Independence Day Update

Sharon August 10th, 2008

It has been a while since I’ve done one of these – I’m definitely still doing the challenge, I just don’t have time to devote every Sunday’s post to this, at least while I’m neck-deep in various class posts.   After the summer course season settles down, I hope to come back to it more. 

Part of the reason I don’t have time to write about it is that I’m actually doing it ;-) .  Harvest time is starting to get into full swing here – the tomatoes are late so I’m not doing those yet, and despite my claim that I brilliantly time my cukes so that they aren’t bursting out everyone until September, they’re already going crazy.  But we’ve had some cool weather, so the pickles are a happy thing. 

Ok, I’m not going to try and cover what I’ve done in the last month, just the last week or so.

 Plant something: Daikon, chinese cabbage, Rapini, arugula, spinach, peas, beets, kale, cabbage, various cover crops, rye grass and trefoil to cover bare spots in goat pasture where we dug the posts

Harvest something: Oh lord everything – tomatoes, peppers, hot peppers, garlic, onions, beets, sorrel, eggplant, apples, currants, raspberries, cabbage, broccoli, beans, cucumbers, zucchini – you name it.

Preserve something: Cucumbers into sweet icicle pickles, dehydrated zucchini “noodles”, dried blueberries, blueberry sauce, blueberry jam, raspberry jam, applesauce, honey-lemon carrots, pickled beets, mint syrup, lemon verbena syrup, sumac lemonade, dehydrated garlic, hot sauce.  Technically the transformation of my first goat milk into ricotta and chevre counts as preservation, but since the ricotta with honey and blueberries and the grilled tomatoes with goat cheese on homemade baguettes disappeared more or less instantly, I’m not sure I can really count this – but it was seriously cool.

Manage Reserves: Managed to get rid of all the veggies in the freezer (mostly ate them, but a few went to the chickens),  cleaned out the food storage room – kinda.  {ut most of the stuff that was waiting to go in buckets into buckets.  Need more buckets.  Cleaned out linen closet – then children got into linen closet, which badly needs re-cleaning.

Cooked something new: We got a grill/outdoor canner, so we’ve been exploring the pleasures of grilled vegetables, which I’ve always loved, but almost never made myself, since we’ve never had a grill.  I’ve made 20 versions of grilled vegetable salad, and love them all.  The children are starting to roll their eyes when Mom asks if there are any more zucchini around for her to grill ;-) .  We also split a cow with much of my extended family, and ended up with 30lbs of beef, which is pretty nearly a year’s supply for us.  Let’s just say that we didn’t buy much beef, other than stewing cuts and hamburger before this, so figuring out what to do with various pieces of our cow has been kind of fascinating. 

Stored Something: 40lbs of Chana Dal, 20 lbs of buckwheat (our homegrown!), more popcorn, plus various home preserved items.  Also stored more goat feed, dog food, cat food and beer (the last not being a survival item by my definition, but definitely is by husband’s ;-) ).

Prepped: Linens N Things is going out of business, and when the signs hit 70% off, I went.  I got two gorgeous flannel down comforters for $27 a piece (queen sized - will go on the boy’s two futons), and two large tablecloths without giant holes in them (to replace my many-times mended large tablecloths) plus 12 matching napkins – dirt cheap .  I also got 5 packages of clothespins for .50 each.  Stopped at Goodwill and found (on red tag day) a shirt for Eric, dress pants and a skirt for me (more professional events mean that my current wardrobe of jeans, cutoffs, tshirts, stained sweatshirts, things with goat poop on them and pajamas is umm…sadly lacking), two shirts for Eli and a totally unnecessary pair of superman slippers for Isaiah, who apparently got the shopping gene from my sisters, and was an excellent spotter of red tags, patient while Mom was trying on skirts, and whose patience was rewarded by a 50 cent pair of slippers.  Also picked up some sheet music and a new-in-the-box food mill at a yard sale.  This was more shopping than I’ve done in a year ;-) .

Also started moving my office upstairs, to our bedroom for the winter, so that we can shut off the downstairs bedrooms that don’t get heated well by the woodstove.  We’ll only open them up when we have guests, to save on heating. 

I have to say, this may be the best motivator I’ve ever had – we have more put away right now than we ever have at the same time of year. 

Ok, how about the rest of you?

