Thursday, December 26, 2013

Well maybe, just maybe my blog is fixed?

For the past 3 months I have been mostly unable to get on my blog and post, but today it appears that it may  be working correctly.

We have had a lot going on the homestead, but the most dissappointing is that our new Empyre Elite 200 wood furnace sprung a leak into the firebox and we are waiting for the dealer to replace it on warranty. That was a huge huge huge "lemon" of a furnace. We had to have the door replaced 3 times, had a warning buzzer replaced and had some levers and other things repaired in the first year..and now this. The new one is supposed to be updated with stainless steel.

We had a good Christmas..we only bought gifts for my 93 year old mother, and I'm going to pay a few bills for my son, otherwise no exchanging gifts.
Here is a photo of our tree, we didn't do a lot more decorating.
We have had an extremely snowy and cold November and December, so much for saving $ heating with wood, propane has been buzzing along.

This week I was chicken sitting for a neighbor, best thing without being able to have my own..sweet little things gave me some loverly eggs. I am getting spoiled by them and really want my own, IF ONLY Ron wouldn't object so much.

Am taking advantage of the cold outside to do some reorganizing and cleaning inside..took a 24 x 30 inch cabinet down in the laundry room that we couldn't properly access (we are both short and it was behind washer and dryer) and moved it over a 24 " cabinet in the kitchen that had a blank now it is that done today and hope to do some closet cleaning next (tomorrow have to run Ron to VA to pick up his hearing aids.)

Also we aren't much on leaving decorations up so I'll be taking the tree down soon also and putting all that stuff away, a good opportunity to do some more organizing and cleaning as well.

Cabinet HAD candles and candle holders store in it (as IF I could have found them in the dark so high up requiring a step stool to get to) I moved all of the candles to a much lower cabinet centrally located in the house in case of a power outage and will put some matches and a propane lighter we'll be much better prepared this way. Cabinet in kitchen in it's new place has already been filled with some stuff that was stacked on the countertop..(I hate stacks)

Well thankfully the blog is working..I'll attempt to post this update and if the blog continues to work maybe I'll take some photos of the snow this week and post those as well..good to be back.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

trying to update blog...will not let me type in the body of the blog, sorry..lots I would love to say

Autumn update 2013

Well it has been a LONG time since I was able to update my blog. For one thing my computer hasn't been working right and also there has been a lot going on here this year.

Ron had to have emergency surgery to save his life on June 12, 8 hours of spinal surgery. He is doing well now and even has the neck brace off, but he was in the hospital and recovery for a very long time.

My summer was basically non existant because of Ron's problems and the drought killed off most of my garden that did sprout, I had bad seeds that didn't sprout also so it was a horrible garden year.

We did however have some successes with trees after all the winter loss of rabbit damage. We have had a baby trees bear this year that

Mid June is siberian Iris time..also roses, daisies, etc.

Well, Ron had to have emergency surgery a week ago and now is in rehab. I'm way behind on my garden work as I'm spending a lot of time at the hospital and also preparing the house for him to come home a bit more disabled than he was when he left..possibly with a wheelchair or a walker so need to move furniture and make sure there are no trip hazards (besides the cats). Might even have to build a ramp.

I went around just before dark and snapped some photos..mostly of siberian iris that are blooming everywhere, but also some other things as well. If I have to build a handicap ramp it will be going from the house to this garden in the front yard.

Here you can see some blue, purple, yellow and even a few white ones peeking out in the far back..this is in our front yard..(need to mow).
Should have picked off the yellow leaves and cleaned it up..but my climbing rose is just opening up it's first blooms and my new baby blue clematis is happily climbing thru that little thing...
Here are some more siberian iris, blue, purple, and yellow ones..on the other side of our front yard (we really have them everywhere and they badly need dividing if anyone wants to come dig some up.)
As if I had time with Ron in the hospital.
Anyone want a salad, (the side of my hugelbed)..

These ones in the field were mowed over this spring, and it never even hurt them..they are tough.

Part of our food forest where a baby sweet cherry tree is growing....also a few siberian iris (again).
And here is another part, 3 of our pear trees planted along our deck (for easier picking) and underplanted with daylillies, iris, comfrey and lots of other plants in the food forest method to provide nutrients and pollination.

My computer is giving me fits so other photos will have to wait....

haven't been able to post on my blog since June

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

honeysuckle time

Well here in Michigan it is honeysuckle time, as well as Russian Olive time and Spirea time, the Lilacs are all over and the June flowers are just beginning..but OHHHHHHHHHHH it has sure been smelling nice around here lately..all the flowers. We still have the funny lighter green on some trees, and the new growth is coming out on the pines so it is soft and pretty as well as beautifully smelly.

Oh for "smellivision"..
(front yard)

birds keep planting more and more surprises, this is a new baby honeysuckle that showed up a couple years ago in my front yard (never know if they'll be white, yellow, pink or fuchsia when birds plant them.
This little Russian Olive was also planted by a bird by our garage..smells so good to walk out to the car.

the Lupines above are being seeded all over too, as they are Nitrogen Fixers (as are the Russian olive and the Baptisia as well) ..they feed my gardens..they may look sloppy but they are happy and healthy even with all the weeds (which I haven't been able to get control of..just too much for one person to do).

More honeysuckle and olive in the Back yard under a large old apple tree.
a couple more the back yard..below hiding behind baby cotinus leaves..
Spireas and Barberries under a baby cherry tree..and another Russian Olive....they are everywhere.

Everything has that special softness this time of year, like the new growth on the white pine above, against a canadian hemlock..loverly...

