“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.” ~Abraham Lincoln
Outside my window
The first week of June brought us a much needed respite from the hot and humid weather. We dipped down into the 60’s! The kids were confused why we couldn’t use our new above ground pool. Brr! We had to root through clothes bins for coats. I loved being able to cook inside and spend time in the garden.
Mike and the kids completed the hay wagon turned mobile chicken coop. It looks awesome. Now the girls can really move throughout the pastures fertilizing the land and foraging. We have pullets (hens not yet laying) moved outside. The meat chickens are growing nicely and will be butchered next week. Cows are happy. Sheep are currently mowing in my front yard. And Chewbacca and Princess Leia are loving their new pad in the woods.
In the Garden
This week we harvested radishes, kale, and loads of garlic scapes. Everything is jamming out there, especially the herbs and cucumbers and sunflowers. It’s hard to believe I put in the last of our transplants. I felt at a loss for what to do next…so I got some more starts going of bush beans and corn. It’s a little late, but I think they’ll be fine. The kids raised garden beds look amazing, too. Anthony seems to be defying all odds of planting rules and enjoys planting so much that his is somewhat overcrowded. It’s just so cute.
In the Kitchen
This week Gabe helped me harvest some kale which he kept calling “Chaos” for some reason. I swear it’s not because I use that word all the time in reference to the state of our home *wink* but really it’s a Skylander character! I chose to go ahead and dehydrate some for winter and also made kale chips. We planted a large garlic crop so we have lots of garlic scapes that Hayden cut, the twins helped chop, and we lactofermented. We try to have a ferment once a day for a boost to the ‘ol gut. It couldn’t be more simple. Fill a ball jar with desired vegetable (radish, green beans, carrots) and add a salt water brine (1.5 – 2 tsp. per 1 quart of water). Slap a lid on. Keep on the counter for a few days and “burp” them. When it’s nice and fizzy and tastes good, move to the refrigerator to halt the fermentation. My go to books for fermentation inspiration are The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz and also Nourishing Traditions by Sallon Fallon.
Homeschool of Life
We are plugging along in the math department. The kids don’t seem to mind too much. So much of their day is spend in leisure, self directed time that it’s good for us to keep a bit of routine to the morning. We signed up for our library summer reading program which is fantastic. They log their reading minutes online and get badges and prizes. That’s enough to keep them motivated reading throughout the day. Mike and I are incredibly busy with homestead activities and the kids naturally gravitate where we are, so there’s always real life learning taking place. Luke and Mike started week 1 of Dad Camp, which is one on one child and dad time doing morning chores. They are all excited for their week.
What we are learning
What aren’t we learning…gardening, pressure canning, water bath canning, bacon curing, sausage making, how to stand on our heads while singing our ABC’s backwards (just kidding). Even though we aren’t new to these practices, everything is seasonal so we need to refresh our memories each year. The bacon and sausage making, now that’s new.
Highlight of the week
Most definitely lining our dining room table with slabs of pork belly to begin the curing process.