Independence Days Challenge, Year Two!

Sharon April 28th, 2009

Returning to your regularly scheduled program, time to really get started on the second year of the Independence Days project.  For those of you who participated before, the goal is to see if you can do even more than last year.  For those of you who are new to this, the goal is make sure that you make a little progress every day (or week, or whatever) towards your goals, and that you get to see and record that progress.  I think a lot of us have in our heads the idea that putting up food, or getting into the garden has to wait until we have time.  But of course, that time rarely arrives.  Thus, I’ve found it tremendously helpful to simply do a little bit each day.  It is also enormously useful to my morale to know that I got a little ahead in my goals that day – even when it is hard to believe it.

I wish I could take credit for coming up with the idea, but I stole the idea, the name and a lot of good other things from Carla Emery, author of the absolutely necessary _Encyclopedia of Country Living_ now in its 10th Edition.  Carla died a few years ago, and I was lucky enough to know her.  In the “all hands on deck” situation we’re in, I think her ideas and words are still desperately needed, even if she can’t be here herself:

“All spring I try to plant something every day – from late February, when the early peas and spinach and garlic can go in, on up to midsummer, when the main potato crop and the late beans and lettuce go in.  Then I switch over and make it my rule to try and get something put away for the winter every single day.  That lastas until the pumpkins and sunflowers and late squash and green tomatoes are in.  Then comes the struggle to get the most out of the stored food – all winter long.  It has to be checked regularly, and you’ll need to add to that day’s menu anything that’s on the verge of spoiling, wilting or otherwise becoming useless. 


People have to choose what they are going to struggle for.  Life is always a struggle, whether or not you’re struggling for anything worthwhile, so it might as well be for something worthwhile.  Independence days are worth struggling for.  They’re good for me, good for the country and good for growing children.”

When you do it piece by piece, a little at a time, when you start building in the time and space into your life, it turns out that the big struggle – for Independence Days – isn’t really such a day-to-day struggle at all.

In _Independence Days_ (which will actually be out in July, earlier than I expected!), I wrote on this point,

All of us need to devote some energy to fighting battles that will probably be lost, simply because we have an obligation to fight the good fight.  But most of us can’t live on a steady diet of tilting at windmills.  We also need to do work where we know we can accomplish something and where we know we matter.  That’s why I think food preservation and storage matter so much.  Ultimately, we are talking not only about the fairly manageable question of what to have for dinner, about about transforming our society, our use of energy, our food culture, and, of course, all of these things are a large part of our culture as a whole.”

It is easy to forget how important this “little stuff” is – easy to think that your little garden doesn’t matter very much, or that your preparations won’t be enough.  But we should also remember the exponential power of saying “no” and doing for ourselves.  The corrollary of the fact that every calorie of food takes 10 of fossil fuels is that every stir fry or salad you eat from your garden saves 10 times the oil as the calories contained within it.  The fact that almost every packaged ingredient uses 7 times as much energy to create that packaging means that your choice to buy bulk oatmeal just saved 7 times as much energy as the package contains.

In 1944, American Victory Gardens grew as much produce as did every vegetable farm in the country – fully half US produce came from home gardens. And while no one was sufficient, all together were something big.  Every bite of food you grow, every bite you preserve, every bit of waste you reduce is a contribution to a larger project – keeping everyone fed.  Every bit of compost you add to your soil, every bit of organic matter, every tree you plant is a contributor to a larger project – storing some of our emissions in soil, so we can have a future.  Small things are the roots of vast and powerful ones. 

Every kid who tastes a cherry tomato or a strawberry from your garden comes away with something that they take back to their homes and forward to the future.  Every neighbor who stops to chat as grow on your lawn or water the peppers in containers on your stoop is a new connection in your community, and a potential future gardener.  Every seed you plant multiplies and produces a hundred, or a thousand more seeds for next year (not to mention the food).  Every dollar you save you save on groceries that goes to the food pantry means your plot feeds not just you, but others.  Every time you point out that you are storing food and preparing for a different future, even if people don’t get it, a seed is planted somewhere in the back of their heads, where they realize…people kind of like me think about this stuff.  The future depends on a whole lot of little things.

I’ve quoted this poem from Marge Piercy before, but I think it bears repeating:

….Alone you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organization. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousands, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no, it starts
when you say “We”
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.
-Marge Piercy “The Low Road”

As Carla says, you have to decide what you are going to struggle for.  This is where I’m putting my struggles – and my pleasures, because there’s nothing better than food you grow or preserve yourself, the sense of security and the ability to be generous that accompany a full pantry, the pleasure of serving others a good meal.

Ok, on to practicalities.  How do you sign up?  Post a message in comments!  When do you report?  I’m going to try and go back to weekly reports, but you should do it when you want to.  I’m deeming Monday as my official reporting day, because it means that I can tell you what you did on the weekend, and make it look good, but you should do it when you want.  Where do you report?  In comments here, or link to your blog!  Do I have to do every category every day/week?  Yes, absolutely, and if not, I will send my personal thugs over to your house to break your kneecaps ;-)  (note the smiley - the real answer is – No, of course not, do what you can when you can!) 

Is there a cool graphic?  There was last year – La Crunch made it for me (thank you Crunchy!) and I’m sure someone here can post in comments and tell you how to find it and put it up (I’m a techno-moron, so I’m not very helpful.)   What if I can’t do it one week?  So, you get up and do it the next week.  Should I tell you what I didn’t do, how I failed?  Absolutely not – this all about what you *did* accomplish – so even if it is one thing (and remember, btw, I’m a part-time professional farmer, so if you look at my list and think “oh, Sharon did this and all I did…”  you are doing it wrong – remember, until the International Olympic Committee makes gardening and food preservation a sport, you are officially forbidden to treat it like one ;-) )

Ok, overwhelmingly, people liked the categories, but a small minority felt (and I agree) that there were too many of them, and that they weren’t clear.  So I’ve decided to consolidate them somewhat, but keep them.  If you hate the categories, well, since I’m a lazy dictator, you can just go ahead and not use them.  So here they are:

1. Plant something – I doubt this one needs a lot of explanation.  Obviously, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are doing a lot of this right now, but it should be a reminder that gardening isn’t “put in the garden on memorial day and that’s it” – most of us can grow over a longer season than we do, and even if you live in an apartment, you can sprout seeds.  So keep on planting!

2. Harvest something - some people are full swing here, but even if you just picked the first dandelion from your yard, it counts if you ate it or saved it.  Don’t forget to include food you forage – whether from wild marginal areas, or even just from the neighbor’s trees that he never harvests (ask, obviously).

3. Preserve something – this starts around now for me, as asparagus, nettles and rhubarb are up.  Canning looks like a big scary project if you have to can a truckload of green beans on a hot day in July.  Dehydrating seems overwhelming if you have to pick the pits out of 4 bushels of plums in a single afternoon when you’d rather be doing something else.  And yes, sometimes everything comes ripe at once, some big jobs can’t be avoided, and you just put on the loud rock and roll and go at it.  But a little at a time is possible, you can be canning corn relish while you are washing up from dinner, or stick the strawberries in the sun to dry on your way out the door.

4. Reduce waste – This category covers both the old “Reduce Waste” and “Manage Reserves” group.  Once you’ve got food, whether purchased or home preserved, you have to keep an eye on it.  In this category goes making sure you use what you buy or grow, cutting down on garbage production by minimizing packaging and purchasing, composting, reducing community waste by composting or feeding scraps to your animals, and taking care of your food storage – everything from keeping records and writing dates on jars to checking the apples and making sauce when they start getting soft.  BTW, reduce waste also refers to money and energy – stretching out your trips to the store and not “spending” gas on your food, cutting your grocery budget and reducing cooking energy.

