Hello? Is this thing on? Anyone there?
Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. I have essentially been MIA for the last two months on this blog and almost everywhere else on social media. I could say that life is too busy, but the truth is that I have too much to do most days and don’t have a lot of time to sit down to write. Now that the garden is mostly in and will be holding steady for a few weeks, I will have more time.
Even though I am not on social media as much, if you sign up for my weekly emails, I will be in touch every Friday ( or maybe an occasional Saturday). I will send you three new and older blog posts as well as opportunities for you to support other bloggers and small businesses. I don’t want you to feel pressured to do it, but I would appreciate your time in doing so. There is a sign-up for the email on the sidebar.
On the gardening front, everything is starting to look better. I am watering a lot. We are hot and dry right now which is not beneficial for the plants. The broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage look stunted. They are more in the shade which I had hoped would help them. The cucumbers and zucchini struggled for a bit but now seem to be coming out of it. The peppers and tomatoes are happy as long as they get watered. The sweet corn is shooting up like crazy. The green beans and the pinto beans seem to be doing well also. The garlic, onions, and shallots are getting big and I hope to start harvesting them by the end of July.
I am trying something new this year with the tomatoes. I procured several five-gallon buckets from my dad and put them in the ground around each tomato plant. After losing almost every tomato plant last year to the hot, dry winds and drought, I thought the buckets might help protect them a bit. So far, so good. I am very happy with the results.
Even though it seems late, I will be putting sweet potatoes in the ground using the Ruth Stout method hopefully this weekend. I found some plants at our local store and bought them to plant. Fingers crossed that we get a decent crop.
I have been picking strawberries like crazy! I have put up several jars of strawberry jam and frozen some in quart-size bags for smoothies over the winter. I don’t do anything special for the jam except follow the directions on the low-sugar Sure-Jell package. Once I use up my stock of those boxes, I might switch to a different kind of pectin. I picked a fair amount of rhubarb, but somehow that always ends up in a crisp or cobbler. I have also been eating asparagus as it has been coming up. It’s been so tender that most of it never reached the kitchen to be cooked! However, that season seems to be done.
The chicks are doing great! The first weekend in June, my son and I moved them into the chicken coop with the four ladies still left there. There were some adjustments to be made by all the occupants. It’s also becoming apparent that I need to install a second roost bar next week. They do not all fit onto one eight-foot bar. I have also been working on coop training the younger chicks. They have been in training for almost a month. Next week, I will start letting them out to free-range in the yard.
I have been getting a taste of what an empty nest feels like this summer. Dane is working as summer staff for a church camp this summer. He is gone six out of the seven days a week, and when he comes home, he is sleeping/eating/doing laundry/packing for the next week. He is barely home for twenty-four hours before he leaves again. He will be home the week of July 4th, so I hope to have some help during that time. However, this summer has been a learning curve for me.
To any and all self-reliant people who do this by yourselves (no spouse, no kids), kudos! I now understand what you truly go through. Doing this by yourself is challenging but rewarding. I have no regrets, but I am getting better at prioritizing what needs to be done every day. I am also better when the weight all falls on my shoulders. I have friends and family who will help if I ask for help, but I also have to do some work in that area. I enjoy being independent, but I can be stubborn about it too.
Now that you know what I have been doing, what am I thinking?
World events have certainly dominated my thoughts, just like everyone else. I am more concerned about what is going on in this country. Those in charge are causing so much chaos on social and moral issues that they can sneak other stuff by you. When something like what happened in the last two weeks happens, we need to ask ourselves what else are they up to. In this case, they decided to give $800 million in military support to Ukraine. You didn’t hear about that? You probably didn’t also hear the latest climate change news or anything else those overpaid public servants are doing. When something blows up like the Second Amendment or abortion (don’t get me wrong, they are important), you need to ask yourself what else is going on. Smokescreens should not be used in our government, yet they are.
Certainly, the inflation/recession news has my attention even more now. Food prices are no joke. Higher fuel costs will make things much worse before the end of the year. The median individual income in 2021 was $44,225. I make slightly more than that before taxes and health insurance. If you deduct rent/mortgage, car payments, cell phone bills, utility bills, and everything else that needs to be paid, you don’t have much money left for groceries, gas, and essentials. With higher costs, people are already making concessions. You will see more people working in the gig economy or working a side hustle to make ends meet.
Gas prices are killing my budget. I get even angrier when I think of what we have for oil underground in North America and what this government has done to mislead the people into thinking green energy is better. We will all pay a much higher price for this foolishness before this is all over and many people will be forced into making unthinkable decisions.
What can you or I do? Keep preparing and figuring out ways to be more self-reliant. At the end of the day, you are the only one who will take care of you.
Thanks for reading,