What’s Growin’ in the Garden 2

Interesting that I was thinking of doing a garden update today since we had rain forecast. I have some pictures from May 25th and was going to add a few more today. Well, it is raining. We had and inch of rain in five minutes, then ended up with 2″ in about 30 minutes and it arrived with 25MPH winds. Here are some pictures from the porch.

Our creek has extended into the backyard.

North side of the house, water running, now the corn is facing west laying over.

Our new creek through the turnip bed.

Lots of water – this is normally dry

I won’t know if there is any permanent damage for a few days and will let you know about that in the next update. Message for me – always plan for the unexpected. Always…..always.

Here are a few comparisons from the last article. Then pictures and comments about what’s growing out there – or was – or maybe is still growing. Time will tell.
 

April 22nd

May 25th

We are still using coffee grounds for acidity around some plants, these were for the blueberries. The eggs shells have made their way around the base of all squashes and tomatoes, so these were given to the peppers.

 

 

Pinto beans

The pinto beans are doing well and I have learned something. They vine like pole beans. I thought they were a bush bean, but they look just like the Missouri Wonders, except they don’t have a trellis to grow on. Another thing we’ve noticed is that some of them appear to have the same type of curly top problem some of the tomatoes have. Because of that I think the person that commented about the soil being too fertile is probably right. Some of the beans look great and some of them are wrinkled up. Another good learning experience.



Missouri Wonder green beans next to the pinto beans


While we are in this corner of the garden, here are the two apple trees. In the past we have harvested about 20 apples altogether in the seven or eight years these trees have been here. This year there are many apples. We hope they remain on the trees long enough to ripen and harvest. I’m wondering if I will have enough to can a few which leads me to pondering the best way to do that without any added sugar or other ingredients. Any ideas?

Comfrey by the apples. The chickens get a handful each morning.

Sunflowers are planted at the end of each trellis and here and there in a couple of other places.

 I told you about the potatoes Frank bought for me in the last article. Well, right after we planted them it rained and rained and rained. Four plants survived the wet soil. They look healthy and vigorous, though, so we will see what kind of harvest we get.


We have had a few meals of the first small yellow crook neck squash. There is nothing like those first few meals, they always taste so good. Soon we will be overrun with too many, but that’s not such a bad problem to have. We can always share with the chickens. We lost a few winter squash and one yellow squash plant to vine borers before I got the wood ashes around the base of the plants. I’ll put some more out after this rainy week passes.


The carrots, and all of the surrounding weeds and crabgrass, are doing very well. I started the carrot seedlings in pot makers again this year which makes all the difference. They get a good head start and produce much better than direct seeding.

 

Our winter squash this year is Thelma Sanders which is a type of acorn squash, along with some seeds we saved last year. They are a mixture of five different winter squashes we grew last summer. We’ll see what they produce.

 

There are a few pots of nasturtiums, marjoram and basil here and there throughout the garden.

 
The Japanese beetles really like the amaranth. Even so, it is growing well.

 The beets are doing well this year due to being seedlings in pot makers just like the carrots. I hope to can some this year.

The okra has not liked the cool, rainy weather. It is very slowly coming along.

The corn is doing okay. The 2008 Painted Mountain seed germinated very well, much to our surprise. It has tasseled first when the open pollinated sweet corn has barely begun. We hoped to cross pollinate them, but that won’t be happening since the timing is off. And now, after the rain and wind, we’ll have to see if any makes at all.

 


Our experimental patch of sorghum is coming up. It will be very interesting to see how it does, along with the amaranth. We’re curious about the harvest, the labor involved and how we can add these to our diet. Learning, just can’t do without it. There is always something to learn.

That small patch of dirt back there is the sorghum.

 

I planted some lettuce in pots on the porch to see if we can have some through most of the summer. Another experiment. This pot has a marigold coming up in it along with the Romaine.

