It’s getting closer every day to the time when I can plant all the seeds I’ve acquired. We’re in the process of fertilizing the straw bale gardens. It has about 5 days left until we can put our soil on the top. You can technically plant transplants or plants that are already growing into the straw bale. You just make a bit of a hole in the soil and straw. I prefer to start with seeds, because they are cheaper to start with. If you would like to learn more about straw bale gardening, I recommend Straw Bale Gardening by Joel Karsten. Amazon has an updated version of the book that was published in February 2015. I have an older version, but it is still relevant. In the book you follow a 12 day process of alternating amounts of fertilizer on one day, and then watering another day. I’m hoping they do really well this year. We finally were able to get fill dirt to add to our flower/herb garden. BJ went to get a pickup truck bed full of the dirt. He brought his truck into the backyard, and we shoveled dirt out of the truck into the middle of the flowerbed. Yesterday, BJ added compost and vermiculite to the dirt. It is supposed to rain soon, but as soon as the dirt is a little dryer I’ll start putting dirt into the holes of the cinder blocks. It won’t be long before I’m able to start planting all my seeds. I’m so excited. Now if I could just deal with that pesky pollen!
BJ’s “Honey Do” list keeps growing, poor guy! I decided I’d like a bench to sit outside and enjoy the yard. He can get pallets basically for free from work, so I’m looking up plans of different benches and chairs made from pallets. I’ve already told him that I’d like a greenhouse in the back yard, and he wants to build a small storage building to store the mowers and garden implements in.
I have a ridiculous amount of books to read, but I always seem to be acquiring more. I found a larger local used bookstore that has a pretty good selection, but their prices are a little higher than I’d like to pay. My favorite spot to get used books is the “Friends of the Public Library” bookstore. They have a lot of cool books in a small space, and the prices are amazing. I also buy a ton of ebooks on Amazon for my Kindle app. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be able to read all the books that I’ve downloaded. I have a bunch of different wish lists on Amazon, but I have a physical book list, and a Kindle book list.
Due to the migraines I had been having, I was having a very hard time with concentration. The headaches are almost gone now, so I’m able to focus much more easily. I found a book at the library bookstore that was on my Kindle wish list. Online it is $20 for a new book, and the digital addition is $13.49. I found this book for the outrageous price of $1.00. I have started reading it, and I’m enjoying it so far.
The book is called Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes, if you’d like to check it out on Amazon just click here. So far the book seems to focus not on homemaking as a duty of non-working women staying home and slaving away in servitude of a husband. This book highlights that homemaking is something for everyone single, married, male, female, young, or old. The main idea is that over the last couple generations, we have lost many of the essential skills to be as self-sufficiency. As I read thru the book I will update on my feelings of what I’m reading.
The book is inspiring me to work harder at having a self-sufficient lifestyle. It’s amazing how much money BJ and I have wasted on non-essential items. I want to maximize our savings budget, and learn things that are useful. I’m seriously considering taking a beginner’s sewing class. I have been wanting to learn to sew for years.
My Self-sufficient Trials and Errors
When teaching ourselves new tasks realizing there is a high probably of failure is something that I’ve struggled with. I’m working to learn more and more every day. I absolutely love to learn, and there’s so many chances to learn every single day.
I had a trial and error with baking some bread this week. I bought a dry grinding container for my blender that breaks down wheat berries. I had gotten a bag of both hard red wheat berries, and hard white wheat berries. I had been hesitant to take the plunge to grind the wheat and make bread with it. The blender ground up the hard red wheat berries beautifully, my only problem is I didn’t feel how ground up it was until I had already started using it. I think next time I’ll make sure it’s ground finer.
I let the yeast rest in hot sugar water for 15 minutes, and then I poured in half of the flour. My second mistake was that I didn’t allow the flour to be incorporated enough. Next time I’ll mix it longer. Then I put in the other half of the wheat in the mixer. It never seemed to have the consistency of my prior bread doughs. Perhaps the gluten wasn’t being properly stretched. I probably should have let that mix longer as well. I turned it out onto a floured board and kneaded it a little. I let it rise for an hour in an oiled bowl. I could actually hear it making a crackling sound as it was rising. At the end of the rise I was supposed to punch down the dough, knead it a little and turn it out onto a floured board. I cut the dough in half, and put each loaf in my silicone bread pans. I let them rise for another 30 minutes, and then I stuck them in the oven. I always cut a slice off the end off one of the loaves to test it out. It was just ok, it didn’t taste as good and didn’t seem to be too dense.
I’m ok with there being some trial and error as long as I’m learning.
As I try to master the art of homemaking, I will be updating here.