Friday, September 24, 2010

Will gardening be illegal?

There is a certain amount of idiocy you expect from city governments. And it seems, the larger the city, the more idiocy there is. Backing up heavily traveled streets for months to put in bicycle lanes, poorly timed traffic lights, ordinances on how often you must mow your yard, etc. Most of these do have some sort of reason behind them.

But when city governments start placing heavy fines on otherwise law-abiding citizens for having a food producing back yard garden, you are crossing over to the realm of the absurd. A gentleman in Atlanta has been fined almost $5000 for planting part of the 2 acres he owns in vegetables. These food crops are for his own personal use, he gives some to his friends, and any extra he will take to the farmer's market to sell. He isn't using his yard to grow cash crops, it isn't a business, and he isn't annoying his neighbors with heavy farm equipment. He has a garden as a hobby for his own enjoyment and just happens to have a bounty to share.

The City's stance on the issue is that his property is not zoned for agriculture. So this past Spring, after getting the citations in January and February, He applied to the city to have his property re-zoned. It was approved. The Code Enforcement officials are saying that he still owes the fines, and now the penalties for not having paid them, because there were food crops growing while the rezoning was still under consideration. And they are suing to get their money.

I am not sure exactly what their problem with this gentleman actually is. Did someone complain? Is the zoning commissioner some sort of Nazi who wants complete control over what the citizens do on their own property? Is this just a way for the city to collect money they otherwise are not entitled to? Or is it something bigger?

It is bad enough that the Big Three agri corporations (Monsanto, Cargill, and ADM) are trying to control the food supply through genetically modified food and the availability of heirloom seeds, but trying to prevent individual citizens from having a backyard garden is going too far. The vast majority of people who do have a backyard garden only do so to either have fresh produce during the summer months or maybe to can, or because they just enjoy gardening. They don't do it for money, because there just isn't enough money in it to justify the costs. They do it for the food and the love of getting dirty.

I worry about what this means for all of us in the long run. I guess I will have to get a fancy trellis for my tomatoes and call them landscaping.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I have been busy

Our local big chain grocery store (coughkrogercough) has 8 lb bags of chicken leg quarters on sale this week for $3.47 a bag, so I got 2. Keep in mind this is before I knew that I would have weekend guests (10 people total in my house). That is 16 pounds of chicken, counting the bones. So this morning I got up, started the coffee, started the laundry, and last night's dishes.

Then I proceeded to debone all that meat. I canned 8 pints. That is somewhere between 10-16 meals for us.

I threw all of the bones,skins and fat into a pot and added a couple of gallons of water and boiled it for the hour 15 the chicken was in the canner.

By this time, DH was home for lunch. I took a few of the bones out of the pot and scraped enough meat off of them to add to a box of stuffing mix (generic, for 89 cents) to have "dressing" for lunch.

After lunch, I strained the rest of the bones, skin, etc off of the pot of broth, skimmed the schmaltz off of it (got about 3 cups of that now in the fridge) and canned 7 quarts of broth.

Then I spent the next hour getting all the little remaining bits of meat off of the bones (did you know that the tiny bit of meat in the tail is white meat?) and with the rest of the broth, I am making up some chicken soup. I should have between 4 or 5 quarts when it is all said and done.

So...for $7 worth of chicken, I have at least 15 meals for my family.

Now I just have to clean the kitchen back up and take a shower before everyone gets here. But I have to get all of this done before the hand surgery. Dreading the 6 weeks of a cast.

I am beat.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fall is "Falling"?

Now that the Labor Day holiday is behind us, it is time to start thinking about Fall chores around the house. Winterizing the windows, changing the curtains, maybe add more insulation in the attic, weather stripping, the list seems endless. I need to wash and dry the heavier bedding, get the furnace cleaned out, we need to replace one of the ceiling fans, change out a light fixture in the girl's closet, paint 2 rooms, and on and on.

This Summer was just so hot and dry that we didn't do as much outside work as I would have liked. We did finally get a new roof put on, so at least we don't have to worry about that this year. We also got the siding replaced in a spot that was rotting from rain splash, but we haven't gotten it painted yet.

I still need to get a fall crop planted, but that will mean that I need to finish cleaning out the garden of the dead or dying peas, carrots and okra. All of the squash plants are gone already (they did so poorly from the heat I ripped them out over a month ago) so those beds are empty already. I am thinking about putting greens, either mustard or turnip, there. I need to plant some more Green Peas since we like them so well. Maybe some lettuce and radishes in the main garden since they grow so fast.

But today it is raining, so no outside work will get done. I will probably just do some laundry and maybe bake some bread. I haven't done that in a while so it is time. I need to make some more soap too. I am down to 3 bars.

I have a couple of beef roasts in the freezer so I am thinking I will dig out the crock pot and start some dinner as well.

It will be one of those lazy, catch-up days where it will all get done, just not very quickly.

And I will start thinking about what I want to have ready for the holidays and for next Spring.

So much to do, but...not today.

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