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Homeschooling The Well Prepared Child: Why We Prep As A Family: Part 2

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Why We Prep As A Family: Part 2

Knowing is not enough: we must apply.
Willing is not enough: we must do.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

     If I had to feed my family from what I grew in my garden this year, we would have starved. It just was not a good year for us. I have read thousands of articles and web pages about gardening. We researched, prepped, learned, asked questions... and still it was not enough. 
     We tilled, weeded, watered and hoed. Still could not keep up with the grass and weeds in my garden. My daughter and I fertilized, hand pollinated, and pruned. Still our plants would not flourish. It wasn't all bad... sort of. 
     Although my best producer this year was cucumbers, I was only able to put back about 20 jars of pickles. We ended up eating half of them already. (Well, the hubby and kids did at least!)
      I dehydrated some zucchini and was able to put up one jar. Sadly, our zucchini did not grow anymore after that. 
          Water Melons and yellow squash grew to be mini fruits. (I'm including photos just in case you think I am exaggerating..) Oh ya, the corn only produced about 6 ears and they too were pretty small.

     Out of 3 tomato plants, I got a total of one tomato. It was strangely shaped and looked as if it had worms in it. Cherry tomatoes did okay. However, they only ripened a few at a time and were pretty much eaten off of the vine. 

      Onions were fabulous, but I stored the other half of the bulbs I did not plant in the freezer and they were mush when I pulled them out to plant a second round of them. 
      My lettuce was too bitter for the family to enjoy. It became treats for the livestock. Spinach and carrots were eaten by the moles. Okra is growing slowly but surely... but only enough to have as a side dish once a week. 
     We also lost one of our fruit trees we planted last year. It was growing great, had fruit developing, and then suddenly, it was dead. I can only suspect that maybe the moles ate the roots? 
What did go good? Jalapenos. (Insert WTHeck face here)

     The animals on our farm are about the same as our garden. We added rabbits. Too small to even try to have as a meal. They will be our 'mommys'  instead. We added a buck just last week. It will be a month or so before we know if he figured out what to do. Now honestly, I am not really even sure I can butcher a rabbit. So we will be selling the kits instead. At least for now. 

       Chickens... What can I say about our chickens... Out of 2 FFA chickens, 3 store bought, 4 hatchlings from the school, and 2 bartered Jersey Giants, we have 5 hens. Maybe 2 of them are laying and not on a daily basis. I have 5 roosters to send to freezer camp. It has been so hot, I have not even wanted to attempt it. I have found chicken butchering to be a very stinky job in the summer. If I had to do it, I could. Right now, I do not have to.
     We actually managed to NOT get attached to our feeder pig. He will be heading off to the butcher in about a month. Hopefully. I have still not made an appointment. I need to get on that asap. 

     What have we learned this year? Being a farmer is not as easy as it seems. We believe our soil needs a lot of amendments before we try to plant again next spring. We also need to build an area for a compost pile. We have a bin right now and it is full to the gills. We also need to do some more research on the fruits and vegetables we want to grow.  
     Understand though, it does not matter how much research or book learning you cram into head. You have to put your knowledge into practice. There are so many things that can go wrong; even if you are knowledgeable. Things happen. If we had an emergency this year and had to rely on my preps and gardening to feed us, we would have starved. At least right now, I have time to fix things. Practice more. Try new things. I am grateful for these learning times. 

What are you doing this year to 'walk the walk?'