Thursday, March 12, 2015

Garden Check List for March

The weather has been absolutely beautiful and it has been such a pleasure to be able to get out and clean up the mess leftover by winter. My brother has put up the little green house and the garden will be tilled this Saturday.  The chickens are happily laying again and basking in the warmth of the sun.

Here is my check list for the things to accomplish this month:

  • First and foremost, take a moment every day to take in all of the beautiful forms of new life around you.  The buds on the lilac and the babies in the nests. All of these beautiful things of spring are reminders of the precious gift our Savior has provided.  Spring is my favorite!

  • Till garden and prepare for cool season planting as soon as the soil is dry enough to work.
  • Plant new asparagus and rhubarb beds.
  • Fertilize asparagus and rhubarb beds with a layer of mature compost.
  • Sprout potatoes in a warm window, and then plant on St. Patrick's Day.  
  • Plant peas and onions in the garden.
  • At the end of the month broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower can be moved to a cold frame.
  • Sweet peas, poppies and wild flowers can be sown at the end of the month.
  • Finish pruning apples and grapes.  
  • Plant new fruit trees and bushes.
  • Scatter seeds from last years annuals. They will germinate as soon as the temperatures are right.

  • Take note of your early bulbs and perennials coming up.  Uncover them before they get too large, and by the end of the month at the latest.  These early season plants can tolerate a little cold weather as long as they aren't blooming.

  • Get the green house up an going.  I am starting cabbage, head lettuce, tomatoes and peppers, among other things.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sale! Sale! Sale!

You would think that I am excited about a Sale !   Well I am when it comes to Butter!
Hy-Vee has Hy-Vee Butter on Sale this week 3/4 - 3/10.  $1.96 for 16 oz.  Limit 4.
I bet Hy-Vee will be seeing me at least once a day for the next 7 days and my husband too.
Butter is a very important staple around our house.  No Margarine here that stuff isn't even natural.  When the price is this good the freezer gets stocked up.  My pie crust are made with butter only.  With the Farmers Market starting up just around the corner.  The less I spend on product the more profit I make.  Oh and don't forget you can Price Match this at Walmart .

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February Garden Checklist

I have to admit, February is a hard month for me.  It has been entirely too long since I have last dug my hands into my garden dirt.  In February everything is hard and frozen.  Nearly everything green is deep in a sleep and it is hard to see any life at all.   But, every now and then a beautiful day comes along just to tease me and make me antsy for spring.   The garden centers tease me by stocking their beautiful displays of seeds, bulbs and roots.  By the time February gets here I still have to wait another 6 or 8 weeks before I can plant anything in my garden.  Oh, the torture of waiting through February!

Oh wait! There is something I can plant in February...
Here is my checklist of things to do for the garden in February (zone 5):

  • Plant poppies and larkspurs outside, between snows.  Some seeds need the cold temperatures before they will germinate.
  • Plant a garden inside! I keep oregano, basil, chives, sage and rosemary growing in a window. Loose leaf lettuce varieties can be planted inside now as well.
  • Start the following indoors to be planted in the garden later: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, pansies and daisies.
  • Check your perennials for heaving.  This means that the roots are moving up out of the soil.  If they are you should cover them again with a good layer of dirt.
  • Prune your fruit trees.  I have an apple, pear and peach that all need pruned!
  • Draw out a plan for your gardens.  Decide where you want everything planted.
  • Order your seeds and start picking them up at the garden centers. Remember to grab extra for a fall planting.  Sometimes stores won't restock late in the summer.
  • Continue adding scraps to your compost pile.  Your garbage will be turning into black gold before you know it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Something New I learned from Hy-vee

You can load coupons to your Fuel Saver card using Hy-vee app or
At Checkout just swipe your fuel saver card to redeem.

Great Deal at Hy-vee Thursday and Friday 26th and 27th

In the Kansas City Ad this week there is a 2 day deal on Gas.  On these days 26th and 27th you will get double on every fuel saver discount.  Now I am not from KC but If I take this ad into my local Hy-vee they will honor it and put it on my card.  I sure wished this ad was going on last week for I made $ .89 off a gal of gas.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Price of Bacon - Part 1

Up at my brother's place, we are keeping 10 little piggies.  Well, for now they are little piggies.  The plan is to butcher two, keep 4 to breed and sell the rest.  Raising our own meat is a project we have really just begun.  So far, it isn't really cheaper, but the end product has been so much better than what we find in the grocery store. Plus, it is really good to know that the animals we are eating were raised in an environment that cares and respects them as a living being.  It is also wonderful that we can teach our children about where our food really comes from.  Hopefully, when it is time for them to provide for their own families, they will have the skills to do more than pick something up at a drive thru.

My brother has built a lovely little pig pen complete with a large feeder, a feed trough, water pan, a three-sided wooden shelter and a warm little hay shed to keep them warm.  The fence and gate are new, as is the trough and water pan.  The rest are things that he has either found used or already had on hand.  Scavenging items that are not brand new have really helped to keep the start up cost down.

The most expensive part of this little operation, our labor.  Of course, if we had a little more experience this wouldn't be so costly.
So far, the ice and snow has caused the most amount of labor.
Riding out in the bitter cold, wading through the snow and dumping the ice out of the water pan is work!
Getting a call that one of the little girls is sick, then heading over in the dark to sort her out, bring her to the barn and administer the medication, after setting up the heat lamp and straw to keep her warm, well that's work too.
Chasing 6 little pigs, so that they can be loaded up in the trailer and be taken to the vet to be castrated, is work! Especially when you do it the hard way, by literally chasing them around the pen, diving, jumping and getting your hat stolen by one of the little stinkers.
Then pulling that trailer too close to the gate, so that it is easier to unload the poor little castrated piggies, and then getting stuck in the slick mud, in your dad's truck, well that is a whole lotta work!  Work that involves pigs escaping the pen, running around and around the pen, keeping the pigs in the pen while the brother goes to get the tractor, and then pulling the truck out and then the trailer out so that the gate can finally be shut.  Next time we just need to use the tractor to begin with!  I can promise we burned off lots of bacon calories that day!

So far, the bacon has cost a little bit of money and a whole lot of work.  Work that is pretty fun, except for the running part, and the cold part.  But hey, that's the price of bacon.  And bacon is good.  Totally worth it!