Monday, March 23, 2009

My Computer is Having a Mid-Life Crisis

DELLa ran off with Jason the computer repair guy. My best estimate is that their fling will hopefully last no more than a couple weeks.

When my computer is less of a drama queen, I'll be back. Trying to fix her on my own ended up being a novice's poorly executed series of complex plot twists and cliffhangers, but with no resolution. Sort of like in Gone With the Wind, except we're left wondering how to finish the final line "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a.....???"

A what, a what??

Well, whatever the ending is, it surely involves an arm and a leg (ugh...$$$)

I'll keep you posted, and I'll check in via the library to emails every few days.

Can't wait to get back here, when hard drives and antispyware are all on the same page!

And with that, I wave my hanky till next time...hope to be back soon!!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Breakfast on the Run, No Drive-Through Necessary

Eating breakfast on the run can still be a fast, simple, delicious, and nutritious matter...and a lot cheaper than going through a drive-through. I yammer on about it some more over at my post today at Not Dabbling in Normal in a brief treatise on why eggs are now back on my plate, (having made a comeback in my kitchen from a bleak history of culinary disgrace), and how you can cook em', eat 'em, and be out the door in less time than it takes to say "No, I don't want fries with that."
(And as evidenced above, I may also continue perpetuating occasional run-on sentences littered with superfluous parentheses to prevent their teetering on the brink of extinction)
I have no idea what I just said...
Ok, and now I'm hungry again! :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Learning Curve

(The gynura plants rise like the phoenix from total decimation in our past freezes...they're all coming back, hooray!! And now let's see if alllll the other brown and crunchy things get the hint and follow suit...)

I've decided plants love to be in the ground. Yes, they'll grow just fine in pots (or buckets!). But I second the motion that my own plants seem to crave being anchored deeply in terra firma.

The thing is, they want those juicy worms, teeming things, microbes, volunteer seeds from elsewhere...they want nutrition and warmth and diversity from the ground up (at least that's my opinion just now).

With pots, we have to add many of those things from the top down, and yep, they'll do fine. But I've been noticing where they LOVE to be, and for most of them, they just look happy in-ground. So I'm trying to pass on some in-ground love to my container plants till they can be permanently sited in a home of their own where they can stretch and multiply to their hearts' content.

Here's how the potted things are adding up so far:

1. I learned I planted all the leafy greens way too close together in the "salad bar bins." The mustards are rugged and prolific, but crowded, and ditto for all the others. The lettuces seem to the ones that are more content with that living situation, but I still needed to sow the seeds much MUCH farther apart. Lesson learned. The radishes never produced because of the crowding, but the radish seeds Jack tossed onto hard ground where he's digging around on the lot next door...THEY were not overcrowded and are developing right on TOP of the ground, using their tap roots to mine for nourishment, and they are stinking hardy! Another lesson learned.

2. I need to nourish the container plants more. They don't get nourishment from anywhere else. We're doing some mixed plantings, of necessity. I pulled a lot of the overcrowded greens (they were stunted after their last "haircut") and let them lie atop the soil, and under planted them (sparsely!) with Roma bush green beans. I also did this for all the dead papaya plants in buckets and the crunchy shrubs in bins that we're not sure about surviving the freezes. I sowed some cleome here and there. We'll be making some manure tea and comfrey tea quite soon to feed the container plants with.

3. Sunflowers are hardy! They've hung in there and the one next to the horseradish seems unusually happy. I wonder if it's the combination, or the site? I'll keep an eye on it. If it turns out sunflowers love horseradish, that'll be an unusual future planting combination on a larger scale...

4. I hate to say this. It's not a's just what it is... I am tired of buckets. I'm ready for a sprawling section of green things and some beauty, and the buckets are not beautiful. They are, however, functional. I'll deal with it a while longer, but this impermanence of our own living situation will I hope give way this year to a permanent plan. We're simply not spending another penny on anything, and that includes gardening. The same goes with our time. Work and time together take precedence. Maybe I'm getting too old to be wonderwoman!

Ok, time to make do with what we have and get some of these wonderful seeds going. I'm sowing radishes here and there around unsuspecting plants and bushes since they grow better for me with some neglect than they do with a lot of pampering. We hope to put in a good-sized patch of bush beans (green beans and Romas) tomorrow, given the time and weather. We'll experiment with putting lines of topsoil right on top of the spread manure/woodchips, planting along those lines and hoping they do well...we have no way of turning it into the hardpan other than by hand just now, and we lack the time and brawn for it at let's see if the alternative works. Ah, experiments!