What is surprising is how much the garden has grown in the last week since these pictures were taken. We’ve had sunshine and many things are really taking off. I realized when looking through these pictures that there aren’t any of the tomatoes, but they’re out there, along both sides of the carrots.
 
Well, that’s it for now. We hear thunder not too far off and there is more rain on the way. Just hope it doesn’t have any hail or high winds with it this time.

How are things growing in your neck of the woods?

Until next time – Fern

P.S. We have a question. Do any of you have experience with a corded electric tiller? We are reviewing this one. Please tell us what you think or if you have other recommendations. I have a Mantis and it works fine, but it just won’t till. It is a cultivator, not a tiller. I need something vastly smaller than the tractor with the tiller attachment to help take care of some of these weeds. Please tell us what you think. Your thoughts are appreciated.

What’s Growin’ in the Garden 1

Frank had a good idea earlier in the year. We’re going to be showing a time lapse of the garden growth as the season goes along. Harvests and production rates will be noted as well as any difficulties we encounter along the way. In the long run, this will probably be more useful to us, but we hope you find something of interest along the way.

Last year we had a real problem with mosaic virus. Not only did it affect our green beans and Jacob’s Cattle beans (a shell variety like pintos), it affected the tomatoes as well. Not in time to affect last year’s growth and harvest, but hopefully to have a good impact for this year, we applied nematodes. Lots of them. Aribco Organics is a place I have found for beneficial insects. We applied nematodes from them about four or five years ago for slugs and it worked great, I rarely see a slug

in the garden. Well, last year we also started a strawberry bed that seemed to be doing well until later in the season when some of the plants started having brown leaves and dying. The only thing I could find in any of my books was a type of virus and the recommendation was to kill all the plants and move the bed somewhere else. We didn’t want to do that, so they got a healthy dose of nematodes as well. The three pack of various nematodes affects a wide variety of garden pests, so that is what we used. It takes a while for the nematodes to multiply and affect the health of the soil, so we’ll see how it goes. Nematodes are a natural part of the soil which will continue reproduce and become part of the soil as long as nothing comes along to affect the population. There are beneficial and ‘pest’ nematodes that can help or hurt the growth of garden plants.

March 31st

Winter spinach in the back porch bed

Freshly tilled dirt

April 10th
Time to clear some brush from the fence row

Apple blossoms

Turnips blooming and going to seed after spending the winter in the garden
April 12th

Brush removed, tilling complete

Trellises in place for tomatoes, beans and peppers

April 19th
Tomatoes by the trellis, pots of basil, carrots down the middle

Mostly dirt, but lots of potential!
April 22nd

The corn is peaking out.

It’s all planted. Whew! The greenhouse is now empty and in need of a good cleaning. We’ve planted around rain showers and muddy ground. Luckily, we’ve had some pretty windy weather in between that has allowed us to keep planting. I could keep adding more and more pictures and updates, but I’ll take up here with the next garden edition.

Now, we wait. As always we hope to have abundant harvests with lots to eat fresh and even more to put in jars on the shelf. As of today the plantings have included: corn, okra, Thelma Sanders and Cushaw winter squashes, amaranth, beets, tomatoes, carrots, basil, zinnas, nasturtiums, yellow squash, pole green beans, peppers – sweet, bell, banana, jalapeno and our cross pollinated surprise peppers, sunflowers, pinto beans, lettuce, cress, turnips and swiss chard. I think that’s everything.

The strawberries are blooming and have lots of green berries. We hope they continue through the season.

Has anyone grown amaranth? If so, any pointers? We hope to be able to harvest leaves and grain. Another new adventure in gardening and nutrition.

How are things growing in your neck of the woods? We hope your harvest is abundant and your shelves are blessed with many jars.

Until next time – Fern

P.S. Frank bought me a surprise bag of red potatoes yesterday to plant. We had planned on picking up some seed potatoes at the feed store a while back but never made it. The potatoes we saved from last year sprouted a long time ago. They look like some extreme, wild hairdo with long straggly sprouts. Frank was at the store yesterday while I was visiting my mom at the nursing home and spied a bag of red potatoes with lots of eyes. Thus, my surprise. 

