Well, Thanksgiving for 2012 is history. The turkey is nothing but a skeleton; there's only a dab sweet potatoes left; and the pumpkin pie has completely disappeared. All eyes are focused on Christmas which is the last holiday of 2012. Black Friday and Cyber Monday has come and gone with the tally of purchases in the billions of dollars. I have to wonder just how long can people keep spending money they don't have. Unfortunately our country isn't a very good example in that area. The homesteaders are making ready to weather the coming financial storm. Experts have come to the conclusion that it's no longer if but when it comes. Never before in my life time has world economics been in such a dangerous state. Some say it's going to get worse and others say we've been through the worse. As for me, I think I'm going to just think about next year's garden which I have control over and not get upset about what tomorrow brings. What ever comes, I'll deal with it. I've been through good times and bad times. This is just another season of times. Holy cats, when did I become a philosopher. I would say that it comes from the school of hard knocks. Anyone else been there? Yeah, thought so.
Do you ever wonder who started preserving food by the canning method? I knew that one of the reasons that Napoleon Bonaparte was so successful in his conquests was the fact that his armies were fed better because of food that has been preserved. Surfing the Web late one night, I found the jewel of canning history. A book, written by the father of canning, was a French man. The name of the book is "The Book for all Households" or the art of preserving animal and vegetable substances for many years. It was written by a man named Appert and was translated to English and published in 1920. Nicolas Appert spent most all of his life experimenting with food and preserving it. He knew the impact that his discoveries would have and freely shared them with any one interested. Nicolas's son and grandson continued perfecting the process without funding. The French government did give the family some compensation. Finally the family built a factory and preserved food on a grand scale for the military and ships at sea.
The great mulching caper has been completed. Here is one week of the four that produced a foot of mulch over both sections of garden. I have now another G feet of garden space that I have labeled Terra Nova South because it's the south part of the entire garden. This picture shows about 100 bags of neighborhood mulch. Under this mulch, in this part of the garden, is about 4 inches of the hay from the bales that I hauled earlier. I'm hoping to get a good two inches of mulch on the the ground by spring. The leaves and grass will compact and start composting over the winter. In some circles of gardening this is called sheet mulching. In the spring planting will be accomplished by moving just enough mulch aside to plant the seeds. This area shown will be all planted in sweet corn. Some will be protected with a couple of ideas that I have and the rest will be for the critters of the area. Pumpkins next year will be in the south garden. I would really like to have a row of sunflowers along the back tree line. The taller and gianter (is that even a word) the better it would be. At this point in time, I have so many plans running through my head that who knows how it will look by the time seed planting starts. The total tally for bags hauled came to 694. I figure with an average weight of about 25 pounds (many were more like 50 pounds), 8.5 tons of mulch was spread on the garden. It will interesting to see just how next year works out.
As the temperatures drop into the teens, thoughts begin to turn toward the inside projects that (big sigh) are still not done. Two years ago I started a project of building a food storage room that's still in progress. Last winter very little was accomplished on the storage area. The winter was so mild that I was out digging post holes for the Terra Nova Gardens fenced area in January. All the month of January I was working on setting posts and stretching fence. An insulated wall with a door will separate the rest of the basement area from this room. The attempt is to keep the room insulated on the inside walls enough to reduce the temperature inside to reside to the 50s during the winter food storage months. As you can see there's not a lot of home canned goods there yet. At the moment only bargain food is stored there. Maybe by next post I'll have a unique way of storing the store bought cans that will always store the oldest expiration date in the front.
For those of you who haven't been around for the two year progress reports, this is what is looked when I started. Many discoveries of long lost treasures were found in the cleaning process. The guitar case houses my very first Sears guitar given to me at the age of 12. It set me on a path of decision that culminated in high school with a dilemma of either being in a very unsuccessful band or playing high school football. Duh, I figured football was the way to go to be the Chic magnet that every high school lad wants to be. Aaaaa, yeah, successful at football I was .... Chic magnet .... not so much. The much coveted electric guitar and amplifier went on the shelf as life weaseled it's way into my time line. Wives (two separate marriages), kids, work, and house/car maintenance, took up all the time and prevented serenading folks. Besides they weren't really appreciative of "Kicking my dog around" type tunes from the bluegrass genre.
One day I pumped out the pond that was started and was digging away making it larger when along came old Bobcat Larry. Those that have followed my story about Terra Nova Gardens know that he has helped a lot with the cleanup of the property. He volunteered to dig out the pond with his backhoe. It was awesome watching a man that had spent his entire life in construction work the backhoe.
Whoa, that's one deep pit to hold water. Bobcat Larry just didn't get what my plan was here and when I left to pick up my grandson from school, he filled up the pit with dirt. (Big sigh) It's a set back for sure and his intentions were good. It will be an easy dig out next spring since he already dug it out.
That's all for now from the Urban Ranch and Terra Nova Gardens. Leave a comment and share what your winter projects will be.
Have a great Christmas season.
Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, gardening, real food and more!LEARN MORE