...and so go the babes in the hay as they continue to experience the learning curves and crave their own square 'o dirt...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pigeon Pie?

Jack and I discovered inadvertently that both of us have forbears who raised pigeons and doves. That led us to contemplate their possible uses for the backyard homesteader or rural farm alike, and whether they might be a good and affordable "fit" for us as far as harvesting for food, feather, and fertilizer (and beauty...I love birds...)

For more ponderings, this was the subject of my post today over at Not Dabbling in Normal...

Got squab?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


1. Vanna, I'll Take a Clue for 500:
The stress/cleansing herbs and the acai berry supplement were used for three days, Friday through Sunday. I had been feeling progressively worse up to that point, which is why I purchased them. It may have saved me from a hospital trip. I cut back to salads and lean meat or eggs, lemon in water for drinks, and herbal tea. I slept Friday night through Saturday noon a sleep I haven't slept in years...YEARS.

I'll boil down the rest. Making this complete halt and reversal in eating and in adding these herbs saved my bacon (haha, yeah, I know...not your typical Jewish turn of phrase). My body had a crisis over the weekend, which at first I thought was onset flu, maybe as part of the typical "healing crisis" I have when cleansing the yuck. I took more lemon juice and water, kept the liquids coming, but good gosh, I slept almost three, yeah true confession. I simply felt so terrible that's all I could do...NOT normal! (I did manage to read through a 750 page Tom Clancy book during intervals, though, and have some vivid dreams) I lay there thinking "I want chickens, dogs, (continue the list for a few minutes...)...but I don't even feel like walking to the mailbox." Not my greatest moment.

Day Three was yesterday and when I tried to get outside to transplant a few baby plants and run to the library (for more Tom Clancy fix), I felt like crawling back under the covers and willing the world to disappear. At this point, my husband decided this was NOT a normal healing crisis, and we whipped out the blood tester to see my sugar levels. They were off the charts. Which leads me to conclude that they were at least double that three days ago and if I hadn't altered things radically at that point (SO glad I did!) I could be in the hospital right now, or worse.

I've halted the cleansing program till after my sugars normalize, but am keeping the foods really simple and will continue with lots of lemon and water. I'll pick right back up with the supplements when I've had normal readings a few days, since I did really like the benefits and want to see what they do for me in the long term.

And so, my little Lesson to Self is "Robbyn, lay off the stinkin' tortillas, babe!" (banging my head on the keyboard...oh how I love to eat Mexican) Nah, it's not just one thing, but it has been a gradual progression of things, and in the vein of "eating cheap" I've been including more and more starches in my stretch the meals. Well....crud. No more. And that's my little story. I'm not all the way back, but I'm not engaging in 14 hour sleeps any more, either...sheesh!

2. The little rock/crystal deodorant thingy I also bought at the health food store as a deodorant experiment ACTUALLY works! and yes, I'm constitutionally wired to give it a run for its money, but chemicals (especially aluminum) and NO STINK...yay!! That said, it's not an antiperspirant, so if I had to dress-to-impress, it wouldn't be a full solution in these hot climes. But since I don't have to impress anyone (meaning I can endure some sweating), I'll use this since it really does deal with the underarm-odor situation ...and hey, I was a Mitchum girl, Mitchum being the last line of defense for those with overtime underarms.

3. Some of the plants are coming back! The gynura is one of them. I spied two more nasturtiums peeping out from the soil, and I'm transplanting some of the lettuces under the dry brown crispy foliage of the plants that became toast in the freezes, in hopes they'll get chummy, shade the lettuces somewhat till maybe they decide to stage a comeback.

4. We've been talking ferro cement and papercrete, chicken houses, clothesline, drip irrigation, plotting sections of our garden. Still chipping away at all the niggling details of bills and getting out of debt.

5. My housework's abominably behind. The hired help never showed up. <------(hahaha, laughing at this till I hurt) The elves apparently are on extended leave, too...

6. I realized when horizontal for so long, it's been a long time since we had a vacation of any sort (read "stay-cation"). Work right now is much appreciated, though it takes us away from having much time with each other. I'd love a vacation where I'm feeling more "myself" and we can get a breath of fresh air. But for now, the thing is to stay steady. There is a momentum we need to sustain before we can relax it.

7. I need to take care of more 'puter duties and....that's all for now. I think I'll go wash a dish or two. Or three. And so on. Rome wasn't built in a day...


