Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Old MacDonald had a Farm...

I've started three posts and have not published any of them. Its just been a crazy week or two. I started our seeds and just about everything came up with the exception of some Roma VF tomatoes. I am glad that I also started some other plum-type tomatoes called Fresh Salsa because those were the ones that I wanted to make sure we had. I started 3 slicing tomatoes called Fourth of July and some cherry tomatoes called Patio Princess. I started a few extra cherry tomatoes because I wasn't paying attention but then figured, hey why not? So we have five cherry tomato plants. I'm pretty sure we'll resort to playing a paint-ball-style tomato fight game with our surplus. I also helped Alissa with her landscaping and gave my, "you're crazy, but it'll be fine" blessing to her ordering three extra YARDS of dirt... that then had to be put somewhere. I claimed some of it for a somewhat spur of the moment asparagus, strawberry, and corn beds. Still need to plant the strawberries (tomorrow??) and corn (in a week or so). I did all the dirt myself because I didn't think it was fair to demand that Ryan add another urgent project to his list. I've got two arms and two legs (thankfully) and I am just as capable... so I did it. I planted some carrots directly in the garden, but I haven't seen anything pop up yet. I'm going to call it a loss and plant the next batch of them. I'm going to use the square foot method for our garden this year. Seems to make more sense for our small space.

And... we have added three more to the Enlow clan. I might "impulse buy" asparagus plants... but Ryan impulse bought a couple extra ducks. We were going to get one. ONE. To eat the bugs in the garden since our lovely hens, Maude & Myrtle, can't distinguish vegetable plants from the weeds and bugs we would like them to nibble on. We're new at this poultry thing. So we now have three little ducks under the lights in the basement, waiting to get a little bit bigger and for the weather to get a little bit warmer. Ryan asked me if I thought a turkey would be a bit much. Yes. Yes I do. We may live on a big lot in a country town, but we still live downtown in that country town. I think three ducks and two chickens is pushing it. We're planning to try our hand at using the ducks for meat. I'm not sure if either of us can bring ourselves to do what's necessary... see? I can't even bring myself to say it. I don't know about this.

I'm getting all set up to can this year. I've been saying that I wanted to do it for a few years now, but every year it just doesn't happen. I decided that its now or never. Ace wants to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for every lunch. If you feed her something else she just asked for a "belly sam-witch" over and over again. So, like the good mother lazy mother I am, I oblige. However... it nags my brain that the jelly is pretty much straight sugar... and the peanut butter also has high fructose corn-syrup. (Seriously, why??) So, for my first trick I will make strawberry jam. I bought some jars, ordered a pot that can be used on electric glass stove top, picked up the misc supplies, and received some citrus pectin in the mail today that doesn't need sugar to work. My second attempt if the first goes well, is going to be marinara sauce and salsa. We eat gallons of both throughout the year. I decided to get set up water bath canning (for high acid foods) because supposedly its easier and most of the foods I'd like to can are high acid (strawberries, tomatoes, and apples). I seriously get anxiety just thinking about doing it because I've never even seen anyone can before and I've asked countless people to show me but I've never really followed-up to really see how it works. So I have done the next best thing. I've read six books on it, read countless websites, and jumped. Ball's Blue Book seems pretty thorough, so I think I'm in good hands. I've come to realize that when its all said and done, it comes down to making what you want to go in the jars and then boiling the jars in water. How hard could it really be. I spent a small fortune on my pot for waterbath canning. I had another option that included setting up the campstove on the deck and using a cheaper pot outside. I read in a few places that canning is a whole lot less overwhelming and a gazillion (okay, I'm paraphrasing) times more enjoyable if done in small spurts. Dedicating an entire day to it will just make it miserable, so "they" suggest doing small spurts when the harvest is ready. If I was to do small spurts and have to lug out the campstove each time I can guarantee you that its going to be a short-lived experiment. Spending the money on the pot that I can use inside, on our stove, anytime, for years and years and years, and for other things like big batches of stew (like I've actually borrowed my mom's pot for multiple times)... I feel less guilty. I figure its costing us about $200 to jump into this, but I'm hoping that it'll even out in the end.

I feel like every time I mention that something isn't a good thing to eat (like the high-fructose corn syrup) I need to qualify it with, I'm not a fanatic, I'm just taking baby steps. I probably wouldn't be able to carry on a conversation about organic food or the whole local food movement, etc. I'm just taking baby steps that I feel satisfy my balance of price and health. When I can finally give up pop, since I know its bad for me and want to eventually kick it, THEN you will know I ain't foolin' around no mo'.

We are also in at the CSA farm I was telling you about. Nervous and excited. Started trying to collect as many recipes as I can for the vegetables we don't normally eat. I really wish I could know how much we were getting of each thing. I think its pretty cool that this CSA also gives out fruit. The other four that I looked at didn't. I think its great that we weren't accepted to the one I thought would be the best fit... only to find this one; closer, cheaper, seems like more variety.

I was hanging our clothes out on the line today and couldn't help but think that my life is exactly what I'd like it to be. I love our house (our bookshelves are almost done and I'm in LOVE with them and the hot man who made them!). I love my husband. I love our girls. I love that I stay home. I love that I can tinker around the house doing things like hanging clothes and starting a mini-farm (just kidding). I love that I can make dinner. I love that Ryan loves his job. I love that money is tight because its means we are less tempted to get caught up in materialism (not that its impossible to, and not that we don't get all wanty-want). I love that we have a garden. I love that I feel that I am living my wildest dream come true. Then the cynic in me hopes this isn't going to crash all around me because its all too good to be true. ::slap, slap:: I will be thankful for what I have. I will be content with where I am. Whether its easy to be content or hard to be content, God is still my faithful, loving Creator and Father whose highest goal is to bring glory to Himself. I need to remember that I love my life because God has blessed me, not because of who I am or what I've done, but because of who He is.

1 comment:

Marissa said...

I am so proud of you - I want to be like super Nancy someday =)

I know... I know... it's all harder than it sounds, but I think you are doing a great job with all the resources you've been given, I like that you are a hard worker.

I loved the last paragraph especially.