Independence Days Update: Back In the Saddle Again

Sharon January 11th, 2010

It has been a while since I posted one of these – the frantic preparations for the workshop have been sucking up my time, as has the book, and I haven’t been doing much planting or preserving, although did do a little model-lactofermentation for my workshop, which we then forgot to taste.  Ah well, I’ll just have to eat kimchi and sauerkraut!

I’m about to enter the stage of book writing where I never look up from the computre, but I am allowing myself a 24 hour recovery period where I read a lot of seed catalogs and place a order for spices that I’ve been meaning to do for a month or two.  I’m also really, really looking forward to seed starting – it has now officially been winter long enough to make me crave dirt under my nails. 

There are important decisions to be made.  Will I grow cutting flowers to take to market this summer?  Which turnip is better?  How many cherry tomato varieties do six people really need, and how many will we actually be growing? (Note the distinction between these numbers).  What medicinal herbs will sell? 

I’ve also got to decide what bee start up I’m going to be working with – I’m exploring the merits of different approaches.  And then there’s the poultry order.  Isaiah and Simon are going to raise their own chickens for show and eggs for them to sell – they’ve picked Salmon Faverolles (Isaiah) and Birchen Cochin Bantams (Simon) and are already hatching (so to speak) small poultry empires in their heads.  Meanwhile we’re doing a homeschool project on how to keep records and calculate profits and expenses.

Two of my workshop attendees were rabbit experts, which was awesome, since I learned how to butcher them (hypothetically, we didn’t actually do any) and also a bit more about what to look for in rabbit stock.  We’ll be breeding the buns around the beginning of March – yay!  I’ve already made plans to donate some stock to a local urban community garden that is interested in adding rabbits for manure (and eventually encouraging interested participants to eat them).

It has been one heat cycle since Bast and Jesse were bred.  Bast went into false heat earlier this cycle, which might be a good sign (that she is knocked up) or might not.  Jesse’s not showing any signs (although she’s hard to detect.  The official verdict is…well, maybe.  I think Mina went into heat Wednesday, but I had no car and the boys were on their way to NY, so I’ll mark it down and hope for the next time.

We are starting to look for a buck – it is clear that with this many does, a buck is a needful thing, and we’ve got the space to house him.  So if anyone has a really good milking lines, Nigerian Dwarf buck to sell fairly in the greater Capital District or within a couple hours drive, drop me an email at [email protected]

We also now have ducks.  The ducks that magically appeared Christmas morning turn out to have been escapees from a ways up the creek.  The folks they escaped from didn’t have good housing for them and had assumed they were dead, and didn’t want them back.  So now our lone duck is joined by four more Pekins – I was planning on adding ducks to our snail patrol, and I’m feeling a little “ask and ye shall receive” about it ;-) .

The goats seem to be recovering from our attack of meningeal worm – Selene is still weak in the hind end, but she’s able to jump up on the stanchion consistently and is starting to push Maia (who was happy to take over as herd queen and was kind of a bitch about it ;-) ) away when food is on offer. 

All the animals agree with me that we should do more workshops, except Mina, who does not like strangers and thinks this is weird and that people should not be in our barn, except maybe me and Eric and only when we are feeding her.  Otherwise, the dog, the cats, the ducks the goats and other animals were thrilled by more people to love them, more scraps to eat and more attention. 

Most of all, though, it is time to write the book. I’m having a tough time with this one – my heart is in my farm plans and with my kids, not at the computer.  But there’s work to be done and I’m trying to get excited about writing a book that helps people find a way to live well with a lot less where they are and with what they have.  It does fill a need.  I do need to write it.

Ok, update:

Plant something: I stuck some garlic I found in pots, but otherwise, nada.

Harvest something: Eggs!  The chickens are starting to lay again – I got 3 one day, and have had an egg every day the last few.  Since we don’t light

Preserve something: Lactofermented kimchi and sauerkraut, canned some applesauce.

Waste not: Actually, I think I wasted extra.  In our cleanout of the house I found, ummm…a lot of scary things that simply had to be thrown away.  The usual composting and feeding of things to other things ensued, and I did manage to clean out some books and give them away.

Want Not: I can’t bring anything new in until everything goes into buckets like it is supposed to.  New resolution!  Oh, except my Penzeys order, which I haven’t placed yet, but which is forthcoming.  I’m out of chipotle powder, and that is not allowed to be.

