Saturday, April 25, 2009

Garden Goals Accomplished?

I'm sure I talk about the weather a lot. Probably because it's so fascinating? ha ha. So on Thursday, April 16th, it snowed. The next day it was clear and the wind was freezing cold. Then on Saturday, the weather was perfect and it held out for almost a whole week. Yesterday it started blowing again, and it is still windy. But except for that, it's pretty great outside.

I decided to prune back the bush rather than remove it for a lot of reasons. It was there first, it will provide shade for plants that need it, et cetera... That bush actually turned out to be two bushes. A large alive one, and a smaller dead one. I cleared out the dead bush and pruned the dead branches off of the alive plant. For my trouble I got a beautiful healthy-looking bush, scratches all over my arms (about half of which were deep enough to bleed, so now I have some wicked-looking scratches...makes me feel tough lol), and a nice sunburn on my back, shoulders, and upper arms.

We don't have a rototiller, so I have been tilling the soil with a pitchfork. I turned over an 8x12 patch of dirt around the dirt, and will turn over the rest of my 20x30 garden next week. Our soil is what I consider a blank slate: clay with pretty much no minerals, etc for the plants to feast upon. I would like to mix in sand from a nearby wash and manure from the local dairy to improve the soil. We will see what actually happens.

Oh! Some of my plant babies have sprouted! I wish I could find a camera. My Calendula is just starting out, and my Walking Onions are growing so fast, I can almost see them growing!

My "floorplan" for my garden has most of the garden as a food garden, but there is also a small amount of space set aside for a flower, herb, water, and rock garden as well.

My goals for this coming week are: turn over the rest of my garden, build a compost pile, decide if I'm going to use grow boxes, start my cold weather plants, and begin improving the soil.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mmmmm...Raw Milk!

I had forgotten how good raw milk is! My mother has done a 180 with her stance on milk. Before, we drank soy and she drank almond. Now she's drinking raw milk from the local dairy. Just barely, I decided to have a cup to see if I still liked it. And I do. Pasteurized, homogenized milk is another story. From time to time, our neighbors gift us with a gallon. And it sits in the refrigerator and rots unless we pass it on to someone who doesn't mind the 'dead' flavor. Drinking soy milk is different from drinking cow milk. The animal milk tastes more alive, for one thing. I don't know how to describe it any better than that. My future plans definitely include a cow or a goat or both for milk.

You see, I was raised on goat milk. My dad raised goats. His preference is French Alpine/Saanen crosses. He would butcher goats and although I would disappear for the actual killing, once they were dead, I would come out and watch.

Then my mom left my dad and so we switched to pasteurized, homogenized cow's milk. From there, we moved on to rice milk and soy milk. Then we were drinking raw milk, then back to soy milk and then my mom switched to almond. Now my mother is drinking raw milk again while my sister and I continue to drink soy.

Nice Weather, NAIS, Frankenfoods

So guess what? I have to leave for a church activity in a bit. Normally no biggie. Except the weather is perfect so therefore I want to work on my garden! :*( Hopefully we'll get back early enough that I can at least deal with that bush. And my fingers are crossed for perfect weather on Monday.

I also found a "State NAIS Administrator Directory." So if you want to go complain to him or her, there's the link.

Remember a couple years back when they made rice with human genes? Well, here are some articles on it.
It makes me shudder to think about actually eating foods like that. Yuck. Cannibalism. Does anyone know what became of the project?

Have a nice day! :P

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ironwood Farm Project

I have new blog to add to my blogroll! I just finished catching up! Whoo-hoo!

This blogger's name is Jenny, and her blog is called "Ironwood Farm Project." She has two children, a boy and a girl, which she homeschools in an unschooling way. She and her husband live in New Mexico on a 10 acre family farm in an off-the-grid strawbale home (I know all of you are green with envy lol) which is featured in this article. She does Flamenco as a hobby and is working on living sustainably. They have cattle, a pair of pigs, sheep, bees, a garden, and various poultry. Her husband had an awful accident involving his thigh and there are complications at this point. They are also planning on making a living with their farm at this time.

So off with you now! Check them out!

NAIS Update.

A News Release from the USDA's site:
News Release

Release No. 0108.09
Nayyera Haq (202) 720-4623
Jerry Redding (202) 720-4623


WASHINGTON, April 15, 2009--Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today held a roundtable discussion with a variety of stakeholders representing the full spectrum of views on the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). The event kicks off a listening tour to gather feedback and input that will assist the Secretary in making decisions about the future direction of animal identification and traceability in the United States.


So, show of hands. Whose hoping that they'll decide NAIS is either a big dumb idea or at least that it shouldn't be compulsory? And who thinks they'll just make it worse? Interesting...comments anyone?

What is this Orange Border?

