It’s the middle of July, temps are above 100°F, and it has rained around an inch in the last month. On the bright side, this weather is making for some great pepper growing conditions, tomatoes are ripening all around, and the sweet corn are popping up with beautiful tassels. We’ve also got sumac, elder, and blackberries coming in bushels.
So… it’s been awhile. Operation Food is still underway, and has made much progress. Since I last wrote we have tilled, manured, planted, and set up a watering system for the gardens. Although, not automatic (yet), the system we have in place requires little effort and ZERO hose maneuvering, which I’m ecstatic about! We’ve also acquired four pigs, and twenty-six chickens. We’ve built a chicken tractor, gotten our property line guarded by barbed wire and electric strands, and created a pig training area. Did I mention I also raised a litter of Great Pyrenees puppies?
Suburbia is used to perfectly tailored gardens with a nice row of cut evergreens, uniform lawns, and vibrant flowers with colored mulch. So it’s a given that many “Suburbanites” aren’t so fond of growing food in the context of permaculture and forest gardening. It doesn’t “fit in” to the suburban landscape. It is my opinion, though, that both things can be accomplished. Maybe a little less lawn, a little more work, but all very worth it. With a little compromise, one can have vibrant flowers, colored mulch, and most of it you could eat! Continue reading “Mixing Edibility With Elegance”
We’re embarking upon, what I hope, will be a big step to becoming responsible for our own food supply. We’ve been learning all we can about different food preservation methods. With the hopes to be able to store much, if not all, of our yearly supply without the use of freezing or refrigeration, and with minimal canning. Fermentation, drying/dehydrating, and curing are methods that were used long before the convenience of HVAC technology. And at least in the case of fermentation, they preserve and even enhance the nutritional quality.
We’ve also spent much time studying exactly how we’re going to grow enough food to feed a family of four for a year. Looking to others for wisdom through books such as Gaia’s Garden, Restoration Agriculture, Edible Forest Gardens, etc.., and watching homesteader upon homesteader on YouTube, we want to try it all! After taking the information into consideration, and putting in much thought, we’ve decided to incorporate various ideas from multiple sources. Continue reading “Operation Food for the 2017 Growing Season is Underway…”
Recently there were hundreds of black walnuts falling from the tree in our back yard. Collecting and processing can be a messy, time consuming job when done by hand. Hands and a hammer were all I had to work with this time though, so I’ve only finished washing and curing about 300 of them for storage. I’d guess that there are almost a thousand more, currently sitting on the lawn collecting leaves and waiting for me to get to them. All from just one tree. The work, in my opinion, is well worth the product. My daughter compares the raw nuts to a banana and roasted they take on a fluffier texture with, more of what people think of as, a nutty flavor. You can make walnut butter, walnut flour, and from the hulls you can make a dye or stain. (I’m hoping to do some more experimentation using the byproduct as a wood stain and write a post about that. The first test came out quite well and even gave the wood a glossy feeling.) Continue reading “Black Walnut (Juglans Nigra)”