haven't decided if I'll just replace the peppers or use the space for something else.
Well it looks like the rain has stopped and I really should get busy with that book and a cat nap. .
Maybe I'll make some cookies...Coffee's on the stove!
Ya'll have a Super Day!
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