Here I go again, daydreaming of this year’s garden…imagining delicious tasting, perfectly plump, vine ripened tomatoes, crisp hot peppers, large, manageable mounds of fresh herbs strategically placed to ward off invasive insects, beautifully tapered crunchy-sweet carrots with strong tops that never break off when you tug them, oh and loads of summer squash growing on compact bush style plants that respect the boundaries of my weed-free garden paths! I’m dreaming of okra and tender green beans that never hide from me, sun ripened strawberries, those little tiny cucumbers you can make sweet pickles with, oh and sweet potatoes! Lettuce that stays sweet and buttery all summer long, onions and leeks and radishes and beets and swiss chard and pok choy and cow peas!!! A weed never grows in my garden and it’s always 85* and sunny with a slight breeze. There are no squash bugs, no aphids no fungus or blight. Everything is organic and the moon tells me secrets about when to plant and when to harvest.
February 15, 2012
February 14, 2012
Let’s face it; part of being self sufficient is being able to defend yourself. No one likes to think about the possibilities of someone doing them harm but the fact is none of us are exempt from danger and the world is full of misguided souls. My personal choice for protection is a good old fashioned pistol. Sure it’s a good idea to know some martial arts or other fighting techniques. And sure, there are plenty of other weapons one can use for self-defense but nothing beats the power and easy use of a semiautomatic handgun.
I wasn’t raised around firearms and self-defense was never really talked about in our house. I guess, like many families, we just assumed nothing bad would ever happen to us because we’re good people. Or maybe we never really thought about it at all. At any rate, it wasn’t until my late twenties that I ever held a gun. Guns were scary to me and I never imagined that one day, not only would I own a gun, but I would also enjoy target shooting and learn how to take apart my pistol and clean it.
My first experience shooting was a project for a Women’s Study course I was taking in college. The goal of the project was to engage in an un-lady-like activity. Well, this was right up my alley! I was so excited that I was having a hard time deciding which un-lady-like thing to report on first. But then I thought back to earlier in the semester when my professor told us how she had been assaulted once in a parking lot and that got me to thinkin’ about how the heck I would defend myself if, God forbid, some misguided soul tried to hurt me. Bingo! I knew exactly what I was gonna to do for that project. Get a gun and learn to shoot it. And so I did. And I got an A.
Now that I know how to safely handle a gun, there’s no doubt in my mind it’s the most effective means of self-defense available. And it’s a great feeling to know I don’t have to rely on someone else to come to my rescue.
The thing is though, nobody’s ever truly self sufficient. We need each other if we’re gonna make a go of this republic. So go ahead and learn to shoot if you haven’t already but don’t forget to introduce yourself to the neighbors, lean on a truck or two and share a few minutes face to face with the folks most likely to save your ass when the shit hits the fan.
February 12, 2012
Five Reasons to Raise Rabbits:
- Low Cost
- Great Manure
- Easy to Breed
- Taste Good
- It’s Legal!
If you ask me rabbits are second only to chickens in terms of the best livestock to raise. They are small and quiet and very inexpensive to house and feed. They only eat a ¼ cup of food each day. Another bonus is that rabbit manure is what you call cold which means it’s ready to go right into the garden with no composting time required. It’ll really boost the nitrogen level in your soil too without burning your plants.
Rabbits are relatively easy to breed. You will want to house your does separate from your buck. When you’re ready for them to breed, you just put a doe in with the buck and let them do their thing. Don’t put him into her cage though because does are territorial and she might try to attack. When the buck is finished breeding, he’ll squeal and fall off of the doe’s back.
After breeding, if all goes well, your doe will kindle in 5 weeks. Four days before she’s due, put some bedding in her nest box. She should begin to nest and you’ll know the kits are on the way when she pulls out the fur on her belly for them. This makes the nest nice and soft and makes it easy for the kits to find their momma’s milk.
Rabbits are a great source of lean protein. They should be prepared at about 5-6 weeks old. At this age you can expect them to weigh somewhere around 3 lbs, maybe more depending on the breed. Rabbit tastes wonderful when cooked in the crock pot, stewed with homegrown veggies or pan fried with a mustard wine sauce. I have a great rabbit recipe posted on my Real Food Recipes page.
So if you can’t raise chickens for some silly reason like its against the law or what have you, give rabbits a try. Just tell your neighbors they are your pets. Lord knows no one wants to live next door to a farmer!
This post is linked to Homestead Barn Hop
February 7, 2012
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
That’s as scarce as hen’s teeth.
A hen that struts like a rooster is often invited for dinner.
I been workin’ as hard as a hen hauling wood.
Better an egg today than a hen tomorrow.
He was madder than a wet settin’ hen.
She done flew the coop.
Don’t be such a chicken!
I been running around like a chicken with his head cut off.
What’s stuck in your craw?
Well don’t just stand around hatching rooster eggs.
Shake a tail feather my friend!
February 6, 2012
Today, me and the hubs cut up an oak tree that fell in the side yard an eon ago. About half way through the project I caught a glimpse of our neighbor, Lucy, making her way up the drive with a bag in her hands. Come to find out Lucy’s daughter got herself a bread machine the other day and we’re the lucky recipients of her latest effort.
After the hauling and stacking of that old oak tree and the eating of Lucy’s daughter’s homemade banana walnut bread, it was high time for a nap. Just as I was about to doze off the phone rang. I answered to hear the earth shattering news that my dog was in the across-the-street neighbor’s yard. Not that that neighbor minded; he don’t live here…No the call was from the overly-concerned-about-everyone-else’s-dog-in-the-whole-freeking-world-neighbor who lives up the road a good bit. You know the one who is likely to “rescue” your dog from a 4 inch gap in your passenger side window while you run into the “convenience store” to grab a bag of Gardettos and a lemon lime Gatorade small enough to actually fit into the cup holder on your 27 year old pick-up? Yeah, that’s the one who called to inform me of my dog’s whereabouts on her way home from church this afternoon. Bless her heart.
So much for a peaceful nap. By the time I got off the phone and my boots on and my hat on and my jacket on and then off again (cause the daffodils are blooming and its too damn hot for a jacket even though it’s the first week in FEBRUARY. Hear that Mother Nature?! Its FEBRUARY!!), the goats were hollarin’ for their dinner and the dog was headed up the drive. Time to feed.
An hour later I was back in the house to whip up some skillet mac n’ cheese with a side of vodka. Yep, suppose I can think of many worse ways to spend a Sunday in February. Thank you Jesus. Life sure is good.
This post is linked to Homestead Barn Hop