Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gardening As If Your Life Depends On It

Experiences from country living; self-sufficiency; Christian values; amateur-ham radio; a hard working good life; and Humor is the Essence of Survival.

Monday, June 22, 2015

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

Sheeple



The Black Sheep tries to warn its friends with the truth it has seen, unfortunately herd mentality kicks in for the Sheeple, and they run in fear from the black sheep and keep to the safety of their flock.

Having tried to no avail to awaken his peers, the Black Sheep have no other choice but to unite with each other and escape the impending doom.

What color Sheep are you?

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