My husband had suggested I do this last winter and I balked – I didn’t want to scare anyone away! But Laura at www.ModernVictoryGarden.com tagged me in a meme that asks participants to share a day in their slow lives and as I read the other participant’s posts I was so captivated and inspired that I decided to come clean. It’s not pretty and I hope it motivates you rather than overwhelms you. I have an extreme type A personality and to me it’s about more than just my particular family. It’s about activism and making things easier for others to follow this path so there are many more elements to my day than I would ever expect anyone else to have.
The day I made mental notes of was Saturday, although true to form I’m just now getting around to posting it on Monday. Normally I would not have spent as much time in the garden but I’ve been so behind this fall with our whirlwhind book schedule that I’ve completely neglected it. Now how can I write about ditching the grocery store if I’m too busy writing to actually ditch the grocery store? I can’t so I’m trying to get things back in shape for winter.
6:30 The kids stir but I roll over and try to go back to bed until 7 since I was up late the night before – just how late I will not divulge lest you be concerned for me. I’m a light sleeper though so falling back asleep never really works despite how hard I try.
7:00 Awaken and make power pancake balls by grinding Lentz spelt which I had picked up from the farmer at the Whole Foods parking lot last time he was in Seattle on deliveries and using home clabbered buttermilk and backyard eggs.
Snuggle in and build legos, making up for not being there at bedtime Friday night since I had been at my publisher’s 50th anniversary party meeting other fun folks and uber cool bloggers and writers like Langdon Cook and Bill Thorness who I’m hoping for a guest post from in the near future. Only I need to email him first…Bill, if you’re reading, will you do a guest post please?
9:00 Most Awesome Husband is up and makes scrambled backyard eggs and bacon that I cured and we smoked a few weeks back.
More lego building.
9:30 Start emailing everyone who had signed up for the produce buy, trying to be sure all the nearly 1 ton of produce that I had unloaded at the warehouse on Friday would be picked up at the barter and harvest party on Sunday. Attempt to find carpools for people’s produce if they wouldn’t be able to make it, more emails and follow ups.
10:00 Clean out the chicken coop, chicken water, and take out the recycling. We do still have recycling since we have two home based businesses at home and we seem to be collecting a lot of lego boxes lately…
11:00 Fall worm bin management. I opened the worm bin I’ve neglected all summer, shocked to find just a few scraps of recognizable greens and tomato skins on the top. It’s conveniently located just outside the front door so it gets quite a lot of plate scrapings and yet the worms had multipled so much they were about out of space! Rather than feed the surplus worms to the chickens I decided to get a larger worm bin. My original bin was sized to fit under the garbage disposal below the sink (thereby eliminating the need for the garbage disposal.)
I’ll keep that worm bin but also move a larger red wiggler bin into the garage for winter. This will allow me to start out with a fresh system with complete absence of fruit flies. By keeping your worm bin outside in the summer you tend to end up with a wee bit of fruit fly problem that simply moves inside over the winter. Unfortunately you can’t wait until after frosts to kill off the fruit flies since that would also kill off your red wigglers.
11:30 Make a quick trip to Fred Meyer for 2 larger rubbermaid bins, drilled holes in the sides and bottom of one, lined it with scrap screening material to keep the castings and worms from falling through, and nestled it into the second one with spacers made from old plastic flower pots in between. This will allow any compost tea to drain into the bottom bin so that I can pour it out and use it in the garden and on seedlings this spring and keep the worms from drowning if it gets too damp this winter. I tend to forget about things in the garage so I’m trying to make this fool proof.
12:00 Most awesome husband makes a lunch of home canned tomato soup and chipotle grilled cheese sandwiches from homemade bread and home smoked chipotles. We also had pickles and apples from our trees but the cheese is Beecher’s.
12:30 Resume work on the worm bin, extracting as much castings as possible while leaving the worms in place then transferring them to their new home.
1:00 Unbury the bottom layer of the compost pile behind the chicken coop. I’m the laziest composter you’ll ever meet. I don’t turn. Twice a year I rearrange the piles into size of particles and use what is ready. I ended up with a good half wheel barrel full of lovely leaf mulch and composted produce and grass trimmings which I mixed with the worm castings and compost from one of my in-ground garbage bins that had aged to completion (also with no turning.) By next year I expect to have twice the amount of compost I do now. My laziness has cost me a wheelbarrel full.
