Gear Up or Give Up?

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There’s been some major setbacks for me. A racoon managed to wipe out all of my chickens in their new coop, though I turned the portable tractor into fort freaking knox with hardware cloth so we saved my neighbor’s 6 girls.  He’s feeding them purchased feed now, so I can’t eat the eggs, unfortunately. The feed contains both soy and corn, and that means the eggs will have soy’s phytoestrogens. People with corn or soy sensitivity like me will have problems with eggs from chickens fed corn or soy. Boo.

eytytAnd the other part of the double tap combo is the insect invasion: the squash bugs, vine borers, cucumber beetles are wiping me out. Again. The organic controls for squash bugs are not terribly effective. Besides, I just cannot use pesticides, even organic ones, without winding up with flu like misery, so growing veggies in the open is looking like an iffy proposition. After a solid week of depression…

I know, it sounds silly to most people to get really walloped by what is a mere setback to others. But, welcome to the world of PTSD and anxiety. One could argue we “over react”. It’s true. Our bodies are often in a permanent state of fight or flight, be it at a high level or a moderate one. It’s like getting whacked where you already have a bruise. It stings more.

Given 1) the physical exertion in building a garden when you have to fight the chronic fatigue to do so, 2) the waste of money my fixed income couldn’t afford to waste, 3) the loss of eggs I could actually eat without triggering migraines etc, and 3) the emotional investment in achieving a difficult goal that has been a big expensive failure… July was a really tough month.

What to do now? How to adapt to what’s clearly going to happen again if I try to grow any kind of veggie in the open? Should I even try again? I’m still a bit undecided what to do next. Should I really sink more money and physical expense into this dream of providing my own healthy food for myself? Could I take out both problems (predators and pests) with one solution? I continue meeting with failure, so is it worth the cost and difficulty?

One option to try is building a couple greenhouses, 16-20 feet wide, and if I make it with a 6/12 roof pitch it would hold up under winter snow and ice. The outer wall posts would be 6 feet or 8 feet tall, and the inner support posts would be either 10 feet or 12 feet. A four foot wide coop area with car siding or hardboard exterior would provide a roosting and nesting area.  Something similar to the pic below.

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The only area needing a solid roof would be the nesting area; the rest would be open so I could remove the greenhouse fabric for the summer growing season. Good wide beds inside allow me to even grow fodder in ground for chickens. One would house them during the fall and winter, the other in spring and summer.

There would be more cost, of course: lumber, the effort to build, sky high pricey hardware cloth (only thing that saved the neighbor’s girls), etc.  The major drawback is trying to dig in this soil for the posts and buried hardware cloth: once again, fibro and fatigue present a big obstacle. Not to mention a total lack of building skills.

Even just one big greenhouse might be enough: chickens on one side, veggies on the other, seperated by simple bird netting I already have. I’m back to the drawing board, only now I don’t really trust my judgement about what would work out best. Would a wood structure last the longest, would a standard metal greenhouse be better, would 2″ pvc be cheaper…

If I want eggs next spring, I need to get my chicks this fall, so there’s some time pressure to make a decision and get going. I don’t want to buy the chicks until I have a really secure place to put them for the fall and winter. I think I’ll buy 4-6 red and black sex links rather than Orpingtons this time, as they are said to be excellent layers.  I’d need to make a brooder, and buy a heat lamp, but that isn’t much trouble. It’s keeping them alive after they’re old enough to be outside!

So okay, you can see the rambling in my brain!

Now for the happier ending to this post: the garden hasn’t been a total loss! I’m gettin snap beans, the chard is growing like wildfire, I’ll get some more cucumbers before the bugs have finished the squash and are looking for the next victims,  the turnips are ready to harvest, the lettuces are ready to bolt so I can keep the seed, and the crowning glory is my tomatoes are starting to ripen!

I’ll at least have some produce, maybe enough of the beans and tomatoes to freeze for winter. That helps my outlook a bit!