 Sharon

26 Responses to “Independence Day Update”

  1. Hummingbird says:

    Well, I’ve been plugging along. It’s been a strange summer. First a black walnut tree extended its roots into the garden and we lost 3 tomato plants (half of what we planted). So we had that taken down and, no sooner had the tree guys left, than a storm knocked down a 200 year old oak tree into the front yard. $4K later, the yard is littered with oak rounds cut to stove lengths and ready to be split. Fortunately the insurance company paid enough for roof and gutter damage and tree removal to cover the cost.

    With that as preamble we have recently:
    STORED
    - splitting wood full time on our electric splitter and stacking it everywhere in the yard. No problem with firewood for a couple of years at least.
    PRESERVED
    -picking and freezing the last of the blackberries.
    Also beans.
    HARVESTED
    beans, tomatoes, okra, peppers, peaches, blackberries, blueberries.
    PLANTED
    Nothing here. Still too hot to plant fall crops, but the whiskey barrels are prepared and the seeds are ready. Also I cut a lot of weeds and put them up to compost.
    COOKED
    got a solar oven and tried it out on rice and chicken. Did fine, but the sun went away and had to finish it in the oven. Will have to start earlier in the day after this.
    MANAGED
    Went through canned goods and discovered they have no dates on them. Will date all new stuff henceforth.

    I don’t post results regularly, but this has definitely helped me start to get organized.

  2. Susan in NJ says:

    What a weird summer. Two weeks ago we had 1″ hail that piled up on the ground about
    2″ deep in contained areas before it melted — broke my best melon vines. The tomatoes are
    laden but aren’t ripening and aren’t ripening …plus the squirrels have develped a taste for
    our favorite variety (only one plant, sigh) and aren’t as patient as we are. The peppers,
    eggplants seem to have gone on vacation. Our pumpkin plants seem to have problems
    producing male and female blossoms at the same time — but last year we only got males.
    Glad I don’t have to feed myself off my harvest.
    So this is kind of a one month overview:
    Planted — not much except some big boy distressed tomato starts planted mid-month
    Harvested — a total of 3 radishes from the first planting, early girl tomatoes, a few peppers,
    more compost, sage, tarragon, thai basil, thyme, shiso.
    I was planning to dump one container of potatoes today that has crisped all up but now it’s
    raining.
    Preserved — sage, lettuce seeds, frozen blueberries. Next up though, 25# of organic tomatoes
    that I bought at the farmer’s market.
    Stored — rice, and canned beans and soup on sale from the grocery store, dried shiso from a friend, shelf stable
    organic half/half on sale
    Managed/prepped — got about 3/4 of the garden weeded, started clearing the other half of the vegie
    area so I can put in fall crops. My partner has been organizing the storage area.
    Got canning supplies.
    Cooked something new — made a fantastic blueberrie ricotta pie

  3. Shamba says:

    Prepped: Picked up some sturdier measuring spoons and an easier to read cup measure marked down at Linens n ‘ things. I’ve also gotten some baking pans to work with my solar oven at the Goodwill near me. This Goodwill seems to have a great supply of various househoold and cooking things all the time.

    Note to others: Linens N things has some lovely things marked waaay down these days because of their business troubles. If you can get to one you might pick up some real goodies at much less than their usual price. I always liked to look in this store but I’ve been buying the last two visits.

    Also, got 4 bags of frozen vegetables from helping clean up apartment of friend who has moved back to NJ. Also, got some papers towels and cleaning supplies from here.

    Cooked: Learned a simple rice and cheese dish that works well in the solar oven and made my own baked beans a couple of weeks ago. I used dried beans–so it was all from scratch. I was so proud of myself! :)

    cheers,
    Shamba

  4. This week, I’ve spent an incredible amount of time washing and freezing blackberries, blueberries, green beans and tomatoes for the winter. I’d be interested in learning to can, it’s just not the right time yet as a working mom of two. And resources are tight enough that I can’t invest in canning supplies.

    Shared my extra dill with the sitter, who does can and is up to her eyeballs in cukes.

    Searching online for early spring garlic sets so I can “re-start” the garden when those are ready in May.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  5. Fern says:

    HARVESTED: Tomatoes.

    NEW RECIPES: Worked on perfect recipe for fried green tomatoes. Husband liked cracker crumbs. I liked bread crumbs. Son hated them all.

    PRESERVED: dried peaches, dried peppers. More peppers are drying even as I type, more peaches are waiting impatiently.

  6. [...] Time for an Independence Days Update  [...]