A side shot of the house with my Hugelkultur bed in the foreground, can't tell but it does have lots of things growing on it..also there are baby whips of Peach trees one on each end of it. The trees along the deck are dwarf pears and there are two more babies around the front corner.

a little end of our pond, and more olives..yes, and willows and barberries of course..

and to end this post PURRRfectly, a shot of my favorite little girl, Greystoke..more fluffy stuff..

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

2013 update May 21 including changes to plant list for this year

Well I'm a tad disabled right now, I sliced my left middle finger to the bone with a butcher excuse spelling and abbreviations.

I thought I would update my plant list a bit, here is what I ordered or have coming replacements for this year, and what I lost over the winter.

one plum and 3 pears had serious damage..but believe the plum and 2 pears are coming back from below the damage I pruned off, same with an apricot and a peach..some apple tree damage and here and there others..Lost a lot of TOPS of shrubs and trees from rabbit damage all over the property, cut down most and chipped up for mulch (dagnabbit rabbits)

My orders for this year included:

Standard Nova Spy Apple
Standard Reliance Peach
Standard Elberta Peach
Standard Hale Haven Peach
Standard Red Havn Peach
Standard Stella Cherry
Standard Windsor cherry (replacement)
Standard Harlayne apricot (replacement)
Standard Heartnut
CarmineJewel Cherry (replacement)
Viking Aronia (replacement coming in fall)
High Bush Cranberry (replaceement)
5 hardy Kiwi (1 male 4 females)

maximillion sunflower
better boy tomato
sweet 100 tomato
mixed sweet peppers
(some tomato and peppers bought from walmart as well as some cabbage and broccoli..)
Royal Burgundy Bush bean
Impr golden wax bean
cylindra beet
rainblow blend carrot
salt and pepper cuke
michilli cabbage
bon vivant Blend lettuce mix (plus leftover lettuce and spicey mix greens from 2012 that are growing nice and self seeded swiss chard and rutabaga)
all american parsnip
now or later pea and leftover seeds from some sugar snap pea
noble giant spinach
festivity OP corn saved from 2012
early prolific straightneck squash
black zucchini
buttercup  squash
sugar baby watermelon
honey rock canelope
money mix sunflower
cosmos seed from 2012
25 strawberries ..some june and some ever bearing
triple treat pumpkins
some other seeds left from last year also and some free seeds and bulbs that came with my orders

amaranth grain d'or
delicata squash
sugar pie pumpkin
malabar spinach
pole bean rattlesnake
summer squash black magic
collards morris heading
greens spicey asian mix
edible flower and herb mix
spicey italian green mix
kohlrabi early white vienna
spinach  bloomsdale long standing
wild rocket
brussel sprout long island imprv
pinetree lettuce mix
broccoli raab di rapa novantine
garlic chives

I have a lot of the seeds started indoors, and some planted out, and a lot yet to do. All the trees and shrubs but 2 have come and been planted for spring and one more coming in the fall.

Neighbor gave me a plum tree last fall and it sustained some damage but is coming back lovely now.

have tomato and pepper plants in the greenhouse and trying some honey rock melon and sugar baby watermelon in there too if there is room for everything (greenhouse is TINY)

Most everything seems to be growing well but I am having germination problems with the seeds of the sugar baby  pumpkin and the two kinds of summer not sure what will come of that. I did manage to get ONE pumpkin seed so far to sprout but none of the summer squash yet..which we rely on in the summer so I'm still hopeful..must have been some really crap seed.

Most of the trees look really good ..even the ones that we cut a lot off the tops with damge on them..are srouting below the pruning there is a lot of hope here this year.

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17, 2013 blossoms and baby trees in my 2013 food forest gardens and hugelkultur bed

Well we have gone through 2 spring frosts since the blossoms have come out, first one was 24 degrees, and the last one was just 33 at my thermometer, hopefully little damage. Some vines were blackened but mostly everything seems ok but will have to wait for fruit to see what actually survived.

Each year I like to add a few new fruit trees to the food forest gardens. Starting in the front yard I have two hickory nut trees, a plum, a fruit cocktail tree that only one graft lived on so I'm waiting to see which fruit (peach, nectarine, plum or apricot) decides to grow on it. Here is a  picture of that tree and a few trees behind it blooming from whatever roots of dead above the graft trees didn't get pulled out, likely peaches.

to the left of tese trees is this pretty little crabaple tree, it is old in the woodpeckers have been attacking the above tree and this one..not sure why...but so far they have survived.
These are to the west (left) of my front porch, and the following trees are on the right of my front porch. The one that looks almost dead is a Halls Hardy Almond, and I belive it either sustained winter damage or damage from last year's drought, the Peach (Contender) to the right of it also has had some damage, including half of it having to be cut out this spring from rabbit damage, neither have blossoms this year. To the right of those we lost a pear tree and had severe rabbit damage on two other pear trees which we cut down to about 5" tall, but they are regrowing (won't show up in photos though).

We will wait until thenew growth does finish on the almond before we prune out the dead, as I'm not sure what will still grow at this time. All of these trees are under planted with shrubs, perennial and vines in ornamental beds in the front yard. There are a few other edibles in the front here too, such as grape vines and currants and lots of other beds not in these photos.

Going around the EAST end of our house is a deck. Planted up against the deck are 3 more pear trees, they are just about finished blossoming but you can see a few blooms still hanging on.
There is a rogue cherry tree hanging out here as well.  These trees are under planted with comfrey and perennials as well as some nearby strawberries, a greenhouse and a hugelkultur bed in this area. Here are some shots of the baby hugelkultur bed (the bed has logs in it) which I'm just getting some planting done on. There are whips of baby peach trees on each end of the bed, some greens coming up along the sides and top and a few other things planted, mostly seeds aren't up yet...waiting for seeds to come up before I mulch it.
Around behind the house on the North side are some cherry trees, I planted several but some died and are  being replaced and planted elsewhere. The first  photo is a rogue from the roots of a Richland, not really sure what will come of it, the other is one that survived of 2 Dwarf Bing cherries.

