Independence Days Update and Final Class Update

Sharon May 18th, 2009

Just a reminder to people already registered for my class, please make sure you sign up for the discussion group before tomorrow.  And if you haven’t gotten the information about the discussion group (as always, I’ve got one bouncing email address ;-)), please email me at [email protected].  I’ve also got one more spot in the class, so if you’d like to join us getting ready for the harvest season and building up a food reserve, send me an email. 

Ok, on to Independence Days!  It has been a rough week for me in a host of ways - a lot of little things have gone wrong, and fixing them has taken up a lot of time - we all have those weeks.  Plus, I’ve been head down in manuscript revisions for my _Independence Days_ book, so I’m cranky, tired, stressed and haven’t had enough dirt time.  Still, I did get some things done.  In some ways that’s good, since we’re expecting a final (I hope!) frost tonight - not having had time to put things out early means that I probably won’t lose too much.

Planted: Red Currants, Asian Pears, Honeyberries, grapevines, broccoli, chard, kale, peppermint, yarrow, cabbage, snap peas, snapdragons, beets, turnips, carrots

Harvested: More nettles, bok choy, lettuce, sorrel, good king henry, rhubarb.

Preserved: Hung some nettles to dry

Reduced Waste: Used feed bags to mulch a new portion of garden, otherwise, nothing new.

Preparation and Storage: Got ready for kidding (we still can’t tell if Selene is preggers or not, although I’m inclining gently towards yes) - regardless, we’ll be ready to go - she’ll be due right around June 1, if so.  Found/repaired appropriate bikes for Isaiah and Asher, still working on getting Simon’s bike ready and running. 

Build Community Food Systems: May have successfully started a monthly synagogue post-shul potluck. Have evil plans as to how this might be used to make shul more sustainable ;-).  Did some NPR interviews for A Nation of Farmers, did a consult for a group wanting to start school gardens in New Hampshire.  Began planning the garden I’m going to organize at Eli’s school next year, assuming, of course, they have a school building (they lost their building due to a water main break, and because of a insurance dispute between the district and the insurance company, it hasn’t been repaired - they are temporarily using a church, but it isn’t clear where they will end up). 

Eat the Food: More nettles, fiddleheads, nothing too exciting.  Oh, we ate a lot of pickles, because we suddenly realized we *had* a lot of pickles, and cucumber season is approaching.   

How about you?

Cheers,

Sharon

47 Responses to “Independence Days Update and Final Class Update”

  1. Elizabethon 18 May 2009 at 10:54 am

    My update is on my blog. It was a busy week!

  2. Elizabethon 18 May 2009 at 10:56 am

    D’oh … mistyped the address (giant bandaid on my finger!).

  3. Chileon 18 May 2009 at 11:14 am

    Plant something: nope

    Harvest something: wonderberries, grapefruit (last one on the tree)

    Preserve something:
    Candied lemon, grapefruit, & orange peels
    Canned green tomato relish*
    Made sweet pickled onions*
    Froze grapefruit and orange juice*

    Reduce waste: Usual efforts such as composting, minimal packaging, line drying, cloth wipes, water conservation, etc.
    Shredded newspapers & cardboard boxes for compost, rotated food stocks, & put foil-backed bubble wrap in south-facing windows.

    Preparation and Storage: bought discounted pimientos for storage and borrowed citrus juicer (again) instead of purchasing one.

    Build Community Food Systems: starting to preserve food and plan for a mid-June Solar Cooking Demo at CSA with mostly local ingredients. (* items above done for that event). Also shared candied citrus peels with CSA volunteers.

    Eat the Food: used finely chopped pickled purslane (weed) in place of pickles for potato salad.
    My sweetie ground some wheat with the pedal-powered grinder and then made great whole wheat bread this weekend, and kept some starter for next weekend. He used a wheat berry we haven’t been crazy about and it came out really good in this bread.

  4. Sarahon 18 May 2009 at 11:21 am

    Very stressful week. Still tired; I’m not sure why. Really the only category we did anything in was “reduce waste”, where we were very good about using up leftover soup made the previous week. This is probably because we were both too frazzled to cook.

  5. Heronon 18 May 2009 at 11:36 am

    Plant something: melons, onions

    Harvest something: blueberries, tomatoes, peppers, okra

    Preserve something:
    Nothing yet, but investigating equipment to start canning this year

    Reduce waste: not sure, must have been something!

