Thursday, September 1, 2011

August 2011 in Review and September Preps

I'm a bit late with my monthly summary, but here it is. To cap off a very interesting August, both of our water heaters died last weekend. It took five days for the parts to come in and for the water heaters to get fixed. No hot water when you have four young children home making messes all day in the middle of canning season? Life gets complicated and everything takes about twice as long to get done. It's going to take a few days to unearth my house from under the debris of dirty dishes, kids, and laundry.  I'm hoping September will be a better month.

August Garden:

Here's the bad news: the germination rate hasn't been great for our fall plantings.

Cauliflower hanging in there

We have a few tiny cauliflower and broccoli plants.

The Box of Death

This is the box we have christened "The Box of Death". All the strawberries we planted last spring died and now only one cabbage seedling remains. Lots of seedlings sprouted, but they mysteriously died. What gives?

Brandywine tomato plant gone wild

Our tomatoes are in a holding pattern. The insanely hot weather of July and early August caused the plants to drop flowers rather than produce fruit. Now the weather is better and flowers are setting, but we have to wait until the fruit is produced and ripe.

But there's good news.

The pumpkins are looking great. It won't be long before they're ready to pick. Our cucumbers and cantaloupe are consistently producing, too.

I'm harvesting and drying tons of cayenne peppers.

Green beans in September?

And, miracle of miracles, we have fresh green beans! Lots of them! Hubby Dear picked nearly two pounds just yesterday.

I reported last month that the green beans died, right? Well, in two of the boxes, the green beans bounced back and began producing with the mild weather we've been having.  How strange is that? It's fun to have some garden serendipity instead of garden catastrophe.

August Preps:
  • In addition to the odds and ends I picked up at Cabela's, I bought some more items for our long term food storage: local honey, oil, mayonnaise, molasses and evaporated milk. I broke down and shelled out the mega bucks for a case of dry milk. We are getting so close to having a full year's supply of food. Exciting!
  • I also added to our three-month supply: dry carrots, dry fruit, cornstarch, granola bars and cereal. My family is a crazy bunch of cold cereal addicts, so we have to build a big stockpile of it. Cereal is getting more and more expensive (like everything else these days) so it's a challenge to find bargains. 
  • Speaking of stockpiles, my budding toiletry stockpile was getting out of control. I had been just pitching items in the cabinets in our master bathroom and it was pretty chaotic. To solve this problem, I bought five storage bins and divided the stockpile into five categories: oral care, body wash & soap, skin care, deodorant, and hair care. The bins should hold about a year's supply of these toiletries for my family and items are much easier to find now.  
The beginnings of my hair and skin care stockpile

What's coming up this September? 

  • I'm so excited! Global Sun Oven is lending me a Sun Oven to take for a test drive.  I can't wait to put it through its paces. Will it really work? Is it worth the hype? Is it better for baking cookies than my mini-van? You'll be along every step of the way.
  • Of course I'll continue building our food storage. I plan to dehydrate a bunch of herbs and freeze pesto. Apple season is upon us so I'll begin canning applesauce, apple butter, and try my hand at dehydrating apples, as well. 
  • The advent of cooler weather reminds me that we need to get a back-up form of heat for our house. We plan to get a wood stove at some point, but for now, a propane heater will have to do. 
  •  I'm cutting back a bit on my prepping budget this month to start saving for my chicken coop. Hubby Dear and I are going to begin building the chicken moat this month. Since the two of us are ridiculously un-handy, that should be fun times indeed. Thankfully our marriage is strong enough to survive the trials and tribulations that are sure to unfold. ;) 

What did you do to prep or in the garden during the month of August? What do you have planned for September? 

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