I took a few days vacation last week and went on a lovely camping adventure with family and friends, which is why there wasn’t a Homestead Report last week.
It’s always fun to leave a garden during peak growth. Four days away seems to equal miles of squash vines and zillions of cucumbers and green beans. My first job, after putting away all the camping gear, was harvesting and making a plan for the bounty.
Here’s this week’s list of accomplishments. Please join in, and list your own weekly achievements in the comments, or if you have a blog and want to do your own post and link it up, that’s great too.
Planted & Maintained
- Set up simple overhead watering system to keep the garden irrigated while we were gone. Nothing fancy.
- Tied up cucumbers.
- Re-tied tomato that collapsed when its twine support broke.
- Summer pruned some ornamental trees right before we left for camping.
- Corn! Came back to a bunch of corn ready to eat!
- Broccoli. All the spring broccoli is done. Good, now I have a place for the fall broccoli. Crop rotation? Uhhhh…maybe next time?
- Blueberries – tons!
- Zucchini and patty pan summer squash.
- Long Pie Pumpkin.
Sidenote: There was a little harvesting mistake with the pumpkin.
I sent my daughter out to harvest “the cucumbers on the trellis near the greenhouse and the summer squash.” Well, she saw the huge, green long pie pumpkin that was growing near the greenhouse, thought it was a super overgrown zucchini, and cut two, 14″-ish long winter squash from the vines. Then she came in to tell me she needed a bigger harvesting container for all the zucchini.
I’ll admit, I had a moment of “I need everyone to just not talk to me right now.” The good news is, the Long Pie is really prolific this year, so we’ll still get plenty of squash of the plants. And one of the squash Bella prematurely harvested was damaged through the rind anyway, and would never have kept without rotting. No loss there.
The damaged pumpkin went to the birds, the other one is green, but otherwise mature, so I’ll figure out some way to use it, even if just in zucchini bread. It all works out in the end.
- Asian Plums. So. Many. Plums. Never plant more than one Asian Plum tree. Even one multigraft Asian Plum is 50% more than I can reasonably deal with.
- Tomatoes! Holy tomato time Batman, it’s happening.
- Hot peppers
- Plum jelly
- Asian plum sauce
- Plum butter
Can you tell that I had a lot of plums to harvest? And they are just getting started – the plums this year are stupid.
Cooked + Eat Down The Larder
- Frittata – I’ve made two large frittata in the past two days. The first was onion, pepper, ham and swiss. The second was zucchini, feta and fresh tomato.
Camping used up a few pantry staples:
- Hot dogs were served with home canned chili.
- Salmon tacos were served with home canned black beans.
- Turkey and brie sandwiches were spread with homemade savory cherry sauce. I’m not sure how to describe this preserve – it’s somewhere between a fruit ketchup, a barbecue sauce and a chutney. Goes great with poultry or pork.
- Last fall’s Apple Pie Filling was used to make Campfire Pies in our new pie irons. Campfire Pies are a total success! I like them more than s’mores, which can get a bit sweet for my taste. Highly recommended for all car campers out there.
- Cleaned coop right before we left for camping.
- Our fly traps are working like a treat. Seriously, if you have urban chickens, get some of these traps. I know they seem kinda spendy but they work for weeks and weeks to kill flies.
- Our neighbor watched our birds while we were away. All cluckers and quackers were alive upon our return.
Business, Finances and Frugality
- Almost to $470 per month of direct funding on my Patreon page. Things are finding a nice groove. Last month’s Q&A and Livechat sessions were great.
- We bought a new cooler for camping to replace the old soft-sided coolers I’ve had since my catering days, forever ago. The cooler is a Yeti, and it was spendy, but I gotta say it did a great job at keeping the food cold. Our meat was still semi-frozen after spending 3 days in a baking hot car.
- Haven’t updated GoodBudget yet this week.
Energy Use & Solar Panel Production
- Total electricity used: 177 kWh. This is interesting because it shows something approaching a baseline for our house with all the systems (fridge, freezer, various pumps, etc.) running, since we were all gone for half of the week. In comparison, an “average” US household uses 225 kWh per week. An “average” German household uses 68 kWh per week. (Source) Still a long way to go.
- Total solar energy produced: 217 kWh (= $116.59 in production incentive). A haze from B.C. wildfires settled over the Puget Sound region this week and impacted solar production. It looked like L.A. in the 1970s. Seattleites were mighty unpleased, although the orange moon was pretty cool.
- Energy “sold back”: 40 kWh (= $4.13 in net production)
- Total earned through our solar panels this week: $120.72
Homeschooling & Family
Camping was nice. There was hiking, s’mores, breathtaking mountain views, campfire chatter, a Jr. Ranger program for the kids and zero wifi – all the essentials for a successful trip to the woods.
Lots of stuff happened that you could creatively file as homeschooling while we were camping. That’s kinda the point of homeschooling. Life and school bleed together.
- Oliver was very excited by the Jr. Ranger program that let him earn a Ranger Badge.
- He also spend hours (of both his time and the adults on the trip) building axes with shards of rock and sticks, and then bashing away at fallen logs with his new ax.
- We’ve restarted “formal” schooling after taking July off. I don’t really have a strong opinion about year-round schooling, but Oliver, in particular, falls out of the habit of table work pretty quickly, and then it’s a battle to get him back in the groove.
- Trip to the library for early readers for Oliver, and free reading material for Bella.
- Bella’s making very good progress on her summer research paper on the Ancient Greek colonization of the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea. Her formal outline is done and she’s begun her first draft.
- I’m beginning to plan for Fall and formal classes. It’s coming up so soon! We have an excellent schedule of classes at our Homeschool campus.
Planning and Research
- I’m currently really into the idea of celebrations that are based on traditional harvest times and seasonal markers. Basically the traditional Pagan holidays, but secularized to be more of an acknowledgment of seasonal rhythms through the year.
- I’m also just getting back into research that goes into upcoming homeschool projects and areas of focus. Post-Antiquity and Middle Ages, here we come.
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