Archive for August 10th, 2008

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?