Build community food systems – Does convincing 8 people that they want goats count?  I’m still doing a lot of radio, and will be doing some speaking in the upcoming months, but things have been busy. 

Eat the Food: Because I couldn’t get out shopping this week (car trouble) I had to pretty much feed everyone from my pantry, which worked out awesomely well (and my participants were incredibly kind and brought greens, cider, beer and baked goods to supplement - gotta love them!)  Singapore-style noodles with stir fried veggies were a hit, as was the chocolate banana bread pudding. 

How about you?


26 Responses to “Independence Days Update: Back In the Saddle Again”

  1. Lorna says:

    I would LOVE your recipe for chocolate banana bread pudding. It sounds delicious. Your workshop sounded like a lot of fun. Would you consider moving to southern Wisconsin!! Or you could come for a visit and hold a workshop here??

  2. Laurie in MN says:

    Glad to hear the goats are recovering. And ducks! Just what you wanted! Serendipitous at the very least.

    Am still recovering slightly from the holidays. We’ve cleaned out (almost) all the food from the holidays, and the refrigerator is looking bare, bare, bare. Have some (sort of bulk) apples in there still, and am feeling like I need to do some baking and possible apple sauce making with them. One of the two varieties is getting a little wrinkly, and the Picky Man I’m married to is unhappy about it. ;)

    With the cold snap this weekend we were able to defrost the freezer. The verdict is pretty firm — need to get a new one. The one we have is quite old, has water in the door, and the drain hose just broke off. Darling Husband would like a chest type, but there are space considerations. The positive thing is that just about *anything* we get is going to be more energy efficient than the one we have. I sense a romantic excursion to the appliance store sometime in the near future….after taking some measurements.

    Need to clean out the basement — 40 years of accumulated stuff of DH’s (we bought his mom’s house, he’s never really moved out with all the weeding and purging that entails) plus my entire early life and college stuff, plus pack rat tendencies for both of us. If we clean it out, we can a) have a heck of a garage sale this spring, and b) maybe have room to make a cool storage space/semi-root cellar. I foresee many weekends on this project…

    Trying to institute a weekly meal plan kind of deal — it’s much easier for me to have some sort of plan in place so I know what fresh thing needs to be used, what needs to come out of the freezer, and do I need to have Darling Husband stop by the grocery store/co-op on the way home? And maybe I can plan to use more of the stuff in the pantry that way, too. Also may come in handy for shopping more in bulk, although storage space is a consideration too.

    Starting to consider what to plant this spring, and do I want to go to the trouble of building some raised boxes in the garden? Space issues vs. building materials expenses vs. just using big containers. Also making a contingency plan just in case we get the community garden space this year — what would I plant there, what would I plant here, and what happens if I get a space mid-season? And will they let me overwinter garlic? Have done some mental planning, really need to write it down now! :)

    Will stop rambling now. The workshop sounded delightful!

  3. Julie says:

    So are you going to start beekeeping? If you are I hope you will share the process from the beginning as I (and probably many others) are thinking about this and feeling a little intimidated. It looks complicated. Although I see info out there about “top bar hives” that looks less intimidating. Glad you had fun with your visitors :)

  4. Susan in NJ says:

    We left on Christmas Eve for the midwest and returned on Saturday after New Years stocked up on our favorite japanese and mexican food goods from places we only get to shop at once a year. Before we left we were eating down the fridge and that continued on our return since we didn’t do any shopping until this last weekend. We ate really well last week … but strangely my brain felt like it was clawing on walls for lack of choice.

    Plant: No

    Harvest: Rosemary and parsley from plants wintering in kitchen

    Preserve: No

    Waste Not: Moved stored apples during cold snap; cut up and cooked October cabbage stored in basement; used sweet potatoes bought in rain that weren’t keeping; triaged stored onions before they went bad; ate almost 100% leftovers for lunch; used wayward pear found on counter in oatmeal; refilled kitchen/pantry oatmeal containers and washed plastic pail and lid.

    Want Not: Didn’t grocery shop until last Saturday and then mostly for dairy for my partner’s coffee, citrus and seafood. While we wanted nothing (the caffinated coffee we needed miraculously appearing under the bag containing the just about ready to rot cabbage), I — the primary meal planner — found it strangely stressful to be planning meals on the fly from storage (including fridge and freezer) and strangely relieved after going grocery shopping for the citrus and seafood even though this was hardly a necessity.

