Thinking ahead for our family
It has been a busy few weeks around here. Yesterday my Granddaughter and I went to a neighbors house for a visit. We got to talking about how her garden has been doing this year, and the fact that I never did get mine planted.
I know what you must be thinking….what no garden….well ya’, no garden this year. The past several years I have struggled with it, the local deer and woodchucks think it’s a salad bar just for them. I came up with a plan last fall to move the garden closer to the house, and put in raised 4×8 beds then add 4′ fencing around them. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s didn’t turn out that way. It hasn’t done anything here all summer but rain and rain. My husband went back to work for the summer and I am home alone days with a very active 2 year old and the older immobile gentleman who lives with us. I haven’t gotten much outside work done. Seems when the baby is sleeping the other one needs my attention. So this project was put on the fall to do list.
I pulled all the boards from the board pile and bought stakes to hold them in place, I have nice compost all ready and no help here and it rains….
Back to my neighbors garden, hers is growing better the past couple of days but the rain hasn’t done it any good and isn’t producing all that well. Many things have rotted to the ground. I did bring home several overgrown zucchini to dehydrate to later use for bread. A couple of tomatoes we had for supper and a summer squash.
Looks like we won’t be able to trade any time soon. She was going to send her string beans & tomatoes up for me to can for her and I was going to keep 1/2 of what ever was canned. Well there isn’t any thing usable for canning so far…She is more stressed over this than I am. I have a nice pantry with a good supply of store canned veggies and if I work on adding to it when they go on sale and hope the garden picks up we should be OK for the winter and into next growing season. I have little hope for the garden this year it’s already the middle of August and a month from now it will be time to pull it all up and put it away for the winter.
This year hay is going to be tough to get and quite expensive. The first crop didn’t grow. A field that usually yields 1,000 bales produced 80-100. We had no rain in May when we needed it and now, it won’t stop raining. Not quite sure how I’m going to make the adjustments needed to feed the horses this winter. This coming week is supposed to be good weather and my husband has plans on helping a neighbor down the road mow one of the hay fields for him then get it baled and I will go down and help them put it in the barn. We are going to bring home a good quantity for our barn. This will help but won’t be enough.
A few other things on my mind are getting the first aid kits for both human and animal updated. When I have time I will write more on this.
I need to go get more 5 gallon buckets to fill with sand from the town shed. Last spring I traded several of our buckets to a friend for his garden in exchange for several nice tarps that have come in handy. We can get all the buckets anyone will ever need from another friend who buys motor oil in them. I use the sand for sanding the walking paths in the winter.
I should decide what crafts I will work on over the winter for sale later in the year, and what I would like to do for the holidays this year. By this I mean where I would like to volunteer some time and where to donate gifts I will be making. Last year the local bank was collecting handmade mittens, scarves and hats for the children who used the after school programs while their parents were working. I knit 18 pair of mittens, 6 hats and 2 scarves. I love to do this and think store bought gifts for the many toy drives are not appreciated in the long run by anyone. I’m not saying store bought gifts aren’t good, they are bought and handed out randomly without much thought put into them. I have helped do this in the past and found it left me feeling restless and stressed that the child was receiving a piece of meaningless plastic to fill a space under their tree. A short term gratification for everyone. I’m the type to put more thought into the wants and needs of whom I am giving to and not just giving because it’s expected.
I will pull out the boxes of winter clothes and look them all over again and decide what needs replacing. Pull out the winter coats from their summer closet and move them upstairs along with the boots, hats and scarves. I know my Granddaughter will need mostly new clothes as she is growing so fast. Last years will go down to the consignment shop. I’ll start looking now for things she will use. The summer clothes and shoes I’ll look over and toss out or donate things not wanted and the rest will go back into the boxes and storage closet.
Up at the barn I will need to take all the items that will freeze back down to the house and put them away, fly spray, shampoo, conditioner and any tubes or jars of ointment. I have a cabinet down in the cellar for just the barn items. The ointments I put into a pail ready to take along should I need them quickly. I will wash and put away the fly masks, sheets and leg wraps. Then do my 2 times a year top to bottom cleaning. Everything washed down and put away, all the tack, grooming supplies, the walls floors and ceilings. I take all the screens off the windows and wash them down & wrap in newspaper and store until next spring. The extra tack not used in the winter will be washed, oiled and stored in containers for the next season. I will check that I have a good supply of extra fencing parts. That the back up battery fencing system is top shape. Touch up the fencing and adjust anything to keep it safe and in good repair. Bring back up the pail of extra gloves and clean rags. The horses come in dirty in the winter and a bath is not possible, I wipe them down as best I can then use dry shampoo and brush them out. This uses a lot of clean rags and towels.
I’ll clean, oil and put away all the summer tools, rakes, shovels, hoses and such. Then take out the winter shovels, sanders. My husband will clean up the mowers, change the oil and grease, and into storage for the winter. Check the snow plow and back hoe.
Seems like a long list but when thought about early enough it doesn’t sneak up on you or they don’t go undone. I have found that planning both short term and long term keeps this family running smoothly. I have a fairy good memory but not good enough so I keep a 3 ring binder with these kinds of lists and projects for each season. I also keep notes on what worked well and what needs improvement. I’ll write more on this later.
This week we bought a small chest freezer. I have been planning and researching for one since last winter. Our old one was donated to the local food pantry, it was very ineffecient and too large for our current needs. This week I found one of my choices on sale and brought it home. It’s not for huge amounts of storage, I’m not all that keen on frozen veggies and we have no meat animals at the moment. I’ll be thinking about and researching dairy/meat goats over the winter. There seems to be a demand for their meat locally and will see if it’s feasible to add that endeavor to our farm, both for resale and own use.
This week we also purchased a new riding lawn mover. Our old one was bought new in 88′ and needs quite a bit of work done to it. Again it was something we have been planning for and couldn’t pass up the savings. We have a new Tractor Supply store in town that just opened up. Well they had this mower out front for several weeks before the store opened and after researching about that particular mower discovered the cost of it was a good $450. less than every where else we checked, added to this the store was having a 10% off opening sale and the mower came home with us.
As it turns out we went back down yesterday to replace a couple of fence handles and talking to one of the supervisors there whom we have known for many years, tells us the mower was miss-labeled and if fact it should have been $500 more than what it was marked. I thought to myself wow what luck. Another lucky thing that happened to us while on our way to the store for the gate handles was we found an entire sleeve of insulation on the side of the highway. We brought that home and discovered it’s worth about $95. and it will be handy for the chicken coop.
Another project that didn’t get done this summer is building a chicken coop for a small flock of chickens for our own use and resale. The weather just didn’t cooperate.
None of this is going to happen before the next 4 weeks or so, summer is still in full swing…just thinking ahead and making plans. Hope this will inspire someone else to plan ahead and simpfly their life.