Independence Days and a Sweet New Year to Y'all!

Sharon September 28th, 2008

Posting will be light or nil much of this week because of the Jewish High Holidays - the New Year begins Monday evening, and L’Shana Tovah to all of you (a sweet, happy and healthy new year, despite all the changes!).  I’ll be offline probably until Thursday or Friday because of that and visiting guests. 

BTW, just in case you are interested and live in my area, I’ll be on live and in studio on WAMC NPR from 11-11:30 on Thursday, Oct. 2 on the Connection. 

Ok, on to the update.  Note, this covers most of what I have done since the last one.

1. Planted something - some late spinach and some wheat.  Transplanted some herb starts.

 2. Harvested something - Yup, our first pumpkins, dry beans, lettuce, spinach, kale, mustard greens, chard, onions, beets, carrots, peppers, broccoli, hot peppers, tomatillos,  tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, cabbage, various asian and salad greens, eggplant, sage, mint, catnip, elderberries, fall raspberries, everbearing strawberries, quince and apples.

3. Preserved something: Pickles, sauerkraut, kim chi, pickled onions, pickled garlic, pickled crabapples, dried tomatoes, canned tomatoes, canned salsa, canned ketchup, braided and hung garlic, braided and hung onions, dried hot peppers, made hot sauce, made applesauce, made quince paste, dried lemon zest, made horseradish sauce, made mixed dried veggies and herbs as soup base (tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, sweet pepper, sage, thyme, hot peppers, sea salt), made cider syrup, made apple butter.

4. Stored something - made a run to BJs using a free trail membership.  Bought recycled tp, cat litter (for our elderly cat who no longer will leave the house), Goodnights pull ups (which Eli is required to use at school - but he’s getting close to trained - yay!!!), vanilla (cheapest I’ve ever seen it - $6 for 16 oz!!!), kids multivitamins, asprin.

5. Prepped something - continued working on moving the office and all the relevant books up to our room for the winter, sorted out the kids winter clothes, washed/aired and figured out sizes, packed away summer stuff, worked on some more insulated window quilts, knit two pairs of mittens and half of a pair of fingerless gloves for typing in icy cold office, stacked wood, collected kindling, ordered hay and straw for winter animals, made appointment for chickens and turkeys that are headed off the farm to meet their maker.  Ordered plastic pants for toilet training toddler.  Began Chanukah/birthday shopping (books, mostly) for boys, three of whom have birthdays between halloween and chanukah. 

6.Cooked something new - tried three new hot sauce recipes. Still not finished with them, so not sure which one(s) we’ll be happiest with. 

7. Worked on local food systems: Began discussing the reallocation of synagogue greenspace to food production, did a talk on edible landscaping, worked on editing A Nation of Farmers.  Sold produce at my synagogue’s harvest festival and got to have the fun of telling people how to cook new stuff.

8.  Learned a new skill - gutter cleaning.  Wahoo ;-P.


24 Responses to “Independence Days and a Sweet New Year to Y'all!”

  1. Shamba says:

    I didn’t realize that Rosh Hashana was so close! I hope I spelled that right.
    A Very Happy New Year to you and your family!
    and a Very Happy New Year to the rest of us.


  2. Susan in NJ says:

    Update to follow but gutter cleaning is high on my skills to learn this fall.

  3. Adam Ek says:

    Test the vanilla on a known recipe. The super-bargain vanilla is quite likely to be weaker.

  4. homebrewlibrarian says:

    I’ve been throwing covers over plants but we still haven’t had a frost yet. However, I’m in Fairbanks this weekend and they had their first snow last night! Given the lack of summer this year, I’m delighted to see snow and blue sky. Anchorage won’t see this until maybe early November. Nice to get a taste of winter at the end of September.

    Only thing to report is that while in Fairbanks I scavenged some potatoes that were table decorations at a fund raising dinner that featured locally grown potatoes used in six courses created by the local chef luminaries. Apparently, the potatoes grown in Fairbanks are more exotic than the ones grown closer to Anchorage. Sooooo, I’m going to save some of what I gathered up as seed potatoes for next year.

    Turns out my chest freezer/beer fridge is 37 degrees with nearly 100% humidity. Hm. Sounds like the perfect root cellar for potatoes!

    Also while in Fairbanks, I harvested about a cup of wild rosehips growing along an alley near a place I had breakfast. Will gut, clean and dry when I get home to add to my winter tea stash. I’ll also be harvesting more rosehips from the street plantings near my home.

    Might be harvesting other vegies once I get back to Anchorage.

