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Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Sense of Place

Last week was the annual Johnson jam session. No music just lots of sugar, fruit and pectin. In years past we got together to pick strawberries in the morning then make freezer jam in the afternoon. This year it was harder to get together so we picked separately and froze the fruit.
On the way home from my Aunt's home we stopped at the little Lutheran church to show the girls where their great grandparents were laid to rest. Looking at the names and recognizing many from our family tree I was struck by such a sense of loss.
This little town is where relatives from Norway immigrated and settled. Like the bar 'Cheers'-Where everyone knows your name. I have many memories of that area from visiting grandparents and family reunions and lutefisk dinners and the stories which get passed down and embellished.
We drove away from that little town and I felt such a sense of loss. With very few exceptions, the kids and grand kids have moved away. We are spread out and rarely communicate. It makes me very sad to consider this happening to my family-even worse when I consider this has been happening to families all over our increasingly mobile society. Strangers among strangers. No sense of place, no sense of roots or home.
I reconsider our plans for moving-instead of moving 30 minutes west to be closer to my father we could move 30 minutes east to return to an area full of old memories. Living family members are better IMHO. We can never go back to the way things used to be. But I can be sure to take my kids back to the old swimming hole and keep those family stories alive.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beans in the Camper

Lots of beans in a small enclosed space...sounds like a really bad idea, right? This weekend that was exactly what happened.
My garden is crazy with green (and yellow and purple) beans. Call it first timers enthusiasm I guess. I have frozen quite alot already, bringing them home Sunday evenings and cleaning, blanching and freezing the following morning. This weekend was different. I had a wonderful, talented, and oh yah beautiful, knockout sister helping me (did i forget anything Tracy??). With her and her husbands help we picked a whole cooler of beans, and turned them into 11 quarts of frozen beans!
I am very sad to have lost all my pictures: piles and piles of beans, the little camper stove and all the filled bags in the freezer.
I may pick a few more for a batch of Dilly Beans, but the rest I will allow to mature and keep as dry beans for consumption and seeds for next year. It feels good to have 'finished' something.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Storing Eggs

We are fortunate enough to have a surplus of chicken eggs this summer. Our family took over the management of my father's egg laying hens this summer. We have been camping in his woods Thursday-Sunday this summer in our alter-ego existence as country dwellers. We have two groups or chickens: 8 leghorns and around 2 dozen assorted banties. We house them in two chicken tractors, which get moved across the field daily or twice daily as forage conditions allow. The tractors were an experiment after reading Joe Salatin's 'Pastured Poultry Profits'. A way to improve the soil and keep the hens safe from neighborhood dogs, foxes, coyotes, hawks, wolves and the list goes on! It has been very cool to see the square patches of lush grass spring up where the pens had previously sat.

All these eggs! We have been selling them to co-workers-just enough to cover feed costs. My father gets all he can use and I have started freezing the extras!
It's not difficult at all. I have been freezing in baggies of 6ct, and also in smaller 2 egg breakfast portions. I also plan to freeze some in ice cube trays to give me individual eggs.

Thanks Gina for the mention of freezing eggs! This is such a baby step in becoming self reliant. Now we need to figure out how to feed these guys with out going to the feed store every month! We have been supplementing their diet with garden extras and I even planted a row of mangles with the idea of supplementing the diet with rootstock. But the real answer will be growing (and harvesting and storing) grain. We have a scythe and a whole field of peas and oats, and also some buckwheat. Perhaps we will play with the harvesting part in the upcoming weeks.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Lowly Potato

I've posted today at Homemakers Who Work (click on the title to go there) about the potato-its role in revolutions, population migrations and an oral tradition seven generations back, in which a minister is nearly poisoned in a picturesque Norwegian mountain village. If you enjoyed the potato story you may also like: In My Grandfathers House -Part 1, Part2,and Part 3.

I'm still fighting through a pretty low spot-lots of anxiety, lots of unknowns, I've been talking to my business partner about selling my portion back to her and it is scarey as hell, but exciting too. I need to make some time to get back into blogging-it is such a catharsis to let it all go-the good, the bad, and the (very) ugly! We also have some pretty cool things happening too! Ahh well, its late...i mean early...Kris

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Here I Am

My apologies to anyone who looks forward to reading what I have to say. Life has been a little off-kilter lately, and I have not had the energy or time to blog. I have 2 posts over at Homemakers Who Work; one today and one on July 31st. Enjoy!

I hope to be able to share our plans to escape the suburbs once they are finalized! (it feels very good to be finally moving forward and perhaps that is why I haven't felt the need to blog/rant so much)