    Community: No.

    Eat: smoked pork chop with fried potatoes and sauteed cabbage; bean, corn and sweet potato enchailadas; rice with japanese pickles and japanese dumplings; salmon cakes; lasagna; mussels in red sauce on linguine (all but mussels from storage); cheese and black olive nachos; blueberry pancakes with blueberry maple syrup.

  5. Michelle P says:

    It’s great how your boys can start their chicken raising project by choosing which variety to start with. Did they get to choose all on their own? I’m interested to know how they chose the breeds they did.

    I would’ve enjoyed your workshop & hope that you may host another. though, if I end up getting goats, I’m thinking I won’t be going anywhere overnight! I am still in planning & shopping stages. so, I ‘m also interested to know how you chose your breed of goats. I know a few nigerian dwarf owners out here, but not sure how far it is from you. We are in the far west finger lakes area (Honeoye & Hemlock lakes). One of my friends has 2 young ND bucks, but no does yet!

    It is a few degrees warmer out here today than it has been the past few days. I let the chickens out & they made straight for their spa in the garden. It is an A frame structure where there is nice dirt for bathing in. After several days, they seem happy to be rolling in the dirt again. Neighbors gave me stale pitas & I softened them up in warm milk for a hot treat for the chickens one of the cold mornings over the weekend. Another neighbor called wanting to buy some eggs, but, none to sell. My goal is to supply 5 households here with eggs.

    Well, you chose your sort of chickens & goats but it seems as your ducks have chosen you! Very nice!

  6. Sharon says:

    Michelle, Isaiah chose the Salmon Faverolles because he wanted something really endangered but really pretty that would do well at the fair. Simon looked at the catalog for 5 minutes, pointed, and said “them” and that was it. I’m not sure what his thought process was.


  7. KC says:

    In VA : still cold here with patches of snow on the north slopes. I am working on my seed order and hope to have it in the mail this week.

    Plant: do sprouts count? I’ve been sprouting lentils, mung beans, and sunflowers

    Harvest: Dug parsnips today. This is my first time growing parsnips and I am thrilled to have a crop. We’ve been harvesting greens from the mini hoop houses – asian greens, misoto radish, turnip greens, mizuna, tatsoi, curly endive, collards, kale …

    Preserve: bottled kombucha (my old standby) and froze some hubbard squash after cooking up a HUGE batch.

    Waste Not: received cardboard from the retreat center and used it to mulch paths in garden and covered with leaves (this was a few weeks ago).

    Want Not: Eating mostly from stores these days except for dairy and eggs.

    Community: sharing seed catalog recommendations with others – are you familiar with wild garden seed? has lots of great plant breeding and naturalized greens (in the northwest).

    Eat: crusty baked potato wedges with quinoa … the quinoa adds a good crunch to the potatoes. both are leftovers so it doesnt tak long to bake. oatmeal with cranberries, raisons and walnuts. west aftrican groundnut stew with tofu. lots of sweet potatoes and winter squash. beets. I’m finding that I have been cooking grains less often – now that I have so many root vegetables to eat!

  8. homebrewlibrarian says:

    Given that I don’t know where I’ll be in the next few months, I think I’ll pass on any upcoming workshops you hold – even though I’d love to attend one. However, I think I’m immune to miniature goats because a friend of mine has a small herd of cashmeres and I can have my fill of cute baby goats anytime I like :)

    It’s solidly winter here in Anchorage, AK but the garden porn is rolling in…

    Plant: Starting 8 each of 4 peppers (datil, cayenne, King of the north and healthy) with the thought that germination will be poor and there will be many fewer than 32 plants. If, however, I have Great Good Luck, the extra plants will be used in community building later on. Also planted a tray each using four year old mixed lettuce and spinach seeds. Hoping to get some baby greens out the leftover seed. Fingers crossed.

    Harvest: Not a thing.

    Preserve: Need to dry some pumpkin puree that’s been around for a while and look into making more sauerkraut. But the only thing I’ve preserved lately is kefir. Although a couple weeks back I canned a bunch of potatoes and kohlrabi.

    Waste not: During a massive house clean (going on three years since I moved back in and haven’t once done this level of cleaning before), I’m finding items to donate to charities or freecycle or give to friends. Whatever can’t be used that way is destined to be recycled. I need to look at the last pumpkin and cabbages to see if they need some attention.