5. Preparation and Storage – This is the category where you report the stuff you’ve done to get ready that isn’t growing/storing/preserving food.  That means the food you buy for storage, the things you build, scavenge, rescue and repair that get you further down the path.  Did you get a good deal at goodwill? Scavenge some cinder blocks for your raised bed building project? Find a grain mill on Craigslist? Buy some more rice and put it away?  Inventory the medicine cabinet? Pick up a new book that will be helpful?  Tell us!

6. Build Community Food Systems – Great, we’re all doing this stuff at home.  But what did you do to help spread the message, because that may even be more important.  Did you talk about your victory garden at your kid’s school?  Offer to share space with a neighbor in your sunny yard?  Bring a casserole over to the family that lost their job or moved in?  Donate to your food pantry?  Teach the neighbor kids to make yogurt?  Offer to teach a canning class?  Show someone else where the nettles are growing wild?  Talk about your food storage or gardening plans?  Share a plant division or seeds? 

7. Eat the Food – Sometimes I think people have more trouble actually eating their garden produce or CSA shares than they do growing or buying them.  Ultimately, eaters have more power over our agricultural future than they know – farmers can’t necessarily lead the way – they have to sell what eaters want.  So cooking and eating are the way we will change the food system.  This is where you tell us about the new recipes you tried, or the old ones you adapted to new ingredients, about how you are actually eating what you store and store what you eat, or getting your kids to try the kale.

I’ve taken out most of the other categories, particularly “learn a skill” because I’ve got another challenge coming up later on that one.  I think seven is the maximum number I can manage personally. 

Ok, come Monday, I’m going to want to hear what you’ve been doing.  Welcome to Year 2 of the Independence Days Challenge!


115 Responses to “Independence Days Challenge, Year Two!”

  1. curiousalexaon 28 Apr 2009 at 9:28 am

    I’m in. I need someone reminding me it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done!

  2. [email protected]on 28 Apr 2009 at 9:28 am

    Plant: In the last few days I got our laying hens back from their winter camp and installed them in their newly renovated mobile coop and pen. I planted chard, beets, nasturtiums, and some new greens I am trying out this year: fenugreek and salad burnet. Also a few potatoes went into the ground and this week I’ll plant more. More transplanting of volunteer ground cherry seedlings too.

    Harvest/Preserve: Nothing yet to preserve. We’ve harvested from some volunteer mustard greens, a little arugula and mixed herbs, and our lettuces. And now eggs, of course.

    Reduce: With the hens back, tiny food scraps are feed once more, rather than compost.

    Prep/Storage: I’m keeping an eye out at the spring yard sales for more canning jars.

    Community: I have a few small lettuces to go to the soup kitchen later this month.

    Eat: I made a simple spaghetti dish with stuff from the garden added to an olio et aglio (oil and garlic) base: chopped mustard greens, sage, oregano, chives, and our eggs fried sunny side up, along with some parmesan. The herbs were chopped, the mustard greens chopped and blanched, and the eggs fried in the olio et aglia. All that was tossed into the hot pasta, and the cheese mixed in. Simple and tasty.

  3. d.a.on 28 Apr 2009 at 9:33 am

    I’ll probably have to pare down even that small list, and have a goal of doing such things only once a week, but I’ll join in.

  4. DEEon 28 Apr 2009 at 9:45 am

    Count me in. Although I’ve been a gardener/home preserver of food for over 42 years the list keeps me thinking of other things I can do–mainly in the community where I’ve been giving alot of plants away from our greenhouse . Neighbors are finding their local nurseries are really low on plants. Hmmm…maybe I should expand my greenhouse efforts next year? Plant more cole crops for fall gardens this year?

    Been putting away rhubarb,dehydrated some as an experiment and tried a wonderful new rhubarb pie recipe that includes 1/2 cup strawberry jam(my homemade,of course) that is over the moon…first pie gone in less than an hour!!!!! DEE

  5. Carynon 28 Apr 2009 at 9:50 am

    Perfect timing! Since I’m starting from scratch I’m going to focus more on preparing for an emergency first, then see what else I can fit in. I haven’t gardened since we moved to our current home and am starting that up again this year. A friend thinned her strawberries last week and offered me some, so I had four sets of little hands helping me did up a bed. We’re establishing the vegetable patch next week, so while our harvest will be late, we’re atleast doing something this year that we can begin to build on.

    Thank you for providing so much information. Your compassion and concern for others really shines through in your writing. Caryn

  6. MEAon 28 Apr 2009 at 10:05 am

    Going by the week:

    Planted 50 Strawberry plants, three courrents, 5 blackberries (soft fruit week, it seems)

    Harvested what must be the very, very last of the wintered over carrots, some new greens

    Preserved nah

    Reduced/Managed picked up a load of free fire wood for wood burning godson and his mother.

    Preped collected all the canning jars that had migrated to other jobs around the house, garage and garden

    Community — watered the cabbage for the soup kitchen (now,that’s a stretch)

    ate — salad made from what was harvested.

  7. Susan in NJon 28 Apr 2009 at 10:06 am

    I like the slimmed downed categories — one comment on prep/store, which you define as “stuff you’ve done that isn’t food” and then provide the example of “buy some more rice.” In my house, rice is food; in fact, my partner would probably put an equal sign in that sentence. So I think the definition could use a little tweaking, but what can you expect of a lawyer with training in theoretical mathematics . . .

  8. Kathieon 28 Apr 2009 at 10:12 am

    I’m in…

  9. Wendyon 28 Apr 2009 at 10:14 am

    Count me in! I’ll post my updates each Monday on my own blog – to save space on yours ;) .

    I also wanted to mention that I’ve just been reading Carla’s amazing book. It is chock full of really great information, and I just love her “we’re just having a chat” style of writing. It’s like she’s standing there giving me advice. Much of her advice is even applicable for my “suburban” homestead. While some of the things she advises, I would not do, I highly recommend it as an amazing overall resource.

  10. Lynneton 28 Apr 2009 at 10:22 am

    I’m in, though I’m looking at weekly requirements rather than daily. I have some physical challenges to overcome.

    I didn’t exactly participate last year, but I did put up tons of stuff which we’re still eating. I also started and still manage a local-foods food cooperative. We have 80 members and did $18,000 worth of business last year.

    In the next couple of weeks I will be teaching a class in food storage to coop members.

  11. Maryon 28 Apr 2009 at 10:22 am

    I’m in! I set a goal for myself this year to grow as much food for my angora rabbits as possible and it’s opened up a whole new area of gardening ;-)

    So far this week I’ve up-potted tomatoes, artichokes, luffa and several herb/flower plants and planted peas, cabbage, cauliflower and chard.

  12. Heatheron 28 Apr 2009 at 10:28 am

    I’m in.

    Planted: red skin potatoes and Laratte fingerlings (sprouted in the pantry)

    Harvest/Preserve: Nothing yet, but I did notice the dandelions are up….

    Reduce: Outdoor laundry line is up! Now I can hang dry the towels and sheets (there really isn’t enough room for that in the apt).

    Prep/Storage: Inventorying things, seeing what needs cooking next. Still have some squash and pumpkins, which need cooking.

    Community: Posting all these activities to my LJ.

    Eat: Lentils and rice and other things in storage.

  13. Ginaon 28 Apr 2009 at 10:42 am

    Definitely in! This week marks week 52 for me and last year’s IDC. I had a goal to complete the year. So, starting next week I will try (operative word!!) to update weekly on my blog most likely on Sunday. Looking forward to another year of Independence Days!

  14. KCon 28 Apr 2009 at 11:13 am

    I’m in.

  15. Marieon 28 Apr 2009 at 11:15 am

    I’m in! I’ve been moving ahead on this idea for months and love the idea of a weekly report in to keep me moving ahead. Thanks for all of your information, guidance and support!

    I’ll write in on Mondays as well as posting it on my blog. And the icon would be great when you have a chance. I’d love to post it on my blog as well.