These cherry trees are growing in ornamental and herb beds with lots of shrubs, perennials, herbs and even some strawberries as a ground cover. North of this area is our drainfield garden (you can see that in other posts) and then the large apple tree by the shed. There are also grapevines and climbing roses that will grow over several arbors on the property, some here.
North of this shed, arbor and apple tree is a lattice enclosed area that has a swing and several beds including my asparagus beds, some annual beds and a lot of baby fruit and nut trees. The hazelnuts gave me some nuts for the first time last year..the chestnuts are still babies as are the fruit trees and the berry bushes and  especially the  blueberries, most so small you can hardly photograph them. There are also honeyberry and gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, black raspberries, wild plum, currant and others growing in this area, I have baby kiwi vines I will be planting and there are grape vines which also began producing last year. Most are not yet visible this spring..just sticks.
Here are some photos of things you CAN see.
One of two dwarf North Star cherries, they won't get much larger than this and this will likely  be their first year to bear.

Nova Spy Apple tree baby I just planted this year.
Scarlet Canadian Cherry tree, the leaves turn red after the flowers fade and remain red all summer and fall.

These are Standard Peaches, one is a Hale Haven and one is an Elberta Peach.
Another baby tree this year (several planted each year). This one is a Stella Cherry, standard size and yet to arrive are another standard cherry ..Windsor that will go west of this one.

This is a baby Sweet 16 super dwarf apple, this is it's first year to bloom, behind it is a black raspberry bush and there are 2 baby sweet chestnut trees along the lattice fence.
Here are 2 of our 6 dwarf american hazelnuts, these bore for the first time last year, they are planted in a hedge along the north lattice, behind them are jerusalem artichokes (not up) and 2 mulberries, and west of them to the left out of  photo are 4 American Plums.

This is a dwaf baby Braeburn Apple, so far no blossoms on this little baby.

This is a semi dwarf baby Snow Apple, it has a few blossoms. I had to cut about 2' off the top of this one as the top died..but it seems to be recovering.

Enough for now, had a lot more photos to share but the computer is giving me fits so I'll post these one.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11 snow and grape jelly

Yesterday I noticed Ron had grape jelly on the shopping list..and we had an opened container of grape juice in the frig that my mom had given us. My mind clicked.."in 5 min I can have a batch of grape jelly made up" I quickly poured 4 c of grape juice in my large pan and washed up some jars, stirred pectin in the heating juice and measured sugars..scalded jars in microwave (quick) and put lids on to boil..

In 5 min the jelly was in the jars..and I had some this afternoon on toast and it was really yummy.
We celebrated my mom's 93rd birthday today so I took her in a jar..which she that worked out well also.

Was raining hard when I left my mom's and when I got home ..this is what I was looking out the window at:
Many of our fruit trees were in
full bloom. This one here was in full bloom for several days and now is covered with snow..wah!

hard to see the blossoms under the coating of snow.

since I took this photo the snow has all melted..but the low is forcast for 30 tonight and 26 tomorrow night with a high of 39

well we lost ALL of our fruit blossoms last  year to a 28 degree freeze..I'm hoping..praying..that we'll have fruit this year..we really need it. And I have a new canner !

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Blossoms are opening on my fruit trees..woo hoo

Well there are blossoms opening on some of my baby fruit trees that have never born before, here are a few blossoms on a North Star cherry tree in my back yard. There aren't very many but there are tons of cherry trees in the yard so I'm hoping to get cherries on other ones too. This one has never born fruit so I'm excited to get some sweet cherries off of it. I had 2 of them but the other one, the top died on it.

The central on on this photo is a "fruit cocktail tree" that was originally grafted with 5 different fruits (peach, nectarine, plum and apricot )...all but one graft died on it, so it should be just one of the fruits, and it hasn't born yet, so we'll be interested to see which one it is..we have other peach, apricot and plum trees so a nectarine would be nice..but we'll see this year what makes it (if we don't get a hard freeze). It also has a bunch of woodpecker damage so we are hoping it doesn't die.
In this area there are other fruit trees, I'm not really sure what all of them are and none but the crabapple have born in this spot, so it will be interesting to see what comes on the other trees, there are several that have blossoms coming on them in this food forest bed.

In a future post I'll post more of the blossoms, but they are just beginning to open on the other fruit trees. Several of our apple and pear trees and cherry trees are loaded with blossoms, but they aren't fully opened.

Even some of our smallest baby trees have a few blossoms coming on them, including my very tiny Sweet 16 apple (it is a super dwarf)..has it's very first blossoms this year. In Michigan we are just now getting leaves on our trees and blossoms, and there is colder weather in the forcast so we are praying for a harvest this year.

I'm also pleased to have noticed mason bees are working among the fruit blossoms, love those little guys.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My first full week of real spring weather 70's, 80's, and 90's....

Well we went from snow to finally spring weather, and it was a lovely first nice week of spring. They forcasted rain but we didn't really get any. But we have had 70s, 80's, and 90's this week..with overnight lows in the 30's.

I have gotten back into walking for exercise, started out with 2 miles a day but did one 3 mile day with a huge hill.

Have gotten a lot of planting done (by the moon this year) and have a lot of seedlings on the window sills all over the house. (tomatos, peppers, squashes, melons, brussel sprouts, etc.)