    Preparation and Storage: on-sale canned goods and some cans of dehydrated

    Build Community Food Systems: figuring out how to enlarge small container garden by making beds in small back yard, to include space for growing for community food kitchen. First decision: I think I can grow watermelon and sweet potato in the hot, dry strip of ground behind the workshop.

    Eat the Food: Hot peppers in grits for Sunday brunch, making a stew today with the okra and tomatoes and miscellaneous peppers; always using various herbs for cooking.

  6. risa bon 18 May 2009 at 11:47 am

    BUSY!!!

    … more here

  7. […] that I can’t say I regret it. I thought the best way to update would be to start up with the Independence day challenge updates again.   It seems the best way to keep up with what we have going on around here. 1. Plant […]

  8. Nicole in SW Ontarioon 18 May 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Planted: kale seedlings, beets, spinach, carrots; spent some time digging out a new garden for our tomatoes and peppers.

    Harvested: not much from my own garden, only a few arugula sprouts and some mint. I did pick some really nice chard and bok choy up from the market, from an organic farmer new to our area.

    Preserved: Made yogurt

    Reduced Waste: bought a few more reusable grocery bags

    Preparation and Storage: bought materials for two bee hives (including supers) and began assembling them. Placed an order for bulk quantities of rice and split peas, canned tomatoes; purchased a good quality, spare flashlight and extra batteries, to use as backup to our head lamps in case of a power outage. Also, set up our hand-powered grain grinder, which is now fully operational.

    Eat the Food: We ground our own flour from stored wheat, which I then used to bake some whole wheat rolls. Also ate pickles, yogurt, canned peaches (all gone now!), frozen meat and fish.

  9. Gabrielleon 18 May 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Plant Something–This week we potted some plants for the front porch for when the pansies start to die. We planted our third succession crop of beets and planted zucchini where some did not come up. We added some cosmos to the asparagus bed.

    Harvest Something–We picked a second round of strawberries in Corryton. From the garden we picked the first of the peas, lettuce, spinach, spring onions, beet greens, and various herbs.

    Preserve Something–We made one more batch of strawberry jam and used the rest for strawberry buttermilk sherbet.

    Reduce Waste–We cleaned out the refrigerator and sorted through the pantry. We continue to compost. We recycle at home and help the church with the plastics recycling.

    Preparation and Storage–We trimmed the laurels in the front garden beds and continue to weed the gardens. My sweet hubby made a garden bench for the church. He is working on a stool from silver maple we had milled from our yard last year. We added nuts, organic cereal, and pasta to the stockpile/pantry this week.

    Build Community Food Systems–I continue to work with our church food pantry. I spoke with one of the nurses at Interfaith Health Clinic this week about various needs they have there. I joined the Knoxville Permaculture Guild. We visit the Market Square Farmers Market each week to pick up our CSA and whatever meats and other goodies we need.

    Eat the Food–With the arrival of the first basket from the CSA this week, we’ve been enjoying a wider variety of vegetables than we had been. How I looked forward to our first stir fry of the season!

  10. Susan in NJon 18 May 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Crazy week seems to be going around — very busy and draining workwise, rainy when I wasn’t working, and then Sat. I ate something that made me sick the rest of the day.

    Plant: potted on the New Girl and Heinz tomato starts
    Harvest: red and green leaf lettuce, oregano, thyme, sage, tarragon, rosemary
    Preserve: dried orange and lemon peel
    Waste Not: made bean poles/planting stakes from Feb. butterfly bush trimmings; cataloged a week’s plastic trash for FPF’s learning experience; used some of the oatmeal/salt mix (below) in turkey burgers; made broth from chicken carcass and bones in fridge; still working on eating down the freezer; rescued (my partner did) some non-alcholic champanade from wherever it had been languishing in the garage since we moved
    Prep/Store: commercial canned pork and beans (the things I do for love); washed out all the small plastic pots prepratory to potting on seedlings; refilled kitchen oatmeal containers; fished out the seasalt that I poured on top of oatmeal by mistake thinking it was pressed barley; kept up planting log and storage log; started weeding the fence beds; weeded the deck containers; bought asparagus to pickle and researched recipes
    Community: talked gardening and got lots of tips from my boss’ wife; shopped the farmer’s market and talked about growing various plants/crops with some of the farmers; read the regional foodbank’s website
    Eat: We did this well this week: pasta with spinach and blue cheese; vietnamese-style green mango and chicken salad with roast asparagus on watercress; mixed green salad and beets with tarragon mustard dressing; asparagus and mushrooms in a creamy sage sauce over rice with hardboiled egg garnish; made homemade yogurt for the first time in a long time

