Monday, May 30, 2011

The Prepared Household in Your Inbox

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This summer will be updates on the homestead and how the rabbits, chickens and garden are doing.  But it will also be about getting prepared and staying prepared in this ever changing world we live in.  If you like to live green, well...this blog is for you.  This is my journey from the corporate world (so to speak) to the homestead and you are welcome along for the ride.

I have worked my entire adult life and this is the first time I am really having joy in my journey.  So, subscribe and get updates right in your inbox!  Happiness and joy in the journey.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bale Gardening Experiment

Well...I passed my master gardener's exam yesterday and I very excited about that.  It doesn't mean I am an expert by any means, I am just still learning about gardening and how it works on my journey to self-sufficiency.  Will I ever get there?  Probably not.  But I am on that journey late in life, so just doing my small part to live a greener, healthier life will make me happy.

Another Master Gardener, Sheila, and I are doing an experiment in conjunction with the local extension office.  We are experimenting with Straw Bale Gardening.   

If you have bales that have already sat out in the weather and have become partially rotten, you don't have to do anything but plant.  However, we began with green bales that had to go through a ten day preparation phase before planting. According to the instructio​ns, we soaked the bales twice a day for three days. Of course, the rain has helped us out with this.  Days 4-6 we added 1/2 cup of ammonium nitrate and soaked that in once a day.  Days 7-9 we reduced that amount to 1/4 cup of ammonium nitrate soaked in once a day.  Then on day 10 we added a cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer. 

Day 11 is planting day.  So on day 11 we planted all six bales.  Bale one: we planted two (2) Watermelon Beefsteak, bale two we planted two (2) Early Girls, bale three we planted two (2) Prudence's Purple Tomato, bale four and five had four (4) each of Diva Cucumbers (two to a pod) and bale six we planted three (3) Mixed Jewel Peppers.

I look forward to the experiment and learning how these will do.  The bales can be placed virtually any sunny spot, a deck, patio or driveway.  Ours are on a sidewalk.  I think for a wet Spring like we have had, these bales would be wonderful because they drain well.  However, if we have a dry summer, this may be an issue.  I wonder if the heat from the sidewalk and pavement will cause added problems with drying out?  I may move one or two to the grassy area next to the sidewalk to do a side by side comparison.

When we opened up the bales to plant, the inside was moist and hot.  I think the plants will enjoy the heat and will do well.  And because the bales were moist, there may not be an issue with drying out too much. 

I think this method will be ideal for a small space, especially if we have another wet spring.  The only drawback we noted was the waste of water.  I would not start these in green bales, I would start them in bales that have already sat out in the rain and rotted.  It was a waste of a lot of water.  Also, the mildew smell is a little strong.

So I will continue to care for these straw bales and we will see how it goes.  I will keep you updated.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WonderMill Review

Country Boy and I had the pleasure of using and reviewing a WonderMill today.  We give it a four (4) thumbs up.  Two from CB and two from me.  We loved it.  Please check out the videos for a full review.

We had a lot of fun grinding our own flour and meal and baking our own cornbread.  (Even if our cornbread was a bit of a fail, because we didn't know how.)  We will continue practicing and baking healthy things for our family.

We recommend you get one of your own:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Some thoughts on the recent storms and rain

My heart goes out to the people who were hit by the tornadoes last week.  My hero hubby and son and possibly myself will be travelling to Alabama next week to help with the clean up effort.  I am proud of my husband and son.  They have huge hearts and are so willing to serve the Lord by serving others. 

"Matthew 25:40...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

We need to continue to prepare for life's storms.  A tornado outbreak like the one we recently experienced here in the South is nearly impossible to prepare for.   The massive earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc., just keep getting worse and more close to home every day.

I recently stumbled across a blog called Unusual Kentucky .  It is an eclectic mix of all things Kentucky.  Specifically, the most recent post on May 2, 2011 is most noteworthy.  Apparently, officials in Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky wish to blow Bird's Point Levee on the Mississippi River to take pressure off the land area.  This action being taken has forced an evacuation of Cairo, Illinois and will submerge acres of farmland.  Why is this happening?  I will quote from the Unusual Kentucky blog:  "Monday, May 2, 2011...Two "sand boils" have erupted in nearby Cairo, Illinois, and they're enormous. Workers trying to control these spontaneous volcano-like eruptions of sand and water from deep under the Earth's surface are saying it's the biggest sand boil breakout they've ever seen. The sand boils are a sign of immense water pressure, and fear is that Missouri's aging and weak levee will not be able to stand this pressure much longer before collapsing.

Additionally, sinkholes are popping up everywhere, even in the middle of city streets. The ground is quickly reaching the disaster point of soil liquefaction."  I hope you will read the rest of the blog yourself. 

Here are the definitions of a sand boil according to Google.  

•Sand boils occur when water under pressure wells up through a bed of sand. The water looks like it is "boiling" up from the bed of sand, hence the name.

•Sand and water that come out onto the ground surface during an earthquake as a result of liquefaction at shallow depth.

•The removal or ejection of soil due to seepage.

It is becoming quite obvious that the Earth is becoming unstable around the New Madrid Fault line.  Check out this map of the Latest Quakes in Southeast.  You will notice a collection around the borders where Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky and Arkansas meet or are close to each other.  I am not a fear monger, but we need to be aware that an emergency could be in our backyard in an instant.  Be prepared.  Here are some guidelines from FEMA to help you prepare for an earthquake:

And, how to prepare for tornadoes?

If you want to help our brothers and sisters in Alabama, reach out and help.  Check out this Youtube Channel,  He having a yard sale and donating all the proceeds to the effort.  Others are doing different things.  Do your part.  Do what you can do.  We are all in this together and we can make it through it...together.