Sunday, May 11, 2008

Independence Days Week 2

1) Plant Something:
Direct sowed:
  • bush beans: royal burgandy, provider, rocdor, and Isar French fillet bean
  • hearts of gold cantaloupe and moon & stars watermelon
  • artichokes
  • horseradish
  • summer squash: black beauty zucchini, costata zucchini, golden bush scallop, early prolific straightneck
  • double standard old fashioned sweet corn
  • red velvet okra
Seed Flats:
  • medicinal: motherwort, saltwort, woad, horehound, wormwood, chamomile, mullein, blue cohosh, bergamot, pennyroyal, peppermint, lemon balm, hyssop, flax, sage, white sage, joe pye, feverfew, soapwort, valerian, blue vervain, salad burnet, yarrow, skullcap, arnica, evening primrose, marshmallow, hens & chicks, aloe, lovage
  • spice: Mexican tarragon, Thai chili, paprika
  • rhubarb

2) Harvest Something:
  • spinach
  • swiss chard
  • chives
  • spring garlic
  • winter density romaine
  • red salad bowl lettuce
  • black seeded simpson lettuce
  • speckled bibb lettuce
  • green salad bowl lettuce
  • thyme
  • citrus thyme
  • oregano
  • green onions
  • cilantro
  • hakurei turnips

3) Preserve Something:

Still working to use up last year's preserves—used frozen cherry tomatoes, dried grape tomatoes, jam, meats.

Also vacuum sealed and froze left over spring seeds that won't be needed again until next year. Keeping out those seeds that will go into the fall garden.

4) Store Something:

Several items were on sale at the grocery this week, so I stocked up on dried pasta, toothpaste, and Breyer's ice cream (the kids' favorite).

5) Prep Something:

Set up the beehives in the upper pasture and began work on front medicinal garden with seed flats. Cleaned and organized mud room/ laundry room area to be used for cleaning and storing milk machine; also dug out my dehydrator which lives on my unused clothes dryer. Trying to figure out a way to use the clothes dryer for storage—perhaps for the milk bucket, but don't know yet. I'm open to ideas.

Set up incubator with 23 ameraucana eggs for layer hen replacement since hens failed to brood for us *sigh*.

6) Manage Something:

Laid polymulch in the strawberries. Weeded market garden. Pulled bolting veggies in the kitchen garden. Pulled 2 year old frozen veggies to give to pigs.

7) Cook Something New:

We butchered one of our piglets this weekend and cooked it on the grill rotisserie.

8) Add Something Local:

CSA delivery to 3 families. Gave away 35 strawberry plants to a member of my local simplicity circle. Joined the One Local Summer blog challenge.

9) Reduce Waste:

Continued to recycle what we couldn't reuse. All food waste goes to animals or compost. Used repurposed sheer curtains for row-covers in garden to protect brassicas.

10) Learn Something:

Spent this week learning more about bees and cows, soil health, and fruit tree management. Unfortunately for me, I also learned quite a bit about recent scientific efforts to culture meat in a laboratory—yuck.


Hayden said...

yep, lab meat is pretty disgusting. I've been posting about it too. Hard to even get my mind around how awful it is.

Wendy said...

Wow! You've been busy. I feel like a serious slacker ;).

I have to admit that I'm a little envious of your bees ;). Hubby wants bees, but we thought we might be moving out-of-state, and so they'll have to wait another year, I guess.

Maggie said...

Do you have an problems with getting attached to the animals you butcher? You said you butchered one of your piglets and I'm curious if your perspective is different since you plan to use them for meat.

Danielle said...

Hayden, I checked out your blog and enjoyed your perspective and the points you brought up. Thanks for directing me to it!

Wendy, the bees have been a couple years coming. There's loads to learn and prepare that you could start now. In particular, you could try to find some local folks who might be willing to let you come out with them a time or two to check on the bees. That might be worth quite a bit in the long run.

Maggie, yes and no. I have an earlier post about my personal perspective on meat eating here where I go into more detail. But mostly no. I get upset when I lose animals in my care—that's devastating, as I take my responsibility quite seriously. But I don't get upset about butchering because of the way we handle it and raise our animals.

They have excellent quality of life, and there's no way that they could just go on living to a ripe old age or there would have to be "have your pets spayed and neutered" campaign.

But that's really the point: these aren't pets. They are food just as much as the carrots I grow or the corn we harvest, and that's very clear in all the humans' minds who live here, even the kids.

A couple weeks ago we were all watching the piglets and laughing, enjoying their antics, when Jim mentioned doing a pig roast soon. Emily turned and looked at me and said, "Oh mama! Can we? Please!" Jim and I both laughed and said no one would believe it, and Jules said, "They're cute and all, but I can't cuddle them, and they taste reeeeally good."

So, there you have it.

Really, it's part of life, and I think looking one's meat in the eye and knowing exactly what goes into raising it and eating it is way more ethical than pretending it comes in dino shapes or sterile styrofoam packaging. If more folks took responsibility for the food they put in their mouths, this world would be a better place.

And I'm not saying that everyone should raise and butcher their own meat (although maybe they should!), but everyone ought at least to know what animal it was, where and how it lived. Folks think they're ethical because they choose the "organic" or the "cage free" meat at the grocery store, but chances are that animal didn't live any happier a life than it's neighbor down the aisle.

Know your food. Basic. Simple.

Sorry—bit of a tirade. In fact, I've been meaning to post about exactly this point since a comment on that ahimsa post, so I'll likely be pulling this comment out into a post one day soon. Thanks for getting me going on the topic again!