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Friday, November 6, 2009

Snow is flying in Central NY

As I got up today to see the first snow in our area for the season, I was reminded of how changing and rugged our winters can be. I just finished insulating a door we do not use during the winter months with extra insulation since it has alot of glass and the storm is quite drafty. There was some insulation left over from a repair so I put it to good use.

Its sort of amusing to see peas on bloom in the garden in November when the snow is flying about but there they were defying logic and looking very healthy even though we have had several frosts. If I had done like I first planned and made a plastic dome or sheet over them , I probably would have had peas to pick by now. They prefer the chillier weather to hot weather and are a great later season crop, like Indian Summer weather. So I still might get some extra peas. Does this mean they are snow peas? Actually they are a type called Early Alaska and they are very pleasing to eat and I also saved quite a few for planting this next Spring also if plans go okay for us.

To keep myself occupied during the winter, I do my seed packaging and collecting till all the usable seeds are collected and labeled. Then I start a few seed trains or swaps to get new items to try in my garden. Trying new items and keeping a diary of how things do, helps me to remember better what worked and what needed some changing or possibly looking at it with a new angle. Like I am constantly trying new types of raised beds. At first glance it would not seem to make much difference, but it does and I have various level of beds depending on what I need to grow and where. I never have enough space for all I wish to grow, but Its alwasy fun to get at least some things and add a few in a second growth period. Or some veggies will winter over like carrots, so you can have spring carrots along with some of your sparse greens and winter onions (Egyptian walking onions) and potatoes (sunchoaks) can really make a difference in an otherwise sparse start up in the spring. If your broccoli went to seed you can collect the extra seed and make sprouts that are very nutritious during the winter also.. So when some of your broccoli bolts and blooms, just remember you can collect the seeds too. Then in the Spring I fill in with broccoli raab, or rapini which is a fast growing Spring green that tastes just like broccoli. I had some come up in my lawn and identified it, So allowed it to grow and then grazed off of it as it was coming up faster than that which was planted in my garden bed!

Funny how nature can be sometimes. Weather, climate and microclimates make for new challenges each spring and fall, but it also keeps it interesting. If it was all way too simple, it would be simply boring. Each season I have my triumphs and trials and all are fun for different reasons. Such as the grape vine that never would grow, but in the same place morning glories just outdid themselves.. I finally figured I had a runoff problem from the driveway. So since I did not have an alternative area for the grape, I had to just dig it up and relocate it.

I hope that families will always try growing some of their own food even if its only tomatoes. I think its more prudent to learn to grow a varitey of foods and identify those items around you that grow aound us, especially in our lawns for free that are edible. I still have hope that the manicured lawn with perfect grass is really more prudent for some small areas but should not be an important part of every yard where it must be mowed at the very least and in some extreme cases, fertilized, chemically weeded, seeded, and degrubbed etc.. I was looking forward to taking yet another large portion of the lawn and making it into garden. I still might do that.

The pears were abundant again this season, so I shared and also made pear sauce. We found out its fantastic with Chinese five spice which has licroice root, ginger and cinnamon in the mix. My husband found this most pleasing and also is great for settling your stomach too. Pears also naturally keep you regular without having to use alot of other more expensive methods and contain much needed potassium that helps to lower blood pressure..You need to balance your salt intake with potatssium. Potatos that are not boiled with the water tossed out are also a good source. Bannanas are usually touted as being the great potassium source, but they cant be grown locally as well as its always good to get to know what you have and how it affects your health also. I guess the natural laxitive effect is not only the fiber but sorbitol is found in pears.

I also love my pears as I know they have not been sprayed with alot of chemicals to make them perfect fruits. Much fruit you purchase at the grocery store is sprayed for various reasons and is retained by the fruit you then consume. The total load on our systems makes a great difference on how well you bounce back from set backs to your immune system due to a cold or flue or even say your area is hit by disaster. I know what we eat makes a great difference because of all the elderly people I took care of in my career; the ones that did their own canning or grew fruit and veggies in their yard, or cooked from scratch always were the healthiest.

Winter season is also a time of working on something traditional or home made. Whether it be a family recipe, basket making, a wreath, or knitting a hat. So many thought that these things were passe and out of style. Especially since you can buy a knitted hat for a couple bucks, why bother? Not only for the sense of accomplishment, but for that experience with the nature of material in your hands and shaping it yourself. If you do not have a craft you do, but know a friend who makes soap, or dries herbs. Ask and see what your niche might be or encourage those who work with crafts. Support your local neighborhood.

I know many already are thinking about thanks giving and probably even Christmas. Things like batteries, and candles or even having enough supplies incase of blizzard gets away from us, or we have the cupboard already brimming with items we have not looked at in over a year. Take time to make sure that food is not setting too long on the shelves and you are rotating stock and canned goods. Make sure you have basics incase you might not be able to get out of the house for a day or two due to hazzardous conditions. It usually doesn't get too bad where we live, but there have been times where you could not drive on some roads because the snow was just coming down too hard and fast. That is not the time to rush off to the store, though many do wait to grab whatever supplies they think they might need for bad weather.

I would like to hear from some people about their experiences with storms or any other experience where you had to use some keen sense to get through their difficulty. May we all learn by sharing. What did you bring from going through this experience.

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New York Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. New York Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.