Some People Still Litter

31 03 2009

Since we live on the river we try to walk along it daily weather permitting and sometimes not. Our section and much of the rest of the Upriver portion of the Skagit is designated as Wild and Scenic which is intended to protect it. It means that there is to be a balance between people’s desires to harness the river with dams, their recreational uses, and what activities are allowed along the shoreline. We only have 300 feet of it, but we walk a quarter mile section.

More often than not, we find some trash along the way. The most common finds are various lures and bits of fisherman detritus. Mostly these have been snagged by branches or rocks and are uncovered by a low river level. Occasionally we’ll find some cans or other trash left by other beachgoers, but not too often. The most common items are strange bits of human life that have been lost upstream and have found their way to our beach. Sometimes these have been lost for decades such as the pieces of old cars and logging cables. Sometimes a recent flood has washed someone’s trailer off its perch, down the bank and eventually into the Pacific. We pick up all these pieces and take them to the transfer station on one of our quarterly visits.

Friday, however, was different. Just slightly Upriver of us we found someone’s dump. What looked like an innocent pile of cedar boughs actually contained all manner of refuse. Luckily there didn’t seem to be much plastic or other actual trash, but there was a fair amount of steel and a few household items (glass and ceramic). Eventually these things would make the rest of their way down the bank and be washed away in a flood to be found somewhere Downriver. At least there didn’t seem to be anything toxic. The glass, ceramic and steel would eventually rust and break down.

But honestly, fence posts? 15 perfectly useable and 9 broken fence posts. Also some rebar bits. You know, these can be taken to the transfer station and recycled for free!

Free fenceposts

Free fenceposts

As luck would have it, I had just been contemplating the need for more fenceposts since I’m going to need to fence in my raspberries and blueberries to protect them from marauding chickens. Since I just string plastic mesh, these will do quite nicely. For me, those fenceposts were quite a find and will save a lot of money.

Of course, I’m still upset that someone would think that it’s okay to dump crap over the bank into the river. There are a few vestiges of that “old” thinking around. Watching people stock up on guns and ammo because of their delusions about the impending loss of the 2nd Amendment is slightly amusing, but thinking that the earth will just continue to absorb all of our waste that we choose to drop onto the ground, spill into our waterways, or spew into the air is frightening.

So, garage sale season is about to begin again. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more of them as people try to snag a little extra cash to keepย  the wolves at bay. Now’s a good time to think about what you need and start looking around the virtual garage sales of Craigslist and eBay and also the real life one down the street. The other fenceposts and a couple hundred lineal feet of chainlink came from a garage sale last season – free!

Let’s make sure that we turn more of our trash into treasure this year.






Where the Deals Are

2 12 2008

My focus on this blog generally has been to show where local foods can be purchased here in the Skagit Valley. Price hasn’t really been much of an issue since it’s actually often less expensive to buy products and produce locally and, in the long run, it is better for our local economy. The greater economy, however, is affecting all of us in one way or another and it’s a good time to share what I know about the cost of eating.

One caveat about my information is that I have barely set foot in a standard grocery store for years. I occasionally go to Albert’s Red Apple and pick up a half gallon of Organic Valley milk or some toothpaste, but unless I really really need something out of season or I notice some great deal on an organic item in Haggen’s weekly flyer I’m pretty clueless about what the going rate is for anything. I do know that, except for loss leaders, grocery stores charge a lot for stuff.

I tend to buy things in bulk, seasonally, organic whenever possible and limit the ready-made and processed. I don’t use a microwave. We’re omnivores, but we eat mostly plants. There are two of us. We love cheese. We spend a lot of money on cheese. ๐Ÿ™‚ Since I’m under-employed currently, we’ve made a few changes in our shopping (including cheese) and I’ll note those. So here goes, I’ll start with the big ticket items …

MEATS

Beef: Hemlock Highlands, unquestionably the most tender and flavorful beef out there. It’s a great value and I try to make many meals out of each cut every other week. We try to buy a quarter in the fall. The key here is buying it by the quarter, half or whole from your favorite valley rancher.

Chicken: Not in the budget. We used to purchase a chicken (~$18) or so per year from Skagit River Ranch, but they’ve stopped raising them for the market due to the cost of organic feed. We have a couple of Ranger chickens and some parts in the freezer from special sales, but chicken is generally unaffordable. I won’t compromise quality here so no chicken. (Although the co-op just had breasts with ribs for $2.50/lb. when buying the case. Not sure if that is still on.)

Fish: Costco is the go-to for wild-caught salmon fillets (varies ~$6.99/lb.), Trident salmon patties and *gasp* Trident fish sticks (60 count 4 lb. ~$13). I’ll also buy the farmed trout ($3.99/lb.) there for grilling and smoking. Our local fish markets are also a good source. Kirkland albacore tuna is a good deal. I’ll buy a couple of Trader Joe’s tuna in olive oil ($2) as well. (The fish sticks are a recent addition, taste pretty good and make great quick fish tacos. They’re inexpensive and yes, processed and even breaded, but we’re poor and it’s real fish at least.)