  11. lindaon 18 May 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Plant:I spent all week planting my allotment-an 18′x4′ plot.Too many things to mention here.
    No Harvesting or preserving, but I bought my first food dehydrator which should arrive at any moment.
    Waste Not- I salvaged some of my childrens clothes in order to refashion them. Sold the rest to a resale shop. Gave the kids the money.
    My neighbor gave me a fireplace mantle for our farm and he gave me a bunch of things from his now closed restaurant: custard cups, ice cream cups, plastic and plexiglass containers and napkin holders. It turns out that the shelves I picked up last week were once his as well. He is generous and has more stuff that he will hold for us to look at. All free.
    Eat the food-I made a Maftoul salad but didn’t blog about it.The recipe was on the package. Working on making things with whole grains in general.
    I promise to get more organized next week.

  12. MEAon 18 May 2009 at 1:56 pm

    It rained. I did nothing but weed — challange wise — and eat salad, and knit.

    MEA

  13. Nicole in NJon 18 May 2009 at 2:17 pm

    We were on the road nearly every day last week but I did manage to get a bit done (thanks largely to yesterday’s marathon in the garden - I do SO love spring!)

    1. Plant something: Planted potatoes, chamomile, basil, tomatoes and lots of flowers (mostly not edible, but good for the soul :))

    2. Harvest something: Sweet Woodruff

    3. Preserve something: Sweet Woodruff

    4. Reduce waste: Salvaged a boatload of papers leftover from a co-op project to use for my never-ending listmaking. The girls shredded a bagful of random brown paper - grocery bags, packing materials, egg cartons - that we’ll use in the compost.

    5. Preparation and Storage: Started the great pantry cleanup & re-org (I’m going to be at this for a few weeks). And, boy, do we have a lot of pickles to eat too!

    6. Build Community Food Systems: Not this week

    7. Eat the Food: Pasta with fresh from the garden mixed greens. Local asparagus - yay spring!

  14. Marieon 18 May 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Had hand surgery last Tuesday, so I’m a little challenged. Thanks to my superstar husband, we did get some things accomplished. And here’s our list for another week of the Independence Days Challenge:

    Plant Something:
    Planted carrots, onion sets, beets and beans. Transplanted more tomatoes and butternut squash, as well a pepper, eggplant and luffa seedlings to bigger pots.

    Harvest Something:
    rhubarb

    Preserve Something:
    not this week.

    Reduce Waste:
    Repaired a reusable shopping bag.

    Preparation and Storage:
    Did our big once-a-month shop, Added some additional oatmeal, beans, broth, honey, tomatoes, applesauce and seasonings to the long-term food storage.

    Build Community Food Systems:
    Talked to a co-worker and sent her some links about starting food storage for herself and her mother.

    Eat the Food:
    Sourdough apricot/pecan bread, liver and onions from the spring lamb we bought, more delicious local farm-fresh eggs.

  15. lisahon 18 May 2009 at 3:06 pm

    We’re big here on trying to reduce waste: I got a lot of great stuff at yard sales this weekend ;) Looking for free cinder blocks to mark off raised beds and doing the lasagne composting/soil creation method; we can get rotted manure from the racetrack and stables nearby. This is our plan for the next 1-3 years in terms of planting.

    Planted: n/a

    Harvested: weekly organic csa veggie box and flowers

    Preserved: local foraged meyer lemon limoncello (freecycle jar) and salted lemons (yard sale jar)

    Reduced Waste: community composting/recycling; non-recyclable plastic/metal waste to Depot for Creative Reuse; sugar syrup from candied orange peel in limoncello; saved potato-water for soup; saved glass jars for food storage and gifts; yard-sale iron on patch and blanket binding to fix our duvet/blankets; stored matches in salvaged tin

    Preparation and Storage: from yard saling: manual can opener, US-made cast iron pan, beeswax candles, rubber boots for dd and me, two metal tins, 2L glass jar, replacement blender jar ($1!), coffee beans from TJs

    Build Community Food Systems: signed up for Forage Oakland dinner fund raiser cooked by a Chez Panisse chef (yes!)