Slowly Recovering

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Must. Water. Garden… Truth is, I hate hoses. There’s no avoiding them, though. They are a pain. They’re heavy, bulky, and a pain. Did I mention I hate hoses?

But they are necessary, unfortunately. We haven’t had any rain in awhile, and that means I’m doing the hate-you-hose-shuffle. Between water and misting spray for the chickens, and having raised beds, I’m doing that shuffle every day.

coopI lost three chickens Thursday morning to some kind of predator, raccoon or skunk most likely. So I paid through the nose for a ridiculously small coop/run that was already built. I also put 1/4″ hardware cloth on the chicken tractor, and that is where the girls are now. My run wasn’t secure enough, which I kinda knew.

So I now need to add hardware cloth to the new coop and get some of the chickens in it.  No way can the remaining 9 girls fit in a 3 x 6 coop, so I still need the tractor for some of them. Once they are secured, even if a bit cramped, then I can go about building a run off of the new coop that is more predator proof.

I’m slowly regaining some energy, after awakening a few days ago with a burning nose and watering eyes from the Clorox Clean up Mom was using in the kitchen. I have chemical sensitivities, like many people with fibromyalgia, and it took me days to get past the flu like congestion, extra aches atop the fibro pain, and general punkiness.

It also took me days to stop feeling so depressed and frustrated. After some 15 years of asking, begging, pleading, arguing about those toxic chemicals… you’d think she would decide to at least try hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar and baking soda. Or throw the damn dishcloths in the washer to get them clean. But she continually reaches for the most toxic chemical she can find for any given job, and I get essentially poisoned. Often in my sleep.

It is terribly disheartening to realize my health is of less concern than whether or not the dishcloth would pass a Martha Stewart inspection. If you have a family member with chemical sensitivities, please realize that they aren’t faking or fussing for no reason. Please put your “need” for perfume or a toilet bowl cleaner in perspective.

Essential oils are an alternative to perfumes and artificial fragrances. And Hydrogen Peroxide is a perfectly good disinfectant. There are natural cleaning products, that work quite well. You may have to try a few different things to find what works for you. If you have a sickly rose that can’t survive without sprays then you can always prune it with a shovel, and replace it with something a little healthier!

gfagfadBut please try to understand that what is a preference or convenience to you may be causing someone else to feel ill. And insisting on continuing to use a product that makes someone ill can, will, make them feel rather callously disregarded. It’s not that those of us with sensitivities wouldn’t like to spray and rinse a tub without scrubbing, or enjoy those lovely scented candles, but we pay such a price that it really isn’t worth it.

And remember, just because you don’t feel sickly from the furniture polish or air freshener doesn’t mean it isn’t impacting your health. A study showed that newborn babies can have as much as 200 chemicals in their system. Having so many toxic cocktails in your environment may not affect you as immediately, but over time can have a terrible effect on your own health. Hormone disruption, liver issues, lung problems etc don’t just happen overnight.

Hazy Days

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winter squashes july 10The second week of July has started being more normal, so we’re in the 90′s F. The garden is needing water every couple days. It’s really starting to get going: I’m thinning and picking the chard most every day, and the chickens love it like candy. That and the turnips. The squashes are growing gangbusters, and the first tiny little tomato is turning ripe.

It’s become brutally hot, as always in July and August, so the task list has morphed into “maintain” from “bust your buns to build”. Lazy days of summer is right…

I haven’t gotten started on building a drainage well up by the fence where the storm water run off is damaging those two new beds. The idea is to rent a skid steer with a backhoe arm and dig a 2-3 foot deep trench about 18″ wide and 6 feet long.

If I line the trench with composite hardboard, which comes in 4×8 sheets, and cover with some sort of metal screening, it should catch that big time run off I get from the neighbor’s yards before it completely ruins the beds. Then I can go from there. There’s no point in working the soil or adding compost if it is just gonna wash away.

