Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More rabbit saga.

The more I learn about the rex rabbits, the more frustrating it is.  It seems some color combinations have a lethal proponent to them, so now not only do I have to actually FIND A LOCAL BREEDER, I also have to find a PAIR of rabbits (preferrably unrelated), and that pair of rabbits must not be colors that can be bred together.

I think I give up on the rex idea.

I really DON'T want a white rabbit.  I know that New Zealands come in red and black at least.

I do like the look of silver foxes, though, and there looks like there's a breeder closeby, and another that advertises in the Farmers and Consumers bulletin.  They are a rare breed, so I hope their price doesn't keep them out of my budget.

:: HUFF ::

On the POSITIVE end of this rabbit saga, we have both cages, and The Architect just ordered a pan for the large cage.  It's a double-decker, but it's bottomless.  This makes no sense to me whatsoever.  I was told it was made as an outside hutch, but rabbits burrow. 

At least I have time.  I'm not in any rush, so I can take my time to research these breeds and talk to breeders.

I can't believe how wonderfully helpful everyone on Homesteading Today has been.  I've learned so many more details than the books I've been reading have told me.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I've had my heart set on acquiring a pair of standard rex rabbits this spring for meat and fur.

As it turns out, standard rex breeders are few and far between.  I've emailed a few people who had listed on their websites that they breed standard rexes, only to be told they no longer raise this particular breed.

Thankfully, everyone on Homesteading Today is super helpful, and it looks like I might be going to a rabbit show at the beginning of March to see if there will be any standard rex breeders there who are selling any stock.


To be continued...

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Dropping by to leave y'all this recipe.

Violet's Frighteningly Amazing (and kind of tangy/spicy) Meatloaf

1 lb ground beef
1 lb mild ground sausage
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup shredded "italian blend" cheese
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped onion
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 eggs

Put all of that in a big ol' bowl and moosh the heck out of it.  I wear gloves.  :)

Then put all of that moosh into a pair of lightly oiled 1lb loaf pans.

Preheat your oven to 350*.

While the oven preheats, let's make the sauce:

1 Tablespoon Brown Mustard
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/4 cups Cider Vinegar

(or, double the recipe so you have enough for dipping later)

Pour over your meatloaves.
Put 'em in the oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Cut one open in the middle to make sure it's done.  You'll likely have to drain the sausage fat. 

Serve with mashed potatoes, of course!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010



Cast iron skillets and dishwashers don't mix.  Derp.

Everything's fine now after a scrub with oil and salt.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Odds 'n' Ends 'n' Guns

from left: My Ruger 10 22, our friend's Saiga AK47,my WASR AK47, and my Savage .17
The Architect and I had a lovely time on Saturday.

We went with a couple friends down to an outdoor rifle range.  The weather was perfect - unseasonably warm and bright with barely a cloud in the sky.

Since I don't shoot nearly as much as The Architect ever has, it was great practice for me.  I'm not nearly as comfortable with my guns as I want to be, but Saturday certainly helped get me far more comfortable.
The Architect with his "other woman," his CZ .308


We've been doing inventory on stuff in our house that we don't need or use in hopes of selling it.  We have a large fish tank that we're just too busy to care for properly.  There is a family coming this weekend to look at it.  I hope they buy it.


When the Architect and I actually have a few calm moments here in the near future, I want to sit down with him and make a list of what we'd like in our garden next year.  I didn't do much this past year, but I kind of saw it as a trial run.  We want to triple the size of what we had, and I plan on learning to can so we won't waste or throw out excess.

I hope everyone is having a great week, and Happy Thanksgiving!  It's sneaking up on me faster than I can handle...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gonna be busy...

My posts will probably be rather sparse for the next month or two.  The holidays are super busy where I work, but I can't complain!  There's lots of money to be made, and I'm certainly thankful I still have a steady job in this economy.