    Eat the Food: tried TJ canned smoked herrings – delish, will buy more for food storage, ate csa veggies/fruit ; fairtrade, organic, shadegrown TJ coffee beans

    lisah

    lisah

  16. Brookeon 18 May 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Hi all! Lots of rain and sick kiddos here, so I didn’t get much done. Update on my blog is for 2 weeks. You are all so inspiring!

  17. d.a.on 18 May 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Plant something: Missed moon-cycle for planting above-ground produce such as new pasture grass and lettuce. Hope to make the next cycle.

    Harvest something: Eggs, natch. The geese are starting to slow down their egg production once more, hopefully this is the last of the season. I want my sweet geese back!

    Preserve something: Sorta - froze bulk garlic and ginger concoction, see Prep & Storage below.

    Reduce waste: Continuing to re-use old and/or soiled critter drinking & pool water to water fruit trees, herbs, veggies and poultry pasture. Also using soiled water to keep compost pile “hydrated”.

    Preparation & Storage: Purchased dried raisins, cherries, sliced almonds, ground flax meal. I use these in home-made oat-based meusli, of which I pre-soak a serving the day before in soy milk. Spouse got a good deal on fresh ginger and pre-peeled garlic at the asian grocer, and made a garlic/ginger blend, portioned and froze. Ordered 10# of food-grade diatomaceous earth.

    Build Community Food Systems: Attended co-op “meet & greet” as a farmer/vendor, and gave presentation on differences between caged chicken eggs and pasture-raised chicken eggs. Red, White & Grew (twitter @redwhiteandgrew) used a quote and a photo of my preserves for an article on the MySanAntonio site - as I joked with her later, “does this mean my fifteen minutes of fame are up?”

    Eat the Food: Not eating all that much, actually. Dental problems!

  18. kathyon 18 May 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Juat a question. I ate nettles for the first time and loved them. You mentioned drying them. What do you do withg dried nettles. Will they make soup? Kathy

  19. TLEon 18 May 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Also a difficult week for me, but I managed to do *something*, at least:

    Plant: more spinach, wombok (chinese cabbage)

    Harvest & eat: salad greens & chillis

    Prep & storage/reduce waste: made a big batch of ratatouille with discounted veggies from the market, and froze most of it in single serves. Baked muffins with some apples that were too bruised to eat out of hand, and the last half of an open sample pack of soymilk powder.

  20. Erikaon 18 May 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Update’s on my blog!

    –Erika

  21. mnfnon 18 May 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Another busy-ish week, culminating in a trip to Our State Capital (OSC) leaving on Friday night, and back home Sunday evening. We’re counting down now until the next weekend, which will be nothing but house and garden. If I don’t report next week, I’m lost in the cotoneaster jungle.

    Plant - nope.

    Harvest - nope.

    Preserve - green tomato chutney (finally! Some of the green tomatoes had gone red by the time I got to them, but they were useful anyway).

    Reduce Waste - have diverted newspaper and plastic bottles from recycling - newspapers for the lasagna beds I plan to start next weekend, and plastic bottles to be made into cloches for when spring finally arrives. Made attempts to stay on top of fridge contents to minimise waste. Took an extra person along to OSC. BB picked up a large bag of apples at work that were otherwise going for pig food and compost.

    Prep and Storage - got front and rear lights for my bicycle, so I can now ride legally after dark. Bought more seeds (rocket, peas, broad beans, radish, some others I can’t remember) to be ready for spring (and, in all honesty, as a security blanket - when I stress about TEOTWAWKI I buy seeds). Got the oil heater at the new house serviced, oil delivered and ran it for the first time last night - we don’t want this to be our permanent heating system, but plan to use what the house came with for this winter and hopefully do something better next year. We’re trying to minimise use by only heating one or two rooms, and those only to jumper-wearing temperature.

    Build Community Food Systems - talked to the seed stall guy at the markets at OSC about ordering through their website, otherwise, not much.

    Eat the Food - creamy watercress soup did one dinner and two days of lunches. Carrot soup to use up lamb stock that wouldn’t fit in the freezer and carrots that were about to go off. (Can you see a theme here?) Pasta using half a can of home-made tomato sauce that was about to go off and the extra spinach from last week. BB made a delicious chickpea curry last night, but sunk the leftovers for lunch plans by making it so good that we ate it all.

  22. Carolinaon 18 May 2009 at 7:28 pm

    I’ll post, if only to make others feel better about how much they accomplished compared to me. :D

    Plant something: Nope. I am about done (space- and money-wise) with my planting for the season, but I do have an echinacea plant I want to re-pot soon.