Happily, I’ve settled into a bit of a groove with the chickens. With the heat, their water is changed 3 times a day so it’s cooler and cleaner. I won’t say clean, ’cause they are anything but, shall we say, “litter box trained”? When the heat indexes hit triple digits, I turn the hose on, set to mist in the afternoons to prevent overheating. If it’s really bad, I put a tad bit of honey in their water as an electrolyte.

flatsThey get sprouted feed (organic whole grains and seeds) twice a day, and at least one flat of greens (pic) each day to add to the chard and turnip greens.  Oh and random amounts of birdseed, kitchen scraps, aging cucumbers and the like. Their feed has simplified, as I’ve learned what they need and what they really don’t.

A day’s worth of feed for the 12 girls is 1 cup each of oat groats, hard red wheat berries, black oil sunflower seed, and millet. Then 1/3 to 1/2 cup of green split peas. The ration soaks in Nature’s Magic (liquid kelp and humic acid mix) for 8-10 hours to encourage it to sprout.

I got some 2 gallon buckets and drilled holes in the bottoms as well as part way up the sides to rinse the seeds as they sprout. If ya don’t rinse, they turn to a gummy mess and mold, which would make the girls really sick. After 2-3 days, they have sprouted and I add about 1/4 cup of Fertrell Nutribalancer, and a capsule of organic fish oil before scattering along the run for them to hunt and peck at.

I’d like to build wood framed greenhouses when the runoff problem is solved; then I could easily rotate the chickens from one bed to another each season. Could even grow their greens and fodder in there with them to free up the garage. A simple small coop with that hardboard for siding can be assembled in a corner of a greenhouse easily enough.

A greenhouse fabric will last far longer than plastic to cover the top and I wouldn’t mind leaving chicken wire on the sides all year round–keep those pesky rabbits out of my greens! Chickens in the garden are good, eating overwintering bugs, scratching up the soil, devouring weed seeds, fertilizing… I hope to have one ready for winter. Maybe pie in the sky given my pace, ie permanently stuck in low gear. But wouldn’t it be nice?

Experimental Learning

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first of july2It’s a new month, roughly mid-summer given my 6-7 month growing season. The garden is taking shape, one month after being planted.  This pic here is of the bush beans (green provider, yellow wax, and purple colored), rainbow chard, and few of the spinach and romaine.

Having sown so late in my season (beginning of last month), I was hoping the lettuces would do okay. The weather is what the weather is though, and they haven’t done much. Neither have the carrots.

first of julyYou can see in the pic to the right the contrast between the lettuces on the left side and root veggies on the right, bigtime. The beets are up, a bit on the wimpy side. Nothing to speak of for carrots or onions. The turnips, however are going strong! Those lovely green leaves in the pic are the golden turnips.

The weak performance of some of the crops is a little disappointing, but really, ya can’t fight nature and expect to win very often! It’s all good: I’ve learned that turnips can handle my summer, which I didn’t think they would. My money was on the carrots, that bombed. Got a useful FMI (for my information) that I wouldn’t have had, had I not tried the little experiment.

first of july4As for the usual suspects in a summer garden… here are my tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs one month after transplanting. There are even little ‘maters on the yellow cherry and one of the slicers. They are only about 12-18 inches tall, though, so I expect not to be picking for another month or so.

If you can see the wire fencing between the closest two tomato posts on the left of the pic, you can see the cucumbers. They are about 6″ tall now, and really starting to grow the past week or so.

first of july3But here are the squashes!! Bam, the last 6 days they have doubled in size. There are pumpkins, Lakota squash, and spaghetti squash in there. All yummy when roasted with gobs of butter! So far, knock on wood, no squash bugs. In fact, not many bugs of any kind. I wonder if that is the result of the hot to cold to hot to snow to hot…

We had a lovely winter this spring, you see. Then in June we soared into the triple digit heat index range, and now our temps are running 50′s at night to 70′s in the day. We’re all over the place, like most places. If it means no squash bugs and vine borers, I’ll take it. There’s been a tiny number of Japanese beetles, and I hope they aren’t going to be a plague like most years.