    Okay, so, just this past week…

    Plant Something:
    planted parsnips, turnips and radishes outside. Prepped some indoor seedling trays. Built , filled and planted a raised bed of cranberry bushes

    Harvest Something:
    Cut chives from the herb garden for egg dishes and salads
    Harvesting asparagus as it shoots up

    Preserve Something:
    A little intimidated by this. One of my challenges for this year.

    Reduce Waste:
    On our last roll of paper towels with no plans to buy more. We’re replacing with baskets of clean rags in strategic places.

    Preparation and Storage:
    Expanded our basement food storage area and updated food storage inventory. Located an old storm door and some plans online for making our own food dehydrator

    Build Community Food Systems:
    Talked with a few friends about how to take the next step with organizing their pantries and expanding them.

    Eat the Food:
    Ate all the asparagus that we’ve harvested so far. Loving the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies from Cynthia Lair’s “Feeding the Whole Family” great food storage cookies. And a very tasty treat!

  16. risa bon 28 Apr 2009 at 12:14 pm

    1. Plant Something: planted Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce and some kohlrabi in flats, golden edible-pod peas in the garden, moved some wintered-over chard, ditto parsley, rhubarb and sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), and potted-on some peppers — I forget what kind. Silly me.

    2. Harvest Something: Bigleaf maple bracts (yes, edible and nutritious and not at all bad), kale, Egyptian onions, elephant garlic bulbs, stems and leaves, leeks, chard, romaine lettuce, broccoli leaves, spearmint, peppermint, parsley, chives, dandelions, rosemary, marjoram, red cabbage leaves, duck eggs, goose eggs, chicken eggs. We discussed culling a hen but she’s still in the land of the living — it was 80F here today and I’ll wait for the cold front to roll in.

    3. Preserve Something: Ummm, painted three windowsills! Does that count? :)

    4. Store Something: Put away some bigleaf maple bracts, and a soup, froze a loaf of our “spring” bread.

    5. Manage Reserves: Eating down freezer things for more freezer space (some lamb coming in next week); apples, pear sauce, bok choi, blueberries, blackberries. Added to our stash of Gasoline, with a dollop of stabilizer in each container. Bought Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth and Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman (I recommend buying Ashworth, and other goodies, through Sharon’s online Amazon store).

    6. Cook Something New: Never used the maple bracts in bread and pancakes before, just in stir-fries. We’ll call this “spring bread” — also contains dandelions, chard, green onions, kale, and the like. Healthy! Healthy! Healthy!

    7. Prep Something: mulched and weeded around all the new trees and the strawberries. Noticed buds on the figs, nectarines and quinces, and the new pears and cherries are in leaf! Put up the wall brackets above the south-side windows — as summer approaches, we’ll make burlap awnings and bolt them to these. Well, screw them, actually, but, oh, that doesn’t sound right … umm, and split some firewood. Oh, and! Chitting five pounds of German Butterball spuds from Seed Savers Exchange.

    8. Reduce Waste: We have formed a habit of collecting everything that might otherwise go down the drain and using it in watering gardens and fruit trees. “Household liquid manure” included. Due to the presence of considerable poultry manure in bedding for compost, we’re also on a three-heap rotation in an effort to keep the manure off the garden for ninety days. This weekend I emptied the garden heap onto the garden beds, the under-the-barrel heap into the garden heap, the barrel into the the under-the-barrel heap, and the under-roost bedding into the barrel. The under-roost bedding was … very ripe! Yeesh!

    9. Learn a New Skill: built a portable shed for the new Ancona ducklings, who are already chasing flies and taking turns in their bath water.

    10. Work on Community Food Security: Our son still works at the food bank gardens, and he and Beloved are now Master Gardeners and are attending the badge ceremony tonight (New Skill here too!). They put in their first shift at the extension office today!!

    11. Regenerate What Is Lost: Am serializing an amazing book via blog posts: A Self-Supporting Home, by Kate V. St. Maur, published over one hundred years ago. How to build a profitable poultry, mixed stock, orchard and beekeeping operation on no capital and without access to electricity, a combustion engine, or Monsanto.

  17. Sarahon 28 Apr 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I love the “Eat the Food” category — I tend to get excited about making preserved things that I don’t actually eat. *eyes pickles resignedly*

    I’m going to try for some window herbs at work where I actually have a sunny window, but I’m giving up on the front yard. No sun, no good soil, and the landlord is just going to flatten it again.

  18. kristineon 28 Apr 2009 at 12:28 pm

    i just recently started back in with finishing up the year so i’m in! this was most helpful last year to keep me going. and it made me realize i was doing a heck of a lot even with 2 rambunctious little ones afoot. :)

  19. Abbieon 28 Apr 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I’m in :)

  20. Susanon 28 Apr 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I’ll post here but I’ll have pictures on my blog about the progress; I will probably have to post on Tuesdays because I work every other Monday.

    Plant something: wow. way too much to post here. DH helped me plant out nearly all of the beds on Sunday.

    Harvest something: well, I tried to interest DH in eating the weeds — wild mustard is about a foot tall on the side of our house but he was having none of it other than reluctantly chewing a leaf I thrust at him :)

    Preserve something: not yet

    Reduce waste: still feeding the chickens our veggie waste and leftovers. Haven’t done any managing reserves other than to just check the jar lids to make sure there’s still a seal.

    Prep/Storage: purchased 80 lbs of mortar to build my back patio — which will eventually have a grape arbor over it, and to build some raised beds along the side of the house for my jasmine to trellis over the windows. I’ll be using native stone.

    Community Food System Building: DH and I have decided to have an open house in a month or so when the garden really starts fleshing out; we can have fliers made up about references, handy stats, resources, and possibly offer services for those interested (for a fee). There are so many people who have been amazed at what we produce in such a small area that I think it would be worthwhile. Also, spoke with one of the HOA board members about starting a community garden.

    Eat the food: well, we’re eating our hens’ eggs nearly every day; we just ate the last of the frozen tomatoes two weeks ago; our lettuce will be big enough to begin foraging probably next week, and we are eating onions from the perennial beds regularly.

  21. Cassandraon 28 Apr 2009 at 1:00 pm

    ummmm… it’s still snowing here, not usual for here this time of year but it is what we are dealing with! So far this year:

    1. Plant something – Trying to grow our own transplants: tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, & Eng. cukes. Giving the greenhouse something to do: beets, lettuce, Swiss chard, & radishes. Planted pansies in the protected front flowerbed, very cheery!

    2. Harvest something – Nothing yet, rhubarb is getting close, the parsley could be pinched, Oh! I did nibble some mint!

    3. Preserve something – zip

    4. Reduce waste – Used my cloth bags at the grocery store. still composting and reclycling. WAY too much driving since 14yo ds is on crutches and can’t walk or bike where he needs to go.

    5. Preparation and Storage – Contemplated what we need to preserve more of and what was a waste of time and effort. Starting to refill the pantry after helping a family from church. Eyeing up the junk storage room, planning to toss the junk and make it my new canning room :o )

    6. Build Community Food Systems – Shared pantry items. Shared seeds. Swapped seeds. Talking about who has too many transplants of *** and trading them for our excess **** once it warms up. Watching the 100 mile diet challenge, thinking ahead. Planning on a permablitz to help priest’s family start gardening, with 3 little kids they could use a workbee to turn weedy side yard into garden space. FIL, dh and ds fenced that yard for them last weekend, made it usuable space.

    7. Eat the Food – Grinding CSA wheat for bread, rolling CSA oats for cookies and oatmeal, local lentils for casseroles. All canned tomatoes GONE. Nearly all green beans gone. Big hole on jam shelves. All honey gone. still hae lots of dried mint, wonderful for tea. Haven’t touched canned corn. Had to toss all pumpkins unused, need to find good recipies for these. Reevaluating what to store.

    Upcoming week: lots less! Darn weather!

