Idyllic country summer day

Well… it was one of those days. LG and I went first thing this morning to go and pick strawberries. The field had been picked clean the day before so we’ll go tomorrow or another day. It was a gorgeous drive and we got an ice cream treat at the local store out of it, so it was good. We made cheese and bread, swam in the pond, ate lunch on the picnic table and made pudding pops and Krispie squares. It’s hot – really hot – but there’s nothing like sitting by the pond (and swimming for those who are so inclined) to make it worth while.

We planted more free pumpkins and eggplants. One of the local greenhouses was giving away their surplus. We also planted spearmint (my favorite mint – and yes, I’m hoping it’s as invasive as the chocolate mint we planted a couple of years ago), lavender and fennel. We also moved some things around. The garlic has been re-located. We got “two for one” asparagus packs (10 plants per pack) and made a permanent asparagus bed. I am going to have to move some of my onions I think. I know it’s not a great idea but I don’t want to look gift asparagus in the mouth and the onions are better able to survive the transition than pulling up asparagus plants next year.

J hung out his teepee fabric and we’ll have something yummy and local for supper. Homemade cheese with hamburgers (beef from this valley), salad with all of the components from the Valley as well. The dressings are still getting used up and are from elsewhere.

The sheep are hating the temperatures. I feel for them. We keep filling their water to help keep them cool. There’s not much else we can do. I considered shearing again but the little bit of fleece we’d get off them would likely just make them susceptible to burns and not cool them off terribly.

I have decided to copy this from a virtual friend’s blog. She is part of another online community where they’re doing this and I think it’s a great idea.

We’ve been deciding to make this out Year of Simply Living.  Lest a reader suppose this is a result of the current 100 mile trend, we were a family who six year ago tore up their driveway to add garden beds in their very urban environment, who (when they lived on a sailboat nearly 15 years ago now) had more food stored than most people in houses and who were known to look for or install wood stoves in every place they lived and could do so.

We’ve been having a raccoon problem – we lost two more of our ducks. Sadly, we’ll have to take care of the raccoon (that’s town talk for kill). I really hope it’s not a mum although most babies are weaned by this time in the year. I think.

I also have edited my WiP up to page 73. Hooray!

So, our Year of Simply Living.

Planted – as I said we planted lots of eggplant and other things. We sowed seeds for another bean harvest and will be doing that again tonight in a new garden bed. We have a nitrogen problem in our garden (too much because it’s nearly entirely composted horse and sheep manure) so we’re getting a lot of leaf and not a lot else. Given that beans devour nitrogen, I figure I’ll stop fighting it and plant more beans. We’ve also made a carrot bed and will be planting that tonight.

Harvested- Eggs – of course. Chard, kale, radishes (greens and very meagre bulbs) and herbs.

Preserved- Not yet. We would have been preserving strawberries today but maybe tomorrow.

Prepped – Tepee canvas.

Managed Reserves – We’re actually eating through the cold room stores.

Cooked something new – lots new. Sauteed the greens in butter and garlic. Ok, not super original but yummy. Even the boys tasted them.

We also made cheese for the first time. We made a plain Panir / Queso Blanco – you can find recipes for it all over the internet. It’s not so difficult and very worth doing.
Reduced waste – Swam in the pond instead of driving to town. Have started to get recycling plastic (which just came back to our community) into our heads and of course, expanded the garden using reclaimed items from our yard and free plants).

Learned a new skill – Carding! I got wool carders and had the chance to learn to card some fleece and use my drop spindle. It should be  “learning a new skill” because I am nowhere near “leaned”.

What I’m reading – Animal, vegetable, miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s a great read. It’s one in a long series of these sorts of books. This interest started last September after attending a sheep breeding course in Minnesota. We had some great late night conversations about farming and the world around the campfire. One of the shepherds I have huge respect for really recommended the Omnivore’s Dilemma and now I’m hooked on that genre (if it’s actually a genre).

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