Why I love summer:
Praise THE LORD school’s almost out. I know there are lots of people that are anxious (or flat-out don’t like) summer vacation because they have to occupy their kids… or so they think… I’m a proponent of teaching them to self-occupy, but that’s another blog post for another day! I miss my girl SO MUCH when she’s gone. Her sister does, too.
That, and it means NO MORE PACKING LUNCHES. I really hate doing it. But I hate what they serve in the cafeteria more (and how much it costs!) so packing it is. That, and I feel that I can convince her to eat well and a more diversified plate if she’s home. She’s my texture-aversion kid, and for those of you who don’t know, part of getting them to conquer this anxiety is consistency, lots of affirmation, lots of experimenting… in other words, impossible to do for that middle meal for a whole 9 months. I have to give her whatever she’ll eat that whole time. I have to save up the work of coping with the fear for the evening meal, which can make for some stressful times. In other words… I would like to have another meal or time of day to deal with this! Looking forward to it!
The other thing I’m greatly looking forward to – my schedule permitting (I hate that I have to say that!) – is strawberry picking. I’m looking for jelly/jam/preserve recipes for which I don’t have to use white sugar, and my hope is between strawberry and blueberry season I can manage to put up enough for a year! (And believe it or not, I think it can be done between the two seasons!)
If you follow on instagram, you might have seen our chickens were moved to the tractor up in the orchard. (For the record, this agriculture/homesteading venture is joint with family… so if you ever think this stuff seems so huge for one family to bite off, you’re RIGHT! We all have certain responsibilities, and most of us work another job… which is why we’re doing it together). I think my unofficial job title is the animal husband-er. I’m raising the chickens, and have plans for layers… and have my hopes on a pig, goat, sheep, dairy cow…. and the list goes on.
I’m ready “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver and I A-D-O-R-E it. All locavores, or real foodies, or homesteaders should be required to read it. Her chapter on her daughter’s chickens was spot on. I agree with her, when she says she’s so glad that baby poultry don’t stay looking like this:
They would be impossible to cull! Instead, they turn into moody teenagers, then into brutes that attack each other. I am so humbled and thankful I get this experience of knowing where my food comes from. These chickens are getting an incredible life (compared to the chickens raised commercially) and maybe it’ll all just be in my head, but I just KNOW the experience of eating them will be hands-down better.
Also on instagram, I excitedly presented some of my early carrot seedlings. Gardening I can do, (no black thumb) but I’m still cautious and learning ALOT. My mother-in-law’s thumb is so effortlessly green I think she just has to wave it around dirt and things magically sprout! Needless to say, my little carrot seedlings I am so proud of! Carrots take a long time to germinate, and you have to direct sow (no transplanting), which in my humble opinion, gives lots of room for things to go wrong. At least when you start seeds indoors, you can pick which ones get transplanted, and get them established before you let the bunnies and deer anywhere near them.
I’m desperately trying to raise green beans again – which I LOVED growing last year, but the bunnies are killing me, here. My mother-in-law has the right idea on her property: they installed a fabulous hoop house. Duly noted, duly noted. I’m not sure my beans are going to make it unless I figure out a way to fence it all in.
(Two years ago green beans!)
On top of raising our own food, we do buy into a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture). (We don’t yet produce enough to be entirely self-reliant.) Basically, a farmer sells shares of his/her produce. I bought a share, so every week I get 1 share’s worth of vegetables, and a little bit of fruit. This is worth EVERY penny. Aside from the locavore aspect – supporting a farmer in the community – this was the BEST way I learned to try new foods, and it felt risk-free since I already paid for the share. It almost feels free. (It’s not, but it feels that way because you go to pick up your food every week and don’t leave any money behind!) My first “found” veggie – that I just had NO idea what it was, or what it tasted like – was garlic scapes. I wrote up an explanation and recipe on it two years ago here. I CAN HARDLY WAIT FOR MY SCAPES!
I hope what you hear here is EXCITEMENT. Anticipation. Never in my whole life did I enjoy summer until we started our homesteading venture. This land explodes new life, new life which God allowed me to participate in growing. The farmer plants the seeds, but God makes them grow.