Monthly Archives: March 2022

Life Found a Way

I found some home remodeling evidence in the greenhouse yesterday. Apparently, Mr. Toad loves his new digs, as he has been here since Fall. I guess the weeds there get a reprieve until he decides to move on.

I was so afraid to venture back into the greenhouse after a six-week hiatus (Read about my long winter here). Would any of my winter greens and root veggies be salvageable? Thankfully, my ex was able to hold down the fort in my absence and cover the plants during the cold spells as well as keep my new seedlings moist. Gardening per se wasn’t being done, but at least he kept a lot of plants from dying.

After a (finally!) reasonable call week, I was able to venture out and get to some projects this weekend instead of simply catching up on sleep for two days. My biggest priority was to put on my creative cap and stage some pics for Abundance Mushroom Company’s future Etsy site. I was finally able to figure out some of the issues I had been having with my nice digital camera and was able to make some adjustments, which greatly improved the color reproduction. With nothing but point-and-shoot camera experience in the past, this is a brand-new learning experience for me. There is so much I don’t know about photography!

Venturing In

Sunday, I finally gathered the nerve to go tour the damage and tally my losses. I did lose a lot: All my radishes were overgrown, hollow, and rotten inside, the yellow winter choy was fully bolted and producing abundant flowers, beets didn’t look too hot, Chinese mustard was wiped out, and the weeds were beginning to take over the unplanted areas.

But all was not lost. While my kale is quite mature and likely pretty bitter, cutting out the thick stems will yield several pounds of delicious, cooked greens, at least a couple meals’ worth. The onions Herman planted are apparently quite happy, as are Justin’s garlics. My experimental iceberg lettuce is doing great. Most of my young second sowing plants are alive and doing well.

My harvests over the next several weeks will be smaller than I would have liked, but I am pleasantly surprised to find a lot of my work is still viable.

I continue to drag my feet on the spring seed-sowing, though. I really need to spend several days in the greenhouse tearing out the bad and preparing everything for my big winter-to-spring transition. Which is looming large-it’s already almost the middle of March! This actually may turn out for the best, though. I do have a habit of jumping the gun and putting my plants out too early.

Until next time, blessings and peace to you!

Making Way for The New: Bittersweet Changes

First, The Bittersweet

I have a sad confession to make: I have not set foot into my greenhouse in probably six weeks. Oh, I planted all my winter greens: Radishes by the dozen, all kinds of lettuces and Asian greens. Kale by the yard. Everything was thriving. Hearty salads and cooked greens were just around the corner.

Enter Omicron. Suddenly, EVERYONE needed emergent dialysis. Our poor little community hospital was simply overrun. And, like everywhere else, terribly understaffed. My coworker and I worked basically round-the-clock for six or seven weeks. In one two-week pay period, I worked 130 hours. That doesn’t include my two-hour round trip. When the weather was too bad to drive, or I was too exhausted to drive safely, I would get some blankets from the linen cart and catnap in one of our dialysis chairs at the hospital. Wash, rinse, repeat.

It’s been a long winter. My ex has been watering the greenhouse plants and putting row covers on during the cold snaps, but I’m fairly certain I’m going to find most of my veggies are well past their prime. The greens have likely bolted. I’m sure I’ll be able to salvage a fair amount, but a lot of it will be destined for the compost (To see my update after I finally gathered the courage to tour the greenhouse, click here).

Winter greens during better days

Last Fall, I built a lovely mini greenhouse for starting my seeds. I haven’t even pulled out my seed packets, and it’s March. Rationally, I understand that a 60-year-old woman working 65-hour weeks isn’t going to have anything left to give during her down time. Many of my days off consisted of two or three long naps and lots of cell phone casino games. Any lucid awake time has been spent working with Mike to get his business off the ground, planning our next steps as a Homestead, and revising our long-term goals. Incredibly time-consuming.

Yet deep down, I still get twinges of guilt, of self-criticism. I feel that I’ve been lazy rather than exhausted. I tell myself I should have prioritized my time better.

However, if I was to be completely honest with myself, I would admit that the hours of work that I put into tending the winter greenhouse is a lot of time expended for minimal returns. While my family does eat the veggies I grow, our kitchen facilities are such that it is quite difficult to process large quantities of the produce. A lot of it gets wasted and ends up in compost. Last winter, when I had more free time, I would take the excess, wash and bag it, and share it with my coworkers. This winter, five uninterrupted hours of sleep felt like a vacation. I have come to the conclusion that it is time to downsize the gardening operation a bit.

My blog posts had ground to a halt as well. I have so much I want to share here and have simply been unable to even consider working on the new projects I have planned. The worst of the Omicron wave seems to be subsiding now, though, and work seems to have settled down for now. Now that Spring seems to be knocking at the door, I am looking forward to getting out with my cameras again and writing a lot more.

Making Way For The New

As a family unit, our thoughts of what long-term financial stability and self-sufficiency means to us have evolved and changed greatly. The plans we had for this property when we bought it five years ago are radically different from the direction we are headed now.

The mushroom culture/substrate business that my son is preparing to launch has potential for great success. With online sales platforms and social media, his reach to potential clients will be global. It is a grossly underserved market with crazy recent growth.

The “Blue Hell Box”

As we transition to a radically different version of “Homesteading,” the property we have now just isn’t going to work for us long-term. So on top of all the other activity going on, we are working on lining up all our financial ducks so we can begin looking for a new property. We love our community and are all adamant about staying in the immediate area. Also, we are all adamant about having a real house with a real inside toilet. Living large.

Anyway, this is what has been going on these past several weeks here at the Homestead. As the weather warms up and I (hopefully) have more time, I am looking forward to sharing a lot more here. I am also looking to try dipping my toe into the YouTube game at some point with some instructional videos.

P.S. I’ve noticed a handful of new followers lately. To my new followers: Welcome! I appreciate all my followers and thank you all for supporting my blog.