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A Day At Home At Last!

Finally a day at home!  It’s been two weeks since my last day in my own home.  I’m beat!  Fortunately, my energy levels have stayed pretty strong throughout this busy few weeks and I have been able to more or less keep on top of most of my chores, despite being out every day for one reason or another.  Mostly for work.  I also had quite a stash of prepared meals in my freezer and have been able to keep up with my local and home cooking despite the insanity of my schedule.  I only had to buy my lunch once, after forgetting to take a couple of soup portions out of the freezer the night before.

This weekend I finally got started on a little gardening.  I was at my parents for Easter, and after an insanely busy social schedule for Saturday, Sunday and even Monday, I managed to squeeze in two hours and turned over my mother’s vegetable bed, adding in some sheep manure and tripple mix.  I really wish I knew more about soil building, and that’s something I’m going to study carefully once I have a little more time (i.e. when I’m not trying to write a dissertation!).  But given that I only had two hours, I went to the the local nursery, purchased some soil, and put it in the garden. Yes, cringing the whole time because it came in plastic bags.  I hope to find a better method for my own garden when I start working in it, hopefully next week.

After getting the soil ready, I planted three types of peas, three types of beets, radishes and five kinds of salad greens.  I am going to my parents’ again on Friday, and will plant some carrots and maybe a couple of other things too.  The rhubarb I started from seed last year is coming up in my garden here, so I may dig up one crown and transplant in my mother’s veggie patch this weekend.  I think they would enjoy fresh rhubarb.

I went out today and looked to see what is happening in my own garden.  In addition to the rhubarb, the chives are up, as is the bloody dock sorrel, some Russian red kale, and the French tarragon looks like it survived as well.  I will likely bring some of that to my mother’s garden this spring as well.  It’s a lovely perennial and seems to survive transplanting fairly well.

I have plans to build a raised garden bed but won’t have time for a few weeks yet.  However, the canopy is nowhere near coming in yet over the back garden, so I can get some greens started there I think.  I will plant peas and salad greens.  By the time they are in full shade, the peas should be done and I will have started growing salad greens elsewhere.  I don’t plan on growing much else this year.  Finishing the dissertation (and going to sheepdog trials) will take up most of my time.  I can’t keep from growing a few things, however, and I’m already excited to see what I can produce.

I can’t remember if I mentioned that I have decided to stay in this house, at least for the summer.  I had looked into moving closer to London again, as I really would rather not keep commuting.  But the few houses I found that would allow me to have animals were not suitable.  Mostly they were too close to a road for me to feel comfortable letting the cats out.  I also looked at my time schedule, and evaluated my energy, and decided that a move in the next few months is simply not wise. I  have to write three conference papers, an entire dissertation, and design four courses to teach next year.  I also plan on competing again with Hannah, and possibly my other two girls as well.  I will only compete in Ontario (I am not interested at this point in traveling to the US for trials), and typically there is just one trial a month starting in June.  So that won’t be too much travel, but I will need to get out and train at least twice (preferably three times) a week.  These goals make for a pretty busy summer!  I’m tired just thinking about it.

I have been eating down the last of my winter stores.  I still have some frozen veggies in my freezer – mostly red peppers – and quite a few jars of tomato sauce.  The sauce I’ll use all summer, so that’s fine, but I will likely toss out most of the other things and start all over.  I have some pickled beets, now two years old, and quite a few jars of jam that I didn’t really love.  The “sugar free” jam using apple juice was downright gross, and will be the first to go.  I’ll keep and eat the last few jars of stewed plums – those I liked, and the remainder of the pear ginger jam.  The rest goes.  First I need to empty my composters and move them.  They are full to bursting, and likely have some good soil in the bottom.  I need to either buy or (preferably) build a screen to sift the compost, and hopefully find a wheelbarrow to move it.  Having a good size property is nice, but it makes for heavier garden work.  After spending months and a small fortune repairing my back after my car accident, I don’t intend to throw it out again hauling compost.

I really wish I had been keeping better track of what I’ve done, what worked, and what didn’t, with respect to growing, preserving and cooking food.  I know I’ve logged a lot of it here in this blog, and that is one of it’s purposes.  But there’s now too much information here for me to easily find what I’m looking for.  I didn’t effectively create tags and categories to help with this.  I am planning on overhauling this blog this summer, to make it both more helpful to myself and others possibly interested in the info I’ve collected.  Hopefully I can sort this out then.  I am in fact considering renaming this blog as I now focus on sustainable living in general, rather than just on food.  To me being a locavore is a way of life that places sustainable living at it’s core, but the word now has many meanings and in the mainstream media, it’s almost becoming a derogatory term.  Perhaps I’ll just rewrite my intro to reflect my personal interpretation, for what it’s worth.

Speaking of overhauling my blog, it’s time to take down my winter photo and put up something more reflective of the gorgeous weather we’ve been having!  As I don’t yet have new spring photos, I’ll recycle one from last year.  Both in my garden and the woods today, I spent a lot of time admiring the little shoots and sprouts popping up everywhere.  This photo is in honor of them.  Spring has most definitely sprung!

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