Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Extended Gardening

Boy, am I glad for Hobby Farms magazine! They have an article this month about how to extend your growing season. They even have ways to extending it long enough so that you can have fresh lettuce and strawberries at Christmas! It would be nice to start earlier and have fresh produce longer. I'd love to do a cold frame.

As of right now I'm pressure canning beets and beans. It looks like my garden will be pretty much finished even before the frost.

It looks like this winter I'll be researching cold frames, staggered gardening (which I did a little of this year) and container gardening (since my tomatoes can't go in the garden next year due to blight.)

I've failed at container gardening in the past. I think it's because I couldn't get the proper balance between drainage and watering. Either the containers would become water-logged and moldy or they'd dry out.

I'm also still kicking around the idea of raising quail. The only problem is I want quail eggs. However, as it works, I'd get chicks in the spring and have to kill them all before winter (quail don't do well in the winters we have). They wouldn't get old enough to lay. Maybe I can convince hubby to let us have just a couple of chickens to "help reduce the tick population."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Preparing for a Difficult Winter

Hubby and I looked at dismal fields of corn and our own blight and rot problem in our garden and concluded that if we relied on local agriculture like in the old days, we'd be facing a famine. Regardless, it's pretty obvious that we're going to have a more difficult winter.

Weather-beaten crops prevent us from building up our pantry and will drive up food and gas prices. Work has slowed because of the economy and the meager ag crops. On top of that, we've had a very autumn-like summer with lots of rain and cooler temperatures. So, really going into autumn won't be very much like a change of pace. Usually, we face a sunny, dry, hot summer and when autumn comes, we welcome the change. This year, there's really been no change. Moods are dim. Health is waning. People are crankier.

Consequently, I'm brainstorming ways to keep things cheerful, especially Christmas. I'm also brainstorming ways to save and to gather what I can. Personally, I'd like to hermit most of the winter and avoid the one-after-the-other illnesses I face last year. And hopefully, 2010 will be a bumper crop year.

My tomatoes have blight badly. While they're loaded with big, green tomatoes, I'll be lucky to gather enough to make one jar of sauce. They so sick. I've learned that when I pull them up, I cannot compost them, but should bag them and throw them in the landfill. Also, I should not replant tomatoes in the garden next year. I'll have to container garden my tomatoes next year. That should help prevent the spread of the blight. This blight is similar to the potato famine blight.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Tour of My House

Here is my sun porch. I made that window seat by building a wood platform to sit on top of plastic totes of my seasonal and maternity clothing. Also, under the window seat is my rather large magazine collection. The desk belonged to my mother and is now my writing desk. To the right you'll see my sewing pile and sewing machine.

Here is my kitchen. I took it at night, so it's a bit dim. At the far end of the counterspace I have garden produce piled up. When harvest comes in the kitchen gets busy. That white flat thing on the countertop is my dehydrator. There are herbs in it.

Here is another view of my kitchen, my beloved hutch that I got on Craigslist for $70.00. The first basket on top is my fruit basket. It's housed up there when not in use. The other basket holds play dough. The top shelf hold part of my recipe book collection. The second, my teas, the third I like to keep clear for when I need a recipe book open. There is a glass cookie jar there. The drapy thing hanging towards the back is an apron.

Here is a view of the dining room/library. Oh, we have way more books than this.

The master bedroom. I so want to change the color of the walls, but I haven't decided yet. It's been 3 years and I still haven't decided! There is only a teeny tiny closet in this room that is used by my husband, so I made that closet (left hand side of picture) buy buying a freestanding unit, topping it with a slab of wood and hanging that gorgeous repro 18th century fabric I got for a steal at Walmart (before they got rid of their fabric department...grrrr).


The color of the walls is "Cornflower." I love it, though it does need repainting.

Living room. The black unit holds the TV, the brown chiffarobe holds art supplies, homeschool supplies, my exercise supplies, etc.

Another view of the living room. That's our "Big Mean Baby-Eating Pit Bull" in the lower right hand corner of the picture. We call her that because she's not any of it, but people think she is. Hubby's "throne" is that blue chair with the Queen Anne legs. It's actually a recliner. He wanted a recliner, but I couldn't stand any of the big, poofy monsters out there. We both love this one.

Another view of the dining room. This is my grandmother's hutch. I was so pleased when she offered it to me!

The kids' room. Daughter's crib is stripped because she had a poo poo during her nap and took her diaper off. Her bedding's being washed and I hadn't replaced it yet. Both kiddos had their turns in ripping down the wallpaper border, as you can see.

Thank the Lord the kiddos have a good-sized closet!

Another view of the kids' room.

My pantry space in the basement.

The kids' play area (a work in progress). It'll probably also be the main schooling area. It needs better lighting, though.

And here's my laundry area, also a work in progress.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Books On My Wish List

I saw these books at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY. They're on my wish list now.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Finding Time

I am simply amazed at how much I get accomplished when I simply don't turn the computer on in the morning. I'm only on now because I finished so many tasks and am taking a much needed break.

Break is over, though. Children are angry with each other.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

August already?!

August is always such a busy month for me with the harvest. It's nearly an every day process of picking and putting up. This is the month when all the local farms are open and offering all their delicious produce.

I decided I'm going to finish up the regimental coat and not take on any more sewing until after the bulk of the harvest is in. It's just too much work at once.