Prairie Views

~ Dreamy abstraction in Four Square House on the Pairie

Month: February 2015

Diet Crop Selection For Your Home Garden



Most people who have a garden think about tomatoes, lettuce, carrots as the typical crops. If you are more interested in providing your family with diet crop there are three dietary elements you should be first concerned with. These are crops that offer calories, protein and calcium. The diet crops that best work are crops such as wheat, rye, Irish potatoes, grain amaranth, millet, sweet potatoes, winter squash, dry beans, and peanuts. If I was limited on  5 items that would work  best for us it would be beans, peanuts, irish potatoes, peanuts and sweet potatoes. I really like rice too and I am testing the usefulness of growing an upland rice crop this year. The other crops are good for calories and good for providing nitrogen and carbon from their straw to improve soil structure from their roots. Just a small car port size pot of wheat and rye give a significant amount of food value in the form of wheat and rye grains.

The other crops that we typically grow in gardens are really necessary for variety. Who really wants to eat the same 10 crops all year.  Soon you would be tried of the lack of variety and will just eat to survive. They do have nutrients. We are all familiar with carrots being high in vitamin A. Their most imporatnat role is providing variety in our diets. This year I will grow almost another bed of tomatoes to give enough tomatoes to can. I used the Ball canning book canning chart to figure out how much I should grow for sauces and tomato soup we will consume in a year. I will be also growing more canning type of tomatoes that are meatier than slicing tomatoes.

Beyond Sliced Bread




There is really nothing better than convenience and uniformity. It is quite surprising that during 1943, U.S. officials imposed a short-lived ban on sliced bread as a wartime conservation measure. The nice thin sliced bread created greater consumption plus created more wax paper consumption. This was before those plastic sandwich wrap. This is before my time. I do not remember any sandwiches wrapped in wax paper but I do remember them wrapped in foil before the plastic.  This was before the explosion of frozen entrees and ramen noodles and inidvidulal wrpped little meat, crackers and cheese lunches in  stores everywhere. Before it was toast for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch.I suppose unless you family could afford a maid.

My bread machine paddle went AWOL so plans to make bread with the better than hand kneading method has been halted.  An order of a new paddle is underway but  I am sure the old paddle with be discovered after it arrives. It seems to work that way around here although I have looked all over.

How I remember the good ode days of sandwiches. I never revered in them so I do not miss them at all with the slimy bologna or baloney. It always seemed the bread was dry. Part of the problem was the day old bread which in realility was much older than one day. Give me freedom, liberty and fresh bread or anything else than sandwiches and I am okay. I will even slice it myself. Now we have all of those fast food and sit down fast food which I call all the other trendy restaurants. I am refraining from any of these since I noticed more problems. This is likely do to the excessive salt content.

Now I must move on the next projects today. That being working more on the planning of the Compost 67% Diet 22% Income 11% garden. The goal of all this work is to produce all of my compost material to entice the soil with the needed minerals and nitrogen, grow most of the food for the year and maybe make a little money to help pay for the other supplies. This planning is taking more time than I had envisioned but I am hoping it will pay later.

I also need to finish the homework for my class.”Growing Our Future Foods: Crops. At least this week is not too bad. Last week with all the formulas took me a long time with great difficulty.  Another class started yesterday so I must move on now before I get far behind.



Sliced bread

Florida Quarter



As I opened the little c coin bank I found in the attic last week one of the first coins falling out is a quarter.  This was a Florida state quarter minted in 2002.  It is one of those state quarters minted to encourage coin collectors but only the uncirculated are worth more than face value. It was fun at the time look at the quarters you received looking for a new state.  I really don’t remember what I was doing during that year. It was around the time we had just moved to Kansas and the years just seem to just melt together anyway.  I was not at Cedar Lane yet. That would happen a couple of years later.


Buffalo Nickel


Light In My Eyes



Frankly, some mornings, I do not want to leave the warmth of the bed into the chilly morning. This morning I had that feeling so much more than others knowing we had no more wood to heat the house to a toasty temperature. The house is being heated to a cool 68 degrees to conserve but to me it just feels cold. I have animals to care for so even staying in to read was out of the question. I other projects to do.

I can’t wait for spring but summer can wait.

Soon it will be lambing time. I did have three still births from the ewe, Fluffy, two days ago.  I have tried to save here for the last two weeks.  They were really tiny. Lambs get most of their growth in the last few weeds and they needed at least two  more weeks to survive. When I walked in I noticed that two were but were still. I other was born not too long ago and still covered but not moving. I feed Fluffy some more energy tonic,  removed the lambs and got her standing. Fluffy did not act to upset. Either she already knew they were dead or she was just too ill to really care.  Hopefully she will start eating better and will live a few more years. We will take precautions she does not mix with a ram. Hopefully, it will go better with the rest of the ewes.


First Light

Life Happen! Yep! Life Happens!



Forrest Gump: “My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. 


You just never know what will happen in life. Yep, you can plan and prepare but life happens. Sometimes it is great like when you pick you favorite chocolate with creamy carmels and nuts or you get an orange filling. Move on! Move on!