Pork: Silvana Meats or Tenneson Family Farm for all our piggy needs. I get bacon ‘ends and pieces’ since they’re less expensive ($3.89/lb.) and we use bacon only sparingly as a flavoring component. Great sausages and landjaeger too if we’re feeling flush. Inexpensive ground pork from which to make sausage when not.

DAIRY

Milk: Golden Glen Creamery gives us our two half gallons (or so) of milk per month. At $3.50 they’re usually less expensive than the grocery organic equivalent. It mostly goes to Keith’s coffee or baking. Cash and Carry usually has the best price on coconut milk (~75ยข per can).

Butter: I used to buy the organic butter at Costco, but it’s from Aurora so I’m not paying a premium just so they can stretch the rules and abuse their cows anyway. I buy the regular four 1-pound blocks (~$8.50) and will change as soon as they do. As a treat, I’ll buy Organic Valley pasture butter from the co-op for fresh bread use only. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cheese: Costco – Tillamook extra sharp vintage cheddar, Dutch Gouda, Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano and Jarlsberg. Occasionally Beecher’s or something else pricier. I’ve knocked down the cheese bill lately a little by buying the 2 pound brick of Frigo mozzarella and smoking it, but our food budget just goes to heck in this category. *sigh*

Eggs: We have chickens now so I don’t buy eggs, but I used to buy the Wilcox Omega-3 eggs (18 for ~$3) from Costco. They’re a good value. They’re much cheaper than keeping chickens what with organic feed and scratch and building coops and whatnot. ๐Ÿ™‚

Yogurt: Nancy’s plain honey whole milk yogurt in the big 64 oz. tub from the co-op. It keeps well, can be flavored with jam or fruit, diluted with water for baking, and costs about $5. Do not waste money on tiny containers of flavored lowfat yogurt, the food value is in the whole milk. Reuse a small container to take it to work for lunch. If it’s on sale, buy two!

STAPLES

Flour: Pendleton Grain Mills Powerยฎ brand flour (50# sack ~$28) from Cash and Carry. It’s not organic, but it’s not GMO and it’s milled in Oregon. When I can afford it, I buy organic from Bob’s Red Mill either from the co-op or from the mill store. I can’t afford Fairhaven Mill’s flour anymore either. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Whole grains: Wheat berries, barley, rye and oat groats from our wonderful co-op bulk section or Bob’s mill store. Thick rolled oats (25# sack ~$14) from Cash and Carry.

Legumes: Beans, lentils, peas, etc. from the co-op in bulk when I can’t get to Quincy. I cook up a pot of beans in the pressure cooker nearly every week.

Rice: Daawati organic brown Basmati rice (15 lb. sack ~$15?) from Costco. Others bulk from the co-op or from 99 Ranch in Edmonds (it’s Lynnwood, if you ask me).

Pasta: Costco carries organic Garofalo pasta including whole wheat spaghetti (3kg ~$8). Trader Joe’s also has delicious whole wheat pastas, but they’re more expensive.

Sugar: 50# raw cane sugar (~$35) from Cash and Carry. I whizz it up in the food processor when I need finer grind. This has replaced the organic fair-trade Wholesome Sweeteners sugar from Costco (10 lb. bag $8). (This one hurts because we gave up both organic and fair-trade, but at least it’s less processed and packaged.)

Bread: Pretty much all home-baked since good bread is otherwise too expensive. I’ll occasionally buy the 90 count corn tortilla pack from Costco for $2.99. (Fish tacos, right?) I vacuum pack and freeze them in smaller quantities. Also organic tortilla chips occasionally.

Oils: Coconut oil and/or Full Spectrum shortening on sale from the co-op for various uses including oiling the cutting board and seasoning cast iron. I get them at the co-op. My cooking and deep frying oil is grapeseed oil (3L ~$15) from Cash and Carry since it’s cheaper than organic high heat canola. Regular canola is usually genetically engineered. Organic EVOO (1.5L ~$13) comes from Costco and is so dear that it’s only used on salads and for bread anymore.

Nuts: Costco for whole nuts and peanut butter. Adam’s crunchy is $7 for the 5 lb. tub. I keep the nuts in the freezer or in vacuum-sealed canning jars. (I wish I could find pine nuts that weren’t from China! *grr*) Also whole walnuts in the shell from the co-op just because they’re so good and from Washington.

Spices: Costco, Penzey’s or the bulk section at the co-op. Kosher salt (3 lb. box $1.87) is least expensive at Cash and Carry.

