We have been in a planting frenzy around here. All I need for motivation is a quick glance at news stories about rising food and commodity prices. Food is going to be problematic, maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow, but soon. You can’t keep oil abouve $110.00 and not see it reflected in the cost of everything from beans to band-aids. My son and DIL are leaving Utah for Massachusetts this morning. The plan was to take their time and cross the country by way of the National Parks. They hoped to do some camping and rock climbing before returning here to job hunt and settle down to real life. Plans changed as they crunched the numbers for fuel and food on the road and they have decided to drive straight back here. Neither kid has health insurance eithe.r It stopped as soon as they graduated and Ben is too old to get it through us. I think they were worried about what an accident or illness on the road would mean. I’m sorry for the lost opportunity but I respect their decision. Goodness knows, we can use the extra help around here.

Back to the gardening. We put in a load of strawberries and I have been researching guilds for them in all of my permaculture books. It looks like chives and borage are good companion plants, providing insect protecting (chives) and mulch (borage). Spinach is a good intercrop, providing a food source while protecting the soil between strawberry plants. I dried a good bit of spinach last year and will dry a lot more this year. It dries in just a few hours and made a great addition to tomato sauces and soups. I alsoadded it to scrambled eggs and stir fries. It’s good stuff to have on hand. Three gallons of dried spinach goes a long way although I must add that it takes a mess of spinach to fill up a gallon jug. I will probably have to get some from the farmer’s market to be sure I have enough.

We also planted the pear trees, the elderberries, the blackberries and the blueberries. Bruce built raised beds for everything. They look nice and are much easier to mow around than irregular shapes. I love to see lawn disappear as the food producing beds fill up the space.

I hope to make a trip to the thrift shop this week. This a great time of the year to pick up coats. They are all marked way down. I have gotten some good deals on gently worn outerwear. I want to look for stuff for Ben and Maggie. They will need barn coats as well as new Muck boots, gloves and coveralls. I will also be looking for down blankets and good wool yarn. That’s the kind of thing that will be on sale.

My raw milk co-op is up and running. The milk is amazing. It makes the best cheese and yogurt. I have to add that, as I’m doing more and more, the hours in a day are getting eaten up at a rather alarming rate. I hope Maggie likes to bake bread. At $4.69 a loaf, I really can’t afford to buy it. The plastic packaging is obnoxious and it’s hard to find without some ingredient I want to avoid. I will need to bake 4 days a week with two added adults in the household. That means extra wheat grinding too.