Beets, Beets, Nothing but Beets
It was a long cold week on the ranch, but a fruitful one nonetheless. This week we thinned our three beds of beets and in the process harvested a giant pot worth of baby beets and beet greens. Of course, as with all greens, the final product once steamed and canned, seemed less than impressive. We put away just over five pints of beet greens. At a total of 9.5 hours spent, it was a great deal of work for the minimal result, but with the goal of achieving full food self sufficiency, every little bit counts. (plus, thinning the beets is a requirement of the growing process and had to be done whether or not we saved the greens we culled, and that was half the work) According to NutritionalValue.org, the beet greens should be worth just over 400 calories and contain about 40g or protein and tons of vitamins A and C. Of course, I will still need to figure out how to include our canned beet greens into a regular meal routine. They can be treated like spinach or collard greens, but have a unique ‘beety’ flavor.
Managing a Cold Spell
There were two cold spells at the ranch this week, and both of them took a lot of time and energy. Kurt and I both came down with a nasty little bug that put us under the weather, but we still had to manage the more tangible external threat of a very serious freeze. All of our water pipes and irrigation was purged as the temperature plunged in the twenties (I know, my northern friends, but this is serious for Texas). We recently installed a new peach tree and have several young delicate plants who needed protection. Since the plants are all already protected behind wire fencing to keep our ravenous deer at bay, we simply had to wrap this cage in protective fabric to hold in heat and hold off any icy rain. With our goal of building a food forest on our land, the task of protecting the younger trees from the cold weather will continue to grow for many years. I hope that all the plants made it through this cold snap and that we can continue to be diligent and keep everyone covered-up through what promises to be a cold wet winter season.
Finally Contractor Free
The windows and siding job is finally complete and the ranch has returned to relative tranquility. Although the contractors were courteous, friendly, and hard working, I was still relieved to see them go. I am now working to restore the yard to its pre-contractor state, and get my own personal routine back in order after over five weeks of disruption. The windows are beautiful and the house is now well wrapped up and protected from the elements. All in all, I am sure it was worth it, but I am glad we won’t have to do that again for some time.
Now that we have the ranch back to ourselves, I look forward returning to my practice of enjoying a cup of coffee on the porch with the cats every morning. (well, every morning its above 40 degrees.)