Getting Ready For Fall

It feels much too hot out to be worried about fall. That said, with longer germination later in the year, it’s time to put those newspaper seedling cups to use. I want to grow produce year round, not just at the peak of summer, so as we approach cooler temperatures I’ll be replanting a number of things that we grew in the spring. Currently being sprouted indoors for planting after temperatures drop off a bit are beets, spinach, radishes, arugula, carrots, and lettuce. I’ll be adding kale, swiss chard, turnips, and bok choy once I have more seedling cups made.

I’m also trying to get a few blueberry bushes and peach trees going as a bit of an experiment. They’ll be grown in containers.

We’ve started trying to put away extras for the winter when possible. Tomatoes are being canned one jar at a time as they ripen, and blueberries have filled the freezer a couple of gallons at a time.

The shed is also coming along. With any luck, the goat side (not really visible in this picture) will be completed within the next week. All the rafters are in place, hurricane clips have been attached (to prevent the roof from blowing off in a storm), roofing is going up, and siding will soon follow. I think Cai and Vi are ready to move into their more long term home.

Summer Yum

Summer is in full swing, we have more tomatoes and blueberries than we can eat (and keep getting more via the CSA), and the heat is still oppressive, especially midday. Still, there are signs that autumn is on its way.

There are green muscadines popping up on wild wines throughout the forest. I’m looking forward to hiding in the shade to pick them in a few weeks. If my dandelion wine turns out well, I may try a batch of muscadine wine this fall.

For some reason, it seems that our area had a rather poor yield of eggplant this year. None of our neighbors had any that yielded, and I’ve found surprisingly few that have filtered through the CSA. Still we’ve had few, and with the bounty of tomatoes we’ve had, eggplant parmesan in an ample pool of marinara has been a good meal choice for us after a long, hot day of clearing brush and debris.

If all goes as planned, the site will be cleared and ready to start on by this fall. I’m hoping to have building permit in hand and the ability to pour the slab after high temperatures start to edge down closer to the low 80’s every day. Given that the site of our future home was used as a glorified dump site for construction leftovers and broken machinery for the last 20 something years and the floods last year gave everything a good tossing around, this is going to be no small task. For now, it’s just one step at a time, some praying that the road won’t be long, and lots of salad and cold soup to cool off and re-energize after a round of people vs. the insane mess that people are capable of leaving behind them.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

This post is picture free for the moment since the drawings for the house aren’t completely finished. I’ll share when they are.

Now that the temperature isn’t hitting three digits onĀ  a regular basis and the garden is in a more manageable state for the moment, focus is shifting back to our future home. The new goat shed needs to be finished first, but it’s positioned so that’s work in the shade. In the meantime, building plans can be worked on after the sun goes down or during midday heat. Mellie has recently discovered stairs and doorknobs, effectively severing my connection with my computer until better baby proofing is in place, so our plans are being hand drawn. It’s been a good excuse to break out a whole box of drafting tools I haven’t used since college.

Our floor plan has been worked out and I have some elevations done. We still haven’t gotten the utilities that run under the site accurately mapped which is putting a delay on the site plan. Hopefully that can be addressed and all the planning taken care of in time for us to have a building permit and the ability to start working on the foundation when it starts to cool of at the end of the summer/start of fall. That should give us the most time to work before it gets too cold to do much. Plus, after the foundation is in place and the slab has been poured, we can go ahead and get the containers placed, then use them to store building materials until the spring.

I’m so eager to see things start coming together.

Sunny Side Cafe – Support A Local Business

I had been wanting to write something up about supporting local businesses for awhile, but this one deserves it’s own post. On recommendations from some of the hubby’s co-workers, we had a family breakfast at the Sunny Side Cafe on Sunday morning. I was expecting a pancake diner type establishment where I would eat to not be hungry anymore and then move on, filing it away in my mind with other establishments I’ve been to that offered flavorless pancakes and burnt coffee. What I found was a very pleasant surprise.

I shouldn’t have been caught so off guard I suppose. When your building backs up to a farmer’s market and your space is two doors down from a CSA’s base of operations, it seems obvious that you would do well to utilize those resources. My search for a place to eat out that offered food that followed the same guidelines as our nutritional adventures at home seems to have ended over an omelet made with locally grown produce and locally lain eggs. Even their meat is pastured raised, grass fed, hormone free and local. That is something that has seemed to fall into the realm of “too much to ask” even for the few restaurants I’ve known to use some local produce.

Supporting a local business that supports other local businesses is the ultimate on my list of ways to stimulate the local economy. When that stimulus also comes with great service, wonderfully tasty food, and a little concern for the quality of the ingredients they’re working with, consider me sold!

Summer Projects

I’ve gotten completely out of the habit of updating since my little vacation. I think this is half due to the change in the structure of my days, and half to everything else that seems to have popped up out of nowhere all at once. My to do list went from a small handful of things, to not having space for everything on the little board where I keep my list of things that need doing.

That list includes a larger, more permanent place for our goats….. which is going up on the shady side of a larger storage shed. It is going up remarkably quickly for something being done in spare time (ha!).

There was also the first (of what will hopefully be many) Georgia Birth Network’s Birth Ball!After lots of planning and hard work by several of the GBN ladies, it went wonderfully and was well attended. I love when effort pays off.

Mellie is loving the summer. She is a huge fan of the outdoors. When she is fussy and nothing else seems to make her happy, a snack and some grass between her toes works wonders.

Goats Galore!

Meet Violet and Caiphus, our new Nigerian Dwarf kids!

They came to us from Flights of Fancy Farm in Jasper, GA. Mellie was a little skeptical when we first picked them up, but this morning she headed down the stairs and opened the front door herself to go out and see them! (Yikes!)

We picked them up on Saturday and then spent Sunday working on a shed and shady summer pasture space for them. (Picture is of the larger storage shed that’s going up, on the side of which the goat shed will be. I took pictures before we got the frame in place yesterday.)

I hope they’ll be happy in their new home!

Summer Vacation

With the time I took off from work for our Maryland trip, I don’t go back on-call until mid-July. Cal had some vacation days to use up and an opportunity to use them. The stars aligned and everything seemed to magically fall in place, so last week we took the hint, packed up at the last second, and headed for the Appalachian Foothills to get away from everything for a few days. This was Mellie’s first visit to the mountains.

We spent some time on a section of the Pinhoti Trail (a hundred something mile stretch of trail that winds through the foothills before connecting with the Appalachian Trail in northwestern Georgia), camped with the in-laws, and made a detour down a smaller trail (Chinabee Silent) to a gorgeous set of waterfalls where Mellie greatly enjoyed a little (heavily supervised) wading.

I hope to go back soon.

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