Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Harvest

We got some potatoes this week!  What makes them even better is that they're totally volunteer!  Love it!  The other exciting thing is that the apples on our tree are looking really great and starting to get sweeter.  We still have a couple weeks before we can eat them, but the chickens (babies and aunties) think they're delicious.   The one in the pic is a good example of what the chickens do to them.

We've stopped getting really pretty cucumbers, but the awkward looking ones are still coming.  Can't complain, they're still yummy.  The green beans are slowing down, but the tomatoes are starting to turn yellow, which I'm hoping is a good sign they'll turn reddish before summer is over.  Hold on summer!  And that carrot?  It's the size of my head.  Probably weighs close to a half a pound.  Awesome.

Now all I need is some onions and I see some scrumptious Japanese curry rice in my future.

More interesting posts coming soon.  As soon as I become officially unemployed next week... (sigh.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Harvest

This week's is probably the most diverse harvest of the year so far.  Here's the list.

*2 delicious cucumbers
*Green beans
*Sad little broccoli florets

I'm totally checking off "grow a decent cucumber" from my homesteading (not quite) hundred list!

p.s. We've got some kabocha coming....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Green weddings

Some of you may already know that I am getting married next spring.  Though May 27th, 2012 seems like a long ways off, I've been going full-bore with wedding planning.  (Yes, I'm a girl.)  The venue has been booked, the dress bought, general theme figured out, and most guests (informally) informed.  There's a lot more to do and figure out, but I'm really enjoying it.

When we first got engaged, I decided to make my wedding as "green" as possible.  Large, extravagant events like this can become really wasteful and ridiculous, which I want to avoid.  I want to make it really DIY, with as many of the elements created or provided by myself or my many talented friends and family.  This not only allows for the cash saved to go to important things like food and drinks and such, but also adds a bit of a personal touch to an event that can also become stale and stuffy.

However, I have a feeling as time goes on, I'm going to find it hard to keep all elements sustainable while also keeping my sanity.  A good example of this is my dress.  I really wanted to buy something used, but after going to three different stores and realizing how hard it is to find the right one, I just bought the first one that I really liked just so I could be done with the process.  I'm really happy with it, and I don't know if I would have been able to find it used.  That's ok, I'll just sell it and someone else can be the one who buys a used dress.

But so far, that is the only thing I've done that has gone against my green wedding dreams.  (And honestly, I don't really feel bad about it.)  Everything else is going pretty well.  Just today, I went to three different Goodwill stores in the greater Seattle area, looking for elements that are needed for the favors for my guests.  I'm making the save the dates and invitations myself, and even making some of the paper that will be used in those out of old bank statements that are sitting in my shredder.

All in all, the biggest lesson learned so far is that I need to be flexible with my wedding wishes and be ok with not having everything exactly as I hoped.  Being sustainable is really important to me, but sustaining my sanity is important too.  Gee, I wonder what other lessons I'll learn in the next 9 months?

This little guy helps me stay grounded.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chickie progress

No, not that way.  As far as I can tell, Abby and Frannie still hate the babies.  I'm currently writing this from my backyard hammock.  This is where Shawn and I play "rooster" to make sure the older ladies stay in line.  I've decided that unsupervised time will happen once the babies are a little bigger and can hold their own more.

No no.  The progress came as far as their eating habits.  Last year at this time, the ladies were learning to eat lettuce from our hands.  We've been trying to do this with the babies for the last several weeks to no avail.  At first, the babies were just afraid of the lettuce leaf since it was often the same size as them.  We would tear it up into little pieces and throw it on the ground, and they would feign interest, just to walk away. 

I found out this afternoon that apparently these ladies like broccoli leaves better.  They were unsure at first, but the tearing into small pieces tactic worked on Elsa who slurped them down like candy.  Pearl got into the action, and in no time at all they were both eating it right out of my hand.  Success!  Watching their tongues flicking in and out of their beaks was pretty darn cute.

Oh, and their voices are starting to crack a lot.  They still cheep, but they're making chicken sounds more and more.

I tried to take pictures of them but they move too much so I took a video instead.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Harvest

This was the week of zucchini.  We got three of 'em.  One was really big because it was hiding under the plant.  It wasn't holy shit big, just normal big.  The green beans are coming in at a steady pace and we also finally got some carrots worth writing home about.  They were interesting as far as their shapes went, but they were both pretty good size.  We also got our first cucumber!  It was a little small, but perfect, just like Abby's first egg. 

Of all the seeds that I got this year from the place in Bellingham, the cucumbers and tomatoes are doing the best, which is surprising because those are the two crops that often disappoint due to our climate.  We ate the cucumber with dinner tonight.  We dipped it in miso and ate it fresh.  Deeeelish!  Probably the best cucumber I've ever eaten.  Of course, because we ate it so fast, it didn't have time for a photo shoot.

Tried to get Nikolai in for a size comparison.  He cooperated.  Sort of.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pest Control

In past posts I've talked about our wars against pests around our yard.  Some are easier to combat than others, but there are a few that we are constantly at war with and that we can easily say we loathe.

The first of these is dandelions.  Ugh, just typing that word makes me angry.  Why do dandelion seeds have to travel so well?  And how long can a dandelion seed remain dormant in the ground anyway?  It seems like you pull one up and three more come around to replace it.  I know that if I were to buy a couple bottles of Roundup the problem would go away.  But everyone knows that there is only one thing more evil than Wal-Mart, and that is Monsanto. 

So, the other day, Shawn decided to try to make chemical-free herbicide.  He did some research online and found this pretty cool website that has recipes and reviews of the different strengths.  After the research he decided to go with a recipe of vinegar and a squirt of dish soap.  We found an empty spray bottle and he went to work.  He pulled the really big ones, but sprayed the smaller ones.

At first, it seemed like it was working because the weeds were withering and turning brown almost immediately.  But, a couple weeks later, I checked the weeds and there were more baby leaves coming up from the middle of each of them.  Dandelions have a pretty thick taproot so I wasn't surprised that it wasn't actually dead.  We haven't tried again, but I think if we make an effort to soak the roots and not just the leaves, it might work.

And on to pest #2:  APHIDS.  You know how much I hate them.  I really should have tackled them sooner, since my cauliflower plant is already starting to give me a nice cauliflower but hopefully my home made herbicide will take care of them before they ruin it.  Aphid-killing was my job in the garden when I was a kid.  My mom would give me a small spray bottle with slightly soapy water and I would go to town in the garden.  So even before I did my research on possible aphid killer recipes, I knew that it would include dish soap. 

After some looking here and there, I also decided to add some mineral oil.  The mixture I ended up making was mostly water, with a small squirt of eco dish soap and a couple tablespoons of mineral oil.  I just used it today so I'll let you know how it goes.  I hope it doesn't kill my plants.  I've read that it kills the aphids quickly so I may wash it off the plants tomorrow and reapply in a few days.  Oh, and if you want a link to some info, try this one.

Don't worry I made sure he put sunscreen on.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sunday Harvest

Sorry, I was too busy hula hooping on cliffs and floating rivers this weekend to post on time.  I hope you understand.

Exciting stuff this week:  kale, green beans, oyster mushrooms (the box decided to grow some more), and a zucchini.  We're getting more and more of the green beans each day, and the tomato plants all have little green babies on them.  I hope summer hangs on for long enough to turn them red!

Zucchini didn't make the photo shoot. Maybe next week.

That's not me, but pretend it is.

Hula hooping while admiring = an even better view.
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