Friday, March 6, 2009

Health, Purity, and When Does the Maturity Kick In?

I've been feeling overall worse the past few months, and it's my own fault.

Last year during Jack's mom's hospice stays, I succumbed to frequenting the Diet Coke machines for those really cold "good burn" cans of Diet Coke, even though truth be told I'm not crazy about the flavor. But the cold and the burn was soooo good in the middle of all that parade of pureed food (Mima's), hospital smells, and sacks of cold take-out food.

I didn't do so well getting off that little treat once things settled back down and I was back home. It manifested in liters of root beer, Vernor's ginger ale, and more root beer, though we kept the kombucha going and always drink a lot of water. But I really didn't need that many "treats," and they eased their way into my grocery cart a lot more than they should have. (My own fault)

I also tried to get us off breads and empty starches so much, and have done so-so at that. I'm pretty happy most of our breads have been those I've made, but cheap sandwich bread has sneaked back in more and more.

And then recently, I just felt BAD..probably fighting off the creeping crud everyone in town seems to have to a greater degree than we have. I noticed my emotions hitting a bit harder than usual, cravings I don't usually have making their appearance, and my work schedule at night creating an unnatural cycle for my sleeping...which also impacted my eating.

I'm not a Diet person...never will be. But I do believe in objectively meditating on (not in the eastern sense per se) the habits I have from time to time, to examine just where I stand. In short, in the past few months I've begun to feel very unhealthy.

Some things are long term projects and some are short term. Short term, I can make some very important steps to return to better health:
1. Completely avoid aspartame and any other synthetic sweetener, in anything (meaning the diet drinks...I don't use artificial sweetners in anything else) I actually like most drinks unsweet, and if I need a sweet fix, I can use a tad of Xylitol (natural)
2. I've overloaded the proportion of my eating with red meats and taste substitutes. It's hard to be honest about this, but flavorings are chock full of preservatives and I've eaten stuff with those flavor enhancers all up in them. We've also been eating a lot of red meat. For myself, I need it now and then but to beef up (ha, pun!) more on my dark greens for those B vitamin fixes.
3. I've overloaded my body with large portion sizes. This also happened gradually...I'm not a snacker, so it mostly happens at mealtime...which is why I've not gained weight. But I feel like my system is overloaded. It needs some lightness.
4. I've made poor "fast food" choices when it comes to eating at work. I've actually bought and eaten pure old Seven-11 junk food, and last week ate Ramen noodles (yes with those awful preservative-flavor packets) nearly every matter how bad they made me feel!! I was hormonal then, so I won't beat myself up about it, but the solution lies in never buying the stuff in the first place...I know better and know how it makes me feel, but ignored my better wisdom I know not why. Rebellion maybe? Well, it didn't end up making my world better. Better to have one or two fantastic pieces of real chocolate next time than carb-o-gazillion empty starches. Ugh!
5. Dramatically ramp down the fungus-loving foods...processed sugars, and much of the bread. I'll have to always watch the quantity of things like bread since I just like them so much. I have a hunch what with my diabetes and all,the anti-fungal connection is something I need to pay much more attention to, and make the very simple and satisfying substitutions that make my body unfriendly to a proliferation of things like candida, and other "fungus stuff"...meaning all the foods that feed disease rather than defending against it.
6. Ramp UP the probiotics...mature kombucha will be our main thing for this. We love it but have drunk less of it because I havent made as much of it as I was...but that's changing now.
7. Yerba buena. We're going to use it daily in our just has so many benefits and does so well in the climate, we need to use it! and it's delicious.

Thankfully, our modest pantry and freezer stock of staples has been a really makes those trips to the store so much less expensive and it just doesn't take much to eat right...except eating right!! :)

I don't spend time beating myself up, and I've been thinking of what my body seems to be crying out for. I was delighted today on payday to be able to get a few things from the health food store to that end...

1. Women's Hormone-supportive herbal tea blend. I think that will ease a lot of the triggers I'm feeling as far as cravings
2. An affordable 10-day Stress Cleansing kit (herbs to address stress and cortisol, gentle cleansing herbs to get my system reset from the overload of yuck
3. Acai berry capsules -- for support, wide range of benefits, and I want to try it to see how it does with my body as I cleanse

I'm going to do a gentle cleanse, drink the hormone-support tea each day, and take the acai berry for additional support, while eating only small meals that are fish or lean chicken, dark greens and salads, water with lemon, plain water, or kombucha. I think that may help me to get back on my feet and understand how to fine tune my health a bit.

