September 17, 2016

September on Ann's Weekend Homestead

Our backyard chickens are enjoying their new coop.  Here are our Red X hens, 6 months old, eating layer pellets.  The feeder is hung underneath the coop to prevent rain from coming in.

In the bottom of the photo are two perennial vegetables, on the bottom left are salsify leaves and in the middle is red veined chicory.  I chop up the chicory leaves and steam them with other fresh greens like kale, swiss chard and good king henry and steam them for dinner.

Tomatoes and Self-Seeded Ground Cherries.

Another perennial vegetable is the ground cherry.  These ground cherries are from self-sowed plants grown from last years dropped fruit.  I didn't eat many of these the first year I planted them because the taste was so different than anything else.  But somehow I'm used to the taste now and eat them like berries for a snack.  They have a firm tomato texture and a sort of light citrus flavor.  Their little paper lantern wrappers keep the fruit clean and you can just pop them into your mouth.

September 15, 2016

DIY Large Linen Closet Shelves for Under $200

I needed a huge linen closet.  I had all my blankets, sheets and towels stuffed into our tiny walk in closet off the bedroom.  We didn't have a dedicated linen closet anymore as we stole that space to add to the kitchen.  The walk-in closet did make a great place for our dog to hide in a thuder storm but you sometimes had to climb a mountain to dig out a clean sheet set. 

DIY Large Linen Closet
I looked up linen closets and armoires at all the big box stores and on useditem websites, but it looked like I would have to spend at least $1,000 to get something big enough for a household's worth of towels, sheets and blankets.  Or I could get a mismatched set of used armoires for about $500.  Neither of these options were great.  The first was too expensive, the second not nice to look at.  So we ended up doing some creative design and built a huge linen closet for under $ more

September 13, 2016

Ann's Weekend Homestead Backyard Harvest

Heirloom vegetable harvest of carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and melons.

Tante Alice & Lyaluk Cucumbers

I have to say that organic, non-GMO, heirloom seeds are fantastic!  The garden is keeping me super busy these days.  The amount of Lyaluk cucumbers is mind boggling.  I've made about 30 jars of pickles and relish and even cucumber soup.  And the cucumber plants are still producing.

I bought a proper size canning pot so I could process more jars at a time, but still it is quite a bit of work to can all those cucumbers.

There have been a load of green beans.  Some had to go straight into the freezer as I couldn't keep up with the harvesting.  The latest batches though, I've had time to blanch them before freezing.

I've also harvest many, many cherry tomatoes.  I planted way too many cherry tomatoes and some grew on their own from last years dropped tomatoes.  I much prefer picking the larger tomatoes because there's less to harvest but the cherry tomatoes are so sweet to eat as you wander around the garden.  So far I'm up to about five jars of spaghetti sauce.  The big tomatoes haven't started turning red yet.  Hopefully the weather will hold out.

A few days ago the whole family dug out the potatoes.  From the plants that grew from old potatoes from my cupboard, there where two large potatoes.  From the plants that grew from potatoes left in the ground the year before, I got three or four smaller potatoes.  We ate all the ones that weren't perfect or were speared during digging the first night.  The rest of the potatoes are curing in the bottom of a laundry basket and then I'll layer them with newspaper and keep in the dark.

I've had mixed luck with the scarlet nantes carrots.  Only about half the seeds germinated and some have multiple branches under the ground.  However they are still the biggest carrots I've ever managed to grow.  This makes them much easier to peel and prepare for steaming.  A sweeter carrot would be good too.

I've got about three muskmelons.  I picked one but it wasn't ripe yet, the taste was very light and it was crunchy with light green flesh.  I think they'll be quite good when ripened.

September 11, 2016

Monthly Journal of Homesteading

Weekend Homestead Vegetable Garden.

A monthly journal of my homesteading

Miscellaneous Reminders:
- Add sand and raise carrot beds
- order seeds and row cover

January 2017

Harvest:  not this month too cold and two feet of snow on the ground
Eat:  frozen canned tomato sauce on spaghetti
Preserve: not this month, no fresh produce
Hens:  collect eggs, fresh water, kitchen scraps, add clean bedding material
Prepare: started sweet potato slips, planning for this summer's vegetable garden
Home: line dry clothes indoors, keeping house warm with wood stove

October 2016

Harvest:  large tomatoes, sunchokes, skirret, zucchini and gather seeds.
Eat: steamed greens from the garden
Preserve: freeze jars of tomato and meat sauce
Hens:  move coop to more protected area for winter.  feed table scraps and fresh water daily.  free range and close up coop at night.
Prepare: plant fall garlic for spring 2017 harvest.  Add perennials to fruit tree guilds add mulch to protect fruit bushes and artichokes for winter.
Home: line dry clothes and build linen closet

September 2016

Harvest:  pick cucumbers, smaller tomatoes, green beans, purple-top turnips, carrots and potatoes
Eat:tomato and cucumber sandwiches, steamed green beans, turnips, beets, carrots and potatoes
Preserve: can tomato sauce, pickle cucumbers and relish, make fresh tomato salsa
Hens:  feed table scraps and fresh water daily.  free range and close up coop at night.
Prepare:break off new tomato plant growth and tear off tomato leaves to let sun in to ripen larger tomatoes.  purchased local garlic for planting. planted two fruit trees
Home: line dry clothes

August 2016

Harvest:  pick cucumbers, green beans, beets, swiss chard, collards and carrots.
Eat: fresh cucumbers, steamed green beans, beets, chard, collards and carrots
Preserve: can pickled cucumbers and relish.
Hens:  gather eggs.  feed table scraps and fresh water daily.  free range and close up coop at night.
Prepare:stake tomatoes
Home: line dry clothes

  March 2016

Harvest:  pick cucumbers, green beans, beets, swiss chard, collards and carrots.
Eat: fresh cucumbers, steamed green beans, beets, chard, collards and carrots
Preserve: can pickled cucumbers and relish.
Hens: move hens from outdoor coop.
Prepare: received organic heirloom seeds by mail from Heritage Harvest Seed in Manitoba.  Set-up maple syrup spout and bucket.  Start sweet potato slips. Start gathering lasagna garden materials (cardboard, wood chips, glass clippings).  Order day old chicks from TSC in Smiths Falls.
Home: line dry clothes