For a Spring its been a mixed bag, but now the weather is picking up and the growing season is in full swing. Sorry for the lack of posts recently, the workload has ramped up of late.
There is so much to do and it’s a blessing to have the good weather and longer days to do it.
We have been propagating and planting seeds. Growing a wider variety of fruits and vegetables than last year and introducing new medicinal herbs for home remedies such as the the burdock plant. A fantastic detox herb, we plan to harvest the root with dandelion root and make our own root beer/soft drink. This year we are introducing courgette, squash, gerkin and aubergine to the variety of vegetables we already grow.
We set a Rhode Island Red hen, on 9 eggs and hope on Monday 2nd May 2016, we will have adorable baby chicks.
Here is the proud Mammy to be, Reddy Penny, nicely snuggled up in her box of straw. We separated her from the other hens to prevent them from laying in her nest and disturbing her clocking. She ventures out into her separate run only very occasionally to eat, stretch and do her business.
Reddy penny clocking chicks
The hen ark where Reddy Penny lives
The red grape vine we brought back from Romania is thriving and hopefully before too long will be supplying us with lovely homegrown grapes for juices and wines, salads and snacks.
The rhubarb is flourishing and it will be ready soon to harvest and make the first wine of the year. We have been gathering up wine bottles from friends and family, enough to hold about 125 litres. We prefer the swing-top bottles, but they can be expensive. Aldi/Lidl do have natural lemonade/soft drinks in swing top bottles, so we buy a few of those from time to time to have them for wine.
Red Grape Vine from Romania
The kiwi plant has survived the Winter, as have the asparagus and it has 14 spears sprouting already. We are excited, as it will be our first time to harvest them. Steamed and sprinkled with cilantro or coriander leaves, mmmm.
Cilantro is a new herb for us. Despite the misunderstanding that its another name for coriander, which it is too, it is slightly different in its properties. It tastes and looks the same, but has more active/potent chemicals that are good for liberating toxins/heavy metals from the body. So it’s a welcome gift from two lovely people.
The parsley has burst into life in the polytunnel, so it’s time to dust off the de-hydrator, a great buy last year, that dries from the top down as oppose to the bottom up, avoiding juices dripping down into the fan/motor and then breeding germs to blow onto the food your drying. It’s BPA free, a rarity in domestic appliances, I think. Here is the one we bought. BPA Free De-Hydrator
We have a few homebrews on off late, and recently we have tried a high specific gravity beer, called the “Hammer of Thor” it’s a 6%, so a strong one at that. Thanks to Matty for the suggestion and the trial.
We don’t drink much despite the fact we make our own drinks. Mostly the wines are used in cooking and we bring them with us to barter and exchange as gifts, when we visit friends.
A friend from Mullingar, County Westmeath is setting up a homebrew company, with a physical shop and online presence. He has a real passion for quality, and customer satisfaction and will only stocking products and kits he has tried and tested.
At the end of this year, we hope to have enough material to publish a book of off-grid/self-sufficient living and publish the book in hard copy and e-copy formats. It will cover herbalism and home remedies, growing, keeping poultry and bees, off grid electricity, home preservation of foods, off grid transport, spirituality and homebrewing.
Another project is to get the 4kw off-grid system assembled and wired in, there is a few things to get to be ready, but most of the equipment is there. Exciting times ahead. 🙂
So it’s going to be another wonderful year, growing ever closer to the goal of self-sufficient living.