It took some extra strength pain reliever and my hot pack to get to sleep last night. We planted nearly 30 pounds of potatoes and 75 tomato plants. We added rock minerals and a prayer to each hole we dug, hoping for a year unmarred by blight. Today the corn goes in. If I have time, the beans will get planted too as will the replacement broccoli and cauliflower plants. My her garden is ready to go as well. It looks like hot, dry weather for a few days. The good news is that is a good window for planting but the bad news is that I have to water by hand. We are bordered by a little stream which means I don’t have to haul water far. Our gardens run around the periphery of our land and are circled by water. We didn’t plan it that way but it certainly worked out.

All of the new trees and bushes are doing well. They too need to be hand watered. I think the water is the most important thing to new tree success and I don’t skimp on it. I believe I will get a harvest of hazelnuts this year and one of gooseberries too. We may get some fruit although the late frost was a problem. Bruce is sinking some post around the tomato patch so we can set up a floating greenhouse if frost threatens. I have a permaculture dream of wild, food-producing places but the reality is different. I need row covers for frost protection and fencing to protect crops from bears and woodchucks. I need raised beds for soil protection and the greenhouse for winter greens and seed starting. The concept of wild is lovely but I need a guaranteed food supply.

I will harvest rhubarb this weekend. I am so excited because I will get to use my new stainless steel canner. It is a beautiful thing. I have two other canners (one I am using for soap making) as well as the big pressure canner. I also just realized that the huge stock pot I just bought is the same size as the canner. I now just need a new rack and I will have yet another canner. This may seem like overkill but there is a method to my madness. I need 350 jars of pickles to get me through a year. I am buying a case of jars each week to get up to the necessary number. And yes, we do eat a jar each night and several at a big holiday dinner. If I can get the girls to help, I can put up a lot of jars in a day if I get four canners going at once. We eat far less jam but the same thing applies. I get two or three canners going when the raspberries are producing and I get all of the work over with in a few days. I just freeze the berries until I have enough to work with.

I am really giving some thought to how much food we eat in a year. We will get a full year out of the potato patch this time as we enlarged the patch quite a bit. I love the idea of growing enough to be spud independent.

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