Friday, April 30, 2010

The Farm in the spring

Later yesterday I sent Angela and Emily outside with the camera to get pictures of all the flowers before the wind blows them all away.  This is what they found...
                           My magnolia that the kids bought me years ago on Mother's Day

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Planning our garden

After 14 years of selling produce, we finally get a garden to ourselves.  We really aren't sure how much to plant for "US" anymore.  We'd always use what didn't sell or what wasn't sell-able.  This morning I went to Jung's to buy our strawberry plants and seeds.  This is the list I came up with...

250 Honeye Strawberries, they are a mid season strawberry and we've had really good luck with them.
250 Sparkle Strawberries, they are a late season strawberry...the kids complain about how many strawberries all come at once.  So we decided to spread it out.
50 tri-start strawberries, these are ever bearing.  There are so many recipes that call for "fresh" berries so we think this will help.
That is our strawberry list.  We have a fair amount of people that buy them right off the farm so we need enough.

Now for the rest of the garden...
I got 3 different kinds of garlic to plant now in the spring...elephant, california white and Italian late.  I want to get these in now and in the fall divide them and replant them for next year so we get more.  We love garlic.

Sugar Daddy snow peas, we really aren't into shelling peas so this works for us.  :)
Bloomsdale long standing spinach
Detroit Supreme beet

4 different kinds of beans just because the best beans I ever canned where a mixture, so I got blue lake, provider, contender and derby

Sweet corn we also picked 4 different varieties so we spread out the fresh eating.  So we went with seneca dancer, Native Gem, Delectable and Ambrosia.

Homemade pickle is our pickle of choice.  It has done wonderful for years.
Dukat dill, I keep trying to get a dill patch going and it always gets dug up every year.
Sweet slice cucumber for salads
Prodigy carrot...this is new to us.  It's higher in vitamins so we'll give it a try in our black soil.
Black beauty zucchini

Large grey stripe sunflowers, I thought Ethan, Karlie and Livi would have fun watching these giants grow.  And when they are done we can roast the seeds.

Robust yellow popcorn, the younger ones don't know what it's like to grow your own popcorn.  This will be a learning year for them and the garden.

I got 2 different kinds of indian corn.  I read that you can grind it to make corn meal. Earth tones and autumn explosion is what I went with.

I guess Angie and I got carried away with the squash and pumpkins.  We have 5 different kinds of pumpkin early sweet sugar pie, howden, howden biggie, Galeuse D'Eysines (or peanut pumpkin as my sneaker friends would refer to) and prize winner.  The kids have never grown a very large pumpkin so that's why we chose the last one.  Plus, the younger kids have never carved a pumpkin...we always sold or ate everything before. 

We LOVE squash...honey bear, chicago warted hubbard, really big, bonbon, burgess buttercup, waltham butternut and mooregold are our choices this summer.  We looked for squash that would keep in our fruit cellar over the winter and variety.  It seems like everyone in this house has an opinion on squash.  :)

We chose 2 different onions because that was about all that was left.  I really should order from my place down in TX to get my plants.  Texas supersweet and yellow sweet spanish is what we bought.  I look for good storage onion and I buy plants instead of sets or seeds.

The only novelty seed we bought was autumn wings blend of gourds.  Unless you have a recipe for gourds that I won't look at it as a novelty anymore.  LOL

Potatoes we already have some in the ground for early eating and we'll be getting out more in a couple of weeks for storage.
I already have lettuce in the ground also.  I love the "blends" of loose leaf lettuce they've come out with. 

Yes, we love to have a garden.  We love the variety you get, and the taste is beyond anything you'd get at the store.

The plants will come later.  

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stay Organized~Stay Focused

I get asked a lot about how we do it with a large family.  The big thing is to stay organized and on top of things.  I have charts and calenders printed off because we have a busy spring.  Our planning for this spring started last August when I started buying prizes for the bridal shower.  We knew we were going to have a shower but didn't know when.  Then after Christmas I started buckling down for the bridal shower.  Setting the date, menu, invitations, etc. Having the shower in March we didn't have to worry about mowing the lawn or weeding flower beds so we worked on things in the house that would still look nice for everything else.  Trimming out the bathroom windows, painting our bedroom and painting the kitchen.  I also took on a challenge of making a new quilt for our room, I started in January and I'm still working on it...LOL  If I get the top done I'll be happy because I could just lay that on our bed and get it machine quilted after the wedding. 

This past Saturday we celebrated Ethan's first communion and in less than 7 weeks we'll have a graduation party and wedding in the family.  It really gets difficult to stay focused on finishing up the school year when things get busy.  I printed off the May and June calenders to put on the fridge.  Writing in everything that we know of for sure like piano lesson, the orthodontist, graduation party, wedding etc.  From there we'll make a list of what needs to get done, like weeding the flower beds, planting garden, for me lots more sewing for the wedding along with the wedding favors.  Plus, Hannah, Angie and Emily all have off the farm need to keep that in mind also.

So we break the jobs down to 1 extra hour a day spent on the things that need to get done.  That way it doesn't take away from school work or their jobs.  If it's raining, then we do inside things.  

Also planning ahead can help spread out the cost.  Things you know you'll need can be bought ahead of time.  Then it doesn't become a shock to the wallet. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Welcome to my Life

Welcome! I'm new to the blogging world so bear with me. My husband, Mark, and I have 11 great kids. We're going to be experiencing our first wedding in June. I'm a WAHM. I make and sell goats milk soaps and sell on line and and I can also be found at
We are currently finishing up our 13th year of homeschooling and graduating our 5th. As one year comes to a close I already have plans for the next year.
So, we'll see how this blogging thing goes...I hope I have time for it. :)