  7. Karin says:

    Today is the first day without a rain storm . The sun is out. Oh glory day! It has been raining for two weeks now.

    Planted: spinach, radicchio, carrot, beets, lettuce.

    Harvested: With all the rain we have had, many plants are getting moldy before they are ready for harvest; especially the dry beans I planted this year. Harvested kale, broccoli florets and greens, onions, potatoes, basil, pole beans, drybeans, zucchini, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries recently discovered on our property ( I feel wealthy now).

    Preserved: made blueberry wine, blueberry jam. Pickled carrots, pickled beets, bread and butter pickles, dilly beans. Dried Zucchini, kale, broccoli greens, cilantro, dill, basil. Froze raspberries, pole beans, blueberries, basil pesto without the cheese, blackberries.

    Local foods: I volunteer for a community garden that gives organic produce to low income seniors. We were featured on Maine Things Considered for MPBN. Went to farmers market, and local farmstand for veggies that our garden hasn’t produced or hasn’t ripened yet.

    Cooked something new: pickled carrots.

    prepped: I have really good luck at the goodwill lately. I found a double boiler for making candles, blankets, mason jars by the score,some glass canisters for storing dried foods thus using my canning jars for canning, milk crates for keeping winter squash, two one gallon glass jugs for making wine. Hubby and teenage son are building a barn.

    managed reserves: With all the rain most of my efforts have been inside. WE are a family of four in a very small house. Although it is very energy efficient, the clutter piles up very quickly; especially this time of year when there is so much canning going on. So I am hitting all the trouble areas..or at least trying to. Organized pantry.

    Learned something new: I am learning how to set up my own blog. Mostly so that I could record my IDC tally. Keeps me on track that way.

  8. Paula Hewitt says:

    Planted : seeds – Asian greens, peas, corn, cucumber, chard, etc.

    harvested: lettuce, cherry tomatoes, spinach, Asian greens, corn, beetroot, oranges, limes, pawpaw, passionfruit, eggs, lots of warrigal greens for the chooks.

    preserved: froze lime juice ( we are eating everything we produce at the moment, however we cant plant *most things* year round)

    something new: made cheese (paneer), planting chook food – amaranth, wheat, millet (not sure if we have space for this)

    prepped: boys clothes , blanket and duvet at thrift shop. tidied and made space in linen cupboard. searching for cheap towels. (have noted in some charity shops ridiculously high prices – a 2nd hand duvet for higher price than a new one!?), plus we bought nonhybrid, open pollinated, heritage seeds to replace buying seedlings

    Building a fruit fly free enclosure for growing tomatoes and capsicums in summer. we tried to grow them in winter, but even though the fruit grew slowly (the capsicums didnt they needed more heat), we got a winter crop of tomatoes – and all got struck by fruit fly.

    cooking: nothing new, but trying to have more bean/lentil meals, and having something from the garden every day

    what would you recommend re sourcing local suppliers of grains? we live states away from grain producers. we live in a fruit and veggie growing region, which as you know is *easier* to grow your own than wheat or rice? if you cant buy these from a local farmer whats the next best things to do?

  9. Kati says:

    This past week (heck, the past month, pretty much!) has been an almost complete loss.

    Last sunday I DID get 18 of my turnips (in MY back yard, not at the inlaws) picked and processed. I’ve now got 2/3 of an old spaghetti-sauce jar full of dehydrated sliced turnips. I also blanched and froze 3 pint-sized baggies of turnip greens. (And, let’s face it…. Deep freezing things like greens for winter in the Fairbanks area of Alaska makes sense, we only need unplug our outside freezer for the winter. *wry smile*)

    Nothing has been planted. Little has grown that was previous planted. And other than a baggie of swiss chard and the 18 turnips, nothing has been harvested. I’ve got 3 zucchini in various sizes, only one of which is actually pick-able size (but that I want a bit bigger before I DO pick it and dehydrate it). No beans. No cucumbers (at my place, anyway, not sure about the FIL’s though I’ll find that out tonight). No tomatoes (at EITHER place), unless we get some sun, allowing them to ripen. Only enough strawberries to eat out of hand. (But, I hear that’s normal for a first year’s production. Almost all my origional 12 strawberry plants have sent off runners, which I pruned back to the biggest and most aggressive single runner from each parent plant.)

