Well, today our peppers and tomatoes were drooped like crazy from the first freeze. I went ahead and harvested all the fruit except the green traveler’s tomatoes because that plant had minimal damage (I did harvest from the damaged branches. Here is a photo of our tomato/pepper loot from today. I also have a pile of large traveler’s tomatoes that fell off while rearranging the vine last week that are about to turn red. I’m thinking salsa!
I plan to dry the cayenne peppers for medicinal use – will they still be worthwhile since they are harvested green? The others are green bell, jalapeno and I the name of the long large peppers slips my mind (I’ll update this post when I remember!).
The 16 eggs are also from today. We were down to about 5 or 6 a day and could not figure out why. Then we noticed the roosters were literally harassing the hens and fighting over them to mate. We slaughtered four roosters this past weekend and the next day our egg production increased to 12 eggs, 13 eggs and today 16. We’re back! Click here to read about the slaughter from the perspective of the cook!
I took photos of the garden and the damage that I’ll post sometime over the next few days at www.blushfamilyfarm.com.
How did your garden fare in the freeze, Texans?
Since tumblr is jammed up today, I’m adding some additional photos here instead of the Blush Family Farm blog (not of the freeze, just the loot). In hindsight I decided to harvest the rest of the travelers tomatoes so the plant could focus on healing itself totally, even though it was minimally damaged. I’ve added photo of the loot updated with the new tomatoes as well as a small bunch that had fallen off the vine last week and is nearly ripe. The second photo is baby Aliana snagging a tomato for a snack!
From their site:
Mission. The Philadelphia Orchard Project plants orchards in the city of Philadelphia that grow healthy food, green spaces and community food security.
POP works with community-based groups and volunteers to plan and plant orchards filled with useful and edible plants. POP provides the plants, trees, and training. Community organizations own, maintain, and harvest the orchards, expanding community-based food production. Orchards are planted in formerly vacant lots, community gardens, schoolyards, and other spaces, almost exclusively in low-wealth neighborhoods where people lack access to fresh fruit.
In 2009 my good friend Brooke Kelley began working on a reality show about our activist movement. Tonight I was feeling sentimental and watched the whole series again. I realized that this series documents some of my craziest activist years, ending with the evolution of thought that brought both myself and Brooke back to nature after years of exhausting political activism. I’ve embedded the season finale below and encourage you to at least watch this episode. If you have the time, start at the beginning and watch the story unfold, I’ve pasted links to each episode below the final episode.
The Liberty Kids move towards a self-sustaining lifestyle. Cat Bleish and John Bush move to a farm. Brooke Kelley finds a temp place off the grid, and makes a special trip to spend time with Cindy Sheehan and starts her venture into the Native American Movement. the Liberty Kids are joined by Liberty on Tour, and it’s a Bitter Sweet ending to a life cycle of politics, and a new start, wherein they begin to actually … live free. http://www.LOLAHgirls.com
Tonight as I work on a few projects I am watching this speech on farming by Joel Salatin. John and I are always trying to learn about the different techniques that can be utilized in gardening, chicken rearing and living more independently over all. I have not been following the food legislation and corresponding grassroots movements since I stepped away from politics. This speech is quite enlightening. Enjoy 😀
In the late spring of 2011 John and I broke ground on our first raised garden bed. After researching various methods we decided to utilize the hugelkultur method where you bury rotting wood underneath your soil. This serves several purposes. First, it provides nutrients to your garden. Second, it provides water to your garden during times of drought (the soil loses moisture faster than the wood). Third, it provides natural aeration (brings oxygen to your soil). Fourth, it provides beneficial bugs with a reason to dig around in your soil. Fifth, the decomposition of the wood provides warmth to your plants’ roots at during the late fall and early spring, extending your gardening season.
I literally watered our first and best made hugelkultur bed three times this summer. And it wasn’t just any summer. Months of 100+ degree heat and little rain for weeks at a time left many gardens suffering. Not ours. It flourished with very little maintenance! Our tomatoes were planted in flower beds that already existed on our property before we arrived (no hugelkultur beds) and I had to water them two to three times a week. That’s a huge difference in hose-water consumption!
This is our daughter petting one of our multiple roosters. I wanted to show how friendly these sometimes “bully birds” can be when given the space and freedom to roam. Consider free-ranging your birds for a happier and healthier flock!
Our family places a high value on early and frequent exposure to animals for our children. This allows them to learn empathy, compassion, responsibility and how to be assertive. Aliana is now walking and can help us feed the chickens and collect their eggs – what an exciting way for her to learn about nature and numbers!
If you don’t have chickens of your own, consider bringing your children to visit a local farm or backyard chicken coop!