Thursday, October 28, 2010

Front yard

Alternative title: My mother in law is Super Woman.

My husband had oral surgery on Tuesday and is home recovering. Because I have no more time off my mother in law has come over every day to help him and me with the kids.

Yesterday he was napping, I was at work and the kids were all doing daycare like activities so she had a little extra time on her hands.

We had been talking about what I wanted for the front yard and she encouraged me to get some supplies and if she had time she would work on it for me. I told her I wanted something visually appealing but that also was functional. Specifically I was wanting a kitchen herb/butterfly garden.

We bought some shrubs for the rear of the area that were 40% off and then bought some cone flowers. Those are in the middle area. In the front we bought some mums (for color this year for fall) and some lovely kale.

I came home to find my front yard transformed from this (plus some overgrowth that had happened since this picture was taken):


I know it's hard to see (other than being able to tell it looks AMAZING) but my wonderful mother in law trimmed the massive stump in the front that was threatening to regrow multiple trees, dug up the edging bricks we had (in the decorative scallop shape), amended soil and filled in the baby pool sized hole we had in the middle, laid fabric, reapplied the bricks, dug at LEAST 9 holes with a PICK AXE because the soil up there is so crummy, planted my plants, laid mulch and moved heavy rocks and a planter as well as some decorative frogs.

While Micah was napping.

I feel awful because some days it's a miracle for me to fold a basket of laundry. Okay, most days laundry folding is a miracle and my mother in law accomplished all of that in the span of 8 hours or less and in 50 degree weather.

If you recall at the beginning of spring it looked like this:

So really, that is QUITE a transformation.

I feel better already about my little suburban homestead.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Putting together the "book"

My outlook on the whole "TEOTWAWKI/SHTF/ZOMBIESOMG" thing is mutlifaceted. And generally I don't actually include zombies in my planning. Those guys are RELENTLESS.

On the one hand I worry that I have started "too late" meaning that when everything happens, whatever 'everything' is, I wont have done "enough" to prepare. Part of that is just knowing me as a person. Follow through is sometimes a struggle for me and I tend to lose focus sometimes.

On the other hand I know that whatever happens it will be long term and things may never get back to "normal", at least not in my lifetime.

I sit down and think about what I believe is most LIKELY to happen in the near future and I try and prepare for the short term and the long term.

I suspect that peak oil/high energy cost are most likely going to be what sets our society off. I believe we have been experiencing the slow buildup to this but that at somepoint we are going to experience more rolling black outs, more energy distruptions, possibly rationing or astronomical pricing.

On top of this I see food cost continuing to rise. Climate change is causing zones to change and the US is not exactly diversifing it's crops. As it subsidizes corn and soy beans to add into processed food and allows GMO to be the norm we will begin to see the cost of other food, especially fruits and vegetables rise. Couple that with the way we continue to treat animals as "protein product" and assembly line raise them with little actual attention paid to conditions or safety and we will see health continue to decline for our population.

What I'm saying is, I don't think I'm going to wake up one morning and nothing will work ala One Second After or Dies the Fire. I think it's gradual decline like putting a frog in water on a stove and gradually turning up the heat.

I do still wanna have a back up plan for the stuff not working thing though too.

So my plan is two fold. On the one hand is the storing of food, especially food that I'm not sure I'll be able to grow or get easily as food costs rise. So I gradually store some of that and have a chart and a plan as to what I want/need to aquire and in what priortiy.

On the other hand I am working on sourcing our food locally when possible, learning to grow and garden our food as well as incorporate wild edibles when possible. It's a slow process right now.

I worry though that the time may come where I wont have access to the internet and so things that I need to know wont be available to me and I wont have it in a book.

Things like recipes for a dutch oven or using dehydrated foods. Medicinal plants, wild edibles and when to plant things are also on the top of my list. I have some canning information but would love more.

So I'm working at putting together a binder with some of that information. At least to have it on hand until I have estabilished a library or learned how to do things from memory.

So. That's my winter project.

If it were you, what things would you want to have on hand in case you didn't have access to the internet? What information would you need? What information would you want a beginner to have? What books would you want in your library?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Carrot Season

Last Thursday I FINALLY got around to harvesting my carrots. I had been waiting and waiting to pull them trying to give them every last day possible for growing. Which is really just for my selfish pleasure because I like straight out of the garden, barely cleaned from the dirt carrots.

I had WAY more carrots than I realized. Apparently all summer the jalapeno plant and the rosemary did a great job disguising my carrots so that when I went to pull them I was surprised with several more than I had planned for.

Now granted, these are short and stubby. The car keys are in the picture to give you an idea of size.

But I'm still pretty pleased with them. I grew these babies from seed and I believe they turned out great!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Already October

I can't believe it's already October. Where did my summer go?

My jalapeno's continue to produce and even flower despite the chilly mornings now. My cherry tomoto plant is also stubbornly producing. I've watered the plants but only every couple of days.

I also replanted my onion sets.

I had planted them in the spring but the cucumber plant took over their pot and the tops pretty much just wilted. With the cucumber plant now dead (god rest his soul) the replanted onions have green shoots popping up. I probably should rush and try to get garlic in the ground for winter as well.

Money has been tight around the house lately so storing things away for a new day has been limited. I'd LIKE to buy a solar oven, a manual washing machine and rain barrels but for right now those items are sitting on my list of to-do's.

Apathy. Thy name is Me.