Gardening in the Blind


Giving Thanks
November 28, 2011, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, Garden Planning, local eating, Tomatoes

What does herbs still growing outside have to do with giving thanks?  In my house it made a terrific blend for the turkey. (The turkey was from Many Hands Farm, organic and free-range.  The BEST!) As I glanced at my thanksgiving table,  I was proud of myself in knowing that Deron and I have completed a full year of organic eating.  The food is better all around.

So just what am I thankful for this year?  I am thankful that I am not worrying about GMO’s because we are eating organic food.  I am thankful that this lifestyle has only encouraged more changes for us.  We are going to the gym more, we signed up for the Tough Mudder in May and have a big adventurous year planned for next year.  We are not only getting into the best shape we have ever been in, but we are also going to expand the garden for next year!  Too much excitment I tell ya!

On top of all this, I got a new digital camera.  My new Nikon digital camera will hopefully make the pictures more exciting and encourage everyone to get out and start growing!  Starting in January I will be starting a once a week blog about different types of tomatoes.  Just in time to start planning your own garden.

I am hopefully going to start a make shift hydroponic system that I am building myself in January as well.  I will blog all about it.  Yet another item to look forward to.  If you have anything you would like me to discuss, please feel free to let me know and I will do my best to include it.

Most of all of this I give thanks for having readers like you!  Thanks for finding me at least a little interesting!

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A Tale of no Tails
November 7, 2011, 8:19 am
Filed under: animals, chickens

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My chickens were loosing feathers all summer long.  It was like they started and decided that the built-in a.c. was worth it.  I tried everything to get the feathers back.  I gave them more protein.  I checked them for mites and lice.  I dusted them with DE just in case I just didn’t see the mites and lice.  Nothing seemed to work.  Worst of all, anyone who visited suddenly thought I was not taking care of my chickens.  It doesn’t matter that they never had chickens, they were sudden experts.  I hate that look of “You must be killing them”.  I’m not a bad chicken owner, it is just what they were doing.  But as predicted, it took a couple of nights of cold and the feathers started growing back.  I went from seeing no feathers to each looking like they had ants crawling all over them (the feathers were black dots and continued to look just plain weird until they were about 1/2″ long where they started to vaguely look like the feathers they were.)  I am happy to see that they are all getting tail feathers, and not knobs anymore (Although they have a long ways to go before they truly look like tails again).  The above picture is of the tailless flock.

The down side of this is that I have not had eggs for over 2 weeks.  Not a single one.  I don’t miss them when I have a lot, but when I don’t, I all of a sudden need them.  Funny how that works.

So for all the looks from visitors, patience is key – not blaming.

On a slightly different note, I decided it was time I learned how to properly kill a chicken in case I ever had to due to injury.  I chose to volunteer at a farm that I order chickens from (to eat).  I was nervous yet excited about helping out on Misty Brook Farm.  I was afraid I would not be able to handle it.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I told my husband it was either going to make me appreciate what we eat, or I would never eat chicken again.  But either way, I would learn how to do this in order to be responsible for my animals.  While it was not the best day in the world, I am happy that I have learned it and in the process, participated in preparing the chicken I eat instead of just picking it up at a grocery store/farm stand.  I appreciate and understand what has to happen for the meat to land on my plate.  I think that is why my husband and I have reduced the amount tremendously.  I said a little wish for each that crossed my path that day.



Organic farming
November 5, 2011, 12:24 pm
Filed under: Farming, Green
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Harvested tomatillos before the storm

Organic farming has been researched for years.  The findings are the same everytime.  The produce is more nutritous, uses less fossil fuels and has a higher soil quality.  So why, if so much better, does it cost more to prove you are responsible.  The people who use more fossil fuels, trash the soil and grow seeds that are genetically modified don’t have to pay extra to farm as such.  What is wrong with this picture?

Bioscience magazine published an article back in July entitled “Environment, energy and economic comparisions of organic and conventional farming systems”.  This article is documenting a 22-year study that found organic farming produces the same yields of corn and soybeans as conventional farming, but uses 30 percent less energy, less water and no pesticides.  This study blows holes in all that is stated about reasons why people don’t use organic farming.  If the yeilds are the same or better, why not?  Just make it pass the first four years when the soil is being built back.  I would think you would eventually save a lot of money by not purchasing and dispersing chemicals on the land that ruins the soil.  This study is a review of the Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trial, the longest running trial of its sort within the United States.  I urge you all to google it to learn more (Click Here for the Rodale Institute Site).

I have a dream.  Not an earth shattering dream, but a dream nonetheless.  Let it be free to farm organically and charge people for conventional farming.  Maybe then people might learn to appreciate the soil and environment and saftey
of produce.



Snow is here
November 2, 2011, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, Herbs, local eating, Uncategorized

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It has been trying to get all the fall chores done.  I have found it to be overly challenging this year.  So when word came of a bad storm to hit, I panicked.  I knew the rain would start in the afternoon, then changing to snow.  So in true Robin fashion, I waited until that day, woke up early, skipped my boot camp and frantically started dumping out all the containers, cleaning the beds, and most importantly – harvesting everything I could salvage before the snow hit.  It was cold and wet, but with the help from my husband in the morning, we were able to get it all done with only a little of “playing” in the snow to get the garden hoses in the garage as well as patio furniture.  But at lass, I was not completely done.  I had to deal with all I harvested when the outside was done.

I first started with the 45 leeks that I pulled from the dirt.  I cut the excess leaves off, cleaned them up and packaged them in groups, freezing for future use.  I kept a few out to roast sometime during the week as they are one of my favorite.  Next I moved on to the carrots.  I didn’t have many left and I divided them up between dogs and chickens.  The animals were overly excited about it.  Then came the loads of herbs I pulled.  I knew that the parsley and lovage would not last that long, so I started with them in the dehydrator.  I figured it would be good as it generates heat for the downstairs as well.  Great idea, except we loss power around 4 am.  It was enough to dry the herbs, but not heat any downstairs. 

I have never fully understood my dependency on electricity, until it was gone.  I started to panic thinking about the thousands of dollars of beef and chicken in the freezers downstairs.  I had just got off the phone with my mother in law a couple of days before when she mentioned that I needed to look into insuring the meat through my home owners insurance.  Her timing could not have been better.  Mine was not as I didn’t even look into it yet.  But as the time progressed, my husband was getting more irritable and I realized that I needed to do something.  I went with my neighbor to a different town and found a dollar store to purchase a sponge for dishes and some candles.  Wouldn’t you know just as I was paying for the items, my husband called to say the power was back on.  The meat was safe for this time at least.

So, I was able to continue with the dehydration of herbs, make kale stir-fry and kale chips, and use some hot peppers in dinner.  Everything has a happy ending, except the tree branches that didn’t make it…But then again what is a little more clean-up??