Sunday, February 27, 2005

Mish Mash

Yesterday was my first real day of the year in the garden. Not husband’s, no: he’s got a whole lot of the garden beds turned (by hand). This was the week the onion plants came in, some 30 bundles of around 60 plants each so that’s a whole lotta onions. They are all planted, mulched lightly with sawdust & lime, mulched again lightly with grass clippings (yep, the push mower got fired up and it still February). Plus some beets and spinach were seeded in the garden beds today. I wouldn’t necessarily know what all else is down there – it is his space and I am very occasional, light duty help.

I took the equines to the front fields to graze while we gardened. We haven’t bought any hay this year. Our own main back field was good through December. When it was well eaten off, I opened up a neighboring field that we don’t own but have use of, but it is only about an acre and a half, and very thin because no one has ever owned it who cared about increasing its fertility. But it lasted well into February. And we’ve had such temperatures that the grass is actually growing on the warmer days. I don’t worry about the cow’s nutrition as she gets feed when I milk her. And I don’t worry about the goats because of their ability to browse and because they have a wide range. But the equines, well, I really don’t worry but I like to take care of them so I’ve been getting them into the front fields whenever possible.

The front is rocky bottom land that we mow in the growing season to mulch the garden. But this year toward the end of the season we let it grow for a sort of standing hay arrangement that we could bring the animals to if it was needed.

Today’s big task; wood. The forecasts are for a couple days of colder weather and tomorrow we will be going in to town so today we lay in wood. We still have a few rounds of oak the boys bucked up back whenever that was. There was a surprising amount of one tree that they didn’t buck up, but oh well. And we’ve been thinning a few poplars that are very tall with almost no green growth on them but at the same time not quite dead yet so those we fell, then cut into about 4 foot lengths (which we can carry), then cut into stove lengths (with hand saws remember), then split. The children helped to carry the lengths up, and then carry the split wood in and stack it. And today the older three all tried the hand at actual splitting, eldest doing quite well actually.

Of course, milking (a goat and a cow now) and making butter and bread and supper and doing laundry and finishing cleaning out bathroom not and sweeping and all the other assorted tasks all have to be done too.

Yesterday’s big meal was roast mystery beast (clearly labeled “shoulder pieces” but we’re not sure shoulder of what!) with boiled freshly dug potatoes and parsnips from the garden and (mostly store bought) carrots, with sides of home-canned pickled beets and home-canned green beans. Which means today’s main meal is soup made off the stock, with corn we parched (nothing like parched corn in soup) and tomatoes we dried (aka tomato candy), along with barley and beans, with a side of baked peas because I found some english peas we froze from last year and would like to use them up and it is a dish my mother used to make and always makes me think of holidays with her. I made a couple batches of biscuits so we’ll have an easy take-along non-cash breakfast in the morning, and to make up to the children for them having to eat peas in a casserole. They love my biscuits. If husband married me for my fried chicken, they’d keep me as their mother for my biscuits. It is good to be appreciated!

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