A. The trench due for construction to make eight continents, cuz we're tired of just seven.
B. Cheese. My five year old decided to take spray cheese and outline our country.
C. The Constitution-Free zone. Places where an unconstitutional effort to curb immigration is in effect.
D. Cities we are going to blow up with bombs in an effort to clean up our borders and beaches.

On one of the blogs I frequent, I found some disturbing news. (The answer is 'C' by the way. 'C' for 'correct.') Here's an excerpt from her post:
That's the map of the 100 mile US Border Patrol zone that people are calling the Constitution-Free Zone. Not many people have heard about this, and I had heard rumors, but I didn't realize they had put it into effect. This was brought to my attention because of a pastor that got his head split open at one of the checkpoints within the 100 mile along the Mexico side of this zone. Evidently, there are now a series of checkpoints along major highways...
Read the entire post...

I found it very disturbing, but I don't know what should be done. I know that others should be alerted to this, so spread the word. What else do you think we should do?

Catch-Up Post: Peat Pots, Career, Survivalists, etc

I haven't posted in awhile, I know. And I really wish that either my mom's camera could be found or else that my sister's camera had batteries (and that the cord weren't MIA), because I really want to post some pictures of the seeds I have started in peat pots.

Oh well.

So I have 50 plants started:
  • 4 parsley
  • 3 jalapeno peppers (capsicum annuum)
  • 5 catnip (nepeta cataria)
  • 4 calendula (calendula officinalis)
  • 12 onion (Walking & Red Weaver)
  • 6 I forgot to label (I hope I actually planted something in there!!!)
  • 5 various melons (Schoon's Hard Shell Melon, Bush Sugar Baby Watermelon, Minnesota Midget Melon, and Eden's Gem Melon)
  • 7 tomatoes (Big Red & Manitoba)
  • 2 Armenian cucumber
  • 1 pumpkin (nondescript kind from a store in town. Pumpkins don't like being transplanted--or so I've read--and so this is a test to see if that's true)
(That's only 49, which one did I forget to list??? Or did I add up the numbers incorrectly?)

The weather here sucks. It's either stormy or else bitter cold which doesn't make for pleasant gardening weather. I guess I'm just being a wuss and need to bite the bullet (although it has been snowing the last few days...) and get to work. It never frosts after Mother's Day, so that's when the plants need to go in, while I need to put in the plants that don't mind the cold now, as well as prepare the soil and trim back the bush.

My mother has actually been considering getting a milk cow and perhaps a sheep, if she can get the right fencing for them. I feel like "O_O" because she has always been anti-animal before. She didn't mind cats and she dealt with my chickens, but in all honesty, livestock has always been something she wasn't the slightest bit interested in, while I felt like a bit of an oddball dreaming about cows and horses and chickens and sheep and goats and...well, you get the picture.

So now she's wanting a cow for raw milk (we can get raw milk at the dairy in town, though) and she's wanting a sheep to munch the weeds until they are dead. I guess I'm having trouble adjusting because although raised a city girl, she likes the country but she has never really been into country stuff. Or at least not in my seventeen years. Now, she is suddenly into gardening food rather than just trees and the occasional tomato or vine and and wishing for livestock. Now before you get the wrong idea, I am pleased, just reeling in surprise and trying to get used to the idea. I think it might be a little bit spurred by her obsession (dare I call it that?) with TEOTWAWKI.

Incidently, most people in this tiny settlement are Survivalists. I am not talking the positive, more 'normal' survivalist, either. I am talking guns (for when they become the new Waco), nuclear bomb shelters (for when Obama decides to exterminate them), gardens, solar power, horses (to go get water up the canyon), marijuana (because it's an herb, and inhaling smoke is very beneficial to the lungs), a disregard for building codes (we're talking septic system so many feet from your water supply, not whether your house is underground or made of strawbales), a disregard for laws (like registering one's kids for homeschooling) and other things that make life tougher (not getting a legal birth certificate for their children or a social security number, teaching their children to be afraid of the government in much the same way as a rabbit is afraid of its predator, etc).

Most of these things are not bad in and of themselves. What is wrong is the attitude that accompanies them. Guns are not bad. Stocking up on guns because you think the government is going to massacre you is not a healthy attitude. Sure, the government does things that aren't right, but I doubt any of their plans include genocide in a remote settlement in the middle of nowhere. Realism, please, people!

This is turning out to be a long post. :)

Our washing machine is quite broken. It doesn't switch from cycle to cycle. You start it at the beginning of the cycle and it fills up with water and then agitates forever until you tell it to spin. Then it spins for awhile, then it does this weird thing that I can't explain until you switch it to rinse or else off... We really need to get that fixed.