Hope everyone is doing well.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I can't even comment on this, I'm so outraged over it:

I did donate some money to help out with their legal expenses at:

Someone please tell me what good is our government at this point when they're more likely to destroy people?

Saturday, October 23, 2010


The Architect and I loaded up the dogs and went for a drive up in the North Georgia mountains today.  I just absolutely adore the beauty and wisdom of autumn.

Seeing all the pretty farms along the roads makes me ache for a farm of my own away from the hustle and bustle of the city and suburban life and away from the obnoxious "thump thump" of some punk's bass as he drives by our road at night.

I know we'll eventually get our farm and I'll have chickens, and rabbits, and goats, and sheep, and horses... but part of me is stomping my feet and crying and whining for it now.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Odds n Ends

In doing some cleaning today, I cleared up some of our empty juice bottles off the counter.  The Architect and I keep them to fill with water and put in the freezer we have downstairs.  I rearranged the bottles already there and counted to see how much water we have.  Looks to be about a week's worth, but that's only for The Architect and myself - I must continue putting some away for the dogs, too.

Logan and Blaze are on our prep list, too.  I know some people may think it's silly to spend time, energy, and space on a pet, but we think the dogs would be valuable in a SHTF situation.

As Akitas, the dogs are large and intimidating.  Logan, especially, would not hesitate to protect me if I needed it.  They are also large enough to carry supplies (we're getting them packs from for Christmas), and pull loads (harnesses from will come later).  Akitas were bred as bear hunters, and I've seen the way these two handle the backyard wildlife, so I'm confident they'd be capable hunters.

The Architect and I have also begun walking at least three times a week.  It's a prep that, until recently, we have severely overlooked.  If we had to get up and go, we wouldn't get too far, especially if we had to carry a BOB.

On Wednesday, Crash, The Architect, and I went to the Georgia National Fair and had a great time.  We were there more specifically to see the Feathered Horse Classic show which showcased Friesians and Gypsy cobs.

There were many more Gypsies than Friesians on the day we went, but it was a pleasure regardless.  This particular bunch of horse people are super friendly and happy to answer questions about their breed and let you pet their horses.

We don't have horses yet, but hope to in the relatively near future.  We love draft types, and I had a brief stint with a mustang rescue, and I fell in love with  them and their hardiness.

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday.  :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010


About two months ago, The Architect and I sat down and dug through local laws to see whether or not we really could have chickens where we live.

Turned out, we couldn't.

I was truly crushed and upset over this.

And then, a month ago, Crash called me and said she saw a flyer in Tractor Supply about a local Board of Commissioners meeting that was hearing motions to change the law so that people COULD own chickens in residential areas.

The meeting was on Tuesday night, and lots of people showed up for it.  No one was opposing the law change, and it PASSED!

I'm so excited!  We plan on getting about 3-4 hens in the spring.  Can't wait!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stevia Extract

On a whim, I'd ordered some stevia seeds back in January or February - whenever it was that I'd ordered the spring's seeds.  Actually, it was because I had read that artificial sweetener companies had attempted to get stevia deemed illegal.

Come to read later, stevia is actually fairly difficult to grow.  I'd only planted two, and one did very well with minor tending.

I've read that stevia extract is far easier to use than dried, and dried stevia tends to leave an aftertaste.

Thursday, I harvested my stevia plant.  I soaked and rinsed it well to remove dirt and bugs... there was a big stink bug hiding among the leaves.  Yikes!

Then, I chopped up the leaves and the less woody parts of the stems and shoved it all into a clean mason jar.  

I added Everclear - about twice the amount of it than there was stevia, and let it sit for about 24 hours or so, shaking it up whenever I happened to walk by.

After it steeped, I strained it.  Yes, it really DOES look like lime Kool-Aid.

