Monday, April 27, 2009

Independence Days- weeks 20 and 21 and a garden update

Whoosh,  I'm tired!  And I didn't even go out to the acreage today, staying home after work and getting caught up on dishes and laundry.  V was out there this afternoon working on gutting more of the basement.  It seems that everywhere he tears something down he finds mouse poo.  He reports that the ceiling panels are bad enough that he doesn't even want to try to reuse the electrical wires because they are all covered with it.  I can't imagine how these people lived there, let alone run a vet hospital.  Of course, it seems that all they did was put bandaids on the problem rather than do the work to eliminate it.  Since they had a mouse problem, they built a mouse-proof storage room to keep the animal food- rather than seal up the hole in the mudsill where you could see daylight through, or the holes in eaves, or the holes around the well room.  AAARGH!!!!
But, progress is being made and soon we will be able to thoroughly seal the place and hopefully get things under control.  I do think that almost all of the mice have moved out since it warmed up and there has been no food source for so long.  We have caught only one mouse in the traps we have set.  We have also been very careful to not leave any food out or scraps in the garbage that may attract them.  I realize that living out in the country we will probably never totally be mouse free but what has been here is amazingly horrific!  One line from the previous owners that we have been joking with:  When we commented about the amount of mouse poop (before we knew how bad it really was), they said "Obviously, you don't know about living in the country".  Obviously!  I grew up in the country- I just don't know about living the way they did.  Ick!!! and to imagine that they had a baby living in that mess...I don't want my dog living in that!
But now, down to business.  I've been lax about updates on challenges lately, so here goes:
Independence Days Challenge, several weeks lumped together:
1. Plant something- I did manage to get the strawberries in the ground last week but the garden area still needs work before it's ready to plant anything. I received notice that my fingerling potatoes have finally shipped and should be here tomorrow or Wednesday and I really need to get my broccoli seedlings and more peas in the ground.  I just hope it doesn't keep raining.  We had about 2 inches of rain and more is forecast for later in the week.  I'm still waiting for my blueberries and other plants to arrive and I really need to transplant my golden and black raspberries before they get too much bigger.
2.  Harvest something- Other than a few chives for on potatoes last week, nope.
3. Preserve something- Only my sanity, and that is questionable.
4. Store something- Nope.
5. Manage reserves- we've eaten mainly out of stores last week- mostly because I didn't make time to go to the grocery store...except for Sunday night dinner which I feel awful about...I fed my family frozen pizza!  Ack! how could I have fallen so low.
6.  Cook something new- only frozen pizza.  I think I've only ever bought them once or twice before in my entire life.  Of course, at 830 pm, we only cared that it was food.  At least I didn't go through the drive through and pick up fast food.
7. Prep something- We pulled off the ultimate prep and have our land.  Now, just to make it livable.
8.  Reduce waste- NOPE, other than the usual.  In fact, we have been generating an enormous amount of waste in fixing the house.  We had hoped to be able to salvage as much as we could but with the amount of mouse waste on things, we're opting to just pitch it.
9.  Learn a new skill- OK. I'm learning construction techniques and learned how to hang gutters on a house.  I also learned how to use V's new compound miter saw-  OOO, power tools!
10.  Work on community food security- other than prepping my garden space and talking with Roger, not really.
11.  Regenerate what is lost- Ummm.  Talked to my parents about helping rehab the house, worked out with my brother to borrow his saws-all, air compressor and nail gun.
12.  Behavior change.  Definitely no procrastinating around here.  Although, I do need to work on being more organized.  I did pretty good during the week last week, taking things with us that we needed, figuring out how to feed everyone but that all fell apart over the weekend.  I haven't even made out the menu for the coming week.  Heck, I don't even know what we're having tomorrow.  I'd better think about that.

Now, for a brief garden update, since I'm  doing the seed to seed challenge.  Most of my garden stuff is mentioned above.  Since it rained, Roger said I can keep the tiller for now,  I think my garden spot will dry pretty quickly- it's on the top of a hill and the soil is pretty light, in fact, some places, there is so much organic material (and horse poop) that it's almost like digging in compost, I do really want to till it deeper to stir up some of the 'real' soil underneath to even it out.  We're supposed to have sunny skies tomorrow and hopefully Wednesday.  I'll have to check it out Wednesday afternoon to see if it's dry enough to till.  I would like to be able to give Roger back his tiller this weekend.  That and I will have my fingerling potatoes to plant soon.
I'm feeling so behind on this garden stuff.  While I'm thrilled that we have the property in time to plant this year, the time crunch is killing me.  We still have to get our current house in shape to sell.  ACK.  Maybe I'll just give up on sleep for the next few months...Nah, I like it too much.


  1. Your seedlings look great. For being so far north, it looks to me like you're way ahead of the game. In the ecovillage nearby where I homestead even the most Dedicated only have 2-3" tall nightshades, and they're further south than you!

    My seedlings are scant this year as I couldn't start them until a week or so ago (can't keep seedlings warm in a tent!) when I got a chance to put them in a neighbor's greenhouse. We have a handful of tomatoes, handful of peppers, and squash, a few basil, and some sugar snap peas. Hopefully we'll direct sow quite a bit.

    Congrats on your house! What a challenge. I think I've got it easy, starting with a blank slate and choosing what materials and size to work with.

    And I am SO with you on the bathing. My setup right now is a solar shower hung up behind some scrap metal so the neighbors can't see! I can't wait until the next Dog and Gun Flea Market to get an old tub, or even something bigger than a 5-gallon bucket to wash my hair in.

    Let me know if you ever want to swap resources and tips!

  2. Preserving sanity, that's the winner right there. I just keep shaking my head in disbelief thinking of the previous owners and their (lack of) upkeep for the house! Grrrrr. I hope you get a chance for planting this coming week(s) as things start falling into place with the big construction elements. Good weather thoughts for you with the tiller.

  3. Don't feel bad about the frozen pizza, really, you all have to eat and I am amazed that you are managing to do all that you are! (When do you sleep by the way? :) Do what you can each day and don't beat yourself up for not getting it ALL done. It will still be there tomorrow!

  4. Hi Judy,

    Your preservation - sanity comment made me laugh. You guys are making great progress - soon you'll be past the dirty part and it will get better.

    Food and meal planning is maybe a thought on what your parents can help you with when they come to visit.

  5. Hennalion- Welcome- I think you are only about 100 miles South of me and about 25 mile from my parent's farm- if you are where I think you are. Thanks for the encouragement!
    Localzone- we keep shaking our heads in disbelief as well. A lot of the big, messy stuff is about done (although we haven't started in the kitchen yet). I can hardly wait until we can start building rather than just demolishing.
    Mo- Thanks. I'm trying to not beat myself up, I just pride myself on cooking almost all of our meals from scratch. And actually, I've slept better in the past week than I have in years- exhaustion, I think. I generally can only sleep about 6-7 hours a night.
    Angie- My sanity is an important thing to preserve.
    I thought about having my Mom do some grocery shopping for me but I think they're only going to be here for a day here and there (they live about an hour away), not for an extended period.
    Thanks again for all your comments of support. They mean a lot!


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