Friday, March 25, 2011

Gardening Fever

      This time of year gives me a particular kind of spring fever. I don't know what makes me susceptible; if it's because I have farming in my genes or just being sick of eating flavorless produce shipped in from countries where it is warm enough it can still grow. But, '"gardening Fever" has kicked in full force and there is nothing I can do about it; I have no yard. well that's no technically true, I have a yard, but it is only big enough for the dog to have a "potty" and I'm not digging in that dirt.
      While living at Genoa, though I had more than ample room to sow my seeds. Plus there was already an orchard full of fruit trees. There were: apple, pear, plum, cherry and peach trees. We also had raspberry, blackberry and grape vines, although those nasty Japanese beetles ate every last grape. The orchard trees and vines did all the work, while we reaped the benefits of organic fruits in pies, cobblers, jelly and jams.
      The vegetables were a different story. We started seeds in mini-green houses which sat on top of my washer and dryer, in the sunny laundry room. While the seeds did their "magic" by sprouting in to beautiful little plants the kids and I spent two weeks busting our buts preparing the soil, by tilling and hoeing in what would be our garden. By the way, if you ever pass a market stand and the farmer selling those "goodies" happens to be fat, don't trust him cause he didn't grow em' , I can tell you there are no fat gardeners in the south. ;)
We used a soil tester to see if we needed to add any missing nutrients, (besides I was counting this garden as science and health for our Homeschooling). We lucked out and our soil was very near perfect. I also found out that children will do a lot of work, as long as they don't know its work. They helped plan the garden, pick what went it it, plant it, water it, weed it, and ultimately harvest it.
Bubble hoeing down a thistle
      We planted cucumbers, radishes, zucchini, yellow squash,onions, okra, beans, onions, carrots, and tomatoes. We also planted a garden bed of kitchen herbs: parsley, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and sage. Kitchen herbs nearly take care of themselves, you can buy the little plants at Lowe's, pop em' in the ground and water once or twice a week ( if it doesn't rain).  They are super useful in the kitchen and medicine cabinet.
      We ate ourselves full of fresh organic vegetables. I only had to go to the store for meat and grains. We were getting raw milk from some dear Amish neighbors, which we made into butter and cheese. It was something really wonderful to have a meal on the table that was made available by the work of your own hands.

Baby herb plants

freshly planted garden next to grape vine

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

     We had the luxury of living in an Old Plantation house in the middle of Kentucky Amish country. we lived there for one full, somewhat magical year, that begun April Fool's Day 2009.
     Genoa, was built in 1824, by Winston Jones Davie as a wedding present for his wife. She was in her grand 185th year, when we moved in. Davie was a Kentucky legislator and Kentucky's first Commmisioner of Agriculture. He was also founder of the Church-Hill Grange, a banker, an author and an innovative farmer.
     Genoa is the only Greek Revival home, in christian County, with a  "double-pile plan" ( meaning two rooms deep). Her current square footage is 4,700; which would have been larger if the ell had not been removed from the back of the house, which means it takes three days to clean.  ;)
     Genoa has a two-tiered portico that is original to the house, though the columns have been replaced at sometime. She also has eleven (11) fireplaces, as long as you count the three (3) in the basement, where the original kitchen was and where the house-slaves resided. there are three (3) full bathrooms, including one up-stairs, which was a very big "to-do" back in the day when most pottys were outside boxes with  a moon on the door and bathtubs were also tin laundry tubs.
     Genoa, also boasts the rights to the only pre-Civil War pocket doors in the state of Kentucky. She has finished stairs leading up to a fully planked third floor attic that runs the full span of the house and has full sized windows at both ends.
     Genoa has her own cave right in the back yard, which has been sealed off with cement and a  large bar-b-cue built over it, after an unfortunate accident in 1905, where a young boy died after getting lost inside, while exploring.
     Genoa is full of nearly Two-hundred years worth of history and stories and we were more than happy to add a few of our own to it. Now that we don't live there, I feel free to share a few of them.