Shannon

I am wife to Stewart, mama of five, homeschooler, messy cook, and avid fermenter. This is where I tell our story... of building a sustainable off-grid homestead in a Christian agrarian community... of raising this growing family of ours... of the beauty and the hard and the joy in all of it.
944 articles written by Shannon

It sort of feels like the garden off-season even though things are still very much growing. We haven’t had much frost to speak of and it is actually in the 80s today. But because most everything is greens and roots, we are simply eating loads of it every day and I am taking a break from the ferment jars and canners. This Cimarron Lettuce, above, is looking big enough for salads now.

We currently have two beds in the Chicken Field that look like this. A mix of radishes, turnips, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, and tatsoi.Tatsoi is this nifty little green that is supposed to be cold hardy down to 15 degrees. We haven’t even come close to that yet so we will see how it fares as winter sets in… if winter sets in. It is tasty, though, and we have been eating it in salads. Though it is of the mustard family it is quite mild.

And then there is this patch we broadcast-seeded with turnips and kale. We ate the turnip greens in salads as babies and now we are pulling the greens for Mabel and the goats mostly. The back half of this picture is the sea of kale we are eating from currently. There is also some mustard and collard greens spread out beyond this photo.

The beets were a major fail this fall and so we will maybe try again early next spring. Abram’s beets are doing really well, however, as are his greens and carrots. I am pretty sure there is something like a green thumb in his bones but I’m wondering, if it was from me, if it didn’t skip a generation.

We are so grateful for fresh salads and greens available daily right now. These beds mostly grew themselves so we are concentrating our energy elsewhere, preparing spring garden beds, finishing up book projects, and focusing a lot on schoolwork. Lord willing, before we know it it will be January – time to start seeds indoors! – and February – time to plant potatoes! – and the garden will sweep us away once again.

Are you still able to grow or harvest where you are at, friends?

One of the greatest gifts we have been given through this agrarian pursuit is that, though the days may often be overflowing and quite long, they are nearly all spent together. When Daddy is working he is sometimes in his office, often out on the land, or a very short walk down our dirt road. But save the trips for groceries, laundry, and supplies, the seven us are usually all on the land.

So while we wait for supper to finish cooking, the three littlest ones and I hitch up the “tractor” (an old hose reel) and stroll down to see how the work is coming along. Another blessing is that the boys are now old enough to help and so oftentimes one or both of them is down working on our neighbor’s fence or earth bag root cellar alongside Stewart.

When we got to the work site we said our hellos and I found the boys pounding rebar while I tried not to worry about them walking across these planks. Stewart was laying planks, drilling holes, and cutting rebar. They work seamlessly, these three, and it hurts my heart a little to see these boys standing beside their father; growing into young men, even if just a little bit.

But then I remember the pot of lentils simmering on the stove and the little man and his sisters who are still very much little. So we tell them it will be about thirty minutes until supper and we head back down that dirt road. The girls pick grass for Mabel and we head in and set the table and quick pick a salad from the garden.

Like most nights, I break up a few squabbles, wipe up a lot of spilled milk, and try to stay awake long enough to finish the dishes, knowing that tomorrow might be exactly like today… and wouldn’t that be a privilege.