Had quite a bit of rabbit damage so I've been doing some selective pruning of fruit trees and ornamentals that were damaged..some of the ornamentals were autumn olives and ginella maples that were 25' tall and had all the bark stripped off up about 2' from the ground. I cut those down and one of the autumn olives twisted and came back around and hit me in the back of the head, sending a 3" thorn into my scalp. No one was home to check it for about an hour or so, but it turned out to be only a 1/2 " cut, so all is good.

I also cut down the dead out of my climbing rose on the porch, it looks absolutely gorgeous this year, I'm very pleased with how it is doing.

The neighbors rented an industrial wood chipper for a day, and just before having to take it back they pulled it into my yard and helped take down part of the branch / brush pile in my front yard..couldn't do it all but I gained a nice pile of wood chips and the branches are more the ones I can handle with my little craftsman chipper that are left.

This afternoon I began hauling the woodchips to my garden, got a couple wheelborrow loads hauled but my back is fighting me after pulling all those big long 6" x 15' branches out of the pile so they could go thru the chipper, think I overdid it.

I was hoping for the thunderstorms they promised us for the last few days, but nope, nary a now I have my irrigation system going on the rear garden (old drip system which I repaired on Monday)..glad to have it.

So far i have carrots, beets, parsnips, lettuce, kale, collards, asian cabbage, asian spicey greens, yellow and idaho potatoes, italian spicey greens, sugar snap peas, now and later peas, and a few other things 4 of my fruit trees have come and gotten in their holes..still a lot to get in the ground. Had a problem with cats getting into two of my beds and digging so I'm hoping for a miracle there, and now they are covered with wire. keep the cats and other wild critters out..seems to be working but i think my carrot and parsnip seed might have gotten buried..but there is a sign that some of the cabbage family plants are still going to come up.

got notice some of my other trees and shrubs are coming soon..already have some holes dug for them.

The rest of this weekend will be spent hauling more of the woodchips to the garden, pulling more weeds (mostly quackgrass that sneaks into my garden every winter)..and general clean up around the yard. No lawnmowing yet, but soon it appears.

no morels yet, asparagus is jsut beginning to peek thru the ground, flowers are ready to open on many of my fruit trees and there are leaves on the lilacs, aspens, willows and some other trees and shrubs..

I ordered myself a 3 wheel bicycle, 3 speeed, as my mountain bike is really hard for me to ride right now so i think I need the security of the 3 came in a big box Friday and my son will assemble it tomorrow. I'm looking forward to building my leg strength back up with it (I am walking but I think I need this).

Hopefully will have some spring photos in my next post,,right now nothing interesting to photograph.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

preparing for canning and preserving foods

Well since we were married 42 years ago, I have always used an old fashioned large canner for all my canning needs, and have always wanted something that would separate berry seeds from pulp as my husband can't tolerate seeds and won't eat much of my prepared foods.


This spring I ordered myself a new canner and a new victoria strainer with the attachment package from Amazon.

They arrived this week..The canner is beautiful and will be so much nicer to use, even read the entire instruciton book front to back. This is a metal to metal canner with the screw down things on the top, supposed to be more accurate and safer to u se. Bought some more canning jars and had some I bought before, so I'm ready for a good garden season this year.

I also purchased the new victoria strainer and the accessory package with finer and coarser screens and shorter spiral, so that I can now remove seeds from berries and tomato just putting them thru the processor and can process several other things more easily, it even has a salsa setting which will be nice to use.

One problem that I would like to make known to anyone planning on getting the Victoria Strainer doesn't fit on my countertops or kitchen area requires a very flat board with no lip and a sturdy surface to attach to, big mistake here not seeing that. After realizing it wouldn't work on my counter I did some sleuthing in my house and I found a fairly sturdy bookshelf that it will fit on, but that will mean hauling that to my kitchen whenever I want to use the strainer, I'll be looking for a better solution to that as time goes on, but can use the bookshelf in a pinch (have to haul it from the laundry room or find a closer place to put it).

I tried a new storebought product this week, Outshine frozen fruit bars, they are really good.

That gave me a really great idea for making homemade fruit pops, once I get the seeds out of the berries and such, as I have 2 of those frozen popsickle molds I bought at Meijer last year..that is always nice to have in the hot hazy days of summer. Looking forward to trying to figure out what I need to do to make my own after de-seeding the pulp of strawberries and blackberries and grapes..(a great way to use those pesky seedy heritage grapevines I have (over 100 year old) that has me excited to fix some new things.

As I said in my last post, with my back pain I'm fairly happy spring is coming on slowly this year, as I hurt too much to do much, but it will still all have to be done when  spring does the meantime I'm going to be reading up on new reccipes and ideas for using my new toys..later

It's spring in the garden (or so the calendar says)

Well this has been a very rough spring for me. I am recovering from pneumonia and have something  wrong with my lower back, so I'm dealing with the situation in a slow manner.

Some of my plant orders and all of my seeds have arrive, but planting and seeding isn't going so well.

I am using the "moon phases" for planting this year, however, my in the house plantings didn't line up but had to be done. I started a few annuals in pots in the house, tomato, peppers, pumpkin, squash and brussel sprouts so far, and a few are up. I needed to do more starts inside but so far haven't gotten them done.

I knew that I had trees coming, so I went out a few days ago and used post hole diggers to get some holes started for the trees, breaking through the hardpan (that didn't help my back injury much). The next day the first of two tree orders to arrive this week came, it was much easier planting them when I already had the holes predug. So far I have panted 4 standard peach trees (red haven, hale haven, elberta and reliance), one of two of the cherries ordered (stella, the windsor is still to arrive), one apple (nova spy) is also planted this year so far. There are a few other trees on order yet to arrive. I also received a maximillion sunflower, which i potted inside, 25 strawberries that are hopefully surviving in a container in my frig, and 4 female and one male kiwi vine that are already vined and leafed out when they arrived, so they are also in a bucket on my windowsill waiting for non freezing weather to be transplanted outside.