    The radishes over at the FIL’s produced well this year, as did the spinach (still, only enough spinach for 4 pint-sized baggies to freeze). The swiss chard and the lettuce have produced well, but the swiss chard gets eatten as fast as it produces, and the lettuce doesn’t preserve well. The beets are probably about ready for picking, but I’ll find out tonight. NOTHING has happened with the squash at the inlaw’s place. We DO need to pick some peas tonight. The beans didn’t even form flowers this year, so no pickled green beans for us unless I buy them elsewhere.

    My compost bin has been left alone for over a month now, for which I feel very badly. It’s been pouring almost non-stop, though…. And that’s not an exaggeration. So it’s been too soggy for me to do much of anything with. (Like, oh gee…. take out the “finished” compost and add in more shredded newspapers and more “fresh” kitchen goodies that have been piling up in the 5-gal bucket I use for this purpose.)

    I haven’t had the extra $$ to store new (or new to me) goods for a long winter. Ok. I take that back. One or two extra boxes of canning lids with the past couple of grocery shopping trips, but nothing else. I haven’t even done any garage saling this year, and I certainly haven’t driven into town just for thrift-store-shopping.

    I also haven’t been to the farmer’s market (or anywhere else that would qualify as supporting local food systems) in over a month, also because of the combo of bad weather and lack of $$ for driving excessively.

    Yeah, this month has been a miserable one for my participation in this challenge. But, based on the “talk” on the alaska gardening group I’m on, that’s par for the course this year no matter WHERE in Alaska one is located.

    Looking forward to reading everybody else’s results for the week, though!

  10. Fern says:

    Paula, have you looked into localharvest.org yet? I didn’t find any grains in my country, but I found suppliers near friends of mine (which meant that I got to combine getting fairly local grains with visiting with not-close-enough friends!).

  11. NM says:

    Planted, carrots, beets, chives and garlic chives.
    Harvested lettuce; shared some with friends and family. Received green beans from a friend’s garden, blueberries from a neighbor. Black currants — a whole four or five berries from my baby plant! My berry book was right; they really are horrible fresh.The catalog lied! But I’ve bought them in dried form, and those were wonderful — very tart, with none of the skunky-cat-pee odor of the fresh berries. I look forward to a real harvest. Although not to the odor of the drying berries …
    Preserved: Made a small batch of red currant, raspberry strawberry jam, apricot jam, 6 pints of brandied sweet cherries, 4 quarts of apples canned with tart cherries and golden raisins; dried apples, apricots, canteloupes and strawberries. Pressed almost 2 gallons of cider with a friend (I supplied the press, she supplied the apples and we split the juice — she also gave me more apples to use, all from her neighbor who doesn’t use his harvest. And plans to chop down his wonderful, productive tree … : { Sent him a jar of apple butter in an attempt to bribe him into leaving it standing). Still have about 10 or so pounds left; planning to make and freeze some apple turnovers. Today. Made apricot liqueur, used the leftover cherry canning syrup to make liqueur. Froze some raspberries and boysenberries.
    Work on local food systems:
    Gave presentation, with a friend, on food preserving techniques at the public library, as part of a Slow Food series. A woman from our Slow Food group donated a box of canning jars for a drawing at the talk; recipient seemed happy.
    Received a water bath canner I didn’t need, so gave it to friend who needed one.
    Shopped at farmers market and local farm.
    Stored: canning jars. Suddenly people began giving them to me from all sides. Offered to give some away on freecycle to woman who said she badly needed them but gave up after being stood up twice. Stored them instead.
    Gave information about freezing to a friend who doesn’t enjoy preserving, but wants some easy projects to save extra garden bounty. She decided that, rather than freeze green beans, she’ll roast and freeze them.
    Gave information on local wheat to a couple of friends who have been looking for it.
    Found a local (although pricey!) source of hull-less barley; talked with the farmers about our SF goal of creating a winter farmers; market — they’re interested! Hooray! Finding interested farmers is a challenge.

  12. IDC, IDC! We’re baaaaack!

    Plant something: a potato in a pot, and some bok choi.

    Harvest Something: runner beans, French beans, green zucchini, yellow zucchini, nasturtium, eggplant (we have lots — the long skinny ones), cucumber, peas, red onions, kale, chard, beets, apples, knotweed, basil, dill, marjoram, mint, pareley, lettuce, rhubarb, potatoes. Am on my way out to check the pear tree.

    Preserve Something: rhubarb, mostly.

    Store Something: firewood, beanpoles, mulch, stevia, olive oil, whole wheat flour, spelt flour, amaranth flour, whole wheat pasta.

