Time for the weekly list of accomplishments! This is my way to stay motivated and accountable in my productive home progress.
As with last week, if you want to join in, please do! We can high-five each other for being garden badasses.
Feel free to list your own weekly achievements in the comments, or if you have a blog and want to do your own post and link to it, that’s totally encouraged too!
More effort this week in getting my starts into the ground. I am happy to say, the garden is officially in. I have a bit more basil to squeeze in around the edges today, but otherwise, the space I have is full.
- Pineapple Sage
- Sweet Corn
- Pole Beans
Still pretty much just harvesting perennials and a few greens, although everything looks very verdant out there.
- Baby Kale
- Comfrey (medicinal when I smashed my hand with a hammer!)
- More rhubarb
- Herbs – mint, chives, lemon balm, oregano, thyme.
- Flowers – wisteria, columbine, lilac, comfrey, and rosa rugosa – for this week’s Slow Flowers Bouquet.
- Made Rhubarb Honey Shrub
- Made Yogurt
- Made Kombucha (someone on Instagram wanted to know how I make kombucha, but my method is the same as everyone else’s. Does the internet really need another kombucha post? Let me know in the comments.)
- Used up lots of harvested rhubarb (try the coffeecake, it’s awesome)
- Made 2 giant frittata, using up 16 eggs.
- Cleaned out the fridge, did the “use it up” juggle, and turned weird little bits of ingredients into actual food.
- Basic daily maintenance.
- Built 5 gallon, gravity-fed ducking waterer (video on Patreon).
- Moved ducklings outside and integrated the flock. (Thank God, the duckling smell was not okay.)
- Took care of the ongoing drake problem.
- Spread straw down on the garden paths over the cardboard which dramatically improved the look of the new garden layout.
- Worked on tomato trellis. It was all going great until I lost the drill driver head in the straw mulch. $&*$! Project on pause….
- My dad the super woodworker went all in on the mason bee house idea this past week! He made an amazing mason bee house for me and we even got the last batch of mason bees from a local place yesterday. Check this out!
Business, Finances and Frugality
- Hit first goal on my Patreon page! Yay! Halfway to our second goal already! Thank you so much to all of my soft-launch Patrons.
- Spent date night with Homebrew Husband in the backyard (.$) instead of in town ($$$).
- Logged every expenditure in GoodBudget.
Energy Use & Solar Panel Production
- Total electricity used: 136 kWh
- Total solar energy produced: 239 kWh (= $128.36 in production incentive)
- Energy “sold back”: 104 kWh (= $10.61 in net production)
- Total earned through our solar panels this week: $138.97
- Basic daily studies.
- Helped our homeschool school set up for travel-themed senior graduation by using my wicked Google-Foo to find lots of great royalty free images of world travel. Also helped decorate the party room.
- Reading this week’s chapter in Story of The World with Oliver led to a cool tangent where we used Google Earth to explore the rain shadow effect, desertification and geography.
Planned & Researched
- Make an updated to-do list for the early summer homestead. We’re kicking butt on slowly reclaiming the main garden area from a year of weeds and neglect, so it was time to pause, take stock, and plan the next round of effort.
• • •
Your turn! What did you do this past week? I’d love to know in the comments.
Nicole A says
* More beets and carrots because I think my first two sowings died in the eternally soggy ground.
* More squash and beans
Harvesting: Previous years we had peas and strawberries right now. This year there aren’t even pea flowers!
* Daikon radish greens–didn’t plant any this year, these are all from the daikons self-sowing last year
* Celeste radish roots
* Kale microgreens
* A few salmonberries that aren’t quite ripe
* Sorrel, salad burnett, lemon balm and other herbs
* Added one more duck to the flock and finally got them all trained enough to come home when I call.
* Teaching three year old some Spanish words, as well as various herbs
I’m just working on the June To Do post and it’s decorated with pictures of the 2014 or 2015 garden, which show peas as tall as me in full blossom. :/ I actually feel good that I never planted peas this year – less heartbreak. 2017 will be the year I grow them as a fall crop, I guess.
This patreon thing is genius! Not that I’m surprised that you’re using genius programs, what with being a genius and all.
Awe, shucks. 😉 I really, really like Patreon. I have an official announcement post scheduled for early next week to spread the word to folks who aren’t necessarily reading every post. For me it’s the most ethical, authentic monetization solution I’ve seen, and there are a ton of fringe benefits for me – like giving me a spot to be a little more personal and casual without opening myself up to internet-troll-pocalypse.
Big progress this week.