1:30 Finally remove the tomato vines and pick the last of the tomatoes, then amend the bed heavily with compost, cover the soil with the bean vine I had taken out of the front bed and plant winter brassicas there, mulching with timothy hay. Why grow cover crop to till in when I am already taking something out and it has all winter to decompose and willing workers to rake it in for me? When we are done with the broccoli and cauliflower this spring the chickens can come clean the stalks and turn under what is left of the hay and bean vines.
Prune the last of the raspberry vines that had fruited this fall back to the ground. This didn’t take long since I’ve been milking Mona while her family has been on vacation and each day I’ve been taking her raspberry canes in exchange for the milk I used to make gouda, cajeta and more bloomy rind.
Harvest the last of the drying beans: French white and scarlet runners that I neglected until they were too large to eat in the pods. Harvest the last of the sunflowers and gave the seeds to the chickens. The sunflowers have provided them with several months of good quality protein and they fit in your yard just about anywhere, attracting pollinators and passers-by.
Use a Japanese hand tool to cut back the already harvested black-eye peas, then cover that bed with hay as well. Another spot the girls can come clean up in early spring to be followed by a round of crimson clover and then planted with something tasty.
Harvest the last of the summer carrot bed and plant it with garlic, throwing the marigold plants onto the bed that had been corn. Start one last round of vetch there and in a month or so (hopefully) when it’s big enough the girls can work that all in for me along with a good layer of fall leaves. That bed will be spring/summer carrots in 2011.
Harvest the last of the dolgo crabapples and set them aside for another round of apple jelly to be used for pectin for early berry jam this spring and early summer before my other apples come on. I refuse to buy pectin when I have such a ready source in my yard already.
6 pm By this time the kids are done playing with their friends in front yards along our street and ready for dinner. Since today is my only window to get through as much fall garden work as possible, and I still cannot see the sink or counter for the dishes in the kitchen, I follow my fail safe dinner plan C which is Pagliachi’s. The kids are delighted, of course.
7:30 p.m. After dinner I bathe them and read one chapter of Harry Potter 6 to Pickle Man, then two chapters of the second Jack and Annie book to Pancake Boy, put him to bed and read another chapter of Harry Potter to Pickle Man. Start laundry so they have something to wear the following day.
9 p.m. Tuck in the last protesting little boy and turn my efforts back to the computer and making sure all the produce at the warehouse was slated for pickup the following day at the Barter Fair. Barter Fair? Oh my! My summer canned goods have long since overfilled the pantry shelves and are stacked in boxes all over the basement. In fact Friday night when the farmer had dropped off the last load at my house and stayed for dinner things were in such disarray that I was unable to find an entire case of pickled peppers meant for him!
11 p.m. Go through my email one last time for the night, answering blog comments and questions about the produce buy or for my online store.
11:45 p.m. Start soaking Lentz spelt and chana dal beans from Eastern Washington in acidified water for the potluck tomorrow. Curse myself that I didn’t think to start this a few days prior so they would both have been sprouted instead of merely soaked. I’ll be bringing a knock off of PCC’s perfect protein salad made with home clabbered creme fraiche, garden cucumbers, celery, carrots, kohlrabi, parsley, dill, basil and Rockridge Orchard apple cider vinegar.
12 p.m. Finally head downstairs and begin sorting through boxes, deciding what to bring with me the next day. Switch the laundry and investigate the source of the foul smell in the laundry room. Decide to leave that for another day and perhaps for Most Awesome Husband lest he begin to feel unneeded.
1 a.m. Most Awesome Husband returns with a family friend, flush from Husky victory so rather than do this post as I had planned I visit for awhile then call it a day.
And now rather than try and find where in the world the 215 pictures I downloaded last night are on this computer so that I can add more to this post tonight, I am going to call it a day once again and try and do that tomorrow. Not surprisingly I’m a tad tired since it’s about midnight yet again… I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my insanity.
And now I’m tagging Suzy of Chiot’s Run, Laurie of Commonsense Homesteading, and YOU! I’d love to read all of your “day in the slow life” posts in this Thursday’s Simple Lives. Please consider it – we all learn so much from each other and I wanted to pick you all anyway.