Thursday, February 4, 2016

I know its cold... but spring is coming!

Elderberry trees are getting leaves... Irises are peaking through the dirt... Buds are forming on current bush... My Chinese geese are laying more and more regular..
 February is still ahead with cold weather coming back in the next week but all this does brighten my outlook a lot and makes me want to really jump start ALL those new garden projects I got rolling around in my head!
As well as get some things in the ground and many more seeds to be started inside! So exciting!!!!!

Potato towers,, new grains to grow... different methods of trying to tame huge tomato plants and avoid name a few...
and micromanaging cabbages and cauliflower to keep the stupid cabbage moths off them with new things like this easy tunnel... Normally I wouldn't spend this kind of money on something but cauliflower is expensive y'all!!! and being without it is not an option! If this works I'll try to come up with a way to make them myself.. I know I could use my regular low tunnels but sometimes I don't want a whole bed of something.. this allows me to just plant a row... especially since I have 4 new varieties to try... new varieties don't get whole beds to grow in until they prove themselves!!
New toy!
Fresh made bed planted with snow peas and covered now... Gotta get those peas in early because I never know when our humid summer will hit.. if it hits early.. no peas if I waited until march to plant.
Topsoil love.... years of work ,,, pesticide free .. much much manure & compost added every year.. every season.. finally the earth worms find my soil acceptable to call home! With every turn of the broadfork lots of these guys were hanging out..

One of my new most favorite garden tools!!! These waterproof gloves!!!! I love them.. I go through garden gloves so fast and they have never truly been waterproof but these are! In my top 5 garden must haves!

Another new for this season.. keeping log sheets of planted seeds and amounts harvested. I always keep a notebook/garden journal type book but its often a hot mess at the end of the seasons with ragged sketches and notes that are hard to understand because I've wrote them in no particular order. Its more like creative recording than record keeping to me.
I love keeping my garden journal but its not the best for quick, clear reference. Last year I kept a log sheet of how much I canned and it worked wonderfully (I seriously surprised myself,,I had no idea I canned that much!) 
So hopefully doing these log sheets in addition will work well and help me in the future better understand my creative garden recordings! lol

Goose breeding in full swing.. the pilgrims and the Chinese have been laying for awhile.. I'm still waiting for my roman girl and my embden sired utility crosses to get going! I can't wait to see what they produce! Hoping for a goose that has the fat of the embden and but the thriftiness of my cross girls. I'm also hoping the growth wont be quite as fast as embdens.. These boys grew lighting fast, they are huge adults, easily over 20 pounds but were ready to slaughter at 3 months, which, for a commercial operation they would be a dream to raise and have ready for market so quickly!! We are typically not ready to harvest birds until the fall or at least late summer. To much gardening going on makes it hard to stop everything for meat harvesting! I also like for my geese to have enough down growth so I can harvest it also.. three months theres not enough there. Goose down pillow anyone :-)
The boys arguing over whos the top gander! I'll just say its a good thing they are separated.. My pilgrim boy is awful brave.. on his side of the fence!!

Oh!! Rani!! Will this sweet girl ever foal!!!
If its a jenny I'm keeping it.... well,, if its a Jack I'm keeping it too! Rani's temperament is a dream.. shes very even tempered .. makes her a great guard and a joy to have here.. so either way the baby is a keeper. This is probably the only time I'll ever say I actually want a jack donkey! 
Just hoping all goes well..
Donkeys are hardy... but they are still livestock. 

So much to look forward too...
Happy days and many blessings!
Till next time....

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

So maybe, just maybe this is the problem!

I'm so happy to find this!!!! It must be shared... I can't believe I've missed such an awesome chart... just proof that you should never ever stop looking to learn!
Especially in gardening (or livestock!)

From Irish eyes garden seeds.. Its all becoming clear... I hope! I have had terrible luck growing Irish potatoes here in the south east.. my sweet potato yields far surpass, without near the disease or pest problems.. so thats what I concentrate on.. after all, a big part of why I garden is to avoid the grocery store ,  yield matters!! So I've resumed to only growing a small bed for variety sake...  

I know this looks like a fist popping out of the ground! Its a sweet potato about the size of my face I grew in 2014
Whats becoming clear is, after looking at this chart I see I've been planting the wrong varieties for my area! Never mind its the varieties sold in my local garden centers (we learned the hard way with fruit trees that just because the local shop sells it, doesn't mean it will grow good in your area)
...also,  never mind I've even tried special (expensive) disease free organic seed of these said varieties... I've always had poor, pest prone potatoes.. to the point I wasn't going to give up any garden space to grow them at all this year.

