On to my Independence Day Challenge for the week of Feb. 3 to Feb. 10th.
Plant Something: Ok, I didn't do anything with this because it just still feels too early. I DID however get my seeds out of storage to sort them and see what I got. I bought heirloom seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. at the start of the new year. I actually ordered their small garden package for the NW which comes conveniently in a 1 gallon plastic bucket - sealed. Pretty cool, but I had no idea what was in it. You should have SEEN my husband and I trying to open the thing. The lid wasn't properly processed so the normally easy strip you tear off wasn't so easy. Had to get a razor to cut the thing open. Then, our first use of the lid opener. Sooo - lesson for me, there is a lip on the bucket that coincides with the lid. If you put the lid opener on too deep, all your doing to pulling on the bucket. A couple of frustrating minutes or grunting and pulling and a frustrated me and I handed it over to hubby. Luckily for me he's bit smarter. He turned it over to take a look a the best spot to place the puller and had it open in less than a minute. I say I loosened it for him.
Preserve Something: I found a buy at our local store for Chicken friers on sale. I picked up some of those. I opened a #10 can of pineapple and dehydrated it. The kids love these as snack and fodder for lunches. I get them from the local big box store for cheaper than if I bought the cans separate from the store. I also dehydrated a big can of peaches to see how they would do. They are 'ok' I guess. I didn't really get any canning done this week.
Waste Not: I 'kinda' started a composting pile. I don't have a box or sides to it. It's just a 'pile' in the whole sense of the term. Right now I just put the soiled straw from my rabbit cages there. I did save up a couple days of kitchen scraps (minus meat or citrus) and gave it to the worms. I'm still new to the worm thing - worms don't get sick from the rotting food?
Want Not: Mandarin oranges were on sale so I bought my limit of those. Found some filling putting for emergency tooth repair to add to my first aid kit, in the clearance section of my local store for less than $2. A few misc. things here and there.
Eat the Food: I am still constantly amazed at home much I love and get a tickle out of going into my canning room to get jars of saved up stuff to make dinner. I can't believe I didn't do this sooner! Lol I still have a long way to go. There are still busy days where I run out of time and ideas and make mac n cheese for the kiddos. I did make bread TWICE this week! Yay me!
Build Community Food Systems: I joined (or was added to a group) on FB for Self-Sustaining Food preservation. Some of the local ladies and I are talking about doing a seed swap.
Skill Up: I'm still not sure, beyond trial and error and just going out and doing it, how I 'm going to add to this area. I bought a couple books this last week on Amazon (and already got them - YAY). "Chicken Garden"; "Chicken Encyclopedia"; "Gardening in the NW"; and "Mini Farming on 1/4 and Acre". They are full of great info and I'm enjoying them. The "Mini Farming" book is a bit overwhelming because I think the author makes the assumption you know what your doing and have been a backyard garden hobbiest. I have 'tried' over the years. I'm still going to try and I hope one day that I'm actually good at it before my family actually NEEDS to live off what I grow for the whole year!
There is a soap making class and a Bee keeping class I'm going to look into attending. It's tough cause classes always end up being during the weekend and/or on the WHOLE other side of town from where I'm at which means a 45 min. drive. With babysitting and gas prices - GULP! Not to mention the price of classes. I think these are worthwhile classes that I could really benefit from, so we'll just have to see.
One other thing I did this week (not sure what category to put it in) was FINALLY clear out a spot that had LOTS of blackberry brambles. It was a HUGE plant when we moved in here last July and we benefited from the blackberries. I cut back on it slowly as we harvested and NOW finally it's GONE!! Yay!!! I'm happy about that - even though we harvested a lot of blackberries because there are about 100 other bushes on the property and we'll still get lost of blackberries. I needed to cut this back so I could get back more of my yard. Plus, I think I'll put our chicken coop there that way they can keep the blackberry bushes down. Lets see if I can actually put up the pictures here.
Yay! Now to figure out how to turn it the right way up. There is my big helper. Him and his sister stuck around to help me clear away the prickles. HUGE help they were. It only took me about an hour.
My other helper!