Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Afternoon

How do my kids spend a Sunday afternoon? Playing in the street, of course. With all the snow we've had and temps too cold to melt any of it, the snow pile in the cul-de-sac is larger than usual. How could we resist?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Air Pollution

I think if I simply stopped cooking steaks inside, it would go far to reduce the air pollution in my neighborhood. I knew it was smoky inside, but didn't realize just how bad it really was until looking at the pictures I took while I was cooking. No, the camera wasn't off, it was working fine. There really was that much haze in the air!

By the way...don't you just LOVE her "Dwight bangs"?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gardening in January

OK, so maybe I'm doing more dreaming about gardening in January than actual gardening. Anything to get through these long, cold months. How my husband can love this time of year so much is beyond me! As I mentioned, we went to the meeting for the new CSA starting up just around the corner this year. Unfortunately, that merely whet my appetite to get in the dirt, but right now it is only about 9 degrees out. In the meantime, I've been looking over online seed catalogs, planning my garden grid and updating my spreadsheets.

I know you're all dying to see what we'll be growing this year, so here goes (in the number of "squares", since we do square foot gardening. Some are one plant per square, some 4, some 9...onions I just throw in and see what sticks):
3 Genovese Basil
2 Thai Basil
2 Cilantro
1 Chives
1 Garlic Chives
1 Sage
14 green beans
3 Bok Choy
7 Brussels Sprouts
4 Carrots (stubby round ones - for snacking while the kids are outside playing)
2 Chinese Cabbage
14 Peas
4 New Mexico Improved Chiles
4 Anaheim College Chiles
4 Mayo Chiletepine Chiles
2 Scallions
3 Shallots
2 Swiss Chard
2 Heirloom Beefsteak Tomatoes (Black from Tula)
2 Heirloom Beefsteak Tomatoes (Bloody Butcher)
2 Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes (Yellow Pear)
2 Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes (Koralik)
7 Heirloom Plum Tomatoes (Spitze)
1 Turnip Greens (for our bunny, Spy)
2 Butternut Squash
3 Delicata Squash
2 Autumn Cup Squash
2 Sunshine Squash
2 Acorn Squash
3 Spaghetti Squash
4 Sugar Baby Watermelon

31 different veggies. The CSA will hopefully be duplicating everything in one form or another, and perhaps I won't plant so much next year, but I'm just not ready to trust it entirely. We aren't planting any of the things that I can never keep up with - such as the greens that seem to bolt as soon as I've turned my back - or any sweet bell peppers (mine are always so tiny and slightly bitter). We'll just have to trust that all will go well and we'll have a steady supply of those. Even when the CSA we have selected has proven itself, there are some things I'm just not sure we'll get enough of to put up for the winter to provide for our family. I'll probably always grow tomatoes and peas and winter squash. We don't put up Brussell Sprouts, but we sure do eat quite a few, so now that we know how easy those are to grow, we'll probably always have a few of those going, too. We can eat the roasted sprouts like popcorn. :)

Now I just have to order the few seeds that I don't have leftover from last year and be patient until mid-February to get the chiles started and mid-March for the rest. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Quick Update

Seems like life's been happening so quickly, I haven't had time to post. But that's not entirely true. I've still found time to play computer games in the wee hours, but by then I just don't feel like thinking to post. How sad is that?

Holidays were good - lots of family time and loads of snow!

One kid had pneumonia and another an asthma episode, so two out of three are on meds for the winter. But the asthma is under control now, so all is well.

Back to the snow - we had a BLAST last weekend. We invited 5 other families from church who all have kids the same ages as ours to go sledding at a nearby park. All totaled, there were 26 - 10 adults and 16 kids ages 2-11. After sledding, we all came back here for pizza, cocoa and popcorn. What a great way to spend the day. And what a blessing to have such a large group of friends with such well-behaved kids!

Yesterday evening, we went to a meeting about a local CSA that is starting up soon. (Mud Creek Farm - check it out!) We couldn't be more excited about this venture. And it is only 2.2 miles from our house, so we'll be able to be very involved if we choose to be. We'll still be growing our own garden, but we'll be able to focus our efforts on the things that we just HAVE to have and the things that I put up for the winter. Don't worry, I'll be posting on that effort as it gets under way. I've been poring over my spreadsheets and seed catalogs the past week or so getting ready to get started. I can't wait!

In the meantime, I'm re-reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I didn't do great at putting up a lot to get us through the long winter, but we do have some. So about 1/4 of our vegetable consumption this winter will be from local produce. We still have plenty of winter squash just waiting to be gobbled up and bags upon bags of plum tomatoes in the freezer begging to be used or turned into sauce. Then some fruit, whole, diced or roasted peppers of several varieties and even a little bit of corn. Not to mention the jams, which aren't going down quite as quickly as I anticipated. Anyone need some Mulberry jam?