It Hasn’t Even Snowed Yet…

2015june13garden7…and I’m thinking about spring gardening.  How about you?

While I’m harvesting seeds for next year, pulling out finished plants and even planting fall and winter tolerant vegetables, I’m also starting to think about the spring garden.  Fall is a great time to add compost and soil amendments while you let it rest until spring.  As your compost breaks down, it recharges the soil beneath it with minerals and microorganisms that works it’s way down.  If you till, fall is a great time to plant cover crops that will be tilled into your soil in the spring.   Radish is really popular here.  We were slowly working toward raised beds so that we wouldn’t need to till, but I am starting to consider permanent 30″ flat beds instead.  Still no tilling, but no wood frames to worry about.

Growing up I learned from my grandfather to cover the garden and perennial plants for winter.  For us this meant raking the fall leaves onto the garden and around perennials.  In the spring we would turn them over into the soil.   I still do this, except I am getting13-11-08snowaway from digging or tilling.  Using a mower will shred them nicely, and if you have a bagger you won’t need to rake them.  Some people will cover their gardens/beds with straw or wood chips, still there are some who actually use tarps or other weed barriers.   A little work in the fall will greatly impact your garden in the spring.

 

Fall is also a great time to plan for garden expansions.  Covering areas you want to expand with compost materials and a tarp over the winter will choke out the vegetation under it and make your spring work a little easier.  I have a couple areas I’m considering expanding so I want to get the materials ready.

One area some might forget is cleaning up and caring for your tools.  This might mean things like applying boiled linseed oil to wood handles, sharpening, sanding, oiling metals so they don’t rust.  In the spring they’ll be ready to go when you’re itching to get out into the garden.

IMG_20161230_085416Another great fall prep is writing your thoughts down about this season into your garden journal.  (Of course you have a garden journal…any notebook or notepad will do.)  Give a summary about how things went, what worked well and what didn’t, what improvements or plant varieties you might like to try, weather challenges you had, pest battles, you get the idea.  This are things you can use as you start planning and prepping for next years garden.

A bit of work in the fall will get my spring garden going much quicker when the weather breaks.  I can’t wait!

Job 37:9-10 From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

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Texas and Preparedness

A friend from Texas (just outside of Houston) posted live videos on Facebook this morning as he tried to get around his town to get some supplies.  He couldn’t get very far as everything was flooded.  My prayers go out to everyone down there as the flooding continues.

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We aren’t doomsday preppers or zombie preppers.  We do keep practical emergency supplies on hand and have plans in place in the event emergencies happen…and we’ve used them when things did happen.

After hearing about all the devastation down there in Texas hubby was concerned about our own preparedness.  We may never see a hurricane here in Indiana, but there are many other things that we should be preparing for.  We haven’t done much with our emergency supplies in quite a while and when we began going through things we found we were not in good shape.  Our emergency bags (bug out bags, 72 hour bags) had outdated/expired supplies and missing items.  Our vehicle emergency boxes were not even in our vehicles.  Hubby’s get home bag was in the closet.  Our pantry is rather empty.  Our water storage is low.  Our plans and paperwork haven’t been updated.   We’ve got some work to do.

Preparedness is for EVERYONE.   Having basic emergency supplies on hand is not something that should be overlooked.  Every family should have plans in place if they are faced with an emergency situation.  For example, does your family know what to do in the event of a house fire?  Do you have copies of important papers and contact numbers that aren’t all in your phone?  We had a couple homes here locally that were totally lost to fires.  Thankfully everyone was safe.

You NEED to do this for your family.   You can’t plan for everything, but doing what you can ahead of time will make a huge difference when emergencies do happen.  Here are a few websites to get you started.

Ready.gov https://www.ready.gov/
Red Cross http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies
CDC https://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/index.asp
FEMA https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/90354

We continue to pray for those in Texas as they deal with the flooding and devastation from the hurricane.

Planning Long Term

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Grandma and Grandpa

I see a lot of people taking the plunge and moving to homesteads, going off grid, and generally moving to more sustainable, self sufficient living.  There are lots of benefits to these lifestyles that far out weigh the negative.

What some people don’t realize is that there can be a lot of hard work attached to these ways of living.  I wonder if these people who say they are in it for the long haul are just living day to day or are they really considering the long term?

