Growing and raising what you eat

It is incredibly satisfying to prepare meals using ingredients that you raised or grew yourself.  I’ve mentioned several times how wonderful the lamb has been.  Last night we had a salad using the lettuce that I grew over the winter in the cold frame.  I filled one of those small plastic containers that you get from the grocery store filled with organic baby lettuce.  You know, the kind that you pay at least $4 for and it usually goes bad before you have a second salad from it.  We used a portion of it last night and we’ll have more tonight.

When Wally first came here, his idea of a salad was iceberg lettuce with some thousand island dressing poured over it.  Things are quite different here and I don’t know that Wally will be eating any more iceberg lettuce even if offered it.  I asked him last night if he understood now why I was so fussy about food when we did go out to eat.  We rarely go out to eat any more or get take-out food.  I much prefer to cook at home.  It tastes better and of course it’s more economical.

While the cold frame worked in concept, it didn’t do as well as I wanted it to, but I learned from it.  I’ll be planting more lettuce and peas the end of September and covering them with plastic if it gets too cold.  I don’t think the peas or lettuce I planted in April are going to make it.  I might just retire that garden completely until the fall and just heavily mulch it until then.  The ground is quite hard there.  Given the number of earthworms that are in there, it’s in pretty good shape, but it’s hard to weed or work in.  Mulching will cure that.

Thursday night I planted two large clay pots with kitchen herbs and put them up by my milking parlor.  They’ll both beautify the area and I’ll be more inclined to use herbs if they are closer to my kitchen.  I’d often not want to haul down to the back garden to get herbs.  I’ll still plant herbs in the back garden, but they’ll be there to help keep insects down.  Quite a while ago I bought these tiny ice cube trays filled with basil, cilantro and garlic (three separate containers) and I’ve used them a lot.  This year I’ll do the same with my herbs.  I love pesto, but never got around to making it last year.

Funny what loosing a job does to you.

I’ve thought a lot about my future at WalMart.  Lots of people look down at working at WalMart, but I think that’s changed in the current economy.  People who would not even consider working at WalMart, people who don’t even like shopping at WalMart are trying to get jobs there.  In November, when my unemployment runs out, it may be my only option.  At which point, I’ll have to become even more frugal.

It’s all for the good I think.

On the agenda this weekend is gates.  We are going to replace the eight-foot gate entering the fenced-in area with a 16 foot one, put the eight-foot gate on the duck and chicken pasture and install the gate to my sitting area.  I found a lovely green wooden gate in the back woods that will work perfectly in the sitting area.  Except for mowing and general animal care, that may be all that we do this weekend.  We worked our tails off last weekend and are still recovering from it.

Last night we fixed a different area for the goat kids.  I was putting them in the duck and chicken pasture, but they were eating the pine trees, harassing the chickens and generally being nuisances (a/k/a being typical goat kids).  Also, I discovered a duck was sitting on eggs in the hen house and I didn’t want the kids to harass her and cause her to stop setting.  We put them in an area behind the sheep shelter (that covered 30 foot enclosure we put up a month or so ago).  We had a chain link panel with a gate in it that we used along with cattle panels.  This will remain permanent because, if all goes as I plan it, I’ll be staggering out my breeding so we’ll have goat kids to put up all year round.  I won’t wean the kids I have now because I don’t want my goats to stop lactating until two months before the deliver again.  We’ll see how that goes.

Until later …