Then, I heated the liquid at a gentle simmer for 30 minutes to cook off some of the alcohol, let it cool, then used a syringe to put them in dropper bottles.  I can't wait to use this for coffee and tea!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oft Overlooked Preps

I think that occasionally some preppers/survivalists overlook a few essentials.  I am no exception.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of going to the dentist, but it's something I need to make a habit of.  It had been a year since my last visit, and upon a visit to a new dentist, it turns out I need some extensive dental work.  Some fillings were decaying, and I was let known that the work was a bit shoddy.

Despite my hatred for getting dental work done, I'd rather take care of it now when it's not causing me problems, than to wait two years down the road when it would be much more difficult and expensive to take care of.  Worse, if the S has already HTF, I'd be kind of out of luck.

Once all this dental work is out of the way, I'll be visiting an eye doctor for what I think is only the second time in my life.  I know I've never had my pupils dilated, and I can't say I'm looking forward to that, either.

But again, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and all that.


As an update, the dogs are doing splendidly now that they are getting 5 or more raw meals per week.  Logan has probably shed two years off of his age already.  He has a marked spring in his step again, and his attitude has lightened.  He's noticeably more affectionate.

...and Logan totally loves the new bed I got him...

I'm doing as best I can with it.  One of the items suggested in the book "Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet" is sardines for Omega fatty acids.  This is not very appetizing to me, and I tend to enjoy eating fish in general.

Another food the dogs have never had is broccoli, which I cut up and put into ground beef.  Thankfully, it has not caused the gastric upset that I anticipated.  I wonder if it's because I'm gradually adding new foods at one item a week.  Next week is spinach.  After that, I'm going to begin adding organ meats.


The Architect and I went and purchased a knife sharpening kit last night.  I look forward to practicing with it.  I figure since our cheap set of steak knives cannot possibly get any duller, there's nothing to lose with using them as practice.


I hope everyone is doing well.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Doomsday warnings of US apocalypse gain ground

When The Architect sent me this article, I responded via text, "Hey... mind if we go shooting on Saturday? I need to brush up, especially now that I'm beginning to feel paranoid about this stuff."

He replied with, "Paranoia is an illogical feeling.  What you are feeling is FEAR."

And he's right.  I really like my lifestyle.  I like not having to fight for my food or my life every day.  If this country plunges into financial collapse, I don't think that everyone is going to take it well with flowers and teddy bears and love and whatnot.

I'm not looking forward to this.  I at least hope that the financial collapse can be delayed long enough for us to move out of a major metro area...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Get Home Bags and Bug Out Bags...

The Architect's BOB and my GHB on top of it.
Happy Labor Day!  I hope everyone is having a safe, lovely weekend.

The Architect had placed an order last week, and it arrived on Friday. 

We received a pair of MOLLE packs and a shoulder pack for me, as a MOLLE pack will not fit in my tiny 2-seater convertible (yes, a big ol' pick-up truck will be my next vehicle purchase ASAP).

I work 18 miles from my home, the Architect twice that.  If something happens while we're at work (an EMP, for example), it's not going to be a peachy walk in the park getting home.

First of all, I carry no less than $20 in cash with me at all times.  If the CVS next door to my work cannot run a credit card, I can at least throw cash at them for as much water and food as I can carry.

One of my next purchases needs to be a holster for my pistol - I'd prefer a shoulder rig.

Anyway- I've looked over Google Earth, and there really aren't any shortcuts by foot on my way home.

So my Get-Home-Bag has been populated by energy bars, water, an extra magazine for my pistol, a poncho, an emergency blanket, some glow sticks, waterproof matches, and a magnesium fire starter.  I doubt I can fit much more into it, and I need to figure out how to fit some socks and toilet paper in it.

As for the big MOLLE bags, those will be saved for if we have to get out of here in a hurry (Bug Out Bag/Get Out of Dodge bag).

The Architect has already put his sleeping bag (another purchase I need to make) and other survival gear into his, and has already begun looking for modifications for the bags themselves.  He's already talking about a hydration pack for them.  Ha.

Does anyone else keep a Get Home bag with them?