  22. Kation 28 Apr 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Also signing up for the “year”! So far we’ve got seedlings sprouting over at the FIL’s, and I’ve got a pot with one pepper plant and 3 lettuce plants in my kitchen window. The pepper plant is from the pepper seeds that I saved last year from the Chervena Chushka seeds I bought from SSE. My first effort in seed saving was successful!!!!! And I passed some of the seeds on to about 8 of my friends here in town, and at least one of them has had success of her own with the seed I gave her. *grin* It’s working!

    Other than that, cleared the leaf-mulch off my strawberry bed on Sunday, and pulled the dead plants out of my bean-patch, my barrels for tomatoes and zucchini, and cleared away last year’s dried, dead leaves from my chive and rhubarb plants. My chives have little green stublies poking up through the dried clippings of last year’s last harvest, and my rhubarb has red knobs but no leaves yet. My first harvest or two of rhubarb is going to go to the hubby’s boss in exchange for some moose-meat he gave us this winter. And, I’m thinking that the bigger of my two plants could use a division this fall, which I’ll probably give to the boss as well, if he’d like it at his place.

  23. sindeeon 28 Apr 2009 at 1:24 pm

    I’m in!

  24. Kathleenon 28 Apr 2009 at 1:24 pm

    I’m ready to join in! Have read with great interest everyone else’s posts over the last year, but it’s time to participate. Does anyone else split a lot of this with DH? He does all the planting. I harvest and cook. He cans and bakes bread. I handle food storage issues. He deals with compost. I guess this will be a combined posting for us. Anyone else share these things? I’d like to hear!

  25. Karmaon 28 Apr 2009 at 1:25 pm

    This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I master my life. My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than any enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will….

  26. Caton 28 Apr 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Count me/us in! I do the tracking and blogging, but all the work is definitely a joint progress in our household. Teamwork all the way!

    As overwhelming as Spring seems, I think it’s an awesome idea to keep track and note progress. Otherwise, I think I’d get lost in it all and end up walking right past some serious opportunities.

    I think I’m going to plan on Monday recaps in my blog – easier to keep track that way. I’m off to do one for today (a day late)….

  27. Green Assassin Brigadeon 28 Apr 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I’m in

    1. Planting has just started in ontario, with onions peas carrots, parsnips, letuce and radishes were all put in this last weekend. I also started small patches of hard wheat and amaranth, to increase my seed stocks,

    inside I’ve got strawberries, tomatoes, tomillatos and cabbage up and growing well, but I’m having issues with hot peppers and sunberries germinating, I’ve never eaten or planted a sunberry before so I don’t know what to expect for speed or vigor but if they don’t get moving soon they will be too small or two late to take advantage of our short season

    6. community systems – I’ve planted far more inside then I will ever have room for just so I could have extra to give away and encourage others to start growing something.

    4. reducing waste. I usually only cook on weekends because of my long commutes, my wife typically shops to a food plan we can never keep so we end up with left overs or never cooked stuff by the end of week which too often gets tossed. I’m trying to do more during the week as I don’t need a recipe and can just make something with what ever is left. It’s often just bachelor survival food but it gets everything used up.
    I’m doing weekly bread baking, saving packaging and money.

    5. I did some scrounging at garage sales on the weekend and picked up some power free entertainment for the kids in the form of a never opened twister game, and some homemade pottery suitable for planters or gifts. all for $5

  28. Carlaon 28 Apr 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I’m in again – I really sloughed off over the winter. And I need something to jolt me into action instead of just coasting along, waiting the change of lifestyle that about to happen…

  29. Gabrielleon 28 Apr 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I’m signing up for the year, and I’m hoping it will help me to continue working on my goals. I must say that this year’s planting has been much more enjoyable b/c I’ve told myself that I only must plant one item each day. Somehow knowing that I only have to do that much makes it much more enjoyable and I end up spending quite a bit of time planting numerous things.

    This week so far:
    Planting–basil, yarrow, squashes (summer and winter), bush beans, filet beans, 160 onions, 3 more pounds of potatoes.

    Harvest–we ate the first of our salad greens by thinning the spinach and butterhead lettuce. Pulled some spring onions to add to various dishes. Does it count that my 3 year old eats her fill of pea sprouts and beet sprouts before we come in?? :)

    Preserve something–nothing yet

    Reduce waste–cleaned out pantry, continue recycling at home and church and composting, have started collecting the coffee grounds from our church to compost

    Prep and storage–added to emergency car kit, added to stockpile via grocery shopping

    Build Community Food Systems–manage our church’s food pantry, use coupons to build up food pantry there, received 8-10 blood glucose meters and am donating to a birthing center for low income mothers who might have a dx of gest. diabetes, am leading a “Couponing in Critical Times” class this Saturday in Knoxville in which the running theme will be the importance of building a stockpile and being more involve in one’s community, collecting donations at workshop for food pantry and dental care items for Interfaith Health Clinic, dropped off toiletries to a lady I met at Walgreens who has many needs

    Eat the food–I have no problem in this area. :) I don’t have any exciting recipes to tell people about–maybe in the next few weeks.

    Thanks for this!!

  30. Besson 28 Apr 2009 at 3:27 pm

    I’m in!

  31. Brookeon 28 Apr 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I’m in!

  32. sealanderon 28 Apr 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Well, it’s Autumn down here in opposites land:
    Planted: broad beans and leeks. Since the frosty weather is late in coming, my tomatoes and beans are still in so I might be able to squeeze some more brassicas in when they finally come out.
    Harvested: picked the half ripe Fuyu persimmons off my front garden trees on the street side, because someone has been picking them and kicking them up and down the street. They should ripen up in the house. Started picking quinces. Got most of the figs before the birds found them. Still got buckets of table grapes, have made jam, sauce, and raisins from them but none of the end products were particularly good, so the surplus is fattening up the chickens instead.
    Preserved: Not this week, but the persimmons will be dried once ripe, and I’ll make jam from the quinces.
    Cooking: Just got a slow cooker so I’ve been learning how to make best use of that. Lots of stews from cheap cuts of meat. Also made a fruit crumble from my figs……first time in years there’s been enough ripe figs to use, because I took some trees out and gave them more sunlight.
    Storage: Stacked 4 cubic metres of Oregon pine in garage. And then the next door neighbour decided to top his enormous eucalyptus and dropped most of it in our yard. Got another 2 cubic metres of wood out of that, for next year’s fires. But several garden beds got totally squashed in the process, so I’ll probably have to buy some seedlings to replant my leafy green bed. On the plus side now that the tree is gone that area gets full sun so I’ll be able to grow a lot more there come spring.

  33. ctdaffodilon 28 Apr 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I’m in –
    I like reading what everyone else is up to too. here are the last 24 hrs for me
    * baked bread
    * Shopped to replenish some stored food we had eaten.
    * Watered my little pots of seeds & dirt (veggies)
    * hung out laundry
    * sorted kid clothes to donate the stuff too small
    * cleaned some of the house

    next 24 I will
    help at school
    re-sort pantry / double check dates
    continue clothes sort
    more laundry…
    dinner from scratch

  34. Saaraon 28 Apr 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Count me in! I’ll be updating on my blog on Mondays.

