The start of our summer this year

No new updates really. We have completed the main garden. The next thing in my list is to order several bales of hay to cover the garden. Weed control. I am not going to have much time to sit in the garden and weed this year with a baby on board.

Besides, we can till the straws in next year, and they'll make ready made compost in the soil.

When it is all said and done, this year's garden is only one row less than last years. So much for cutting down! Not that I mind, really. I love it. It is satisfying during harvest time. It is great to be halfway self sufficient on food.

Speaking of being self sufficient.

We were talking about gardening and everything else. I brought up a question about raising chickens for eggs. We think the township is ok with having hens but not rooster. Husband brought up the argument that we both have full time jobs, and me working at home full time WHILE having the kids underfoot. It might be a bit much to do at the moment. Plus the upstart cost. He is right. I don't know what I can shift on my plate at the moment to take care of the chickens, too.

It is something I am interested in doing someday. My parents did it when I was growing up. We have a chicken coop in the backyard. We had fresh egg. We had little baby chicks. We had fresh chicken meat. It was great.

Moving on.

On to another self sufficient quest. I have used up all the strawberries we picked last week. I have several quarts and pints of freezer jam, several half pints of syrup and a gallon bag of frozen berries. The kids loved munching on the rest. I have an itty bitty left in the fridge for munching.

We were planning on picking more today but we ended up just working around the house. I am planning on going tomorrow with the older kids. We'll go after work. I want to make a batch of strawberry rhubarb jam and strawberry kiwi jam. and more frozen berries.

I cannot wait for raspberry and blueberry seasons.

Speaking of raspberry and blueberry, our plants in the yards are doing well this year. The blueberry plant is still growing. I don't think it will bear any fruit this year. We planted the started last year and it survived the winter. We have fruits coming out of the raspberry plant!! It would heavenly to be able to pick some raspberry right in our yard. We haven't sprayed the plants with anything yet. Don't think we will.

On to yet another self-sufficient goal. Bread making.

We got our bread machine in February. We haven't bought a single loaf of bread (other than hamburger and hot dog buns sporadically) since then! I have been buying bread flour by the bulk. I talked with the store clerk today and I could buy 50 lbs bags of flour at 10% off. That'd make the price of the flour $0.61 per pound. A 50lbs bag could last us 3-4 months, based on how much we are using now. $7 to $8 per month for bread flour. About $10-$12 per months for all our loaves of bread. How about that???? If I buy a nice loaf of bread for my husband from the store, it would cost me about $1.99 (if it is on clearance) to $4.50 per loaf. 1.5 loaf per week. That doesn't include bread for myself and the kids. Major savings there AND healthier. No preservatives at all.

So, yes, after this supply of flour is depleted, I am getting that 50lbs bag of flour!

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What a busy weekend.

Both Saturday and Sunday were full.

I went out yesterday at about noon to get more supplies for my flower bed, and getting more plants to fill in the garden. I came home with a lot more than I planned.

I got what I was planning on getting, plus 4 green bell peppers and 8 pole beans. Those were scratched off our list previously.

I also bought more herbs and flowers.

I need to stay away from Home Depot and local nurseries. It is probably easier to do so now that I have everything filled and completed.

What we didn't plan on doing this weekend was spending 4 hours working the garden. We came out at about 2pm to potter around. It turned into serious gardening right up until 6pm. The baby was sleeping during most of it so we didn't have to stop a lot. We realized what time it was when the baby woke up. It sure didn't feel like it was that long!



Today, we went to pick strawberries at a local u-pick farm. It was hard to tear ourselves away from the plants. We picked about 20 lbs in less than 30 minutes, in two adjacent rows, about 10 foot long per row. There was a LOT of strawberries for picking. We are planning on going back next weekend to pick more. I'd like to make enough jam to last us a year. We'll freeze some for smoothies, cupcakes, sauces or whatnot. We'll eat some.

From Homemade Food


I did make a batch of freezer jam tonight and got 5 quarts. Barely making a dent in the trays.
From Homemade Food

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Two weekends later...

Yeah. Roughly 90% of the veggie plants are in the garden now. I say 90% because I still need to get zucchini, cucumber, summer squash and pole bean.

The garden looks much smaller than last year. It is now at 18'x22'. We will have to till one more row for zucchini, squash and cucumber. That would probably increase the size to 18' x 25-26'.

Other than the main garden, I have a row of hot peppers, mint and parsley along the garage. I have two long pots of lettuce.

We aren't planting spinach and bell peppers this year. Originally we weren't planning on planting any kind of beans either, but we changed our minds. We may not get much out of the plants we'll have, but there will be something to munch on while we're working in the garden.

We cut down the tomato plants by half. I don't think I have the time to can as many tomatoes this year as the previous years.

Speaking of canning tomatoes, we still have the chopped tomato quart jars from last year's crop! I haven't buy stewed or chopped tomatoes in over a year now. At this time last year, we still have the previous year's bounty.

That was nice.

I still have to plant the front flower bed and the bed along the back deck. I did get the pots on the deck planted with wave petunias. Just one type of flower. Easy peasy. No need to create headaches for myself on what to plant where.

I am planning getting a lot of hostas for both the front and back deck's flower bed. Call it trying to save time and energy on my part. That's all I am going to have for the back deck. As for the front bed, the hostas will be the backdrop for other flowers. It will cover the scraggly ground.

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