I just hope the back will heal up enough to get the plants in when need be to do so, we have freshly fallen snow on the ground this morning, and I'm hoping the rabbits don't find my newly planted trees before I can get wire protection around them.

I have a little disappointment regarding some fruit trees and others on the property as we had a small amount of deer browse and a large amount of rabbit browse this March/April. checking earlier in the year all was well, but in March and April the weather has been horrible and the rabbits were breeding like ...well...rabbits and eating everything in site.

I lost completely one pear tree, and had upper graft damage on two others but believe they are savable as there is wood above the graft that I think has buds on it. One Plum was damaged severely above the graft but it also appears to have good wood left, There is some rabbit damage on one side of a peach tree, hopefully it will survive, and there is woodpecker or sapsucker damage to the almond and the fruit cocktail trees, hoping they can overcome that. Many of my nitrogen fixers and ornamentals have lots of very severe rabbit damage, but they are all grown on their own roots and should come back after I do some heavy pruning this spring.

I had two other pear trees that had been ruined above the graft last year, and I dug those up and planted them in a sunny spot back in the woods, and will allow the roots to grow from the rootstock and see what comes of them, I can always graft new pear wood to them later. (I have done that with other trees in the prunus family that have died above the roots, so that I have rootstock that I can graft other prunus branches too in the future, possibly a good way to save things that have been too badly damaged to do well on their own, and have planted tham all at woodland margins.

I did manage to get some mixed lettuce and mixed asian and italian greens planted on the baby hugelbed, but it has been way too wet and cold for them to sprout, so they may have to be reseeded, but I have time to wait and see. Didn't get my peas in, hope to during the next moon phase for planting them and plan to get my seeds in for root crops midweek next week (hope my back allows me to walk that far)..

This has been a disappointingly late cold spring, but I'm hoping it is good for the fruit this year to wait to open their buds and good for my back to have the rest. Otherwise there are some promising aspects with an overabundance of rain in the ground, lots of things that are growing that didn't get damaged, and the thanfulness that I'm doing no till, so I don't have to worry about getting out there and tilling awful it would be if I was still tilling with standing water over more than half of my property and snow on the rest.

I'm still optomistic..and am going to rest while I wait for mother nature to bring it on..happy spring.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

found this interesting..what you need to start out on your own (during gold rush)

Yukon/klondikegold rushstampeder'ssupply list, 1898 Every person traveling to the goldfields of the Yukon Territory were required to take along one years worth of supplies. Every dealer of goods was ready to tell them exactly what they needed, and would sell the products to them at a very high price. There were also many how-to books for th prospector. Many were written by people that were never in the wilderness, let alone the Yukon.

List of items needed by miners distributed by the Northern Pacific Railroad:
For each man:
200 pounds of bacon (maybe some jerky or canned meat as a substitute for some of this)
400 pounds of flour (if you are going low carb might be able to do without some of this)
85 pounds assorted dried fruit
50 pounds cornmeal
35 pounds rice (I don't use rice so maybe some almonds and walnuts or some other replacement)
24 pounds coffee (don't use coffee thank god, that makes the load lighter)
5 pounds tea
100 pounds sugar (yuk, I don't use 5 # of sugar a I'll have osme dried fruit instead)
25 pounds fish (or more..I love fish)
15 pounds soup vegetables (a lot more dried vegetables would be nice)
50 pounds oatmeal (yeah I would use this)
50 pounds dried potatoes (OK, but I might not need this many)
50 pounds dried onions
(25 cans butter
100 pounds beans
4 dozen tins condensed milk
15 pounds salt
1 pound pepper
8 pounds baking powder (I'm sure I wouldn't need as much baking powder, soda and yeast as I wouldn't be eating as much bread as normal high carb people, I've never gone through a pound of either in a year)
2 pounds baking soda
1/2 pound mustard
3/4 pound ginger
36 pounds yeast cakes
60 boxes of matches
5 bars of soap
1 suit oil clothing
3 pairs snag-proof rubber boots
3 pairs heavy shoes
1 dozen heavy socks
6 pairs wool mittens
3 suits heavy underwear
2 pairs Mackinaw trousers
2 pairs overalls
2 hats
4 heavy woolen overshirts
1 Mackinaw coat
1 heavy rubber-lined coat
suspenders, hankerchiefs, snow glasses
2 pairs of heavy woolen blankets
2 oil blankets
4 towels
buttons, thread, needles
5 yards mosquito netting
1 large bucket
1 set granite buckets
2 axes, plus extra handle
2 picks
1 shovel
pack strap
6 files
drawing knife
brace and bits
jack plane
3 chisels
butcher knife
200 feet, 3/8- inch rope
10 pounds pitch
5 pounds oakum
2 caulking irons
15 pounds nails
whet stone
quartz glass
2 frying pans
coffee and tea pot
40 pounds of candles
eating utensils: plate, cup, knife fork, spoon
pots and pans
steel stove for 4 men
gold pan (and I'm not planning on panning for skip these)
gold scales Also additional items were noted, such as: medicines, reading matter, guns, ammunition and personal item

otherwise it has some good info..I would add some things like seeds, plants and cuttings if I was planning on living there and needed a garden as well and I might consider a small generator of some sort with batteries and chargers for computer and phone. I would also take some toilet paper if I was able to ..and some good scissors, knives and multitools..

a good reference list though to get an idea of what you might need..

