Monday, February 11, 2013

Odds and Ends

Outside, a fresh layer of snow keeps the yard looking pretty.

The woodshed is getting pretty bare.  We should still have enough wood to get us through 'til spring.
The garden blanketed in snow and sleeping peacefully.
While inside the peppers and tomatoes are poking up through the dirt. I have a couple of trays of herbs and flowers planted as well, with the first few seedlings germinated. I hope to keep better records in my Garden Notes this year. Last year started out well, until the weather turned and then I guess I was just too busy to keep track of things properly.  As a result, I'm missing some critical data...
I've completed and organized my Seed Inventory, aided in part by ordering earlier this year.  Striking through the seed list makes it easier to see at a glance which seeds I've used up completely- the plants, with any luck, I'll be saving seed from this fall.

I've been making notes on seed saving as well- hoping to take the endeavour to the next level this year, and planning my garden accordingly.  I found it amusing to learn that my mixed mumbo jumbo of beans is unlikely cross pollinated at all, since they're self pollinating.  It makes me wonder what the heck the bumbles are doing on them all summer though.   Still, it's nice to know that I don't have to wait for the dry beans to finish flowering before I can let the green beans go to seed.

Another thing I found interesting- brussel sprouts and cabbage flower!  I don't think I'll ever be saving seed from them, unless maybe I grow them in pots and put them out in the garden at full size in the spring.  Our season definitely isn't long enough to let them do it on their own.

This is a good place to start if you're interested, though I did find googling for specific vegetables to give a better overview at times.

The garden has been planned, replanned and rearanged over and over again.  I think I'm definitely moving towards more companion planting in beds this spring.

The Seed Exchange from Garden Web came early this year as well.  I took my time, searching all of the different types of seeds available, choosing all edible and medicinal plants.  I started printing pages, putting together an herb reference for seeds that I have right now.  The next step will be making lists of their medicinal properties by common illness.
A new potato sourdough starter is under way.  Busy through Christmas, I neglected all of my starts, and while some say you can stir mold back in, it'll be fine, that was just too gross for me.  So, back to the beginning.  I'm just doing the potato water for now, as it seemed to be moving along the fastest last time, and one at a time will probably be more manageable.

Sewing is moving along, with lots of new patches on old blankets, ripped seems in clothing fixed up, and #2's barn coat repaired.
He had taken out both arm seams and a large chunk of the back/side.  Since it's a goose down coat with good zippers I figured it was worth the effort to patch it back together.  It came out quite well, I think, and the denim should be able to handle the wear and tear of barn chores.  If I find it laying on the lawn again though, I will seriously have to kick his arse.  That boy is notorious for dropping a layer wherever he happens to be when he gets too warm.

I ran out of old jeans before I finished my blanket.  I had planned to use an old quilt as the filling- too tattered to be patched.  Now I'm debating whether to buy more jeans from the thrift store to finish it, cutting it down to single size rather than queen, or just tucking it away until next winter.

We racked and bottled the peach wine. I capped a few bottles with the plastic tops, left a few with just plain corks, and covered the majority with cheese wax.  I want to see how much of a difference it makes in the long run. 
I canned up a batch of pea soup for Husband.  I don't think I care much for winter canning.  Everything was clean and stored away, getting it out for one batch of soup and then having to clean it up and put it all away again was a bit of a pain.  I think I'd rather just keep the canner going non stop in the fall, even though I'm already crazy busy then. 

So that's what I've been up to the past few weeks.  Nothing terribly blog worthy, just puttering away, keeping busy.


  1. My two girls never lost or even misplaced a coat. The son lost six or seven coats one fall and winter. Just think--all four of yours could be coat-losing-boys. My son was always going full-steam and got hot and just took his coat off.

    He did not own 7 winter coats and I just refused to buy another one. They were just coats and jackets he owned, not necessarily suitable for the weather, but tough!

    I prefer canning in the winter because it is cooler. But, beans cannot wait. Mama would can juices in the heat of the summer and can jelly after Christmas.

    You are really getting organized with the notebook. I always think I will remember things, but the older I get, the less memory recall powers I seem to have!

    1. The younger two tend to run around half naked, so don't leave nearly as many clothes laying around. The oldest is pretty good about picking his things up. It's just 32, always busy, always on the move, and thinks he'll get it later- just later can sometimes be a few days...

      If we had a hot fall, I might be tempted, but our weather is usually pretty agreeable for canning in season.

      My memory went out the window years ago, lol. Can't imagine how much worse it'll get!

  2. My goodness! lol I think I need a nap! You've been getting so much done. And so organised having the garden planned before Valentine's. Wow!

    I think I like winter canning because I am so much cooler doing it. Too bad the harvest comes 3 months too early to make it a regular thing :-)

    1. Or as Husband calls it- wasting the day drawing pictures that I'm not going to follow anyway- lol. I'm going to try to follow the plans, but I often get distracted when spring finally arrives.

  3. I'll be starting onions this week. My first time. How long does the wine need to age before you can drink it? We still have no firm garden plans.

    1. I'm going to give onions another go this year. I wasn't going to, since they've never worked out well as transplants for me, but then I read this:
      And I figure it might be worth another shot.

      The wine is drinkable now, but I don't care for it much at this point. I'm hoping more of the peach flavour will come through in time. Husband and the Bigs have already polished off two bottles though, so there may not be much to age...

    2. You better hide some! I've heard that it's better after at least 6 months. I read Hickory Holler. She has great info.

  4. I'd hit the thrift store for more jeans, the littles size and cut the legs off for their shorts. Last week I scored a bunch of 3X mens plaid shirts I'm going to use for a quilt. Log cabin or split rail...I've yet to decide. The only think I like about canning in winter is the added heat it gives in the house. I generally have bags of tomato's in the freezer to puree.
    Good garden planning! Your waaaay ahead of me and we have less than a month to go for first planting...yikes I better get busy

    1. I tend to get ahead of myself with nothing to do but dream and plan...

      I bought myself new jeans from the thrift store, so once I decide which ones I'm keeping and which ones are going, I'll have more material to work with. Thanks for the suggestion, but we rarely have shorts weather, lol. On the rare occasion that it's warm enough for shorts the bugs make it unbearable. :(

      I never noticed the added heat. I'll have to pay more attention to that in the future. It would definitely be a bonus here.