1. Plant something. Well, I should be planting garlic. Instead, I'm about to order some. I kind of forgot now was the time to plant it until I saw the post about it over at Children in the Corn. So that's next for planting.
2. Harvest something. We've been busy lately harvesting our cash crops (soybeans & corn currently) and doing all the fun stuff that comes along with that, such as paying crop insurance and deciding when to sell our bounty. Crop prices have been a big roller coaster with the economical issues going on lately. In my home garden I have vegetable spaghetti that needs to be picked and probably some peas. Our apple trees are finally done.
3. Preserve something. Ugg. I didn't know canning season was so long. I've made a big dent in my apple stores but bought some more the other day. I've got 2 dehydrators going making apple chips and their is no room to even make a sandwich on the counter with all the cans of applesauce and pie filling. The end is near, I hope. Then I'll be canning pumpkin.
4. Prep something. I finally got Brian to find a little time to help me build a new chicken coop. The dogs (specifically the puppy) launched 2 major attacks on the chickens this summer and successfully cut the size of the flock in half. She almost got one of my hens this weekend so that was the last straw. The new coop will be much more secure and more suitable for winter. I'm still wondering if I will need to supply the hens with a lamp to keep them laying all winter. They stopped for 2 or 3 weeks and I thought that was it but now they've started again and are up to 5 or 6 eggs a day, which I think is really good for 7 hens. I'm still looking at waterers for the winter, any suggestions? What works for you in freezing temperatures? I've looked at the metal kind with a separate heated base but I'm worried about that base sitting on the floor with the bedding.
5. Cook something. I'm still trying to find a better bread recipe. I'd like something soft enough for good sandwiches. I bought cream cheese on sale last week so I can try Farmer's Daughter's Butternut Squash Cheesecake. Last night I tried a new recipe from Brian's mom. You mix 1/2 cup melted butter with 3/4 cup crushed graham crackers. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and press in to the bottom of an 8x8 pan. I would suggest using more graham crackers (maybe 1 or 1 1/2 cups) because mine didn't quite cover the pan. Then melt chocolate chips and spread on top. Chill for 1/2 hour in the fridge and you'll have one big peanut butter cup! Brian really liked it, it was a little rich for me.
6. Manage your reserves. With all this canning I've been doing I have lots of jars to label and arrange downstairs. I've been trying to slowly replace things we buy with homemade alternates. I made some homemade granola bars that we both loved and I've been taking homemade popcorn instead of potato chips when I want something salty. I'd like to buy some more potatoes to store for winter, I didn't get many out of the garden this year.
7. Work on local food systems. I've been trying for months to get some flour from Hampshire Farms. I finally was able to place an order but have yet to receive it. I'll let you know how that turns out! I also put in a call to a local church that is supposed to be affiliated with the Food Bank. I have some body wash and other supplies to donate and would like to talk about preserving some of the pears off of a large tree in the church's yard. I watched them all rot this year and I found that sadly ironic considering they work with the Food Bank. I'd like to volunteer to teach people to can, but of course no one has called me back. I'm not making a lot of headway in this area, but I'll keep trying! :)
What started as a blog about the happenings here on our Centennial Farm has now evolved in to a little more personal account of things from my point of view as a new farm(er's) wife. Stick around for awhile and hopefully you'll learn a little about everything from industrial and sustainable farming to raising livestock to being green and maybe even catch a good recipe or two. Enjoy!
We're on our way out of debt and on to greener pastures...