It's time for the mature part of me to put some constructive limits on the throw-all-care-to-the-wind part of me. Ultimately, I need to lose all my weight and see if I can ditch this diabetes once and for all. THAT would put a lot of things right in my world :)

I'm very aware of the purity of foods, too, and this is a longer term target area...namely GMO foods. It's said that 70% of foods are full of GMOs and are unlabeled to that effect. That makes me furious, frankly. So I'm becoming aware of the foods most often genetically modified (not meaning hybrids but meaning DNA tampering by the likes of Monsanto)....these are corn, soy, sugar, and canola...and I'm not sure what else yet. But soy and corn (think HFCS and other sweeteners) are in SO many foods...for instance, try buying a salad dressing that doesn't have soy or canola in it...nearly impossible. And think of what your food ATE...meaning cows, chickens, etc...was their primary diet corn, soy, things with hormones/chemicals/pesticides? They are what they eat...and we are what we eat when we eat them.

The other purity issue is preservatives. Since we're not buying much in the way of processed foods ( yeah, I know...Ramen noodles, in the trash you go!), this is not as much an issue, but it's still sneaky. To purchase a package of chicken breasts, you have to read the fine print...what was injected into them? Ah, a solution....?? (what sort of a solution, blehh) Was it packaged in plastic? Sprayed with something to preserve its color, freshness, keep from spoiling? Chemicals.

We have not been able to eliminate chemicals entirely...yet. We don't buy solely organic. I don't care what anyone says, we can't afford it. Yet. We're working towards that. First, to simplify our spoiled tastes and our habit of instant gratification, and our habit of overeating. This week's shopping trip brought home a couple small cabbages, some lettuces, celery, some grape tomatoes, one small pack asparagus, a pack of chicken breasts, 9 lemons, and a lot of clean drinking water (we have sulfur stinky water here).

That'll do us well...we have beans, turkey, staples like basmati rice & such, a couple calabazas and that Musquee Aux Provence we haven't cut into yet, along with the last quantity cooking I did a couple days ago (spaghetti sauce w/lots of herbs & a bit of rigatoni) to round things out.

I'm VERY happy to be working from a pantry-based list rather than a store-based one! I'm also really happy about fasting from heavy meals and going to salads and a lot of water and support herbs to get back on track.

Vitamin D? It's time to get outside and soak up some sun puttering among the seedlings! And then get some more much-needed sleep....ah, gotta love shabbat and that "enforced" day of rest, wooo! :)

Hope you have a lovely night and weekend!

Shabbat shalom from our family to yours :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


My post today on Not Dabbling in Normal is a rambly bit about games remembered...the sort requiring no assembly, batteries, joystick, or wall plug.

As an update to my post a few days ago, we never found the kitchen noise culprit, but I did observe my overgrown goldfish wiggling the hard plastic casing that houses the bubble stone, and it would tap the side of the tank. Just when I thought for SURE that must have been what I heard the other day, I heard another noise that put me in doubt'll see. Arggh, the suspense!

The weather here has turned suddenly quite cold for this area, and I was under the weather the last few days. I haven't assembled the laundry soap yet, though I have the ingredients (the bars of soap need grating and all that), and I've done no more kitchen projects. I did, however, shovel and rake the entire two trailerloads of horse poo/woodshavings into a large-ish square shape about 8 to 10" deep. When it warms, we'll start with that as the location for testing some warm weather crops...when we have warm weather!

We've both been working a lot, and this morning I'm jet-lagged from spending time yesterday out and about with my daughter (instead of sleeping) and then working all night. Wow, you know you're getting old when you begin looking FORWARD to going to sleep again, ha :)

Watched The Bucket List last night and cried my eyes out. That, just on the heels of watching the Joe Black movie with Jack the night before. Any other movies that ensue are going to have to be less meaningful and maudlin, or I'll be a mess ;-)

We chip, chip, chip away in the blue collar way at our debt, debt, debt. Just had to say it again, because instead of tons of progress on fabulous handmade items or homesteady undertakings, it's our biggest contribution of time and effort. We're sort of on autopilot that way right now. And with that occupation, it makes for a lot of pre-occupation where normally I'd be having a nice creative flow and some mental synapse fun. Ah, well...I'll have to be boring a bit, I suppose, and just keep getting my jollies seeing another credit card be retired as paid in full, one at a time, thanks to Jack's oversight and both of our participation and time. Right now, just having time with him when we're not having overlapping schedules is the nicest treat, when we can catch those moments! We're very thankful to have the work...

