Garden

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Storms rolled through thick and heavy last week and whenever rain seems imminent, somehow we all find our way to the garden. Stewart took a look at the garlic and the impending moisture and declared it time to harvest so Abram and I finished planting pole beans and headed over.

Garlic is one of our favorite foods to grow, harvest, and eat. It is so good and good for you and because it grows over the winter, it tends to do better than many of the summer crops that can be easily ravaged by heat or drought here. Last week’s harvest reminded me of why harvesting this allium is so fun – the children think it’s a treasure hunt!

“Look at this one!” “That’s huge!” “Ma, did you see what Ruthie has?”. It’s just so much fun.

We filled a big black trash can, a large tote, and a crate with the fresh garlic. It was right about then that we heard on the weather radio that severe storms were rolling through so I took the children to shelter and Stewart got the garlic into the barn and followed shortly behind us.

We trimmed the garlic tops and roots and ended up with what Stewart estimates as about twice as much garlic as last year’s harvest. Since last year’s harvest was our largest yet, we are blown away. And while many of the heads are quite large, it is also really spicy and pungent and doesn’t taste at all watered down to us.

In the end, once trimmed and stored, we ended up filling a box full of five pound potato bags (maybe 4-5) plus a crate and a basket I’ll be keeping on the counter for cooking and medicinal purposes. This may be enough garlic for all of our food and seed needs until the next year’s harvest, Lord willing.

I am in awe of the work the Lord has done with provisions such as this. Every year we harvest, the question is asked: “This really grew from just a single clove of garlic?”. Yes, children, yes it did. And isn’t it merciful and miraculous?

Previous Garlic Harvests

kittymillie

Somehow this week has been filled beyond the usual with various homestead projects. I suspect it started with Kitty who welcomed Millie to the homestead very late Monday night. This was our first kidding on the homestead and I was completely taken off guard with just how exciting and day-filling that process would be.

After two days of me checking on her probably more often than she would appreciate, Stewart was the first one on the scene late Monday night. This little kid was born in a grove of cedar trees and we asked Ruthie if she wanted to name her. After many, many suggestions by all of us, Ruthie settled on Millie.

barnstalls

It was a welcome expectation to see rain in the forecast Tuesday night and now over the weekend as well. But with a fresh kid and two more goats expected to drop any day now, we needed to make preparations. The barn is now walled in on all sides except the south wall… and just in time, too!

One of the major projects for Stewart was getting the solar panels, batteries, and whatnots moved over from in front of the barn in order to finish the south wall. Well, he had to put up a new roofline behind the house to mount the solar panels on and that entailed taking down the old roofline in front of the barn in order to salvage materials.

So while Stewart spent a frightening amount of time on the roof this week, the children and I worked on cleaning out the barn and putting in some temporary kidding stalls. We spent much of Tuesday pounding T-posts and moving hay and holding ladders (gulp), in between checking on goats and little Millie.

beansrow

And then, with the rain that came Tuesday night and further percentages in the forecast, I figured it’d be a good time to get over my fear of the bean field and take the plunge. There are still several hay bales to break up and spread out but I knew if I didn’t jump in and just get started somewhere, I might never do it.

So we started on the east side of the field and finished that hay up and got to planting. We marked and raked back rows and then the boys got a chance to try out this little plow they put together with scrap materials months ago.

beansplow

I’m not sure how efficient it is but it got the job done and created a furrow two inches deep into which we planted black-eyed peas. We may or may not get to planting some more this afternoon after school books close and babies awake.

I think I realized the other day that we tend to rush around in the spring in an attempt to prepare for the hot months ahead. Finish up building projects, get all of the garden in (and somewhat harvested) before June, bolster the homestead for several months of heat. In many ways it is akin to preparing for winter up north.

So maybe that is why the days are full and the hands (and floors) perpetually dirty – it is spring!