Feb 20, 2011

Indepedence Day Challenge Update

I mean seriously. It's been so long since I've done an update I'm not even sure what I was supposed to be doing. So I have to go back to the last update to refresh my failing memory.

Plant Something: The weather has been gorgeous here and I have had a fairly uneventful 4 days to work in the yard. Mostly weeding, clean up and hauling in dump mulch. BTW now is the time to haul dump mulch while it's cooler. I have a cautious respect for the steaming mulch mountain during the summer bake and don't want to be found deceased face down in it from heat stroke. I love what it does to my soil. I love that it is the only thing that has interested earthworms in hangin' out in my back yard. I love the way it smells. I love that it is free. I love it. Want to marry it.

So I weeded and mulched the vegie beds and weeded and mulched half of the above herb garden. In the process of weeding the herb garden I found 6 cilantro plants I didn't know survived and transplanted them into the vegie beds. The Artist HATES cilantro but it is one of my favorites. The circle of green between my garage sale bird bath and discarded McDonald's outdoor table is garlic chives. Where I live you can not grow regular chives so these make a good substitute. In the background I have a pot of mint, pot of bay and pot of ginkgo. I'm still looking for the pot of gold. Although I hate Lemon Grass i planted an heirloom variety I bought from Bakers Heirlooms this weekend.

Yesterday I planted green bean, cherry tomato, cilantro, and heirloom sunflower seeds.

In the meantime my broccoli and Swiss chard seeds sown about 2 weeks ago have popped up

Broccoli and swiss chard seeds planted in Sept are finally showing signs of life. It was a very cold winter here so it was slow going.

The coffee is looking healthy:

Harvest Something: We've been enjoying tomatoes from the garden which have done well in the cold. Lemons and grapefruit have been plentiful.

Preserve Something: Been squeezing lemons from our tree and freezing the juice. Given away tons to friends, family and neighbors.

Waste Not: Giving the clothes dryer and my electric bill a much needed break from the winter workout and hanging clothes out. Making bibs from discarded t-shirts. Been saving ruined clothing to create a " bag of rags." I'm fed up with paper towels. Fed up with waste. Which brings me to recycling. There is no curbside recycling where I live so it's a matter of accumulating cardboard, glass, junk mail, cans, etc and then hauling it to the dump. No it is not convenient for one as busy as I am but we have been much better about it. Lately when we bring our recycling to the dump we have been loading up with my beloved mulch. Trying to conserve gas by consolidating trips.

Freecycle is my bestest friend ever. I will be forever grateful to Mrs. M for introducing me. As I continue to purge clutter from my home in hopes of achieving a minimalistic life style I just advertise it on freecylye or put it to the curb. In my neighborhood it generally takes 5 minutes to disappear forever. And if you are in need of something you can find ANYTHING on Freecyle if you are patient.

Want Not: I am determined to perfect scavenging, bartering, re-using, re-pairing, and re-inventing. I buy at thrift stores. The expensive plant name tags in the first photo were a find from the Weigh n' Pay. It may not seem like much but every penny saved ads up and in this economy it's fast becoming a necessity not a luxury. I have an emergency food supply that I add to and update routinely.

I like what the author of The Independence Day Challenge says under the Want Not category regarding storing up for hard times:

"The reality is that every nation, every government agency concerned with the security of its citizens, assumes that most people will be able to handle a short term emergency or service disruption themselves – but most of us can’t. There are people who simply can’t prepare – they lack the ability to do so. But if you aren’t one of them if you can do even a little, you can make sure that when help is offered, it goes to the people who truly need it. Moreover, you can make sure you are there and able to help others when it is needed. "

During crisis the average grocery store clears it's shelves within 3 hours. How will you feed your family? And don't just think about your family. What about your neighbors. The elderly? The infirm? When you're storing up keep them in mind as well. I will never forget during Hurricane Francis when everyone in my neighborhood lost power except my side of the street how difficult it was for my older neighbors. Everyone was irritated by the inconvenience but they were plain worn out. What if the power didn't come on for weeks? Months? What would you do? How would you cook? Do you even have a manual can opener?

We live in a land of excess and have developed a false sense of entitlement.
It's a mirage that has been there for decades. Only recently have people begun to recognize it for the illusion it is.

Develop Community Food Systems:
The Artist and The Genius do much better in this category than I do. Being single and unencumbered helps. When you are a single, working mom the last place you want to drag you and your kids to early on a Saturday morning is a farmers market when it is not close by and parking is a nightmare. I try to pick at the local hydroponic farm when the kids are in school if I'm not working. When I can i pick produce in the grocery store that is from around my neck of the woods not from Guatemala or Mexico.

So, there's my update. Now I'm off to try a new recipe for a homemade dry laundry soap. I don't feel like melting, stirring and pouring liquid soap. Sounds crazy? Honey, when those grocery store shelves clear out in 3 hours not only will I already know how to make my own laundry soap I'll already have the ingredients on hand.

Think about it.


Elizabeth said...

I don't know what scares me more -- the possibility of major natural disaster or making my own laundry soap.

Your garden looks amazing ---


Elizabeth: LOL. You are bad.

Lilith said...

Your garden looks lovely. The idea of gardening is a distant memory for me, way back in October. The soil here won't be unfrozen until May, so planting is a ways off. Thank you for the photos to remind me though, that spring will come.

Melissa Swartley said...

Ok, I'm seriously jealous right now! Your garden is BEAUTIFUL!!! Coffee and lemons?? For real?? Ummm I have some dead mums that are frozen in their pots to my snow covered dead garden. I'll be lucky if my strawberries survived another year. Can you mail me your green thumb? Haha! I just read your last post too and I can't stop laughing! He is such a trip!!!

debeart said...

I am astounded at your energy, but necessity is there.

you are wonderful

robin said...

been making my own powdered laundry soap for the last month--easy and inexpensive. and it works! that last part surprised me, but not as much as the fact that the soap has a tendency to gunk up the washing machine filter. i have to wash the washer from time to time.

other than that, i like it.

good luck with yours--and your garden is awesome!

Anna said...

blog-hopped over here from Ms Zoeys blog. Wanted to see who else was from Fl and going to miss the birthday bash. We are outside Pensacola.... We did respite care for a little one that sounds like your "baby". I was so in love. Her guardians changed their mind and kept her so we found our own little angel to love. I cant wait to pour over your latest posts. Been talking about doing a garden this year and seems like youve done the research for the Heirloom seeds Ive been meaning to do. (keep forgetting! ha ha! maybe I need to get some of those b12's too!)


Lilith: It will warm up...soon!

Melissa: Well, you may have a frozen garden but your Bento Boxes need to be featured in a super mom magazine!

Debeart Wonderful? No, just tired!

Robin: Welcome! I never did make the powder...made a batch of liquid instead. After reading your gunk comment I may stick with the liquid. PS There are 5 Robins' in our family!

Anna: I love Bakers Heirloom seeds. If you go on line order a catalog. They are fantastic.