Saturday, April 14, 2012

What is essential?

So as a follow up to last weeks post I would like to include all the great suggestions to last weeks post plus a few other ideas that I came up with.

Heather suggested a crock to do some lacto-fermentation . I agree that this is a great low cost, method of food preservation. I am just breaking into some kimchi that I made at a class  I took last summer about lacto-fermentation. But I would also add that some wide mouth  canning jars would work if you have limited funds. A crock would be a great addition to the kitchen. I have also used baked bean crocks for small batches.

Practical Parsimoney suggested a greenhouse or more shelves for food storage. If there is a corner of your cellar that can be used for cold room or root cellar storage this would be a great investment to make in your home. The idea of short term food storage is to preserve summer bounty for winter lean times. Some years when I have done this I have only needed to buy dairy and cleaning products during the winter. Money is tighter in the winter;especially when folks pay for higher utility bills or if business is seasonal; which it is in this part of Maine. I would add that if this is your goal it is worth the investment in a CSA Share to supplement what your garden produces. Short of a CSA share I would save some extra funds for pick your own produce. Around here we have strawberries, blueberries and apple picking. I also buy corn for the freezer, extra bulk potatoes. There are some great plans  online  for building your own root cellar. This is a good book for for covering all the bases of root cellaring. If you do not have the funds or skills for using a green house building cold frames will help you to extend your growing season; providing greens for you during the cold winter months.

Stevie suggested cattle panels. I agree that one to four of these are good to have around. Especially if you would like to move chickens around the yard. Instead of a chicken tractor you could move them around the yard without a tractor.

Wendy suggested a good garden wagon. I have to agree with this one. It has been on my garden wish list for a while now. They are so much easier and longer lasting than a regular wheel barrow..

I have one more suggestion.that will be a worthwhile suggestion. I suggest an investment in some edible perennials. Fruits like blueberies, strawberries and raspberries. Some fruit or nut trees. Edible or common medicinal herbs like comfrey, oregano, mint,, lemon balm, thyme. In Maine we have Fedco Seed company just a bit away from where we live. They have an annual tree sale starting on the weekend of April 27th and 28th. It continues the following weekend. It is a great opportunity to find some off catalogue varieties and on the second weekend I have found some 10.00 apple trees. There is also a greenhouse for some early seedlings, and the warehouse is open to find any amendments you may need without paying postage.

Finally, I would like to distill the the total list down to what is essential. It is tough because each investment we make in our homesteads makes them  more efficient. But if I were to start with a foundation I would suggest a good water bath canner and canning jars. Some chickens and a chicken coop. Extra shelves for food storage. Good gardening tools and an investment on edible perennials. If this were the year that you really wanted to take this task at hand then the must have book is the Encyclopedia of Country Living. After this it is all cream....oh...speaking of which...little cooler for yogurt! Just mad a batch and hmmm good!

1 comment:

Wendy said...

I've recently gotten back into making yogurt, and I'd forgotten how amazing (and easy) making my own is.

Oh, and by the way, thank you, AGAIN, for the sunchokes. I second your advice regarding investing in perennial seed. We harvested 20+ lbs of sunchokes today, and we're trying to figure out what to do with all of it. Part was dinner ... so delicious!