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Straight into the Snow

A few days ago I went out and began a final harvest of the main garden. I brought in the bulk of the Brussels sprouts and the last of the danvers, Saint Valery and dragon carrots. I was able to harvest a couple of handfuls of Swiss chard and gathered some nasturtium. I was even able to get a few lemon drop cherry tomatoes before the winds of late autumn and winter set in.

I made my way around the yard looking for anything that may have been overlooked and brought in lavender clippings and a bouquet of zinnia and black eye Susan to decorate our dining room table, I know very P. Allen Smith of me.

A day later we ended up with our first snow of the season and it looks as though this weekend will be more of the same. Temperatures have dropped quickly and we went from summer straight into the snow.

When the weather gets like this I can't help but begin my plans for the next growing season. There are a few small patches of lawn that I believe we can still turn into vibrant garden space. I also want to start building upward. We used a few trellises this past growing season with great results and I believe we can use that method to our advantage next year as well. I also want to set up a support system for our heirloom tomatoes in hopes of a healthier yield. There are a few old trees that need to come down that I would like to replace with berry bushes. I also think we have room to plant more sunflower and zinnia next year.

There are also local elections coming up in my hometown and if there is a change of guard I am going to approach the local officials about supporting urban chickens. I have a neighbor who runs a dog kennel and another fellow who up until 2 or 3 months ago had a horse so I have a hard time thinking that it really is that big of a deal to have 3 or 4 hens. The benefits are obvious and in an area where the economy is so poor I think it is imperative that people are able to support themselves.

We are also talking about getting rabbits next year as well. If we do not raise them for meat at the very least we will have some great pets for the kids and free manure for the garden.

I have a hundred different ideas at this point. My main goal is to turn my passion into a legitimate form of income. For the second time in 3 years I have taken a major hit at work. The first time I lost my job and began gardening in earnest. This time around I am going to be forced into a major pay cut in the heart of winter and feel that it is simply time to start working for myself. It is a big step and a bit scary to be honest but I think it is the right move. There are some details that certainly need to be worked out but the ball is rolling.

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here


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