Around the Homestead – Vacation time

I spent most of this week in Wisconsin Dells on vacation! When I got back, the garlic harvest had been completed and they are all drying in the packing shed now. I spent my time at the farm trellising the other half of the tomatoes. The tallest ones are at the tops of their strings now.

I’ve been on a plateau for a while now and lost some of my momentum. But this week I got back to meal prepping and working out and lost 6.4 pounds…even while on vacation! I want to lose at least 20 before the cruise because everyone gains during one of those and I at least want to even it out πŸ˜€

The garden is rockin it this year. I was able to nibble the first few peaches when I got home!

Around the Homestead – Calendula

This morning for my shift at the farm I was out in the North field hand weeding around some beets that hadn’t gotten any attention yet this season. The interns had said rescuing crops that had gotten overly weedy was intimidating, but I like it! It’s work I can do sitting down and scooting along the row, and I know the plants appreciate it as the next week I can see a huge growth spurt.

I had paused my meat CSA for a while to work on emptying the freezer, so I was excited to get my goodies this month now that I’ve restarted my subscription. It looks great! I’ve gotten to know my butcher through facebook and the farmers markets, and I’m glad to be able to support him and the local grassfed farms he sources from.

In my own garden, the food has started rolling in. I was most excited about colorful beans πŸ™‚ But I’ve now harvested lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet peas, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, and new purple potatoes. Between that, the beets, potatoes, carrots, and garlic I got at the farm, and my meat CSA basket….I’m looking foward to whipping up some goodies this week.

I’ve finished up all my fall plantings, including this section of spinach, two types of beets, and kale. It’s probably too early for spinach, but I picked two spots that get part and mostly shade to see how it goes.

And tonight I had breakfast for dinner so I could try cooking with Calendula πŸ™‚

Around the Homestead – De-stressed

Spent a toasty morning weeding at the farm with the heat index rising into triple digits. It’s exciting to see how quickly things grow this time of year. The beans I planted last week are already up! Picked some kale and carrots for this week…you know it’s getting juiced.

I’m still making ridiculous amounts of juice. I’ve been replacing 2 meals most days, saving one for making good use of my meat csa, veggie csa, and garden goodies.

This year’s garden is a good indicator of how much better things for me. For the last few years, I came home from work stressed, tired, and defeated and weeds ruled the yard. This year, I’m feeling great, my evenings suddenly feel long and productive, the garden is looking good, and I’m enjoying spending time working in it again 😍🌈 (but notice the rabbit in the middle of the yard disrespecting me)

That empty spot in my garden pic where spent spinach, radishes, and lettuce came out is already sprouting with carrots, beets, spinach, and kale. πŸ™‚

Around the Homestead – Broadfork

Get to use a broad fork for the first time yesterday at the farm. The first row of carrots had been harvested, so I fertilized and prepped the bed and got beans planted.

At home, I’ve been weeding doubletime. We’ve had a lot of rain lately and they are going crazy. But, so are the veggies. The first tomato is sooooo close!

And I got a new toy! This being a 3 payday month, it seemed like a great time to finally get an omega juicer.

I’ve been doing a juice cleanse for 3 days now, juicing a full day’s worth at a time….and plan to see how far it goes πŸ˜€ Based on the amount of produce that’s found it’s way home…I can probably make it until August…lol.

Around the Homestead – Local Food

The yummies are starting to roll in at the farm! This was what I brought home this week. Afterwards I followed up on a lead at a farm down the road from her. An older woman had lost her job and was having money troubles. Unfortunately after talking to her I found she was in debt and had a mortgage payment almost 3 times mine. Even if she rented out her spare room and the bit of land that’s not in hay or dedicated to her horses it would’t pay the mortgage much less anything else. But at least I checked it out, and she obviously desperately needed the company and someone to listen.

I celebrated the bounty in my CSA box by trying serving up some braised beets along with the very first of my own strawberries.

Things in my own yard are starting to fill in. This is the view along the walk to my front door. I’ve started picking salads from my leaf lettuce, loads of chamomile and lemon balm have been dehydrated, and pretty much everything I eat is covered with parsley, cilantro, or green onions.

And tonight was the annual Makers Market at my City’s Farmer’s Market. I came away with a good haul, and I’m really excited about finally getting to try some morels tomorrow. Tonight, I’m off to make some lemon mango iced tea. :thumb:

Around the Homestead – Chamomile

The last of the fields has been planted at the farm!

Back home, I’ve started my every-other-day harvest of chamomile. I’ve got some in the dehydrator right now with lemon balm. The most eager of the tomatoes are flowering and potatoes have been hilled. I’ve managed to keep up with weeds so far this season, even with a lot of rain limiting my time outside. And I’ve been able to bring the first of the cut flowers to work to perty up my cube. Things are going well there…I’ve been given a work-from-home-day every week and I got a bonus for a rush project I helped on. It was actually just enough to cover my next waterpark vacation πŸ˜€

I’ve even been doing a good job with the diet, hoping to see some more pounds drop…I’ve been stalled for a while. This was last weeks healthy/lazy version of general tsos chicken and beef enchiladas. This week, I’m cooking at night though. I picked up steaks from that grassfed farm I interviewed at last year, got my share of veggies from the farm, and will have asparagus and the first of the baby lettuces from my own garden for dinners this week.