What lead me to this cart was on pinterest (don't you love pinterest!) I saw these (pictured below) on several websites...So I'm thinking what a cool way to grow potatoes without having to give up a whole garden bed for a less than productive vegetable here.
.... but just seeing cute garden projects doesn't make me believe they will work.. as I've tried my fair share of cutsie garden projects that were huge fails.. like the vertical pallet garden (waste of a good pallet)..the straw bale garden (oh the horror of that one!!) and the permaculture herbal spiral (bahahahaha!)
So I searched for potato tower results... seeing mostly bad results and disappointed gardeners I was loosing hope...and then I found this
Sow and Dipity's website
and why so many fail with this method... they use the wrong kind of potatoes!

So much like I've been using the wrong varieties for my area I also need to use certain varieties to grow in cages. I won't go into details here I'll let you go to the website and see how to make these work yourself.. 

But I'm hopeful that maybe I can get a decent , less of a hassle harvest using towers and the correct varieties.. for my area AND for cages!

Even if the cage doesn't work at least I may have found the answer to us getting more Irish Potatoes here with our long hot summers and multiple pest/disease challenges that like to hit this vegetable !  

Variety of vegetable or grain ,, much like breed of livestock can have everything to do with success on a subsistence farm.

I'll do my best to post the results of my potato towers this year! Gotta try this!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Delightful Goose Eggs! Wonderful Geese!

Love love love.... Big giant fat goose eggs! Muscovy egg was my favorite until I ate one of these big beautiful things!
So rich!
Here we have a pilgrim egg, Chinese egg and one of my tiny silkie eggs...
I'm extra happy because you see my pilgrims and Chinese started laying in November! Usually geese lay from feb. Or march till June... That's it...,
That's how my roman girl is.. But not these guys!
Geese came into my life through a barter deal back in 2012.. Toulouse geese... But it didn't work due to I didn't understand geese and I thought they were mean!!! So mean!!!!! 
I realize now what I had was a really nice production flock of Toulouse that I mismanaged. I just didn't know how to deal with them and the internet is really so limited on any real information about keeping geese. It would have been easy to forget about them and concentrate on something else...
But I could not get over how incredible the meat is...How incredible the fat is ... All That soft down ... 
Most of all I couldn't get over how economical they were to feed!!!!!
So I researched different breeds ,,settled on pilgrims ( one of the auto-sexing breeds) and a couple other breeds for different purposes..I searched hard , found some old, out of print books that gave me more insight to keeping and managing them in a more practical small farm kinda way. It's been the 2nd best thing I could have done on this farm ( the first best thing was getting the gardens producing heavily and four season gardening,, gardens are the heart of the homestead if you want to be more grocery store free!) 
Finding those old books and correct goose information wasn't easy ...
There's some misinformation about geese.. Like the website that tells you you need geese for your homestead to eat bugs and weeds...
First off... Geese are primarily vegetarians ... The true pastured poultry! Sure if there's a little slug on a blade of grass they won't spit it out but they do not eat worms or bugs... 
I've even tried to trick mine and put earthworms in their veggie mix to see if they would.. Lol! No.. They wouldn't !! At all..,
I have seen my brown Chinese gander bite at flies.. If he catches one though he does spit it out. 
And weeds... They will eat some weeds but not like a donkey will ( which is one of the many reasons I have donkeys!)
But they mainly prefer grass... And vegetables ! Don't let anyone tell you you can turn them out and they will weed your vegetable garden.. They might ignore those tomatoes at first but all it takes is one taste ... And Gone are your tomatoes!!
Second... You will hear they are nasty animals ... No,, they are very clean animals but if not provided with proper bathing water they will get nasty looking. They are waterfowl!!!!! 
They do have huge .. I mean huge poos.. So they do need room.. A pair of geese in a small lot will get smelly in a hurry..
Geese given plenty of room and clean bathing water are some of the most beautiful farm animals ever seen..

And...You'll hear they are Mean... Yeah.. Some are pretty mean.. Typically only when they are laying and hatching eggs though.. And the degrees of aggressiveness vary. During breeding/ hatching I like to give the geese room!
And give them areas I can manage around while they have goslings..,
Not all geese need this kind of management .. But some do. Try to choose a line of geese from a breeder who has more docile geese if their protectiveness bothers you.
Honestly after being knocked down and hurt by rams and having rams rip through fencing the protectiveness of geese over their goslings no longer bothers me!! The rams put things in perspective I guess you can say..
So I do have both .. The more docile breeds and the more aggressive. Both are manageable. 