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

you have yourself to blame


Yourself To Blame

Mayme White Miller
If things go bad for you
And make you a bit ashamed
Often you will find out that
You have yourself to blame

Swiftly we ran to mischief
And then the bad luck came
Why do we fault others?
We have ourselves to blame

Whatever happens to us,
Here is what we say
"Had it not been for so-and-so
Things wouldn't have gone that way."

And if you are short of friends,
I'll tell you what to do
Make an examination,
You'll find the faults in you...

Your the captain of your ship,
So agree with the same
If you travel downward
You have yourself to blame

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Almost March

Not the BEST picture as he was sitting on the purple leaf smoke bush about a foot away from my living room window looking in, so the screen was between me and him when I took the photo. This is a sharp shinned hawk, he was feeding at my bird feeder (or should I say cat/hawk feeder). He sat there looking into my living room for a very long time.

Well we are at the end of February now. We must be over with our drought as we have had more rain/ice storms this winter than I ever remember before, so much ice under the snow that when the snow is shovelled or plowed I can no longer walk down my path or drive to the mailbox (can't find my TRAX somehow they got misplaced..wah).

We also have had a much colder and snowier winter for February than we have had in many years (last year we had 80's and 90's in February). But that is probably a very good thing as last year we also had all of our fruit trees bud out so early that when the weather turned awful cold in May and June we lost all of our fruit buds and only had 2 pears and a few other fruits, not enough to sustain life for sure.

We are very optimistic here this spring that we'll have a good fruit/nut season this year, although they are forcasting the next three months above normal temps and precip, I don't think it will be so dangerous for the fruit.

I have a several baby cherry and peach trees coming this spring and some kiwi vines again, I've tried kiwi several times and never had any luck with them but I'm going to really baby these. I hope they come in good shape.

Many of my baby food forest fruit trees should be of bearing age this year or next, hoping for at least a sample of fruit from them this year. And some should be well into bearing this year, esp some of my pear trees which gave me a sample last year despite the freezes.

I'm also expecting almonds on my Hall's Hardy Almond this year as it is quite large now. I got my first Hazelnut crop last year and it was great for a first crop, they look like they'll bear well again  this year. My other nut trees are too young to be bearing any real crops for a while yet.

I also am hopeful for some plums this year, the plum trees are all still very young, but one can hope. I have one peach that might be of bearing age in the next year or so, so I might get one or two peaches off of it. My other peach trees died so I'm replacing them with standards this year rather than the dwarfs I have put in in the past, they don't seem to be very strong. I also lost a sweet cherry last year and had damage on another sweet cherry, so I have 2 replacements coming this year, but my 2 sour cherries and my bush cherries should be able to bear a small crop this year.

I also got a small crop off of some relocated grapevines last year, and they were really yummy, but the remainder of my grapevines should begin to bear this year. My 100 year plus old antique grapes over my front arbor bear every year but they are only good for juice or jelly, not for eating out of hand.

I actually took a bunch of cuttings off of my seedless grapes this fall and just stuck them in all along my lattice fencing around the garden to see if they might take (they were basically just my prunings)..if so I should have some nice vines growing all over out there.

I always get a good crop of black raspberries and blackberries from two areas of my property, but the berry hedge I've been trying to establish out back just isn't doing very well, so I have hopes for that this year to catch up..if not I might rip it out this year..might  not be the best place for them?

This will be the first spring for the logs I innoculated with lions mane and shiitake mushroom plugs ..I have high hopes for them. One log was contaminated with some other fungus but professionals tell me that they still might be OK. I'll be keeping an eye on them. With the forcast for more warmth and moisture than normal it might be a really great mushroom year here there is also great hope for morels and other forage mushrooms.

This will also be the first year for planting my new hugelbed that Joel built for me east of the pear tree garden. Ron has been depositing some ashes on top of it this winter, and we put some refuse from some pots that were used to grow other plants, worn out potting soil. I have some composted manure that I'll be putting on it just before planting and hope to mix in a little shredded paper with the compost and I'll be trying to get some ash chips to mix in as well, to make a good planting bed on if I can find a good source for some mulch as well.

I also have a dream of maybe putting some protein fish into the pond. The goldfish have been muultiplying very well in the pond and would make a good food source for a few protein fish, I'm thinking also of some other forage fish from the fish hatchery, but that might have to wait a  year?

The plan was for chickens this year, but I'm thinking that won't work with Ron's difficulty with animals and he has had a difficult winter. I don't want to create more stress with that as the chickens are my dream not his, and he really doesn't want them or any animals for that matter.

Well, I'm desperately hoping for some warmer weather soon, I need to get outside and walk if nothing else, but working in the yard would be so much fun. Just as long as we don't get buds too early like last year..I'm OK.. 23 days till Spring.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

rhubarb uses

5 Ways to Use your Extra Rhubarb:
  1. Boil stalks down into syrup, and concoct a tart and tasty rhubarb drink.
  2. Create a tangy homemade barbecue sauce with sliced rhubarb as your secret ingredient.
  3. Two words: rhubarb jam
  4. Slice stalks, and roast them in honey for a delicious gourmet side dish.
  5. Make your surplus into pies, and start a successful home business.
Found the above on an email from a seed catalog, but there are other ways to use it as well.
There is strawberry/rhubarb sauce, rhubarb pie, rhubarb leather as well as above..add your own in the comment section.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