    Want not: Eating what’s around the house except for locally made bread I order once a month, local milk that I get every other week and local eggs every couple months or so.

    Community: Mentoring own of my upstairs neighbors in the art of budgeting. It’s pretty amazing to me just how many people have never been shown how to budget. I guess I’m lucky that my parents instilled in me and my sisters an understanding of budgets and how they work. A friend from church and I are starting to discuss this year’s church garden and our Earth Stewardship Sunday School class has been discussing options for supporting a local soup kitchen with food until the garden is up and running.

    Eat: Made baked pears stuffed with raisins, walnuts, a little sugar and a dab of lemon juice with a syrup of honey and water. I bought a case of (non local but organic) pears a while back and have been infrequently using them and needed to use up more since they’re starting to go. The baked pears are yum! Oh and all ingredients came out of my pantry and the honey came from a local beekeeper.

    Kerri in AK

  9. Claire says:

    Very cold (for St. Louis anyway) the past three weeks, the high didn’t go above 32 from Christmas Day until today. Got down to -1F Sunday morning, the coldest it’s been in a decade.

    Plant: no, and I won’t be doing any till about March 1, maybe a little earlier if the cold frame is warm enough after mid-Feb. I’m planning to try starting everything in the cold frame this year, to avoid the electricity needed for lights and a heat mat in the basement.

    Harvest: no, it was too cold to spend any time in the garden. I’ll see if there are any harvestable leaves on the collards later this week.

    Preserve: the DH made a batch of beer out of malted barley grain (not syrup) for the first time. It was quite a production; hopefully, like most things, the process will take less time as he repeats it. He used the hops from our hops vine in this batch, so it is at least a bit local.

    Waste not: set the cardboard aside from the Christmas shipments for later use as mulch liner. Still keeping the thermostat at 55F during the day, only going up to 60F for 5 hours in the evening. It’s working out OK; now that we’ve gotten acclimated and I found the right number of layers, I’m confident we can get through the rest of winter at this temp – especially after the last couple of weeks.

    Want not: put in the biggest seed order today, to Fedco. I’ll fill in around the edges with some seeds others carry that Fedco doesn’t. Also ordered a book on backyard chickens; still thinking about getting a few hens next year (unless I can talk myself out of it, or the DH does).

    Community: nothing the past week.

    Eat: pumpkin bread including both flesh and seeds from my Lady Godiva pumpkins. Stir-fries with stored radishes and Jerusalem artichokes. Potato-leek soup with stored leeks.

  10. Claire says:

    Forgot to mention the butternut squashes from my garden; they store beautifully and taste delicious! We have been baking them for potlucks we attend, and they always receive raves.

  11. Gabrielle says:

    Plant—Nothing planted this week. I’m not going to plant until February, but I’m looking forward to when I’m able to plant!

    Harvest—Onions and rosemary—most everything else has been under snow

    Preserve—I froze the tomato juice from some of my home canned tomatoes to add to vegetable soup at a later date.

    Reduce Waste—I spent one of our snow days cleaning out the office and one of the pantries. I brought 5 bags of books and CDs to a local resell shop and made over $40! Love that! Hubby is happy to have some extra room on the bookshelves for his books.

    Prep/Storage—Hubby and I moved one of the wood piles closer to the house and under an eave so that it is dryer. I added water to our storage this week.

    Building Community Food Systems—I made some purchases for the food pantry this week and worked in the pantry a bit. I picked up milk from our milk farmer, and I bartered with a friend for a couple dozen of her farm fresh eggs.

    Eat the Food—I took delight in making homemade blueberry muffins this week with the blueberries we had picked and froze this summer. I always feel so proud when I use something that we picked ourselves and preserved. I found myself retreating to the memories of this summer and berry picking with my husband and daughter in Pioneer, TN. For me, that is one of the main perks of preserving foods—tasting a bit of a summer day in the dead of winter.

  12. mnfn says:

    We were happy to return from an enjoyable but exhausting holiday to the mainland to decent temperatures at home. Thanks to diligent watering by our lovely neighbours, the tomatoes alongside the driveway had turned into a solid hedge and the pumpkins have gone feral.