After the rain showers pass in a few days, we will have one more addition to squeeze in out there. We plan out our garden with annual maps for rotation and companion planting. After the potato surprise yesterday I got out the map and my Tomatoes Love Carrots book to check for companion placement for the new addition. It’s already pretty crowded out there, but we have a place to squeeze them in. If you looked at the garden now, you might not consider all of that dirt crowded. Just wait about a month or two and you’ll wonder where we walk to harvest and get around.

Some wives want flowers, I wanted potatoes to plant. It’s a great life!
 


Simple Meals

We have found our meals getting smaller and simpler as time goes by. Part of that is age, we just can’t eat as much as we used to and we don’t need to because we burn fewer calories, otherwise it is a matter of choice. I have found myself using fewer ingredients and trying to incorporate what we grow or store in almost all of our meals. We buy some things – olive oil, apples, carrots, onions, cabbage, occasional eggs, milk when the goats are dry. We buy wheat, oats and flax in bulk buckets. But there’s not really much else we buy. Coffee, we definitely buy coffee, for we are daily coffee drinkers. 

After I thought about it a while I realized that if we do experience a collapse, everyone will be eating much simpler meals made out of what is on hand. So our advice is to have on hand what you want to and can eat. Some folks have dietary restrictions because of their health, that is something to plan ahead for. Part of what we eat is to keep our bodies regular and provide adequate energy and nutrition. We have found that most people find our meals lacking enough items, ingredients or flavor, and that’s okay. We truly believe everyone should have the freedom to choose, whether it is meals, location, weapons, vehicles or religion. This is the way we choose.

Here are a few of the meals we eat regularly. Sometimes they are like this, sometimes there are variations of the same theme. I didn’t take a picture, but the other day we had a quarter pound ground pork burger on one of our sourdough buns with a slice of onion. Frank has mayonnaise and I have mustard. The side dish was a bowl of turnip greens. Different? Probably. Good? We like it.

 
Ground pork from the pigs that are no longer with us, eggs and salsa we canned last summer.

 

Okra we grew last summer and froze whole after washing. We slice and saute it in olive oil with salt and pepper. The purple hull peas were grown and canned in 2017.

 
Spam and cabbage, both store bought. Yes, Spam. We consider it part of our meat food storage and keep a good quantity on the shelf. We buy a head of cabbage about once a month and eat on it until it’s gone, usually over three or four meals.

We eat greens regularly and keep a good stock on the shelf. We prefer our own turnip greens, but have others just in case we need or want them. We had quite a few comments and questions about turnip greens recently, so I was going to do an article about the nutritional benefits until I realized I had already done one. You can find it here, The Nutrition of Turnips & Turnip Greens. What we do differently now than when we wrote the previous article, is a serving of greens is simply water, salt and greens. We drink the water after eating the greens for the nutrients it contains.

Soup. Frozen tomatoes, cowpeas, cabbage and peppers. Canned green beans and squash. Ground pork, carrots, onions.

We are slowly using up some of the things we froze last summer. This batch of soup provides us four meals, some we eat fresh and some we freeze for later.
 

We have made a number of variations of the meat pie.

This version is made with our canned chicken, salsa, frozen peppers, cheddar, sourdough starter and store bought onions. It’s okay, but we like it better with ground pork instead of chicken.


This meals takes little effort at this point. Turnip greens and Jacob’s cattle beans. The tape measure was part of Frank’s meal, um….. humor…. for this picture. Does this food taste wonderful? No, not really. We eat it for the nutrition and the taste is okay, but nothing great.

 

 

Think about simple. Think about how your meals would change if the SHTF. How would your diet change? What choices would you have? Are you used to eating what you would then be forced to eat? Would it make you sick? Can you afford to be sick in that situation?