    Harvested: Does it count if I ate a bunch of swiss chard right off the plant?

    Preserved: Nope.

    Reduced waste: Found an organic turkey on sale at the grocery store and baked it, picked it clean of meat (which I froze into meal portions) and made stock from the bones.

    Preparation and storage: I did the Friday Food Storage Quickie and picked up cranberries and dried plums at Costco. Ordered a baby bike seat and helmet. Researched sleeping bags.

    Build community food systems: Nope.

    Eat the food: Still feasting on CSA veggies.

  23. Rayeon 18 May 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Plant: started melon seeds, planted (outdoors) scarlet, painted lady, and golden runner beans, marigolds, lemon mint, watermelon, chard, basil, nasturiums, and transplanted kiwi and tomatoes.

    Harvest: asparagus, rhubarb, lettuce, turnip greens

    Preserve: cut and froze rhubarb

    Reduce waste: repurposed pallets that stones were delivered on to hold split firewood

    Prep & Store: nothing to report

    Build Community Food Systems: discussed possibility of planting native edibles on smaller land trust parcels; agreed to assist local farm group with some technical assistance; went to grazing class that is part of a sustainable local meat working group project with which I am working

    Eat the Food: salad and rhubarb!

  24. Rayeon 18 May 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Kathy, I am told you can make soup with dried nettles, but what I do is make tea with them (and often eat the nettles as I sip the tea). Yum!

  25. Melissaon 18 May 2009 at 8:39 pm

    1. Plant something – planted strawberries

    2. Harvest something - asparagus, chard, chives

    3. Preserve something – bee balm and mugwort drying in the attic

    4. Reduce waste – reusing the containers for organic spinach and lettuce that I’ve been saving up for small sets of toys. I’ve found in general that having one of something is often useless, but save up a dozen and suddenly a way to use them presents itself. One empty yogurt container is annoying. Twenty is a set of building blocks.

    5. Preparation and Storage – I bought a 20 lb. bag of rice from the Oriental Mart, and my younger daughter no longer appears to be getting rashes from eating lentils, so the 20 lbs of lentils in storage can come back into use. I’m so happy about that, I’ve missed lentil soup like crazy. I’ve also started making my own stock out of scraps again. I had stopped but now instead of tossing leek tops and carrot peels into the compost, they’re going into the freezer with the meat bones until I have a pot full and then I dump it into the pasta cooker and cook for a day. Then I pick out the bones and dump the rest into the compost.

    6. Build Community Food Systems – Indirectly, yes. I’ve been getting signatures for a Complete Street Ordinance to be on the ballot so that the city would be more pedestrian friendly. While this is good on it’s own, it’s even better since I just found out that the woman who is spearheading the movement is going to be running for city council in my ward. I know she’s very focused on local food and sustainability, so I’m really excited!

    7. Eat the Food- We’re eating lentils again, like I mentioned, I think they’re a great emergency food since they don’t need to be soaked like other beans, they keep for a long time and they’re quick to cook up. My husband cooked up chard from the yard and lentils that the kids actually liked which was amazing. He says he fried up the chard with onions and oil and then added red split lentils, chili powder, salt, and stock from the freezer.

  26. miaon 18 May 2009 at 8:56 pm

    planted:

    comfrey, mint, feverfew, bee balm, wormwood, currant, lilac, horseradish, Solomons seal, tarragon, sorrel, chives, thyme, oregano, salad burnet

    harvested: raspberry leaves, nettles, dandelions, lettuce

    preserved; nettles, raspberry leaves

    cooked: last chicken , last lamb sausage,

    Community building: permaculture group; borrowed banties from a neighbor, gave eggs to librarian and son’s friend’s mom;

    prep: put broody hen in broody box!

  27. anitaon 18 May 2009 at 9:02 pm

    My update is here:

    http://kirbanita.typepad.com/take_joy/2009/05/independence-days-3.html

    Not so much this week, since it rained nearly all week—but our water table badly needs replenishing, so I can’t complain. Our county is no longer in a drought situation—we’re just “abnormally dry.”

    Whatever. But I won’t complain if it rains some more.

  28. Dianaon 18 May 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Here is my update for the IDC this week.

    Plant something - Mr. Stripy tomato, sweet yellow pepper, sweet orange pepper, sweet banana pepper.

    Harvest something - Fresh free range eggs from our chickens.

    Preserve something - Does feeding my sourdough count as something I am preserving? If so, it is something I do at least every other day to keep it alive.

