Friday, May 30, 2008


I've got flowers! My sweet olives are both flowering. My hungarian paste are doing pretty well, but my amish paste are looking sick. They are very droopy, they must take a lot more water than the others.

Logan was helping me water the deck garden today and asked me where all the plants we were watering came from. I told him they came from the seeds we planted a few months ago. He was so excited to realize they had grown this much. He was almost crying from his excitement! He touched each plant and told them how great they looked. That boy does love plants.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Independence days - Week 4

This last week wasn't so great as far as the challenge goes. I've been sick since Tuesday so that hasn't helped.

2. Harvest something - I've been harvesting 3 or 4 strawberries a day from my 2 plants. We just eat them right off the plant.

5. Cook something new - I made lamb chops and asparagus on the grill. It was the first time for both of those things and they were both delicious!

6. Manage your reserves - In our effort to clear out the freezer before moving, I used the last of the grated zuccini in muffins and made the lamb chops. I have a lot of bacon to take care of. Any suggestions on how to use up a fair amount of frozen bacon?

9. Learn something - this is where I really kicked butt this week. I did a bunch of reading on root cellars and different ideas on how to store food. I came up with a few ideas that should work at the new house since there is no basement or hill to build a root cellar in.

I also read a book about permaculture and one on biointensive gardening. I'm trying to decide how I want to design the garden at the new house. The soil is hard red clay, so I'm thinking I'll be doing raised beds. I really like the idea of the keyhole garden and I want to have a medicine wheel garden, so I may end up with a series of round gardens. I'm still in the thinking stage.

We also went to the local John Deere dealer to start trying to figure out what we are going to need tractor wise. It is a pretty hard decision.

10. Store something - I bought some canning lids and a few boxes of the pectin I use for jam.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

We found a house!

Man, things move slow in GA! 2 weeks ago yesterday, we told our realtor in GA that we wanted to make an offer on a house. What would have taken an hour on the phone in Delaware, took 2 weeks of back and forth contracts in GA. Everything had to be done in writing, so all the negotiations involved writing up multiple contracts with days between each contract to finally get a contract we all were happy with. But we did it! We have a contingency contract on a house in Monroe, GA.

Here is the front of the house. I love the porch and the color, it makes me feel peaceful.
The house is on 6.25 acres with a pond in the back. This is looking back at the house from the pasture. I can't wait to have ducks in the pond! There is a great flat area with full sun for a garden in the back of the house.
Here is more of the pasture in back. It is wooded along the sides and there are trees scattered throughout the pasture for shade. It isn't fenced so we will be taking care of that.
This is the kitchen. It is very bright and open which I like.
And the big family room. The deer heads won't be staying LOL. The ceiling fans will however.

They already have a chicken coop set up in the side yard with 6 laying hens. The coop is staying but I'm not sure about the chickens yet.

The house is down a good size gravel driveway off of a side country road. There are a lot of trees in the front yard. The house is closer in to town than we ideally wanted, but I think it will work out. Mark will only be 10 miles from work which he is looking forward to and it will be easier for Logan to stay involved in karate and for us to get involved with homeschooling groups. As long as the zombie hordes don't attack one day, being closer in will be nice. If they do attack one day, we'll be in seriously trouble LOL.

There's no basement, so I'll have to figure something out for food storage, but I'm already working on that. It isn't the perfect house and land, but nothing ever is. It is by far the best we found in GA and we're both excited about it.

The contract is good until July 21, so we have until then to sell our house or the contract will end. 2 houses sold in our neighborhood this week, the best one and the worst one. We are now the best house in the neighborhood, so I'm hopeful ours will sell soon. We have showings number 23 and 24 scheduled so far for this weekend. If anyone wants to send more house selling energy we'd sure appreciate it. Living in a model home and having to leave on average 5 times a week for showings is getting old!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Garden update

This are going pretty good here garden wise. It is small but growing well.

My strawberries are starten to ripen, so we can have a few fresh strawberries here and there.

My chives are blooming so prettily.
The peas are starting to flower. The spinach, swiss chard and brussel sprouts are coming along.
And my tomatoes are doing great. I may have to stake them soon.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Independance days - week 3

1. Plant something - I transplanted some basil and brussel sprout seedlings that had outgrown their containers.

2. Harvest something - I harvested someone else's strawberries.

3. Preserve something - I made 11 jars of strawberry jam.

4. Prep something - I submitted my food buying club order this week. We are really stocking up this order since we don't plan to be here for any more orders. I want to make sure I don't have to worry about getting food immediately after we move.