Purchased: Tomatoes, peppers, horseradish, and mint. Last year, I learned to use clay pots as ollas, which worked quite well. I can keep these alive even if I’m not going to commit to most annual veggies this year. Anything that can be watered via a pot can be planted.
Continuing to tackle the 3-foot lawn. I have developed a rewarding loop. Mow. Weed a bed. Mulch with the grass clippings. Repeat. The lawn looks better. The edges look better. And my plants are there are looking good and wanting mulch! Very rewarding.
Ordered a steam juicer for jellies for my weird berries.
Ripped up a ton of weeds around an ornamental spruce and planted dutch white clover as an ornamental groundcover. I don’t want a “guild” here, but do want to permie this space up. I’m hoping the clover can establish itself and make a low-growing, perennial, beneficial groundcover.
Curious about the ollas – do you stick 2 together, top-sides together? Or do you have one buried and then cover it with something? I’ve thought of doing an olla experiment myself but don’t want to pay the big bucks for a ready made one.
I love my steam juicer!!! Have fun with yours!
I tried to Craigslist garden pots…and was going to have to drive 100 miles to the nearest person, so I bought a bunch at McLendon’s. Filled the bottoms with silicon caulking and just use the clay tray as the top. I grew cherry tomatoes without any other irrigation other than maybe a couple waterings in August. Did the same with summer squash, worked great.
– Bought most all of the starts I need that I didn’t grow myself this year (which is to say, all the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, plus a few flowers). Everything else I’ll direct sow. Now to get my butt in gear and get it planted.
– Made stock from the bones of the pig we picked up from the butcher. Need to can it this week.
– Moved the chicks out of their tubs and onto the ground.
– Filled up another dumpster load (we’re mid-purge).
– Harvested/collected: eggs, oranges, lemons, herbs, carrots, cabbage, and a few cherry tomatoes and blueberries (which were harvested and promptly consumed by the three year old).
Pat M says
Garden: Removed two large trash bags of weeds, mostly buttercup. Annual edibles: tomatoes, runner beans, purple Romano beans, snow and sugar snap peas, pickling cucumbers, garlic, basil, sweet marjoram. Perennial edibles: raspberries, strawberries, loganberries, apples, quince, huckleberries, about a dozen herbs. Oh, and “surprise” potatoes.
Harvested: chives and tarragon.
Cooked: clam chowder in the Instant Pot, first time ever.
Finances: reached 45% of retirement savings goal.
Please do a Kombucha post! I trust you and you explain methods so well!
Yes, please post as I want to make some and trust you to explain it well! (Your kimchi kraut is fabulous!)
-slicing tomato, paste tomatoes, pimento & paprika peppers, kabocha/long island cheddar/sugar pie pumpkins, edamame, sweet potato, lemon grass, thai basil, french sorrel, beets, joi choi, replanted spinach & bok & choi and carrots
-have officially given up on peas and beans for now. maybe peas this fall, maybe beans next year.
-Western Sword ferns, for fiddleheads next spring
-other ferns, filling in spots that have gone empty in the shade garden
-spinach, bok choi, leafing cabbage (can’t remember what kind, but it doesn’t form a tight head), rainbow chard, cauliflower greens, asparagus
-herbs – thyme, oregano, garlic greens (no scapes yet, but we use the greens), onion greens, and catnip
-the first two honeyberries! – I just planted a couple of bushes this year
-pickled Brussels sprouts, for FIJ challenge
-dehydrated two trays of tomato pieces, after realizing I wasn’t going to can them (no commercial lemon juice in the house, some of the tomatoes had already started going bad, needed to be done with them quickly!)
-several pots of beans, bean dip (with some of the pintos), amazing bean soup with calypso/orca beans
-tuna casserole and ham/wild rice put up as single-serves in the deep freeze, for work lunches
-put together 3 gallon-sized bags of mixed berries and frozen orange sections for morning smoothies (and occasional snacking)
– completed some badly needed maintenance on our catio, so the furry beasts can be outside-but-not-outside again. also moved one of the catnip plants from the herb bed to right outside the catio so a few of the stems will grow through the bars where the cats can reach them
-pickled Brussels sprouts and write-up as part of the monthly FIJ challenge
-starting research and planning for a year-long cooking project
-considering starting a third large cooking project, reminding myself to reel it back in
-looked up several recipes for grape leaves – we’ve had 80ft of grape vines for several years and never actually cooked with the leaves. This year, we change that!
All the categories : did dome things.
