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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Living By the Seasons

 Hello dear friends!  Sorry I've been missing, been busy putting in the garden and splitting and stacking wood. Such strange weather we're having; one day it's almost ninety, the next it's in the forties.  But it hasn't deterred the lilacs!  

 Everything that is blossoming is doing so in abundance!  If all the blooms on our fruit trees develop into fruit, we will have enough to feed the entire neighborhood!

This is part of our little orchard.  We have a about a dozen fruit trees on our little plot of land (around 1/2 acre), plus grapes, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries elderberries and strawberries.  We grow more than enough fruits and vegetables for our family and plenty to share.  If the village allowed it, there would be plenty of room for half a dozen chickens or a rabbit hutch.  Just goes to show you that you don't need a farm to supply your family with food.  Are we completely self-sufficient?  No.  But neither are those homesteaders that you see on YouTube.  Very few people are growing their own wheat and grinding it into flour or growing their own animal feed. Heck, most the people that raise chickens, don't even process them themselves. All in all, we are as prepared for hard times as much as possible, and I hope I can encourage you to do the same.  One of the keys to living a self-sufficient lifestyle is learning to live by the seasons.

In  May we begin by eating the first green things in the garden; asparagus and rhubarb.  We also eat lots of fresh herbs that are beginning to appear and dandelion greens. For example: this past week we ate an herb pizza, fish that my husband caught with a dandelion salad, a stir fry consisting of asparagus and free peppers. The peppers were free from our favorite thrift store that is run by a church.  The hold bi-weekly food pantries and when they are over the offer the leftovers to their customers.  They were beautiful peppers without a blemish.  Really, what people pass up!  Maybe soon, they will wish they had taken those peppers home and froze them for hard times coming.  But I won't lecture! Also, a lovely omelet with eggs purchased from a local farm ($2/dozen as opposed to the $3+ the stores are asking plus free-range to boot!).  BTW, if times get really tough, I will raise my own chickens or rabbits, to heck with village ordinances!  Afterall, chickens or rabbits, especially, don't make any more noise or mess than those big dogs that everyone seems to have for pets.  And you can use their manure on the garden too! For breakfast we had rhubarb sauce with toast and rhubarb pie for dessert.  Good old rhubarb never lets you down!  Soon the lettuce and spinach will be big enough to pick and the strawberries have blossoms on them, so June will start the garden eating in earnest.  

We eat mainly out of the garden from mid-June until mid-October. In late fall we eat a lot more root vegetables that we root cellar.  It is only in the deepest part of winter that we switch to our canned goods, except for meat, which I buy whenever I get a good deal and can and eat year-round.  Did you know last year our electricity was down over a dozen times?  One time for over five days.  That is why I can.  No fear of food spoiling while the electricity is out.  Oh, the food that goes to waste when that happens! 

Spring is also the time of the year we do a lot of outdoor projects.  Like this:

This is a very rustic fence made from rose briars that fills in a gap between our pine trees.  We have a herd of eight deer that think our yard is home.  Last year the mama had triplets in our back yard!  This will hopefully keep them out.  I wouldn't want to run into that thorny thing! I got the idea from a BBC series Tales from the Green Valley.  You can watch it on YouTube.  If I could say that a TV series has changed my life, this would be the one. It's history re-enactors living life as they did in 1620.  I've watched it at least a dozen times over the last ten years.  That is where I got the idea to live earnestly by the seasons.  There's something about living this way that gives me a feeling of serenity.  I guess because I'm living in the footsteps of my ancestors and living within God's rhythm.  

Just relishing each month's gifts and carefully studying nature is such a delight.  Really using all your senses to take it all in; smelling the lilacs and apple blossoms, listening to the birds, seeing the beautiful rich soil as we till it and then the tiny little plants emerging, studying when the sun rises and sets, brings you in awe of the Creator.  How anyone can believe that it all was some created by some random accident is difficult for me to fathom.  I know that lately the news seems very bleak, but please try to enjoy the wonderous world around you!  So that's it for this week at the old Zempel boarding house.  Hope you have a lovely week filled with wonder and joy!