    Kerri in AK

  5. Sharon says:

    Adam, the vanilla is precisely the same brand I’ve been buying all along so I think taht we’ve just seen a fall-off in price. I actually usually make my own, but I’ll take it.


  6. Shira says:

    Hi to all and congratulations for some much work well done!

    I am struggling to get the garden gleaned (my small business has picked up right smartly, yah!) and put to bed for the winter under cover crops or winter veggies before the cold hits. We’re still having some lovely days in Cascadia and I’m hoping for a few more ripe tomatoes.

    Sharon talked about picky eaters, but then there are four legged picky eaters. I am still pinch hitting with my friend’s goats and as I was out in my garden picking for them this morning it occurred to me that the small homesteader who might be dependent on her own resources is well advised to start with young goats and train them to eat what you grow. My friend’s lactating goat is a picky girl. She won’t eat beets, roots, squash vines unless they are in the neighbor’s garden, nettles, dandelions, or shepherd’s purse. I’d hate to be feeding my family dandelion greens to save the kale for the goat. Since they are not my goats, I can’t use the technique that works on my mother’s dogs, when they decide that kibble is not dog food, hamburger is dog food. I just go away and come back twelve hours later to see if they’ve gotten less precious.

    I made my first rennet cheese, a coarse grainy lump. The flavor was pretty good, but the texture begs to be buried in a casserole.

    I canned up what I had for a pepper harvest as salsa. I’m not the only one around here who had near crop failure of hot peppers this year. I bought what I could find locally grown and am in the process of making harrif (hot sauce, same as Moroccan harissa) and tomato chile sauce. I had lots of green coriander seed and made shug (green hot peppers, green coriander seed, some optional black pepper, and salt smashed up in olive oil.) A little shug really jazzes up plain carbohydrates.

    The winter squashes did wonderfully and I have quite the harvest curing on the dining room floor. Meanwhile, I learned not to plant squash next to the leek bed, because the leeks were overcome. By February, the onions run out or go funny, and leeks are very welcome with kale, beets and chard.

    I went through my toolbox, did an inventory and made a list of hand tools that have gone missing and need to be replaced. This is more than home maintenance, as if I can’t make a living with all this fancy education, I can always moonlight as a handygirl.

    L’Shana Tova U’Bracha to all.

    Shira in Bellingha, WA

  7. Kati says:

    From North Pole/Fairbanks area: Yeah, it did in fact snow here, yesterday and last night. We woke up this morning to a nice little dusting of snow on our back deck.

    I pulled my potatoes yesterday (only 2 plants, in chicken-wire “barrels” about a foot & a half in diameter, with only about 1 foot deep of dirt). I got little over a dozen potatoes out of those two plants, including 3 “seed” potatoes I am hoping will keep for my planting stock next spring, though I doubt they’ll keep that long. (They’re not big enough to actually cook with, unless you add them to a pot for mashed potatoes. All three are about the size of the last joint on my thumb.)

    I also pulled my beets, but had a measly harvest of those, as they were hidden “underneath” my turnips all summer. Who knew turnip greens got so danged big! Anyway, next year I won’t plant the beets to the north of the turnips. *grin* Had the last of my swiss chard a week ago.

    We pickled 14 quarts of green tomatoes at the FIL’s this past week. New recipe, we’ll see how much we like them. We got a couple-3 dozen ripe tomatoes, but as they all came ripe at different times we’ve just been enjoying them out of hand. Not enough at one time to sauce or simmer.

    The past couple of days have been devoted to the kiddo’s birthday, and working around the back yard in preparation for REAL winter. (That dusting we got last night signals the start, but is by no means indicitive or HARD winter times being here.)

    We got our fuel fill-up on Friday. The FIL (who works for a fuel company) got word that prices would be going up $.05 per gal tomorrow (Monday) so he called us in for a fill-up right away. That little-less-than 500 gal. (all the fuel we’ll need for a year’s time) cost us not-quite $1700. Not TOO bad, when it comes down to it. I’m thankful, though, that 500 gal is all we need for a year.

    We’ve been doing some re-arranging here in the house, making things even more livable for winter, hopefully. (Got the kiddo a new captain’s bed which frees up room in her bedroom, by putting the dresser UNDER the bed. That means her desk actually FITs in her room, though she’s doing most of her school-work at the kitchen table.)

    Oh, and I hit the farmer’s market one last time yesterday, they’re last day for the year. Got 2 jars of jelly, and a bar of soap.

  8. Sarah says:

    L’shana tovah!

