Friday, September 4, 2015

Farm Friday

Two of the four bags that were packed full of unused shopping bags
Happy September! Can you believe it? Fall is just around the corner! The days are definitely shorter now with the sun setting earlier and earlier. And I can already see the leaves changing color on some trees. This week has been another full homesteading and farming week.  A few highlights:

  • Began the week by picking up some fall plant starts at a wholesale nursery. In January, I'm going to review our expenses and see if we're better off investing in a small greenhouse so we can start all of our own plants.
  • Spent another afternoon at our mid-week market. Visitors were down considerably. As one of the market managers, I'm trying to come up with some strategies to grow the market so that we not only have more customers but also so we can open the market to more vendors. We try to limit the number of vendors selling the same type of items right now so that it is worth everyone's time and energy to come to the market. While a little competition is good for the vendors and good for the customers, too much means not enough revenue for individual vendors which will result in their leaving the market. Quite a delicate balance.
  • Got my latest Azure Standard order. Was disappointed that my organic cane sugar was not with the order. I'll have to order again next month - and hopefully it will be in stock. I use the sugar in my granola as I do my best to avoid GMOs (unlike cane sugar, sugar made from beets is genetically modified).
  • Designed and ordered new marketing materials in preparation for a couple of events I will be attending.
  • Ordered some gorgeous fabrics for aprons. The holiday shows aren't that far out so I need to get working on that aspect of our homestead. I already have an order for 2 aprons and another potential order for teacher aprons and "mommy & me" aprons. I still need to find coordinating fabrics for some of my choices.
  • Picked up four shopping bags full of unused bags at Wal-Mart. They have a large cardboard box next to the customer service area where customers can put their used shopping bags for recycling. What I've discovered is that most of the bags are brand new bags that the cashiers toss because they can't get them open fast enough for the store's (or customer's) standards. So glad to take them off their hands so we don't 1) have to purchase any more bags and 2) we don't contribute to the plastic problem. We're refusing, reusing, recycling, and repurposing all at once. These will keep us stocked for some time.
  • Put up more food! I blanched and froze a few bags of okra. I froze some whole for roasting and for making okra patties. I also flash froze some sliced okra for gumbos and stews. This weekend I plan to freeze some sliced okra that is prepped with cornmeal for frying. I also froze some cantaloupe chunks so I can make cantaloupe bread later in the year.
  • I made a few new dishes to use up excess tomatoes, eggplant, okra, and potatoes: gumbo, hash browns, and eggplant with pasta just to name a few.
  • I canned some cantaloupe jam. Since I'm not sure of its acidity (and because I'm not yet trained in pressure canning), I water bath canned the jars and then put them in the refrigerator to keep them safe from developing any nasty contaminants. The canning will give them longevity, the refrigeration will prevent botulism spores from growing (they like it to be between 70 and 110 degrees in an anaerobic, moist environment).
  • Finally planted the rest of the canna lilies that were given to me earlier this summer. I had saved them in a big container that I kept filled with water. They seemed to like it (even bloomed in that environment). The fact that they developed a sort of carpet of roots (tubers) made it easy to plant in a new spot. I just spread a little top soil over an impression in the ground, sat the clump on top, then filled in and around with more top soil. 
  • Cleaned up the herb beds by removing the old dill plants and cutting back most of the other herbs to stimulate more growth over the fall. 
  • Harvested some basil that is now drying in the dehydrator.
  • Learned to cut watermelon so that it is easy to remove the seeds.
  • Discovered the Bioneers podcasts and have been devouring them on my ipod as I go about my daily chores. Last week I discovered TED Talk Radio podcasts and have really enjoyed them, too.
  • I'll be donating blood later today after I run my usual errands.
  • This afternoon I'll be prepping for tomorrow's farmers' market.

Have a great weekend!


WB said...

I was at a dog obedience class and someone had the cutest dog training apron. It was shaped about like the fabric aprons you see at Home Depot for nails and such, but with cute fabrics. I'd buy one if I saw it at a farmer's market!

Cherie said...

WB, I make some aprons that are similar to what you describe - but with cute fabric, and sometimes with a ruffle. :)