Consecration Acres

"If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy."

Washboards, Winter Canning and Central Leaders

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When my grandmother passed away two years ago, my uncle remarked that one of Grandma and Grandpa’s first household purchases was a washboard. It’s taken us sixteen years, but we’ve finally caught up with them. Last week we made the purchase and this week, Joseph (who, lately, needs duct tape around the waist and legs of his diapers) gave me ample opportunity to try out the sink-sized one. My verdict is that it is a nifty tool. For some reason, I expected it to have a rougher surface. The ridges are nice and smooth, but it definitely does the trick. Things cleaned up really quickly without any soaking at all. The only thing is that the wood frames (we bought the Maid-Rite and the Dubl Handi from the Columbus Washboard Company) are bare wood and need a some sanding and sealing. I am pleased with them and want them to last!

California seasons still continue to perplex my inner clock. Supposedly, this is winter, but we have been getting produce for good prices and I have been canning it up. We made pickles (not as many as I had wanted to do, but nearly a box of quarts), last week we took advantage of our farm stand’s January apple sale and did two more boxes of applesauce, and this week we’ll try pickling some carrots. I have to say, canning in January is much nicer than in July and August. The cooler house keeps the food fresher longer before canning (buying me time and flexibility) and the heat put out by the canner is a welcome addition to our atmosphere.

Elijah and Isaiah finished up the chickens the week before last. Fabulous boys. We had a package delivered while they were at it and after the delivery man got my signature, he asked if those boys out there were plucking chickens. When I confirmed this, he grinned and told me that he saw the big pot of boiling water and it brought back memories of his childhood. “Some things never change…” he said. True. We ended up with a bunch more hens than we ordered. I’m not too sad as the hens cost 3x as much as the roos and our freezers are full. Unfortunately, so is the hen house…18 hens may be overkill, even with an additional roost…

I am continually grateful for the opportunity I have to learn-as-I-go with all of this and not to have my family’s health and well-being dependent on my success. Even without that pressure, making decisions about things is difficult. Unless we change our minds again, the plan is to do a bunch of Mittleider raised beds in the area next to the orchard that’s too rocky to plant, to plant some citrus trees in the ground (we had been advised only to plant citrus in raised planters and to shift the berry-planting to a different area (to accommodate more garden beds) and set up 8 50’ rows rather than 4 100’ rows. I’m still working to finalize that berry order. I’ve got to hurry!

And speaking of earth-shaking decisions, I pruned the apple and pear trees yesterday afternoon. I became a little more bold and decisive as I went, but it was really hard to select a central leader where there was not a clear choice and to decide between a vigorous branch in not-the-right-place and a little shoot in a much-better-place. The pressure was terrible. We’ve got some branch spacers that need to go in and a little weeding and re-mulching. I’d also like to replace the plastic nursery tags with something more durable and I’ve got to adapt the feeding/spraying schedule for our neck of the woods. And, of course, I’ve still got a whole slew of open centers ahead of me. At yesterday’s rate, I’ve got at least another four hours of work ahead of me.

And, since our wet December ended, we’ve had nothing. Prayers needed.


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