    Let’s see… within the last little while I’ve canned four quarts of assorted pickles, one pint of pickled peppers (mainly because I could), froze about a gallon of corn and rather a lot of various greens, and dried celery, leeks, and squash. I have discovered how to cook delicata squash (or, more accurately, have discovered that I should put it in absolutely everything that I already know how to cook), and this morning, picked a bushel of apples and about two pounds of raspberries, which will be turned into dried apple rings, raspberry applesauce, and either dried or frozen raspberries (probably dried, as we’re running out of freezer) Real Soon Now. Ben dug about three pounds of potatoes from the front yard, and we are waiting to find out whether they are unleaded potatoes because I was lazy and have not sent in the soil sample yet.

  9. Green Hill Farm says:

    I haven’t keep up per say on the weekly challenge because its sort of same old same old for me in that we plant, harvest etc for our CSA as usually for the past eleven years. And I am a bit embarrassed to say I’ve not preserved much at all. However no frost yet and our last day will be Oct 10 then the garden is mine all mine and I’ll have time to cook and preserve stuff.

    But I did raise eleven meat chickens (lost one in the last week) and after quite a few years hiatus we had a year old bull butchered. We worked within the barter system (proud of us Sharon :) ?) A young man a former student of husband’s and off spring of husband childhood neighbor spent lots of time with dh during maple season and dh taught him how to make his own. They got talking about butchering a bull so finally about a month and a half ago they got to it. The bull was humanely shot in our field without stress, gutted and brought to a local gent with the equipment to turn him into steaks etc. We will share the meat. Some maybe sold to CSA folks (sold 10lbs of hamburg so far).
    Took part or simply attended 3 local meals, one I donated a bit of veggies, and maple syrup to as well as brought a beef shepard pie and large platter of tomatoes and maple candy. The food was great.

    I joined a local environmental group about a year ago (the local chapter coordinator is a farm member) and this Sat meeting is at the farm the theme of course local food. I plan to tour the folks around and try to motivate them to garden and maybe get a few hens :) no bigy well the coordinator invite the local cable station so I maybe be on local tv so now I’ve got to really prepare my talk :) . I want to be mostly entertaining but I want to mildly slip in that folks really should be thinking about growing food for more than a hobby ie hard times. Of course the gov is making it easy to talk about a difficult financial times :) .

    Oh and I am looking into solar hot water and a few elec panels as well. Guy is coming for a site visit Tues.

    I am knitting and determind to finish the projects :) in that they are for my first grandchild due in late April! We are so tickled and yet I do worry for him/her and my son and dil. I feel mildly comforted that they could live hear on the farm if they had to (I’ve been storing clothes, fabric, yarn and blandkets). :)


  10. Green Hill Farm says:

    I hit send before I finished it was to say Sharon good posts lately love the peeling the onion one.

    Beth in Massachusetts

  11. Green Hill Farm says:

    ps also I didn’t get to proof read so please know I know there are a few typos and errors :) . Beth

  12. risa stephanie bear says:

    Independence Days! Yeah!

    Plant something: We put in more bok choi, kale, red cabbage, beets, radishes.

    Harvest Something: !! — tomatoes, apples, lettuce, beets, celery, zukes, corn, apples, cukes, radishes, potatoes, apples, blackberries, pears, bok choi, apples, cabbage, basil, peas (!!) beans, dry runner beans, apples, trout, pikeminnows, eggs, pears,onions, apples. And LOTSA eggplant.

    Preserve Something: frozen blackberries, apples, zukes, applesauce. Dried tomatoes, basil. Solar, on the dashboard of the Saturn wagon in 85 degree late September weather — weird.

    Store Something: apples, roofing supplies, cardboard, am now starting to gather up pallets and such with the new pickup, watching Craig’s List for opportunities.

    Manage Reserves: acquired 1999 Ford Ranger pickup from my mom and dad.

    Prepped: roofing, painting house.

    Cooked Something New: It’s been so long since I made applesauce that it was like new. Used Rombauer & Becker’s very simple directions.

    Worked on Local Food Systems: Much of the above, and selling eggs,and giving away veggies at work, while explaining how we grow them, complete with handouts.

    Reduced Waste: pulling other people’s cardboard and waste wood from the waste stream.

    Learned a Skill: how to sleep at rest areas (don’t ask).

  13. Survivalist News » Casaubon’s Book: Independence Days and a Sweet New Year to Y’all! says:

    [...] Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » Independence Days and a Sweet New Year to Y’all! Posting will be light or nil much of this week because of the Jewish High Holidays - the New Year begins Monday evening, and L’Shana Tovah to all of you (a sweet, happy and healthy new year, despite all the changes!). I’ll be offline probably until Thursday or Friday because of that and visiting guests. [...]

