Monday, February 10, 2014

{homestead journal #1 - 2014}

Leftover seeds from last year...our two favorite lettuces which kept us in fresh green salads for many months last year.

Two seeds were carefully placed in each small pot, lightly buried with organic starting mix, sprayed with warm water to moisten, then covered both with plastic wrap for warmth and prayer for germination...

Monday morning...

One week later...cotyledons. :)

Now that I know last year's seed is still viable, I'll be planting more every three weeks from now on. Oh, there is nothing like a freshly picked green salad. :) 

Territorial Seed Company is a Pacific NW seed provider we've purchased from for years now. Last year I was blessed to stop by their storefront in Cottage Grove, Oregon, while on a trip with my folks (we went to Stitches West!!). Besides having signed the Safe Seed Pledge against buying or selling GMO seed or plants, one of my favorite reasons for buying from Territorial is that their test garden conditions are amazingly similar to our growing conditions here in Dole Valley. Just so you know, we're not affiliates...just sharing!

In other homestead news, our fruit trees were all pruned on the same day lettuce seeds were planted (Feb. 1 here was sunny and mild), so that chore is done. (In case you're wondering, we have two cherry, three apple, and two pear trees that are each only a couple years old and have yet to bear fruit...maybe this year?)

We're eager for warmer weather, but in the meanwhile, we're mostly planning and list making. One thing we'll be doing as soon as the weather improves (early next week?) is to pick up some new chicks to replace our aging flock of layers. Honestly, it's never easy to say good-bye to the old flock who've so faithfully provided us with nourishing eggs, but the simple truth is that we cannot afford to keep them as pets.

Other items on the list include raising meat birds this spring and finishing the many back yard projects that need attention including stairs for the deck, re-doing the back lawn (what a mess!), putting up that clothes line we bought in Lancaster last summer, and putting the finishing touches on the herb garden. One thing I'd love to buy but am not sure we will be able to swing it is a hand pump for our well since they're spendy.

Have any of you started seed yet? Please don't tell me I'm the only one ready for spring...


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  1. How many meat birds will you raise? and how long will they last you?

    1. We'll likely get 50 - 75 chicks to start with and depending on how many we lose, we'll fill the freezer with enough chicken to last us for nearly a year. When there's only four of us in the house, one bird per week provides plenty of meat for us. And there's nothing like the satisfaction of having raised your own food. :) I'm still hoping we can raise some pork this year, but we'll see.

  2. You have inspired me - I have got to start seeds. Now! Hurray!

  3. How awesome, oh to have a yard.

  4. I was all ready to plant my seeds but somebody reminded me that we are still 16 weeks away from the last frost so I have to wait a little while longer. I'll start collecting my planters and stuff next week so at least I'll be ready to start when the time comes.

  5. are you able to set lettuce out already? (I'd have to dig through about 5" of snow and 1/2" of ice just to find my raised beds!!!)

    1. No, no, no! We still have snow, and it's too cold yet. Our last frost date isn't until sometime in late April. These seedlings will be transplanted into larger pots and then moved out to the garden in March where they'll be protected from frost when necessary. :)

  6. There really is nothing like fresh lettuce! It's lovely that you've started your seeds :-) The Territorial Seed Company sounds wonderful.

  7. Anonymous2/10/2014

    Lisa, oh the thought of starting a garden brings me much hope. Spring will surely arrive one day. I've always wanted to raise chickens. We are hoping to move to North Carolina 2015 and maybe then I will be able to. (Though I have no idea how to raise them quite yet!)

  8. Anonymous2/15/2014

    You have glorious! We are still under snow and more snow :( Our spring does not come until much, much later... m.

  9. Love your little lettuce sprouts! We have snow almost up to our knees still, plus a whole lot of ice. I can't fathom "little green life" yet, LOL! Will your old layers end up in your freezer, too?


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