I’m on my third go-around of starting a package of bees and hoping that the resulting hive will survive the winter. Let me tell you, this year has been just another massive learning curve following a thoroughly different and unexpected trajectory.
Our garden is looking full and vibrant, and I hope to start raking in more produce than I know what to do with shortly. (The answer, by the way, is can, can, can, can, can! Can everything! I’d have to have a lot of produce not to know what to do with it…)
Our baby chicks are looking more and more like miniature adults, only awkwardly so. Their heads are still mostly downy fluff balls, but their bodies are sprouting feathers. They are still absolutely adorable.
Saving turnip seeds is quite the commitment to self-sufficiency because turnips are biennial plants, which means that they go to seed in their second year of life. The turnips you eat (or pretend to eat or just nibble at to be polite) are in their first year of life. To save turnip seeds, you have to leave a couple of beautiful looking turnips in the ground overwinter, preferably intentionally rather than forgetting a turnip and discovering it again in the spring. Whoops! That’s certainly never happened to me!
One of my goals in living more sustainably is to learn how to eat food more seasonally and to preserve foods to eat through the year. I’ve checked out cookbooks from the library focusing on root vegetables and other such winter/early spring produce. Eating by the seasons also means that I need to eat more of the produce that is available. When you purchase turnips or beets at a farmer’s market, they come with their beautiful long and absolutely edible greens still attached. Yes, I mean greens. Yes, cooking greens. Yes, eating greens.
Last year, I made the regrettable decision of attempting to use my popcorn variety of corn as a trellis for pole beans. Did we still get green beans? Absolutely. Was I disappointed in the experiment? Absolutely. So, I needed to learn how to trellis green beans differently this year as cheaply as I could. For about $20, my husband and I made trellises for two 4 x 8 foot beds of pole green beans. I’m hoping for a bumper crop this year. This year, we’re growing Cherokee Trail of Tears and Purple Pod pole varieties of green beans.
I get so much joy from my garden that I call it my happy place. If I need a quick work break, I pop outside and do a quick walk through from my garden to pull a few weeds. When the kiddo asks what we’re going to do any particular evening, we usually say, “oh, we’ll probably work in the garden.” Our garden is so large that I can never get a good photo of its scope. I even climbed up on the roof in the hopes of finally capturing a good photo of the entire garden from a loftier vantage point. No dice.