    Manage Reserves: We put up a white board over the chest freezer, and drew a map of all the beds on it, and use the board to carry on a nonsynchronous conversation about vegetables, seeds, home maintenance, housework, and preserving. Gathering more cardboard; the first 100 foot bed is now in place. What we are doing with all that cardboard:

    http://epud.net/~bears/lawn_to_garden.pdf

    …and we have worked out rideshare plan for the week. Heaped the chicken manure straw and recorded the date, October 15th, that it’ ok to use.

    Prepped: put up 1/2 cord of smallwood and about 20 all-purpose poles from branches of ash cottonwood, and cherry; several of these went right to work propping up heavy-laden apple branches. Planted apricot seeds (dry the pits three days, crack (inside a cloth at the bench vise), extract the seeds, soak overnight, plant in glass jar with lid in damp potting soil, put in refrigerator, check once a month for germination, repot, grow new apricot trees, plant by south wall in 2 years).

    Cooked Something New: nope; all old recipes. Have discovered stevia leaves, however; using in switchel.

    Worked on Local Food Systems: All of the above. We’ve found a supplier of really good local goat cheese.

    Reduced Waste: Cardboard collection continues, and I’m gathering coffee grounds at work.

    Learned a Skill: cracking apricot pits without having them go all over creation or smash up the seeds.

  13. Paula Hewitt says:

    Thanks to Mary I found an organic supplier of grains very close by (I thought they were interestate). cheers, Paula

  14. Ani says:

    Feel like a slug reading your list Sharon-

    I’ve been busy harvesting- but selling it all really so haven’t been stocking the larder here, but do need the $$$. Have been harvesting lots of blueberries, but selling as fast as I can pick-hope to pick and freeze some this week for here,and also freeze some to make jam with later on but will likely sell most of that at market too.

    Tomatoes are slow- have been selling what ripens other than eating a few here and there- want to make sun-dried tomatoes but with no sun…..

    Garlic might be ready to harvest-will check tomorrow. Going to harvest some more cukes and pickle those- brine style. Will sell most of those too though as I’m not too into pickles in great numbers.

    Harvested my trial plots of winter wheat and rye- looking good, especially the wheat in terms of yield- they’re finishing drying on the floor of the spare bedroom!

    Planted more kale, beets, carrots, chard- think they all drowned…… Also planted some more cuke and zuke seedlings.

    Eggplants just flowering, picked a few peppers-really slooooow

    The plums and apricots are still hard-not ripening at all…..wonder if they ever will…

    Am thinking rice/duck aquaculture with water buffalo for next year…..

  15. Gail says:

    Hello from Colorado

    Off for a week with my brand new grandbaby! Bought a local chicken while I was there!

    Harvested the garlic, eggs,swiss chard, all the herbs. Gave sunflowers to my friend to sell at the market. Harvested sunflower heads for chickens. Got some manure on the garlic bed before the monsoons started. It’s been cool and rainy here too. Will the tomatoes ever ripen? And the peppers didn’t ever really grow at all.

    My own booth at the farmers market is going gangbusters. My average is up 100 dollars over last year. Not what I was expecting. And it is the expensive and rather unnecessary artsy bags that I am always sold out of. I got up enough nerve to take some beautiful fresh rolls out of the dumpster over at the sandwich shop. Shared it with the chickens. Checked out other local dumpsters on a long walk.

    DP has moved into the basement and so the floor project continues. We are finally down to painting… maybe it will be done this week. Hurrah. Learning to live with someone again ( empty nester) is challenging and he don’t cut me no slack. But he likes my cooking and me and the cat didn’t even act lonely when I came back after a week so I know she got her loving.

    Could the mommies out there give me some advice about the best diaper wraps that I could pass on to my daughter? And are there any patterns?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Plant something: daikons, chinese cabbage, beets, turnips, kale, carrots

    Harvest something: zucchini, greens and more greens, herbs, cucumbers, carrots.

    Preserve something: chard ribs, saur pickles, dried zucchini, chard and collards, calendula

    Manage Reserves: purchased a rubber mallet for sealing my buckets (thanks for the tip, Sharon) and pounded those suckers shut, labeled a bunch of previously unlabeled items. Sorted through my daughters clothes to see what we need for school.

    Cooked something new: sadly, no.

    Stored Something: 50 lbs wheat, some popcorn, some chickpeas.

