Thursday, July 10, 2008
Independence Challenge - Week 11
Planted: Acorn squash that might be might be too late, but the seeds were only 10 cents. There is a half-price sale at our favorite nursery on Friday, so I am waiting for that to fill in the other empty spaces for veggies and herbs.
I'm out of compost, so I tried fish emulsion fertilizer for the first time today. Wow, does that stink! And it made ME stink. I hope it works. My yard smells like a fish shop dumpster.
Last week's manual zucchini pollinating seems to have worked, and I will have new zukes soon. But it worries me that the bees were not numerous enough to pollinate. I am checking the other cucurbits to see if they need help. I see baby eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes. The Bee Balm out front is buzzing - I need to plant that closer to the veggie patch.
Harvested: The first cherry tomatoes! All of the yellow onions, which were smaller than I expected. DD11 pulled more of her carrots (above). Picked cherries, at Ontelaunee Orchards this time, 4 lbs of sour cherries and 10 lbs of sweet. Picked a lot of basil for pesto. Cut yarrow.
Preserved: Froze pesto cubes. Started yarrow in olive oil to make salve. Pitted and froze sour cherries to make jelly later.
Cooked: DH made Sausage Pie (like quiche with a butch name) for dinner, and a ham quiche. Leftovers were great the next morning. Made Cherry Custard Pie, which we have eaten before, but not made for ourselves. I like it better than the usual two-crust pie. We seem to be in a Pie Phase.
Managed: Stocked canning jars, cinnamon, pinto beans, cooking oil, salt, Q-tips, shampoo, borax. An iced tea spill in the kitchen led me to move and reorganize my temporary reserve pile, when I saw how easily it could have been ruined. DH sounded interested in putting together a bucket system. The geekiness of color-coded gamma lids and oxygen absorbers appealed to him. For now, everything is in plastic tubs under the table.
Made a food storage goal list for 3 months, adapted from Sharon's list. I want to have a year eventually, but it is more manageable to start with 3 months and be eating out of it. I was able to check off some items right away, which felt good. Had everyone specify three personal treats to include, which ranged from licorice to cigarettes. Included a few luxury items with long shelf life, like coffee, cigars, and liquor, as a possible future trade reserve.
Reduced, Reused, Recycled: My mother gave me a water bath canner from her cellar. Yay! That saved me buying one. I am watching for a pressure canner at yard sales and auctions. Mom also trash-picked some large planters for me.
Got a $95 water bill shock this month. Watering the garden, I assume, since the laundering, showering, and dish-washing were at the normal level. Our house rent was raised a bit. Only 5%, but the "rising prices" excuse seems hollow, since we pay all the utilities. I SO wish we were permitted to divert the downspouts to catch rain. The front one goes right under the pavement into the storm sewer. The back one is pop-riveted to straps right down to the sidewalk, where it drains out to the alley on the pavement. What a waste. I am starting to eyeball the neighbors' guttering...
Local: The containers I planted with the girl up the street look good - baby tomatoes are showing (above). I talked to her mother, who wants to plant more next year, and asked me if I know how to can. I am going to find out if we can organize a canning class with the help of our Cooperative Extension agent.
Learned: About the medicinal uses of yarrow from herbalist Lisa Zahn, and am collecting the materials to make tinctures and salves. I need to get some grain alcohol from the liquor store.
Signed up for an internet-based course about 'Adapting in Place' in August. I am thinking of my mother's and brother's houses. Both have suburban land, but Mom is too frail to garden seriously, and Bro is terribly anti-garden about his half-acre of riding-mower grass. If things get ugly fast, farming his sunny lot would be easier than anyone else's, and at least I can have a plan for that. I don't know where we will be living in a year, but I will be better prepared to choose an adaptable residence.
Library: Naught. Still saving my pennies for the upcoming AAUW book sale.