Thursday, January 28, 2010

Home grown meals

Miso soup is good for the soul...this one has home grown kale instead of seaweed. It was good!
homegrown snow peas (left) and traded Chinese lettuce (right)
Smile for the camera! Lettuce is from the garden
OK, this one doesn't look very appetizing, but it does have homemade napa cabbage, traded edible chrysanthemum and lemon in this hot pot meal.

Harvest Updates

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rain Water Harvesting

It rained a LOT and we tried to save as much of it as we can. We have 8 of these 32 gallon plastic trash cans filled to the brim with rain water. Of course we closed the lids on them to prevent the mosquitos from breeding.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Little Digger, Big Digger

Here's the Little Digger, ok he's not really helping except for a few scoops...
And here's the Big Digger, he dug it all by himself!
It's a big hole for the compost. We had to rip out the front lawn around the newly planted persimmon tree and the avocado tree (near future) We had about 12 large black garbage bags full of the ripped out lawn. So, DH is digging to bury the stuff or it just won't die in the bags. We'll be trimming trees as well, so any extra leaves will go in here too. This is the east side of the house, sunny in the mornings so later we might make a raised garden bed here too.

Harvest Updates

This is 64 lbs of Navel Oranges! Some went as gifts, others were traded for avocados, Chinese lettuce, Shyungiku (edible chrysanthemum) and bunching onions.
Romaine Lettuce, Siberian Kale, Snow Peas and a single Orange

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Today's Harvest

Snow peas
Romaine Lettuce
and we gave a 5 lb bag of navel oranges away

Homegrown Snow Peas in stirfry!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beautiful colors of dawn

Posted by Picasa

Goals for 2010

So, 2010 is off to a start! My blog started out as a journal to learn how to live off grid, like my blog name implies. Some people like to jump in with both feet, buy a few hundred acres of land and move there. I'm not that type. (although I considered it!) I like to learn all I can about how to do stuff first, with the safety net of the city nearby, since I grew up a city gal. I started by growing vegetables and fruits. Of course having lots of land and growing all you need is a beautiful thing, but for now, I'm happy training myself where I am. I want to wean myself off of the umbilical cord of the corporate food chain as much as possible.

This year, we hope to continue to save up enough for some solar panels. It's a tricky thing because we want to save up enough, but the rebate rates are declining at the same time.

This year I'd like to learn about raising worms successfully, so that the worms will be one of the protein sources for the hens.

This year I'd like to educate myself as much as I can about raising poultry, so that I'll be ready by 2011 to raise hens for eggs organically and hopefully, start on building a coop by the end of this year. I'm coming from knowing zilch about taking care of poultry, my Mom grew up a city girl too, she tried to raise chicks as pets as a child but, she said she never had a one that survived to adulthood, all the cats in the neighborhood would snag them before they got big enough.

This year, we hope to expand the veggie garden beds by eight more beds(total of 15 beds in the backyard), but that means removing a large section of the concrete pavement in the backyard. I'd love to try to do all that myself with my husband, but physically, I don't think that's possible, last year I lost my health by digging and plowing the garden beds and the front yard lawn removal for the fruit trees. We'll probably have hired hands do the removal.

This year, we hope to make a plan for better rain water harvesting. Last night we had a good rainfall, but our 3 of our 4 trash barrels are still full from the last rain and we couldn't do much to save that downpour. My hubby and I heard the rain last night at 4:30am and he muttered sleepily, "I'm sad that we can't save all that rain..." I agreed with him wholeheartedly.

The front yard will eventually be covered with edibles, hopefully attractive enough that our neighbors won't think we've gone off the deep end (even though we have, hehehe ). I just planted strawberries around the apple trees. We are planning on building a trellis for the grape vines, and underneath will be a porch to relax and have tea with the neighbors.

We are trying to plan a way to keep "intruders" from picking our fruits in the front yard without the yard being completely fenced off. I want it to be inviting to guests but intruders will know that they are not welcome to pick our fruits without asking. Right now, we have no barriers. Currently, the front yard is open to all. Does anyone have any ideas on what to do about this? I've thought of a low hedge of edibles surrounding the perimeter.

In the grand scheme of things, I'd like to learn how to raise fish via aqua-ponics (aquaculture and hydroponic combo), with the pond's pump powered either by wind or solar power, but that will come later.

Now, that's a LOT of goals!!! I'm not sure how much we can accomplish, but it's worth a shot. We can recap on January of 2010 to see how far we get. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Homemade, Homegrown food New Years

For New Year's we had some Homemade Mochi(pounded rice cakes) toasted for...
Ozouni:Bonito & soy sauce based broth with mitsuba(Japanese Wild Parsley), carrots and a variety of mushrooms. Homemade, but not homegrown.
Japanese style New Years dishes. Normally there's sashimi served as well, but this year we decided to keep it in budget. Front left dish: Kohaku Sunomo (Daikon Radish and Carrot julienned and seasoned with vinegar, sea salt and agave. Front right dish: Kinpira Gobo (Burdock root and Carrots julienned, sauteed with soy sauce, sake, agave and sesame oil), In the back on both sides are bowls of Ozouni mentioned above, and the back middle dish is: Nimono(Lotus Root, Daikon, Carrot, Burdock and Peas simmered in Bonito and soy sauce base. The peas are homegrown.)
This is Furikake: a condiment for rice made from shaved Bonito flakes, sesame seeds, nori(seaweed), and aosa(another seaweed). The New Year's dishes required a lot of Bonito broth, so this Furikake was made from the flakes that had been boiled once to get the broth flavor. Using the "discarded" bonito flakes means no waste! Soy sauce and agave were added to flavor this, and heated in the wok until it was dry.
Guacamole for one of the dinners. The avocado was a trade with our mandarin oranges. Yum!

Garden Updates: January 08, 2010

In the foreground: bare branches of the fig tree. Small tree with Kumquats almost ripened. Back tree is the Navel Orange tree full of fruit, almost ready!
Front left bed: Romaine and Red Leaf Lettuce. Front middle bed: Hakusai(napa) Cabbages just finished tying to promote the growth of blanched, packed leaves. Back left bed: Red Cipollini Onions with a few sparse Carrots. Back middle bed: British Wonder Shelling Peas and Cilantro
Siberian Kale, grown from saved seed
Potato sprouting from saved starter spuds
Thinning out the Loquat so that each fruit has a chance to fatten up
Banana leaves damaged from the cold/frost
Yes, it's a tomato!
Poor Fig tree, got a large branched pruned off this year as it was obstructing the sunlight to one of the raised beds.

Flowers of January