My Interview With Tammy Trayer

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Tammy Trayer of Trayer Wilderness on her Mountain Woman Radio Show. We had a great time talking about life as homesteaders, what it’s like living off the grid, and even a little about canning. You can still catch that recording here:  I think you’ll enjoy … Read more My Interview With Tammy Trayer

In The Garden: March 2015

I’ve planted a few cold weather crops in the garden. Our last Spring frost is usually around mid-April, so I have to be patient and wait on planting the warm weather crops until after Tax Day. I’m behind on getting tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings started indoors, though I do have artichokes, sage, fennel, celery, roselle hibiscus, and calendula growing under lights waiting to be transplanted outdoors.

So far I’ve planted: broccoli, onions, peas, cabbage, spinach, garlic, dill, carrots, lettuce, and kale.

broccoli and onion bed

In this bed I planted Waltham Broccoli grown from seed. Out of 40 seeds only 24 have made it. Some never germinated, some were weak seedlings, some didn’t survive transplanting, and some have been dug up by the cat who can’t get it through her head that the garden bed is not a litter box. I laid wire fencing over the bed to discourage the cat (and chickens) from scratching in it, which has helped except for a few places at the edges where she can still get under the wire.

Between the broccoli, about every 3″ apart, I planted white and yellow onion sets; 200 bulbs in all. I started 100 yellow and red onions from seed indoors, but they were old seeds and only about 30 germinated. I transplanted these into the bed with the broccoli and other onions.

The two big green clumps in this bed are catnip. Last year the catnip went CRAZY in this bed and pretty much overtook everything. It is a member of the mint family, and will become invasive if not controlled. I left two clumps because I love using catnip in tea, and it makes a great companion plant for repelling garden pests. I’ll have to do better at keeping it under control this year by pruning aggressively. If they become a problem I may have to pot them up.

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Testing Out The New Hand Pump on Our Well

simple pump hand pump

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here yet, but a few months ago we were finally able to afford to get a hand pump installed on our well. We went with a Simple Pump, because as I’ve mentioned in the past, they’re the only pump that would work on our deep well and deliver pressurized water to our house. So far we’re very pleased with our investment.

We hired a plumber to install the pump, since we really didn’t know what we were doing. He’s a local guy who we’ve worked with before, and who is totally into our off-grid project, so it was fun working with him. He was excited to see how the pump worked- having never installed a Simple Pump before.

Although the hand pump has been on our well for a while now, we haven’t had much time to mess with it since the winter weather has come in. It sits alongside our submersible electric pump. This week the weather has been warm, so we’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to turn our electric pump off and see how the hand pump works.

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