Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A rambling update...

So even though I have not been blogging here regularly I have been very busy on the homestead. Our computer is still on the fritz so it will be a while longer before I can be in this space on a regular basis. But while I have the time now I will let you know the many things we have been working on here.

Most recent and most exciting is the open house and lacto -fermenting workshop I participated in this past weekend at Koviashuvik Local Living school. It was a very inspiring weekend. The school itself is just a wonder; with an earth bermed root cellar and green house, amazing compost bins, awesome garden, solar dehydrator. I left the open house thinking that moving off grid does not have to be all that complicated if you just keep your systems simple. Food for thought. The class was great, in that, it answered some questions for me about long term storage of fermented veggies. The ease of this method of food preservation is going to find its way in to my food preservation regimen for the simplicity and low energy technique it provides. Lacto-fermented foods are also really good for you and do not rely on many outside imputs such as vinegar and sugar. Just salt and a few good sized jugs and I will be good to go.

This summer has given our family a good chance to relax after the last couple of busy summers. Each morning I go out to collect some wild foods, herbs from the garden and summer produce. The garden is not as bountiful as I hoped this year. I think it may be a matter of building up fertility. It is our first year in the space so it may be a matter of investing labor and good portions of compost. I just heard on the radio yesterday that Late Blight has appreared again this year so we will be keeping a close eye on our potatoes and tomatoes for any sign.I have hedged my bets with a CSA share this summer to make sure that we put up enough food so that we can cut our grocery bill in half by fall. We have ordered broiler chicks and they should be arriving soon. Our thinking is that we can grow them quickly and feed them with a lot of the by product from the garden.

Last week a friend invited a group of us over to make mozzarella cheese. We each brought our gallons of milk. Mine survived the the curdling but would not pull together. It was still good for putting on homemade pizza. Now that I have worked throught the process I plan to try again soon. I will use the recipe from "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. This should save us a good amount of money. The cheese weighed nearly a pound and cost about 5.00 to make. Much cheaper than a pound of mozzarella at the supermarket and made from mostly local ingredients.

The cupboard shelves are filling up. I find myself with a good rhythm. Each morning I fill the dehydrator. There is plenty of chicken stock, jams and dried kale. I have begun planting my fall garden. There is more broccoli, chard, spinach, beets and carrots in the ground with more spaces to fill with spinach. My favorite new crop to grow are shallots. I love planting 10 seeds and getting 50 shallots in return. I can save some of these for planting next spring. Also the shallots last longer than keeping onions so will be the last onion we eat before spring onions are planted. A good crop for closing the loop.

Evan is 5 years old and we were on the fence about whether to homeschool him or not. We have decided to homeschool him and take advantage of music, art and gym at our local school while we get our feet under us.

Finally, the knitting needles took their summer hiatus during the height of gardening season but I have picked up the needles to finish a few projects. I have not forgotten about the Plant A row Challenge. I hope to be back on line by September to hear how everyone has done with their gardens. I hope you are all well.

Peace, Karin