Our diet is the way it is by choice. We like it that way. It’s interesting to think it may benefit us if the world continues to spiral down into the abyss we seem to be forced to march a little closer to everyday. Eat what you store. Store what you eat.

Until next time – Fern

Canning the Garden & Other Stuff

It is HOT! Sorry to yell, but it really is hot here. There are some clouds forming and we might get some much needed rain, even though there’s not a great chance of it. We had record rainfall in the spring, but with these hot temperatures, we are definitely in need of more. Since the afternoons are way to hot to work outside, we have been canning up a storm, not everyday, but more often than not lately.

We finally finished canning the four bushels of peaches we bought. We broke about four or five jars by trying to put them into a hot water bath we had just taken a load out of. I was thinking that since we were putting boiling water over the peaches they would be fine. They were not. Room temperature peaches and boiling water isn’t really all that hot. The last batch of peaches we heated up and didn’t lose a jar. Lesson learned. 

Peach sauce on the left, then plums and garlic

We made a batch of peach sauce from a recommendation in one of the comments we received. Thank you! It was simple, it just took a few days of simmering to cook it down to the consistency we wanted. Wash the peaches, pit, cut out any bruises or bad spots, cut up and cook it down. That’s it. We did add some fruit fresh to prevent darkening, but the sauce does darken some naturally as you cook it down and run it through the water bath. From a half bushel of peaches we ended up with 11 pints. I like the idea of including the peels instead of taking them off. Has anyone canned peach slices with the peel on? I wonder if that would work? I know there are nutrients in the peel just like with apples and potatoes. I may try it next time.

We have continued to can our Cushaw and Buttercup winter squashes because the ones we’ve picked so far aren’t keeping well. They developed during the really wet weather and are getting soft spots or outright starting to rot already. 

We have one hill of yellow squash left alive that the squash bugs haven’t killed. I probably squished about 30 bugs this morning. I have also sprayed them with a water, baking soda, Dawn soap combination followed by a dose of diatomaceous earth. They have killed all of the Buttercup winter squash and are working on the Cushaw. This morning I planted more of all three kinds of squash in an attempt to grow a fall crop. We will see how they do.

 

We get enough cowpeas to can about once a week for now. Once the new patch of peas starts producing we will have many more. After we fill the shelf with all we want we will start drying them to use for winter feed for the goats, pigs and chickens. 

We haven’t canned very many green beans, and I was hoping for about 70 or 80 pints at least. The leaves on most of the plants look like lace from the beetles and worms. What a year for bugs. I will be planting more beans in an attempt to get a fall crop from them as well. We plan to disc up quite a bit of the garden tomorrow so I can start planting turnips, carrots, potatoes, green beans, beets and I’m not sure what else. Some of these crops will do well after a frost and some won’t. I will start some cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprout seedlings before long as well.

We tried our ‘new’ canner that we had problems with again, we found out it is a 2008 model, and it still leaks around the lid. After two calls to the factory the technician recommended we go over the seal with some ‘000’ steel wool and lubricate it with olive oil instead of Vaseline. When we started using our first All American the recommendation was Vaseline, now they are finding the lid sticks less with olive oil. We have yet to try this out, but will let you know how it goes when we do.

In the meantime we got out our tertiary All American and it works great. You know the saying, three is two, two is one, and one is none? That’s why we have three canners, two of which had never been out of the box until a few days ago. Since I have been very serious about filling our shelves with food this summer, it was time to get out a second canner so I can run both of them at the same time. It saves a lot of time. Like today.

We have some old pinto beans that are getting hard to cook. It takes a long time. So I decided to put a big batch on the stove last night and cook them for a while, let them soak overnight, cook them for a few hours this morning, then can them in pints. Well, there were a little more than 32 pints, so we will eat some for supper as well. Our model 921 All American canners hold 16 pints, and I would highly recommend them. As we were putting these beans in the canner, Frank made a great recommendation. The next time we are at the big box store, we’ll pick up a 50 lb. bag of pinto beans to can. Then, if the time comes that we need to eat these old beans, we will, but for now, we’ll use fresh ones. We can always grind the old beans into flour as another way of accessing the nutrition they contain.

