Monday, July 23, 2012

homesteading/homemaking is a learning process

today i was trying to cook a batch of rotten egg shells in the oven for about 5 minutes before the stench was so bad that i gave up and threw out the egg shells (it was painful... i hate wasting things!).

lesson learned.  what was the lesson?  when people say to wash the egg shells before letting them dry, they mean wash the dang egg shells.

oh. ok, next time i wont leave unwashed egg shells in a plastic container for a week and expect them not to smell.

[in case you are wondering, i have started saving egg shells to grind up and use as a soil amendment for our garden]

that was today's lesson.  but in the past few years as i have really embraced homemaking as my vocation i have learned many lessons.  and i have learned to have flexibility and a sense of humor, especially when trying new things (and i have been trying a lot of new things recently).  as in many other areas of life, i have learned the most when i have failed at what i was trying to accomplish.

like last summer when i planted my first veggie garden in southern california.  i learned that you need to water you plants.  a lot.  [it doesn't rain here.  so you would think that the need for water would be obvious, but we live in a desert and water is expensive and i am frugal. thats why i use recycled water when its available].  this summer i am actually watering my plants 2-3 times per week and they are much happier [who would have thought!].

also, plants need sun.  thats why my two tomato plants that i planted almost completely in the shade last summer gave me just a small handful of tomatoes.

this summer i learned that you need to be really extra nice and careful with seedlings or they will die when you transplant them.  being extra nice and careful means watering them a lot (especially before during and after transplant) and giving them time in a "halfway house" (ie a larger pot with some soil from the garden after they are well established in their smaller seedling pot).  and singing to them [sometimes].

so far this summer we have gotten a 3-4 pints of cherry tomatoes, 40ish garlic bulbs (most are tiny but some are normal sized.  lesson learned=garlic needs sunlight and protection from chickens) and one bunch of swiss chard.  and we are getting 2 medium sized eggs per day on average.  i am thankful for all of this but i know that we can get a lot more next year as i continue to tweak my methodology (and protect my seedlings from curious and hungry chickens).

what lessons have you learned in your homekeeping/homesteading experiments?

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