    Plant: beans (french flag-whatsit, tongues of fire); potted on/repotted thyme, oregano, lovage, garlic chives, started new round of lettuce seed (cos and oakleaf)

    Harvest: last of the first planting of lettuce, spring onion, radishes, carrots (cosmic purple are still the best), herbs as needed, globe artichoke, zucchini trobomchino, green patty-pan squash, zucchini that I swear was supposed to be a yellow squash, shallots, potatoes.

    Preserve: pesto, cherries in brandy. Sparkling cherry and fresh cherry wine still in progress.

    Waste not: A pre-vistor cleaning frenzy lead to a total re-organisation of the filing cabinet. So plenty of paper waste removed – but I suppose you could say we’re not wasting space by getting rid of the alarmingly enormous piles of to-be-filed material.

    Want not: More jars for the pantry means that I have a clearer idea of what we need to restock, even if I haven’t done that yet.

    Eat: stirfry, curry (purple potatoes look somewhat strange when tumeric is added – but still taste good), salads, berry and icecream for repeated desserts, sauted veg, new favourite barcelona pan fried artichokes.

  13. NM says:

    Planted: Nothing
    Harvested: local eggs, vegetables from farmer’s/craft market
    Preserved: Cooked and froze some pumpkin/squash.
    Waste not: Does feeding over-ripe bananas to the dogs count? They think they’re treats. I can’t stand the thought of another #%#@$ loaf of banana bread.
    Want not: Ordered and received a set of good flannel sheets through Now I don’t want to get out of bed … they’re really comfortable. Also bought more elderberry syrup and echinacea throat spray on sale, another jar of peanut butter, some dried cranberries.
    Community food systems: No.
    Eat the food: Pumpkin pie (my very favorite food), oven pancakes with sour cherry topping from home-canned fruit; pizza with kale and garlic and home-canned sauce, potato leek soup, green salad with homemade shallot vinaigrette, whole-wheat pumpkin-cranberry-walnut bread, hot biscuits with local honey or home-canned jam. We’re also enjoying sampling last year’s homemade liqueurs, while the ones from this year age.

  14. Robin says:

    Planted: Nothing, but soon!
    Harvested: parsley, cabbage, cilantro, chard, spinach, leeks, sunchokes, and … a cow! Three sore backs and several days of labor later, we have about 200 pounds of boneless cuts of beef.
    Preserved: Canned frozen tomatoes to make room for the beef, canned a free turkey from the grocery store from holiday time.
    Waste not: Fed the ravens and coyotes the beef guts and hide.
    Want not: Hardly needed anything at the grocery store this month. Bought broccoli, since my transplants all turned out to be cauliflower. Stocked up on a case of oranges, a case of tangerines and a 50lb sack of onions. Couldn’t afford the organic ones. $2.49/lb for onions?!!? Next year I’m going to plant about five times as many onions and potatoes and try to get through the winter next year.
    Community food systems: Shared grocery-shopping and scratch-cooking tips with sister in law, taught friends how to make no-knead bread.
    Eat the food: We are still mainly potato-based lifeforms over here at dinner time, and we’ve been downing homegrown chicken vegetable soup every day for lunch. I also employ child labor to grind rye and make no-knead crusty bread twice a week. I am an evil stepmother.

  15. Independence Days is one of my New Year’s Resolutions :)

    I posted mine on my blog, but here are the highlights.

    Plant something: No, nothing in a long time. I did order a seed catalog though.

    Harvest something: Without planting, there cannot be a harvest.

    Preserve something: I stocked up on potoatoes and oranges, which are currently hanging out happy in my very cold laundry room.

    Waste not: This is a big problem area for us. I get ambitious at the store, or I decide I’m only going to go to the store once a month or something, and fresh food rots. We need to get a handle on this. In Europe they shop for each day, and I’m wondering if that equals less waste. Having a pantry is a psychological necessity for me, but going daily for perishibles? I’m not sure.

    Want not: I was in Elko last week and did some stocking up. The biggie was peanut butter. I bought 18 jars. In retrospect I wish I’d bought another case of 12. Peanut butter is a calorie and nutrient dense food that, barring allergies, even the pickiest eater will eat for the most part. It’s a good food to have on hand in case of some sort of an emergency that requires eating out of the pantry for a while. My family are peanut-butter lovers and we go through about a jar every ten days, which make 18 jars a six month supply. They were on sale for $1. I also stocked up on Cheerios, which are Ruby’s favorite and again are not a bad thing to have in an emergency pantry. They have a lot of fiber and are a comfort food. Oatmeal is obviously less processed, and cheaper even then Cheerios on sale.