So far, our canning efforts this summer have produced this yield.

  •  7 pints of green beans
  • 20 pints of yellow squash

  •  5 pints of beets
  • 10 pints of carrots
  • 12 pints of cowpeas
  • 11 pints of peach sauce
  •  7 pints of plums
  • 16 pints of minced garlic
  • 68 quarts of peaches
  • 34 quarts of winter squash

The canned minced garlic turned out fine even though it browned as we canned it. The texture is very soft, not really a minced texture anymore, but it smells fine and works well cooked into a dish. I look forward to using it and may do another batch, just to have it on the shelf. I have neglected to include enough garlic in our diets, and this has turned out to be a good option for me.

I’m glad we have put up this much food, but it really isn’t very much food if I stop and look at it. If we were to have to depend upon what we are stocking away as our sole source of nutrition, we would be in trouble. Big trouble. So, I will keep trying to add as many things to the shelves as I can. Before long our oldest baby chickens will be ready to butcher. We will freeze a few for

convenience and because we like fried chicken, but many of them will end up in a jar on the shelf along with some chicken broth. We still have wethers that should have been butchered long ago out grazing in the pasture. They will probably wait until fall. They’ve waited this long, what’s another month or two? Some of that meat will also end up in jars on the shelf. And then there are the two barrows, castrated pigs, that are wondering around in another pasture. In time, they will make their way into the freezer and into jars on the shelf. That will help with our preserved food supply. I still count them now even though they are still out there walking around. I call them meat on the hoof, or I guess in the case of the birds, meat on the foot.

It is a good summer. There is much to do everyday. Do we get it all done? No, not even close. But what we don’t get done one day waits for us the next day. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it? Things just don’t get done by themselves. We find it hard to prioritize things sometimes since there are a number of things that need our attention. The squash bugs really got the upper hand while I was canning peaches. I noticed this morning that some of my elderberries have already ripened and disappeared, probably into the mouth of a bird. I want to make some elderberry syrup this summer since it’s so good for colds. Yet another thing to put on the list. Then I wanted to check on the apple tree next door, and then……..

This thing we all feel coming gets closer everyday, do all you can to be ready.

Until next time – Fern
 

Gardening As If Your Life Depends On It

You may remember the article a week or so back titled, Survival Gardening Scenario. Well folks, the reason I wrote that is because I truly feel like we are living out that scenario in real life right now. There are so many indicators of catastrophic events that are almost on our doorstep, that I feel a great sense of urgency to

continue planting and growing as much food for Frank and I, as well as some for our animals, as I can. Normally I would not be turning new ground and planting new crops at the end of June. By now the summer is heating up and it’s much easier to sit in the house in the heat of the day, nice and cool in an air conditioned building, sipping coffee and reading this and that on the internet. But this is not the case on our homestead this year. Frank is pursuing completion of a number of projects as quickly as he can. Not only will these projects provide us with water, food, and comfort, they are investments in our survival. We can keep the money in the bank and lose it all in the coming world wide financial meltdown, or we can invest it in ways that will make our survival physically easier for us when the time comes.

We realize that not everyone is able to grow a garden because of location, physical limitations or restrictions where they live. There are other ways of insuring an adequate food supply for your family if you are in this situation. Please consider the message of this article in whatever situation you find yourself.

I want to share an article that Micheal Snyder, from The Economic Collapse, published today titled Lindsey Williams, Martin Armstrong and Alex Jones All Warn About What Is Coming In The Fall of 2015. I strongly recommend you read it and watch the videos. This is just one source of warning among many that the thin, fragile fabric that holds our world together is unraveling at an alarming pace. Mr. Snyder begins his article with these words. “Not since the financial crash of 2008 have so many prominent people issued such urgent warnings about a specific time period.  Almost daily now, really big names are coming out with chilling predictions about what they believe is going to happen during the second half of 2015.  But it isn’t just that these people have a “bad feeling” about things.  The truth is that we are witnessing a confluence of circumstances and events in the second half of this year that is unprecedented.  This is something that I covered in a previous article that went mega-viral all over the Internet entitled “7 Key Events That Are Going To Happen By The End Of September“.  Personally, I have never been more concerned about any period of time than I am about the second half of 2015.  And as you will see below, I am definitely not alone.