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Something occurred to me yesterday afternoon...

I tend to suffer from mild seasonal affective disorder. It's actually worse this time of year when the daylight begins to change and the days grow shorter.

Even during the summer, I would usually suffer from it and get depressed and moody. The Architect would always know the problem and make sure I went to the tanning bed.

I have to admit; I am a bit of a recluse, a homebody. I go to work, I come home, I cook dinner and go to bed. I don't typically spend much time out doors, especially during the sweltering heat of the Georgia summer.

However, I think the last time I went to the tanning bed was in March. The past few years, I'd go to the tanning bed about once or twice a month to stave off my S.A.D.

...but I haven't had to go ONCE over the course of this whole summer.

Having a garden to care for and fret over has FORCED me to spend time outside, even if it's only 5-10 minutes a day.

So thank you, Mother Nature, my garden, and that big ol' sphere of burning gas way up out there for keeping me happy and healthy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Going raw.

On Thursday, I took Logan to have his teeth cleaned, as they were badly in need. His breath smelled like poop and fish, and his teeth were quite tartar-laden.

Logan's had two dental cleanings before, and he loves having his teeth brushed, but he has not-so-great teeth.

In the previous two cleanings, Logan didn't slow down in the least after returning home after being under anesthesia. This time... well, I was honestly afraid I wouldn't be able to get him out of my car by myself, as The Architect was still on his way home from work at the time.

Logan's just not as young as he used to be...

Logan is since doing great, and his teeth are pearly white, and his breath no longer causes small children to run crying to their mothers.

However, Akitas are large dogs, and are therefore not very long-lived (11-12 years), and become "seniors" at a younger age than most other breeds. Between Logan's age (he's 6), and the fact that I don't like putting an animal under anesthesia if I don't have to, I've decided to switch the dogs from a kibble diet to a raw/BARF (biologically appropriate raw foods) diet. Chewing on raw bones scrapes their teeth and helps keep them clean.

I've tried it with Logan when he was much younger, but I didn't research it well, and though Logan did well on the raw diet, I don't think I ever truly got the hang of it.

Blaze and Logan both occasionally get raw beef bones or hamburger as a treat, but I think they'd do much better on a mostly-raw food diet.

Aside from it being better for them, in the case of SHTF, the only thing available for dogs to eat will be raw meat and anything else that can be scavenged.

So, I ordered

to better prepare myself to try the BARF diet again and to make sure I do it properly.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I am pretty new to this whole baking-bread-from-scratch thing, but I absolutely love to bake bread when I have time to spare.

I got this great recipe from Mother Earth News, and the magazine is pretty tattered at this point from me referring to it. I use this recipe for both bread and for pizza dough.

Rather than use the full recipe*, I cut it down to 1 cup of water, 1/2 tablespoon (1.5 teaspoons) each of yeast and salt, and two cups of flour.

I've found that special-ordering yeast is a better option than buying packets at the grocery store, since the stuff at the store tends to be really stale. The Bread Beckers are of reasonable driving distance from my house (and they do internet orders, too), and I got a pound of yeast for like $5. I keep it in my fridge, and even though it's a year old, it's still quite viable.

This is a no-knead recipe, so you just add the ingredients together, then stir/smoosh it together with a spatula or spoon.

Let the dough rise for about two hours... I cover the dough with a moist towel to keep it from drying out.

Pop in a hot oven for half an hour, and viola!

*also: The REASON I don't use the full recipe is that I don't have a big enough bowl to contain it. I did not know this the first time I attempted making bread, and without prior knowledge to how much bread dough actually rises. When I returned to the dough two hours later, it had crawled up and out of the bowl, across the table, and was beginning to drip down onto the floor. It was like something out of a horror movie.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My ripe-melon sniffing dog..., uhm... a little too good at her job.

I was wondering where she got the random beige football that she was kicking around.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Just a pic...

...of Ms. Blaze-dog.