    Reduce Waste - Took our once a week trip to town to save on gas. Knitted up a reusable produce bag. No more plastic produce bags for me… YEAH! You can read about it here. Kitchen scraps went to the chickens and/or the compost bin.

    Preparation and Storage - I scored a few more great items on the discount table at the local grocery store to have in the pantry. I am continuing to clean out garden beds when I have time and still keep up with the weeds in the boxes I already have planted. I am using newspaper with aged barn floor straw over it as mulch to keep the weeds at bay and the soil moist.

    Our two oldest children have life insurance policies through Modern Woodmen of America. One of the many benefits that MWA offers to their policy holders is a free tree every year. This week I remembered to log onto their website and order our two free trees for this year. I don’t expect them to come until the Fall for planting but it is something I got done this week! Oh, I ordered a Sugar Maple and a Redbud. The maple for Fall color and the redbud for Spring color!

    Eat the Food - Made a Shrimp Scampi from shrimp from the freezer, pasta out of the pantry and served it with a loaf of sourdough bread, also out of the freezer. Brought a pan of Chicken Enchiladas, made with home grown chicken out of the freezer, over to the In-Laws for dinner Saturday night. Made more homemade granola and bagels this weekend for breakfasts.

  29. Susanon 18 May 2009 at 9:21 pm

    My update can be found on my blog, which you can link to on my name here :)

    Again, Sharon, thanks for this opportunity to make myself accountable and KEEP TRACK.

    How come I’m a week ahead? Did I start a week too early?

  30. J in Alaskaon 18 May 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Plant something: quinoa, oakleaf lettuce, arugula, cilantro, calendula - all in pots so far, but some are headed to the garden this week!

    Harvest something: rhubarb and dandelions

    Reduce Waste: I snuck some milk jugs out of the trash to make sub-irrigation planters, but they’re kind of wobbly…

    Build Community Food Systems - I’m just discovering the awesome community system in Skagway, where I recently moved. Everything I planted this week were extra seeds and starts from my supervisor’s garden, and over the weekend I found someone to share my community garden plot with.

    Eat the Food - rhubarb muffins, and dandelions in EVERYTHING

    Thanks for this great idea! I didn’t have anything for preservation or storage, but it’s inspired me to try and freeze some rhubarb this week.

  31. Moon 18 May 2009 at 11:31 pm

    1. Plant something: Nothing this week I am afraid. I meant to plant more Armenian cucumbers, and okra which are apparently two of the very few veggies that thrive during our hot summers here. Ah well, perhaps next week.

    2. Harvest something: Did well here. Harvested 5 1/2 lbs of tomatoes, almost 1 lb of Ichiban eggplants, a bunch of small carrots, a handful of radishes, 2 1/2 lbs of beets, and 2 lbs of baby leeks, (they had stopped growing for the last few weeks for some reason, so I pulled the lot).

    3. Preserve something: Well I certainly tried with my canning fiasco. Even though I failed miserably at canning, I did freeze some of the salsa so I guess that counts.

    4. Reduce waste: Nothing much new here except completely shuttering up the house during the day to keep the heat out. I never got around to trying out the crock pot on the patio, but plan to do so next time I use it. Did the usual composting, line drying, and recycling, oh and I moved and replanted a few plants that weren’t doing well where they were to new locations. I suppose that counts as well.

    5. Preparation and storage: I still have the book “Food Matters”, by Mark Bittman to read on my night stand, as well as the usual huge pile of Mother Earth News, and now also “Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens”, which I am wanting so much to read. I am taking a new class this week which is joy of joys, statistics, (YUK), so I have a feeling that my leisure reading will take a back burner for a while. Still working on digging out the sand box, and planning to start the process of completely killing the already quite dead bermuda grass this weekend so that area can be utilized in a more productive way.

    6. Build community food systems: Managed to force some beets on a neighbour after I told her that I would prepare and cook them fully first. (For some reason I am having trouble giving my beets away).

    7. Eat the food: Did well here. Made marinara sauce with the tomatoes, which I also used on pizza. Also put the last of the spinach and swiss chard on pizza, and used more tomatoes in salsa. Made a salad with carrots and beets, and ate the radishes in another salad. Just had a delicious tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad this evening using tomatoes, and basil from the garden.