native foods

Taken from Native foods from Stone circle farm .com

Native Foods

By Rita Bober
When I began adding native plants, shrubs and trees to our homestead and identifying edible and medicinal plants while studying herbalism, I wondered what Native People from the Midwest ate when they were the sole inhabitants of this region. This article will share some of my findings on Native food.
The Anishinabe People first lived on the shores of the "Great Salt Water in the East." Prophets came to the People and told them that to survive, they must move west. As they traveled west, they would know where to settle when they found "the food that grows on water." So when they reached the Great Lakes area, they did find "the food that grows on water" — Mano'min or wild rice1. Since that time, wild rice has been one of the main foods of the Anishinabe People especially the Ojibway.
Another important food of this area is the sap from Ninautig, the Maple tree. At one time, all the maple syrup in North America was produced by Native people. Sap was also gathered from birch, poplar, and basswood trees.
Native people of the Great Lakes area were hunters and gatherers. They survived on what they could find in the woods and lakes around them. They ate according to the seasons. To the People, all this was given to them by the Great Spirit and their lifestyle reflected a gratitude for all of life's bounty.
Their diet included meat or fish, when it was available. This was supplemented with greens, herbs, berries, and roots. In an unpublished paper, Grandmother Keewaydinoquay2, an Ojibway Elder, listed the unique foods that had been used in earlier times. Meat included: venison, porcupine, goose, wild turkey, partridge, quail, pigeon, buffalo, elk, bear, rabbit, squirrel, beaver, groundhog, muskrat, raccoon, turtle, bull frogs, and ducks.
Fish included: trout, smelt, whitefish, pickerel, bass, fish eggs, salmon, catfish, perch, carp, muskie, pike and more. Grandmother had been raised in a traditional Native family but was also trained in the Western tradition as an ethno-botanist and was familiar with many local plants.
She stated that the People gathered a variety of foods from the woods, fields, and lakes to supplement their meals. These included: cattails, wild leeks and onions, wild greens, mushrooms, rose hips, sumac, water lily, wild cranberries, cactus, wild cucumber, nettles, serviceberry, raspberries, wild crabapples, elderberries, blackberries, blueberries, wild cherry as well as nuts — acorn, chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts and hickory.
Along with meat, wild rice, maple syrup and eggs gathered from bird nests, they enjoyed a great variety of foods. Native people did not have dairy products such as butter, milk, or cream but they did have a variety of fats including animal fats, particularly bear, and nut oils from acorns, beechnuts, butternuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and black walnuts. Traditional calcium and mineral sources included eating whole fish, making bone soup or broths and eating greens. Babies were breast fed for several years.
Frances Densmore, an ethnologist, detailed the uses of nearly 200 plants in her book about the Chippewa Indians (another word for Ojibway) How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts. Along with the items listed above, Densmore included: juneberry, bearberry, wild ginger, common milkweed, aster, creeping snowberry, wild bean or hog peanut, wintergreen, Jerusalem artichoke, mountain mint, Labrador tea, bugleweed, chokecherry, bur oak acorns, red and wild currant, arrowhead, bulrush, basswood bark, hemlock leaves, and wild grapes.
Carolyn Raine of Seneca heritage wrote about historical references to Native foods in her book, A Woodland Feast: Native American Foodways of the 17th & 18th Centuries. Her book is based on primary source documentation, from over one hundred original 17th and 18th century journals, captivity narratives, and ethno-botanical research.
Additional foods to consider include: skunk, snake, otter, tree bark, rendered tallow, sturgeon, gull's eggs, swans, organ meats and blood, broths of dried frogs and beaver tails. The general rule for any meal was to cook some meat in a large pot and whatever greens, roots, nuts or berries were in season. Plants and animals were honored and all parts were used either for food, clothing or utensils. Raine describes methods of food preparation and cooking including roasting, boiling, drying, as well as making soups and stews. Today, many Native foods are still available. You can gather meat by hunting and fishing or you can raise buffalo, turkey, rabbits, ducks, and quail yourself. Many of the green plants Natives used are still growing today. You can grow many of these plants in your own yard. It is commonly thought that edible plants like lamb's quarters, purslane, chickweed, red clover, and sheep's sorrel are native but they were brought here by European settlers.
Native people of the Midwest acquired seeds of pumpkin, corn, beans and squash from Mexico and South America which they often grew in round gardens. Europeans referred to "corn" as grain while Natives called "corn" maize. Maize came in many varieties. They included a soft variety known as bread maize, an 8-rowed flint, dent, and even popcorn. They came in many colors: white, yellow, red, black, purple or blue, and calico or multi-colored. The Grandmothers had many ways to cook or use maize. It was boiled, roasted, dried, parched, pounded into meal, and boiled with wood ashes to make hominy.
Natives used maize or hominy, fresh or dried, for bread. Pounded meal was mixed with water, and this was made into small cakes that were either baked in hot ashes (ash cakes) or dropped into boiling water, soup or stew to make boiled maize bread or dumplings.
Many varieties of beans were also brought up from the south. Both shelled and edible pod varieties such as cranberry, navy, arrow, "snap" or "string" as well as several types of kidney beans were grown. The beans were usually boiled with meat or vegetables and were also mixed with cornmeal to make cakes and dumplings. They were often dried so they could be stored and used during the winter.
Different varieties of squash and pumpkins were also grown in the gardens. The Grandmothers would boil, bake or roast them near the fire, and dried them for use in winter. Although maize (corn), beans, and squash were not native to this area, they were grown here before European explorers arrived.
If you are interested in growing some of the foods that the Native People ate, first check around your area. You will often find sites that have black elderberry and blackberry bushes. Trees to look for include sugar maple, black walnut, wild black cherry, mulberry, and white oak. Each of these has "a gift" to share with you. If you live by water, you may find cattails and water lilies. In the woods, violets, mature Mayapples, ramps (wild leeks); and in your fields, there may be Jerusalem artichokes and milkweed plants. There are even plants that grow in our native prairie's that are edible. For example, you can make tea with the leaves from monarda, mountain mint, and New Jersey tea.
Check out the resources below for more ideas. Many of the fruits and greens that we grow in our gardens today are variations of those that were used by Indigenous people. Eating things that grow in the wild, could save you money. Just make sure they have not been sprayed or are close to the road where salt and car emissions have polluted them.
Native seeds for maize, dry beans and squashes can be found through Seed Savers Exchange. There are too many people today for all of us to eat "wild" food all the time, so growing some of them in our "wild" places or in our gardens is a great idea.
Native People lived for years off what they harvested in the wild and were very strong and healthy. Perhaps it is time for us to consider including "native wild foods" into our everyday cuisine. Be sure to thank the plant for its gift and save some for the next generation.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I'm officially addicted, I knew it !!

