Thursday, February 26, 2015

February Garden Checklist

I have to admit, February is a hard month for me.  It has been entirely too long since I have last dug my hands into my garden dirt.  In February everything is hard and frozen.  Nearly everything green is deep in a sleep and it is hard to see any life at all.   But, every now and then a beautiful day comes along just to tease me and make me antsy for spring.   The garden centers tease me by stocking their beautiful displays of seeds, bulbs and roots.  By the time February gets here I still have to wait another 6 or 8 weeks before I can plant anything in my garden.  Oh, the torture of waiting through February!

Oh wait! There is something I can plant in February...
Here is my checklist of things to do for the garden in February (zone 5):

  • Plant poppies and larkspurs outside, between snows.  Some seeds need the cold temperatures before they will germinate.
  • Plant a garden inside! I keep oregano, basil, chives, sage and rosemary growing in a window. Loose leaf lettuce varieties can be planted inside now as well.
  • Start the following indoors to be planted in the garden later: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, pansies and daisies.
  • Check your perennials for heaving.  This means that the roots are moving up out of the soil.  If they are you should cover them again with a good layer of dirt.
  • Prune your fruit trees.  I have an apple, pear and peach that all need pruned!
  • Draw out a plan for your gardens.  Decide where you want everything planted.
  • Order your seeds and start picking them up at the garden centers. Remember to grab extra for a fall planting.  Sometimes stores won't restock late in the summer.
  • Continue adding scraps to your compost pile.  Your garbage will be turning into black gold before you know it!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Price of Bacon - Part 1

Up at my brother's place, we are keeping 10 little piggies.  Well, for now they are little piggies.  The plan is to butcher two, keep 4 to breed and sell the rest.  Raising our own meat is a project we have really just begun.  So far, it isn't really cheaper, but the end product has been so much better than what we find in the grocery store. Plus, it is really good to know that the animals we are eating were raised in an environment that cares and respects them as a living being.  It is also wonderful that we can teach our children about where our food really comes from.  Hopefully, when it is time for them to provide for their own families, they will have the skills to do more than pick something up at a drive thru.

My brother has built a lovely little pig pen complete with a large feeder, a feed trough, water pan, a three-sided wooden shelter and a warm little hay shed to keep them warm.  The fence and gate are new, as is the trough and water pan.  The rest are things that he has either found used or already had on hand.  Scavenging items that are not brand new have really helped to keep the start up cost down.

The most expensive part of this little operation, our labor.  Of course, if we had a little more experience this wouldn't be so costly.
So far, the ice and snow has caused the most amount of labor.
Riding out in the bitter cold, wading through the snow and dumping the ice out of the water pan is work!
Getting a call that one of the little girls is sick, then heading over in the dark to sort her out, bring her to the barn and administer the medication, after setting up the heat lamp and straw to keep her warm, well that's work too.
Chasing 6 little pigs, so that they can be loaded up in the trailer and be taken to the vet to be castrated, is work! Especially when you do it the hard way, by literally chasing them around the pen, diving, jumping and getting your hat stolen by one of the little stinkers.
Then pulling that trailer too close to the gate, so that it is easier to unload the poor little castrated piggies, and then getting stuck in the slick mud, in your dad's truck, well that is a whole lotta work!  Work that involves pigs escaping the pen, running around and around the pen, keeping the pigs in the pen while the brother goes to get the tractor, and then pulling the truck out and then the trailer out so that the gate can finally be shut.  Next time we just need to use the tractor to begin with!  I can promise we burned off lots of bacon calories that day!

So far, the bacon has cost a little bit of money and a whole lot of work.  Work that is pretty fun, except for the running part, and the cold part.  But hey, that's the price of bacon.  And bacon is good.  Totally worth it!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

We are back at it!

Unfortunately our little blog hasn't seen too much action in the past year.  Mom and I have both been busy.  Crazy busy.  Seasons of change have kept us busy learning and growing and growing and learning.  We just haven't had the time to share it here. Recently we have been inspired to jump back on the horse, update our little blog and share with you some of the wonderful things we have been learning! Some of those things are directly related to the new page, Savannah Farm. My husband and I have been working on building our little piece of property into a little farm.  My little brother, just down the road from me, is working on the very same thing.  I hope you enjoy as we share our learning process with you.  Putting food on the table, that was grown right here at my own place is something I am very excited about.  It never ceases to amaze me how our Heavenly Father provides for us is such beautiful ways.  Planting a seed and then harvesting a fruit that was made to fuel and nourish and heal is a miracle that I am so thankful for and I am just tickled pick that He lets me be a part of it!