Archive for May, 2012

Back to Food Storage

Sharon May 23rd, 2012

It seems like an age since I’ve written anything much about food storage.  It felt for a long while like I’d said most of what I had to say in my book (Independence Days) on the subject, and that I didn’t want to be redundant – but I’m reminded regularly by questions that some things do bear repeating, because of course, we’re all ready to hear different stuff at different times.  New readers join us, and of course, events point out things with a new urgency.

So I thought I”d do a review of some of the basics of food storage on this site, going over some older material and adding some new stuff.  As we get started, however, I’d like to ask what you’ve been doing and thinking about food storage, and if there are things you’d like me to write about.

I admit, I’ve been somewhat less diligent this year than in the past keeping up with my storage, and because of that have had some sudden shortages – we ran out of pasta, brown sugar and brown rice, things I normally have on hand.  I need to do a full sort out of my storage and see what I’ve got and where my resources have to go in the future.

What about you?  If you’ve never stored food before, what are you major questions?  If you’ve been doing it for a bit, what has changed?  Are there things you’d like to add or know about, or things you’d recommend others do differently?  Have you used your food storage?  How?  Added to it?  Are  you keeping more or less?  How urgent do you feel about it?

Let me know, and I’ll respond!

Sharon

Independence Days Update: Running Behind

Sharon May 8th, 2012

Sorry for not posting an ID update for a bit, we’ve had a lot of crazy here, culminating last week in the arrival of two little boys, 7 and 8.  C. and K. are sweet kids and are settling in well, but the preliminaries tend to be consuming, and combining that with other spring chaos, and I’m totally behind on nearly everything. The garden is still in its larval stage, there are many, many other things I have not done, and they are starting to back up in bad ways.  The good news is that Eric’s semester is almost over and the kids are settling and this week should offer some chance to catch up.

Next week we can expect the next wave of baby goats (I thought Urania might have kidded last week, but apparently not ;-) ), and we’ve got a lot of baby rabbits as well (if anyone has rabbit cages or hutches out there for sale cheaply in reasonable driving distance, please let me know – I haven’t had time to build cages and the situation will be dire in a few weeks ;-) ).  We’ve got hens setting, chicks hatching and probably some ducklings due soon, so things are busting out all over.

It is becoming apparent we lost a lot last year from the perennial crops – the combination of flooding, a winter with some very low temps even though there was no snow cover, and the fact that flooding damaged fences letting some livestock at the perennials really did a number on us, so we’re working on restoration and building for more water in the future.  Hugelkultur works well in both wet and dry conditions, and lord knows, we have enough downed wood to build just about anything, so that’s part of my summer project, to rebuild some beds that way.  We’re also doing some new fencing and redesigning of pastures, so that’s a big time suck.

Otherwise, we’ve been mostly focused on getting everyone’s needs met and our eternally shifting family.  Oh, and despite my gigantic stash, I was totally unprepared to have three boys in the same sized (8) pants ;-) .  So there’s a lot of shopping going on as well.

Plant something: Potatoes, onions, rhubarb, carrots, beets, chard, kale, mizuna, lettuce, scallions, chives, thyme, sage, mint, dahlias, marigolds, pansies, sweet peas.

Harvest something: Nettles, chard, radishes, turnip greens, lettuce, eggs, milk, garlic mustard, ramps

Preserve something: Nope.

Waste Not: The usual feeding stuff to other stuff, collecting brush for hugelkultur.

Want Not: Got a huge stash increase two weeks ago, so I’m totally set for much younger kids – then got older kids ;-) .  Still you never know what the future will bring!  Building up stores of wheat, oats and beans a bit after a winter’s draw down as well.

Eat the Food:  We’ve eaten so much junk with the boys here because they are adapting from real and serious deprivation.  We had a great jambalaya, and I made some whole wheat pumpkin-chocolate bars, but that’s about the extent of it.

Build Community Food systems: Not much this week

Skill up: Does learning fart jokes from your kids count?

How about the rest of you?

Sharon