Ending the year with joy

| 12/30/2012 10:24:11 PM

A photo of Nebraska DaveHello from brrrr cold Nebraska.  The temperatures here are ranging from the single digits at night to a the balmy middle twenties during the day.  Snow storm Draco dumped about 8 inches of snow after freezing rain glazed over every thing with ice.  The subfreezing weather allowed just enough melt from salting the streets to pack down the snow on the streets to about two inches of solid ice.  Ruts on the neighborhood street made hazardous travel for almost a week.  The plows were really trying to scrape the snow off the street but solid ice just doesn't plow so good.   My cedar tree who I have named Cici sustained branch damage when the wet heavy snow clung to the branches.  One major branch couldn't bear the weight and broke.   I trimmed it up as best I could and will see what can be done in the spring.  So I was a bit glad when Euclid missed us as it blanketed the North with another layer of snow.  Euclid gave us only .6 inch of snow which was nothing more than a trace of moisture. 

Year Round Garden Book 

What was the best present that you received this year?  Mine was a garden book written by a prolific writer from Canada named Niki Jabbour.  I'd not heard of her but for looking so young in the cover picture, she has acquired allot of garden wisdom.  I've never tried to garden outside of the natural summer time planting season but she has inspired me to think outside of the garden season.  It's difficult for me to break out of the row crop farmer mentality and step into the homestead gardener thinking.  For years I've read about those brave enough to extend the seasons with gardening methods foreign to my growing experiences.  I guess it's time to me to be a real gardener and not just a farmer, huh. So I've decided to make a stab at it this next year.  With 250 seed packets that my daughter bought at season end last year, I have allot of seeds to use as experiments. 

Storage jars
I was part of a discussion about food storage not too long ago.  While sharing my methods of storage it seemed to be a new thing for those around the table even though they were folks that grew gardens and canned food.  I have to make a disclaimer in the beginning that this does not take the place of long term food processing but only for fresher storage for two to three weeks.  Glass jars were taken off the list of things that the city recycle trucks would pick up.  I'm not sure why but then again not many things are processed in glass jars any more.  My friends were amazed that I would reuse the glass jars from mainly pickles and spaghetti sauce.  When ever I have left overs, I just put them in the clean jars while still hot and screw the original jar lid down tight.  It will seal the jar as it cools.  The contents are now in a sealed jar for storage in the refrigerator.  I have eaten food stored this way up to a month later but I wouldn't recommend stretching it that long. 
Other uses as you can see from the picture would be to store the other kitchen things such as flour, sugar, peanuts, and even bulk breakfast cereal.Beginning to build wall 

I have begun to work on the food storage wall.  You can see the bottom wall plate and the one side support.  The top wall plate and the other side support are in place as well.  This is not the proper way to build a wall as those out there that are familiar with construction techniques.  The right way is to build the wall and then set it up in the proper place.  I don't have that luxury because of space issues.Top Wall Plate 

You can better see my space issues in this picture.  The steel support and support pillar makes it very difficult for standard construction.  Ha, I laugh at challenges.  The difficult sparks my imagination.Fixing a warped 2X4   

1/7/2013 1:12:19 AM

Cindy, I am sorry for your lack of snow. Other than the one snow which still covers the ground we haven't had any moisture this winter. The snow I think was eight inches but the moisture content was about .6 of an inch of rain. That's not much for two months. The temperatures have really kept the snow cover but it's about three weeks old now and not even good for sledding any more. So I guess the weird weather continues on through this winter but in a different way. I'm really cruisin' on the storage wall and door. My next post in about a week, I'm hoping to be able to present the finished wall with the door and every thing. It's actually going together faster than I thought it would. Not from any skill that I have but from sheer unadulterated luck. Now I really won't have any excuse to not pack it full of food. Terra Nova Gardens is totally ready to be fully planted and the storage is ready. Oh, yeah, and the seed starting station is standing ready to go. Three years of work just might finally pay off this year. Well, that is if my health stays good and the creeks don't rise. :0) Have a great New Year day.

Cindy Murphy
1/6/2013 3:20:38 PM

Happy New Year, Dave. I have to say that I envy your snow! Draco roared through here leaving nothing but power outages and a lot wind damage, but not a flake of snow. In fact, we haven't had any measurable snow yet this winter, and it's already January! My cross-country skis still remain in the rafters of the garage. My winter bliss is not the only thing in jeopardy - plants need that blanket of insulation that the snow provides. Thumbs up on reusing glass jars - my Mom always did the same. Our curbside recycling still takes glass, so I'm more apt to throw them in the recycling bin rather than save them unless I have some particular use in mind; wider mouthed jars make good cloches to protect seedlings from overnight frosts, for example. Enjoy your day.

1/4/2013 4:13:28 PM

Hey Chuck, it's good to hear from you again. I've heard of the Doomsday Preppers but never have watched an episode. They probably do have some great ideas about being prepared for difficult times. I have been involved in disaster rebuilding efforts on occasion and I have noticed that many folks just don't have any idea of how to survive if life takes a turn toward the ugly. My disaster training taught me to be prepared to survive a few weeks if something happens. I believe we are more apt to have weather disasters like this year then to have a total failure of society. My training taught me to first take care of my household, then help those in the neighborhood, and if possible expand from that. So my storage area would probably not just be for me but all those around me as well. Hopefully this year I'll be able to expand the garden food storage. It sounds like you come from good family roots. I am a firm believer that the less I go to the store the more money I will save. Stores are all made to encourage impulse buying. I can't tell you how many times I go to the store for just a couple things and come home with a cart full of stuff. My plan is to go to the store less and spend less money for this year. Have a great day.

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