The other endeavor this summer is, of course, the chickens. It’s been a series of experiments too, some failed, some panning out pretty good. For a quick recap: I’d intended to pasture them in a movable pen, but the one we built turned out to be too heavy to move easily enough. So it became a stationary place for the girls to bed down underneath and lay their eggs inside, attached to a long run of bent garden row hoops.

july chickens 3I began transitioning them from standard feed store layer crumbles to soy free whole organic grains last month. Unfortunately, that transition began when the high heat indexes did too, so I wasn’t sure if the suddenly variable egg production was due to heat or their not wanting to eat the whole grain feed. It seems I spoiled them too much trying to get them to learn to scratch and peck for their food, using mealworms and peanuts.

They began to prefer the worms and peanuts, and wouldn’t eat anything else. Some well advised tough love in the form of no more worms or treats got them eating their organic feed. The love it or lump it approach. At least they learned to scratch, and have their feathered selves a ball chasing bugs in the grass clippings I’ve been putting in their run!

They also began to parade through the mist from a hose when it was super hot, back and forth with a flap or two. That’s much better than how they were huddling up all crammed into the tractor where they could overheat. They are also enjoying a big tub from the Ace Hardware that I put ice water in when it’s hot, or just water from the hose when it isn’t too hot. They splash in it–so yes, I bought a kiddie pool of sorts for the chickens… ha!

My newest experiments with the chickens now that they are eating the whole grains, is a think-ahead-to-winter. I do plan to convert a shed to their coop for the cold months, but won’t get to that just yet. My thoughts are targeting fodder and keeping feed costs down. I’ve learned they don’t like kale or squash, but loved the chard thinnings I tossed them, and pulled up clover.

getting microgreensThis is the first tray of microgreens I gave them yesterday. It lasted about 30 seconds before it was all scratched out of the tray and they lost interest. I’m going to hold back on one feeding today, giving less, and try another tray tomorrow. Hopefully hunger will get them to eat it rather than treat them like grass clippings?

Another fodder experiment I started yesterday was simply sprouting seed. http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/713334/growing-fodder-for-chickens Since the whole grain feed a bit on the pricey side and I make mistakes, the first seeds I soaked were relatively cheap bird seed. For my small scale experiment, I just used a tupper-ware container topped with cheesecloth.

The soaking and rinsing to sprout the seed doesn’t require additional lighting, potting soil, or many other extra costs that microgreens would. It still greatly boosts the nutritional value of the grains, though, and that was what I was wanting to keep them fat and warm all winter. Ya have to go to the trouble of soaking and rinsing a couple times a day minimum, and have trays of some kind or buckets for the soaking and rinsing. Still, it’s half the time and less cost than microgreens.

july chickens 2I’m such a comfortable gardener, that I started with microgreen attempts. Potting soil and watering are familiar to me, which I suppose is why it appealed to me more.  Sprouts only need to have tops or roots the size of the seed to be fully “activated”, ie the dormancy broken so the enzymes and nutritional value are actively increased.

I’ll see how sprouting goes, since I’m fairly sure they will eat sprouted grains without an adjustment. If it works, it could save me some cost in terms of how many pounds of feed they need when greens and scraps and insects aren’t really available.

So that’s where I’m at in my progress towards healthier and more self sufficient living. I’m not really the smartest person you’ll ever know, nor am I one of those people that has most everything they try work out as planned. But that’s okay–every experience is an opportunity to become wiser!

A Might Windy Last Night

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1044247_10153162906980413_606692402_nHere’s a great idea from motherearthnews.com. Wish I’d seen this before driving all those t-posts! It uses 3″ pvc for posts, and this pic shows galvanized conduit to make the cage though you could just as easily use smaller pvc or wooden dowels. An added plus is pouring water into the big pipe and letting it slowly water your tomato plant!

