Thursday, April 24, 2008

More Gardening....

So, I went over to the FIL's house yesterday and 2 of the three flats he'd planted were seed he'd bought. One of them was seed I'd bought. He planted nine seedlings each of both variety of tomato, both variety of pepper, the eggplant, the cabbage, the broccoli and.... oh, the onion. All things that HAD to be started early. And nine seemed like a good start for those seedlings, he thought. Personally I kinda wish he'd started less eggplant and more onion, but.... *shrug* The flats are also kinda divided up into groups of nine, so that obviously seemed like the best way to determine what was in each section was just plant in nines. Ok. Makes sense when it comes down to it.

I got over there and we talked about (and decided to do so) buying a small greenhouse for FIL's place. He's got the room for it. He even gave Scott all the cash needed to go pick one up this weekend. There's a 10x10 plastic-tarp greenhouse at Sam's Club for only about $189. We figure that this'll give us enough room (for now, anyway) for most of the tomatoes, the cukes, the peppers, and the eggplant. The irony is.... FIL and MIL have never TRIED eggplant. So we may end up with LOADS & LOADS more than any of us want to eat. (The seed I bought was "Applegreen Eggplant" and they look like apple green colored over-sized eggs. *wry smile*) I told him that once we got some eggplant off of them, I'll make him & MIL some Eggplant Parmesan, and hopefully they'll like it. Otherwise we're gonna have a crap-load more eggplant than just _I_ can eat.

Anyway, I planted 9 each of both variety of cucumbers and 9 each of both variety of melon. I should have planted more onion, though. I'm kicking myself now for not doing so last night. Maybe I'll call the FIL this afternoon and ask if he'd mind planting at least another 9 of the onions. I think we'll wind up being able to use at LEAST 18..... Considerably more, really. Onions are something _I_ use a lot of, and I think that the FIL and MIL do as well. Of course, he may have planted his own onion seeds as well as the 9 of mine. Either way.... I'm going to need more onion than just 9.

Oh, and FIL was joking (well, KINDA joking) that he's considering planting his own damn barley & hops so he can brew his own beer, since the cost of that is going up by a few dollars by the end of this week. (And, FIL drinks enough of the stuff that this is actually a somewhat major concern of his!) That got us discussing the limiting of grain purchases at Sam's club. He said (which I already knew, thanks to Casaubon's Book blog) that they're limiting not only the amout of rice purchased per person, per week, but the amout of flour and every other grain as well.

Besides just gardening.... We were talking about the price of fuel and heating our homes and everything. My FIL may not believe in Peak Oil as in the oil is not going to be reachable.... But he's certainly of the opinion that the price isn't coming back down which is putting everybody in a very hard spot. (He's of the opinion that if more refineries were built then we wouldn't be in such a hard spot as we are now and are facing. And, living next door to a refinery as I do..... I personally don't see the issue so many folks have with the Not In My Back Yard syndrome. It's not ideal to be burning oil & coal, but it's also not the extreme eyesore & close-proximity-air-pollution that a lot of people assume it is.) Anyway, he's got two woodstoves that we COULD use if we want, but as I pointed out to him (and he agrees) wood is getting expensive, and it's also a finite resource if EVERYBODY is using it. Trees don't grow fast enough to necessarily replenish in time for yearly cutting. We're REALLY gonna have to go solar or wind or hydro-electric if we want to keep our houses warm (and cook our meals) in the harsh Alaskan winters, without also completely depleating what trees we've got left. We were discussing all this yesterday. And the FIL commented that he really feels bad for Scott and I and Tay, and the nephews, because the world we're all facing is a lot harsher than the world FIL has had the pleasure of growing older in. He even said (without prompting from me) that the fuel shortages of the 70's are NOTHING as compared to what Scott and I are looking at now.

We discussed (only minimally, but the thought is out there) how we're going to preserve our harvest, if we manage to get one this year. Of course canning is an option. So is drying and freezing (at least for now, and at least for winter). I'd like to further discuss and plan for root cellaring, but I'm not sure how doable an option that is here in the Fairbanks area. (Mind you, every winter our ground freezes to several feet down. I mean.... We cannot have burials in January here because the ground is frozen at least to 5 feet down, making it impossible for the grave-diggers to do their job even WITH heavy machinery. In that case, the bodies are frozen till spring/summer when the burial finally takes place. So, I really am somewhat skeptical about how well root-cellaring would work here.)

Anyway..... I'm feeling considerably better about the gardening and everything, knowing that my FIL is also thinking along similar lines (even if he doesn't understand the importance of getting away from GMO seed) and is considering how to work our lives around the hardships facing us.