....who is still blowing coat like you wouldn't believe.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A harvest!

At left is the produce I brought in today from my OWN garden.

I have to say, this is a huge, vast, amazing, spectacular improvement over what I did with my garden last year (er... one edible tomato).

Part of me doesn't even want to eat any of this; I want to frame it.

That cantaloupe? Is the size of my head.

And because I have NO idea how to determine a melon's ripeness, I kind of went by the fact that both the dogs made an absolute bee-line to the garden this afternoon when I let them out for a potty break after I got home from. They were both sniffing hungrily at this melon. They never go into the garden.

I took it as an omen.

I brought the melon inside, and Blaze absolutely would not stop following me around, trying to get to the melon.

So, uhm... I have to admit... I teared up a little bit after I cut open the cantaloupe. It WAS ripe. And beautiful. And I'm kind of humbled that I was a part of it. Planting, fretting, watering, transferring to the garden itself, weeding, fretting, more watering, fretting, encouraging (I might talk to my plants. What of it?), more fretting.

I cannot wait to expand my garden so that I can do more of the same.

I am sad, though- now that summer is drawing to a close, I have only one more melon to harvest and just a few more tomatoes. I wish I'd planted more.

I am, however, super-excited about having an autumn garden of broccoli and salad greens. This, coming from a girl who thought "stuff" only grew in the spring/summertime just a few months ago.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

In which I describe what others may call "paranoia..."

My survival/prepper journey began maybe two years ago or so. The Architect has always been kind of a zombie survival nerd, and I always kind of ignored him or occasionally made fun of him for it.

After having had enough of my prodding, I remember The Architect finally spinning around, and, exasperated, barked, "Don't you realize that this zombie stuff is a metaphor for real-life HUMAN survival situations?"

With a laugh, I asked, "What could POSSIBLY go wrong?"

The Architect then explained to me that grocery stores only keep about three days worth of food in stock, and if truck drivers went on strike, what then?

That's all it took for me to begin researching ways to keep us safe and well-fed. Through forums and articles, I learned of EMPs, financial collapse, mass illness, etc.

And then The Architect bought the book, "One Second After," a book about an EMP detonating over the US.

I was literally sickened and terrified as I read it.

It's quite true that civil society is held together quite loosely, and once people start missing meals, it kind of goes down the toilet on an epic scale.

And is the idea of an EMP over the United States really all that far-fetched? Iran hasn't been all that warm and squishy and friendly toward us, and now that they've vowed to send a man to space, it's even more feasible. If Iran can send a man to space, launching an EMP over the US should be a piece of cake.

At this point, financial collapse in this country seems more a matter of WHEN, not IF.

James Wesley Rawles illustrates a pretty likely senario in his book, "Patriots."

I actually highly reccommend Rawles' book, as it is as much a survival how-to as it is a work of fiction, despite his awkward and deliberate insertions in the book that remind you that, Yes, he is, in fact, a big ol' Christian.

In practice in "day-to-day" life as well as in theory, having a few days worth of food is a good idea for ANYONE.

A year ago, Atlanta and its surrounding areas were hit with torrential rainfall, causing substantial flooding.

Crash actually called me at work that day, telling me to drop what I was doing if I planned on getting home anytime in the next few days.

A ride home that normally takes half an hour took almost three hours as swollen creeks and rivers poured over onto the roads, cutting off all but one of my routes home.

I learned that not twenty minutes after returning home, the last detour to my house had been closed, as another bridge flooded.

Thankfully, even though a plethora of roads remained closed the next day, The Architect and I didn't have to even attempt to go out for food since there were plenty in the cupboards.

So truly, WHY do I prep and seek more survival skills? So I won't be a victim. So I won't have to rely on anyone else. I wish more people would take the same responsibility.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It has come to my attention that I Really, Truly, Honestly, FerReals need a compost heap.

This poses several obstacles.