    Prepped: bought 6 half gallon canning jars but quickly realized this was something I couldn’t have too many of. Just purchased some cheap metal shelving off CL. Found a local organic grain and soybean source.

  17. I’ve been waiting and waiting for the Independence Days update so I could tell y’all that I finally figured out what was wrong with my garden. It was the soil I purchased from Home Depot! My post here http://www.suzqueue.com/harvest_moon/blog/Entries/2008/7/20_Don’t_buy_your_garden_soil_at_home_depot.html shows it in photos and text. Since I posted that, I have replanted everything (in the hopes of a very late harvest) and fed the plants organic plant food once more. They’re growing fine now, and I even have a pumpkin blossom today. Of course, I’m not likely to have any actual crops, but it started out as an experimental garden and I sure have learned a lot. Guess that’s about all I could ask. Good thing I’m not dependent upon this garden for actual food.

    I’ve fallen by the wayside on all the prepping, cooking, managing, learning and whatnot I’m supposed to be doing, though. I don’t think I have anything else to report beyond the very late epiphany as to why my garden simply was not growing.

  18. Deb G says:

    Planted: Kale, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and lettuce over the last couple weeks.

    Harvested: My first zucchini for the year! Shelling beans (just a handful, planted as an experiment), lots of raspberries, Yellow Transparent Apples, blueberries, potatoes, garlic, onions. Found my first red cherry tomato yesterday. It’s not quite ripe, hopefully in the next couple days.

    Preserved: Applesauce, apricot jam, tomatillio salsa. Froze some cherries and rhubarb to make preserves later. Not sure if I mentioned it on last Independence days round-up, but I canned raspberries and cherries for the first time (rather than freezing). I’m hoping to do blackberries too. Trying to diversify how I store fruit.

    Managed reserves: I cleaned out the freezer and reorganized :)

    Cooked something new: I tried sweeting a pie with honey for the first time. Pretty good. Tried a new bread recipe with semolina flour in it. Very good. Made a soup using the tomatillio salsa for the veggies. Excellent.

    Stored something: Peanut butter, canned salmon, a couple soups that were on sale, dried black beans, and nuts that were on sale.

    Prepped: Working on quilts with material from the scrap pile. Might have to go check out “Linens.” I like to use flannel sheets for the batting. Also started bike shopping. I’m leaning towards a three wheel (trike style) bike.

  19. risa b says:

    Oh! and …

    Harvest Something Addendum: The pears weren’t ready yet. But I ran over to the reservoir for a compost fish (northern pikeminnow) aand brought one back, but also a good-sized trout, which one doesn’t expect in August in that water. :)

  20. Rosa says:

    planted – cilantro, again, in hopes of catching it before it bolts this time (it was 40 degrees this morning, so maybe I can this time). Buckwheat, just for the flowers & to fight off the echinacea a little.
    harvested – basil
    preserved – lots and lots and lots of zucchini & carrots
    manage – we have roaches (ick) so I am cleaning the heck out of my pantry. Also, the roaches freak my boyfriend out so he’s actually helping, which is awesome. My kitchen was CLEAN this morning.
    cooked – zucchini-carrot pan cakes, using a latke recipe. Was dinner last night and breakfast this morning – I think I may do it again wednesday night to tweak the recipe.
    prepped – a friend visited this weekend and while we were out & about I stocked up on bike tires. Then I got a flat on the way to work this morning, so I’m feeling pretty smart.

  21. Ani says:

    ok- this has gotten me more motivated to do something for home-use- so made pesto and froze it, and stashed some green beans away in the freezer as well. Also got the brine pickles started….

    Am trying something new this year which you suggested Sharon- freezing in jars-so far so good….. Last year was my first experience with a chest freezer- and a total disaster as I think it wasn’t quite cold enough perhaps- it’s a 12 V that runs off my off-grid system- and so the food I froze seemed to not freeze as well as it should-so everything stunk basically and all the smells permeated everything- which were in freezer bags- so everything smelled/tasted like rotting brocolli or something, thus lost the whole freezer-full as it was gross! So, I cleaned it out and lowered the thermostat which now reads -12 C which should be cold enough I hope. And, since I hate using plastic bags anyway, am using canning jars which should keep odors from mingling as well…

    We’ll see……

    Have little hope of drying anything as I need to use the sun for that, or else hang stuff to air-dry- the basil I picked last week is still wet as can be……. pretty wild weather- for this I could live on the west coast and at least have warmer winters!

