Saturday, June 26, 2010

In the shade of the tomatoes

It has been an unseasonably warm June here in central NC.  There has been no break from the heat as temps have remained in the high 90''s not August yet, don't we get a little bit of a break?  Heat and all, I have still had to pay my dues to the garden.  The two weeks of being out of service due to a back injury means two weeks worth of weed pulling and maintenance to catch up on.  Hubby has been helping with the weeding and picking beans but we rely heavily on my ability to work in the garden so he can manage other projects around here.  Not to mention my fingers were aching to get dirty and my body was ready to get moving again!

Now that my back in on the mend, I have my little stool (per my doctor's directions) and I sit in the garden and weed to my heart's content.  It has been no easy task over the last 3 days to weed the entire garden.  Although I am not quite done, I have made a dent in those lil' monsters.  With the high temps, the garden is almost unbearable after about 10am, so I have been getting an early start and working before the sun gets too high in the sky.

We have about 9 tomato plants in our garden and most of them are at least 4 feet tall now.  As I was weeding between the plants, I couldn't help but notice the shade they created, and in turn the cooler air in between the rows.  As I sat in there on my stool, I was brought back to memories of being a young child, visiting my grandparents at the old homeplace. 

My cousin H and I would play for hours in the corn field surrounding the homeplace.  On hot summer days, in the corn rows of granddaddy's garden, H and I would play a game while granddady watered the plants.  Our game was one of make believe....something along the lines of us being corn plants and when we were watered we would turn into lil' girls and run down the rows, but if we passed another open spot we become corn plants again, until we are watered again, and so the game would go on.   Granddaddy was always so sweet to play along, as he pretended he was watering his corn as he doused us with the cool water hose. 

Memories like these come back often while I work in the garden, reminding me of my roots and the things that are important to me.  This day was no different, and in the unbearable heat of the day there I was, dirt under my fingernails, a smile on my face, and a content feeling in my heart as I worked in the shade of the tomatoes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

HenPals 3 Hole Chicken Nesting Box Giveaway!

Check out this blog Life on a Southern Farm and enter to win a super cool hand-made, nesting box for your chickens!  Chickens need a dry secure place to lay their eggs and these nesting boxes are perfect!  Good luck!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Diabetes Forecast: Growing your own is catching on!

For those of you who know me well, you know that I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes 3 years ago.  For those of you who don't know this....well now you know!

Since my diagnosis, I have struggled to find natural alternatives for my favorite foods and I experiement often with natural sugar replacements and recipes to find foods that satisfy my sweet tooth and meals that help me maintain my diet.  I am an advocate of growing your own food, purchasing food locally, and in general being knowledgeable about what goes into my body, whether I purchase food at the store or pick it in my own backyard.  I read labels relentlessly....diabetes has taught me this.  When you are a label reading person like myself, you begin to realize that more often than not it is healthier and more cost effective to make your own, hence the start of my bread making and baking days!  As I type this I have an experiment baking in the oven (green bean chips using our surplus green beans!)

So you can imagine how excited I was Diabetes Forecast (a magazine geared toward education and information for diabetics and their families) devoted their entire June issue to growing your own food, making your own food products (ketchup, jams, etc) and canning fresh foods.  The magazines emphasizes something I have figured out for myself....for a diabetic (and anyone for that matter), growing and making your own food reaps mounds of benefits. 

For example...sometimes when my blood sugar is high I choose to work in the garden over correcting with insulin, an hour of weeding usually does the trick!  When we have fresh foods right on the back porch and in the back yard, I often choose to pick a tomato or two when I am hungry rather than break out a snack that may not be the best for me.  Making my own bread and canning sauces also lets me know what is in the food I consume and allows me to cut down on unnecessary ingredients (such as sugar).  But the most rewarding thing of all is knowing that I am doing the best I can to provide healthy foods for myself and my family.

I am so excited to see the diabetic community catching on to what I have considered a way of life.  Even if only one person grows a tomato plant as a result of Diabetes Forecast June articles, it will be a success and a step in the right direction.  I can only hope that more and more diabetics, and others, will learn the joys of growing your own.  Forecast for the future: growing your own brings health and happiness!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A mess of beans....

It's been a while since I posted but boy have things been crazy around here.  I injured my back about two weeks ago (the joys of being tall) and have been out of commission for several days.  I actually spent all of last weekend lying on the floor to help the healing process.  This weekend I am feeling better but am still limited to short periods of work before my back tells me to stop.  So this has meant no weeding, no cleaning chicken pens, no lifting, digging, or even bending over.  So poor hubby has had to take over the chores I normally do, such as feeding the chickens and maintaining the garden.  Could the timing be any worse? 

Luckily the garden is happy and growing.  We have had lots of rain and lots of hot weather and the garden seems to be loving it!  Unfortunately so do the weeds.  This year I managed to keep on top of the weeds when we started the garden, but I fear another week of me not being able to do the dirty work of pulling those little monsters may mean our garden will become a jungle!  Thanks to the hubby though for hanging in there and getting some of my chores done on top of all of his!  I hope to be back to weeding in no time!

Today hubby picked our first "mess" of beans.  We are hoping to be able to can and store a lot of our garden's bounty this year.  Our biggest question was whether we planted enough beans to get a good crop for canning....and boy has that question been answered!  We have more than we know what to do with! 

Other news on the homefront...

Hubby and my dad are building our shed!  Hubby has needed some extra storage space and building a shed off the back of the garage was the perfect solution.  Of course time and other things have gotten in the way of building the shed, but we finally found the funds and the time to get it started.  Its great to see the progress of such a needed addition!  I will post pictures when the project is done.  We are so grateful to have my dad to help with projects like these!  I told him he better be careful, if the word gets out to the neighbors about his outstanding workmanship, he might start getting solicited to build all kinds of things :-)

Also exciting, I am a member of the Farmland Preservation Advisory Board here in our county and our board organize and executed a farm tour for our local legislative delegates, extension and soil and water staff, local educators and a few other key members of the community.  The purpose of the tour was to educate these folks on the importance of state funding for farmland preservation and clean water/stream restoration.  The tour was Friday and went off without a hitch.  I feel like we made a major impact on those in attendance and feel great pride to have been part of the entire process!   It feels great to be making a difference in all things agriculture! 

That's all for now...stay tuned for pictures and progress as the summer rolls on!  Here are some pictures of the garden!


 Tomatoes and pepers

Tomatoes and hot peppers