So, with all of that said, here is how our garden is doing. Over the past few days I have made a substantial dent in the crabgrass and weed population

out there. I recently had a phone call from a gardening friend that also feels a great sense of urgency about producing as much food as she can this summer. Last summer both she and I were hopelessly overwhelmed by the weeds that overtook parts of our gardens. The other day she proudly announced that she was keeping on top of the weeds and continuing to plant more and more. When her teenager asked why they had to plant so much, she was told to think of it as the only food they would have to eat for the winter. Chilling statement? I don’t think so. I think it is wise council. Well, I can’t say all of the weeds and grass are gone, but I have made some very good progress. Here is a run down of most of our crops.

A couple of days ago I harvested five smallish heads of cabbage and shredded them for another batch of sauerkraut. It wasn’t enough so I added one store bought head to fill up the crock. We took the kraut that was in the crock out and filled up four quart jars which are now being stored in a dark corner of the pantry. I’m sorry, but I didn’t take any pictures of the harvest or processing. Honestly, I have been doing a lot of things lately that I haven’t taken the time to take pictures for you. Until we started blogging I was never much of a picture taker, and now I feel guilty if I forget to take some for the blog. When I was out planting today, I stopped and came in and got the camera just so you would have something to look at in this post. Over the next few days I will start pulling the rest of the broccoli and cabbage plants and feeding them to the chickens, goats and pigs. Surprisingly, two of the broccoli plants finally put on small heads last week. Having broccoli produce heads in the hot summer of June is really unheard of here. It’s been a weird weather year. And yet, if you read Patrice Lewis over at Rural Revolution, you will find that late summer events are already happening in northern Idaho. Leigh at 5 Acres & A Dream is also having very dry weather over by the Appalachians, which has affected her garden. Weird weather all around the country.

 

The cowpeas are really producing. They are much happier now that they have been released from their overcrowded condition caused by a tremendous amount of crabgrass. This particular section was really overgrown and I feel much better now that I have it weeded.

The okra I replanted for the third time, between the rows of cowpeas are growing very well. And now that this area is weeded, they should really take off in this hot weather they prefer.

 

Our Cushaw squash is growing and producing very well. A few plants have died due to squash vine borers or rotting. I will replant these hills tomorrow to increase our yield. They are prolific here, which is great. They are good keepers and provide a lot of nutrition for both humans and animals.

 

 

We had our first mess of green beans last week. These plants are doing well. I am trying a new variety this year called the Missouri Wonder Bean. We’ll let you know what we think.

 
We have carrots growing here and there. Some by the collards and turnips, some on either side of the tomato trellis and some on either side of the green bean trellis. I think we will have a good amount to can this summer, which is very good.

 

 

Some of our yellow squash plants are doing well, and some aren’t. We have lost more of this variety than the others, so I will be replanting them as well. I would like to can as many pints as possible. I have canned squash for a couple of summers now and find them tasty and easy to use in many different dishes. We have been eating fresh squash for several weeks now, sauteed in butter with salt and pepper. It’s great!


Our tomatoes are doing good. This is another crop we will use to fill as many jars as we can. We will can plain tomatoes and salsa, which is what we use the most. An aside here. Last week we made chili from the tomato sauce we canned two years ago. You know what? It tasted sweet, even though we added no sweeteners at all. Since we have been on our low carb diet for over six months with no sugar at all, we were very surprised to find that the tomato sauce tasted sweet. Interesting.

