Monday, August 4, 2014

Homesteading Adventures& Misadventures, Part 1: Gardening

If you've been here before- Welcome back!
If this is your first time here- Howdy, and WELCOME to the chaos!

Two people shaking hands.
*Everyone shake hands!*
Okay, now that we've got greetings out of the way, I thought I'd tell y'all about my latest adventure....
Now, I know it's August, and *technically* I'm a little late with this, but better late than never, right?
Okay, maybe not.
Soooo...back in June, after the move, I youtube'd what I needed to do, attempted to go to the store, get some seeds, planters, and starter soil, and the kids and I attempted our first baby steps in gardening!
After we had everything assembled the way the video said, the next thing was to give them a "mini green house" by watering them, placing them every night, in the (cold) oven, and take them back out the next morning. The person on the video stressed at least twice(I think. It may have been more. I only viewed the video once, okay? I thought I had this down to a science) that you MUST make sure the oven is cold(not on, not warm from the day's baking,etc.) and you MUST remember to take them back out first thing in the morning so they can get the sunlight they need.
This is where the stupid in me comes.
I forgot to take them out of the oven the next morning. Even though all the kids reminded me.
I left them in the oven all morning. And completely forgot about them. Then lunch time came around, and hey, did I mention how much I loved my oven up until this day? It has a glass top, its all sparkly and new, has a glass top! Those things are SOO much easier to clean than the fire/coil tops! Just saying.
An-y-ways...lunch time rolled around, and I thought, hey, it'd be awesome if we had some chicken tenders! We haven't had those in awhile! Plus, it's not too labor intensive...go me!
So, I turned on the oven, and...oh, another cool thing about this new and sparkly tells you when it's ready. Like, it will actually beep when its at the temperature you set. Not like a "was that a bird chirping Songs of Solomon?!" beautiful beep, but the "hey, it could be the oven, or it might be the smoke alarm doing the song of its people...but you won't know until you check the kitchen!!" beep. Yeah. Scares the crap out of me every time.
Sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah. So, I was waiting for the oven to do the "false smoke alarm" beep, and started cleaning something. After a few minutes, I started to smell something odd. Thinking I had sniffed one too many cleaning products, I stopped cleaning and sat down. But the smell wouldn't go away. After using bloodhound style sniffing abilities, I pinpointed the smell in the kitchen.
"Must be the oven..." I thought, "Maybe we're finally breaking it in, and it's not going to look so shiny after this or something."
"Maybe it's because we haven't set the temp this high...ever?(Never understood why almost everything "convenient" has to be cooked with an oven temp that makes you think you have a part of the sun in your kitchen)"
"Did I put the baking sheet by itself in there, by accident?"
"Maybe I should take a peek...maybe there's a forgotten casserole, or a wasp, or something, dying in there."
I quickly attempted to grab my planters and yank them out of the smoldering furnace...I mean, oven. Only to realize I wasn't wearing oven mitts.
If you think the smell of burning plastic wasn't enough...try the wonderful earthy smell of HOT STARTER SOIL, conveniently scattered ALL OVER YOUR OVEN!! If that's not enough, we'll even throw in the chance to scrub melting plastic out of your oven, courtesy of your lack of brain cells!
*Everyone claps like its a game show*
My precious, precious planters, my awesome and totally earth-friendly planters...and my soil, my vitamin-full, loose and super-absorbent soil...gone. Covering my too-hot oven. Bearing its soul over my kitchen floor.
Okay, the dirt was WAY scattered than this. I just swept it up.
Well...maybe all was not lost. The planters were semi-salvageable(just not the parts that retained the water for them). I didn't plant all the seeds, because I didn't have enough planters, so I still had a few of each vegetable. So..all wasn't completely loss, right?
Actually, yes...yes it was.
The (remaining) dirt and seeds of great burnt to a crisp.
The bottoms. Curled up in fetal position.
I attempted to try again, with what I had. This time, I didn't go anywhere near the oven with these babies!!
The kids and I replanted. I watered daily. After about two weeks, shoots started coming out.
"I don't suck at this!!" I thought.
But...then the shoots got bigger.
"You might want to take them outside now, honey." Papa Bear said.
"Okay!!" I said.
Transplanting vegetables. Easy-peasy.
First off, I forgot...I had nothing cute and small to dig with. I had forgot to buy one of those small garden shovels! So, to improvise, I used Papa's huge "this could bury people...if we were those sort of people" shovel. I tried to dig semi-small holes.

Okay, here is the shovel in question. Tiny Bear wanted to try and dig a hole.
 Which, didn't turn out so semi-small.But more like "there could be body parts in these holes!" holes.
But, I put them in the ground! That's all that mattered! And I did my best to gently cover them up, saturate the ground, and did a "Holy Udder Chaos, it's hot outside, no wonder I stay in the house, please tell me I'll have to do this everyday!!" rain dance.

One of the tomato plants. Before...summer violated it.

I'm sure my ancestors would have been proud.
...and, by proud, I mean, they probably would have slapped me upside my head. With the "we could bury people with this shovel"...shovel.
The next day, I took a peek out.
Only to find each and every plant....
Not looking all tall and big like they had appeared in my house the day before.
But like sad, lifeless dead plants, laying by the wayside of what looked like a crime scene investigation.
I mean, my garden area.
I talked to them, sang to them a little(hey, it helped Semore, and look what happened to HIS plant--it started talking!!!), and ordered the kids to find ever bit of gray water we had in the house, and dump it on the plants, STAT!
But, it was too late. The damage was done. They.were.dead.
"Maybe the heat was too much of a shock to them," Papa Bear suggested.
"Bite me." I said(okay, I didn't really say this,out loud anyways. I just thought it, in my head. I actually think I sobbed or something).
But you know what? They were my plants. And if dogs and cats can take after their owners, surely plants can, too, right?
And if that's the case...I don't blame them. I'd probably die out there, too. Summer and me...let's just say, I often hope Karma gets Summer with a dirty spork for all those days of boob sweat and making me look like burnt toast.
And now, my plants.
*shakes fist angrily at Summer*
BUT, although it would seem I don't have a green thumb, I am not giving up so easily!
Summer may be the peak time to grow produce, but its not the *only* time.
In fact, Fall's right around the corner. Although I can't grow as much, I can still grow some things.

My fall seeds, from a non-GMO, almost organic company

And grow I shall....attempt!

See? Even the company I bought the seeds from knows my struggle, and is wishing me luck!
(Okay, they really had no clue. But this was an awful nice gesture for a seed company, don't you think?)

Direct soil, this time...lesson learned!
Mixing some fertilizer in the soil...before I put seeds in!
Summer and I may not be on good terms, but Fall...we're cool!
And heck, I may even get some chickens before it gets too cold...just because!
Or even a goat!
(...if Papa Bear gives me thumbs up, of course!)
We're gonna homestead in the fall, and its going to AWESOME!!!
...I HOPE!!!
......How about I update you in a bit?

Until Next Time,
Mama Jenn
Here is the list of vegetables I'm hoping will grow this fall/winter-
Green Beans
Broccoli(two kinds, because I *REALLY* love broccoli!)
Cabbage(anyone have a good recipe for these? I'm not a huge fan of sauerkraut)
Collard Greens
Lettuce(oh, how I have missed you!!)
If you're growing something this fall, or you want to brag about you're summer harvest, I'd LOVE to hear about it! :)