Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pathmaking and Thanksgiving

In an unexpected week of sunshine, I've been on a path making spree.  This path connects the patio to the lawn and allows access to a wide bed, which I previously had to step into (and get muddy) to work on.  Those few bricks in the foreground are the raised bed I made this summer, and that pile of sticks at the back are off the doomed fuschia. 

I have another partial path in the works, connecting the lawn to the back vegetable beds, which are also being re-designed.  The back beds haven't really been in cultivation, and are mostly weeds or bare earth (thank you chickens!);  one, a sloping bed, has a short new retaining wall, making it a raised bed.  Pictures to follow.

I also made another raised brick bed on the patio next to the house, as planned.  I filled the bottom with small logs and tipped a load of topsoil in.  The logs should retain moisture and help with drainage and general fertility.  The first bed doesn't have them, so it'll be interesting to compare results.

I actually discovered another cache of old bricks at the back of our property, behind our (large) laurel hedge.  So many bricks around here!  Might as well make good use of the materials I have, right?  I'll be relaying all the paths in the vegetable plot with brick, and plan on using the existing concrete "flagstones" as more retaining walls for raised beds.

Still a few things to harvest in the garden, and a few things newly growing;  the peas are still sending out new flowers and very slowly still producing peas.  Franklin picks them straight off the bush to eat--they don't get a chance to see the dinner table!  Also some very beautiful rainbow chard, mostly with red stems, but a few pinks, yellows, and whites.  Not pictured, but no less delicious are my crinkly savoy-type cabbages and my turnips--we had another four golf ball sized ones at Thanksgiving.  We tried the turnip greens but had to give them to the chickens:  far too bitter, and we like bitter.
During Thanksgiving week, Partner, Franklin, and I visited a local stable and got some fresh horse manure to make an old-fashioned hotbed.  The theory is, the fresh manure piled up will get nice and warm, so plants can be grown in it during the winter.  I checked it yesterday--not warm.  But even if it doesn't, it's still a great addition to my soil.

Our Thanksgiving was small but nice.  We ordered a fresh turkey from our butcher;  it was Very Large and, we suspected (and later confirmed) a free-range bird.  It definitely was the best tasting turkey I ever had, though it was also the least tender.  Still, the taste made up for the chewiness.  We also had the afore-mentioned garden cabbage and turnips, along with a few non-garden veg.  I made pumpkin pie out of our Halloween pumpkin--Partner chopped it into large bits, baked, peeled, then pureed the flesh.  It was lovely, especially on the second day.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A few things newly made, planning again

I've opened an Etsy shop.  Right now it's just got a couple things, like these cashmere lined wool mittens. I love making things with cashmere.

Other things made:  a similar pair of mittens, and three pairs of woolly socks for Franklin, which he loves (every time he puts a pair on he singsongs, "mummy made it!  Good job, mummy!").  Also a matching hat and neckwarmer for him, and a pair of felted slippers.  He's got all kinds of woolly things this winter.  And I'm so happy his coat still fits.  The extra length I put in the sleeves paid off!

Reflecting on the past year, and coming year a lot.  I'm making more grand plans for my garden and for my life.  I want to gain income from a source other than my current job by the end of next year, whether a new job, or some other employment.  I feel my talents are a bit wasted where I am now.  As a couple, Partner and I have done very well and paid off a good portion of our debts over the past year.  I hope to continue that trend and pay an even bigger amount in the coming year (the goal is mortgage-free by 2020).  And my favorite unfulfilled goal is to become self-sufficient in vegetables.  I can do it next year, I know it!

Partner and I both have the coming week, Thanksgiving week, off.  We have all sorts of household jobs to accomplish:  I'm hoping we can bring home a load of manure from a local stable, a tree needs cutting down, and we want to check out a reclamation yard for greenhouse building materials.  And we might just have a large turkey dinner one day, too.