  22. Rosa says:

    Oh, I forgot, I made pesto too. That’s why I harvested basil. And maybe under managed I can put “dumped all the dirt out of the pots Mica ‘weeded’ when I wasn’t looking”. Though that’s more under the “gave up on dead project” section we don’t have.

  23. Robj98168 says:

    It has been a long and fruitful summer at Rob’s world here is a list of things I did so far this year:
    Sharon’s Independance Day’s Challenge:
    Plant something: Planted a Transplanted a tomato plant bought at Lowes in my topsy turvy tomato planter, replanted radishes, planted a new bucket of peas; Planted Broccoli, string beans, beets, for fall crop and replanted radishes
    Prep something: prepped new bedding for worm bin, went around to thrift stores looking for a water bath canner,Bought canning supplies and a water bath canner,
    Preserve something: Made 5 jars of Loganberry jam, made 5 jars of strawberry jam, 3 jars apricot jam, 3 jars of blackberry jam, 3 jars of boysenberry jam; Started some Blackberry brandy, apricot brandy; Froze some cauliflower, dried some herbs- basil, dill seed, and catnip; dehydrated apricots and golden plums, Made pickles
    Harvest something: Radishes. Some swiss chard, some lettuce, Cucumbers, some borage,
    Manage something: Got canning supplies together. Working on storage area for canning and dehydrating supplies, put up lumber storage in garage
    Cook something new: Loganberry Jam, Strawberry Jam. A loganberry/blackberry pie, cherry cobbler, Tried Chile’s fried rice (but I put chicken in it), Pickles, Insalata Caprese Salad
    Work on Local Food Systems: Went shopping at Farmers Market. Posted a small directory on local foods on my blog and website! Picked blackberries at work on my lunch break; shared part of my harvest with my mother
    Compost, Repair, Reuse, Reduce, Recycle something: Put old computer equiptment on freecycle. Made a basket for honda motorscooter, now I can take it to the store! Repaired broken couch, prepped new bedding for worm bin, changed worm bedding, got the worm castings out and fed plants; put old printer on freecycle; Fertilized with Liquid Gold; Got a new outdoor light fixture (new still in box) for the back door to replace bad light fixture, Free on freecycle! (This is the door that leads to the garage- needs a light so I can see my way!)Also installed solar yard light I bought last spring to light my way to the compost Bin! Repaired watering wand to water plants in baskets or high up.
    Learn a skill: Learned how to make Jam, Learned how to make jerky; Learned how to make a potato condo. Will make one next season; Learned how to make a mason bee house
    Phew! I am tired- but it’s a good tired at the end of the day! Don’t know how martha stewart does it all!

  24. bryant says:

    Sharon,

    I am curious, how do you hull your buckwheat?

  25. Rosa says:

    and how do you make zucchini “noodles”, and do you have to do anything different than real noodles when you cook them? I have lots and lots and lots of zucchini over here…

  26. Shira says:

    The tomatoes are green except for the ones that are still flowers. The onions are looking good and I got in the half that has already had the tops fall over. With little storage space in my kitchen, I can eat some while I wait for the rest. Planted a section of the winter garden, little bitty cabbages and kale and whatnot.

    The seed harvest is amazing and mostly I have spent my spare moments shaking out big fat broccoli, kale and cabbage seeds, drying and turning and storing. I put a lot of time into cleaning a harvest of black mustard seed for culinary purposes, but my mustard isn’t that hot. I think my maritime location is working against me.

    My hot peppers are fruiting at last. They aren’t very hot either, and the deer ate all the sweet pepper plants. Herbs are producing bountifully. I just love wandering out in my fuzzy bathrobe for baby vegetables and fresh herbs to put in a breakfast omelet. I’ve been eating the elegant miniature summer squashes and saving the big ones for my friend’s goat. I got some lessons in goat husbandry, quite the experience for a city girl.

    Made some apricot jam; gave away homemade bread; somebody else gave me a whole pile of organic carrots; fixed a computer for $50, a half gallon of squashy raspberries and a bag of boneset seeds. Sorry, all you informal economy enthusiasts, the $50 is reportable business income. The raspberries went into a tart.

    Anybody who would like free seeds, I have more than I can possibly use or give away locally to the usual suspects. Send an email to plant underscore poet the at sign yahoo dot com for details. While supplies last.

    Shira in Bellingham

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