December 14, 2012
Given the last blog I wrote and then prior to that, I really am looking at multiple new starts simultaneously for writing. This past year with moving the family and changing lifestyles drastically with the added bonus of losing two close family members and a close friend all to health related issues, two of whom close enough to my age to once again be a reminder that t “I are mortal with only so much sand in the timer.” With that said, I’m going to take a few minutes to and delve into one of the lifestyle changes! To be fair with regards to those who passed on, one was living the gift of borrowed time, one was healthy but on medication for a life long condition, one was the model of health and had a genetically passed issue that was previously unknown in her family.
As I’ve previously talked about, one of the changes we enacted in after moving was to create a garden area which we would be putting a variety of plants to yield crops which would sustain our family removing the need to have to visit the store for our groceries, most of which have been either genetically modified or sprayed with pesticides. This is especially helpful as we’ve got 3 growing boys whose appetites grow exponentially with their height.
Not everything we planted did well, nor was well received by the boys. By far the biggest hit seems to have been the Sweet Potato’s that were grown and harvested in the middle of Fall. All of the boys seem to enjoy eating them until their bellies are stuffed! The flavor is a mix of sweet and earthy undertones that come with having the potato’s grown in the rich red clay. They range in size from fingerlings to almost as big as a varsity football.
The least favorite of the kids but certainly highly abundant was the Okra. Traditionally it is battered and fried in the south. This is how I was raised eating it. It is how I introduced this wonderful little delicacy to my wife not long after we were married. With such abundance I couldn’t help but give it a try in different ways. It was quickly found that slicing it into little medallions or coins then sauteing in olive oil provides a wonderful, quick snack or side dish with virtually anything we chose to make.
Additional vegetables that were grown was squash and zucchini neither of which survived an extended hot period. We also had five or six variety of tomatoes, some did better than others, but none were disappointing to eat. It was truly a joy to watch the boys being able to pick and eat the small cherry tomatoes straight from the plant to mouth knowing full well they have had nothing but the nutrients of the soil, the water from the rain and well and the care and love of those who planted them to help it grow into a mature fruit bearing plant.
Our winter crop has fallen into less than stellar condition. Dryer than normal conditions and small animals (lets read that as new young ducks to replace ours lost to a fox who were my favorite egg layers), have contributed to most of the initial plant sproutlings meeting a demise of one sort or another. It’s not to late, though.. our climate is temperate and the plants we want to grow are mostly tolerable to the temperature changes.
Next blog I’ll delve into the changes in lifestyle with the live side of the homesteading. Backyard chickens, turkeys, rabbits, goats, ducks and more!