Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Weekend Homesteader Ideas, January-March

As usual, January's relative un-busyness (oh, it's still busy! But relative to the rest of the year...) has led me to daydreaming about the garden—always too ambitiously—and perusing old blog notes. And, what's this? An old list?

Five years ago, inspired by a book called The Weekend Homesteader by Anna Hess and her and her husband's blog, "The Walden Effect," I made a list of weekend homesteading ideas and goals. Let's see if I've accidentally achieved any of these since. My original notes are in italics.

Soil test - need to? Still haven't.

Baking bread - oh please. check. Hm, we have not been baking a ton of our own bread lately, but that reminds me of a different post I'd like to write... but first some side research.

Media consciousness - hm. I couldn't remember what this meant, so I flipped back through book. Essentially, it's being aware of how your media consumption affects you; i.e. you should voluntarily consume less of it. Er, nope. We do watch (and yell at) the news every morning and often listen to talk radio in the car. And we subscribe to newspaper delivery a few days a week.

Turning trash into treasures - you betcha! Improve? Oh definitely. We continue to salvage and repurpose. Len has just recently built several pieces of furniture and home decor out of discarded wooden pallets and even sold a couple of items, plus given others as gifts.

Our raspberries sprawl more
heartily every summer.

Planting berries - well... I failed twice at planting blueberry bushes. I'm certain the aforementioned soil test (and then appropriate soil amendments) would remedy that, but I am only mildly scientific with my garden. Our strawberries are hanging on year to year, but could use some TLC to boost output. Our two varieties of raspberries thrive, though. We have ordinary red raspberry plants purchased from Home Depot and an heirloom black raspberry plant that is progeny of bushes from my aunt's yard, which came from bushes in my great-grandma's yard.

Stocking up on dried goods - look into. I don't remember why I wrote "look into." We do buy some dry essentials in bulk—flour, sugar, sometimes beans—and we are always in a position to cobble together a meal out of our pantry and/or freezer. I feel this has been the case for a long time, but maybe it wasn't so five years ago. Or else I believe I shouldn't have written "- check!"

Backup lighting - other than flashlights and candles? We have flashlights and candles, what else is there? Solar lighting, I guess. We don't have that unless you count a few little solar-powered yard lamps.

Setting homesteading goals - yes, let's! I suppose that's what this list was, but it didn't get farther than that.

Originally a Bed Bath & Beyond item,
our mini greenhouse is second-hand.
Spring planting - get on this, improve! Len built a cold-frame out of a papasan chair skeleton, and we picked up a tiny greenhouse at a Savers thrift store. We do use these to get seedlings going before spring truly begins, but we still could improve quite a bit. (It's back to that only mildly scientific thing—my seed-starting and spring planting could use more science, really.) 

Growing edible mushrooms - maybe later. Yeah, maybe later. I've seen mushroom log kits you can buy. They don't particularly seem worth the cost and effort versus just buying mushrooms at the grocery store.

Bees - attract more! Ok, I saw bee houses (meant to attract and house wild bees) at Menard's, and I want one. The problem is, where to put it? Not in the apple trees—we'd just tick them off when we tried to pick apples. On the side of the porch, where we can show them off to guests? Possibly not. Just across the sidewalk in the park that is technically not our property? Maybe.

Learn to enjoy what you've got - when it's better, I will. Geez, that seemed cynical. I think I do enjoy what we have, though I admit there is always a nagging desire to grow even more of our own food in what little space we have.

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