Silver Screen

Oh, The Places I Will Not Go!





Oh the places I will not go!

Places with war and violence galore

Places the with Westerners it is a no go

It is hard enough to afford

A decent vacation is what I want

Gert away from violence and what not

Why would I want to see horror?

When safer places with beaches and history occur.




No, Thanks

Food Forest and Onions

It is way too early to do much in the garden right now. We have forecast of snow today. which has not happened yet but I am sure will to some extent today.  Today I will start planting the onions and leeks insides. I have the table, lights and heater set up to begin the process. My cold frame was damaged this winter so I will have to get the parts to repair it later this month or build a new one.

I have finally purchased some of the plants to fill in the areas between the fruit trees for my food forest. These plants will be useful for humans, birds, bees and beneficial insects. Most of the plants I ordered will be bare roots. I wish I could had afford to order more but I am hoping to be able to take cuttings latter to fill in other spots and add more plants at later dates just like my native plums which I will need to transplant new plants soon. They had many of these plants I ordered yesterday 1/2 off so if was an offer I could not refuse. I am hoping they will be good and the company has a good exchange policy if they arrive in really bad condition. I know the plants will be on the smaller size from reading on The Garden Watchdog – Dave’s Garden but I plant to prepare the area well including adding drip irrigation off the tree irrigation pipes. There are lots of choices to make but as I mentioned most are natives or are hardy plants. I will now explain the reason I decided on each plant. I am in the process of also getting two bee hives to set up so I want to make sure I have enough plants for them and the native population I have and for use and others in the future.  The plans to my Food Forest is here.

Service Berry– This plant has a lot of other names such as Sarvis or sarvisberry, shadblow, Juneberry, shadbush, shadwood, saskatoon, downy serviceberry, roundleaf serviceberry, wild pear, sugarplum, wild plum, Alleghany serviceberry and Pacific serviceberry. These  plants range from a small bush to a 60 foot tree.

This plant produces thousands of lacy white blooms and purple-red berries. If you can get them before the birds you can make pies, puddings or muffins, dehydrate them like raisins, pasteurized juice, mead or wine, or simmer the juice to make serviceberry syrup. I wonder why they are not more popular.

American Persimmon:  This is another native tree that grows from  Connecticut to Florida and west to Kansas. The 50 foot tall tree also looks great as a landscape plant. Persimmon pollination can be tricky since you will need both a female and male tree. Sometimes you can get grafted trees. I order three trees so I am hoping I get one sex of each. They have a long tap root so you will have to make sure you prepare the area you will plant properly. The also tend to produce suckers but you can add a thick layer of compost. Don’t harvest your persimmons until the fruits are fully colored and soft or they will be very astringent tasting. There asian varieties that an even better in my opinion. I might add some later but I wanted to get some native trees first.

Pawpaw: This is as close to a tropical fruit you can grow in this area.They are 10- to 25-foot trees (Asimina triloba) that are native to woodlands from New York to Georgia and west to Nebraska. The lush, drooping leaves give the tree  have an exotic look. They grow best in full sun but can take light shade. They are another fruit that you want to harvest when ripe but you can set them indoors to finish riping.

Hazelnut: Hazelnuts are also called filberts. these nuts can be eaten on their own or made into a spread with chocolate. One well know product is Nutella. They grow in a lot of areas of the United States. You should consider growing the american varieties rather than the European if you live in a colder area. You will need to plant at least two about 20 feet apart since they are self infertile and you might need cross-pollination with other varieties. If you plant them over 40 feet apart they might not pollinate each other. This bushy tree tends to sucker quite a lot so you will have to prune to get a good nut crop. You may have to spray regularly  for blight and moths that can damage or kill the trees.

Goji Berry: This is a Chinese plant but are extremely nutritionally dense and high in antioxidants. The bring orange red berries can be eaten fresh or juice, wine and other products. The shrub grow up to ten feet tall and has no known disease problems. Heavy puning keeps keep this plant looking nice.

Nacking Bush Cherry: This plant provides scented spring flowers tasty fruit. This plant is planted for its fruit and used as hedgerows in the  Midwest United States. This is a tought but pretty bush.

Passion Flower or Maypop: I remember this pretty vine growing at my parents home but never knew you could eat it. I will be planting this vine as mainly a screen near my greenhouse. They are heavy feeders and will need more water than some of the other plants in this area but is one of the hardiest species of passionflower.

Raspberry: This is an edible berry that is know about just about everywhere. I plant to end up with quite a few of these plants in the many varieties. I ordered the Red Latham to start with because it is very cold hardy. it has small fruit with good color and fair flavor and is moderately productive.

Viking Aronia or Black Choke Berry: This is a cultivated variety of the native plant. They have a high tannin level so are best used in products with other berries or fruits. If not harvest they will give provide for the local bird population. They are  self pollinating and extremely hardy and perfect for hedging in the eastern United States. I am hoping it will adapt well here in the food forest although I am a state over from the natural range.


Race the clock

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