First: where to put the darn thing. I cannot put it in my front yard, since being in Small Suburbia, that counts as Rather Unsightly. So the compost heap MUST go in the back yard.

Onto the subsequent obstacles...

Ideally, the thing needs to go toward the back of the property, since I am convinced it is going to smell, despite various websites telling me otherwise. Part of my brain is whining that it'd be so much easier to have by the back deck for easy disposal of table scraps and egg shells.

Another problem is BlazeDog tends to do things like roll in smelly things, tip stuff over, dig, flail, kick dirt around, etc. She's kind of a goofy kid.

Since I'm not doing a huge garden (yet), I figure the 65 gallon bin from Tractor Supply will probably suffice for my needs.

I'll have The Architect drive us up to the Tractor Supply to nab it.

...I'm sure I'll have tons of future stories about my dogs getting into more fights with possoms over this thing...

Thursday, July 29, 2010


About a month ago, The Architect and I sat down and consulted Quicken as to where our money leaks were.

We're not really hurting for money, but we are trying to make a concentrated effort to save as much money as possible to move out West and have a farm of our own.

What we found:

-Most work days, I would buy lunch for myself - $8 a day three or four days a week. $1,100 per year.

-The Architect would get coffee and a snack pretty much every morning. $8-$10 per day, five days a week. $2340 per year (!!!!!!).

-I had acrylic nails, and though I should have gotten them done every two weeks, I'd push it out to three, and that was $45 a visit. So that's about $800 per year.

I've finally pulled off all my acrylic nails now that they've grown out. My girly vanity is having a hard time with this. I'll still splurge on manicures once or twice a month, but those are only $10.

We've started setting the coffee maker every night, so we can fill our travel mugs in the morning. Even with the expensive stuff we buy, it's cheaper than buying a cup at a drive through.

I've been bringing a Lean Cuisine to work for lunch every day. And not only does that save me $5 a day, it saves me some... oh....

MOTHER OF GOD, I'd never calculated out just HOW many calories and fat grams were in my near-daily beloved Chick-Fil-A meals.

*ahem* Sorry. I was a little shocked there. As I was saying, it also saves me THIRTY GRAMS OF FAT and SIX HUNDRED calories. Hrm. No wonder I've lost a couple of pounds... Oops.

We still occasionally go out to dinner, but we've patched that leak a long time ago, since I enjoy cooking so much. I'll cook almost every night of the week.

I think Quicken is a fabulous program. You can plainly see where your money is going, and, with their monthly graphs, you can see how spending $200 tomorrow can really put you in the red two months from now.

But since the older versions work pretty much as well without the big price tag (we're still using a 2001 version), you can save yourself some money by buying a slightly outdated version:

Quicken 2008 Home & Business [OLD VERSION]

I do urge everyone to sit down and see where the "leaks" are and patch them up if you're willing. A few dollars here and there really adds up to a good bit.

We're already up a few dollars, and I'm down a few pounds.

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Cast...

A little background on some of the other characters who will likely frequent this blog:

The Architect and I roll with a pack of four other people - two couples.

Crash is my best friend of the past, oh, 12 years or so. Joined at the hip, we've been working together at various places off and on for the past four years. We finish each other's sentences, know what the other is thinking, and basically speak our own telepathic language. Her man/partner/boyfriend/fiance is Bubba, and they've been together nearly as long as The Architect and I have. Bubba and the Architect are often found Bro-mancing it up in the garage, or drinking coffee and discussing politics together on the couch.

Kitty and Redbeard are still "newcomers" to the scheme of things. Redbeard, ex-military, posts often on the car forum that The Architect runs, and he snagged a job local to the rest of us. He and his wife, Kitty, moved down to Small Suburbia from elsewhere a tad less than a year ago.

My first, and probably best, memory of Kitty, was when Crash, Bubba, The Architect, and I, went to meet Redbeard and Kitty for dinner when they first moved down here. Since Redbeard and Kitty had lived in military housing for so long, Kitty was used to socializing with women who Just Wanted More Kids. She burst into tears when she realized that the rest of us are all Childfree By Choice, just as she and Redbeard are.

