Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Independence Day Challenge Year 2, The Third Week

WEll, phew...where has the week gone? 

Planted: Carrots, Alisa craig onions, more stutgart onions, daisies, lemon balm, red oak leaf lettuce, kennebec and yukon gold potatoes, more peas where ( I think) mice have pilfered the seed:(

Harvested: dandelion greens, dandelion blossoms, chives, scallions, comfrey, eggs, sorrel, jerusalem artichokes

Eat the food: We made dandelion blossom cookies. I substituted honey for our own maple syrup and added a few raisins. Spring chicken soup was on the menu last week.

Preserved: Dried Dandelion greens.  We had the Dandelion wine discussion in our house this year.  We have made it for the last two years. The first year it was really sweet and we had to cut it with soda water. Last year it was not sweet enough so we will add ginger ale.  We really enjoy the fruit wines and may give strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, apples and pears  more room in our pantry this coming year.

Reduced waste/ manage reserves: I emptied two compost bins last week; the wealth of last years efforts. One pile was more finished and I used it to side dress perennials. The other was nearly finished and used this on an area of the garden I plan to sheet mulch and lie dormant for the year. Next year I will plant berries in this spot. I washed some of Rama-lama's fleece and I washed Emily's fleece.  I've been carding it and using it in some projects. Weeding and mulching paths in the garden. We've had some rain so now we are using our rain barrels for watering our animals.

Preparation and storage: I am exploring starting an account with  Associated Buyers have done bulk ordering with other folks who have had accounts but I think I may have some friends at our church that would like to participate in a buying club.  In February, I  put in a large order with a friend and it seems to have saved us a lot of money.  I ordered those food items that we eat a lot of: pasta, peanut butter, cooking oils, dried fruit, molasses, dry beans. I ordered shampoo in a gallon bottle and I think that will last us a long time still.  We ate all the pasta, we are nearly done with the peanut butter, the canola oil is nearly gone. It is a different way of thinking of buying food.  Having all these bulk foods in the house means that there is always something for dinner. I means that when I menu plan, I start from food storage first. We eat healthier because most of the foods we are cooking are whole foods,not processed. And it saves us some good money. Recently I went to the health food store to purchase some coconut for making granola.  It sold for 2.19 a pound but I could get the same coconut for 1.81 a pound. I will probably order it in a 5 lb increment because we only use it on our granola in the summer. But then, I will not have to buy it at the store for the whole summer; which ,in the long run, also  reduces the number of trips into town I will need to make. It is also a hedge against rising prices.

Local Food systems: A neighbor shared some rhubarb with me. I shared some Evening Primrose, mint, jerusalem artichokes with other neighbors. I went to the farmer's market to inquire about  buying half a pig. 400.00$.  It would be cheaper to raise our own. So now we look for a piggie! I found nasturtiums and yarrow at the farmers market. I found mullein at a church plant sale.

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