Some say...They are expensive to raise!!
Ha! Most inexpensive livestock I've ever raised! 
In the warm months They eat grass.. And all the overflow produce I grow.. They get to range fairly large areas Here and I rotate them when needed.
Even in the winter when the grass is gone I can make them greens foods , grow beds of leafy greens , radishes and turnips..add some fermented grains and they do amazing on this low cost feed that no other poultry could live on (ok,, my utility silkies can) 
And they produce well on that really inexpensive food I make for them too...
So being expensive to feed is a matter of your own set up... If you have pasture and grow extra food they are very economical ... If you have them sit in a small lot with no grass and you feed commercial feed , they will be much more expensive to keep.
You may hear they are good guards ...
No... They are good watchers.. Very alert animals that are Good alarms and let everyone know something is around that shouldn't be..,
They can and will keep aerial predators away like hawks... So they can be good to keep with chickens if hawks are a problem...,
But they can not defend against coyotes or even raccoons... They need to be protected from larger and more vicious predators like those. I prefer donkeys and llamas for my goose protection because they don't eat my goose eggs!!
They can be expensive to get breeding stock depending on the breed though..
Even the less expensive geese are still $10 to $12 a gosling... With rare breeds anywhere from $25 to $80 a gosling!
But good geese from good lines will be productive for many many years!! Way longer than chickens or ducks. 
Just one good trio of geese can produce a lot of meat and fat... Down too if you take the time to harvest it. The extra eggs are a bonus to eat! I keep Chinese specifically as laying geese only... No they don't lay like a chicken but that breed lays a lot for a goose and their eggs equal about 3 chicken eggs! 
So if I have a Chinese goose that gives me 50 eggs a year that's like 150 chicken eggs.. Which is as good as a lot of heritage breeds lay. Plus goose eggs keep longer.... And in the summer when all they are eating is fresh grass and my extra garden produce... Oh yum! The truly grass fed, pasture raised eggs from a goose.. I don't think an egg gets any healthier!
Yeah... Love my geese.. Anyone who knows me knows my fascination for them is kinda crazy. I chalk it up to being greatly appreciative for how easy they are.. Farming is hard and 
After raising so many difficult , high input animals That sucked away my time and money... There's a reason for this love! 
With the geese being so low input and hardy.. Simple, but entertaining ... Beautiful to watch .., There's just not much not to like...
The cons.. What few there are, are so very outweighed by the pros of this totally underutilized bird. 

They are a blessing and have many uses to a subsistence farmer like myself.

Oh I can not wait for spring goslings!!!!!!
Which is why I have 6 goose eggs in the incubator now...,

Friday, December 11, 2015

Its time to put the "Me" in Meishan

Angie and "Mojo" our best AGH Boar

 Pigs......Who would have figured. When we started this journey almost six years ago I don't think that pigs were a major component in my wife's "master plan" (and this whole thing was her idea). . I know the idea of being a hog breeder wasn't in my consciousness at the time. Flash forward to today and the homestead hog has become a pivotal part of our subsistence homestead model. Notice I said homestead hog. Not the highly muscled standard commercial breeds that fill the aisles at Kroger or even Whole Foods.Not that chicken eating ,fence destroying ,don't turn your back on, mega swine.Not your "new white meat" close to fat free stuff most of us visualize when someone says pork chop.. No for us the homestead hog is above all a red meat lard style carcass hog. Its a hog that's a good barnyard citizen that uses our land not abuses our land.For us to achieve the goal of raising ,growing , gathering or hunting the highest percentage of our food possible (currently about 95%) that success depends in many ways on our pigs and the fats they provide us. To that end we have to date chosen the American Guinea Hog exclusively as the backbone fat and meat supplier in our model.  And its working well. You see our subsistence model is based on feeding us first.Cost offset or even positive cash flow have been subservient to the subsistence goal. Oh I know everyone tells you how their little homestead is going to  grow all their food,make lots of money so they can quit their job, and be the Norman Rockwell nirvana they imagine. Yes we talked like that too.Until reality set in. Feed yourself or farm business quickly became the choice forced by both available time and resources.So today we feed ourselves. Phase one complete....
Now phase two.
How do we take certain components of what we do and make them profitable? Because while we have driven cash flow off of our farm we are just offsetting costs not covering them. Oh and if you are reading this and you are in that Norman Rockwell phase let me give you some advice. Don't quit your day job.
So how do we take something we do and not lose its value to us while increasing its value to the bottom line?
Once again the pig is where we turned. Specifically one of the oldest domesticated breeds of hog in the world. The Meishan Pig
                                     Meishan Pigs at The USDA research center in Nebraka