  32. KCon 18 May 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Hi. What a week! I barely remember what I’ve done … but I did get to play a lot of music into the wee hours of the morning.

    in Virginia:

    planted: potatoes - finally! also, more crimson clover (with innoculant) and nasturtians.

    harvest: kale (rape), green onions, and a beautiful mountain laurel flower which I put in a vase that hangs over my sink… it makes dishwashing a pleasure.

    preserved: bottled kombucha. I want to harvest and dry some greens (blackberry leaf), but it’s been raining almost every day!

    reduced waste: I am saving newspapers for sheet composting and to put in the paths. Using all the little jars for food storage. Received a 1 gallon plastic jar from a restaurant.

    prep and storage: I’ve been hand digging garden beds - converting a sloping field into a garden. I have about 10 (4×25) beds dug so far. I have 3 or 4 to go. I put the peanut butter that I bought for storage into the refrigerator (there was room for it). Put the oats (25 pounds) into a 5 gallon bucket and a metal tin. Bought a food storage container from thrift store.

    building community food systems: talking to others (informally) about food storage. Also sharing kombucha - beverage and instructions on how to brew it - with others.

    eat the food: another big batch of no-knead bread - made into little baugettes with sesame on top. Made a big batch of chili using dried pintos from storage, last bit of local meat (sausage) from the freezer, and canned tomatoes from storage. Also, more potato dishes and asparagus (from a neighbor), daily eggs from our neighbor.

  33. Anneon 19 May 2009 at 1:31 am

    Planted: transplanted tomatoes, chives, winter squash into garden

    Harvested: enough spinach and arugula for a whole salad (before this week, only enough for a occasional munching), lemon balm & nettles for tea

    Preserved: dried nettles and lemon balm

    Reduced Waste: nothing

    Preparation and Storage: nothing

    Eat the Food: Ate greens from the garden. Made a few cups of tea with lemon balm and nettles.

  34. AnneTon 19 May 2009 at 5:32 am

    We just had a May holiday weekend and it’s officially garden time! (though we did have frost two nights of the weekend — I’m glad I had the greenhouse for the tomato starts).

    Any way, my IDC update: http://smallvictoriesgreen.wetpaint.com/page/May+18+09

  35. Kathy AOon 19 May 2009 at 6:44 am

    Planted: cilantro, basil, lemon balm, arugula, summer squash, the boys planted daikon radishes, carrots and giant pumpkins.

    Harvested: raspberry leaves, dandelion greens
    Preserved: made kimchi, too salty! Maybe use for soup? Dried raspberry leaves. Froze several loaves of bread & lots of dinner rolls.

    Waste Not: composting chick bedding, neighbor’s rhubarb leaves. Picked up 2 fans at garage sale for bedrooms in the summer.

    Prep & storage: picked up lots of stuff at the last day of our big YMCA garage sale: winter clothes & boots for the boys, nice work shirts for hubby, linen napkins for wipes & handkerchiefs, etc.

    Community: more organizing of neighborhood summer camps, starting in a month! Helped elderly neighbor build another raised bed. Offering extra daylilies and Jerusalem artichokes to friends.

    Eat the food: eating May’s stored foods, making notes on what we do & don’t eat, got last year’s strawberries from neighbor’s freezer.

  36. Karinon 19 May 2009 at 8:32 am

    Phew…It has been a busy week. Another Frost last night but I think that is ok. I still have some cold weather crops to get in and would not mind a little respite before the summer crops go in.

    My update is at my blog.

  37. Chandraon 19 May 2009 at 8:40 am

    Not much happened last week regarding independence. Update on my blog. http://www.ecodesignandliving.com/2009/05/19/independence-days-challenge-post-3/

  38. Claireon 19 May 2009 at 8:49 am

    From St. Louis, MO:

    Plant something: 100 square foot bed including collards, calendula, nasturtiums, basil (assorted, gift from friend), purple onions, leeks (over 100 leek seedlings!!), and sunflower and bush bean seeds.

    Harvest something: green onions, lambsquarters, asparagus, spearmint, strawberries.

    Preserve something: spearmint and beebalm (Monarda fistulosa), drying these.

    Reduce Waste: the usual efforts. Newest compost pile is over 100F.

    Preparation and Storage: ordered more coffee beans for the DH, checked and ensured all the rest of the staples are in sufficient supply.

    Build Community Food Systems: helped my neighbor plant the lettuce seedlings and seed potatoes I gave her.

    Eat the Food: the usual, plus we’re finishing the spearmint I dried last year, making tea from it of course.

  39. Amberon 19 May 2009 at 8:52 am

    Here is my update for week three.