  14. Colleen says:

    Thank You and I wish a sweet New Year for you and yours!

  15. Matriarchy says:

    I had a very productive week. There are details on our blog. I finally got the agreement of my DH to spend some savings on food storage. It feels SO good to go out and buy 50# of sugar or flour, instead of buying an extra 5# here and there.

    We live in a city, so I don’t have land or animals, and our small garden wouldn’t feed us. But every little bit helps. For us, establishing local sources and learning to eat/preserve seasonally, will be the keys to food security. Investing in this first 3-month supply of food is the start of an inventory system that will let us really take advantage of bulk purchasing, and invite some neighbors to do so, too.

  16. Rebecca says:

    Happy New Year, Sharon!

  17. WOW Trainee says:

    Sharon, what a start to the New Year! The United States and many countries are pumping huge amounts of money into their economies. It’s like pissing into the wind.

    I hope everyone is reviewing their what if plans. Today, I found out that I had bought shotgun birdshot shells rather than more powerful ammo. I also learned about Sta-bil that will stabilize gasoline and decrease storage waste. I’ve also been reviewing my what if plans.

    Even tho I’m not really prepared for anything, I’ve better off than I was. Glad you are all here!

  18. Chelee says:

    For cryin’ out loud you were busy girl!

    I hope to get a 10th of what you got done off my list for this week…

    Happy New Year!! (:

  19. kt says:

    Shana Tova :0)

  20. says:

    Keep in Prepping! Just put in another 3-cords of firewood. Better than money in the bank.

  21. Basia says:

    Very happy Ne Year:)))

  22. robj98168 says:

    I must say Ms A- You were very busy! LOL It looks like I was too, but because of strike at boeing had tons of free time on my hands! Discovered a few outlets for seeds this week- the Big Box Home Imporvement stores! LOL- the “nursery” manager said they decided to keep the one display of seeds due to requests from folks who plan on fall gardening!
    Plant something: Broccoli (again), Turnips, Kale and Corn salad
    Prep something: Took a class at Seattle Free School on growing sprouts- made some sprout growing jars out of mason jars and window screenHarvest something- More tomatoes, The last of the cucumbers or so I thought, I left two vines that have some baby cukes growing on them; lettuce; a few peas
    Manage something- Got the window added to the kitchen- This is good for adding light and for warmth from the sun as it is on the South side of the house. Got the guest room/office organized a bit better, made some window screen Mason Jar growing thingys for sprouting
    Cook Something New: Okay I broke down and finally made Melinda’s Lowfat Pancrack (Pancakes) since every one was saying how wonderful it is- And it is. Also, I was cooking an acorn squash and figured why not roast the seeds? So I did- Yummy little crunchy seeds- prepped them the same way as pumpkin seeds! And I did it the same time as I cooked the squash!
    Work on Local Food Systems: Took a class at Seattle Free School on on growing sprouts, one of the advantages of the strike is I can attend classes and meetings!
    Re-Cycle, Re-Use, Reduce, Repair or Compost something: Re-used lumber in my Window project. The lumber came from demolition when I had the addition put on my house. Re-used window trim leftover from addition project. Re-used a wine cork and a gin bottle in a lamp project; composted garden “junk”; re-used flyers from car show- I take the backside of flyers and use them when I print out things on my computer; Re-use some booze bottles for Oil Lamps; Used some leftover window screen to make Sprouting jars, and re-used some of my half pint jelly jars as well!
    Learn a skill: Making oil lamps out of bottles- You can use olive oil for these or corn oil or safflower oil, but I chose lamp oil for my first one; Took a class at Seattle Free School on growing sprouts

  23. Adrienne says:

    I heard your interview on Think on my local NPR station, KERA 90.1. Excellent interview and I really respect what you are doing! I hope to one day live even more sustainably than I do now. I do all that I can, but it’s hard because I am a college student and still living in my parents’ home.

    I almost ordered the book on amazon, but then I thought about it and went, “Hmm, it seems a little self-defeating to order a book about sustainability to be delivered hundreds of miles to my doorstep.” So I recommended it for purchase at my library. Either way I hope to get my hands on it soon.

  24. Michelle says:

    Hi Sharon
    Love your blog and am a regular reader from Australia!
    Just wondering what are insulated window quilts?? They sound like something I could do with being at the Antarctic end of Oz rather than the tropical one!!
    I’m not much of a seamstress though so any simple instructions will be greatly appreciated!

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