...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


The Garden is Done!

Tatsoi in December
As of last week we were still cutting and sharing greens from our garden.  Yesterday I finally closed it up.  Although I'm sure some of my crops could have benefited taste-wise from a couple more cycles of frost and thaw, I mentally and physically needed to shut it down for the season.  December 6 is by far the latest my garden has ever gone, which is fantastic and all, but towards the end here it was quite stressful thinking about whether the snow would beat me to the punch in pulling the plug for 2011.  All weekend--despite our wonderful visit with friends--I was sort of in a fog, feeling like I was watching myself enjoy the weekend from outside my body.  Some recurring back pain was no doubt partly to blame, but I think having something lingering on my to-do list for so many weeks and months--whether it was the garden or some other project--was making me anxious.  Like magic, after I cut and trimmed the remaining white kohlrabi, plucked the last of the salvageable Swiss chard and kale, pulled the tatsoi, and ripped out the tomato stakes and dead plants, I felt like myself again.  I needed closure.  And that was all it took. (P.S. We'll see if the cold-frame gets placed and planted this week with spinach before the ground freezes!)
While Kohlrabi in December
Rainbow Chard in December
Brick Road Skirt #1 Completed
Not to mention, another load was off my shoulders as of yesterday when I finished one of the many homemade holiday gift projects I've dedicated myself to this year.  I don't believe my sister or sister-in-law will read this, nor will their daughters who are the recipients of this/these particular item/s on my list so I feel safe posting a photo of the finished gift.  It's called a Brick Road Skirt and I got the pattern/idea from a library book called Sewing Bits and Pieces: 35 Projects Using Fabric Scraps.  My goal for the gifts this year was not to spend any money--just put a ton of elbow grease into it and enjoy the process.  I love how fun this skirt is--reminiscent of a Spanish dancer's costumes--and I think it will be adorable with a pair of striped leggings.  But I must say two things: 1) just because it was made with fabric scraps (of which I have an endless supply) doesn't mean it was simple; in fact, it was likely more difficult because of the intricacies of all the piecing, 2) I'm glad Vera isn't a ruffly, lacy, flouncy girl (yet!?) because it would be murder to sew many more projects like this.  I believe the second one will come together more easily now that I have some experience, but I'm glad I only have two nieces for which to sew these.  I used fabric, thread, elastic, and interfacing that I already had and even re-used some elastic from a pair of yoga pants that I had recently disassembled and reassembled into a circular scarf.  Now I'm on to some doll clothes for Vera and a couple of other novelties before I start my nephews' gifts, which I cannot mention because I know THAT sister-in-law DOES often follow my blog.

Layers upon layers of ruffle!  Oy!

So, back to the garden closing.  The grand total of 137 lbs. from this season seemed far below last year's final count, but then again I didn't grow melons, zucchini, slicing cukes, and other heavy items of that sort.  I was still very happy with this year's totals especially because I felt like it was hardly an effort.  I suppose there's a trade-off.  I was able to put up more food (canned, frozen, and dried) this year than ever before.  So if I wasn't able to spend time in the garden it was likely because I was hovering over the kettle in the kitchen.  Fair enough.
The Left side of my basement pantry
The Upright Basement Freezer
Root Cellar Shelf: Onions, Squash, Garlic, Potatoes, etc.
The carrot powder turned out well yesterday and I put a tablespoon or so into a smoothie for an interesting flavor.  The small jar will live in my spice cabinet until it's gone, which will probably be in just a couple of months based on how much I've enjoyed it thus far.

Carrot Powder: Juicing by-product, dried and ground


  1. How much space would you say you have to garden total?? Thanks! love your website by the way!

  2. I would say about 250 sq. ft. of growing space for food.

  3. Ann,
    Would you be willing to share any advice on how to have a Root Cellar for someone, like me, who lives in New Mexico where it can reach 110 degrees in the summer and I do not have a basement? I am trying to live a more homesteader lifestyle, even though I live in the suburbs of a large city and need all the advice I can get because it is quite difficult.