Strawberries & Other Sweet Things

     
     The strawberries are in the ground!  We spent most of Monday afternoon working on it, but they are in the ground.  Copper did a last pass or two with the tiller in the morning, and we planted in the afternoon.  Will measured the space between plants and marked where they should go.  I worked on separating the roots and handing them to my husband who planted almost all 120+ of them by himself.  I planted a few while he rested, but not more than a dozen total.  The delay in planting resulted in the possible loss of about 6 plants.  We planted the six that looked dead, too.  You never know!  I also planted two bare root rhubarb plants.  It seemed to make sense to plant them at the end of a short row of strawberries, so that’s where they are.  We’ve never grown rhubarb before, but I’m looking forward to that first strawberry/rhubarb pie!

     

     Two-thirds of our strawberries are a June bearing variety, and the other third are everbearers.  Lord willing, we will have a lot of berries in a two to four week span from the June bearers (Chandler).  The majority of those berries will be made into jam and sliced and bagged for the freezer.  I may dry a few, as well.  We’ll depend on the ever bearers (Seascape) to keep fresh berries on the table all summer.   Mmmmmmmmmmm, I’m looking forward to those first, juicy, sweet berries!
     Last year we planted our berries on hills, mostly because that’s how it’s done in the strawberry farms in our area.  We planned on letting the runners go and then tilling under the mother plants.  However, the new plants would be in the furrows between the rows and that just was not going to work. 
Growing strawberries on hilled rows is a great way to go, but you need to buy new plants each year. 

 

     This year we planted the strawberries all at ground level, leaving 30″ between the rows.  The berry plants will be allowed to send off runners in all directions, which will root into the spaces between the rows.  Late next fall, we will carefully till under this year’s plants and next year we will harvest from the new plants.  That’s the plan, but you know me….I know to hold my plans rather loosely!
     We knew we were expanding our strawberry patch this year, but we tilled a much larger piece of ground than we needed.  That is working out wonderfully well.  My seed potatoes really needed to get into the ground, too; and our main garden is not quite ready.  There was just enough room left near the strawberries to plant the seven pounds of seed potatoes I bought! 
     We planted one pound of German Butterball potatoes, two pounds of Russet Nugget, two pounds of Colorado Rose, and two pounds of Yukon Gold.  We grew potatoes a couple of times when we lived in the city, but we’ve not grown them since we moved here eleven years ago.  We’re excited to see how they do.  


 
     Aaron tilled the spot that Dani and I set aside for a cutting flower garden.  He worked quite a bit of compost in as well.  So far Dani and I have planted Sweet Peas, Echinacea, Zinnia, Aster, Poppy and Lavender.  We’ll be planting more here soon.


      
     
   

     Aaron also gave the big garden area its first tilling.  He made a single pass over the whole garden area, and then made several passes along the end where we’ll start our spring planting.  We have several seedlings, started in trays in the house, that will be ready to be hardened off and put into the garden soon. 

 


      Aaron put up about 15 feet of welded wire fence, held by t-posts, along the bit of garden that he tilled well.  I sowed Sugar Snap Pea seeds at the base of this fence yesterday.  I love Sugar Snap Peas!  We’ve left the rest of the roll of wire intact.  I’m trying something new this year, and we will be growing several crops that vine or climb along this section of fence.  In addition to the peas, we’ll be trying cucumbers and small melons and squash on the fence.  We’ll see how it goes! 
    

 

     I’ve had a knitting project on my needles for the last few weeks.  I’m planning four matching vests for four not-quite-matching grandchildren.  I’m using this free pattern from the Lion Brand website.  I chose Lion’s Cotton-Ease yarn, rather than the 100% cotton called for in the pattern.  I want the vests to be easy care for Corin’s sake, and this cotton/acrylic blend was perfect.  I’m working the main body of the vests in the Lake colorway, with Maize for the edging and stripe.  The front and back of the largest size vest are off my needles, awaiting the stitching of the shoulder seams.  The back of the smallest size is also off my needles and the front is well begun.  I need to try these two almost finished vests on my grandbabies to see what other sizes I should make, or what pattern alterations I’ll need to make to have four that fit.  I’m still hoping to find a similar, and free, vest pattern for the newest of my grandbabies.
    

     The main leisure-time activity here has been reading.  I’ve chosen well over thirty books to read this year.  You can find the list in the “Reading Basket” section of my side bar.  I’m happy with the selection, but find I am still adding a book now and again.  I’ve
completed eleven books so far this year, and am well into a couple of others.  I am currently reading Daniel Deronda and Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter, and I am thoroughly enjoying both.
     I am also learning to love the world of audio books.  I have to say right up front that I love reading.  I think reading is important and I will never endorse anything that would completely take the place of actually reading.  However, there are times of the day where my body is doing work that doesn’t really require much brain power.  Pulling weeds, folding laundry, and walking on the treadmill  are a few examples.  My family blessed me with a pretty pink Zune for my January birthday.  I assumed that I’d load the Zune up with music and just enjoy it that way. 
     The truth is, 90% of my Zune listening is done listening to podcasts of radio programs or listening to audio books.  The podcasts I enjoy are listed in the side bar, as are the audio books that I have currently loaded.  Lately, I have enjoyed a few hours of  The Mystery of Edwin Drood while walking on the treadmill.  It sure makes the time pass more enjoyably!
    

