Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Truest Intentions

I first heard the song Truest Intentions as the opening webpage for a local music festival, The Big Time Out.....I was hooked, where did this song come from and who's singing it - I watched it over and over leading up to the festival....(not the opening page anymore....)
Truest Intentions is a phrase that I've been throwing around in my mind lately as I watch my children grow and thrive. I watch the kids of my friends and I watch one friend struggle with the negative intentions of her family. Some of her extended family think she is doing the wrong thing keeping her kids at home. Both have refused to go to school.
As mothers and homeschooling parents we have the Truest Intentions for our children. We only want the best for them, we want them to follow their passions, interests, curiosity and intellect. We want them to do it on their schedule when they want to. By avoiding school I think our kids stay innocent and young longer, have more time for play, read more and have the chance to develop their own direction. As mothers, the LAST thing we want to do is hurt our childrens' futures and to be directly or indirectly accused of bad parenting choices (and I've been at the butt end too) hits us where it hurts the most - How good a mother are we?
Last weekend I saw Kim Churchill play at a smaller venue and in between songs he spoke about each song and the inspiration behind his writing. Truest Intentions was written as he finished highschool, and to loosely quote him he said that when you finished school in Australia at 18 you were supposed to know what you wanted to do and go to uni and do it. Instead of further study he decided to buy a camper van, take his guitar, travel and play music - follow his passion.
Maybe that's why the song was so compelling.
Another song, The Battle of Mr. Shibuya, is as meaningful for different reasons.
I'm pretty set in my musical tastes but this 21 year old ozzie has really resonated with me.....
I sure hope my kids find such a passion.
Now there is obviously a lot more to catch up on....I'll try....

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Garden Update...

Remember the onions? They're to the right. We had a bit of a battle with weeds but I think we've won and should get a good crop. Straight ahead is my covered carrots/parsnips....

The holes that had potatoes planted in them???? Those are them! I can already harvest babies! We filled in the holes and have mounded them up. I'm hoping for LOTS of potatoes.....

Garlic Garlic Garlic!!!!

Carpets keep the grass from growing in and the headers of the drip tape irrigation from being mowed!

My new raspberry row with primocanes starting to show their stuff!!

I have fresh fir bark on one side and landscape fabric on the other....lets see what works best....

My greenhouse with tomatoes growing like crazy. Some tomatoes on the plants and lots of flowers! I'm hoping to have MORE than last year!! We've had crazy cool weather this spring/summer and my salad greens, peppers and squash are not doing well outside. We need hot warm sun! I finally planted some greens along the drip lines between the tomatoes....We have LOTS of greens now!!! You can see them at the far left almost bigger than the tomatoes! My tomatoes look really healthy....Chicken farming all winter may have paid off!

My beans....the wire fencing has been attached and soon they'll be climbing for the sky! I have brocolli and cauliflower in the background and lettuce, mescalum and spinach growing!

And yes, my peas are growing.....I used the row covers until they were out of the ground and established.....I just forgot to take a picture! The garden looks so organized this year and I think with the raised beds, defined paths and careful weed control it's going to get easier every year!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Moving Day!

So it's been such a busy year, I can't even begin to go into everything going on around here, but I will try and start catching up.

We have already had and slaughtered 100 meat chickens. Well, we didn't slaughter 100, we did 96, the raccoons got 4. It became obvious after 2 turkeys were lost we had to move them too. Apparently my coon killing dogs sleep through the mayhem on the back fence. Dang.

So we put up an electronet fence, built a lean-too sun shelter and prepared to move the turkeys. They are pretty friendly and don't get the whole let's herd thing. Quite frankly, they'd rather gather round and gobble.

It turns out I had to head down the driveway and call out "turkey lurkey, turkey lurkey" I didn't mention the falling sky, but I did feel a little silly.....

Now see the passenger on the mower? Well one hen escaped from the pre slaughter fasting day and gorged. So I had to leave her at home with the turkeys. Now 10 days later, as we head down the driveway to the new pasture it became clear that she was headed for an obesity related heart attack.....

So I picked her up and plunked her on the mower.

She looked pretty silly.

Turkeys in their new pasture......ok, it is a whole lotta weeds, but tasty weeds!

And Henny Penny? Well she wasn't sure if she should get off or not when Don got off to change the battery.....

So she waited until she was hand delivered to her new lodgings.....and there she lives happily with her buddies. Until we decide to eat her.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I'd love to post a picture of my peas madly climing up their fence, but alas, the robins not only ate all the seedlings but they DUG UP all the seeds too....I've had to start again.....but!!!

My onions look great....all 4 rows of them - each at least 100 feet long....I refuse to buy onions that are moldy or close to it when I get them home this year......

My potatoes are in these be filled in as they grow!

My garlic, carefully selected from our own plants....growing like mad! I have about 1200 coming!

My new raspberry plants in a super duper raised bed prepped last fall with chicken manure, kelp and leaves......

And preparing to plant tomatoes...the most I've ever had in the ground AND the most varieties I've ever had - Amish Paste, Nepal, Romanescu, Early Girl, Roma, Better Boy, Big Beef, Tomande, Cherry, Cobra, and IKnowI'mforgettingsome! My mouth waters thinking about fresh salad, gazpacho........yummmmm. This photo is outdated, they are all in the ground and growing like mad...especially with the first hot(ter) day of the year today....Man, where is spring!