    Build Community Food Systems: This is the one where I always feel lost. Other than donating food to the local food bank, I don’t know where to go with it. I need to remedy that. It’s important to me to know how my community will respond foodwise to an emergency. We’re so far from any major city, that should deliveries not be able to get through we would have to depend on each other for support. I would also love to start a food-co-op. I did request that the grocery store carry some more gluten-free products and they said they would.

    Eat the Food: I learned how to make a gluten-free slowcooker roast!

  16. How strange about the garlic, Sharron – that’s exactly what I did today also.

    I’m off to scrape a rabbit skin now preparatory to tanning it.

    Love your articles, as always.

  17. Sarah says:

    Local Food Systems — our synagogue is partnering with a CSA to be a drop-off spot for next year (yay! We hadn’t expected to actually get something like this in place until 2011!), so now we have until the 18th to decide whether to switch or stay with our CSA. On the one hand, our current CSA is much more local and lower-impact since we walk or bike to the farm and pick up the stuff there, and we get more choice in our veggies, while the new one will be driven in from a little ways away. But on the other hand, the new farm has eggs from much happier chickens than we’ve found anywhere else, and would be helping to get more people involved in CSAs, and would be much easier to get to.

    Eat the Food — made little frozen veggie-sausage sandwiches that have been perfect for breakfasts. Used up another one of the squashes in some tasty red lentil soup. Ben made some amazing cauliflower with red cabbage and oil-cured olives and tarragon.

  18. Helen says:

    Suddenly, people are talking about a 30+ cold spell. Continued prepping makes lots of sense.

  19. Wendy says:

    Congrats on the rabbits! We love our rabbits, both as the wonderful pets they are, but also as producers of some of the most wonderful fertilizer imaginable (and we eat their offspring, too).

    As for IDC, we’re purging maniacs right now, because the “brother-in-law-on-the-couch” scenario is likely going to be a reality around here in the not too distant future when my daughter, her husband and my granddaughter move back in with us. There will be eight of us, and we really need to get rid of as much as possible before they get here so that we’re not tripping over each other and all of the junk we’ve managed to accumulate. I donated over 160 children’s books, and that’s not even half what we have. There’s still so much to do :) .

  20. Marilyn says:

    Hi Sharon et al,
    I’ve not posted in a while, but thought I’d pop in and say congratulations on a successful workshop. Sounds like you had a great time. Along with everyone else, we’re having colder than normal weather here in southeast Tennessee. I’ve been enjoying my fleece jackets and wool socks. Like everyone else, I’m dreaming with the seed catalogs on these cold days.

    Plant something: Nothing

    Harvest something: Spinach and lettuce from the cold frame. Wasn’t sure how it would fare with the low temps, but so far, it has been fine. We’re getting 15 to 18 eggs a week from my four new hens so I’m able to share with family.

    Preserve something: Froze a couple of quarts of chicken broth that my Mom gave me.

    Waste Not: The usual recycling and composting. We’re trying to eat from the freezer and out of our stores this month. I have cut our waste, but I’m not where I want to be. I reuse the quart plastic yogurt containers for leftovers and inevitably, something gets pushed to the back of the frig and I find it when it is past its prime. I’ve decided to put leftovers in glass jars on the shelf in the frig that is eye-level where they are in front of my nose. Maybe this will help. I always feel so guilty when I have to throw away food.

    Want Not: Nothing added this month.

    Eat the Food: Purple hull peas and fried cabbage; turkey and dressing, green beans, spinach and orange salad; DH made my breakfast over the weekend: blueberry pancakes and blueberry syrup with homemade sausage that his sister gave us.

    Build Community Food Systems: Monthly donation to the community food bank.

  21. sealander says:

    Well, I’m back on the cubicle farm shovelling out the ever growing pile of rotten email ;)

    Harvesting: Artichokes, kohl rabi, zuchinni, bush beans, lemonades, rhubarb, red currants, basil, celery, shallots, garlic, eggs, and a few solitary boysenberries, raspberries and gooseberries. Strawberries are done with the first flush, looks like there will be a second smaller crop. Rearranged all the strawberry runners and pegged some in pots so that I can replant them in more appropriate spots. Oh, and my mulberry tree produced its first berries! This was my first chance to try them – tasty, something like a cross between a blackberry and a sultana.

