My Imaginary Garden

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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.

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Stuff about guns…and other ramblings

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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.

Good Neighbors Bring Bread

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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

American Blues

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I began calling myself the Outlaw Farmer because I wanted to make the statement that at this point in time, growing and eating real food is an act of civil disobedience in America. But over the brief course of my blogging career, I’ve realized there’re more layers to this story. Namely that I am somewhat uncomfortable being outspoken about my love for America and my patriotism.

This uneasiness stems from prevailing negative attitudes toward America among my peers and in the media. What has happened here? When did we get so down on ourselves? When did our flag come to represent domination, greed, racism, and other such evils? When did we give up on the American Dream?

The flag and America Herself are symbols not of imperialism and capitalism but of freedom, opportunity, and the individual. The flag represents humankind’s God given rights to worship and speak freely, to protect ourselves and to pursue happiness.

I have concerns about many things politically speaking. But it all boils down to one final question; will we trade our freedom for false security? Will Americans willingly exchange personal sovereignty for short term creature comforts? I fear many will and thus seal our future fate. So many are ignorant. So many are helpless. So many are dependent. So many are unhealthy. This is not the recipe for freedom.

And we carry on with our bottled water, our ipods, our cell phones, our cable TV and our prescription medications. We carry on with diets that are killing us. We carry on with credit card debt. We carry on with domestic violence and brat dolls and disposable vacuum cleaners.

Those of us who are desperately trying to salvage America from the hands of global oppressors, those of us who are going to great lengths to be healthy productive members of society; those of us who still believe in the American Dream… we’re vilified, portrayed as a bunch of  extremist haters. Our resources are plucked away one at a time by illegal taxes, restrictions, regulations, road blocks…by any means possible to usurp our power over our own destinies.

Thus the Outlaw Farmer is born an outcast in her own beloved country because she believes in the freedom on which her country itself was founded. A tad ironic wouldn’t ya say?

This is my Soap Box Saturday post on Bleustockings

You know you’re a redneck when…

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I have “kill chickens” on my to do list this week, right there between “pay water bill” and “call CPA”.

Farm Party Scarecrows

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Check out these awesome scarecrows made by the children at our party last Friday!

What should we name them?

Poke Sallet Scramble

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My friend at the feed store gave me this recipe. She and her husband drive around this time of year looking for wild patches of pokeweed. They love the stuff. She says the younger leaves make the best salad.

Oh, and I should mention that while pokeweed, including the roots and berries, has been widely used in folk remedies the entire plant especially the berries but also the tender greens, are considered toxic. That’s why you have to cook the tar out of it and drain off the water between boilings.

Poke Sallet Scramble:

Start with a mess of fresh poke greens

Shake debris from greens

Rinse twice

Parboil for 30 minutes

Drain

Parboil for another 30 minutes

Drain and squeeze dry

Heat bacon drippings in a skillet over med high heat

Add drained greens to hot bacon drippings and cook over med heat for several minutes

Lightly beat 12 eggs with ¼ cup sweet milk or goat milk

Pour egg mixture into skillet with greens and scramble until done

Here’s some more unverified info about pokeweed I found on wikipedia:

Since pioneer times, pokeweed has been used as a folk remedy to treat many ailments. It can be applied topically or taken internally. Topical treatments have been used for acne and other ailments. Internal treatments include tonsillitis, swollen glands and weight loss. Dried berries were ingested whole as a treatment for boils, taken 1 berry per day for 7 days. Grated pokeroot was used by Native Americans as a poultice to treat inflammations and rashes of the breast. Independent researchers are investigating phytolacca’s use in treating AIDS and cancer patients. Especially to those who have not been properly trained in its use, pokeweed should be considered dangerous and possibly deadly.

Ingestion of poisonous parts of the plant may cause severe stomach cramping, nausea with persistent diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes bloody, slow and difficult breathing, weakness, spasms, hypertension, severe convulsions, and death. However, consuming fewer than 10 uncooked berries is generally harmless to adults. Several investigators have reported deaths in children following the ingestion of uncooked berries or pokeberry juice. Severe poisonings have been reported in adults who ingested mature pokeweed leaves and following the ingestion of tea brewed from one-half teaspoonful of powdered pokeroot.

Pokeweed berries yield a red ink or dye, which was once used by aboriginal Americans to decorate their horses. Many letters written home during the American Civil War were written in pokeberry ink; the writing in these surviving letters appears brown. The red juice has also been used to symbolize blood, as in the anti-slavery protest of Benjamin Lay. A rich brown dye can be made by soaking fabrics in fermenting berries in a hollowed-out pumpkin.

 This post is linked to Hearth and Soul.

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