~While I realize this isn't your typical "harvest" photo, I found it rather appropriate. Yes, those photos of counters full of vegetables are fantastic - but I think this photo captures something more important: Soul-Smile. It's a feeling you get when you harvest food you've raised or grown. It is fantastic. It pleases me to no end to see it in my child.
August is over and September has arrived with a very Fall feeling. The mornings are chilly and some days you can even wear jeans quite comfortably for the day. In a house with no AC, that is saying something! August definitely was our biggest harvest month. Previously we'd had a year to date tally of 20+ pounds at the end of June and then 27 pounds just for the month of July. August found us having 20+ pounds everytime we went out to the garden!! I am especially grateful for the cooler temperatures now because our freezer is so full it won't hold much more, meaning it is canning time.
For the 2009 Tallies:
Eggs: August - 81 (they did NOT like the weather!) ~ Year to Date - 753 Food: August - 181 POUNDS 1 oz ~ Year to Date - 236 pounds 7.5 oz
First off - read that again -- ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY ONE POUNDS!!! WOW!! My mind is still trying to wrap around that!!!!
Now, for some cool math:
1) If we were buying eggs we would pay $3 per dozen. 753 eggs equals 62.75 dozen eggs - which means we would've spent $188.25 so far this year on eggs. Instead, we've spent (roughly) $81 on feed. I say roughly because the price of feed fluctuates and I honestly don't know how many bags we've bought. Oh, let's not forget hay - throw another $24 on. That brings us up to $105. Still saving some serious money and we're blessed with enough eggs that we've been able to share with friends and family. Strengthening bonds and building community = priceless. (Sorry, Mastercard commercials have succeeded in their brainwashing!)
2) The spaghetti sauce we buy from the store is $3.19 for a 24oz jar. On August 23rd I canned 10 quart jars, 1 pint jar, and 1 24oz jar of spaghetti sauce. Doing the math - $3.19 for 24 oz = almost 14 cents an ounce. I'm going with 14 cents because I would also have to pay sales tax. To buy the amount of sauce that I canned would've cost us $49.11!!
3) To buy a 1/2oz jar of organic oregano at Kroger costs $3.99. This year I harvested 3lbs 4oz. Actually, I could've harvested easily three times that much, but to be honest, I was sick of it and that amount was enough. Now, I have to note here, I weighed it with the stems still on there, so the truth and accuracy of this weight and the costs might be faulty, but it is what I've got to work with so I am. Ok - $3.99 for 1/2oz comes out to $127.68 per pound. 3 lbs 4 oz roughly = $434.11!!! FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS for Oregano!!!Here are the rest of what I added up, based on costs of the products
4) Here are the other numbers I've come up with based on cost from Kroger:
*Cherries - $5.99lb @ Kroger - we harvested 3lbs 8oz = $22.76 *Hungarian Sweet Banana Peppers - (just banana peppers) $3.29 lb - we harvested 5 lbs 11.2oz = $18.92 (also note - our were organic & heirloom the ones at Kroger were neither) *Anaheim Peppers - $2.99 @ Kroger (again, not organic) - we harvested 6lbs 3oz = $18.53 *Zucchini - $1.79 @ Kroger (organic zucchini) - we harvested 8 lbs 5oz = $14.86 *Bell Peppers - $1.50 non-organic & $2.99 organic @ Kroger for Red Bell Peppers, this price is PER PEPPER! - we harvested 18 Bell Peppers, all organically grown of course = (@ $2.99 each) $53.82 *Tomatoes - pricing this one was a little tricky, as there weren't any organics to compare with & to be honest I likely would've bought in season from the Farmer's Market, but here is what I got -> between $1.65lb & $3.99lb - I split the difference and went with $2.82lb - we harvested 161lbs 10.7 oz = (roughly) $456.14!!!
ADD IT ALL UP == $773.28!! That's a savings of over $96 a month from January through the end of August!
It even gets better too! There were several things I DIDN'T do the cost comparison on: greens, herbs, Roma beans, black "Mitla" beans, red "Hidatsa" beans, "Boston Favorite" baked beans, yellow squash, and potatoes. ALSO - it's not all done yet!!!
Anyone who thinks gardening and growing your own isn't worth it couldn't be further from the truth. True, we spent around $10 on buying a couple of the plants, and we spent $30 on spoiled hay to use as mulch. We didn't have to buy seeds this year because we either had ones that we saved/didn't use from previous years or we got seeds from the Earth Day Seed Swap. We did spend $8 on some new canning jars, and I might still have to buy some more, we'll see. The math can not be done on the health value of growing our own. We tend to give away jars of canned items as gifts too, so there are some future $$ savings. And, since we did deep mulch (and have had a fairly rainy summer), we only watered the garden FOUR times this year. If you can't tell, I'm bearing a huge Soul Smile right now. :)
Our roots here feel deeper everyday, but our branches seem to stretch across the country and world to find like-minded folk.
Carrie is out-spoken and not one to ever hide who she is, Justin is the rock of reason that keeps her from flying off into her own world, but who also is always along for the ride!
We're dedicated to urban-homesteading and trying to live as eco-friendly and self-sustainable life as possible, without losing what made us who we are in the first place. The love of beer brought us together, and homebrewing holds a special place in our hearts.
Homesteading, homebrewing, homeschooling, and Hokies -- is there anything else left to say?
Halloween is such a big thing for us and this neighborhood. So, carving pumpkins has become a big thing for us as well. This year we only did two (down from I think 6 last year!) but they were awesome: Jim Morrison & Jerry Garcia
Summer beginning to fade
Our sunflowers going to seed - 7/22/07
Early Spring 2007
A view of the garden in early spring
Beauty of Spring
A white Lily with raindrops
The sense of community and love that came out after the 4/16 massacre was beautiful. I cry everytime I think about everything that happened that day. No, it shouldn't define Tech, but what I will always remember is the love and sense of community & one-ness. So often we feel so alone in this world, the times when we don't should be remembered.