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...
Yes, all of 2013 and part of 2012 are missing from the blog. You can thank Mike H for that. Almost all of those posts were about our great friendship and our partnership in farming. You all know how that turned out!