We’ve had several days of high heat and humidity here at the end of June. (The worst day our heat index hit 107F). Thursday night brought a rather noisy thunderstorm, and my garden took a good hit. The tomatoes are on the ground, untied until they reach 12-18″ tall. They’ll tie up fine, not too worried about them. The turnips and beans were laying down too. Waiting for the sunshine to dry them and see if they stand up again.

I think the chickens were maybe a bit frightened, too, as they were remarkably subdued Friday morning. Kinda bedraggled, poor dears. So I talked to them while rinsing out their bowls and bathing tub, refilling their feeder. They aren’t really eating much, I believe because of the heat, but the mealworms got them on the hunt pretty fast. Egg production has dropped slightly from a regular 9 per day to 7 or 8.

They won’t like that I uncovered their tractor run, but it needs to dry out a little in there. They huddle up in the tractor every afternoon, despite the shade cloth and a tarp over part of their run. I think it might be habit, really. But a bad idea when it’s in the 90′s F.

I’ve been turning on the misting nozzle on the hose in the afternoons, and it’s funny watching them parade through it, then scratch like crazy at the muddy soil digging up insects. It’s only going to be in the low 80′s today, so they’ll just have to make do under the tarp run so that tractor area can dry out. Their laying area is totally enclosed, so it is dry still. We’ll see if they lay more now that it’s cooler

sprouts do better in garage end of juneI’ve been sprouting trays of seeds for the girls: microgreens of broccoli, alfalfa, turnips, rye, beets, lettuce, and kale. The garage floor is always warm now and bam–sprouting overnight. They are growing very well, thanks to an initial soaking of Nature’s Magic (kelp/humic acid mix). I’ve come to love that stuff. Best fertilizer I’ve ever used.

http://www.natureslawn.com/magic.php

They say microgreens take a couple weeks, but if they continue at the pace they’re on, it will only take a week or so in the garage. Indoors, where it’s cooler, probably 2 weeks so that’s the winter schedule, I guess.

As they really begin to leaf, they will need more direct sun to green up than the garage windows provide, so the seedling’s mornings will be spent on the front porch for sure, soaking up the rays. Hopefully they get all lush and ready for chicken munching fast!

1001159_10151677352965700_473618695_nI’ve been thinking… yeah, dangerous I know. But the chickens really loved the grass clippings I shoved into their run. Not for the greens so much as the bugs and insects in it. Kicking around the idea of a solar light, I figured they’d probably perch on it, peck it and such and maybe damage it.

But this came across my facebook feed: painting a pot with rustoleum’s glow in the dark paint. That would attract some bugs in the evenings for them to chase down and snack on!

I don’t have to plant it, just turn it upside down and leave it there. They could perch and peck all they want on it and it won’t matter. I’ll keep an eye open for some big heavy pots to try this with. To me the picture looks like the pots are lit, but maybe not. An experiment about to happen here!!

Hopefully now that the dangerous heat has broken, I’ll get more accomplished. There’s a pvc tractor to build for pasturing the girls, and the garden really needs more beans seeded in. I’d like to start converting over that shed there in the garden to a winter coop for the girls too.

When it’s so humid you can’t breathe at 9 am, the work load lightens, ya know?

A Vampire Cannibal in my Yard!!

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fgaadf I had a post planned, then the chickens interrupted again!!

First my cluckers are little vampires running away from any shred of sunlight (missing feathers). The bird brains huddle into a way too small space until the sun is almost down, despite high heat. So okay. I set up the hose and nozzle on mist and put another tarp, this time over a shaded portion of the run. They came out before near dark.

