Saturday, January 3, 2009

Another Ode to Winter:

Probably my new favorite band of late, gives kindof an epic band/renaissance faire sort of vibe (and I really don't care for that place, so go figure..).
I've been trying like crazy to find ways to appreciate the season, pay tribute to it in some way other than bundling up and getting out in it, a very counter intuitive, fairly unsuccessful method, but the best I can muster. It's almost maple sugar time coming up in a few weeks, so I'll have to bite the bullet and get used to spending a fair amount of time sitting out the cold tending the fire, if only in anticipation of another large batch of tasty, homegrown maple-y syrup.

Also, in the spirit of the season, I've decided to post my "resolutions", such as they are. Here goes, scoff if you must:
They cut down on the # of spin classes they're offering at the gym, maybe due to the recession and dwindling memberships, dang! So I've decided to select 3 days a week where I'll try like hell to get there and do spin class and whatever other classes/weight lifting I can squeeze in on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. I can fit in other days as well as my schedule permits, but those are going to be the core days I know I'm pretty likely to go. On the off days, I'd like to do a yoga/bellydance/pilates DVD for at least 30 minutes a day, and any other push ups, mini workouts--whatever-- I can fit in here and there throughout the day. The goal here being that I would like to get down to 130-125# (if I can) and maintain that weight forevahhhhhh!
Other things include:
Putting up a chickenwire fence along the property line so we can let the chickens out to graze daily for a while. Turns out if they don't get to eat a fairly routine ration of grass, their eggs won't be all that rich in gamma linoleic acids and other beneficial stuff that make them better than store bought. They get outside now every so often, but the naughty little biddies always end up going to the neighbor's yard and trashing their gardens, not cool! Not sure why they insist on leaving-- it's not as if we don't have enough space for them to roam-- but their grazing got seriously curtailed of late since they decided to leave the yard on a routine basis.

Oh! And this may sound cruel to you non-country folks, but I want to start getting my pullets in November and raising them in the basement/garage thru the winter until they get big enough to go out to the coop. That way, they'll lay from March until it gets really cold (November/December), at which point we'll cut off their little heads and turn them into stew/stock chickens. I hate tending them with a mad passion in the freezing winter, always feel terrible that they're out there freezing their lil' chickie girl cloacas off. Oh yeah, and they don't lay for crap, either. One or two eggs a week???? With feed prices at $14/bag???
Ah! What tasty stock they will make!

I'd also like to get a spring pig to live in a little corner of the garden plot; he'd help amend the garden soil with his rooting and manure in fabulous ways, and then be ever so appreciated once he made it to the freezer, oink;-)

You see, I've been doing all sorts of library perusing lately--my favorite "avoid the cold" activity-- including all the Michael Pollan books and films, and recently, "Anti Cancer, a New Way of Life" by David Servan-Schreiber. Over the years I've adopted most of the methods contained therein: avoiding chemicals that have mutagenic properties (all household cleaners, instead using Dr Bronners and vinegar; no non stick cookware; no artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets; very little artificial sweeteners other than stevia, low exposure to high fructose corn syrup, etc and etc), but it's been hard to switch over to primarily grass fed meats and dairy, which is downright ridiculous in this area since we are awash in local farms who employ healthy farming practices--moreso than probably any other area of the country! Last time I went to the local coffee spot, in wanders a family from 3 towns over (Racine) who were on their way to pick up their unpasteurized milk from a local farmer and I thought "wow! How lucky we are to be so close" (and also had to laugh at how weirded out the people were that everyone in the shop was talking to them as if they knew them. Ho Ho! Welcome to the country, where we're not afraid to talk to strangers, lol;-) In a 15 mile radius alone, we have an organic dairy, grass fed beef ranches, free range chickens and eggs, turkeys, a CSA, and an organic bakery.

In any event, it's a great place to live and we're very blessed to be here, and since I've been working so much it's more than time for me to put my $$ where my mouth is-- literally. I want to get set up with the dairy people, order 1/4 grass fed cow, and hike out to my chicken lady, and be even more conscious about how we eat so not only we can live a more healthful life and pass those values on to our kids, but support local farmers who are risking *everything* to do the right thing... the trickle down damage of commercial agriculture to pollution of our waterways, soil, greenhouse emissions, etc and the damage it is doing to our health is staggering. Just about any acquired disease you can name has it's roots in the quality of the food we eat... bla bla bla bla blah! Ok, rant over.

I want to plant more berry bushes, including blackberries and blueberries, in the side prairie areas of the property, making more of a natural and useful barrier... I've planted a ton of bushes already, and it's been hit or miss as to whether or not they will survive, depending on the season. My theory is that you probably have to plant 3 before one will take, given our soil quality and my spotty tending abilities (it's not exactly easy to water certain parts of the propery). I also want to get more asparagus in as well, fun stuff to harvest once it gets established.

I''m going to be taking over the vegetable garden again this year, since I wasn't terribly thrilled with how Jake was handling things over the past couple years;-) We had more weeds growing than the plants were able to compete with, mainly 'cause I don't think he ever connected with the idea that weeding is an ongoing thing you have to conquer from the get-go, and wrestle with until the end of the season. That, and eradicating the slugs, and potato and cucumber beetles that destroyed everything, etc and etc. Dude can plant the heck out a garden, but tending is clearly not his forte. I'm going to use the straw mulch method again this year, since there are so many weed seeds in the soil that I'd probably lose my mind and break my back trying to keep abreast of them. I'm going to have to figure out what to plant that will store well, and then set up a storage area that we can use (the garage, we're finding, is MUCH too COLD). I'd also like to harvest more of the apples and pears and save them/make pie apples for the freezer and apple/pear butter for winter. Oh! And a cold frame to plant lettuces and spinach, and maybe beans and beets as well.

I'm sure there's a lot more, but I'm tired of sitting here when I have a million things to do... I'm working a ton over the next few weeks, and in addition to still needing to cook and keep the house and kids in order, I'm still going to hold myself to exercising to keep myself sane and all the other things I like to do to feel like a human being (read, sew, knit, plan gardens... I have wayyyy to damn many hobbies, no?).

More later:


Emily said...

You can never have too many hobbies- or can you!?
I think I would like to do everthing that is on you list as well...
Good stuff.
Are you sure your republican??
;) j/k

Cyndi said...

Girrrrlllllll! U so sassy:-) Most of the groovy farmers out here are Republicans, and conservative Christians to boot, lol! (except for those Michael Fields people... they're mostly hippies, with an Anthroposophic twist--and who exactly knows what THAT is???)

Anonymous said...