Monday, May 28, 2012

Independence Days Challenge...These are the long days...

Indeed. These are the long days. I wake early in the morning. While the rest of the household is preparing for their day I am outside, in the garden, with my little enameled bowl , collecting the first hints of harvest. This time of year it is herbs and rhubarb. There is still dew on the grass. The dawn chorus has completed but the there is still song in the air. A slight breeze sings through the trees as I follow the call of the robin, stealing straw mulch for its nest. A frog lives in the ditch near the house. I can hear it croak its come hither.

I've been doing this homesteading thang' for a few years now and I have learned a few lessons along the way. The most important is that an investment takes time to mature. We are into our second year on this particular land I have learned more about the investment in the land this past spring than I have in all the years we have been living this life. Each layer of mulch, each application of wood ash or lime or compost is an investment on the soil that will reap its benefits in years to come. Good tilth is an investment in the future. Plants are bigger and greener than they were this time last year. There is still some issue with soil. Uneven growth but I think that we can get that worked out this year.

Plant:  potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, summer cabbage, rutabaga, cleavers, more bunching onions, more beets, more carrots, marigold, painted mountain corn ( for corn meal) black coco dry beans, Kentucky wonder beans, marina di choigga pumpkin, butternut squash, acorn squash, butter cup squash.

Harvest: Bee Balm, rhubarb, black raspberry leaf, chickweed, dandelion root, catnip, mint, spinach, blood root, elecampane.

Preserve: 1 quart frozen spinach, 2 quarts frozen rhubarb, 4 pints rhubarb chutney, 1 quart blackberry leaf, 1 quart bee balm tea, 1 quart cat nip.

Local foods:Eggs, local milk, tomato plants, local chicken

Eat the food: Still eating sorrel. First green salads with a mix of lettuce, spinach, borage, kale and wild greens such as dandelion, chickweed and wild lettuce.

Waste not: Mucking out the last of the sheep pens. The girls ( the new girls have arrived) and boy are eating from pasture now. We are scything up grass from the orchard for them to eat when they are not on pasture. I planted painted mountain corn this year. It is a dry corn that I hope to grow for cornmeal/flour this year. It should be easy to save seed from this corn for next year.

Want not: Mark finished shearing the sheep for a friend which is how we got our new sheep; a ramboulett  (derived from merino) and a corriedale cross. I will have photos of the new girls tomorrow. I returned to the wild herb class this spring with a walk instead of just a lecture. I love this learning. As much as I have so many other interests to pursue; learning about the food and healing herbs underneath our feet is really exciting to me. I love adding new herbs to my garden every year. But some of those herbs are not native to our own state. Rhonda, my teacher, is full of knowledge about what is available right here, growing wild,  every ear. Each year I choose a few herbs and wild crafted greens that will build on the knowledge I already know. If you don't use it you lose it.

Learn something new: herb class.

No comments: