research and more research

as some of you know we have turned half our backyard into gardens (raised beds) to grow vegetables. we knew it wasn’t easy growing food in texas and we sure found that out. geoffrey had the opportunity earlier in the summer to become certified, through texas A&M, as a harris county master gardener. he learned so much and is ready to take a whack at fall/winter planting. we have one more raised bed to build. after that we need some soil and we’re ready for plants and seeds! i am so excited. i’m hoping we get a good yield. i want to preserve the fruits of our labor and enjoy it throughout the year.

growing food in your backyard is great but we need more room. more room to grow more. the less we  can buy at the grocery store or farmer’s market the better. geoffrey has been doing much research on how to get his hands on more land without buying a bunch of it. so far it seems to buy a small piece of land  (under 10 acres) is just not attainable given prices and stage of life. but, we just know there has to land out there somewhere. somewhere were someone will let us grow food on their land.

we want to grow enough so we can be selling it at the farmer’s market one day. maybe even sell jams, pickles, baked goods, etc… boy are there lots of licenses you need to do all that! a food manufacturer license, food dealers permit, food service manager’s certificate, canning license… some of these are easier to get than others. some are cheap, some are not! for me to be able to sell things i have canned requires a 3-4 day ‘better process control school’, approved by the FDA and it isn’t cheap! it’s only offered once a year.

sometimes all the information we find is overwhelming. but, we are pressing on towards the dream of one day having our own land and growing our own food and enough for others. fruits, vegetables, meats. living a self sustainable life and in the process hopefully teaching others.

it’s rather tricky getting into farming without already having the land. those of you who know me know that i was raised on a dairy farm (in vermont) and i swear i would NEVER marry a farmer! when i married geoffrey he wasn’t a farmer and had no intentions of it. i give him a hard time about this. good thing i love him so much and that i’m board with his dreams and the dreams for our family. our lives, our dreams, our hopes, our desires have evolved and changed so much over the course of our life together. he promised me we wouldn’t have a dairy farm and don’t you worry…i’m gonna hold him to it! 🙂 by the way, i am very thankful for being raised on a dairy farm. did i love it all the time? no. but, it’s kind of funny that my husband would have dreams of farming land someday. we did have big gardens and sold the excess of the picnic table in our front yard. its in my blood – somewhere. guess that’s a good thing. farming land in the north east is so much different from here in texas (houston). its harder down here but there is so much more we can grow and do it all year long.

i should also mention that geoffrey would like us to raise chickens and maybe even pigs and beef some day. funny thing – we raised chickens, pigs and beef growing up! god is funny. oh, i should also mention that my mom comes from a family of bakers. she has 7 brothers and 3 sisters. their parents were bakers and owned a bakery (which her oldest brother now owns). all the other brothers are involved in the baking industry somehow. one of her sisters owns and runs her own catering business. and i thought somehow that these factors wouldn’t play a part in my life? and in my own family’s life someday? silly, silly me…

there will be more to share as we continue down this road of growing our own food. living a more self sustainable life. it isn’t going to happen overnight and will take time. but we are learning to start small. work with what you have. don’t go into debt and buy a bunch of land and ‘try it out’. doing the ‘trying it out’ now when and where you can.

so, we are planting. we are planning. we are dreaming. we are growing. and, we are having fun!

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