Bountiful Baskets 10/27/12

We just picked up our bountiful basket haul for October 27th, 2012. We did not volunteer this morning, but we plan on volunteering again next week. There is a lot of vegetables, but the amount of fruit seemed to be a little lower than usual. I stopped by Sprouts and bought 5lbs of apples to make up the difference. I might go back and get more, apples are only $.67 a pound right now. I’d love to can some more apple pie filling while apples are still in season.

As usual, we got two baskets, each of them cost $15. Each basket contains an assortment of fruits and veggies. I didn’t take the veggies out of the fruit picture, so just ignore them. For fruit – we got 14 bananas, 4 pomegranates, 2 small containers of blackberries (yum!), and 10 pears.

For the vegetable portion of our two baskets, we got a ton of stuff.  There were 2 containers of living butter lettuce, 4 bunches of califlower, 2 bunches of broccoli, 4 cucumbers, 3 yellow zucchini squash, 2 large spaghetti squash, 4 yellow onions, and 42 brussel sprouts.

Here is the shot of everything together. I haven’t gone through it yet, but on the surface, everything seems great. Not too bad for $30, eh?

We also got the Halloween theme cookie add on pack. There were 16 cookies and 4 different colors of icing – black, orange, green, and white. It was $10, which is a little pricey, but I want to eventually try all of the different add ons that bountiful basket offers. The kids had fun decorating while I was unloading our veggies. We try to limit the amount of sugar we have, so this was a really special treat for them. The 3 year old is jumping around like a teenager who just discovered coffee. It’s quite cute. I hope he burns off all that extra energy before naptime.

Advertisements

Bountiful Baskets 10/20/12

Here is our bountiful baskets haul from October 20th, 2012. We showed up at 6:45am to volunteer today, and then found out that the truck was running 90 minutes late. Needless to say, we came home, ate breakfast, then went back up there. It was fun to volunteer and I think we will be doing it again. The people at our pick up are great.

I picked up two baskets this week. There was a lot of stuff, as usual. When you volunteer, you can pick out one large or two small extra fruits or veggies to take home. We ended up with some extra grapes. I did not add those to my pictures.

Here are the veggies. In our two baskets, we got 2 small bunches of kale, 2 heads of salad greens, 2 pints of cherry tomatoes, 2 stalks of celery, 8 yellow onions, and 6 acorn squash. I still have 2 acorn squash left over from last week – so I need to find a good recipe for them this week. I might try to make a squash raviolli. Yum.

Here are the fruits we got from our two baskets. There are 2 pineapples, 10 bananas, 2 bags of seedless grapes, 6 pear apples, and 6 pomegranates. I love pomegranates, but I’m not sure what to do with six of them. I guess I’ll prep one or two of them and keep them in the fridge for snacking. If you cut them into small sections and add them to ice water, they are very easy to prepare. The pineapples from last week weren’t very good – so I hope that these are better.

Here is the picture of everything together (minus the extras we got for volunteering).  There was one bad tomato in each container, but everything else looked great.

Red Wigglers

We got our worms yesterday. The package was addressed to the 3yo, and he was very excited about it. There isn’t much to say about the worms yet, they are red wigglers. They are red. They wiggle. They are much smaller than the worms I usually see in the garden. These guys are about 2-4 inches long. There are 100 or so, and the kids like to look at them. We have them on the top shelf in the closet, so the 3yo can’t get to them without assistance.

They aren’t very interesting yet.

They just sort of.. squirm around.

We aren’t supposed to disturb them much, so we don’t even get to watch them squirm around.

They are very easy to care for, they get a 1/2 tsp of food everytime their food is gone. (Every 1-4 days) That will increase as they multiply. In about 2-3 months, they should have multiplied enough for me to move them from their current small tupperware home to a 5 gallon bucket.  It’s going to take an additional 2-3 months after that before I can harvest any worm casings.

I’ll be honest, every time I think about them I have a strong desire to go fishing; but, as long as they do their job and help me eventually create a great vermicomposting area, I might let them off the hook. (Get it?  Off the Hook… hahahaha…. I need some sleep.)