My birthday is right around the corner.  It’s a big one.  A lot of the things we had hoped to do are starting to fade.  I am finding out now that my bad joint pain can be limiting.  The heat and humidity in the summer send my asthma into attacks.  While I consider myself in pretty good shape for approaching AARP age, I have to face the fact that I’m not a young anymore.  While I’m not yet out to pasture, now is the time to set things into motion that will make those years easier.

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Me with Hubb

We actually started thinking about it when we bought our house 12 years ago.
While we didn’t mind having a basement, we wanted a ranch style home so that if this is our final home we won’t have to worry about getting around it when we’re older.  This was important because we had seen older family members who were having a hard time with stairs including one who fell down a flight of basement stairs.  If we move, we will again look for something that will take us comfortable into our older years.  So, while we don’t want to limit ourselves, we also don’t want to make things harder down the road.  It takes thoughtful planning.  Gardening, raising animals, caring for the home and property…how will you handle these things in your older years? For example:  chopping all your firewood by hand isn’t as easy at 70 years old as it is for a 40 year old.

20141028_081817I know many of us are optimistic about these things in our later years.  “Oh, we’ll manage.”  Will you?  Even the average American lifestyle is challenging to the aged.  I’m not aged (*sigh*) and I have a hard time opening jars and bottles due to the joint pain in my hands.  I wonder how this will effect my gardening and canning?  How will this effect my butchering meat?  How will this effect my crochet business?

Have you thought about it?  Now is the time to plan and put things into place for your lifestyle long term that will make your older years easier.  It’s much easier to do it now while you are able than to wait until the day you find you can’t.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

It’s Officially Cold…and…

…I officially have a cold.  I’ve been down for a few days, I felt awful but I’m starting to feel better.  One of the worst parts for me about getting sick is that the chores tend to get backed up.  Laundry, dishes, all sorts of things that I’m behind on.  So today is a catch up day for me now that I am feeling somewhat better.

winter2The weather hasn’t been bad, but for me it is an adjustment to get used to the colder weather.  The heater is now going all the time and to keep the bills from going off the charts I keep the thermostat set at 66°F or about 19ºC (much lower at night).  It isn’t cold, but it isn’t warm either.  Yes, I’m a whimp.  It takes a little time to get back into the routine of socks, slippers and layers of clothes.  I have a feeling that our winter here in Indiana is going to be very similar to the cold, snowy winter we had last year.

Today’s agenda is mainly catching up on all the chores that have back up for the last several days.  Pretty bad when it seems every dish is dirty.  If I can manage to make progress, I may even try to make some homemade yogurt.  I love yogurt so having to be dairy free is a bummer.  But hubby and son love yogurt so I still make it for them.  Once in a while I’ll splurge and get a container of non-dairy yogurt.  But is really isn’t the same.  *sigh*  I also still have quite a few apples left.  I’m hoping to make a pie, and then maybe make more applesauce with the rest.  I used the Sauce Master to make the applesauce this year and my son gave the applesauce a big thumbs down.  He says the consistency is way too smooth and he won’t eat it.  This coming from the least picky eating child ever.  So I may make a small batch of chunky applesauce just for him.  Not sure if I will try it again next year with a larger screen or not.  We’ll see.  My last big projects that have yet to be done are getting our air conditioners out and cleaning out the garage so hubby can start parking the car in there.  I had hoped to get them done over the weekend, but with me not feeling well and hubby up to his ears in home projects (like the gutter in the front of the house that fell after a really hard rain) they weren’t a priority.  The garage has been his work space so I’ll have to wait until his other projects are done before we can reclaim the garage for the car.

Dinner tonight is going to be chicken, rice and broccoli.  My menu got a little rearranged since we opted for easy, non-menu meals while I was sick.  So the nice Sunday chicken dinner from yesterday is replacing the chicken leftovers that were scheduled for tonight.  If you plan a menu of meals for your family, how do you handle unexpected circumstances that upend your plans?  Do you have spare or alternate meals planned just in case?  Do you just rearrange your menu as you go?  I’d love to hear how you do it.

Time to reboot the dryer with load number three.  Hope your day is blessed.  Grace and peace….