At the same time, though..... I'm a worrier. I worry about my Mom, my Dad, my sisters..... None of the 4 of them have really given this too much thought. (Sorry Mom & Shelli!!! But from what I can see, even as we talk about this between ourselves, as far as I know neither of you is actually taking any action to produce more of your own food, for example. Though, maybe I'm wrong about that with you, Shelli. And I do know that you're moving closer to work, Mom.) And the number of friends I've got on here who are really unprepared..... I wish I could gather you all close (Robin, Whim) and help y'all get through this. And I wish the same for my coworker CM, who's got a dead-beat hubby and two darling little boys. She lives right close to our workplace, but she's in a small apartment without any means of gardening at this point. (Though, if it comes down to it, gardening on the grounds outside the apartment may be an option, but then she'd have to deal with the deadbeats who live in the apatments around her taking the food she's grown for her family.) I don't know..... It just seems that every time we get one aspect thought through and less of a concern, I realize that there are many matters over which I will still worry.


On a lighter note, I'm going to see "Nim's Island" tonight with one of my coworkers. She's working not only her job at the library (10 hours a week), but also her job as a house cleaner, AND an extern-ship at a local chiropractor's office. She needs a break from all that seriousness, so we're going to go see "Nim's Island" after I get off work tonight. Providing, that is, we don't miss each other in the parking lot. *grin*


I was out planting more flower seeds yesterday. I planted a good number of iris seeds along the bottom of the yard. And in the one flower bed out front (the one that I'm going to KEEP flowers, for now at least) I planted more poppy, deliphiniums, hollyhocks, baby's breath, forget-me-nots, voilas (also known as Johnny-Jump-Ups) and a couple of Sunflowers on the corner of the house. I need to find my snap-dragon seeds so I can throw those out there as well.

BUT!!! We're getting forcasts of rain & snow for the next couple of days. Now, being the end of April and the geese are arriving, I know the snow & rain won't be a major issue, but it may stunt or kill some of the seeds. *sigh* Go figure. We'll see whether it happens or not. This morning the temp was in the 50's and felt lovely as I was letting the dogs out. The sun's coming up higher in the sky, so it's getting warmer as the day goes on.

One odd thing we've been dealing with for the last several days is the haze. Mind you, it's too warm right now for a temperature inversion, so the haze we're getting is not from local pollution. Besides, even though you can SEE how hazy it is, it doesn't smell. Not smoky, not fuelish, nothing. Smells like fresh air. Turns out that there are some major fires going in Siberia and the smoke is blowing our way. At the same time, there've been some nasty sand-storms in the Gobi, and that sand is ALSO blowing our way. And the sand, mixed with the smoke, is making for hazy days & nights. BUT, as it's got so far to blow, we're not getting any of the smoky SMELL from the fires in Siberia. Just weird!!!

Ok. I've gotta get something to eat for breakfast.

Have a Blessed Day!


barefoot gardener said...

At the risk of sounding totally stupid....are basements common up there in Alaska? If either you or FIL have a basement, a portion of that space can be used as a root cellar. You just have to make sure that you insulate it from excessive heat from the house and cold from the ground.

Good luck with your planting and gardening this year. Maybe when Scott tastes how much better your homegrown veggies are, he won't be so inclined to complain about your plans for edible landscape! :)

peppylady said...

Every time I step I step out side and most of the time is throw the ball for Daisy.
It feel like we are living in an ice age.
I actual want to start gardening but it way to cold and damp.

Our gas furnace went out about two weeks ago and I just need to call the repair men.
right now we're running the electrical heat and I'm not looking forward to the bill.

Gas for regular unlead is $2.60 last time I got gas and it usual goes up on Friday.

Tori_z said...

Good luck with all your gardening. :)

I've seen the trailer for that movie... Looks good. Hope you enjoy it.

Robin said...

Your comments about Sams Club are odd. I just read and article today in the Trib that Costco is limiting the amount of rice one can buy, but won't explain why.

The article went on to say that NO other company's were doing the same thing. Based on what I read, I wasn't concerned. Now, I am.

whimsical brainpan said...

The greenhouse is a brilliant idea!

And what you don't want to eat/can't preserve you can always donate to your local food bank. I'm sure they'd be thrilled to get something fresh rather than canned.

As for me I try not to worry about it too much. If I find there is something that I can do to help change the situation I'll do it. If it gets really bad I might have a couple of places to turn to for help. If not, I have gone hungry before. It is not fun but there are worse things.

Ashley Ladd said...

Whoa! Earlier today I read an article that mentioned the Wall Street Journal and New York Times were talking about a food shortage and telling people to store food. I should have paid more attention. I'll read up more on this tomorrow. My church has long advised us to stockpile food. I used to but our house is so small and my hubby gave me so much grief over spending the money on it and where to put it, I've let our food storage dwindle to almsot nothing.

I also noticed yesterday that a little bag of rice cost a lot - at a store that otherwise sold groceries much cheaper than the norm. I thought that was an abberation. But now...

This is from the woman who was the family joke in 1998-1999 as I prepared for Y2K (can you believe it's so long ago?).

I've always wanted to garden, but my few attempts weren't very good. On top of that, we have no basements in South Florida, and my small town has made it against city ordinance to garden (other than flowers), and my big dogs tear up everything we plant in the back yard including a couple fruit trees we planted a couple years ago. However, now, I'm going to take out some of the flowers in the front and plant some food (not corn obviously) instead.