Monday, July 17, 2017

Let there be fruit!

We're having a great year with our fruit so far. I've made so many batches of jam that I think I have the routine down pat. It has definitely become normal to find me out in the drying shed over our 60,000 btu burner boiling down a big vat of yummy jam or this past week, red currant jelly.

Oh the beauty!

Last year we pruned our currants. Wrong. So we hardly got any fruit at all. This year we are reaping the reward of leaving them the heck alone. Besides a bit of aged manure and plenty of water, we've not done a thing and gotten plenty of black currants and just barely enough red to make jelly with which we are guarding jealously. We may part with some of it but not much!

Just before the currants came on I actually had to stop picking the strawberries. They just kept giving us more fruit but I had to let the slugs have it, there was simply too many other things being neglected. Ah! if only there were more than two of us!  Oh well. Maybe the slugs will have mercy on the strawberries next year because I turned the blind eye at the end of the season this year? 
Not hardly.

The other success is our 7 sister rose bush. Originally my mother's who bought it of a master rosarian who had, at one time, grown over 500 roses, it traveled from the midwest to my upstate ny place in a pot, much abused since I didn't plant it immediately, survived and at this, year three, decided it was liking its spot next to the outhouse just fine and might stay awhile.

And finally, our black raspberries are coming on. Not a lot, but still. We are grateful. God bless and until next time!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Photos and Other Hiccups

Just begin!
Sometimes since it feels like I'm writing to a good friend when I write posts, I forget that I don't have to keep to a timeline. So though it's been a long time since I've written, I don't have to fill in the gap. It would be nice and possibly interesting (ahem; boring) to go into detail on all you've missed. The ridiculous pace, the stress, the successes and utter failures of the past several months. But, well, we have to start somewhere....let's start with now.

Right now, I am changing the name of my blog to Getting to Normal although I'll keep my Fearless Farmgirl persona. Why is it we choose names that are the direct opposite of what we are? I had hoped to be fearless. I failed. Period. But don't worry, all is not lost. Although, to be honest, this past year it nearly was.

When we started this farming venture it was certainly with stars in our eyes. We had big dreams and plans and such. Not unlike everyone else. As the state of NY's regulations whittle away an increment at a time at these dreams, we stop, we regroup, we rethink. But we never, ever, never never give up.

Fall down? Get back up. Every single time. No matter what.

I know this is vague but there's only so much detail I can give you. And I'm sorry for that.

Each day is a fight but it's a good fight; let's leave it at that.

Onward and Upward!

Last year we harvested our first grains which was exciting as all get out. We harvested wheat, oats and a smidge of barley.  We found someone to faithfully till our land in the spring and about a month ago we sowed the oats, barley and wheat for this year. It was an acre all together which will produce enough to feed us easily through the winter. Grains are amazing. So many little bits of goodness on the tip of every blade of straw. It doesn't take much to reap a good harvest. But it does take a lot of hard work. Especially when it comes to threshing and winnowing, which we had to do by hand. We developed our own tools and work on it a bit at a time. We can sell these organic grains at the market and if we get a good harvest, it may mean we can finally do a winter market this coming winter, increasing our income through those dark months.

Last year there were no apples. This year the trees are loaded. Last year we had excellent strawberries. This year remains to be seen due to so much rain that we can barely weed. We've tried but the mud clods that come up with each weed are not good. Better to leave the weeds!

Last year I uploaded photos from my phone or camera. This year I have discovered the joys of Google Photos and am thrilled to be able to take photos off my phone and free up storage space.
(Sorry, little technology jaunt there, we are pretty lo-tech but I want to post photos on this blog and Google Photos is going to make it so much easier)

New this year too is our herbal medicine focus. We have both been trying to get back to a plant based life and I have been studying hard. Harvesting plants I know will help us. Reading books such as Nancy Phillips' The Village Herbalist - excellent read btw.  And hey does anyone know what this plant is?

Alas, I have written enough and it's time to go. Until next time!!