6. Manage your reserves - I've been working on cleaning out our freezer before we move. I don't want to end up throwing anything away. We used up the last of the corn, brocolli and cauliflower from the freezer. I also used the second to last package of frozen blueberries in muffins this week.

8. Compost something - this is ongoing, yard waste goes in the outside compost, food waste goes to the worms.

9. Learn something - I've done a bunch of research this week on tractors, trying to figure out what we are going to need and what brand we should get. I've also been researching fencing to figure out what type of fencing we will need.

10. Store something - Got a few more packages of pasta to store. The order I placed this week is all stuff to be stored.

Not too bad overall.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Strawberry Jam

Logan and I went strawberry picking yesterday. I forgot to bring the camera, oops. We picked 5 pounds of strawberries for $2 a pound. Seemed like a good deal to me for organic strawberries.

Here are our beautiful strawberries.

We ate a few fresh last night on vanilla ice cream and then made the rest into jam tonight. I had already packed up all my canning supplies, forgetting about strawberries when I did. After searching 8 boxes, I finally found my pot and other supplies. I couldn't find my jars, so I got some of those cute quilted jam jars. I got 11 jars of jams.

We've been out of blackberry jam that I made last year since January, so it is nice to have home made jam again. We ate some of the jam on vanilla ice cream tonight and I have to say it was even better than the fresh strawberries! I use a type of pectin that comes with calcium so you can use a lot less sugar. I only used 3 cups of sugar total for all 11 jars.

I really enjoy canning and I'm glad I got to do it tonight. I find it relaxing and very satisfying. There is nothing like that popping sound.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Independence Days week 2

I'm not sure I did anything that would qualify for this challenge this last week. We spend 2 days in GA looking at houses and then the last 3 days visiting my dad. I decided the best thing for me to do was get the cats and get out of the house. It has been relaxing being away and we've had 4 showings since we left the house. I hope to get a call from the realtor with an offer soon!

I did do something in the learn something catagory, I've started reading about keeping a milk cow. And I directed someone to the farm I get my meat from on a local list so I helped with the local food scene.

Not so great this week. I hope to do better next week.

I'll write about our trip to GA when I get back home in a few days.

Edited: Danielle did point out that looking for a farm is a prep, so I'm claiming that too!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What is this?

I'm trying to figure out what this is. It is growing in my front flower bed. Last fall I had a planter with spinach in it in this spot and I'm wondering if some went to seed. Does this look like spinach to you? I'll admit I'm a little afraid to just try it. Call me a wuss if you want.

I don't have any spinach growing right now so I can't compare.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Independence Days challenge

I sure do like a good challenge. The newest one I'm participating in is the Independence Days Challenge hosted over at Casaubon's Book. The point of this challenge is to work toward gaining food independence. To do this you try to do one of a few things either every day or every week, or whatever time frame works for you. Since I'm in the middle of trying to sell my house it is going to be harder for me to do some of the things, so I'm setting the goal of doing at least 1 thing each week.

The things listed to pick from are:

1. Plant something
2. Harvest something
3. Preserve something
4. Prep something
5. Cook something new
6. Manage your reserves
7. Work on local food systems
8.Compost something
9.Learn something
10. Store something

In the last week, I bought a few extra packages of pasta to store and last night I cooked ground lamb for the first time. I made gyros with home made pitas. These were all firsts for me. I'll post about that experience later.

I don't expect my progress to be great for the next few weeks, but once we move I'll be kicking butt on this challenge!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A great quote

"A person dependent on somebody else for everything from potatoes to opinions may declare that he is a free man, and his government may issue a certificate granting him his freedom, but he will not be free. He is that variety of specialist known as a consumer, which means that he is the abject dependent of producers. How can he be free if he can do nothing for himself? What is the First Amendment to him whose mouth is stuck to the tit of the "affluent society"? Men are free precisely to the extent that they are equal to their own needs. The most able are the most free."-- Wendell Berry

Saturday, May 3, 2008

"Garden" update

In an attempt to get this blog back on track, I'm posting a garden update. I'm reluctant to call it a garden since it is just a very few pots on the deck, but it is what I have right now.

