Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Three cheers for Bloody Mary's!

Ok, so had to open with something rather fun... yesterday while scouting out a local town for food dehydrators (no good luck, sigh), I stumbled across plastic caps for mason jars. And shucks, the Meijer had canned veggie juice on sale! I figured it would be nice to portion out mason jars of juice to make it easier for everyone to drink it up- and really for a buck a can vs 3.50 for a bottle, the price couldn't be beat!I ended up using 12 oz instead of 8 ounce jars to give shaking headroom.. then hmmmm, thought that might be perfect for making bloody marys, and I was right.
Today, before heading out to pick summer squash and beans.. and a few early peppers.. I added a couple ounces of wild chive and peppercorn vodka, a couple drops of worstershire and hot sauce, a couple shakes of celery salt, a splash of lemon juice.. and a few ice cubes.. and BOOM! Bestest Bloody Mary in the garden ever. The caps are nice and tight... and the shakability makes the beverage good till it's done, though I would consider picking up a beer snuggie or two on clearance to help the jar stay cold for other beverages.

What else is going on? Hmmmm..

Almost have the entire property mowed in with a path- we are about 10 feet short of a complete circuit, including the campground loop. Got a lot of heavy lopping done with that, along with a lot more to go, and some pruning of low hanging branches of trees in the yard. And a lot of lopping going on to get the mudhole filled with debris to fill in with other mulch action later on.

Beans are coming in pretty darn flush now, already pickled up a few jars each of spicy and dilly beans, and preparing to do a few more.. Summer squash is starting to come in too, and the earliest of peppers... still got a ways to go with most of the tomatoes, but the patio tomatoes are almost done- will have 3-5 batches of seed to mix up by the time it's all said and done, and nice bit of seed stock. Herb drying season is in full swing, as is garlic curing season- I actually need to hurry up and finish cleaning up the rest of the garlic before the solarium gets too hot and curing turns into cooking!

Work sucks of course.. kind of odd thinking of how much in debt I am and how utterly fiscally screwed we are due to culinary school and I end up doing the one thing I utterly failed at in culinary school. But it's kind of cool because I'm getting all the work on that school completely missed. So at the end of the day, I will be much more well rounded if I don't flub out entirely. The notion that winter looms scares the shit out of me- what happens when I'm supposed to be at work in the wee hours of the morning, and the roads are closed due to snow?
I just want to be a farmer, and make good food out of what I farm.. is that too much to ask for? Yes, yes, and yes, it's almost impossible for even a millionaire farmer with the ultimate kitchen to make money this way.
So I'm slogging forth with Etsy.. the stuff I listed in the spring never sold, I lost heart, and haven't checked the site in a while.. but now is coming into more goods season, and a newly restocked and revamped store that hopefully will garner more bucks. 

The lawn tractor is broken, and something died under the crawlspace in the stairway.. a couple more things to add on to my ever growing list of things I can't get done in the time I have. I'm hesitant to rely on others- it's hard to ask for help, beg for money, and hope for the best of getting either.

I still really need to figure out how to get into dehydrator action in the next few weeks- we are running low on some supplies, and coming into season for drying other stuff.

Bunch of other shit going on too.. but I'm shorter than ever on time for typing into the blog here, and will try to get into it more soon...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What's up July??

So far it's been unseasonably cool this July. Not necessarily a bad thing, don't get me wrong. But unusual to have this kind of cool on. It's rained once- and I saved 71 gallons of rainwater for the garden. Seriously hoping this weather isn't an indication of a hard winter- I can't afford to miss work due to being snowed in this winter.

Really need to start checking around to see if I can pick up a free or super cheap rain barrel or three. Just off one morning rain I collected over 70 gallons, had to keep bottling it till I ran out of jugs! It would be sooo much easier to utilize bigger barrels, lol.

But the other day while it was still nice and dry I got in some hardcore adventure mowing. The alley behind the barn is now cleared out around through the sable- now it's a matter of keeping it mowed down. Got some trimming done around the chicken coop, and now I've come to the realization that the coop area needs a lot more work than I initially thought it would. Including a shitton of cleanup of grape vines and scrub trees, as well as a goodly bit of repair and cleanup on the coop itself.
Then I mowed down a path all the way along the south and east sides of the horse pasture- that was major as hell. And a round path around the "campground" on the back 40 corner, and that was pretty darn serious too. Started trying to hack in a path around the north side of the horse pasture, but I didn't get too far- the mower was complaining, and I realized I have a huge amount of tree and brush to clear out.
I have major work to do in filling in and smoothing out the rutted section on the south side of the pasture- too much of a wet dip and a lot of heavy truck action has resulted in the area being almost impassable when dry, and horked when wet. Not too sure what cheap/free solution will be to that one- my sister suggested "just get a load or two of gravel". Shit, she has no idea how expensive that idea is. I would love to dig out and put in a cross drain pipe- but that is stupidly expensive as well.

In gardening news... the garlic is curing up right fine in the solarium :) I've bagged off the first 8 of the tomatoes for seed saving! I've also started the fermenting of the first tomato seed, patio tomato. The Crosby Egyptian beets are finally starting to pop up, and the earliest of the radishes I sowed in the raised beds are popping up too- too bad I can't remember the order I planted the radishes in, heh. Raspberries and gooseberries are coming in now as well, and I picked about a pint of each today. The gooseberries are already in the freezer- a nifty trick is to freeze them, then shake them in the bag while frozen, it tops and tails them perfectly in a snap, and then can be rinsed off, perfectly clean!

As a random aside about canning... the place I work at uses tons of boxes for incoming goods. I've discovered some of them are absolutely perfect for storing canning jars in. There are candies that come in pint jar boxes, other candies that come in 24 jar boxes- with dividers, and all the fried apples and cobblers come in 12 count boxes that hold quart jars perfectly, again with dividers.

And sigh... really dying without a dehydrator. I don't know where I will pull the money out of my ass to get another one, but time is coming up fast to seriously need one. But I'm down to my last jar of corn, and onions, and running really low on celery too. And got summer squash starting to come in, and cukes that will need dehydrating. Garg.