  35. Judyon 28 Apr 2009 at 7:36 pm

    I’m in. I joined late last year but I’m game to start fresh. I posted yesterday on my blog with last year’s categories. I usually post my update on Mondays so that will be consistent. Here’s a brief summary of the last week:
    1. Plant something- planted 50 strawberry plants and managed to till my new garden space.
    2. Harvest something- a few chives.
    3. Preserve something- only my sanity!
    4. Reduce waste- used cloth bags at the store, composted and recycled as usual. We’re trying to repurpose lighting from some demolition work that we’re doing.
    5. Preparation and storage- we pulled off the ultimate prep! Last Monday we closed on the purchase of an acreage. We’ve now got 5.74 acres, a run down old house, barn and machine shed. Now, we just have to get it livable and get the garden in in the next few weeks.
    6. Community Food systems- Ate our grass fed beef from a local farmer but otherwise not much this week. We’ve been too busy at the new house. Our local Farmer’s market starts on Saturday so I’m excited about that.
    7. Eat the food- we ate almost entirely from stores since I didn’t really make the time to go to the grocery store. Grass fed beef, one of the last few jars of canned tomatoes, frozen corn and cherries from last year, homemade jam, salsa and chutney.
    It will be an adventure to see if we can pull off rehabing the old house and putting in the garden at the same time. I feel like I’m behind on my garden but we’ve owned the land for only a week so I guess I’m doing okay.

  36. TLEon 28 Apr 2009 at 9:48 pm

    I’m another Autumn, Southern Hemisphere person, container gardening in a shady rental backyard. Here’s my week:

    Plant something: planted coriander & spinach. Started mushroom farm in my backyard gardening cupboard.

    Harvest/eat something: Ate the last garden tomatoes & some greens from the garden over the weekend. The basil is struggling on, we may be able to nurse it for a couple of months.

    Store/prep something: Bought some longlife/tetrapak tofu & juice for the pantry, a pack of 10 virogard masks for public transport in flu season (you never know…), and giant bag of tea-light candles. Identified a prolific choko (chayote) vine in a nearby laneway – will investigate.

    Manage reserves: rotated all the 09 expiry soymilk to the front of the shelf.

    Reduce waste: Added our food scraps to my bokashi bin, and fed my plants with the run-off liquid.

  37. Chileon 28 Apr 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Count me in. I’m disappointed that we won’t be moving to a new place where I can really get a fresh start on this, but I’ll do as much as I can here.

  38. Toddon 28 Apr 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Anyone seen Toby Hemenway’s latest? What a relief that there will be no food crisis.

    If I understand correctly:

    1. We’ll stop using fossil fuels for other things so that we can continue to use them for industrial ag.
    2. We’ll stop exporting food so that we have enough at home.
    3. Gummint has the necessary foresight not to let anyone get hungry.

  39. Baked Ballerinaon 28 Apr 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Tomorrow, will be planting more melons, summer squash and cucumbers where some earlier seeds did not germinate. Will also replant sunflower seeds at each end of the long basin now that the bird netting provides a clear don’t-you-dare boundary. Might also introduce a few more watermelon seeds near where, instead of the expected seedlings, a little mesquite now grows.

    Been munching on chual leaves for a while, and the Native greens are not turning out to be a super favorite. Orach has more potential with the taste buds, it seems, although need to learn more about both before final verdict is in.

    Preparing to dehydrate via the sun in the coming months. Been concentrating on building trays and having simple yet adequate set up to work with. Do people use mostly electric dehydrator, I wonder. Continue to learn about techniques in this area.

    Doing fairly well in the reducing waste category. Trying to be mindful of preferred purchases made for Mum, who now recycles milk jugs and yogurt containers in my direction for future gardening use.

    Working on adding rice to the storage this week always thinking of other people’s needs and at least doubling as I go. Couldn’t do it without books, and ordering a few new titles tonight. Will work on adding more storage shelves in the kitchen area, and it helps me when I can see what I have.

    Continue to plant with Community Food Bank in mind, and this is becoming a natural planning response.

    Cooking more is a constant resolution. Difficult to generate appropriate level of energy for all this involvement sometimes. Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer last week, and must now undertake that supportive journey with her.

    Was there a self-care category before? Been longing to soak my tootsies in some rainwater! Oh, my……;)

    Thank you, Sharon, and best to everyone!!

  40. NMon 29 Apr 2009 at 12:22 am

    I’m in!
    We signed up for a year-round CSA in January, and since I was inundated with cabbage and beets, I finally made borscht. It was tasty, and I was very happy to find another way to cook cabbage and beets.
    The peas are a couple of inches tall, and I just harvested all the overwintered leeks and stuck them in the fridge. Now it’s full of leeks, and I can eat them roasted to my heart’s content.
    And my celery has come back, and is making little stalks, which is exciting; grew it for the first time last year, so it is an entertaining novelty. Especially since it’s red. My goal is to save a couple of plants, and save their seed when it bolts. Also harvested some overwintered brussels sprouts rapini (never made sprouts; planted it too late, along with some kale), but it survived heavy snow and cold and made a few little stalks of rapini for me, and the kale is growing nicely. So, with those and the leeks and the celery, I can finally say I have successfully (sort of) winter gardened!!

  41. mnfnon 29 Apr 2009 at 1:27 am

    I’m in!
    Another southern-hemisphere-er, and someone who just moved house on the weekend. There are grand plans for the garden, but at the moment I’ll settle for find a key for the back door. In the last week:

    Plant – cuttings from the rosemary at old house, saffron crocuses in a pot
    Harvest – last of the tomatoes (finishing them off tonight when I pull them out), basil
    Preserve – does digging up and moving thyme, marjoram, clove basil and nasturtiums, plus pots of carrots, count?
    Reduce Waste – fail
    Preparation and storage – new pantry double the size of the old one – no I can actually fit things to store!
    Community food systems – started shopping at the local wholefoods store, found a great local butcher
    Eat – also fail. Finding the kettle has been an achievement!

  42. English Animiston 29 Apr 2009 at 4:38 am

    I’m in. This will be a first for me and I have a lot of work to do.

    This weekend I am attending Sharon’s talk and booksigning in Maine and then heading north to harvest fiddleheads on Sunday.

    I started my bulk food buying and have 50 pounds of rice and 50 pounds of beans stored so far along with canned fruit, beans and tomatoes.

    Need to start a garden this year and hope to start work on the soil next week.

    That’s it for now. Will try to get more organized and use the categories next time.

  43. lindaon 29 Apr 2009 at 5:35 am

    I missed it last year but followed somewhat informally. I’m in!

  44. Independence Day Challenge «on 29 Apr 2009 at 5:43 am

    [...] Day Challenge 2009 April 29 by linda You might want to head on over to Causoban’s Book to join in on this years challenge. I missed out last year but will be particpating this year. If [...]

  45. Susan in Seattleon 29 Apr 2009 at 8:36 am

    Plant Something: Well, after being a miserable failure at this last year, I’m having raging success so far this year. The Spinach, Kale, and Mustard greens I planted back in November are beginning to bolt now but have been being fed to the chickens every day for weeks. I know, I know, but I really dislike greens. I’m trying to like them though. I promise. In the last few weeks I’ve planted more spinach and collards, beets, garlic, fava beans, pole beans, chives, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, potatoes. All but the potatoes are sprouting now.

    Harvest Something: As I mentioned, the greens get harvested everyday for the “chicken salad” I make every morning. I tend to pick the radishes and munch on them as I wander by, and nothing else is harvestable yet.

    Preserve Something: Nothing yet this year, but I had a surplus of eggs the other day and gave them to a friend for her birthday. The next day someone somewhere mentioned pickled eggs and I had an “aha!” moment. Next surplus = pickled eggs.

    Reduce Waste: Between the dog and the chickens, the only food products that go to waste are the very rare ones that get lost at the back of the fridge and actually go moldy. The only things that go into the compost bin are banana and citrus skins, onion and garlic skins, and stems of all kinds. Oh, and chicken poop.

    Prep and Store: I shopped for the apocalypse all last fall and still have most of the pantry products I purchased. I do need to restock the tomato sauce and rice. I’m planning to can my garden goods this year, to add to the stores.

    Build Community: I can’t say I do this much in my own neighborhood, but there’s some discussion and enthusiasm around my gardening efforts among friends and co-workers, and I think some of that has been the impetus for starting or building upon their own gardens. I’ve also built a community around my chickens, in that people bring me thair wilting veggies for the ladies all the time :)

    Eat the Food!: I have to admit I have some trouble with this, so far. I’m growing things I’ve never grown before and it’s hard not to just view them as pretty plants. I do eat the eggs from my girls almost daily, in one form or another, and I’ve no trouble with the tomatoes and basil later down the line. I just need to learn to make salads and stir fries with what I have growing now.