Around the Homestead – Extremes

I read that in the last 5 weeks we went from a historic blizzard to setting our highest May temp on record at 91 today…so it’s been a pretty exciting start to the season. It made it to a humid 89 yesterday for my shift at the farm, making field work pretty exhausting. That may not sound so bad, but consider that it was in the 40s and I was wearing a fleece to work on Tuesday morning. I picked peas, lettuce, and spinach for myself and a customer then stayed a couple extra hours to help my farmer get 1,000 sweet potato slips in the ground.

While we drank iced tea to cool off, she also went over the math for how much the supplies and labor for the field we planted cost and how much she hoped to harvest and sell all those sweet potatoes for. I really appreciate how open she is with the business side of things, even knowing I hope to be the competition 3 or so years from now. That’s when my current budget has me paying off my house and having a good savings set aside, which should give me a downpayment and hopefully an initial investment in a hoophouse and tractor. I’m pretty optimistic about that, since I’ve already made my savings goal for this year and am hoping to keep the momentum going and double it. It may be wise to give it another year. Without a mortgage to pay the savings will pile up a lot faster…we’ll see.

In my own yard, things are going real well. All of my little seeds are sprouting. I ended up with nearly an extra bed’s worth of space because I did a lot better job planting out front and didn’t space out my tomatoes with rows of marigolds this year. So I got bonus crops…sweet corn, acorn squash, chard, and 3 types of cut flowers went in there to finish off this years plantings. Apples got bagged this weekend, and I’m waiting to see what my neighbors make of my baggie tree.

Since I haven’t done anything food wise in a while, here’s a before and after of a super simple, super yummy meal. Salad turnips from the farm, backyard asparagus, and steak from my grassfed butcher.

Checking in after 3 weeks

My workershare shifts at the farm have been going well. During the last 3 weeks I’ve done lots of weeding, fertilized the garlic, cleaned the packing shed, pulled out the spent radishes, and let the farm puppy out for romps. I’ve been staying an extra hour or two each week. I enjoy the work and the quiet and the warmth of the hoophouses. Yesterday I turned on the audio book I’d been listening to and just stayed until it was finished.

My farmer also showed me where her library was so I could borrow what I want. I returned A Small Farm in Maine this week and am starting on Teaming with Nutrients. The photo is of enjoying time reading in my new little berry garden.

Things are going well in my own garden. Now that I know my macro-nutrients look good, I’ve started thinking about micro-nutrients and soil. Rather than turning everything in this spring I just ran my diamond hoe through the beds, once as soon as the soil thawed and again right before I planted in hopes of disrupting weeds. And I added extra amendments this year. My next soil test will be a pricier one that’ll give me more info so I can tell how I’m doing there. Seedlings are popping up all over the place now. The bush cherry and peach tree are done blossoming. Apples and blueberries are at their peak looking beautiful. And I just finished re-doing my strawberry bed. It’s always been super weedy and I had trouble combating it because the 3 tier garden was too wide to easily weed. So I moved down to a smaller single tier, sifted out grass roots, fertilized, and replanted everything.

Indoors, my lemon tree has a good dozen little lemons on it and the bay laurel is still going strong. I’m usually terrible with indoor plants so I’m pretty happy. I also jumped on an amazon daily deal for an oyster mushroom kit. I had enough points to cover it so it’s a free experiment for me. They are busy brewing right now and I think they’ll be ready this week so I made sure I had eggs and goat cheese on hand for some yummy omelettes. And I’m thinking some on steak or in a soup depending on how much I get.

Under the Weather

All the seeds in my current flats have germinated now and are off to the races. I have 2 more flats to start, but I’m holding off on those due to our unusually wintery spring. We’ve got 3 inches of snow with a frosting of freezing rain coming this weekend in what’s hopefully a last hurrah.

I’ve had an upper respiratory thing brewing this week. It settled into my lungs yesterday and I could no longer deny it. So I got a double batch of bone broth made last night. I used a bigger variety of root veggies than normal in hopes of extra nutrition. I also added shiitake for extra minerals and b vitamins and nori for extra minerals and iodine.

My green onions are up enough to harvest, so breakfast was spring onion soup and I’m thinking egg drop for lunch. I have some fruit and veggie juice on hand, and green smoothie fixings too. Glad I went the liquids route because my cough already has my throat roughed up. Probably wouldn’t hurt for my diet either…since I’ve been stalled for a while.

Workershare Season 2018

When you find yourself hassling the tomato seedlings because you missed that summery smell

Today was the start of my workershare season! It was below freezing so I checked in with my farmer to see if she still wanted me working in the hoophouses…and she said she lost her helper at the farmers market and to head on over there. So I spent the morning at the market bagging and selling spinach πŸ™‚