OK, my eyes are crossing...time for some (always weird in the daytime) beauty sleep. Hope everyone is havinga great day, and for those of you in the path of the big cold system, I hope you're snug and warm!

Shall return soon...

Robbyn :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bucketville Update

Quickie update on the status of the backyard bucket garden since The Three Freezes.

1. All citrus --- seem A-O.K. There was some blossom loss, so the harvest this year may be scant.
2. Tamarinds --- appear to be a complete loss. I think we had about a dozen of them. We will be leaving their brown remains undisturbed, however, in hopes there will be some sign of life coming from the roots up (we don't know), but we will plant 2 bush beans per bucket beside them in order to not waste so many pots (well, buckets)
3. Lychee --- Again we think they're all dead. Like the tamarinds, we will plant 2 bush beans per bucket right beside their remains, in hopes a few may revive. I have less hope of this with them, however, since they were much smaller and more tender.
4. Gynura --- These died back to a brown paste, but amazingly, there are signs with some of them of new leaves coming from the root, yay!! We'll let them get some more oomph and then trim back the brown stuff and let it mulch itself.
5. Papayas ---Weeping, mourning, gnashing of teeth...The 8', two 6', two 4', and rest of the 30 plus papaya plants all appear to be casualties of the freeze. These plants simply hate cool weather but can't withstand those lower 30 temps. We plan a trip to visit the reknowned "papaya man" in Sarasota to see how he manages to have so many fruitful plants in such a small space in his backyard...he and his wife eat only food that they grow, and most of it is fruit, namely papayas. We just really need to know how to keep ours alive without ultimate pampering, since they're SO hardy all the other times of year here and seem to thrive on punishment that would kill most other plants.
6. Malanga --- remember those plants that look like elephant ear plants, with the starchy taro-ish root? They're our pleasant surprise! We did cover them loosely during the freezes, but not with much fuss. They got good and frozen. And the green leaves did die back...BUT...they've all reappeared! This makes them a GREAT keeper for us, and means we can concentrate on propagating a lot more of them. They send out side shoots that Jack carefully separates and starts more from, with seeming success at this point, yay! This is a much-underutilized crop for this region, and just really doesnt make it to the markets locally in large quantities. We've noticed a lot of market malanga comes from central or south america, but we're not sure why since it's very hardy here. Note to selves: Grow it!
7. Sunflower starts --- another surprise. I'd started some mammoth sunflowers from seed in the salad bins, and they were already about 4" tall when the first freeze hit. They survived all three freezes with no problems...uncovered! That really surprised me. I guess our day temps get warm enough to keep them from going under, but for whatever reason, their night-temp cold-hardiness is duly noted! :)
8. Mustard, komatsuna, and radishes did not die back, and were not covered. Yay!
9. Carambola/Starfruit tree sapling --- may be a complete loss :( It was so hardy during those hot, hot days. We'll still keep it watered and such till we know if anything choose to sprout from it in the weeks to come.
10. Jujube sapling --- did not like the freezes, but is greening up again since. Let's's hoping!
11. My cocoplum bushes --- wahhhhh :( All 6 are either dead or having a dickens of a time deciding to hang in there. They are brown and crunchy, but were green and loaded with fruit before the 3 freezes. Double wahhhhh :( We'll see...
12. Bush Cherry --- It may make it, but it's so stressed. Part of it died back to completely brown, but a couple places at the bottom stayed somewhat green. Let's just see... (sigh!)
13. Western soapberry saplings --- these went dormant in early winter and are deciduous. I suspect they'll survive the freezes and will leaf out when they decide spring has sprung. Again, let's see...I still have hopes for them :)
14. Mangos --- it hurts too much to admit we may have lost them all, especially the beautiful 6' Carrie mango we brought onto the porch for more protection. The ones grown from seed by Jack, in pots, all seem to be lost. The Carrie is brown and crunchy...let's see if it decides to put out growth at all.
15. Pineapples --- these are all starts from crowns, and all have turned yellow and mostly limp, but are still with us. Let's see if hot weather revives them at all. We're hoping they will, but are not giving them any special treatment since we want to know what will remain hardy to our locale, and which things aren't our best choices. They've been troopers so far, so they may hang in there and if so, we'll keep propagating more.
16. Yerba Buena mint --- This one takes a licking and keeps on ticking. In fact, it seems to have GROWN during the freezes! It's not a particular plant, not finicky. So we need to find all the ways to best use's a keeper for sure.
17. Feverfew ---another of the herbs that has just grown great guns during hot and cold. I need to find out how to utilized's great!
18. Rosemary ---it revived during the cold, and hangs in there in the heat. I'm lovin' you, rosemary!
19. Thymes --- I have a couple that have done great during hot or freeze, and they're keepers. If we're able to move to our homestead, they'll have a spot of their very own, possibly in an area with birdhouses near the house. They continue to be one of my most favorite :)
20. Basils ---nah, they hated the freeze, but withstood the cold up till that time. I'm not worried, though...we let them all go to seed in the fall and there will be enough volunteers coming up all throughout the other plants' pots they'll be back :)
21. Cassava/Yucca --- These did ok till the freeze, then they died back. I don't know if the root is enough to restart more in the spring when it gets warmer. We're leaving it there just in case. We had barely started our experimentation with these, but they should be hardy to this area...let's see.
22. Coffee tree saplings --- They hated the freeze. I'm not sure how they'll do...they're struggling right now. They're up on our back porch protected from extremes, but Jack's more invested in their survival than I am. If they don't thrive, frankly I want to stay away from things needing babying. But he's right in that we have no mature tree cover right now, and if we did, they might be totally in their element. So, we'll see. If they don't thrive, I'll try my hand at growing chickory or romaine in order to have a coffee substitute (from the dried or roasted, ground roots)