     These times are uncertain, as some folks say, and many of us are looking at ways that we can do a bit more for ourselves in the way of food production, etc.  This is a good thing.  While I have always encouraged you to read, I’ve also encouraged you to try your hand at a new skill, or to train yourself to be more proficient with a skill you already have. 
     Be careful, though, that you do not lose sight of the fact that all things belong to the Lord.  They are His to freely give, and they are His to freely withhold.  
     I do not know what the near future holds.  No one does.  However, I think it is wise for us to be aware of the events that are happening around us.  It is up to each one of us, under our husband’s leadership, to decide how aware we want to be.  Some prefer not to know much more than the local conditions that will have some bearing on their life.  Others spend hours each day reading various news reports and editorials, listening to radio news and talk shows, and so on, wanting to know all they can about events worldwide.

     Personally, I choose to keep myself informed only in so far as necessary to enable me to look well to the ways of my own household.   I suppose that leaves plenty of room for interpretation, but my statement will stand as it is just the same.   I do not need a crystal ball, or even the Internet,  to know that I live in a fallen world, but I do need my Bible.  My goal is to serve my Lord and bring Him glory.  I do this poorly, and yet I continue on toward that goal.  I serve the Lord by serving others.  I serve the Lord in obedience to His plan for my life.  For now, that is best done right here in my own home.  To me, that is a sweet thing.  

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27
 

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14 comments to Strawberries & Other Sweet Things

  • Wow you guys have been busy!  Since you said you have never planted rhubarb before I am not sure if you are aware that the green leaves are poisionous.  I am not sure how much one would have to ingest but I know as a child coming up my mother and the neighbor lady always warned us kids not to pick it and eat the leaves.  I know they used the stalks for pies and other things.  I never cared for it myself.  Ours came back every year. (I grew up in western NY so we had some tough winters but every spring it was back)

    I found a link with more info:  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002876.htm

  • I’m so glad to see you back πŸ™‚ You sound as busy as ever! I’m excited for you and your garden and can’t wait to see how things turn out. You’ve reminded me that I need to get a move on with my planting as well. As for reading… it is one of my favorite things to do. Have you visited libravox?

  • @juejee – Thanks!  My mom grew it in our back yard because my dad loved rhubarb pie, so we know about the leaves.  Thanks for mentioning it, though, for folks who might not have been aware.
    @craftymom4 –  I just, briefly, checked out libravox at your suggestion.  I’ve bookmarked it to check out further at another time.  Thanks!  I’m actually trying an introductory membership with audible.com.  I noticed that all of the MP3 book downloads at Amazon were partnered through Audible, so thought it was worth checking out. 

  • Such a rich post with much to absorb, think on and hold dear, Cheryl. Thank you. I’ll have to come back at a decent hour (it’s 4am at present…sigh) when my brain is hopefully more in gear, to read the post again.

    Blessings,

    jAne

    http://tickleberryfarm.blogspot.com

  • Hi Cheryl,

    Dave and I both have just started listening to Audio Books. They are so wonderful. We don’t watch the news here. Instead we read some on the web.I am like you I want to know just what I need to in order to take care of my family. All TV News is one person opinion. Dave says they never give the straight facts any more.Our home is so much more peaceful without all the distractions from the outside world.

    Looks like you have been really busy. I got out yesterday and planted flowers.

    Have a blessed day.

    Elizabeth

  • First time commentor. πŸ™‚  I just wanted to let you know about librivox.org.  They have free audio book downloads.  All of them are public domain, so lots of old classics. I got my mp3 player a few years ago & love listening to books. I used to get cassettes from the library.  πŸ™‚  Anyway, we just don’t have the budget to buy or rent books.  Then I found librivox. πŸ™‚

    Can’t wait until it gets time for us to start planting.  πŸ™‚

  • OOps!  I see someone already suggested librivox.  πŸ™‚

    (embarassed)

    πŸ™‚

  • I have been reading your blog for quite sometime and enjoy all your posts.  I have decided to take up knitting again.  I haven’t knitted in years.  Can you suggest a good easy pattern to start with?  I bought 7″ circular needles with cotton yarn to make a dishcloth (suggested by the saleslady at Joann’s as a starter).  I would like to attempt something else, as I am so enjoying knitting.  I would appreciate any suggestion you may have.  Thank you and have a blessed day.

  • Cher-

    Got a book I know you will enjoy listening to or reading- Cordelia Underwood.  I’m reading it right now (slowly… in the wee hours…) and it is delightful!  Colleen Adams recommended it.  I found it on Paperback Swap; you might be able to, too!

    ~Kenj

  • @ladyjanesjournal – 4:00 a.m.!! 

    @elizabethq – Doesn’t it feel good to get outside and work in the garden?  We haven’t watched tv news for years.  I don’t miss it a bit!

    @jamee – Good to hear from you!  I will be checking out librivox soon.

    @buana – How about a simple prayer shawl?  I’ve had great success with the free patterns available at http://www.lionbrand.com   Use their pattern finder and search “free knit prayer shawl”.   As of this morning you’ll get seven results, all of which are rated “beginner” or “easy”.

  • @PreschoolersandPeace – I’ll add it to my list right now.  Thanks!

  • @copperswife – Thank you so much.  A prayer shawl would be perfect.  I will go check out the patterns now. 

  • Wow! that is a sizeable strawbery patch.

    My 11 year old loves growing her small patch of strawberries – it will blow her brain to see yours
    Well done – you are all doing so well and working so hard.I am sure you will be blessed with an abundance

  • @Rabbits_Nest – Thanks!  I know we’ll enjoy the strawberries, but we are also aware that our larger strawberry patch will also result in a lot more work!!