Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Sunshine, Dirt and Rain

My oldest daughter texted me, frustrated, how easy it is not to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually when you are busy. Welcome to grown up life struggles. 
The devil wants us to be busy. Busy is not inherently bad, but when we ignore everything else, then busy can be destructive.

Yes. Balance is key and it is hard to achieve, harder to maintain. We must seek it for our sanity, salvation and health while on this journey.
It's harder and harder with a busy life, especially with diet limitations, which my daughter has and has to care for herself away at college. Her diet requires nothing premade out of a box. She has to plan and make time or she doesn't eat, or is forced to make a choice that will hurt her digestion. 

After making the leap to move to the country and spending the first year in renovation mode, we are gearing up this year to look at the long term for food production for us. We planted fruit and nut trees, built a garden and have some questions. My county offered a seminar on vegetable gardening, fruit trees, soil care and bees. I want to learn all I can for the success of what we've taken on and invested in.

I went with many questions, none of which were answered, but my head was filled with other great info!  I have a reason to visit with our county master gardener next time I'm at the extension office.

Trust me, I had my "mind expanded" and was entertained by a panel of experts and took pages and pages of notes. One gardener was quite a comedian. The day was packed full of info and there is still so much more to learn. These thoughts below are from my notes, not complete, but things I want to remember.

God gave us sunshine, rain and dirt.
Look what we can do with these gifts

It's such a great opportunity to see how others gardeners care for their orchards. All speakers warned against purchasing at box stores, especially needing to pay attention to fruit trees that could be zoned for areas that aren't your region. We have an average of 600 chill hours here, some big stores send fruit trees needing 900 hours, you'd end up with a tree that never fruits, which you wouldn't know for years. 

Plan for an Orchard
What fruits would you like to have?
Make a plan. 
Keep records of what planted and where, where purchased and what each yeilded.
What is zoned for your area?
Pick a well drained area.
Have soil tested.(check with extension office- Texas A&M offers soil test for $10). 
Have a pollinator for your trees, usually a companion tree.
Pick grafted trees on good root stock to fruit significantly earlier.
Find reputable grower, (we bought ours through master gardener sale at our county's extension office and a local grower they trust.)

I heard avocados can grow in my area, that will be the next tree we add. I want to feed my family good ingredients.
I would love to not fed them food that came from a factory. Our bodies can't handle it.

All history of mankind our food came from outdoors. Now so much of our food comes in boxes, processed, coated, sprayed, colored, and who knows what else?  Many people couldn't identify the plant or animal from which their food originated, or what process might have been applied.

GMO: Genetically modified foods. What? why? And no.
Thankfully There are affordable seed companies providing heritage, non modified seeds: Bakers, Johnny's and Saint Claire.

We have to stop and ask: what? How did we get here? What is all this stuff doing to our digestive system? Our other organs? Our overall health? How do we get back?

Start with what is inspirational in the kitchen. And grow your own food.

Plan for vegetable garden
Must have good sunlight: 8-10 hours a day. They will grow in shade, but need sunlight to fruit.
Raised beds.
Well drained soil.
Be adventurous.
Look through seed catalogs.
Keep records of what planted, what produced.
Rotate beds after crop complete.
Have soil tested.
Compost. And add organic material to aid nitrogen release.

I have an unattainable dream of not needing a box store for our nutrition, but I may never achieve more than supplementing our diet with a few good things. I will work toward increasing  the heath content of what we ingest.

In America, I read we throw away ugly food, 30%! of our food supply, trashed, because it's ugly. The nutrition is still the same, it tastes the same. 


The master gardener who gave the talk about bees was so passionate about bees, our life system. Without pollinators, we have NO FOOD. Apparently we lose 30% bee population each year. Scary. 

Why are they dying off?
GMOs,  pesticides, climate growth???? Yes probably all. Studies are being done, but these local beekeepers have noticed the decline themselves.

She said she keeps bees to save our world, so we will have food to eat. I have been hesitant on bees. I've gone to several talks, read bee keepers notes and journal, but I have two reservations: I don't want to get stung, and I'm nervous about he expensive investment to just have them swarm away because don't know what I'm doing. 

We hung out by the orchard and there are bees there. I thought I could just host the pollen for them, but with so much needing pollination for success, and the world needs more bees to multiply, keeping bees is back on my planning list. 

Be careful with weed killer, since they are plant killers and travel to kill trees and surrounding plants. They don't even know how far and how long. 

I was so impressed with the experience and knowledge in the room. The county extension offices are a wealth of information.


  1. Talking bees, certain you'll love this article
    Only 'up the road' from me

    1. I love this Erin, the video makes bee keeping look so easy! It makes so much sense to leave the bees at peace.
      I still have lots of questions like how do the bees deal with not making their own hives? And the initial investment scares me.
      But I am going to share with my bee master gardener friend and get her advice and opinions.
      Thank you!

  2. This is fascinating to me, my friend.
    I feel as if I am living vicariously through you....Thank you for that!
    I often think about all the processed things we eat. Ugh.
    And Madison returning from Denmark has enlighten me even more.
    She shares about how and what she ate there. Sigh...fresh and simple and less!!!!
    I realized just how much more we eat here!
    She is teaching me about it...The other night she made dinner... It was amazing!
    Keep sharing, my friend!

    1. Billie Jo, we need Madison to post menus and recipes!
      I have so many bad recipes I fall back on. With my daughter's food restrictions, we are opening our pallet up to a variety of foods we hadn't thought of much before.

      Thank you for visiting all your sweet and encouraging comments!