The Meishan pig was once the focus of an intensive study by the USDA, Iowa State and The University of Illinois beginning in 1989. This study spanned over a decade. You see the Meishan pig is a Chinese hog breed that has been selectively bred to produce high levels of succulent fat for thousands of years.They are also unique in that they are a "hyper productive" .While most heritage hog breed have litters of 4-8 piglets and Commercial breeds target 10-13 Meishan routinely have 15-18 piglets.One Meishan in the USDA study had 28 piglets in one litter.They also enter puberty in 90-120 days as opposed to the 6-10 months of many breeds. It took years of negotiations and literally millions of dollars to bring 33 Meishan sows and  some Meishan (among other) boars to the US. The pigs proved that their hyper-productivity could increase the productivity of other breeds.The rub was that Meishan are a lard carcass and the crosses had increased levels of fat.Remember in the 90's the USDA (the same people who told us Crisco was good for us) were trying to create the super lean rooting machines we have today.The poor Meishan was deemed worthless and in the early 2000's the herds began to dissipate. The herds were scattered,some completely lost ,some watered down by other breeds.In fact the lard carcass genetics of many breeds (AGH, Old Line Berkshire,Large Black etc) also fell into disfavor and entire breeds were almost lost. The drawing below is a representation of what Berkshire hogs USED to look like..
 But today everyone from the foodies to the Paleos are driving the resurrection of pasture raised fat. Restaurants and charceuteries cry for fattier red meat pork in a world of dry white wallboard that the USDA grading systems of pork have given us.And those surviving breeds like AGH are poorly suited to American butcher cuts.Plus slow growth and small liters make them poorly suited to many small holder economic models to sell pork. . If there was only a breed that could be crossed with other breeds that wouldnt result in small liters (perrish the thought we could get larger ones)but still give higher levels of healthy sweet and delicious fat.
Oh if we just had some Meishan.
Well after over a year of research and long term deposits...Gods Blessing Farm Does
                                                Angie meeting "Chiyo and Pumpkin"
 Yes all the herds traceable to the original stock were not lost. But its taken a long time to research, locate,,negotiate and obtain our first certified pure  Meishan stock traceable directly to the original USDA herd. On December 10th 2015  our boar "Mr Wu" and 2 unrelated gilts "Chiyo" and "Pumpkin" joined the family here.
                                                                   "Mr. Wu"

Now if you had told me six years ago that I would make the effort,and the investment to obtain pig genetics I might have laughed you out of the room. Alas homestead planning rarely follows the homestead path. But the preservation of Meishan Genetics(which are almost irreplaceable in the US) calls to me.Yes I have a vision but mostly I have a gut feel that these pigs are too important to be lost.And no I dont run a museum I run a farm. At the end of this journey I hope and I am gambling on the idea that these pigs can improve many different breeds that can benefit the small holder.

                                              Chiyo and Pumpkin chowing down on turnips

So this project begins.First to establish our herd. Then to begin the search for the compatible breed crosses.First up will be our "American Meishan" project which will attempt to breed a productive lard carcass cross that offers the benefits of both breeds while staying inside the homestead hog template. Then to take our herd and work with the best of other breeds to evaluate compatibility.And finally if the concept proves viable we will be continually looking for lost pure Meishan genetics wherever they may be found.
                                                           Mr got work to do...
 But before you think I claim this as original thought its already being done in different places at different levels. There are already forward thinking breeders using Meishan(along with other lard breeds like Mangalista) to fix the pork the USDA "improved". Our efforts are a small drip in a tidal wave of a pork revolution that has already quietly begun.I hope we are good stewards of these and all of our animals. And that is part of my daily prayers to the Lord. Looking forward to keeping a log of the journey.  Thats all from Gods Blessing Farm today.....
                                                               Chiyo  says Hi!

Monday, November 30, 2015

To all the livestock that didn't work... I still loved ya!

Yes... We've been through the livestock.. Just about every breed of goat available in America , 5 breeds of sheep,, so many chicken & duck breeds , a couple of different hogs, many breeds of rabbits and so on.. Searching for the right animals and/or breed to fit our land and climate with the lowest input possible and greatest use of available natural  resources...