Now at least one is a cannibal. Been finding slightly damaged eggs on occasion, and chocked it up to accident. But today I found two that had been entirely eaten, one right in the nest box, the other in the coop. The backyardchickens forum says it’s a calcium or protein deficiency that causes raw egg eating.

So I set out tons of extra oyster shell and grit, and started my new feed tonight. Wanna nip this in the bud if I can.

A local health food store had the whole organic grains in a more manageable bulk, ie less than 50 pounds of each ingredient. I adapted a recipe slightly from the Garden Betty website, and found it was a pretty similar home recipe to others. I was going to wait to start feeding it until I’d used up some more of the old, but they just aren’t eating that store bought mash well and going crazy over the bird seed I sometimes put out.

Here’s my recipe: 4 pounds organic oat groats, 4 pounds organic black oil sunflower seeds, 5  pounds organic hard red wheat berries, 2  pounds organic soft white wheat berries, 2  pounds organic kamut, 2  pounds organic millet, 1  pound organic green lentils, 1 pound organic flax seed, 1/2 pound organic white sesame seed, 1/4 pound organic kelp, and 1/4 pound organic chia seeds (optional).

Since I still have to purchase black oil sunflower seeds, I set out large amounts of bird seed I’d added extra BOSS to last week for them to forage on until tomorrow. The home recipe came to about $1.50 a pound, making about a 25 pound batch once the BOSS is added. That’s less than the sorn/soy free scratch n peck feed I ordered online, and no $30 shipping charge either! Yeah, a bit more than feed store feed, but it’s corn and soy free.

Some people with corn or gluten allergies react to corn fed chicken eggs, and some studies suggest it is a harder feed to control their body temperatures on than oats and wheat. So I chose to leave it out. I definitely do NOT want soy in my eggs either, and it does turn up in the eggs if it’s fed to the chickens.

Soy is in just about every processed food now and my question is why put a known phyto-estrogen used to treat menopause symptoms in almost every food and drink? What does that do to children, or people with estrogen sensitive cancers, or men? Why? Yes, it’s cheap and easy filler. But why take a hormone supplement if you don’t need it? It doesn’t make sense for a person’s long term health.

I have high hopes the oyster shell and new feed will stop the egg eating.  There’s really no way to discern this side of cc tv and tags which hen is doing it. Rather not have to cull, anyway. Fingers crossed! They went right to the new feed like I hadn’t fed them in a month, too!

Now back to the scheduled programming…

grocery haulHere was my haul at the farmer’s market today.  Yep, that there is raw milk! Pricey at $7 a gallon, but I really wanted to try it. I got cucumbers, kale, green beans, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, and cabbage for the week. I also got some organic spices since I want to make my own ranch dressing.

The cherries and orange box of bedtime tea is hopefully going to help with my month long raging case of  insomnia. I think it’s related to the endocrine system problems many people with fibromyalgia have. I’ve been working hard in the garden, and that’s probably set off my adrenal glands, trying to cope.

“What many of us in the integrative medicine field might call “adrenal overdrive” which usually often leads to “adrenal fatigue“. (the quotes are present because these are not medical diagnosis, but rather terms used for metabolic dysfunction in the absence of a diagnosable disease) Symptoms were anxiety, wired but tired feeling, chronic insomnia, joint pain,hunger/cravings and constant GI distress.” https://www.facebook.com/metaboliceffect

The chart they had on the facebook page showed a huge surge in adrenaline in the afternoon and evening hours, and that’s me to a “t”. I dusted off the Cortisol Control supplement from vrp.com, taking one at noon, and another at 4 pm. We’ll see if that helps, and I definitely will use the cherries and tea as well. I really need to rest. Everyone with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue need to sleep and sleep well, or we pay a heavy price. We’re like canaries in a mine…

I also found a soy free protein powder to make my morning shakes with! I’ve been relying on fats, like peanut butter or cream cheese, to help me feel full and have energy for the garden work without having to go outside in the heat on a full stomach. I’ll be adding the protein tomorrow! Alot of protien powders are for body builders and are loaded with all kinds of junk I don’t need or want. This is a basic formula.