  46. Dianaon 29 Apr 2009 at 9:57 am

    I have been following several IDC participants over the past year and I am excited to join in this year too!

  47. Harmonyon 29 Apr 2009 at 10:25 am

    I’m in! Adding a raised bed to my gardening efforts this year, the “lawn” is getting smaller!

  48. Kathyraeon 29 Apr 2009 at 10:57 am

    This resonates with me!!
    Planted my first garden with organics………compost, manure, seaweed instead of the usual! Built raised beds from old picnic table (before treated lumber); companion gardening; soil feedings.
    Built rain barrels with rain chains; used salvaged guttering; raised barrels on bricks from old homestead.
    Looking into dairy source – Nubian goats or miniature Jersey – can’t decide.
    But the goats must be hot commodity- 20 were stolen from local farm.
    Starting a garden at local rehab center to teach clients basic gardening and cooking.
    Will categorize in the future!!

  49. Amberon 29 Apr 2009 at 11:03 am

    I would like to sign up for this challenge.



  50. katuahon 29 Apr 2009 at 2:10 pm

    *checks invisible YES tickybox* I was doing this last year informally, but maybe signing up as an “official” reporting participant will help me broaden our scope of effort this year – mainly, in remembering to reduce waste, and store more.

    off we go.

  51. katuahon 29 Apr 2009 at 2:13 pm

    oh, and speaking of which – can anyone tell me how you can “store” eggs? we have a surplus from our egg CSA… and I hate to let anything go bad… but I honestly can’t think of what you can do with an egg that will make it keep longer than just sitting in the fridge.

  52. Uncle Yarraon 29 Apr 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Here’s what I do.
    You can see the chicken coop at the side, too.
    There are other gardens near the house.
    Broccolli, lettuce, strawberries, broad beans (got some cool purple flowered ones this year as well), going over the last of the tomatoes. Pumpkins will be ready soon.
    P.S. I’m in Australia and have a greenhouse, so cropping is all over the place time-wise compared to most of you here.

  53. Uncle Yarraon 29 Apr 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Go to page 4, has better pictures…

  54. Claireon 29 Apr 2009 at 10:08 pm

    OK, I’ll report weekly here. I don’t have a blog and don’t want to commit to having one, but I keep a paper record for my own use. I live in suburban St. Louis, MO and have had 4.3″ of rain so far in April, with a flash flood watch out for tonight (may affect preparation of garden beds). What’s below is what I’ve done in the past week.

    Plant something: collard and onion seedlings, fingerling potatoes. I’m in the middle of preparing the bed where most of the rest of the cool-weather seedlings will go.

    Harvest something: sorrel, wild lettuce, green garlic, green onions, asparagus, shiitake and wild mushrooms.

    Preserve something: nothing yet, but I’m watching for when the herbs and lambsquarters size up enough to start drying.

    Reduce waste: I’m weighing the trash and recycling so I know how much we are generating, with an eye to reducing it. Hung the laundry on clothes racks to dry. Am in the process of building a new compost pile (this is ongoing as I collect green waste from the garden and layer with last fall’s leaves). Mowed half the lawn with the (human-powered) reel lawn mower.

    Prep/store: I watch the stored goods so I can reorder them in bulk through our food co-op, when needed. Just put ordering salt on the list.

    Build community: we shared the excess uneaten veggies we bought for a party with our neighbor, also gave her the sack of seed potatoes I didn’t end up using so she can plant them in her garden.

    Eat the food: all the stuff we harvested, most of it (except the mushrooms and asparagus) as a salad.

  55. homebrewlibrarianon 30 Apr 2009 at 12:08 am

    I had trouble posting weekly last year so I’m just going to follow along informally. I got some of the best ideas from last year’s postings! However, I started keeping a garden journal last year and *that* has been a pearl beyond price when I began seed starting in January (peppers).

    This year I decided to squander some electricity and bought some seed starting heat mats plus I have a set of shelves with two sets of natural spectrum fluorescent lights on each of four shelves. Since I kept the apartment temp at 55F through the winter, I figured I could afford a little extra electricity especially since my starts would do better with heat mats. This sort of backfired because now I have about two dozen two foot tall, bushy tomato plants in four inch pots! They are really starting to have problems but I may not have enough space for lots of bigger pots on my shelves.

    Anchorage today got into the low 60s but we’re still seesawing between slightly below freezing over night to mid to high 50s in the day. But we’ve got 16 hours of light and the ground is thawing fast.

    My report for today is that I planted 58 shell pea seeds that I collected from plants I grew last year. I have another 38 to plant tomorrow if they plump up from an overnight soaking. The bed is along a chainlink fence on the south edge of the property that I created on Sunday. Plenty of sun and an instant trellis!

    I’ve been eating almost entirely off my stored food since last fall which has showed me what I need to grow more of or purchase more of from my CSA this year – carrots and onions. I’m growing more peas than last year as well because ten pounds got used up pretty quickly.

    On the community front, one of my neighbors to the south says she’s going to try to grow some vegetables this year and that I’m going to be her “expert!” I think all she’ll try is carrots but it’s a start!

    Nothing to harvest (not even the weeds have sprouted yet) and nothing to preserve. Although I did see if 20 year old dried mung beans would actually sprout. Surprise! I’m getting about 50% germination! I’m also seeing if the amaranth I got at the natural food store will sprout because I’d use that to grow my own plants. Just with only soaking them overnight and sitting on one of the heat mats, lots of seeds have sprouted already!

    Looking forward to reading ID postings every week!

    Kerri in AK

  56. Katrienon 30 Apr 2009 at 5:59 am

    We’re ready for this now. Will blog on it soon, gotta go pot up my tomato seedlings first, before the morning rush starts.

  57. Hummingbirdon 30 Apr 2009 at 6:37 am

    Going to try again to participate.

  58. Karinon 30 Apr 2009 at 7:09 am

    I am in. I feel like I have been a bit distracted lately and this will help me to focus again. Thanks. I will post on my blog.

  59. Tracion 30 Apr 2009 at 11:15 am

    I loved doing this last year, and hope to accomplish even more this year.

    Vancouver, WA

  60. Laurieon 30 Apr 2009 at 11:53 am

    I’m going to post what my month looked like – weekly is just too frequently for me:

    Plant: onion sets; home-started broccoli, cabbage, and chard plants; direct seeded peas, broccoli raab, radishes, arugula, mustards, spinach, and very early beans. Also will start mushroom spawn in straw this weekend.

    Harvest: chives, asparagus, nettles, dandelion greens, and lots of eggs.

    Preserve: the last of the daikon radish and carrots from the root cellar into a lactoferment/kimchi. Will bottle homemade wine in a week or two.

    Reduce waste: line dried clothes in good weather, started collecting coffee grounds from work. Homemade pizza dough from scratch.

    Prep/Store: filled prescriptions for meds and supplies, bought a bunch of local meat on sale and re-filled the freezer. Also brooding a big batch of chicks, and making sure rabbit does are taking care of their babies well.

    Community: many, many volunteer activities.

    Eating: kraut, eggs, frozen tomatoes, pesto and peppers, garlic, jelly, meat, last of the potatoes.

    Springtime sure is busy…. Laurie

  61. fanddon 30 Apr 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I’m in! This is my first time so I look forward to accomplishing a lot and learning from the folks here.

  62. Karynon 01 May 2009 at 5:43 am

    Hi Sharon,
    I followed along last year but never posted about it. The mistake in doing this was I never actually could SEE the progress. I knew what I was doing but couldn’t see the total adding up.

