Prairie Views

~ Dreamy abstraction in Four Square House on the Pairie

Month: December 2015

Comeback Of Mainstreet


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After seeing the decline of some many main streets I had noticed a trend of more business. Was it a dream or was I just imaging this trend? After reading this article I concluded there was more to my wishful thinking. It was a real observation.  The small little town I live has been in a downhill spire since we moved here. I once had a decent paying job and I liked the area for many reasons. It was affordable. A home would be mostly out of reach in California, the state I grew up. This area is also a rather conservative area although I have seen more and more trends to the liberal though. We are after all very close to a University where liberalism thrives.  I liked the conservative in the schools and government. This changed due to the base downsizing and jobs going overseas, Nobody knows exactly how many jobs have disappeared. I see it where I work. A job in retail that I am very thankful for even with the low pay. I see how many come in using the EBT cards.  This means even if they are working their pay is extremely low and they have nothing to tie them over for emergencies.

Sill I am seeing some new business. We now have a grocery store and, of course, the store I work at supplies many items including food products. There is a music store, fabric  and, of course the general store and clothing. We now are two restaurants.  I am seeing the same trend in many of the other larger cities in this area.

After reading the article Main Street Comeback: How Independent Stores are Thriving (Even in the Age of Amazon) in Yes I know now that it is true and not figment of my imagination. So let us all “buy local” and let the main street lights shine as bright as they once did. 

One Step Back But Two Steps Forward At Pairie Views

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As I sit here I am in shock. Somehow 2015 went by so fast it is difficult to comprehend. It was a year of some adventure and many failures. I have the need to reflex back on those falure but I am finding it very difficult.

“Fall seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams
“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” – Chinese Proverb
“Never give in. Never. Never. Never. Never.” – Winston Churchill
“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson

 

All of these quotes really mean they same.  No matter how many times you run into obstacles, what matters is you are able to overcome, one at a time.

A step is considered negative. It can be a weekend wasted watching T.V. , breaks in your routine, personal tragedies, injuries. Most, if not all people, think that you have to start over. That is a huge mistake in thinking. You need to move forward. Take that one or two steps ahead and you are still past where you were before.

If you expect perfection you have set yourself up for failure. It is the time now to not to start over but to continue forward two steps into the new year. If you were losing weight as I was and have gained a few pounds of the weight back just more forward.

My vegetable garden was a complete disaster in weed control. I live in prairie land and the land wants to continue nurturing the grasses and not the cabbage, carrots and tomatoes I so want. In between the vegetables grass sprout at an amazing rate. Most times getting me far behind in removing them before that choke out my vegetables. This year was no exception. With the added problem of a late winter and not letting my vegetables gain a foothold before summer weather they all struggled. This year is a new year and I will move two steps forward using a ground cover to prevent the prairie from moving back in.

I have enjoyed the variety of birds can Prairie Views home. My years of effort of creating habitats and food sources for birds have paid off. I have a number of cardinals searching for berries and other  seeds moving from bush to tree and then back to the bush. It is a lovely sight. With the cardinals are other native birds enjoying the feast and shelters my property has allowed them. Quails have enjoyed the wild plums and I see their coveys. Young quail also feed very heavily on insects and I hope improving their habitual will give me the added benefit of grasshopper control. It is a careful juggle between giving them areas and areas for my livestock feeding.

So you will not see a new years list from me. I will be stepping forward two steps at a time to continue my goals some of which fell short last year. I can only more forward but will not start over. They are listed below.

Sheep– I will get a new ram with the added idea to have dairy type sheep. I noticed that my Dropers might be excellent for milk production but mine are a flighty herd. Many adding Awassi ram  would word. If I am not able to get one then I might try a katahdin. This is another more common hair sheep breed. Sheep milk is great for cheese and it freezes very well.

Goat– We miss our goats and plan to add at least one doe if we can find someone who will breed her back. We do not have enough land to support a herd. Goat cheese is delicious.

Vegetable garden– Using fiber ground cover I plan to reduce the amount of weeding that takes too much of my time. I tried some with the tomatoes this year and it seemed to work well.

Windbreaks and Habitats-_ I have ordered some native plants seeds and I am deciding if I will order more Forest Service plants to add more bird habitats. I plan to transplant some of the wild plums that have sprouted to new areas to create more thickets and added windbreaks.

Food Forest I have been slowly adding new plants for this area. This year I will likely more forward to more wild and cider types of fruit trees. Apples and pears do well in this area but other type of fruits seem to struggle. Will more wild type of tress endure better. Food for thought.

Bees- One hive did really well while one struggles all year. I do not think it is strong enough to survive the winter. I will be adding another hive and most likely redoing the one.

Reading – I have not been reading as much this year. I need to continue reading the list .

Bucket lists– I had two bucket list that are lost from changing my blog site. They were reading 1001 books to read before you die and visit all of the National Parks. I will move forward on those.

Well in a few more hours it will be the New Year. Do you have plans to more forward?

 

 

 

A Relaxing Christmas Dinner

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This year I decided to do a simple but delicious Christmas meal.  The meal consisted of  glazed spiral cut  ham, boneless leg of lamb roast, baked potatoes, broccoli with cheese sauce, sour cream fruit salad and rolls. The home-made mint jelly was perfect with lamb.  Frankenmurth cranberry wine and cranberry sprite were the drink offered with dinner.  I believe everyone enjoyed the meal and we have some yummy meal left over to prepare other meals.