    Highlight: lying under the cherry tree watching the sun go down over my garden plot, after all my garden party guests have left, except for the yellow warbler who stopped by for a brief visit.

  40. Hummingbirdon 19 May 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Plant something:
    Replanted squash and okra.

    Harvest something:
    Lettuce, chard, eggs

    Preserve something:
    No

    Reduce waste:
    Composted lawn clippings, veg. cuttings to chickens

    Prep and storage:
    Got oatmeal and poreservers for storage.
    Went thru stored otc meds and checked expirations.

    Community:
    No

    Eat the food:
    Stored cookies, bread, pasta.

  41. Hummingbirdon 19 May 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Edit: “poreservers” should have been “preserves”.

  42. NMon 19 May 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Cared for our dog in the last days of her life; got nothing on the challenge list accomplished, except for managing to use up three bunches of chard from the CSA. Donated some of her prescription medicine back to the vet clinic, so it wouldn’t go to waste. Did some cooking on Sunday; no idea what.
    Husband is working out of town during the week, which means way too many vegetables from the CSA; am sharing them with a friend. Also, trying to use electric lights as little as possible at home during daylight hours, based on someone else’s comment on doing that. It’s not always easy; all the windows are on the east and west sides, so we planted trees to block hot afternoon sun, and often pull shades during hot weather for the same reason; the house is consequently cave-like (even with the curtains open). But I am enjoying minimizing the use, at least.

  43. Robj98168on 19 May 2009 at 10:27 pm

    I had an Okay week. I find that I miss the “Cook something New” Category so I am gonna return it- It gives me a challenge to try and cook new things! as for my challenge update it is here on my blog

  44. Monkeyfisteron 20 May 2009 at 2:42 am

    Sharon–

    Here is my update for the week. I am amazed at how, when it is typed out, it looks so exhaustively busy, but, having done it all, I can say that I actually ended up feeling sort of lazy, actually. The Food Bank possibility is a real boost to my psyche. I’ve been champing at the bit for a really solid project like this. The money and the co-operation and the need all seem to be together on this. For a first meeting, I think we all have the right mindset between us. Produce Local Food, and distribute it to the needy.

    http://monkeyfister.blogspot.com/2009/05/independence-days-update-more-garden.html

    Any advice would be useful. A fully legitimate food bank is a far cry from a road-side stand.

    –mf

  45. Kateon 20 May 2009 at 10:54 am

    My grandmother died this week, so I took a last minute trip to see her, which was amazing and spiritual, but I didn’t get a lot done around the house, challenge wise.

    Plant: No

    Harvest: Eggs

    Preserve: No

    Reduce Waste: Compost, hang laundry, hand wash dishes, “Navy” showers, wash egg shells to crumble and feed to chix for calcium

    Prep and Storage: Last year, my friend gave me some plastic mulch which shredded into tiny pieces all over my yard with UV exposure, and they have been sitting out there all year. I picked up about 1/3 of it. He felt responsible, so he came over the other day and picked up the rest, and I left him 24 eggs. I don’t know if this counts bc I didn’t do the work myself, but it sure was great to come and have that done.

    Community: Well, I gave my friend some eggs.

    Eat the Food: Quinoa (w/ veggies and peanut sauce), prunes, pecans, frozen green beans and tomatoes in a chicken soup. Yum.

  46. Laurieon 20 May 2009 at 3:14 pm

    From Wisconsin

    Planted: many main season crops (pole beans, summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant, etc…)

    Harvested: Eggs, onions left in ground from last year, and tiny dill babies.

    Preserved: kimchi from root cellar remnants.

    Reduced: using cardboard to mulch beneath new fruit and nut plantings (my chickens would like to dig here.) Got family bikes out of storage. Fed dandelions to our rabbits (dug up from garden.) Cooked rice in solar oven, with local lamb in African Stew.

    Prepped: dear husband built housing for new batch of chicken pullets - they are very happy! Started a new raised bed on my concrete driveway.

    Build community: gave away extra plant starts to friends (some gave me money for them!) Volunteered to help with my local farmers market in a couple of weeks.

    Eat: Last year’s jelly almost gone, freezer tomatoes all used up, only a few jars of salsa remain.

  47. Saaraon 20 May 2009 at 6:44 pm

    IDC #3 here. I posted early on the blog, but late here.
    http://skagitfoodshed.wordpress.com/2009/05/16/independence-days-3/

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