    So please count me in. My goal will be to post on Mondays,on my blog, we will see how that goes.

    Everyone seems to have a great start.


  63. AnneTon 01 May 2009 at 6:19 am

    I’m in. I’ll start reporting on Monday. “Preserving” is interesting at this time of year in Southern Ontario. I have lots of dandelion greens in my driveway — so may dry the extra after I eat fresh; also I’m going to try drying/roasting the roots because you can use them for a coffee like beverage. Then in a couple of weeks it’s dandelion wine time! The last batch I made was nearly thirty years ago. I got equipment last year but never made any country wines. Will do it this year!

  64. Jessicaon 01 May 2009 at 1:20 pm

    AnneT – where do you live? I’m in SW Ontario and I don’t know anyone else preparing for whatever. Sometimes I feel a bit lonely and the odd one out. EVERYONE else I know except one person scoffs at my tentative comments about self-sufficiency and swears that nothing bad can happen.

    Plant: onions
    Harvest: lovage
    Reduce: sorting out crap for yard sale to make more storage room
    Prep: began price book today at Costco
    Community: sat on doorstep and said “hi” to everyone who passed
    Eat: lovage in soup and sourdough bread

  65. Jen C.on 01 May 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Most definitely! A good push to get back on track with this.

  66. Nicoleon 01 May 2009 at 7:29 pm

    I’m in! This will be my first year participating in this challenge. Here is my list for the week:

    1. Plant something – I planted beets, carrots, peas, spinach, lettuce, chard, and radishes this week. I’m in my 3rd year of square foot gardening in our (temporary) tiny back yard. My garden is a grand total of 48 square feet, plus containers.

    2. Harvest something – some hot chiles that have been growing in my bedroom all winter long.

    3. Preserve something – I dehydrated a few pounds of ginger, which I found on sale at a local grocery store. This will be stored and used to make ginger tea.

    4. Reduce waste – I’ve been reusing yogurt containers, now that I’ve been making my own yogurt at home.

    5. Preparation and Storage – I bought 150lbs of locally grown wheat (100lbs of hard spring and 50lbs of soft red), in addition to some other grains (25lbs of oat groats, rye, and spelt groats). This has been added to my storage in the basement, and will be ground into flour for bread as needed.

    6. Build Community Food Systems – I talked with a new coworker about fermentation. She gave me some ideas about new fermenting recipes, including fermented lettuce and grape leaves.

    7. Eat the Food – This week I’ve been eating up the last of my canned peaches from last summer’s preserves, mixed with my homemade yogurt.

  67. Nicoleon 01 May 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Jessica – I am also in SW ontario! Where abouts are you? I’m in K-W.

  68. robj98168on 02 May 2009 at 2:27 am

    Here is what I have been up to for the last week:
    Plant Something: 2 Bay Laurels, “jalapo” peppers, Kung Pao peppers, fennel, Sunflowers (for the birds); started watermelon seeds; corn, radishes, carrots, cabbage plants
    Harvest Something: Some corn salad plants that wintered over ; Chard -Yes I am overrun with chard!
    Preserve something: Tried dehydrating Chard following Chile’s process, and the last of the parsley for awhile; Made my own Frozen Mashed potato cubes. Bought a big block of Cheese, sliced it and grated part of it and froze the grated cheese for use later, small jar of Bay leaves from my Bay Laurel plants
    Store something: Mixed up some of what I call Mel’s Mix for potting. I use it in hanging planters. It’s pretty good in raised beds as well. Put it into 5 gallon buckets.Shredded some cheddar cheese and froze it -Yes I know it will be crumbly!
    Manage Reserves: Bought a Neuton Mower and plan on selling the old tractor! SAY IT ISN’T SO! But if I get the yard they way I want it I really won’t need the tractor anymore. Got a price quote on gravel for the front yard and driveway. Dirt and rocks don’t come cheap!
    Cooked something new- Papaya sorbet. Yes, I copied my McDougall fave with a new fruit
    Reduce Waste (recycle, reuse, reduce or compost something): Been making planters out of found objects, recycling other planters, Used the box my Nueton came in as weed block in one raised bed, used some pizza boxes as weed block in others.Got some new blades for my Cuisinart for nothing (mom was giving her Cuisinart to Salvation Army and her blades fit mine)! Now I can grate my own cheese in bulk and broccoli as well.
    Learn a New Skill: Took a “Solar Primer” class for the home put on by Seattle City Light and NW My Cabbage planters
    Seed. Very informative. Also Very expensive.
    The class discusses the incentives here in Washington on adding Solar Photo Voltaic and Solar Hot Water. Venture to guess I would go with Hot water to start, energy later. Found out through the class my garage and my house are good candidates for both!
    Work on Community Food Security: Offered some of my leftover plant starts on free cycle

    Melinda’s Growing Challenge Got more things planted- 2 Bay Laurels, “jalapo” peppers, Kung Pao peppers, fennel, Sunflowers (for the birds); started watermelon seeds; corn, radishes, carrots, cabbage plants

  69. robj98168on 02 May 2009 at 3:02 am

    I am not as talented as Ms. Chicken, but I did come up with a graphic, as it is

  70. Jessicaon 02 May 2009 at 10:48 am

    London :(

  71. Lisa Hon 03 May 2009 at 10:39 am

    I’m in…taking baby steps. I live in SF Bay Area:

    1. Plant something – n/a

    2. Harvest something – Foraged local oranges, meyer lemons and rangapur limes

    3. Preserve something – Made candied orange peel out of local organic orange peels that I had stored in the freezer. Gave some away as hostess gifts. I will use the sugar syrup from the peels to make meyer lemon limoncello.

    4. Reduce waste – We are really working on not wasting food, especially produce. We freeze all vegetable peelings for stock and fruit peels to candy and bits of leftover fruit for smoothies and muffins. We eat all our dinner leftovers for lunches.

    5. Preparation and Storage – This weekend we will purchase items to use a la H1N1. We’re set if we have just 1-2 weeks of quarantine but not for 1-2 months: rubbing alcohol and glycerin for HM hand sanitizer, TP, cough syrup, tissues, potassium chloride, gaterade mix, gloves, canned pineapple, applesauce.

    Garage sale: add’l bottle openers, guitar music, fleece vest, manual meat/food grinder

    6. Build Community Food Systems – Joined a local foraging group. This was awesome, we picked citrus fruit, learned how to make limencello and preserved citrus peels. People brought samples of preserved lemons, herbs, marmelades and tomato starts to share. I LOVE this group! Also, the salon owner who cuts my hair offered her 20+ citrus trees to pick. She is also willing to ‘host’ bees and keep hives on her property, we would share the honey; need to contact the local bee keeping society.

    7. Eat the Food – We get a weekly CSA box which we really try to finish and/or preserve. I have eaten all of the HM marmelade so it’s time to make more: local grapefruit, meyer lemons.


  72. [...] Independence Days Challenge [...]

  73. tarynkayon 03 May 2009 at 4:25 pm

    I planted something- for the first time EVER. I planted tomatoes and zucchinis and herbs and marigolds. And it was so much fun. I completely underestimated how much fun it would be, just to have my hands in dirt. I love dirt! I have decided that grownups have gardens because it is more socially acceptable than making mudpies in the backyard. So, that’s all I did. Just planting. Maybe in the future I will be more awesome.

  74. nicoleon 03 May 2009 at 5:30 pm

    I’m playing along too. I’ll post tomorrow.

    Thanks Sharon!

  75. Uncle Yarraon 03 May 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Cabbages (6 off).

  76. [...] Year 2, Week 1 Jump to Comments Sharon over at Casaubon’s Book has revived the Independence Day Challenge for a second year. She has revised the categories somewhat so that they [...]

  77. Week 1: Indepedence Day Challenge «on 04 May 2009 at 5:51 am

    [...] 2009 May 4 by linda I mentioned this challenge last week. To sign up for it yourself, visit Causobans Book. Its fun and it served the purpose of keeping me on track this week. I can’t wait to read [...]