We have a lot next door that is complete concrete-tough hardpan. Our great neighbor with horses down the street has been giving us (free!) liberal truckloads of stable cleanings, which usually is a mix of manure/wood waste/straw. Jack has spread 1/4 of the lot with it to a depth of about 6 inches, and two more loads were just delivered. He's also been leveling our existing lot (the one our house is on) with this mix, too, which will decompose over the very hot summer, and has been mulching the front bed and under the trees, etc.

Collecting boxes of the quantity and frequency needed to layer on the lot next door over such a big area is more than our work schedules can accommodate just now, so it's going to have to remain manure&shavings on top of hardpan, and we're trying to figure out how to grow something in that.

I really want us to grow a large quantity of a few plants there, ones that will make great green manure even if they don't succeed well the first year for a harvest. (but that will stand a good chance at both). I want to plant pink-eye purple hull peas, okra, a couple different bush beans, and bush green beans there. It takes an awful lot of purple hull plants to bear enough of a crop for a good harvest, so I hope we start with those and that they do well. The problem is all that manure and wood chips/straw, and the fact there is very little available soil to sow directly into (the hardpan is sand, sand, sand). That said, I think we may start with a section, mark it off into rows that can be planted at least 3 deep (wide rows), make narrow furrows with a broomhandle and tap out some lines of topsoil mix right in those furrows to get the seeds off to a good start. I have no idea if this will work, but tilling it all in will require renting a tiller and will jumpstart all the weeds that lurk over there, plus we'll be battling that stinking concrete-hard soil. I'm thinking layers of biomass at this point will more quickly transform the soil than any tilling will. And though we just don't have the time to layer carboard over it, etc, maybe just adding green manures to the layer of manure&wood/straw may encourage microbes and worms...let's see!

I still feel us holding back. There is still a semi-detachment in our efforts till we know for sure how long we'll be here, or whether our homestead will come together elsewhere. That's our unknown, so THE first priority is what it has been the last two years...getting out of debt.

Here's my mindset on what we should grow:
1. Keep what's done well for us now...all things we thought would do well in our zone. Those that THRIVE are at the top of the list to keep, propagate, and utilize. We want to only add in other plants we think have this potential.
2. We need to grow what we can use for our diet, ultimately to eliminate the need for the store for essentials. I see our needs being
A. Fresh greens
B. Shell Beans
C. Green beans
D. Potatoes, malanga
E. Medicinal herbs
F. Other---tomatoes, okra, summer and storage squash (in other years, these will be farther up the MUST HAVE list)
G. Fruits

This year, I think we can work on trying A, B, C & D on a small scale, hitting that learning curve. This is "on the side" when not working at our jobs.

So far, all our attempts have been full of surprises, setbacks, and pleasant successes. It's on a very small scale. But later larger scales will be based on our best successes during these days and their limitations. Some things such as fruit trees are a matter of time...they take time to mature and fruit on a bigger scale. But we're having fun trying :)

And those are our simple goals at the outset at this point in 2009.