Monday, March 8, 2010

Challenge Updates. IDC, Real Food and One small Change

What a beautiful weekend we had! The weather was warm and sunny. The nights were cool and clear. The sap is really running. We collected 20 gallons this weekend and spent most of the weekend boiling it all down, alas we have no finish product yet. Mostly, because in the three years we've been sugaring we have never had this much sap at once to process..and it is still flowing...

So, I've been pondering what I could do in the Real Food Challenge that would move us closer to a real food diet. We eat a lot of local food, we cook from scratch, we put up a lot of food but one thing we could do is remove refined sugar from our diet. In my cupboard is a gallon of black strap molasses, 5# pounds of raw local honey, and soon, hopefully, at least 2 or 3 gallons of maple syrup and...5 pounds of white sugar and some store bought brown sugar. White sugar is mostly from genetically modified sugar beets. It is far from locally sourced ( well neither is the molasses but I need the extra iron it provides) and really it doesn't provide any extra dietary benefits as the other sweeteners do. Both Mark and I come from families with type 2 diabetes. Although we eat a good diet and exercise and do not have any weight issues, we could be kinder to our pancreases.

Two other things I would like to learn to do this month is lact0-fermentation. I am going to use this book. I also would like to make a sourdough starter. I have tried a couple times and the results have been sad.

As for good food, I made a yummy dinner last night. Onion tart with goat cheese. I used the recipe in this book that I received for Christmas. I also roasted some root veggies, sauteed some cabbage and apples with ginger and made homemade french bread. We had a glass of local wine with dinner. We shared the meal around an oil lamp. It is something Mark and I used to do when we first were coupled and fell out of the habit. But I just thought that we should take one meal a weekend and make special .

Okay, so my One Small Change for the month of March was mending. This was tackled on Saturday when I darned 3 pairs of socks while sitting outside. I feel sock rich now and Mark is now wearing the first pair of socks I made for him again.

Finally, the Independence Days Challenge got off to a great start this past week and I am really looking forward to this challenge this year.

Plant Something: I bought some growing medium for starting some seeds this week so the intention is there, the action shall follow...

Harvest Something: 30 gallons maple sap. The snow has melted off the parsnips and jerusalem artichokes but the ground is still frozen so soon we will have spring roots!

Preserve Something: We are boiling the sap down but we don't have syrup yet. 1 quart of vanilla extract started.

Waste not/Managed Reserves: Darned those socks! Started to muck out the sheep and put it in the compost bins. Tidied pantry. started 2 quarts of apple cider vinegar from some old apples.

Want not: We got our bulk food order this past week. So we have a full stock of staples now.

Build community food systems: Local eggs, local meat, local apples, local goat cheese, MOO milk!

Eat the food: I made American chop-suey from the meat, Frittata from the eggs and the goat cheese went on the onion tart.

Well, phew, it seems like a lot, but all the challenges work well together


Wendy said...

Deus Ex Machina boiled sap this weekend, too ;). We're hoping for three gallons of syrup, but it seems like the taps have all, but stopped. I'm not sure we'll get that much. One can hope, however ;).

farmama said...

Hi Karin,
I love reading about all this goodness that you're up to. I really want that wild fermentation book! I do a lot of lacto-fermentation in the summer when we have fresh veggies and fresh yummy!....super easy too. My friend Tracy does a huge crock of fermented veggies that lasts her family of 6 a couple weeks. I'm dreaming of fresh food....are you too? Are you're sheep going to be lambing this spring?
Hey...I've been meaning to ask do you pronounce your name? My sisters name is Carin....pronounced Car-In.
Thinking of you my friend!
love from,

Robj98168 said...

Being type two diabetic myself, the only answers I've found to sugar are the chemical- sucralose, saccharin
the natural- stevia and blue agave nectar. MY favorite is the agave nectar- doesn't lose the calories but italso soen't spike the blood sugar. Unfortunately the only way I can see to make it totally sustainable id grow your own. Maybe in Arizona or New Mexico, but not in Washington state.

Robj98168 said...

PS The problem I have with honey, while being natural, it spikes my blood sugar levels. I also miss juice in the morning. (Juice spikes my levels something awful)

Fleecenik Farm said...

HI Sara, My name is pronounced Ka-rin. Our local health food store still has plenty of local carrots and Eliot Coleman's farm provides greens for it as well. So we are getting some fresh food now that we have eaten through most of what we put up last fall. But it is not our own yet....

As for the sheep, well, the ladies are about ten years old. They are Romney/ Corriedale. They were given to us. We have 2 rams and one of them found his way into their poor old ladies yard this past fall. So we may have lambs this spring....but we really hope not, for our ladies sake. With Mark away during the week I will be on my own with our first lambing so keep your fingers crossed that all goes smoothly...I am:)

We have one Romeny/ Corriedale ram and one dorset /southdown ram.

We will be getting all their wool carded this summer and I hope to sell some of it.