  78. gaiasdaughteron 04 May 2009 at 7:36 am

    1. Plant something – replanted chard and okra to compensate for a less than stellar germination rate. I also planted three flower boxes with a mixture of leaf lettuces and rocket (arugula)

    2. Harvest something – harvested a couple of bell peppers from a bush that overwintered on my back porch and some radishes.

    3. Preserve something – Not this week. Florida has such a long growing season that fresh food is available year round – if not from the garden, at least from the wild. Preserving is not a biggie on my list – but it would be nice to learn a few tricks in case I ever need them.

    4. Reduce waste – Composting with and without worms. Worms look happy so far as I can tell. Recycling what I can. Reusing wine bottles to make a border for the beds along my walk — better known in quilting circles as drunkard’s path! Making my own yougurt in reuseable glass jars.

    5. Preparation and Storage — Baked bread using the method described in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois and made yogurt. Finished reading Toolbox for Sustainable City Living by Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew. While the book does not go into enough detail to be a true ‘how-to’ book, it does introduce a whole panoply of possibilities for what can be done in an urban (suburban, or even rural) setting. Ordered Depletion and Abundance by Sharon Astyk. Started an emergency pantry and began stocking with beans, rice, dried fruit and canned goods. Here on my sandbar in the Gulf of Mexico, our most likely emergency would be a hurricane – in which case the pantry might be gone with the wind. Hence, I’m building an emergency supply but in very limited amounts.

    6. Build Community Food Systems – Gave a loaf of homemade bread to a neighbor and took another neighbor on a tour of my garden.

    7. Eat the Food – The radishes and peppers went into a salad; bread and yogurt don’t last long in our house.

  79. Melissaon 04 May 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I’ll be doing this challenge this year too.

  80. Liseon 04 May 2009 at 1:07 pm

    I’m in again this year, but this time, will post on my new blog.
    :-) Lise

  81. [...] Posted by Kathie under Goal Keeping, Independence Days No Comments  I’m joining the Independence Days Challenge this year.  I wanted to last year but just couldn’t with the whole new house and the [...]

  82. Moon 04 May 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Count me in too! Just found this but loving it already. Can’t wait to get started. :)

  83. [...] have joined another challenge this year, the Independence Day Challenge. Well actually I followed along informally last year but found it was hard to keep track of my [...]

  84. Karynon 05 May 2009 at 8:17 am

    Here is this weeks…

    Not a great but a good start.


  85. Angieon 05 May 2009 at 9:25 am

    I’m late but I will join.

  86. Dion 05 May 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I’ve been doing the last one for a couple of months so ready to join in on the new year 2 challenge!

  87. [...] strive to do something productive in each category below. To read more about the challenge, visit Independence Days Challenge at Sharon Astyk’s blog. Sharon hinted at another challenge in the works that may be of interest, but no details yet. [...]

  88. Uncle Yarraon 10 May 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Garlic bulbs in. Also put some seeds in for onions, more broccoli and sweetpeas.

  89. Anisaon 12 May 2009 at 6:31 pm

    I’m late (and just reading your blog for the first time today), but I love the idea of this challenge! I’m in!

  90. Asparagus! « Schell Urban Homesteadon 12 May 2009 at 6:34 pm

    [...] blog, where it seems the challenge (at least on the web) started.  Check it out: Sharon’s Independence Days Challenge.  I really like the idea, and I’m going to try my hand at participating.  I hope you all [...]

  91. [...] Independence days challenge Posted on 13 May 2009 by babycatmama Found this on another gardener’s blog and thought it interesting, so I found the originating blog [...]

  92. [...] Days Challenge) Tags: Independence Days Challenge, mindfulness Mentally the third week of the Independence Days Challenge was much (much) better than last week.  I had a really good talk with one of the people at work [...]

  93. Jodyon 08 Jun 2009 at 7:08 am

    I’m in! This week, I will be dropping info at our local food pantry on . They have a directory where food pantries can register for Backyard Gardeners vs. Hunger in America, and gardeners can find local pantries where they can donate!

  94. [...] community, food storage, Independence Days Challenge Week 4, and I’m checking in with my Independence Days Challenge report.  I mentioned last week that I wanted to make an effort to hit these categories more [...]

  95. [...] community, food storage, Independence Days Challenge, questions, strawberries Week 5 in the Independence Days Challenge report.  This week I hit many of the categories, and found there is some overlap.  Which leads me [...]

  96. [...] been rotated out long ago reside, Jonathan Bloom’s Wasted Food blog, and Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge Item #4 (Reduce Waste) and #7 (Eat the Food), and Keith’s insistence that we could just drown [...]

  97. Naomion 21 Jun 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I’m in (late lol) will post on my blog weekly!

  98. [...] Tags: 2009 garden, eggplant, Independence Days Challenge, questions Week 6 report for the Independence Days Challenge.  It was a little difficult this past week since I was feeling sick, but here are my [...]

  99. [...] Tags: community, composting, Independence Days Challenge, pomona pectin Week 7 report for the Independence Days Challenge.  And I think it was a pretty good week – well, except for the “build community” [...]

  100. Harvesting Lunch « Two Frog Homeon 06 Jul 2009 at 3:13 am

    [...] Independence Days Challenge – Week 10 [...]

  101. [...] Independence Days Challenge – Week 10 [...]

  102. A Garden in Bloom « Two Frog Homeon 20 Jul 2009 at 3:54 am

    [...] Independence Days Challenge – Week 11 [...]

  103. [...] Independence Days Challenge, peaches, preserving I’m checking in with Week 9 of the Independence Days Challenge.  I missed Week 8 while I was traveling, and there really wasn’t anything to report, other [...]

  104. [...] planning, planting, preserving, winter garden Time for the Tuesday report for Week 10 of the Independence Days Challenge.  This week was similar to last, with the exception of a few new [...]

  105. [...] I’m going to talk about Sharon’s Independence Days Challenge. Over the last few months I found myself getting mired down in details, spending too much time [...]

  106. [...] eggplant, fall garden, farmers markets, Independence Days Challenge, planting Week 11 of the Independence Days Challenge.  Abbreviated report [...]

  107. [...] 12 of the Independence Days Challenge.  And this may be the fastest post ever as I try to get out the door to catch a train.  But [...]

  108. It’s time « Sad Little Gardenon 24 Aug 2009 at 2:38 am

    [...] going to join in the Independence Days Challenge – a little late, I know! My excuse is that it’s only just spring here. It somehow [...]

  109. [...] 13 of the Independence Days Challenge.  I can’t believe how quickly the days are passing.  And I’m already mourning the [...]

  110. [...] 14 of the Independence Days Challenge was an unusual one due to some food related health revelations (more in a separate post, as it [...]

  111. [...] gleaning, gluten free, peach sauce, pear sauce, preserving, volunteering Week 15 report of the Independence Days Challenge, but it doesn’t feel like Tuesday since yesterday was off from work for Labor Day here in the [...]

  112. [...] 12, 2009 Filed under: Food, Independence Days — Anisa @ 2:17 pm Wow twenty-two weeks at Sharon’s Independence Days already.  It’s been fun and eye opening to track all these little baby steps each week and [...]

  113. [...] Uncategorized | Tags: gardening, independence days I’m currently taking Sharon Asyyk’s Independence Days challenge, and have been posting results here. Today my copy of her book arrived at my post office box  WITH [...]

  114. [...] Independence Days Challenge, managing, seed catalogs, storage, winter Week 1 report of the Independence Days Challenge.  Its been a long time since I did an IDC report, and since its a new year, I thought I’d [...]

  115. [...] 13, 2010 by mangochild Another weekly update for Independence Days Challenge.  At this time of the year, it seems that there is little to report, but here [...]

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