May 2, 2011

Independence Days Update, 5/2/11

DSC_5671 We participate in Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge.  Even though she isn’t posting these updates in a while, I really like the format for a weekly review. 

If you have read or watched the news, you know what the weather was like in our area of the country this week.  On Monday night a fast, terrible storm rolled through.  In 20 minutes it poured, blew, and fizzled out.  The damage was amazing, with hundred old trees dotting here and there, root ball exposed.  Then on Wednesday night, we had more tornados blow through East TN in a short period of time than any of the local meteorologists had ever witnessed.  At one point it was like dueling banjos watching the storms pop up in three clusters on the map.  Many of our friends and relatives have damage from the storms.  In the aftermath, friends have been without power for almost a week now.  Others have basements that were flooded and need to be gutted and to start over.  Many had trees fall on homes and hail damage on cars, but we thank God that no one was seriously injured or killed.

Even with all of the destruction, I think that our experience pales in comparison to the horrendous tornado that we watched blow through Alabama via news reports.  I’m not a person who is usually scared of storms.  In fact, I usually like to watch them, but that tornado was one of the most terrifying sights I’ve seen on the news.

Please keep those affected in the South in  your thoughts and prayers.  Donate to the Red Cross. Give blood.  If you are local, look through your stockpile and pull anything you can spare to donate to those in need.  Please also think of the local farmers.  I know of some who had entire crops devastated with hail damage.  Be sure to support those farmers through your purchases as much as you can because their bottom line will be greatly affected this year. 

Plant—I added some more Marketmore cucumber seeds here and there.  I made another garden bed where we had the potato boxes last year.  In it I put another tomato, an entire packet of Christmas Lima Beans that I’ll train on a teepee of bamboo, a couple of mounds of Supersett Yellow Crookneck squash, and a couple of mounds of Galia Melon (a green fleshed melon).  I added the last couple of seeds from the Sweet Beauty Watermelon packet we had bought last year to an ornamental bed we have.  They were a pretty vine last year, and I think they’ll look nice spilling out of the tier.  Our daughter planed half of a packet of Gooligan White Baby Pumpkins.  We’ll train these up the trellis that leads to our deck, and I think they’ll be fun for her.  I’ll add another wave of them in about two weeks and still another in a month’s time.  Down below the asparagus bed I planted some Jenny Lind melons.  They are an open pollinated species, and I’m hoping I have them far enough away from the other melons to prevent cross pollination. 

Planted to date--

Super Sugar Snap Peas, 7 tomatoes (brandywine, grape, Early Girl, Better Boy), Choko Baby bok choy, One Kilo Chinese cabbage, 4 eggplant, Blue Lake Pole Beans, Christmas Lima Beans, Kestral Baby Beets, Touchstone Gold Beets, Chioggia Beets, Bull’s Blood Beets, Waltham 29 Broccoli, Rouge d’Hiver Romaine Lettuce, Matina Sweet Butterhead Lettuce, Galia Melon, Gooligan White Baby Pumpkin, Gourmet Rainbow Radish Mix, Gigante Inverno Spinach, Cavili Zucchini Squash, Milano Black Zucchini Squash, Supersett Yellow Crookneck squash, Sweet Beauty Watermelon, Marketmore cucumber, Genovese Basil, dill, flat leaf parsley, Jenny Lind melons, Butternut Squash, Garlic (planted in the fall), yellow and red onions, 8 bell peppers, 6 jalapeno peppers, 4 cabbage plants, 4 broccoli plants, daylilies, surprise lilies, sedum, 4 o’clocks, hollyhocks, red cockscomb, moonflower, zinnias, sunflower mix, marigold, butterfly flower garden seed mix, thyme, chives, carrots, coriander.

Harvest—We decided to let the rest of the asparagus frond out so that it replenishes the roots.  We probably could have picked a few more, but I want to make sure we have some next year.  Plus, as spoiled as it sounds to say, I was finding myself tire of asparagus.  I know, sounds crazy doesn’t it??  We have been harvesting salad greens in full force.  I am thinning crops like bok choy, radish, and beet and using those leaves in salads, along with the spinach and romaine we are picking.  I’ve been pleased with the radishes.  We ordered a mix, and it has been fun to have a little of almost every type.  I am coveting a species called watermelon that I saw in Organic Gardening recently, and I’ll probably try to grow it in the fall.  We continue to pick green onions, herbs, and flower arrangements. 

Preserve—I can’t think of anything that I preserved this week.

Waste Not/Reduce Waste—  Our daughter sold some books at McKay’s to earn a little money for our Disney trip.  It was good to get a few things cleared off of the shelves and she was pleased with the money she earned. 

Want Not/Prep/Storage—I reorganized all of the coupon inserts I have at the house.  I use the clipless coupon method for the most part.  Because I coupon for our church, if I were to clip every single coupon that would be all I would have time for.  Instead, I watch for deals listed on matchups and clip the coupons that I’ll use for our family and for the church.  The problem is that I had become way behind on filing the coupon circulars and they were spilling out all over the place.  One night spent organizing them while watching TV did the trick. 

Building Community Food Systems—We attended the farmers market down on Market Square on Saturday.  While there weren’t as many farmers there because of the Dogwood Arts Festival, it was so nice to see friends and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the market.  I worked in the church food pantry this week and purchased some more goods to restock the shelves there.  We shared some green onions with our neighbor.

Eat the Food—I’ve decided the best way to get a child to eat veggies is to add an edible flower on top of the dish.  Our daughter went wild for the chive flower that I added to her salad. 

She is only 5, but she’s so helpful in the kitchen now.  We cooked together for the jewelry party I hosted on Thursday, and I couldn’t believe how much faster things went with her help.  She peeled all of the eggs for the egg salad (I rinsed them to make sure there weren’t any shells).  She helped with making the cookies, picking the herbs for the dip, plating the vegetables, and a multitude of other small tasks.  I call her my sous chef, but it won’t be long until she’s the executive chef at the rate that she is going! 

One of the gifts I want to give her is an appreciation for good, quality food.  She’s getting a little pickier as she gets older and is exposed to more friends eating junk foods.  (I’m not saying that we don’t eat junk food at times, but we try to have most of our foods be “real”).  The garden has been a way to combat that to a small degree, but I fear what will happen as she goes into a larger school.  While I don’t think we’ll opt for cafeteria food for her, I know how peer pressure can be at a young age.  I remember being shunned because my parents didn’t buy me Jungle Juice, or later, Capri Sun.  I cringe at the thought of her having to go through any of that, but at the same time, I don’t want to load her full of junk instead of real food.    At home, at least, we’ll grow healthy foods, buy from farmer friends, prepare our meals, and pack her lunches.  Hopefully that will provide a firm foundation for her.  I guess only time will tell…

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