Houston, We have Rabbits

We aren’t finished with the hutch yet, but we have it enclosed so the rabbits cannot escape. It’s a good thing we got that far too, because guess what we picked up today??

If you guessed rabbits, you are right! We now have a New Zealand White buck and two Californian does. They have been together for the last few weeks at the breeder we bought them from, so we are keeping them together for the first few days they are here. I don’t want to stress them out too much. I’m sure the car ride was traumatic enough. The girls might be pregnant, but I’m not sure. I palpated them today and didn’t feel anything, so if they are pregnant, I would guess that they are very early in their pregnancies. The breeder checked them a few days ago and couldn’t feel anything either. I guess we will see in a few weeks. I sort of hope they aren’t. I’ve got to get used to 3 rabbits before we end up with 15+. Yikes. We will be separating them as soon as possible.

This is Pretty Boy, our New Zealand White. He is 4-5 months old, and very friendly. The 3 yo named him. He was debating between the names Pretty Boy, Eyeball, and Princess Eat-You. I think he picked wisely. Pretty Boy is very sweet and even though he gives me the stink eye a lot, he still comes up to say hi whenever I am close to the hutch. He takes good care of his ladies, and he claimed the cardboard box that I put in there this morning as his own. Smart Rabbit. He has great lines, and I could show him if we decide to go that route. This picture does not do him justice at all – he is really gorgeous.

Here are the girls. I got some decent pictures of them with my camera, but I can’t find my camera cord, so I had to pull out the cell phone. By the time I got back out there to them, they were huddled up in the corner. They are very close, I’ve seen them grooming each other quite frequently. They are both about 1 year old. They both had kits that were weaned a week ago. Their last litters were 9 and 11 kits each. They are supposed to be great moms, and their babies usually weigh out at 2.5lbs by 5 weeks. They are not related – so we have three rabbits from three different lines. They are Californians and they look quite similar, but the markings on their ears are different. One of them has bands of dark fur right against her head, and the other has some dark spots on her ear. They don’t have names yet, the 13 year olds are going to each pick a name for one of them. I’ll take some better pictures of them once they are used to us. They are a little underweight, most likely due to the large litters they were both nursing. I’m going to try to fatten them up over the next couple of weeks. They each need to gain about 2-3 lbs.  UPDATE – Their names are Bandit and Polymorph (Polly).

Here are the three of them together. I’m  a pro with staging rabbits for pictures. (Har har har) I will post better ones soon.

Here is what we have for a hutch so far, It is not even close to being finished, but it’s what we could come up with on short notice. Within the next few days, we are going to be putting partitions in the hutch (and doors!) and each rabbit will get their own space. After we finish with that, we are going to add another area to the back of this hutch that will double the amount of space we have. That side will be split into one – two larger hutches that they can take turns in to get a little extra exercise. I added the sheet to give them a little shade from the morning sun. We will be moving the hutch to the other side of the yard, but we are keeping it here for now since we still need to do a lot of work on it. The roof is not attached, and is just held in place by some heavy wood. We have a lot of work to do – but it’s a start. At least they aren’t living in a laundry basket.

DH brought home a bunch of cardboard from his job, so the kids and I spent the morning watching the rabbits and laying cardboard over the clay-mud-pit that once was a garden. We are laying the cardboard out, soaking it, and covering it with as much compost, worm casings, and rabbit poo that we can acquire. I hope it helps amend our soil. We tried to till it with a rented tiller, but our soil is like a giant brick. I’m shocked that we were able to hand till it past spring, but I’m even more shocked that we were able to grow anything in it. I’ve read that it’s worth it to take the time to amend soil before you start planting, but I was too excited about gardening to wait. Now I know better. I will never make that mistake again. Having good soil is the most important thing you can do for a garden. You can see the hutch in the background.

Even though it’s not happening exactly as I had invisioned it –  I feel like our homestead dream is finally starting to become a reality. I can’t wait to get our worms in a few days!

