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Sand Hill Preservation Center

February 23rd, 2010

My mom got this great new catalog in the mail this year from Sand Hill Preservation Center. I’m always on the lookout for places like this to buy seeds from so I brought home the catalog to read through it. I was amazed by the number of heirloom items from poultry to potatoes and everything in between. I’m amazed by all the wonderful things listed in the catalog, the sheer number of heirloom tomatoes is staggering! You won’t be dazzled by glossy pages with beautiful photos, you can tell this catalog is about the preservation of seeds, not about selling the latest and greatest “seedless tomato” or whatever the exciting new vegetable/flower is this year.

This is what they say about themselves:

“We are not a large operation and all of the work is done by Linda and me with occasional inputs from outside sources. The family consists of myself (Glenn) and my wife, Linda. Our two grown sons, Nick and Cory are no longer living at home. We are not a wholesale seed company nor are we a large hatchery. We are genetic preservationists that are in this for the genetic diversity of this planet we all call home. We produce all of our own eggs for our hatches, tend all of our own flocks, weed and care for the seed crops and produce around 90% of the seed which we sell. We also work with several close friends to produce some rare and unusual items to help give you a better variety. We purchase a few common varieties of nontreated seed to expand our offerings.”

I’m certainly glad I haven’t ordered any seeds yet, I’ll be getting some of my seeds from Sand Hill for sure, a few tomatoes. Now if I can only whittle down my list to what will actually fit in my limited garden space. I’m always happy to find out about new places like this order seeds from. I really appreciate what people like this do, devoting their lives to saving heirloom poultry and vegetables. I’ll definitely be supporting their efforts! When I’m in the market for chicken I’ll be buying them from Sand Hill for sure!

Have you found any new seed resources recently?

The First Seedling of the Season

February 22nd, 2010

I haven’t officially started and seeds yet. My light tables aren’t put together in the basement yet, I haven’t even ordered all of my seeds yet -yikes. Am I behind? Not really, I’ve been deliberately trying to restrain myself from starting things too early. Seedlings do so much better when you can get them planted outside when they’re the right size. So starting them too early often doesn’t do any good and may actually be bad for the plant in the long run. I will be starting some lettuce this week, I think by the time they’re big enough the cold frame will be warm enough to transplant them. I think spring will come a littler later this year so I’m holding off as long as I can to get the seed starting going.

I did “unofficially” start a few seeds for the Amsterdam Seasoning Celery I got from Renee’s Garden. A few days ago, I sprinkled them in a post I had by the back door that nothing was growing in (failed attempt to propagate a houseplant). The first seed germinated yesterday! I think this will make an excelling winter gardening plant. Fresh celery taste all winter long from a pot in the dining room! I can’t wait to see how this herb does. Celery sseedling are the tiniest of all I think, I should have put a penny by this so you can see how small they are.

Have you been starting seeds yet?

Tap Tap Tap Maple Sap

February 21st, 2010

These are the words to the first song I ever learned to play on the piano when I was a little girl. I still remember sitting at the old piano in the basement plinking out those keys while singing along, all the while waiting for kitchen timer to ding so I could quit practicing. You can guess why I was humming this song yesterday.

It was a beautiful sunny day and the temperatures climbed slightly above freezing. Not quite prime sugaring season yet, but we wanted to get some of our trees tapped since tomorrow the temperature is supposed to be close to 40. We were just going to put one tap in the tree we can see from the kitchen window, so we could watch it. When it started flowing we would install the rest of the taps. As soon as we tapped the tree a little drop of sap appeared on the end of the spile. It was warm enough yesterday to start the sap flowing.

Since the sap was flowing we put in all 12 taps that we had on hand. We ordered a bunch more spiles a week ago, but haven’t received them yet, they’ll be put in as soon as we get them. The taps produced about a gallon of sap by dusk, it will be stored until we get more before boiling it down. It’s forecasted to be almost 40 today which should produce good sap flow. But then it’s supposed to get cold again next week which will probably stop the flow. We’re hoping for a good sugaring season this year resulting in a few gallons of syrup.

What kind of syrup is in your cupboard, the real stuff or Aunt Jemima?

Organizing Seeds

February 20th, 2010

So, I’ve got this big plastic bin full of seeds, as many gardeners do. The longer I garden, the more my seed stash grows. Some of them are old and I need to sprinkle in the garden just to see if they’ll grow, I’m pretty sure they’re way past their prime. It’s just so hard to get rid of them sometimes.

I’ve been trying to figure out a great way to organize all these seed packets. Originally they all fit in a few plastic jars and I separated them by genre: legumes, flowers, herbs, and other veggies. I now have way too many seeds for this system. I’m considering an accordion file or perhaps a plastic file box with file folders. I could organize them by type: beans, squash, greens, tomatoes, herbs, flowers, etc.

How do you organize your seeds? Any great organizational tips to share?

Spring Cleaning

February 19th, 2010

Mother said,
“We’ll start housecleaning tomorrow, bright and early.”

Almanzo hated house-cleaning. Everything in the house was moved, everything was scrubbed and scoured and polished. All the curtains were down, all the feather-beds were outdoors, airing, all the blankets and quilts were washed. From dawn to dark Almanzo was running, pumping water, fetching wood, spreading clean straw on the scrubbed floors and then helping to stretch the carpets over it, and then tacking all those edges down again.

Laura Ingalls Wilder (Farmer Boy)

It’s not spring here in NE Ohio, that will be a long time yet, but it is time however to start thinking about the spring cleaning. It’s much better to get these chores out of the way before spring actually starts, since spring is a busy time in the garden. All those chores that don’t need done on a weekly/monthly basis make up the spring cleaning list: rolling up rugs and scrubbing the floors, washing curtains, wiping down mouldings, cleaning light fixtures, clearing out dressers, organizing kitchen drawers, going through the pantry, etc.

I’ll be spending some time each week for the next month or two getting these big tasks out of the way. I already cleaned the kitchen drawers, organized the pantry, and cleaned the window moulding. Next to be checked off my list will be cleaning all the light fixtures, then I’ll move on to the dressers & closets.

Do you do spring cleaning or do you have another system for keeping order & cleaning the house?

Seeds and Sundries
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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.