Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sheep Grease, Vegetable Seeds, and Glue

Tomorrow is National Agriculture Day. That is the point in the year when our hard-working farmers in this country have produced enough food to feed the entire country for the year. Our 4-H group is having a big to-do at a new, large grocery parking lot. The Cattleman's Assoc. is bringing major farm equipment and cattle. They are apparently going to do a barbecue. Our 4-H in this county has been deemed the most active in the state, so we are going to have demos on large-scale farming, sheep shearing, etc.

The other day my younger kids and I started an exhibit board. On one of the 3 sides, we have large letters (which I outlined and
they colored in with crayon) saying, WHAT can I grow? Below which we have more than a dozen seed-packet tops glued on, with some of the seeds for that fruit or vegetable glued next to them. There are more packets than what show here. Glued on. Lots of glue.

The center says, "How Do They Grow?" and has pictures and drawings of a seed from sowing through all the stages to harvest. We used a tomato plant as the example because it is easy to grow and recognizable.

The last section says, "What Can I Plant Things In" and has multiple pictures of container gardens. Everything from Cubist-style planter box, to a garden (complete with corn!) in a horse watering tub, to strawberries growing in 24-0z. soda bottles, to tomatoes in urns, to squash in a baby pool. The idea being that we can demonstrate that you don't have to be a large-scale farmer or have an extra acre lying around to grow food... and you don't have to be dependent on a large-box grocery store for everything you eat.

Our family grows herbs, onion sets, and tomatoes in a large claw-foot, cast-iron tub. Tuesday the Old Farmer's Almanac sent me an email saying to Plant Peas on St. Patrick's Day... so since we don't have anything else growing right now, and nights are still cold (which peas don't mind), we planted some. And Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce, and green onion sets. We put the ends of an old wooden crib between the tub and the side of the house, for a trellis for the peas.

Back to today. Since the group is going to have a sheep-shearing, they also wanted a display that shows what wool is useful for after it is sheared. I have a drum carder, and 3 of my daughters and I all spin and knit. So I am taking that to set up, along with some washed fleece and some dyed fiber and some handspun yarns we have made, and our current knitting project (particularly the bossy one), so that people can see that you don't always have to make something the color of oatmeal or shaped like a sweater. So today I dug around in the shed and filled 2 large mesh bags with about half a sheep with all the lanolin and dirt in it, and processed it several times in soak cycles in my washing machine.

Speaking of which, I have to go get the sheep out of the machine and dry it on Air Fluff or we will have the wettest wool going tomorrow.

I hope the weather is dry!


Desiree said...


Instead of stupid peas you could have planted black eyed susans, daisys, pansies and poppies. So pretty, hehe. Ah well, maybe when the peas die from the neighborhood cat peeing on them.

See ya later.

my7kids said...

You can eat pansies in salads, and make medicine from purple coneflowers, but Daisies, black-eyed susans, and poppies would just seriously infringe on me crop space. said...

you can dye stuff with black eyed susans!!! Marion