Bountiful Baskets 10/13/12

Here is my bountiful basket order from today, October 13th, 2012. They changed the pick up time again. It went from 10:45am to 7:00am and today it was 7:45am. Last week I only got one basket and the five of us had finished it by Thursday. This week, I decided to get two baskets. I also got a Veggie Lovers Pack – Asian Theme add on. The baskets were $15 each and the add on was $9. There is a $1.50 processing fee, so my total was $40.50.

Here is the vegetables from both baskets. There are 2 pints of cherry tomatoes, 2 stalks of celery, 2 bunches of salad greens, 14 baking potatoes, and 2 acorn squash.

Here is the fruit portion from my two baskets. There are 2 pineapples, 18 bananas, 2 bags of seedless grapes, 6 lemons, 6 pear-apples, and 14 itty bitty pears.

Here is the fruit and veggies together. This is from two baskets, which cost me $30. I think I got a pretty good deal. I sorted everything out and there was 1 moldy tomato, 1 baking potato that had a nasty gash on it, and a few grapes that have seen better days. Everything else looked great.

Here is that Veggie Lovers Pack – Asian Theme add on that I added to my bountiful basket order. It cost $9. I was very excited to see water chestnuts. In fact, they were the first thing I chopped up today. (I’m storing them in a tupperware filled with water.) Doesn’t everything look yummy? There is Napa Cabbage, Bok Choy, another stalk of celery, green onions, 1 yellow onion, garlic, 9 water chestnuts, sugar snap peas, fresh basil, and fresh ginger. The basil and ginger smell so good.

I think I am going to volunteer next week with the twin 13 year olds and the 3 year old. They won’t let kids under 12 touch produce, but the site coordinator assured me that they have plenty of things for smaller kids to do. I’m looking forward to it, I just hope they don’t change the pick up time to 7:00am again.

Rabbits

Within the next week – we are going to go pick up three rabbits! We are getting two Californian Does and a New Zealand White Buck. A local breeder had purchased them, but she is very busy and doesn’t have enough time to add more rabbits to her day. It works out perfectly for us, as those are the breeds we are most interested in. We’ve been emailing back and forth with the breeder, and we have a price worked out, now we just need to set up a pick up time. I hope it will be Sunday or Tuesday of this week.

Before we can bring them home, we need to build at least three rabbit hutches. I’m going to be posting pictures and information about that entire process in a separate post. We haven’t started yet, we are still brainstorming ideas. I think we will go to Tractor Supply Company and Home Depot tonight to pick up our supplies so we can get started working on it this weekend.

I wish that my city allowed backyard chickens, but rabbits are the next best thing. I know we purchased meat breeds, but I’m not sure we will be using them for that purpose. I need to look up the zoning laws in my city. I don’t think I can slaughter, butcher, or tan hide here. I do want to go off-grid at some point, but I want to do it legally and correctly.

For now, their poo alone makes them worth the cost of feed. I can’t wait for the clay in my garden to get a taste of fresh rabbit poo. I hope it loves it and rewards me with tons of vegetables next Spring.

Wormies

I’ve been interested in vermicomposting (composting with worms) for awhile, but I haven’t been ready to make a full blown commitment. Yesterday, I stumbled upon a local worm farm that sells worm kits geared towards kids.  The worm bin is already set up, and placed in a small container. The kit comes with about 100 red wiggler worms, a notepad, some worm food, and some shredded paper. I ordered one today, and we should get it within a week. The 3 year old and I are going to study worms this week. It works out perfectly, since we are on the letter W in his preschool workbook.

I asked that the woman selling the worms address the package to my 3yo. He is going to flip out when it gets here. I’ve got a corner of the laundry room set aside to house our worms. It’s nice and cool and mostly dark. Worms don’t like to be bothered much, so I’m going to have to restrict our visits to once a day.

If the kids all maintain their interest and if we can keep the worms alive for longer than a month, I’ll set up a larger bin and order enough worms to make vermicomposting a regular part of our suburban homestead.