 Ha! And livestock that I can put up with!  

2015 saw a couple of animals make their exit..

Utility pigeons being one... Turkeys...And then goats.. Again!

There are many pros to keeping meat pigeons... And Ofcourse cons like any other livestock I could get into .. But overall they are pretty great!

 .... On a personal level that may or may not effect the individual that wants to raise them... the number one reason for me to let them go was because we grow all our vegetables and grain corn .. So summer is a very bad time for us to have to drop everything and slaughter something.. any animal that isn't born in the winter or spring and has a 6 to 8 month grow out is a management problem. Pigeons tend to be very prolific in the spring and summer eggs take 2 weeks to hatch , then squab are ready to eat in 3 to 4 weeks... They are super fast to process but I don't like anything to take away from my garden and preserving in the summer... And when you get 4 or more ready at once that does take some time! 

Another reason..

 I just can't keep all the poultry I would like,, with bringing chickens back because I needed more egg layers something had to go. The pigeons happened to be in an aviary that would be perfect for my silkies...

I need my egg laying ducks too ( we love eggs!) and my geese certainly aren't going anywhere! So on the list of most needed poultry they needed to go..

I do admitt I miss them....I really miss them.. Their cooing and bathing .. Such beautiful birds! Birds I searched for years to purchase,,, it was a little heartbreaking for me to let them go..But I have to realize I can't keep ALL the livestock animals and breeds.

I'm 1 person .... With 24 hours a day like anyone else.

I do think I squeeze a lot of of my days when I really try but animals will take ALL your time if you let them! 

Which is why... One more time, I say , buh-bye to goats.

Y'all little time stealers just don't work out for me...true I have 'goat land' plenty of browse and hills.. But you guys are drama queens.. Even the most laid back of goats still find their way to trouble here... So annoying are goats to me... And I love them,, I do! But I do not like owning them at all!

I brought them back after being very very happily ruminant free all spring and summer.. 

Seriously it was bliss not having goats or sheep here to deal with!!!

But...always a but!!!  late summer it was obvious we could not keep up with the weeds !!! Geese don't eat weeds once they get to big and fiberous .. And there are areas I just do not want pigs in!!! Not that most pigs are awesome weed eaters but they can help... Not much but some.

My husband can't give up days of his time in our busiest season to weed wack our acres!! A lot of our land can not be mowed at all ,, it's way to steep! So we need something to eat those weeds and be useful . 

Plus, Fresh raw milk is nice to have... I can do without goat milk on a regular basis , that's not a big problem. I seriously do not need as much milk as daily milking goat gives even with the goat milk soap business ... Nor with my milk sensitivities should I consume that much. Regardless... I bring goats back.

 The weeds were such a problem !!! A big problem... So the goats go to work eating weeds.. At a much pickier slower pace than I would like , but still, it's something! My farm was turning into a jungle!

And then... I bring in one of my all time favorite animals.. Donkeys!

 With the addition to the farm of donkeys I can let go of goats again!!!! Yay!!! far..... Donkeys are great weed eaters and I do get along with them way better. My rough land works fine for them and They are much lower input for me and fill more roles here. Example: they don't need a guardian .. They are guardians and I want to get away from using high input dog guardians.. So that's a good fit...

their feeding requirements are less demanding (The larger donkeys eat a lot of forage and hay but still do not require the higher quality legumes and grain most goats need to be productive... However I've found the small standards and minis eat very efficiently!! And way way less) and finally 

The mass amounts of manure they make is amazing for my ever growing gardens! 

So I think.... I hope...I Even pray that donkeys may take the place and job of ruminants here! 

They may have other uses too.. Riding, pulling, packing, milking and in some countries (also now legal in the USA meat) but that's another post in the future perhaps.. Lol! Can you tell I'm beyond excited to have them here!! 

Do not misunderstand though...

Goats are great useful livestock for the right people and farm!! Just not this farm ...

And I come to turkeys... Back and forth I went on keeping them.. My husband even really liked them! And he's not really into the poultry at all. 

The turkeys are wonderful , interesting , beautiful birds  like pigeons. They are certainly tasty and easy to process too!

Ultimately they had to go , because again, I can't keep all the poultry I would like too! Managing 4 separate flocks of geese, chickens and 2 flocks of ducks.. Nope! No time, no space for breeders. 

I was going to make time and space but they kept getting into my garden.. And that was the end of that!!!