Yup, I thought one tree order would do it, nope I was wrong.

I just sent out a second tree/plant order, yes I'll admit I'm addicted to trees.

I saw a great buy on some more peach trees (yes I had already ordered two, and Elberta and a Reliance), but these were some I had before the fire, a Hale Haven and a Red Haven, so I couldn't resist. They also had a grab bag of 25 strawberry plants, which I needed and a great buy on Hardy Kiwi so I ordered 1 male and 4 female of those too.

Yes I know, I'm bad.

But when there is still room to plant perennial fruits and veggies what is a gal to do !

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thinking back over the hurricanes...sustainability thoughts

When the superstorm Hurricane Sandy hit the East coast it really made a mess, some people still have no homes and no electricity ..months later. So now the subject comes up of sustainability.

Sure we all consume things year around that we wouldn't have if we were hit by a similar tragedy..and we could do without them quite eaisly should tragedy strike, like this computer, my paid t v, cell phones, etc.

But I'm thinking more about actually being able to survive, live, without the government stepping in to do things for us, no FEMA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.

I'm thinking that this year I would like to become a little more able to sustain LIFE should something serious happen here. No not preppers or survivalists, but just able to sustain LIFE.

The things we NEED (not want) are shelter, food, heat in Michigan, water and in some cases medical equipment or supplies.

Shelter is a given as long as our home is intact (and we do have good insurance as we did lose a home to a housefire in 2002). We also have camping equipment and tents if we had to use them and live next door to our son so if one of us lost a home the other could provide.

Heat here in Michigan is very important. We have a new outdoor wood boiler and an indoor wood fired fireplace, both have electric fans and outdoor one has electric pump. The indoor wood fireplace would heat the house somewhat without the fan, but much better with the fan. However, we purchased a propane generator a couple years ago and when we had a prolonged power outage last March it was quite useful in running fans, refrigeration, pumps, etc. We have about a year's supply of propane at any time as well as a couple small back up tanks and our propane barbeque grill and propane camp stove. We have a large woodshed and always have about 2 years of firewood put up in the fall ahead, so we could get along for a while with that and have chainsaws so we can cut some as long as there is fuel for them.

I also have durable medical equipment that we use with our generator when we have to, when power goes out.

Water, well as I said we have the generator that will move the pumps, but we also have access to a flowing well in an emergency and creeks within walking distance of our house as well, so water isn't too much of a problem, more an inconvenience if we had to haul it.

Food, this is an area where I'm falling short. I have planted serious food forest gardens, but because we lost most of them in our housefire of 2002 ..many of our fruit trees and nut trees are very young. This year we are hoping to have a lot more of a harvest off of our fruit and nut trees and our berry bushes and grapevines, but last year was a disaster with our frosts and droughts. I really need to work on the food side of sustainability here. I have a canner and a small pressure cooker and water bath canner, and supplies, but I would love to buy a NEW canner this year and a lot more supplies. I also have a dehydrater and drying racks as well, so drying is something I do quite a bit of each year. I have 2 separate freezers from my refrigerator, but keeping those going with the generator would be a tad more difficult if it was prolonged need..but if it was I could remove the food and can it, cook it or dry it before running out of propane.

I have planted a lot of foods that can easily be eaten that are perennial in our area, and we have a lot of forage options that non foragers wouldn't recognize as food, like edible tree leaves and flower garden plant roots and flowers, this knowledge would save our lives in a food shortage situation.

Meat, well that is another situation that might be a problem as at this time we have no domestice animals other than 2 cats (who would bring us songbirds and mice, yuk)..but we have a lot of wildlife in our area which we do feed and we have ability to hunt and process those. I hope to get myself a flock of chickens in the spring and get a chicken house and run built, and am also thinking of putting a few ducks on my pond. This year we are trying a "bubbler" to keep the pond open in the winter, which is working, but does require electricity to run. This said, we can plant fish in the pond with the bubbler going that would be edible as that is a plan for spring, stocking the pond with fish.

There are a lot of deer and rabbits and squirrels and other wildlife that is edible in our area and even game birds like turkey, pheasant, doves, etc. So as long as we are able to harvest them we will have meat but I do believe this is an area I need to plan better for in the future.

Fuel for vehicles and tractor is one thing that we might fall short of also, but we have bicycles and I enjoy walking, so access to transportation in the nice weather isn't a problem, I don't ski so some snowshoes might be a good investment in the future as well.

I'm sure that additions of some solar cells with batteries or a wind generator would be a good investment, which we have been considering but haven't had the $ to buy the equipment yet, and we are planning on putting in an outside access water well, hopefully will hit a flowing well, in the next two years which we  believe would be a good investment for our future.

I hope this has given you some ideas of what you might need to do if a Hurricane Sandy, or earthquake, or tornado, or housefire, or SHTF episode happens, or even for a zombi apocolypse least it has gotten me thinking a little more about the future in 2013..Happy New Year