We are growing Buttercup winter squash this year again. We have had good luck with them in the past, but not so this year. There are a few of them growing, but that’s it. It’s too bad too, because Buttercup tastes a lot like a sweet potato and they’re very good keepers. It looks like Cushaw will be the main winter squash crop.

The peppers I planted are finally growing, even though I lost a few more. I did buy two Jalapeno pepper plants just to make sure we had some. Since the cats stirred up the pepper plants like spaghetti before I got them planted, I’m not exactly sure what kind I have out here. I’m kinda sure that there are a few sweet pepper plants, Corno di Toro Red, a sweet Italian bullhorn that we really like, because they were the biggest plants in the tub before the cats got hold of them.

We still have beets growing here and there. I planted three short rows of beets, collards and spinach a few days ago since we don’t have enough of them. I also wanted to see how the collards will do in the hot summer. 

I pulled up about a quarter of the turnip patch the other day, then blanched and froze the greens. But first, I had to sort out all of the grass, weeds and bug eaten leaves. Sorry, no pictures. I will see if I can get the rest of them frozen this week. Then we will put up a trellis and plant more green beans.

The pinto beans in the new part of the garden are doing okay, but not great. They need to be weeded. In the next few days Frank is going to disc either side of this trellis again and I will be planting peanuts. It’s something we like to eat and they will help improve the soil in this new area of the garden.

I got out our Mantis tiller and worked over this end of the new garden section. I know it will be extra weedy and don’t expect the plants to do as well as the ones in the main garden, but I’m very, very glad we increased the size of our garden this year. Today I planted sunflowers and cowpeas. The purple hull peas we are growing vine out more than the black eyes we grew a few years ago. So this year I am trying to give them something to climb on. Here I planted cowpeas on either side of a row of sunflowers. We’ll see how that works.

This afternoon Frank brought down an old bale of hay for me to use as mulch in the garden. Now that I just about have a handle on the weeds, I will be mulching throughout the garden. This will help retain moisture, cool the roots of the plants in the hot summer, and help with weed control.

Next week as the barn lean-to project progresses, we will be working on the new garden area in the pasture again. It was put on hold because of all of the rain, then delayed again while we have the lean-to built onto the barn. I will be planting a variety of things in that pasture. The vegetables will have lots of competition with the weeds, and I won’t have as much time to tend that garden as the main one, so we will see how it produces. We will try to employ more hay mulch in this garden as well.

After the barn project is complete, the next project on the list is our greenhouse. I am very excited about this because it will provide us with the ability to grow food year round. We have never had a greenhouse or tried to grow food through the winter, so this will be a big learning curve for us. I already have a number of books and some supplies, but I’m sure there will be more to things to get that we haven’t thought of yet. I’ll take pictures of the process and explain our plans and reasoning behind them as the project unfolds.

There are many people that dismiss articles such as the one from Michael Snyder as doom and gloom. There are folks that make fun of preppers and homesteaders for the life style they have chosen to live. There are folks that accuse anyone that tries to prepare for a natural disaster or world wide calamity of being kin to Chicken Little running around exclaiming, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” I agree with what Mr. Snyder said at the end of his article. If only it wasn’t so. If only we could keep sitting back in our air conditioned environment reading nice, comfy articles from the news and our blogger friends. But I truly believe it just ain’t gonna be so. There are too many different indicators that things are coming to a head. That our government is doing everything within it’s powers, which grow more everyday, to bring our country to it’s knees, negate any miniscule bit of freedom we have left and make our slavery to it’s wants, needs and desires complete. There are whisperings of war, World War, on the wind from different locations on the globe. The tensions among racial, ethnic and religious groups around the world are escalating in a way we haven’t seen or experienced before. The planet is like a giant powder keg just waiting for the perfect spark which will ignite a firestorm like we have never seen.

So, am I full of gloom and doom, shouting warnings about events that will never come to pass? Do I really need to be out there sweating and working like this food may mean life and death for Frank and I? Is it all for naught? I can only pray with all my heart that it is so.

Until next time – Fern