These strawberry plants are from last year. The overwintered outside in the pots with no protection. They've come back strong even after being ignored since last fall.

My peas are growing pretty well. When I transplanted them they all looked terrible!

My cute banana tree just keeps putting out new leaves. It is very exciting!

About half of my tomatoes. They are doing well, although a few are getting yellow spots on their leaves. I'll need to look up what that means.

And my apple tree. Remember when this was just a stick with no leaves? It is amazing how this thing came to life and is growing like crazy. I can't wait to get it into the ground and give it a permanent home!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Calmer now

I'm sorry about earlier, I think the stress of it all just got to us and this was our breaking point. I feel better after a good cry and talking to a good friend. We've come up with a plan that we can live with. When there is a showing I'm going to take the indoor cat and the litter box with me. The outdoor cat will be outside. I think the cat has been pooping in the litter box after I clean it (she does this often, nothing like a fresh litter box) so that when people come for the showing it does stink. I believe by removing all evidence we have cats that will help a lot. I'm just not willing to board them or give them away to sell a house. Maybe my priorities are off, but they are my pets and I love them.

We are also going to go spend a week or so with my dad (assuming it is ok with him) and bring the cats with us. It will not only get the cats out of the house but will give us a break from the stress. Mark is going to be out of town for business in a week so that is when Logan, the cats and I are going to go.

I also have decided that those people weren't really interested in buying this house. I find it hard to believe that if you liked everything about the house a litter box would keep you from buying it. Or at least asking to see it again with the smell gone.

We will be in GA next week for 2 days looking at houses down there and I'm going to look into boarding the cats while we are doing that so we don't have to worry about showings and whether the litter box stinks.

So, if you haven't read the other post yet, just ignore it. I was over-reacting from the stress of everything. I do think our realtor was insensitive to just flat out say get rid of the cats without trying to find a solution first. But his only concern is selling the house.

I'm really upset

I promised myself I wouldn't write too much about trying to sell the house here but I'm really upset and need to talk about it. We're having an issue with the cats. When we had our realtor's open house the litter box was in the spare room upstairs, most of the realtors said the smell was too strong and that we should move it. So, we moved it to the basement and I'm scooping it multiple times a day. However, our last 2 showings said they couldn't even go in the basement because the cat smell was so strong. I just don't see it! But I guess I just don't smell it? I really don't smell it and certainly not to an extent that you couldn't even go down there.

So, our realtor has said we should get rid of the cats. He suggested boarding them or giving them to a friend or relative until the house sells. But that could be months! I just can't imagine giving my cats to someone else or locking them in a cage for months. Logan and I have been crying for that last 30 minutes because I just don't know what to do. We've had 12 showings but no interest. What if it is the cats that are keeping us from selling the house? But how can I live without my cats for possibly months? And what would the cats be like when we got them back? Something like this could totally change their personalities.

I'm starting to think this whole thing is a mistake. I pushed for this move and Mark got the transfer and now we are committed to this course of action.

I'm thinking about taking the cats and going to live at my dad's for a few weeks. Hopefully the house would sell in that time period.

Any advice would sure be appreciated!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What would I be willing to give up

Wendy is hosting a one time challenge to come up with 10 modern conveniences we want to keep and what we'd be willing to give up to keep them. It seems like an interesting mental exercise that could lead to real changes. I'm not sure I can come up with 10 things but here goes.

I'd be willing to give up TV ...if I could keep the internet.

I'd be willing to give up my dishwasher.....if I could keep a freezer.

I'd be willing to give up my dryer.....if I could keep a vacuum cleaner.

I'd be willing to give up my washing machine... If I could keep hot baths.

I'd be willing to give up the AC...if I could keep heat (I may change my mind about this once we are in GA)

I'd be willing to give up my car... if we had decent public transportation and safe bike routes.

I'd be willing to give up the lawn mower....if I had sheep to eat the grass.

I'll add more later if I can think of more. Right now I have to get the house ready for a showing!

The last part of this challenge is to send a letter to your leaders letting them know that people are willing to make changes and the changes don't have to be all or nothing. I personally plan on making some of the above changes.

Shopping to save the world

Wendy posted a great video, go see it here: