Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dodging the Bullet

Whew, the severe winter weather that was full of ice and snow went north of us. We did have some nasty winds and it's pretty darn cold now but I'll take sunny and cold over 2' of snow anyday!

So, what are we doing around the farm today? Oh, the usual stuff- feeding the animals, chopping a little firewood and baking bread. Plus my all time favorite winter passtime of garden dreaming. Yes, I know it's just December but it's never the wrong time to be thinking about and making plans to start those precious seedlings for a new garden.

The garden is the very heart of this self sustained lifestyle. Without the garden, all I would be is a consumer. Buy it, use it up and buy some more. Breaking that cycle wasn't easy since it's what we all grew up believing was normal. I choose to feed myself and accept the responsibility and all the work that goes with it. So, I must constantly think about last years garden and how i can improve my yields. What worked good and what didn't work so good. Like my potato crop for instance. I also constantly work on how I can beat Mother Nature. What? Yep, I am always trying to get around her, every chance I can get! I want my plants to hit the garden and produce as quickly as I can make them. The sooner I can get tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc, the more I will have for the table. How do I do that? I start my seeds early, way before the last frost in the kitchen window garden. It takes up a bunch of space and usually by planting time, my kitchen is literally taken over by plants. I have a small table full plus a variety of shelves and the "indoor garden" always ends up sprawling over to the dinner table and my counters. It's lots of work tending and watering all those plants but if I didn't do that, I'd not have ripe tomatoes before July around here.

Sounds like a big fuss, doesn't it? It would be if I didn't have that whole line of southern exposure windows. Is it worth it? I think it is. Eating only from what you grow isn't a small accomplishment. It takes 20 tomato plants producing full time to cover just the sauce, paste and diced tomatoes we consume in the course of a year. If my first red tomato doesn't come until July, that just gives me 3 1/2 to 4 months to produce enough to last the 9 months until the next round of tomato plants start producing.

Self sutained living isn't any different than the way everyone lives, we just don't go out and buy what we need, we create it for ourselves. Yes, it takes more time and effort to do it for ourselves and sometimes it's no so much fun but in the end, it's worth it. If it weren't for my dedication to doing it for myself, I would most likely be among the thousands across the country in mortgage default right now. Growing my own food has allowed us to stretch what little money we have much, much longer than what it would for people that are consumer based. All the animals here are fed from what we can produce. In turn, that gives us free chicken, free eggs, free rabbit, free sheep, free pork, free beef, plus free produce! When all you have is $100 to make it the whole month, that sure does mean a bunch! Especially when fuel is $2.80 a gallon...


  1. I grew up in abnormal territory (no electric , lived outta the ground for the first 8 years of my life) , I always wanted to go back to gardening , and I have from time to time , my husband he complained and whined about food prices and i told him to get me an acer and see how much I would save him. 10$ turned into a years worth of vegetables for us .

    That was even with late planting and a few containers. I really look forward to this coming garden !! I am so excited , already solidifying my plans.

    Our garden gave us the freedom from worry this year , it really did.

  2. Our garden saves us also. Not only money, but the produce is soooo much better. We've always stuck to basics around here, but are adding two new things that we use a lot of this next spring: celery and popcorn. I'm not too worried about the popcorn, but if anyone has advise on celery for eastern Nebraska, I would sure appreciate it.

  3. Rebecka's right! The produce tastes so much better! It's my goal every year to produce/can/freeze more than I did the year before. The self-sufficient goal, while a LONG ways off, is always getting closer and clsoer!

  4. I'm dreaming and trying to plan for our garden next year too. BUT it is a little harder as we are moving and have no idea where - may even be out of state.

    It is making me SICK to leave all the soil I've worked so hard to develop over the past several years - not to mention all the $$ that went into it. Just don't have any good way to move it all - especially if we leave the area.

    Did go out and dig out a bunch of herbs to bring in the house to keep going - and either canned or dehydrated everything else.....was still picking a few days ago before the snow fell!

    This will be our first year starting seeds indoor as we've gotten things in the ground far too late in the past few years and have to get better...but then again, depending on where we end up could be quite trial and error!

    And YES - they always taste so much better...and think of all the $$ we save on therapy! I talk to my plants, sing to them, etc....and they NEVER talk back, they don't repeat what they hear and they bring in all the beneficial bugs and beautiful butterflies, moths, dragon flies, birds, etc!! LOL OH - there I go again - garden-dreaming!

    Merry Christmas to you and all you love!

    MaMaBear in the Mitten

  5. LOL MammaBear, if plants could talk eh? The garden keeps me sane too.

    Gen, as didicated as you are, you'll be grocery store free in no time!

    Oh Hermit, we'd be in sorry shape here if it weren't for the garden. This has been one ugly year for us. I'm almost ready to go no electric. Almost.

    Rebecka, I've grown celery a few times, I got my seeds first time around from Johnnys and they all came up. I've saved seeds and had some good luck so far. Maybe try to grow it indoors?


Comments always welcome