Archive for the 'Grow Your Own' Category

Back Burner Blogging…

September 29th, 2009

I know it seems like the blog here is dead. It appears Twitter has taken over and I’ve given up writing longer form articles. It’s as though my world has moved from 1400 words, to 140 characters. When you get right down to it though, I’ve just not had the time or motivation to get things posted here. I don’t have anything to say at the moment…

I’m in the process of buying a house, my first house. In keeping with my current life goals of growing an increasing amount of my food, I’m trying to find a livable place with a good bit of land for short money. Not all that easy here in the Northeast US!

I’ve never done this before and it’s been quite fun and challenging but most of all, it’s time consuming. I’ve found a place that I like for what I want to pay and we’re in the process of negotiating. It’s been going on for several weeks now and we keep running into road blocks. The current issue is with the septic system.

Grow Your Own: The Garden is a Reality!

June 2nd, 2008

The garden has been built, planted and is now growing. Some might say that since no posts have come forth that those facts prove that I am behind in my posting. Those people would be correct.

The garden is a single 4′ x 8′ raised bed. For it’s construction I bought two 12 foot 2×12’s and cut 4 feet off of the end of each. A attached them with an internal bracket and a top bracket. It took only a few minutes to put together but think ahead as to which screws you will use. Make sure they are the right size for both the bracket and the depth of the wood.

From there I moved it around the yard a few times. The sun is a fickle beast. Oddly enough.. I ended up putting where I originally had planned to. Trust your insticts…. especially if you have been watching the sun for two weeks…

Grow You Own: Good News Update

March 12th, 2008

So, We grabbed the two drums I have and stuff the end of the sump pump hose into the barrel. I thought that we might fill a barrel over the course of a few days. I had been monitoring the amount of water flow from the pump for a few days and while it was a good bit of water it just didn’t seem like all that much. Little did I know we could move 55 gallons in about 90 minutes.

The house we live in was built in 1899 and has a dirt basement. The water pours down the walls when it rains, and especially in the spring as the snow melts. We usually just let this all run out into the yard. I may not even need to gather rain water this year. If I can get enough barrels I might be able to just stock up now. If my math is correct we are pumping nearly 900 gallons of water out of the basement every 24 hours. That is nothing to scoff at. I’m going to need bigger drums!

Grow Your Own: Collecting Rain – Planning

March 11th, 2008

Well, up here in the northeast we still have a bit of snow on the ground and it’s still dropping well below freezing at night so it’s much to early to start planting, but it’s time for my winter thinking and planning to start coming together. The first step is finding a source of water to use to water the garden. We have a well that works great to meet our needs as a family but general consensus is that it won’t be sufficient to water the garden as well. To that end I need to get water from somewhere else.. collecting rain seems like the obvious solution.

I have begun gathering 55 gallon barrels made of plastic to act as holding chambers but the process of getting the rain to the barrels is proving to be somewhat difficult. Clearly putting the barrel under the downspout is the obvious choice but aside from the aesthetic drawbacks most of our downspouts are either on a part of the property that is steeply angled or in some way inaccessible for a barrel. Perhaps I will put 5 gallon barrels under the spouts and jocky the water to a central holding area. Not an automatic process..

Progress Check In

February 20th, 2008

I’ve been as busy as ever these past few weeks but I have been slowly making progress on all my little projects. Yesterday Apple posted a few 160GB iPod Classics to the refurb site so I scooped one up. Should be here next week. When I bought I considered also getting an apple dock but at $50 it doesn’t seem worth it for my needs. I did pickup one of the JBL On Stage II speakers. It’s kinda pricy at $129 but it gets great reviews and sounds much bigger then it is. I’ll review it when I’ve gotten a chance to test it out. It’s a nice device if you have an iPod, but it also has a 1/8″ jack on the back so you can also use it as computer speakers. Multi-tasking is key in my book.

Using all that you can

November 26th, 2007

Well, the greatest holiday of the year has come and gone and what do we have to show for it? Heaps and heaps of food. Sure, we all know how to make the turkey last, making all manner of turkey recipes for weeks to come but what about the bones? The carcass. You make stock of course!

Book Review: The River Cottage Year

November 1st, 2007

As mentioned in a previous post, I bought two of Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall’s books, The River Cottage Year and The River Cottage Meat Book. While I finish reading about raising my own meat I thought I ought to post some of my thoughts about The River Cottage year.

The book is pretty good, it’s well written quite concise. It’s a bit more of a cook book then I was expecting though. Basically it’s broken up into 12 chapters, once for each month and Hugh talks a little bit at the beginning of each chapter about what he is doing at this time of year for his farm, usually about 2 pages worth. From there it’s all recipes though the book does have a pretty good listing of what is in season and when. This list is helpful though by no means comprehensive. The book even tells you that the list is for where Hugh lives and will not be the same in every part of the world. For me, here in the north east of the United States, we’re something like 10 degree’s farther south then he is which I suppose suggests that some of our items will come into season faster then they would for him? I don’t know, it’s hard for me to be sure.

Grow Your Own: Sorting Out Step 1

October 1st, 2007

Alright, I’ve made the decision to try to produce some of my own food. Now what? Seems step one should be to do a bit of research.

The root of this decision comes from a British television series called River Cottage. It’s basically about a guy who leaves his life in London to start a small farm to feed himself. This is not what my intention is really; I want to feed myself but I don’t want to leave my job or support myself off of the surplus. Not today at least. The show was hosted/created by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall so I figure that it’s to him I should look for some advice.

In that vein i’ve ordered two books from Amazon, The River Cottage Year and, The River Cottage Meat Book. The first one is about eating seasonally and the reasons for it, the second one is about understanding meat (it seems). It’s a little out of my range at the moment but if I’m going to be serious about this stuff the more information I can get now the better. If growing some of my own animals is something I actually want to try to do I don’t want to go into it under a false pretense.

It’s Time to Make a Resolution!

September 24th, 2007

As my more loyal readers will remember, I don’t believe is waiting for January 1st to make a ‘resolution’. I think that whenever you come to a decision you should do what you can to fix it right now. I am making a decision right here, right now (September 24, 2007) to do what I can produce my own food. I’m not saying that I am going to start a farm and produce all of my own food but by the year 2010 I want to be producing a substantial portion of my food.

The fact of the matter is, I’m not comfortable with the way food is produced these days. The living conditions of our livestock is truly horrific and the laboratory modification of our produce is somewhat frightening…not to mention the amount of work and energy it takes for out of season to veg to show up in my local grocery store.