    Planted: Still more thyme because I never have enough for drying. One echinacea plant. Nothing much else since it was so dry – going to plant up more bush beans tonight since we’re due for some rain.

    Preserved: Dried some oregano, thyme and sage for the mixed herb blend that we use most often. Harvested the shallots and garlic and put them in the garage to dry. I was sure I’d planted heaps of garlic but a lot of it seems to have disappeared – got too dry maybe. Canned some rhubarb and apple compote, with a dash of home made limoncello. Since we had the loan of a car, we went to a pick-your-own blueberry farm. I froze half the berries and dried the rest.

    Prep/storage: Found a stall at the market selling medical supplies from a closed down business, and picked up boxes of surgical masks and latex gloves real cheap, so I guess we’re all set for the next pandemic ;)

  22. TLE says:

    Plant something: Transplanted a passionfruit seedling, and surrounded it with rocket seed I’d harvested from old plants – they all germinated beautifully.

    Harvest something: LOTS of cucumber, lettuce, silverbeet, parsley, basil, rosemary, oregano, lemon thyme, purslane, spring onions.

    Preserve something: Canned nectarine salsa & mediterranean relish (recipes on my blog), froze a kilo of pitted cherries, & some stewed plums.

    Waste not: Finally set up the wormfarm I got from a friendly freecycler in August. Bought a few worms in a successful bid to end the procastination, but freecycled the rest. Gave away my old bread machine & stick blender on freecycle to balance my freebie karma…and did the usual composting & recycling. I have become VERY vigilant about using leftovers since I started paying attention to it – so vigilant, in fact, that when I had to throw out two tablespoons of leftover curry this morning it was almost painful!

    Want Not: Ordered seeds for winter planting, and finally found two books (on plant propagation, and herbal medicine) I’ve been looking for for quite a while.

    Build community food systems: Shared my salsa and relish recipes with friends.

    Eat the Food: Drank yet more home-brew, ate lots of home-grown salads, and made great pantry treats (including chocolate chip pancakes) for my niece & nephew over the holidays.

  23. TLE says:

    Oops, forgot we’ve also harvested (and eaten) potatoes and beans. And planted more beans.

  24. NM says:

    Jan. 18
    Aww. Poor Mac, missing his mama. When we brought our kitten home two years ago at the end of November, he’d get cold in the very early morning, after an early breakfast of cold canned food, since we turn the heat off at night. So after he ate, we’d go back to bed and he’d stretch his tummy across my neck until he warmed up. He also liked to curl up in the hollow between my neck and the side of the couch where he and I slept for the first few weeks, until we were ready to bring him into the bedroom with the dogs. He still likes to sleep on my shoulder, but I finally had to tell him, no more stretching out on my throat. There’s a whole lot of difference between a fluffy three pound baby, and a hefty 12 pounds of adult cat, and I need to breathe! …
    Plant: nothing
    Harvest: local eggs, vegetables from the farmer’s market
    Preserve: Nothing.
    Waste not: composted vegetable scraps, as usual. Saved some for making stock. Husband replaced the leaking hot water valve on the kitchen sink, which was a relief, since we’d had to keep it turned off for several days, or it ran nonstop. Which was a reminder that not having hot running water in the kitchen is a real pain. Cold water doesn’t cut through or wash out grease, so even rinsing dishes became a nuisance, and washing them became a production. I can live just fine without a lot of modern conveniences, but please, please, leave me the hot water.
    Want not: No — been buying lunch out too much this week instead of bringing it from home, and need to get back with the program.
    Community food systems: I’m the one who organizes and places the egg orders at work and collects the money every week for our local farmer. Wrote up bi-monthly cooking column. Told a friend she could cook with chicken fat, instead of throwing it out, and it would make her vegetables taste wonderful (pretty funny to both of us, since I’m vegetarian and she’s not. But now she’s excited about the possibilities).
    Eat the food: Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin quick bread, home fries with cabbage, spaghetti with home canned sauce.

  25. Yagmur says:

    I’ve got the same problem as you,,lucy

  26. Jeff Samit says:

    Stress has been shown to cause hippocampal atrophy and so can depression. So avoid these and its like having an insane nootropic.

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