I used to be a biker. Now, I'm a hippie. The transition was not an easy one. Just ask my eldest. We are blessed to live on an eighteen acre farm now, and are learning to be self-sufficient. These are just the stories I have to share, about our efforts and projects, with any one who wants to read them.
So the new year is upon us and I am filled with anticipation! There is something so special about fresh starts, second chances or "do-overs", as we used to call it as a kid. The good Lord knows that I have gotten more than my fair share of all of the above. Moving out here was a fresh start in and of itself for me. It was out in the middle of nowhere. Too far for me to walk to town. I gave up my keys, took my name off the bank account and checked into rehab. After 60 days of that I came home to start rebuilding my life. That was 6 years ago. I've said before and I'll say it again; Sobriety rocks! It's been the best six years of my life. I am living proof that God can take you where ever you are and start from there. I thank the Lord every day for the life he saved for me till I was strong enough to start living it for myself. I have known so many souls over the years that lost their families due to their addictions and had to rebuild their lives alone.
I have learned a lot since my first post. The biggest lesson has been how hard the American farmer has been put upon by the powers that be. If the FDA had it's way, none of us would be eating real foods. They do not think we have the inherit rights to choose the foods we eat. I pray for them all daily. I learned that it is illegal for restaurants to use cheese unless it has been pasteurized. I have learned how to pasteurize the farm fresh milk. Next week my bff, Mary Ann and sister-in-law, Nancy will be attending a women's business seminar put on by http://www.rurlaenterprises.com. They are a wonderful group that encourages small businesses here in Oklahoma. Mary Ann and I are doing the cheese together and Nancy has a beautiful shop in Bixby, Oklahoma aptly named "Vintage Abode" where she sells antiques, transfer-ware, hand carved furniture and many other beautiful things. Nancy also has a blog as well that is one of my favorite reads. Here is the link. http://www.nancysdailydish.blogspot.comYou need to check it out. I always love networking with other women. It is my hope that REI will be able to help me with the labeling and marketing of my cheeses. Once those hurdles have been overcome I will be ready to go.
I started planning this year's garden the other day. I am really going to move things up this year. I am incorporating some new aspects that we have not done before. The first being fruit trees. We will be planting peach, pear, apple and plum trees. We planted two pomegranate trees last fall. I also heard that the state will donate pecan trees to anyone that wants to grow them. I will be checking with the Department of Agriculture to see if that is true. We also planted blueberry and thorn-less blackberries last fall. This spring we will be adding strawberries and raspberries. I'm really working on getting some perennial food sources going. We want to get a beehive to put in the meadow to help with pollination of all our garden areas. It blew my mind to learn that the bee population has dropped 90 percent in the last 50 years. They don't know why really but that is a scary fact to me. They are so vital in the food cycle! I am allergic to bees but as I've gotten older I've learned how to avoid angering them and if we are going to have a thriving garden then we need their help.
Another new venue that we will be incorporating into our garden this year will be grains. We will be considering barley, buckwheat, oats, rye, corn and wheat. You don't have to have acres and acres to grow them. They can be planted in flower gardens just like ornamental grasses. Once I have mastered growing them I will move to the "field" planting method.
As always, we will be doing the herbs. I am also concentrating on perennials in that category as well. Oklahoma is perfect for sage, which will come back for about five years and rosemary and lavender, which will live for years and years. The mints and oregano I'm going to keep in pots this year. They both seem to want to take over the beds. The rest will be bedded. I usually get three to five harvest per year off of them when I do it correctly.
I'm going to be moving my tomatoes, and the vine plants out of the raised beds garden this year. I have plenty of room around the property to accommodate them with out robbing the other plants of sun and nutrients. That was probably the biggest lesson I learned last year. I nearly choked out a lot of my plants.
I will have the lettuce, chards, carrots, beets, onions, radishes and sweet potatoes in the ground in late February - early March. I still have cabbages, swiss chard, garlic, lettuce and spinach growing right now! I love the growing season here in Oklahoma. In April I will get the snow peas, tomatoes, grains, berries, cabbages, peppers, eggplant, rhubarb, beans, asparagus, black-eyed peas going. In June I will start the okra, squash and the rest of the vine plants (aka: cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, etc) The squash bugs are too invasive in the spring. Last year I had over 25 plants that were killed off by that stupid bug before they could produce! Yet, when I replanted them in June they did great and produced well and they (squash bugs) were all gone for the most part by then.
The other projects that we have on the burners right now are fencing in the meadow and building a chicken coop. The meadow will be put off for another year I fear. We just don't have the capital, unless I can get a grant or loan. The chicken coop will be done this winter. By fall I hope to be getting eggs and butchering some chickens as well.
Well folks, I think that is going to wrap things up for now. I hope this has been informative and entertaining as well. If anyone has a desire to learn how to do any of the things I talk of here, feel free to ask me. Here's hoping that your new year is full of love, mercy, forgiveness and grace.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23