Why You Should Meet Your Neighbors

Don’t waste too much time searching on-line, wondering what to plant in your climate, your soil type and at this time. Your next-door neighbor likely already knows! Those who have a similar passion for any topic become fast friends- plus,  gardeners love to share homemade zucchini bread and canned cranberry sauce!  Meet a few of my neighbors who have encouraged and inspired me to try new things in my kitchen and backyard.

 

My new friends Jean, Anne and Jodi took time from their busy lives Saturday to talk about what they’re doing on their rural properties. They arrived bearing gifts of books, recipes and stories that would have taken me days to collect.

Jean is a fellow physician, outspoken advocate for the underserved and frankly… a joy to be around! After spending a morning at her home, talking over homemade rye bread and honey-sweetened coffee, Jean insisted we organize a larger group of neighbors for a chat.  Jean’s home is heated with passive solar energy. She cans and freezes her garden bounty. She has the entire 40 year collection of Mother Earth News!  There is everything to like about her.

Jodi heats her home with a corn stove,  teaches pressure canning classes to church friends and raises bottle-fed cattle to maturity. She also butchers cattle raised on her land to feed her family through the winter.  Did you read that too quickly?  Yes, she butchers entire cows! She is also active with a local homeschooling 4-H group (which has a wait-list… sorry everyone!).  I’m sure if we had more time I’d learn her alter ego is Super Woman and would survive a zombie attack if necessary.

Anne loves hydroponics but in the two hours together we didn’t quite get to that!  She enjoys local and fresh foods from CSAs, Asher and Bountiful Baskets. She shared her appreciation for online advanced placement classes and the busy life associated with being a mom of very bright teenagers.  I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed my short time with Anne and the group. We ended the morning promising to meet again to learn how to make.. what else? Goat cheese!

I am in heaven.

 

Another of my beautiful friends has enjoyed gardening and poultry as I have. We arrived at her home today to enjoy her adorable and rapidly growing ducklings. She also has two hens that went  broody (wants to sit on eggs until they hatch).  As two broody hens was more chicks than she necessarily wanted, she generously offered to transfer one hen (and 15 fertilized eggs) to my coop.  The process may not be successful my first time around, but in 20 days we hope to have a dozen chicks. They should grow quickly as egg and meat producers for our family. Most likely we’ll mature some males to help keep the process going.

If you don’t have gardening neighbors, but you’re on social media, ask what people are planting in your area. If you live close to me… even better!  Be sure to submit your e-mail address to glean’s blog and get instant updates on our posts.

I’m planting as seeds the following cold-tolerant plants: beets, celery, arugula, peas, beans. I’m currently harvesting rhubarb, green onions, chives, oregano, mint, baby lettuce and spinach.

And don’t worry if you don’t have time this weekend or the next. There is something to plant every week through July that will come up looking great.

 


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