The elephant in the room…

It has been far too long since I posted regarding the Mountain Farmlet.

So here is why…

 

  • Due to our health issues we are no longer able to do the work that needs to be done to make it livable for us there.
  • Also due to our health issues we have no money to pay someone else to complete the work for us
  • We are planing to sell the property.

Bob and I are realizing that our little acre here is about all we can manage.  We are making plans with the folks who own the property behind us to lease it so I can have my pygmy goats, but that is at least a year down the line.

Bob has greatly improved since his diagnosis of COPD and resulting treatments, but working wears him out entirely.   He still enjoys it, but needs more breaks.

Me?  Since my knee surgery my arthritis has taken over my life!  Thankfully, my knee has healed enough that I was able to get some of my raised beds planted this spring.  Going out there each day puts a smile on my face to be sure!  However, some mornings find me hitching and lurching just to get out to take care of Polly, Fredric and the chickens.

Due to an old *injury to my thumb when we moved here eight years ago, I am now having to go in for surgery on the  22nd. to remove bone and build a replacement out of restructured tendon at the base of my left thumb and just above the wrist.  The swelling and pain find me dropping things unexpectedly throughout the day, and also limit what I can do in the studio, ergo fewer posts about my quilting and sewing.

I find it hard to believe that at the time we decided to buy the property in Tuscumbia we were both in seemingly great health and now we realize that we just have to let it go.

Anyone want to buy 25 acres with an antique home that needs lots of TLC?  It has a new tin roof!  🙂

So I am certain that most of you know this old joke, but I’ll post it anyway:

know how to make god laugh?

just tell him your plans.

Today will be spent unpacking the boxes I packed three years ago when I thought we were moving, and the rest of the week will find me busy with setting the guest bedroom back to rights.

are we sad?

yes, who wouldn’t be,

but we are also realistic about what we can handle.

Last week Bob was off work all week and we put another 13 Stay-Puffts into the freezer.  I got smart this time and cooked down all the bits and bones to make soup starter for this winter.  So now that too is all packed and waiting for us when the weather gets cold.  We now have plenty of chicken for the next year (meaning the next 12 months).  We also purchased bulk lamb (for Armenian sausage) and pork butt to make sweet Italian sausages for this next year .  It was a joy to be able to season them with mint and herbs from my garden!

Our freezer is full and we have a roof over our heads.

Life is good!

OK, lots to do before the 22nd.  I am going to get to work now.

These were taken this morning.  As always, please click for better viewing!

*When unpacking the moving van a 45 pound box of books fell onto my hand and pinned my thumb down onto to my arm.  It took several attempts before my brother-in-law and I could manage to dislodge it.  😯

In the Garden: planting octopi

Last month my order from Stark’s Nursery arrived, and the box was almost as big as me!  It contained three bare root fruit trees, an apple, peach, and plum, and twenty asparagus plants.

I was delighted!

We planted the three trees that very Sunday, and I took care of the asparagus on Monday.   I must confess that planting asparagus is like trying to plant an octopus!  Or in this case twenty octopi!  It was very hard work, and Violet helped, but I was tired!

PROCEDURE:

First you dig the hole, then mound up the dirt in the center and place your octopus over the mound like this.

So what’s so hard about that you ask?

Let me back up, then.  Well, for starters I had to entirely amend that clay soil to make it permeable.  Asparagus puts down a very deep root system, some say six feet, others say up to ten feet, and they like good drainage.  Luckily, our clay seems to drain well, but I wanted to give it at least a two foot head start with the amendments.  I had the advantage with the raised bed, but that still meant going down into the base soil for that extra foot.

The next step was getting the tentacles and crown to lay flat on the little hills while I back-filled each hole.  The crowns need to be two to three inches under the soil with no air pockets underneath.   I spread them out, placing the long, rubbery roots down into the soil.  I pressed the crown down and  PoP!  They spring right back up!  I finally learned to just weight them down by placing several large handfuls of soil on the center of the plant.

Now I had to dig, mound, spread roots, hold down crowns and back-fill nineteen more times.

Only three more to go!

The plants are in and watered.  Now I wait.  You see, asparagus takes about three years to mature to a size where you can harvest from the plants.  This is an investment of preparation, care, and time.  However, if you enjoy asparagus, and we do, it is definitely worth the effort, because an asparagus bed will last for years!

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My favorite way to eat asparagus is grilled.  You can do this outside on the barbecue, or in your oven using the broiler.

GRILLING ASPARAGUS:

You will need:

  1. One bunch of asparagus
  2. Olive oil
  3. Kosher salt

Preparation:

  1. Rinse asparagus and drain well
  2. Lightly coat with olive oil and place on foil lined grill if using the broiler, or directly onto a grilling tray if using the barbecue
  3. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt

This method cooks relatively fast so stay close by.  When the one side has turned a darker green and looks a bit wrinkled (not too much!) turn the asparagus and finish the other side.  Serve immediately.

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NOTE:  Some people, Like the Barefoot Contessa like theirs served with a delightful Parmesan sauce and lemon!  Please click on her name above to be taken to her inspired recipe for this delicious vegetable!

UPDATE:

I just found this lovely article that tells all on Asparagus, its history, uses, nutrition and more.  For instance, did you know this power packed vegetable is from the lily family?  You might like to take a look here at Nutrition and You.

The Blue Plate Special

After several seasons of fighting legions of weeds in this humid climate I have finally come to my senses and begun installing raised beds!  Trying to grow food in this weed infested place is insanity without using RoundUp.

And you know how I feel about Monsanto.

So the logical and more safe solution for us is raised beds.  Bob has been helping me in the garden every Sunday for weeks now.  He has rototilled, and scorched baby weeds with the Red Dragon.

(this is not Bob) 😉

Please click the photo above to be taken directly to the Red Dragon site. 

This is NOT a paid endorsement!  We have had our RD weed burner for many years and just love how well it works.   Unfortunately, we can’t use it in and amongst the veggies…  Hence the new garden plan.

So, here is the layout.

Notations in blue show changes and planned additions.  We have the center and right side construction completed and half planted.  NOTE:  The rotation plan I am utilizing is to help with insect and disease control.  You can see the plan HERE

Want more?  Here is the Garden Organic website: http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/index.php

There is still so much more to be done here.  I have to add more soil, and lay down the wood mulch around the beds. 

The strawberries have been moved and replanted, and the asparagus arrives with the new orchard trees next month!

GOODBY WEEDS!

Hello beautiful!

~*~

What plans do you have for your garden(s)?  What strategies do you use to help you with chores and upkeep?

PLEASE DON’T BE SHY!

SHARE WITH US!