Monday, February 8, 2010

Bedside Readings

This winter I've been working my way through Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Joan Gussow's This Organic Life.

They are inspiring, but daunting, examples of what I would like to be able to do but am not sure I'm completely capable of putting into place. Self-sufficiency, growing your own food, raising chickens and turkeys, patronizing the local markets and farms, keeping to a healthy, local diet respectful of the food chain, the environment, and yourself.

From Barbara Kingsolver I wonder if I could raise turkeys? Learning to eviscerate them, pluck them, etc., doesn't particularly phase me, I'd be more worried about the abundance of hawks I see in the neighborhood feasting upon them before myself. However would the food needed to keep them going be more expensive than themselves in the end? I create lots of good scraps -- which have been going into the compost -- but I've not a huge garden, nor funds for lots of feed corn (which I'd want organic in any case, right?) and there are quite a number of dogs in the area...

Joan Gussow goes on quite a bit about her success with sweet potatoes. And yes, I love these too. Could I manage to plant them when the ground is 70 degrees F and keep them in a back room at 60 degrees afterward? Am I sufficiently organized to do this alone?

At this point I've a strawberry patch, some garlic planted I hope for the spring, some lettuce plants, my herbs, and hopes to clear some more of the back garden to plant more this spring. However, as I rent my home every summer, it's not easy to plan a vegetable garden when you'll not be here.

At JP's? But that's pretty iffy, and I'm not there that much and so wouldn't be able to truly care for it.

What I seek is coherence, balance, investment, ownership, pleasure, nourishment, enrichment for my children and myself... And the fun of trying something, discovering how.

I'll see what I'm capable of. Before me I've a couple weeks of down time. The kids are with Erick, JP away, and my garden is staring me in the face. If not now, when?


Sharyn Ekbergh said...

I've raised chickens and killed and plucked them. Olof got to do the pig. It really helped us like vegetables.
This year we've done very well with onions, carrots and garlic stored in the garage. I still have some gorgeous red onions that weren't supposed to store that well, but they are happy in the garage. But, as you know, we're pretty cold here in the winter.
I'm just starting to plant some indoor greens, I do grow sprouts, and we have a nice garden which we can start tilling up in late April.
It would be hard to do this if we were away all summer.
Turkeys are so dumb they can drown in the rain. And you would have to protect them from predators, dogs in your area. Here it's coyotes, bears, fox that would go after the young ones. We have a solitary wild turkey in the back yard currently. She must have lost her family somewhere.

Madeleine Vedel said...

I've a friend with chickens. She makes it look easy. But then she's a large yard in a suburban development -- fenced in, no dogs, and fewer hawks than in my neighborhood. BK's heritage turkeys (red bourbon) sound relatively intelligent... thus the idea. But these would have to be at JP's, and how to properly care for them if I'm so rarely there? Ah well. I'll try planting some peas this week... spring plantings are the easiest, and if I have any sprouting potatoes...