I consider myself very lucky to have such a close circle of friends that I can trust, who has a pantload of common interests as I do.

Each of us in the Small Suburbia Society, in some capacity or another, is either some form of prepper/survivalist, or at least interested in learning new skills in the name of it.

In the near future, we'll be holding little classes for ourselves and take turns teaching skills that we know.

I will be posting the run-down and some pictures of what we learn in hopes of someone else gleaning some knowledge from it.

Our first class will be knife sharpening, though we don't yet have a date for it. I'm going to be pushing for it in the next two or three weekends(as we have other engagements this weekend), as soon as The Architect and I can get to a sporting goods store to get sharpening stones and whatnot.

My lousy set of steak/cutting knives shall serve as guinea pigs. I figure that the set is barely any better than cutting food with a spoon, so really: What Can Possibly Go Wrong? ;)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blame it on the Rain...

One heckuva thunderstorm just blew through here in Small Suburbia, Georgia.

Since the beginning of March, when I first began moving my seedlings outside to the back deck to receive a bit of real sunshine and get used to a bit of the elements, I've been paying a great deal more attention to the weather.

...especially after drowning a few of said seedlings when it monsooned and flooded the pan I had them sitting in.

Once I released my plants into the wilds of the garden, I fretted. I worried. I tapdanced. I second-guessed. I asked the invisible garden goddess questions.

Is it too hot?
Too cold?
Have I watered them enough?
Have I watered them too much?
Is that sunburn?
Did I leave my beer out there?

Once or twice, when I thought it was going to rain, I didn't water, only to forget that I didn't water, it didn't rain, and my plants were gasping for life the next day.

On the contrary, plenty of times I've watered my garden only to duck and cover at a snarl of thunder as soon as I turn the water off.

So after work each day, I saunter out to the garden, turn the melons, pet the tomatoes (yes, really) and make sure they're not being eaten by bugs or fungus, and thank all my plants for cutting me all kinds of slack and for the future food they will be providing. Then I water the garden and hope it wasn't too much or too little.

And although I enjoy my daily garden chats, I do appreciate it when rain gives me a day off. I don't take well to the Georgia heat and humidity.

....and then I wonder if my plants want air conditioning or perhaps a fan....

Home grown.

So I just cut open that big ol' yellow tomato I picked last night.

It is absolutely divine. I am now planning on doubling the size of the garden next spring...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bok bok bok

Down the road from where my best friend, Crash, lives, is a family who raises their own chickens and sells the eggs for $2.50 a dozen.

Recently, I'd switched to buying "cage free" eggs at the grocery store - for $2.70 a dozen. If they're of the organic variety, they're $3.40 a dozen.

Though I realize that the chickens who provide the "cage free" eggs aren't TRULY cage free, it's worth it to me to pay the extra money. The eggs taste SO much better than the store-brand 69-cent-per-dozen eggs, and although I'm the last person to sympathize with PETA, I prefer my eggs to come from chickens who aren't crammed on top of each other. At least the store "cage free" chickens get more room. Because, I'm sorry... there's no way this is, in any stretch of the imagination, humane...

Living in Suburbia, I'm not ENTIRELY sure if we can have chickens, although after having eggs from A's neighbor's mini-farm, I'm going to be forced to call Animal Control and see if they can tell me if I can have them.

I mentioned the farm eggs to my mother, who launched into an interrogation about if I had to refrigerate them and if how they have to be cooked... in case farm eggs are totally different than any other...

...and then she asked how much I paid for them.

My mother then launched into a gentle berratement of how ridiculous it was to pay that much for eggs, and that the 69 eggs at the grocery store were fine.

The Architect and I later talked about how depressing it is that most of the people in this country are SO. OBSESSED. with cheap - quality be damned.

