Monday, February 27, 2012

Adding To Our Preps & Sharpening Our Skills

Peas are starting to grow so I built
a little climbing object with left over pvc
pipe and chicken wire. Experimenting
to see if they do better when allowed
to climb versus sprawl.
As many of my fellow bloggers have said (for quite some time now), the shumer is heading for the fan this year and hopefully everyone is getting prepared. Being prepared can seem overwhelming when you think about all the things you might need in a time of crisis.

At the Jones Hacienda, we're taking a multi-pronged approach.  We're buying food when it's uber cheap. Growing all that we can on our own (average backyard suburban home), and making homemade food from scratch instead of buying more expensive processed versions.  We've been buying food whenever it goes on deep sales like Mac N Cheese, learning to grow our own food with a decent success rate (thanks to SeedForSecurity), making food from scratch like homemade bread (Bosch bread recipe), and shopping local Farmers Markets.

One of my favorite "deal" websites to this day is still I have a free account there and I go directly to the Alert section.  I must have over 30 alert phrases entered there.  With this website, thousands of people post when they find deals on EVERYTHING.  The website usually makes an affiliate fee when someone clicks through to buy something but that comes from the seller, not me.  Within minutes of someone posting a deal on something that I have an alert word set up on, I get instantly notified on my cell phone and email. This allows me to go check the deal out and if I like it, buy into it before it is all gone.

The beets are slowly popping up.
My first year trying them. Anyone
know if I'm supposed to thin them
out like carrots?
For example, we're stocking up on our medicine cabinet this year. I put the alert word "Melatonin" in their system. Now anytime a deal gets posted on Melatonin, I get instantly notified. I just purchased 12 bottles of Optimum Nutrition for $26 (that's 1200 tablets) and I'm set on a natural sleep aid for years. 

Our garden is coming along nicely. Each season I learn what grows well and not so well. The following season I replant the stuff that does well and try some new things. This season I planted heavy on the peas and squash. I still have one squash left from last season sitting in my dead microwave (still attached to cabinet above stove, lazy me bought a cheaper counter top microwave.) I'm holding the squash to see how long it will last. I think we picked it before Christmas?

Anyway, I digress.  My new experimental crops are beets, cauliflower and artichoke. I also replanted lettuce and cucumbers, which did well, I just didn't plant as much this time. So far, the cukes and squash haven't even busted the soil. Compare that to my peas that are five inches up the chicken wire.  I also still have three strawberries plants growing in one raised bed garden.

My pumpkin experiment from last season was a total bust. I still haven't figured out what went wrong there. Two lousy pumpkins from a flower bed in front of my house. Must be about four feet across by 25 feet long. Completely filled with crazy pumpkin vines growing every which way. But only let loose two SMALL pumpkins. Any knowledge here from you folks would be greatly appreciated. I thought FOR SURE I would be supplying the entire neighborhood with pumpkins on Halloween. I times the harvest perfectly to coincide with the holiday. Live and learn.

You can learn how to do just about anything with a
little help from Google. Note: it may not be as easy
as it looks however.
Aside from all the gardening adventures, we're still putting skills to practice. Wifey has made all sorts of cool stuff with her sewing machine. We just picked up a fourth old machine with table from a local Goodwill type place (I think it was called Savers) for $12.99...and it still works! Sure, ain't the prettiest thing but it hummed away ready to create to her hearts content. The table was still in good shape too. Maybe I'll post a pic of it this week. The dog we adopted a while back was due for a hair cut. Instead of paying the mobile groomer $75, I bought a trimmer and did it myself. Took some practice getting the angle of the trimmer to work smoothly but Kohl appears MUCH happier.  I figured, if I really want to farmstead in the future, I'll need to learn to start taking care of my own animals. So I did. Trimmed his nails too.

So we're still growing...and stocking up...and learning.  I have several goals for 2012 and hope to get them all accomplished. I posted a short list on the right side of this blog as a reminder. I bought some more preps but I'll save that for another post.

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  1. You want to come trim our three shih-tzu dogs? They go to the groomer tomorrow and one got tangled so bad she will probably need shaved. You seem to be doing good on your prepping and not going over board with it. Taking advantage of good deals is a form of prepping. I don't prep, maybe I should.

  2. Nice set up for your beans - you may want to use fishing net or even strings the next time so they can climb all the way up your posts. And, yes, they will do much better climbing up rather than sprawling out. Even if you let them climb on tomato cages, it is better than on the ground.

    Pumpkins... did they get enough sunlight or too much? A couple of seasons ago I planted pumpkins it was too hot for them that summer which caused most of the plants to not send out any flowers. And the only plant that did finally bloom late in the season was eaten by the stinkin' gopher. Each year is a bit of a gamble, eh? Maybe you'll have better luck this go around.

    And if you get around to it, would you show pics of the sewing machines please. Sewing machines are good investments, especially the ol' people-powered ones. Never have to plug them in either. :-)

  3. @Dizzy LOL. I said I trimmed him, I didn't say it looked good. I'm shocked you don't prep brother! What are you gonna do when prices double or triple this year? Stock up now.

    @hobo LOL, damn gophers! Yes, the got adequate sunlight and I had TONS of blooms. They were very attrictive and the girls loved to take pictures of them. Just no pumpkins.

    I don't think any of the sewing machines are people powered. I think they are all electric but I'll certainly post some pics. Thanks for the request. Wifey will be happy to oblige.

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