I’ve talked your ear off already, so the garden report and recipes for how I used the veggies will wait for next time, complete with pictures. The garden’s looking very good, and I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished. Yeah, I get garden envy like most gardeners when I see a pic of some snazzy upscale patch, but everything in my garden came from considerable effort and determination! Nothing was easy, and I really hope the Good Lord blesses it with amazing abundance!

Power Tool vs Hand Tool

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root veggies making itNow that the rain has moved on… the coolness and moisture was good for settling in the transplants and perking up the seedlings!

The lettuces just don’t like the heat enough to bother germinating. But everything else is doing surprisingly well! I have strong turnips, beets, chard, and beans. The onions and carrots are now starting to get their roots under them too, though they are always slower to get going.

Happily, all but one of the squashes came up. There’s spaghetti squash, Lakota squash, and pumpkins, all putting on their second set of true leaves. Dare I say the squash bugs haven’t turned up yet, or will they take it as an invitation?

maters and peppers unmulched yetEverything got a good dose of Nature’s Magic (kelp/humic acid mix) today, too. The tomatoes always take a couple weeks to really settle in their roots before taking off, and I’m pleased with their general health. The peppers are looking happier, too. And my seeded in cucumbers are all up. I gotta get the wire fencing up for the big guys to grow on soon!

Since it was raining for days, there’s no mulch on the mater bed yet. That’s slated for (fingers crossed) tomorrow.

I chose today to start whacking down the badly overgrown rows from last year. There are two 4ft wide boxes, about 65 feet long each. I’m really thinking an electric hedge trimmer would be a much better idea than my machete! Power tools vs hand tools…

one row whacked downMy neighbor has a gas powered trimmer, so I may ask to borrow his. That way I can get the stubs down to the soil level. My plan is to cover it first with a black landscape fabric, then a black plastic tarp. Sorta a poor-man’s solarizing! I want to really kill these weeds without having to use sprays.

There’s another box next to it, where I found my blooming onions, and a MASSIVE oregano plant. It’s three feet tall and wide! Just wow!!! I’ll have to cut down the weeds and tarp around them, so I can get a bunch of oregano cut and dried at leisure.

overwintered onions and giant oreganoSee, I told ya it was huge!!

I’m waiting for the onions to start setting seed, my first real stab at collecting my own seeds. But good Lord, what does a girl do with THAT MUCH OREGANO?!! I’ve not cooked much with fresh herbs, but it seems I’m gonna start!! I have another little oregano planted with the tomatoes. Never run out, will I?

I’ve got room for 2 more tomatoes and 2 more peppers, so I believe I will start looking for some big Amish Paste maters, and make my own sauce! If the little globe basil can keep up!

Much to do…

I’ve stopped taking the serretia, btw. My joint pain worsened considerably, and I’m testing to see if that was the cause. I’ll restart it at a very low dose again soon. How my body reacts to things is a trial and error game, I’ve learned.

My mornings have been starting lately with homemade shakes. So far the peanut butter chocolate is my favorite! It’s just coconut milk (1 cup), peanut butter (3 tbsp or so), unsweetened cocoa (1 tsp), and 2 packets of truvia. It has the quick calories, protien, and fat to hold me when I’m hungry. The coconut flour experiments continue, and I’m trying lots of different recipes. Wasn’t pleased enough to share any of them yet. Working on it!

Here’s a couple recipe’s I’ve not made yet, but plan to. One is for homemade mayo;

http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2009/06/homemade-mayonnaise-recipe-that-tastes-great-finally.html

Homemade-RanchAnd the other is for homemade ranch dressing. If ya’ll have a good one, please share it in the comments!

http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2009/06/homemade-ranch-salad-dressing-recipe-or-homemade-ranch-veggie-dip.html

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