That how it's the good-ol'-boys who beat their chests, sing "God Bless the USA," scream "Amurrka! Love it or leave it! Keep our jobs here in the US! Stop sendin' our jobs to China and India!" and then run to Wal Mart (the single largest importer of foreign products in the US...)

Sixty-nine cents for a dozen eggs. Less than six CENTS per egg.

If people were actually forced to pay the true price for their food, we might be able to do away with over crowded chicken barns and feed lots.

Cheap food via subsidies.

Less subsidies, less obesity, lower the population, cure cancer, global warming (which doesn't exist anyway, but none of those yayhoos ever propose that people stop breeding...), etc, etc. In a perfect world, anyway...

(images courtesy

El Jardin

Last year, I tried in vain to grow a quad of tomato plants in un-tilled, un-limed, unfertilized Georgia red sandy clay.

Two of the plants died. The remaining two barely clung to life. One plant gave me one tomato. The other, gave me two. They were small, and their skins were like leather.

My friend, Bubba, who has a heckuva green thumb, sat me down and explained some of the finer points of gardening to me.

In January, I ordered some heirloom seeds from Baker Creek ( ). Bubba and the Architect tilled my garden plot and we laid down some organic garden soil. It was too late in the season at that point to lime, and I didn't fertilize, but my garden is doing immensely better than last year's attempt.

I was unaware that melon (whose variety I don't know- it was labeled "Melon-18") needs its own county to grow. Yeesh. I kept pulling it back into itself to make sure it didn't run off into the neighbor's yard.

My solitary stevia plant has been almost completely overrun by the melon. Oops.

I have six tomato plants now, each with about 3-7 tomatoes.

The largest at the moment, and the prettiest, is this Golden Monarch, just about ready to be picked (I'll likely grab it later today or tomorrow).

I have a couple red Beefsteak tomatoes about ready to ripen, but the near-ripe ones are fairly small. I forgot to cull a couple baby tomatoes off that vine when they first formed on that particular plant.

I was told that you tend to get get larger tomatoes if you remove one or two as they form on a bunch.

I had planted a pair of cucumber plants, but they lasted half a week before they disappeared.

Yes. Disappeared.

Not wilted and died. Disappeared.

I'm not sure what happened. Do rabbits eat baby cucumber plants?

I do know that they eat basil. I had two plants. Though both had been nibbled on, one has been completely decimated.

...putting up the rabbit fence probably would have been a good idea...

Last night, I picked what was left on the viable plant for a pasta dish I planned on making for my friends:

I had only a fraction of what I needed for the recipe, but my friend Kitty came to the rescue with some of her basil from her patio garden.

You get an overwhelming sense of pride when using your own personal plants in your cooking.

I can't wait to have a bigger garden next year...

(pics © me )

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Run-Down

May the word vomit begin...

I'm Violet. I'm a late 20-something nerd who works in the pet care industry. I'm sort of pagan-agnostic. I guess.

I have two dogs, a pair of Akitas named Logan and Blaze; a pair of vagabond cats; and a small herd of chinchillas.

My husband, The Architect, is more than a dozen years older than I, leading to some hilarious conversations. My lack of beta-max knowledge, for example....

I enjoy baking and cooking and firearms and pretending I'm still 14. I have an extensive collection of designer tin foil hats.

I began this blog to chronicle my hilarious attempts at being a rancher/farmer. ...from Suburbia. ...with no prior knowledge of gardening. ...and a recently-acquired love of cooking after being brought up on TV dinners.

I felt spurred to these endeavors, as I truly believe that in the relatively near future, this country will experience financial collapse and it Ain't Gonna Be Pretty. I consider myself a fledgling survivalist, hence my closetful of tin foil hats.

For this blog, I plan to have pictures of my little garden, recipes, and stories like how I nearly set the house on fire with my first attempt at baking pizza from scratch. You might get some political rantings here and there while I'm at it.