I also have kale, brocolli and cauliflower growing like crazy...I wish I had started some salad greens earlier....Spring means salad to me and I'm (ducking) buying it right now.....

PS My mom says to collect dead birds from the side of the road all early spring, put them in ziplocs, freeze them and come spring hang them upside above your pea row - kind of like some sick joke of a scarecrow....ScareRobin??? Anyways, that's my mom for yah!

My plan is to cover them with carrot row covers for their initial growth.....

Piggies arrived!!

Going fishing?! Nope, the piggies arrived...

The tiniest we've ever cute...see this one? He had a running tour of our farm.

We brought him out of the trailer and placed him in his pen, surrounded by a nice electronet fence, charged to it's fullest (it hurts!) The darn thing ran right thru. See two accidental farmers chasing said pig up and down the strawberry patch.
The fishing net came in handy!

A fence change was required. We put another more finely woven electronet fence around the white fence and then put the piggies in. They took longer than we expected to learn NOT to run between the fences....YOUCH!!!

They are pretty happy now - vetch, chickweed and RYE can do that for you. Here Tractor Don is out trying to catch one with a sore foot that needs some tending......The chickens have seen a change though.....

The orange electronet was around them and afforded them a much larger now we have to move them every two days.....working well so far!

Sterling, my Splash Ameraucana Rooster! I'm very we also have a few eggs in the new incubator......only 42 of them.....

Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Parsnip Pleasure

Sometimes without planning flavours come together and form a bowl of pleasure.....I roasted a chicken and made stock. My secret is 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar to pull out the minerals from the carcass. I pulled off all the meat left on the carcass, added an onion, a head of garlic and added the 6 or so parsnips left in my garden (some quite large) We dug them up all winter to cook around our roasts. The perfect veggie, staying fresh in the garden until spring. I simmered the parsnips in the stock, adding water now and then, a bit of salt and pepper. Letting it cool I stuck the parsnips in the blender with water and yoghurt making them smooth. I put them back in t he pot with the chicken stock and meat, added about a tablespoon of curry, a teaspoon of ground thyme and a splash of my mum's warrior white (wine made from her own grapes.....) The result? Delicious, perhaps the best soup I have ever made.....I baked up a loaf of bread and we had fresh bread with melted butter and hot parsnip soup for lunch. Did I mention they are the perfect veggie? No storage, no fuss, just fresh veggies when you need them....I dig them up Christmas day for dinner that night. I dig them up from under the snow, the frost and finally the spring sun.

Ok Ok I know it looks a little like baby food but it DID taste awsome!

Spring has sprung! Tractor Don busy at work spreading manure, lime, stinky fish mixture.....

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Can't Restart Baby

Last year we went to see Joel Salatin, again. He had so much to say in so little time. I've had buzz words and phrases zooming around my skull all winter like Mason Bees stuck inside in the spring with plum trees just outside in full bloom. So many way to get out....
One thing Joel talked about was the thought paradigm of the video game generation. If the game doesn't go as planned, or if you die, or if you lose a battle just Restart and try again at the beginning. Take farmville on facebook - my kids played for awhile - plant crops and minutes later harvest time If harvest is forgotten and the vegetables all wither and die, you can "unwither" them. Now put these kids out in the garden plant some seeds and then, well, wait. Hope a frost doesn't hit, hope it stays warm, hope the chickens don't scratch out the seeds, hope the cutworms don't nibble the seedlings.....There is no restart except from scratch, sometimes not until the next spring. Now plant something that takes 3 or 4 months to our instant society with instant dinners, instant pizza, instant Kraft Dinner for goodness sakes.....Do people get it that it takes 2 months for a pickling cuke to grow and another 6 weeks to pickle??? A tomato plant has to be started in early March for fruit in July?? A strawberry plant has to be nutured through spring, summer, winter and spring before harvest.....and then all might be lost with a frost at full blossom? There is no restart. One thing goes wrong and it's done. No redo, no do-overs, no try again.
Earthquake, Tsunami, Nuclear Disaster, Radiation.
Earthquakes and Tsunamis are nothing new in the Pacific Rim of fire. In fact in 2004 (?) the huge tsunami in Asia should have been a wake up call. The level of readiness in the nuclear facilities in Japan was shocking. The damage to the environment, to people, to food, to our ocean, to the heroes battling the fires and overheating is frankly unthinkable.
Life is not a video game, we can't just punch RESTART when we mess up. This is it. This is our chance on this planet. We are an eyeblink of the gods. The dinosaurs, who always seemed such a big failure to me, were dominant for millions of years. We as a species are not going to last that long because as a society we have lost sight of what is important. We have become too big for our britches. We have huge cities filled with people who don't know carrots grow in the ground. What would happen if another asteriod hit? Can you imagine the armegeddon? Agribusiness no more, food - planting, growing, preserving, storing becomes our way of life again. If we haven't poisoned our planet so much that it is too late.
I just feel sad.