Turkeys must go :-( 

I brought in a few other chickens to try.. We will just say Bantams & utility silkies are by far my number one choice for my chicken flock. 

So I'll just have to miss the chickens that didn't make the cut, turkeys and the pigeons .. Goats.. I will probably not miss them... But I will enjoy buying local fresh goat milk when I can and ha! watching others put up with them ;-)

Have a wonderful day and God bless!!! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When the low tunnels come out ...winter is here

We had our first hard frost a few days ago so I decided to pick the last of my carrots and a bunch of mustard & turnip greens that I didn't want going to cover...
But even with it getting down to 20 here my other uncovered beds were fine!
It's amazing how cold hardy some of the greens are!
Went ahead and covered this bed.. Just in case!
Last year I had 3 covered beds with more variety. This fall I couldn't get my cabbage, kale and collards past the rabbits and I couldn't get broccoli past the cabbage moths... Next year we have plans to try and avoid these pests..,
But for this year I'll have to make do with mustard and turnip greens .
I may try sprouting some cold hardy veggies in the green house .. See if I can get some variety going!
Plus it's an excuse to grow something..
At the end of summer I'm so tired and burnt out from the garden and harvest I can't imagine having to prepare ground and plant anything else!!
but within a couple of weeks I'm ready to plant again, wishing for spring ...
Our wood cook stove is finally here!
One of our goals on the farm is try to eliminate using the central heat .. It only makes sense to get a wood stove also set up for cooking. Put that wood to good use!! This stove also has a water tank for hot water should I ever need it.
It's early thanksgiving morning as I write this .. Our dinner will actually be tomorrow night. Really looking forward to cooking because I grew a heritage turkey this year...we grew almost everything that will be on the table!! 
Only four little ingredients had to be purchased!!
I am truly thankful... 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Getting ready for spring in the fall

Every summer crop has been harvested and the plants killed by frost now.. So preparing for our next spring garden is happening!
Empty beds must not stay empty for long! Putting to bed my raised beds that aren't being used for fall/winter crops are important as fertilizer ... Because in a sense this layer of straw mulch .. Or whatever I mulch with is part if my fertilizer as well as it keeps my topsoil in place and all the micro organizims and earthworms safe and happy! 
Well nourished soil grow nourishing vegetables!! 
Through out the winter other things will be added to the beds.. Layers of chicken, duck or goose bedding and manure,, perhaps a layer of cardboard ,,, layers of donkey manure are sure to be included! 
Dead Leaves are excellent! Layers of egg shells and coffee grounds make their way into the garden also...wood ashes we collect are great for carrot beds !  Everything contributes to well balanced soil. 
Plus all this moving to cover and add matter to the beds through the winter keeps me from getting out of shape and lazy come busy spring and summer! Very important! I get lazy so easy if I allow myself too. 
Another favorite activity for me on the farm in the winter.... Reading up on my favorite and new garden books.. Taking notes and Studying different varities that may work well for us here.. Garden planning!! Yes I do think these things are fun! Lol
This is one of my favorite gardening websites...

It's such an organized site of farming for optimum nutrition...keeping in mind that a healthly vegetable can't be grown in unhealthy soil.. No matter what it is...
And livestock can not produce a healthy food if not fed a healthy diet in the first place. 
I read so many articles that try to make farming for nutrition so complicated ... It's really quite simple in theory .. Though maybe hard to achieve given the modern farming ways most have embraced. 

Meanwhile my fall greens gardens & carrots continue to thrive ... 
I admit to going way over board on the mustard greens....that's ok ,, the geese eat them too! And I'll be experimenting with some green kraut recipes!
Garlic making it's appearance!! Once it gets up a few more inches I'll be giving it a layer of leaf mulch on top of the duck manure compost I added to this bed. 
So even things feel like they are winding down... There's still plenty to do!

It's a chilly today... During the first really chilly days I have to make chili Ofcourse!!
So that Along with some corn chips and rosemary pumpkin humus.. Perfect fall dinner! Fall and winter mean more time to experiment with recipes!!!

So Along with obsessing over next years gardens...Before the madness of spring hits next year , I'm hoping to find time to make lots ginger beer and ginger champagne ... I want to make Real Hominy from our hickory king corn! 
and crochet up some of my handspun yarns I've made over the years. 
I'm going to try my very best to enjoy the slower pace of winter this year.. As slow as it can be here anyways! 
Try to take time and be thankful for all these blessings that are so abundant in my life!