I am finishing my schooling years and now I have to figure out what's next. I do want to end up homesteading, but the 'from here to there' is a little tricky. I need a field. I'm considering veterinary medicine, but I am not a fan of the years of schooling it will take. I'd like to write and/or maybe something artistic, but I am still weighing the positives and negatives of each. A positive would be something like "working freelance from home" while a negative would be something like the erratic income from such a job.

There are also other fields I am looking at, but I really am having difficulty finding which one would be the best choice. My specific religion has a belief system that includes being a mother and not working outside the home once I marry, but not only am I opposed to the attitude of "just get married and let him take care of you" and not only do I think that living with "marriage" as one's center of the universe, but I also believe that a stay-at-home mother is a good thing.

So more or less, I need a career I can continue after marriage with plenty of time for family but I need a career I can make plenty of money to support myself anyways (because I am planning to homestead in the near future and let marriage happen when it happens, so marriage could be before or after I get started with this dream of mine...doesn't matter). I also need something I can do while homesteading because I don't want to homestead as anything more than a hobby. That may change in the future, but at the moment I'd rather have it as a (time consuming, frustrating) hobby than something to make into a lucrative endeavor (way to add stress, IMO).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ten Things About Me

I have seen this sort of thing on various other blogs and thought I'd give it a try.

  1. I embrace many alternative beliefs: The Law of Attraction (only I have my own version which is actually more of a "Law of Creation." Ask me about it sometime. Or maybe one day I'll address it on my philosophical blog), attachment parenting, unassisted childbirth, healing with herbs, unschooling, sustainable living, etc, etc.
  2. I believe in magic (not magic like Harry Potter or something; something more along the lines of the magic found in Nature, magic in creativity, magic in books and pictures and music, and a belief in creatures like dragons and such).
  3. I believe we can communicate with animals (see "Learning Their Language" by Marta Willliams).
  4. I am a flexetarian. That means I believe in eating only a very little meat, mainly when meat is all that's available or in the winter. In spring, summer, and fall; I think we should be eating little or no meat.
  5. I would love to be totally self-reliant and only have to pay taxes on land and perhaps buy a few things I would be unable to produce, such as oranges and needles and things like that (salt, maybe, although I would love to be able to make that, too).
  6. Although I prefer the country and have lived there most of my life, I have nothing against cities, either, or those from the city (unlike too many of my country friends). I definitey prefer the country, though.
  7. I am unschooled.
  8. I want to homestead.
  9. I want to marry and have children sometime in the next ten years or so.
  10. The Kinds of Music I Like: Classical, Holiday, New Age, European Folk, Alternative Rock, 80s Rock, Hard Rock, and any other kind of rock (except pop) with a touch of punk and scream-o.
  11. I love all holidays both Christian and Pagan and try to celebrate them all.
  12. I'm 5'8"
  13. My Ancestors are entirely Western European (Mostly English and Swedish, as well as French, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Danish, and German)....none from any of the fascinatingly exotic countries: Africa, Japan, South America....

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it SNOW!!!

The Weather lately has been insane. I went to bed at 5am this morning and consequently did not awaken until 3pm. Part of the reason I woke up so late (aside from the late night) was that it was very cloudy. When I woke up, it was snowing! It rained last Sunday, so I figured that was what we would be getting from here on out. Instead, it snowed a half inch or so. Then, it sleeted another half inch ('sleet' is what you call those tiny little balls that fall from the sky that look like fairy snowballs--as opposed to iceballs that we refer to as 'hail'--right?). Now it's snowing hard and fast and we already have a few inches of it and more is coming down.

My "L" key only seems to work every other time I press it, so if some words don't seem like words, try inserting an "L" at random and see if it makes sense.

My little sister bought the newest Fablehaven book four days after it came out and now she's finished it, so I get to read it now!

With my Garden buried under snow, I don't think I'll be working on it much right now. I should be starting seeds right now, and I should be planting the cold weather stuff. I have 1001 reason why I'm not, but that would make this post too long LOL. The main reason, though, is that I've never had a real garden. As a child I would plant seeds in the ground, maybe dig some canals for irrigation, fill up the canals, and for the most part forget about it, returning to water perhaps two more times. Naturally, living in the Gila Valley in AZ, nothing ever grew. Even when I moved to this climate, it still didn't grow...probably something to do with the billions of weeds choking my "garden."

So to prevent abandonment, I am planning to have just a few different plants: some fruits veggies, herbs and flowers. Once I see how I am with a garden (now, at my grand old age of 17 :P) and make all my beginning mistakes, I will add more plants a little at a time so I don't overwhelm myself and abandon the whole project out of confusion.

I made enchiladas. Yum! I wanted to post a picture but my mother's camera is MIA, so I can't post beautiful pictures of corn tortillas marinated in red sauce and cheese... :*( Oh well.