Bean Discovery Shopping Today

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While grocery shopping I came across some Mayoccoba Beans. After some searching on the internet I discovered they are an old Peruvian bean that is popular in Mexico. It has a few common names such as  Maicoba bean, Peruvian bean, Azufrado bean, Mayo Coba bean, Canaria/Canario bean or yellow bean. It was also a bean involved in biopiracy. , a new trend with seed companies. Anyway, it will be interesting how this seed works for recipes and planting. I will let you know later.

Creating the Larder for the Unknowns in Life

 

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Your emergency larder will give you and your family what is needed for survival inside the home even if for only a short period.  Although I am not a dooms day prepper, I belive in some stockpiling to get by during short periods of emergencies. I have been familiar with the need for supplies when an ice storm hit this area 7 years ago taking power from homes for up to two weeks. People during this time were without warm shelter and had to leave their homes. We were nice and cosy with our wind stove and plenty of food so we did not need to venture out seaching. Our only problem was water for us and the animals. We have since worked out that problem.

Some people just get some MRE’s or dried food and put them up and  just forget about them. The most important rule to having an emergency larder is to have food your family will eat.  Do not go by someones list of items that you normally do not eat.  I grind my wheat but if grinding wheat and baking bread is not something you want to learn then it would be best to use crackers or what your family likes. I believe any storage plan should be part of your diet so you rotate them.  I prefer fresh or frozen vegetables but use cans ones for certain recipes.  So keep your stock rotation list handy and keep it up to date. This is why I prefer the spreadsheet.

It took me a while to come up with a plan that worked for me. I finally came up with a spread sheet I can add all types of food. I use a mixture of purchased canned food products, freeze-dried and home canned. To keep track of about how much food I have on hand for the family I go by 2000 calories per person per day needed to get enough nutrients and calories. This is really too many calories for all of us and maybe a little low for Mr. Gadget but it should work out. It is better to have a little too much than not enough. If an emergency type of situation you might be burning more calories. We would be since we will need to chop more wood to keep the house warm 24 hours instead of using the furnace and room heaters at night. You might think that you do not need that many types of food but beware of the problem with ‘habituation’ – the body’s decreasing response to a stimulus after repeated exposure to it if you limit the variety in your food. Getting bored with you food will make you end up eating less.

So how to I get the food. Week by week and month by month I keep adding. I used to have much more but due to losing a job and Mr. Gadget needing a prolong hospital stay and home care they food really worked out. Now I am back in the process of building my larder back up. Even if you can only add a can of beans a paycheck it will be worth the trouble. If you know the calories of many items you will also see that some of my group items may not have all the same calories. The chunky soup is one example. I have different chunky soups but have them all as one amount of calories since they are very close anyways. Putting every single type of chunky soup with make my already long sheet even longer.  I know that I have so many soups and they average that many calories and that is close enough for my planning.

“Food security is not in the supermarket. It’s not in the government. It’s not at the emergency services division. True food security is the historical normalcy of packing it in during the abundant times, building that in-house larder, and resting easy knowing that our little ones are not dependent on next week’s farmers’ market or the electronic cashiers at the supermarket.Folks”

― Joel Salatin, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

Below is part of my spreadsheet. It is saved on Google drive if you would be interested in using. The link is below.  You can change the food to what your family will eat and enjoy (or at least tolerate).

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Link to Spreadsheet.

 

Organizing the Seed Collection


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Ah, it is that time of year that the seed catalogs come in and gardens like me droll over the glossy printed plants or interesting varieties.  Today I began reorganizing my seed collection. I purchased two cheap shoe boxes to organize the seed packages. I still need to come up with a way for my jar and large bags of seeds. The package seeds are smaller amounts that I purchased. Most seeds I only plant a few each year so the package will last years. I place seed families in on large zip lock bag. You can add a desiccant to help keep the seeds dry. I keep all of my seeds in an extra fridge so they last for years.

 

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I usually start looking for certain seeds when the time comes to plant. I use a spreadsheet to keep planting  organized. My spreadsheet also helps to keep rotation of the beds in order.  This year I reorganized my seed packages by month and then families instead of just by families.  This should make it easy to pick what to plant beginning in March.  If I am panting seeds inside for transplanting I will know I need to do so about 6 weeks ahead. I used a marker and pieces of cardboard. I then sorted the seed packages in ziplock bags by family behind the planting month.  I might add others months and sort by the plants I will plant inside and  then transplant later into the garden.

I feel it is good to know for rotations. If, for example,  you planted  any Solanaceae in a space you would want to avoid ony plants related planted there the next year.

Potato/Nightshade Family
(Solanaceae)
eggplant (aubergine), garden huckleberry, peppers (caribbean red hot peppers, chili pepper, habanero, hot paper lantern, sweet pepper), paprika, potato, tobacco, tomato, tomatillo/husk cherry

I have seeds that I have collected that I placed into old pill bottles and baby jar. They are handy and upcyle items but tend to take more space than package. Then again I tend to have more seeds saved than will fit into a package.

 

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Depending if you are a seed saver you might consider my stack small or large. I like to grow corn which requires a planting of 200  because corn is very susceptible to inbreeding depression. Most gardeners do not have the space for such large plantings. Corn crosses so readily that it is very difficult to prevent cross-pollination. I pant corn beds at different years with different types of corn. Corn seeds are also larger than most seeds. This all takes space. I have corn, bean and sunflower seeds saved in quart jars. I just might end up with a box for them as I do now.

This year I do have some seeds for trade. Some are seeds I have grown while other are from seed companies. You can view my seed list on google documents. The link is below. Click on the third tab at the bottom to get the list.  You can download this spreadsheet for your own use if you find it useful.

Garden Plan with Seed List

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_Ek5htY7geohB6mS00pX3Kc6qxfPV2q7L_V6kTFKzp4/edit?usp=sharing

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