It’s Harvest Time

24 Sep

It’s harvest time at the Electronic Homestead. You should come see what’s in the canner!

New Post at the New Homestead

1 Sep

Come see my vegetables!

Come see

21 Aug

I’m harvesting corn (a bit early…) over at The Electronic Homestead!

A New Post

20 Aug

I have a new post up at The Electronic Homestead’s new site. I’d love it if you followed me to my new home(stead)!

New Post at new location

19 Aug

There’s a new post up at The Electronic Homestead‘s new home(stead).

image

I’d love it if you followed me

18 Aug

I have a new home for my blog! Or should I say homestead? My husband and I worked very hard and built it almost from scratch. It’s very similar to this one, but it’s on my own domain. I would be honored if you would follow me at this new home.  You can find it here:

Electronichomestead.net

 

Thanks!

On being a Jewish, politically conservative, aspiring homesteader in these uncertain times

18 Aug

My posts up to this point have been mostly about what’s going on in the ground, in the garden, in the coop, and in the medium-term-planning cogs in my brain. I have written very little about myself here, for no real reason. But over the last few days, I’ve been feeling more introspective. Maybe it’s because of the weather (distinctly fall-like), or the noticeable decrease in daylight (I am seasonally affected), but I’ve been turning inward a lot lately, trying to define my values, and see if my current life is aligned with them.

What’s important to me? I want some land that I can work, and teach my children to work, so that we do not ever need to be dependent on government for food. I want to live somewhere that it at least seems that the government represents my beliefs in individual responsibility, hard work and less government intrusion, and maybe where more of the neighbors share those values.

I’m frustrated with the way my country is being run, and I feel powerless to do anything about it, so I’m trying to accept the things I cannot change and thinking of changing the things I can.

This will probably involve a move. I’d like to stay in New England, and politically, New Hampshire seems like the best fit for me. Property taxes are generally higher, but land is affordable.

My faith is very important to me too.  I miss praying with a community, but the local synagogues are so full of liberal secular-humanists that the prayers they offer no longer speak to me.  It is important to me that my children are raised as Jews, but I can’t teach them the Hebrew they would need to pray in a traditional manner. The density of active Jewish communities decreases the further you travel from city centers. There are basically no Conservative synagogues in New Hampshire. What would that mean for me and my family? Can we move far enough away to be rural, but still be close enough that the kids can keep attending their Jewish day school? Because as aggravatingly progressive-liberal as their school is, it has taught my 10 year old well enough that she can speak Hebrew with Israelis that she meets, and that’s something I want for all three of my kids.

As far as bringing this all down to the material plane, I had a Realtor over this past week. Seven years ago, she helped us buy our current house and sell our old one, and I consider her an ally, and a business-level friend. She and I walked around with a critical eye, and I realized just how much work our house would need in order to be sellable. My job is in the Facilities office of a bank, so I know several of the contractors (again, business-level friends.) One of the guys told me, when I asked, that he would be happy to paint, repair gutters and re-shingle for very little money. So maybe getting our house in shape for selling isn’t as far out of reach as I had feared.

More on this as time flows by, I’m sure.

Sunflowers for food

16 Aug
Sunflowers

Not the mammoth sunflowers I was hoping for, but maybe they’ll do.

Sunflower seeds are, I think, delicious. They’re great roasted and salted. The kids like them. I love them on salads. They have a good nutritional profile; although they’re fairly high in carbs, they’re also high in protein and fats, which fits in with my diet very nicely. They’re also kind of expensive.

Last year, Rebecca got some dwarf sunflower seeds for her early-spring birthday, and she planted them as part of our container garden explorations. They were adorable, but the seeds were itty bitty. I bought Russian Mammoth seeds this year, and was given some Lemon Queen seeds as well.

You might recall the rabbit problems I was having earlier this season (ha!). The sunflowers were victims, but they rallied and grew back. Quick botany lesson: The growing tip of a plant is called the apical meristem. Cut (or chew!) that off, and many plants, if they survive, will send up new shoots, often more than one. In some plants, only one will become dominant, but in sunflowers, the two (or more) will be approximately equal. I found this out thanks to the rabbits. I have several sunflowers out there that survived the bunny buffet by sending two or three side shoots up. Now a lot of them are budding and blooming, but none are very big. I suppose I’ll be able to tell which are the Mammoths and which are the Lemons by their color, but I don’t expect a stem that’s supporting more than one giant blossom will be able to make as many large seeds as it would have had it not been lapine lunch.

At any rate, they are blooming, they are beautiful, and they are brimming with bees! I didn’t realize the bees liked them so much. They will be a permanent garden feature for that reason alone, but I plan to try to harvest the seeds thusly:

Step one: Wait for them to wilt.

Step two: When all the petals have fallen off and the heads turn yellowish, put paper bags over their heads. This will keep the squirrels and birds off, and help in case they decide to hyperventilate.

Step three: When the whole blossom has turned brown (due to being asphyxiated in the paper bag) chop its head off. Hang it upside down as a warning to other garden plants that they had better produce next year or else! Actually, they won’t be able to see the sunflowers since they will need to be hung in a dry place, like the living room. Sorry kids; the tv is blocked.

Step four: When the whole head is dry, run your hands over the face and the seeds will pop out. Edible raw, but I think I’ll salt and roast them. Then I’ll spend evenings for several weeks in front of the tv cracking them into a jar for storage.

Future Pickles

15 Aug
Mike's cukes

Mmmmm, future pickles.

Mike, my co-worker and fellow backyard gardener, came in today bearing a grocery bag full of cucumbers for me! Why aren’t my cucumber plants doing this? I don’t know; maybe he has more plants. They’re Straight-Eight, the same variety I’m growing, but his are much more prolific. He’s also getting peppers, but only from one plant (my pepper plants are all stunted and I think there’s one pepper). Everyone I talk to, however, says the same thing about their tomatoes: tons of fruit, still all green, and every time it rains they split open before they’re ripe. Must be the weather.

Time to stop by the Tractor Supply and get canning jars and pickling salt, I think. Thanks Mike!

 

 

PS: My parsnip rash is finally gone! Caught Lyme disease again, though. One more week of antibiotics to go…

First eggs!!

14 Aug

Well, not the first fresh eggs we’ve ever gotten here at the Electronic Homestead, but the first we’ve had in a LONG time, and the first from our current flock. I’m so proud of them!

First eggs 8-12-13

Aren’t they cute?? (Store egg in the center for size reference)

I suspect that the one just to the left of the store egg was laid by a different hen than the other three, simply because it’s a different color. There were two eggs on Monday, and one each yesterday and today. So either I missed one on Sunday, or somebody laid one and is taking a break.

Either way, Yay!! Go girls!!

The Electronic Homestead

I have plans. Big plans.

chrishernandezauthor

Author of Proof of Our Resolve

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