Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our Summer So Far

This year I have been so busy. My garden is thriving and my husband is getting alot of work done on our house. As much as he can do with his crushed elbow. He does push himself. I on the other hand have been experiencing health problems for the first time in my life that seem to effect my daily living. I had my appendix out in 1982 and a parathyroid, of which you have 4, I had one out in 2002. Other than that, I didn't usually get sick or anything like that in my whole life. This I figure is Menopausal related. So I am kind of limping along. The hot summer does not help when you are also experiencing hot flashes.

Saturday, my sister in-law and her husband came up for the day and brought my husband's father up with them. We had a really nice, relaxing day outside by our outdoor fireplace. We cooked hamburgers and hot dogs on the charcoal grill and I put a pot of baked beans right in the fireplace to cook in my cast iron Dutch oven. They were the hit of the day! My father in-law hadn't been here in a few years, since 2003 or close to that time. My mother in-law's health had gotton bad and she was not able to travel very far, so he hadn't been going anywhere either. He was quite taken back by all the work my husband had done on our place. And as I said above, it is not easy for him to work with his bad arm. He paces himself and does a little and comes back and does some more.

Over 5 years ago, I purchased a cherry tomato from Johnny's Seeds called Matt's Cherry Tomato and it was a heirloom. Well, we loved those little cherry tomatoes! They were so sweet and really tasty. Every year since then they just grow wild around our garden area. And many times they come up in a raised bed somewhere, so they must be in the compost also. This year, I have a spot I didn't see and they are coming up there real strong with a big thick stem and big leaves. This year, I will make sure to save the seeds and have a good supply for future gardens. I believe Johnny's still has them for sale, but the price of seeds is going up.

Yesterday, we went to visit our very close friends who moved here from Texas last year. They are an awesome couple. In this next year or so, they plan on building a earthhouse and they have a beautiful piece of land for that. They gave me a taste of her Stevia plant yesterday and I was familar with it, but had never tasted it or seen it before. It was so sweet! Like sugar. Even my husband loved the taste of it. So I think I will be growing that also. Pretty neat when you can grow your own sweetener, don't you think?

I have been busy designing a website for friends of mine who are going into the solar business online now. They have been in the solar business for 10 years now, but now they cannot keep ignoring the online potential. So I have made them a beautiful site, if I do say so myself. But have had some issues with Domain Direct who was their old server. Today, I am hoping it will all be tranferred to the new one I found for them and then I can get back to work for them on the site. The guy is a solar installer so it just made so much sense for him to sell the panels and equipment too. I will be giving the links for their site soon, but today I am not sure the transfer has been completed. When it is, I will let you know.

I promise I will be back in the next day or so. Tomorrow though, we have to drive to Owego to our church which is about 54 miles from here. We hadn't been able to go since Father's Day and now we have to get there to edit and upload the videos of the sermons on the church site. So we figure we will be gone all day tomorrow as there is about 7 of them to do.

Have a wonderful homesteading day!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

My husband felt sorry for me working out in the garden and hauling all my stuff around. So he bought me this little cart........it is a Neuton Garden Cart. Electric of course, runs with a battery that we can recharge by hooking up to our system. He bought himself the lawnmower and is waiting for that to arrive. So afraid he'll have to use the gas mower one more time before the Neuton gets here! This is along with our goal of being fuel free in five years. I mean fuel we buy, such as propane, gasoline, kerosene, etc. For the last month we have turned off the propane refrigerator and are now saving that money toward two more solar panels and the purchase of the solar refrigeration. It is not easy in this hot weather living without the refrigerator, though we did it back in 2003/2004 for a whole year.

I have been so busy here at Peaceful Forest Homestead with my garden. I am not complaining though, as it is coming up beautiful this year. Probably the best in all the years I have been here. It's a good thing too, as the price of everything in the stores has gone sky high! My friend ordered a 50 pound bag of wheat berries and it was $32. the day she ordered it, but they told her that when she picks it up the next week it would be more and they couldn't tell her how much more........well it was eight dollars more! Eight dollars in a week!

Last year we grew about 250 pounds of potatoes but this year, I am sure we will be way past that amount. And the plants are just thriving. I had planned on a rotation method with my raised beds and was not going to plant the potatoes in the same beds as last year. Well, I didn't plant in those beds at first, but then potatoes started coming up on their own! I guess last year, I left quite a few potatoes behind in those beds when I harvested. So I must have had more than 250 pounds. Since they came up on their own, I just added more seed potatoes in those beds to fill it up. It's ok with us as potatoes is one of our favorite foods around here.

I have been busy also working on designing a solar website for our friends who will be selling solar products as well as doing certified installations. I will post on that in the near future so keep checking back. They have some great things available as well as many incentives for people on or off the grid who would like to go into an alternative energy source lifestyle. I highly recommend it myself!