Overshadowing the doing of the things: made an offer on a house, on a small island, 2 blocks from the beach on a lush half acre. Will allow almost mortgage free and less working ( already both part time). Patchwork income ftw.
Bit excited, fingers crossed.
Kristina M says
Transplanted 3 more tomatoes and some cucumber seedlings. Direct seeded more cucumbers. Finally seeing some cucumber sprouts!
More mint, arugula. Arugula is starting to bolt and flower, and I’m torn between harvesting the flowers for salad and leaving them for the bees. Thinking I’ll leave them until I need the space for more tomatoes.
Started a batch of weed fertilizer tea with the result of a long-overdue weeding of the edge of the yard. It’s an experiment – we’ll see if it pays off.
Added coffee grounds and sluggo to the garden. My poor squash is looking pretty chewed up.
Mowed the jungly lawn!
MIL offered to share vehicles on our upcoming trip to visit. Car rental cancelled.
Biked to work 3 out of 6 days.
I love Story of the World!
I should really get in on this whole productivity thing. Mine sort of died at the end of winter. Go figure.
beans? or was that last week…
pressure canned 5qt chicken stock
froze Caramelized onions from excess onions
put hopguard Mite treatment on beehives
priced out materials for yearned-for outdoor brick oven
planned out the weeks meals and mainly stuck to the plan! Added benefit was eating up the freezer and only buying limited items at the store. (milk, bananas, allergy meds, and boxed wine – the essentials)
That was therapeutic. I may need to make my own list on paper with that journal I started and haven’t used. It feels like all I do is chase a toddler, unload and reload the dishwasher, and do laundry.
Jennifer Arrow says
I found a NIB All-American pressure canner at Goodwill earlier this year for $30. Because of your book (and your angry posts about the pitting on your canner!) I knew what it was and that it would be useful to our household.
I’m still slightly terrified of it because I made a mistake with a pressure pan earlier this year and blew out the safety gasket and it was terrifying BUT with your book and the instruction manual clutched in hand, I forged ahead. I canned 5 quarts of tomato sauce yesterday. There are 4 quarts of chicken stock in there now.
Both my grandmothers canned extensively as part of their productive households so I’m hoping that I can take this up as a somewhat frugal hobby if nothing else. (I know to look for uncracked jars at estate sale, etc.)
Anyway, thank you for your blog and your book. I think of your advice and example often.
Robin S says
Apparently it takes a 3-day weekend to get my family into the community garden and working. We have 2 plots. One is now half planted with tomatoes (4 cherry varieties and a Polish Linguisa), cukes, ONE yellow zucchini, jalapenos and Thai peppers. Tomorrow hy husband’s planning to prep the other side of that one; I’ve been working on getting the mint infestation in plot #2 under control — if anyone has ideas on using 5 quarts of fresh mint leaves, let me know!
at home, I’ve been weeding the raspberry bed and getting ready to put in popcorn and scarlet runners, plus harvesting some rhubarb and oregano. I’m working up to buying an Excalibur; I borrowed one the summer before last and now my yard sale “as seen on tv” cheapie dehydrator is too frustrating to contemplate. (No timer, no temp control, uneven air flow, donut-shaped trays….)
I also mixed up a batch of Steve Solomon’s complete organic fertilizer, made rhubarb soda syrup, and am defrosing ginger syrup I made a few months ago.
So glad to see you back, Erica! I’ve missed your voice.
At this point basically everything is planted, though I’m seeing some failure to germinate and pest damage that I’ll figure out best solutions for in coming week or two.
The big project this week was building a privacy fence, about 75 feet altogether. Worked all day Saturday, my wife helping in the morning and a good friend of ours in the afternoon. Worked Sunday afternoon after rain and finished up about midday Memorial Day. Now our backyard is completely removed from prying eyes. Really hoping this means the end of complaints about our urban chickens, rabbits, and compost. I told my wife we should have done the fence first, it was so peaceful sitting in our now very private yard yesterday! Then again, my construction skills have gotten so much better in the past two years, but particularly in past six months. If we’d wanted a fence back then, we’d have had to outsource it or it would have been really shitty quality.
The fence gives my chickens about 3x the yard space of before and I now have tons of wall space to use for hanging rabbit cages as I expand our rabbitry.
Our frost free day was, get this, yesterday! Or so we think. The old-timers don’t plant tomatoes until the first week of June, but wall of waters for the win.
Now we are waiting on our turkey poult shipment. Any day now.
Here’s my update: http://www.anntorrence.com/blog/2017/05/homestead-log-week-of-may-23-30.html