PRODUCE

Fruit: Seasonally usually the best price is directly from the orchard. My favorite is Jones Creek Farm. We also pick organic blueberries up at the Johnson’s U-pick in Rockport ($2/lb.). Strawberries come from Sakuma and yesterday’s can be half price and are great for jam. Winter is citrus season and I buy only organic from the co-op so I can zest or candy the peels. I save mandarin peels for spicing up tea.

Vegetables: Farmer’s Markets, CSA, farm stands and homegrown! Freeze, dehydrate and can. I won’t compromise on organic potatoes (varies, 50# box $32), but I’ll buy BC hothouse red bell peppers from Costco (~$1 each) in winter. Costco also carries organic frozen peas, corn and beans! They also have S&W organic canned diced tomatoes (8 cans $7*) and tomato paste ($6 dozen). *$2.50 off coupon until 12/17!

Foraged: Miner’s lettuce, nettles, wild berries and mushrooms are used plenty in my kitchen. Free!

HOUSEHOLD

Cleansers: Baking soda (12 lb. $5) and white vinegar (2 gal ~$3.50) from Costco. CountrySave dish soap from the grocery store or co-op. Either CountrySave or Kirkland environmentally friendly laundry detergent. Sorry, can’t find the receipt.

Pet Food: This used to be Canine Caviar for both cat ($35!) and dog ($50!), but now it’s Kirkland brand ($13 and $26) all the way. The dog also gets a daily Kirkland glucosamine pill tucked into peanut butter each morning.

Coffee, Tea, Wine: These are consumed, but generally not purchased. My mother provides spoils from all her travels and her wine clubs.

Okay, those are the ‘highlights’ more or less. This blog post would be a marketer’s dream except there’s not very much in that processed category. Also, you’d think I know what we spend on food monthly, but I don’t really since some things last a long time. I usually tally it up at the end of the year when I do my taxes, but last time (and the first half of this year) the budget was pretty free-wheeling in the food category.

I realize this was a tedious post, but I was trying to illustrate that it’s possible to eat good mostly organic healthy food and source much of it locally even though one is poor. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully by including some of the prices I was able to indicate where many of the best deals are to be found locally. Yes, I know that many are at Costco, but the cost of membership is quickly recovered in savings. Also don’t overlook the ethnic groceries and the scratch and dent corner at places that carry organics like Fred Meyer. I haven’t been to the Grocery Outlet in years, but I used to go before I got all ‘picky’. I’ve heard there are some organics once in a while. I plan on checking them out.





Root Cellar and Pantry Spaces

29 11 2008

It’s interesting how something low tech and simple can make such a huge difference in the day to day operations of a household. The refrigerator is indispensable, but a root cellar really adds another dimension to food storage. Anything that requires a cool humid environment will do quite well in a root cellar.

Pumphouse root cellar

The pumphouse converted to a root cellar

First you need the appropriate space, of course. Most of us here in the PNW don’t have a root cellar dug in the back yard. One of the reasons for this, at least here Upriver, is lots of rain. Those of you with sump pumps in your basements will know what I’m talking about. Have a look around the house and outbuildings and see what types of spaces you have available.

Ideal root cellar temps are 32F - 40F with 95% humidity. This photo was taken in August - not ready yet!

I put a thermometer with a humidity sensor into our well pumphouse for a while and found that it had pretty good storage conditions. It’s usually about 5 degrees below ambient and in winter holds at about 35F – 40F since we keep a small heater in there to keep the pipes from freezing. We have a pressure tank so humidity is about 88% on average. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good for storing most things for a while. I’m not trying to keep my fall harvested carrots until spring, but I can store potatoes and cabbages for a few months and free up some space in my refrigerator.

Wrap cabbages in a moist cloth since they need extra humidity.

Wrap cabbages in a moist cloth since they need extra humidity.

A good article on root cellaring can be found at Mother Earth News. It’s written by Mike and Nancy Bubel who wrote Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables. Another idea might be a cold box which could be workable even in an apartment. The useless window above the sink perhaps?

The wrapped cabbages are kept in a cooler with the lid cracked open - ventilation is important!

The wrapped cabbages are kept in a cooler with the lid cracked open - ventilation is important!

Another useful space is, in my case, a closet under the stairs. This is the coolest place in the house and stays somewhere in the neighborhood of 50F – 60F most of the year. It is also dry. Here I can store large sacks of oatmeal, flour, sugar and onions. I picked up a box of sweet potatoes and it seems to be the perfect conditions for them too.

The coat closet, also under the stairs, was converted into a baking pantry with shelves shortly after we moved in. There I keep totes with my baking flours, spices, pasta, rice and legumes. It’s a great stash for nuts, dried fruit and chocolate. An article about stocking a pantry at MEN can be found here and indepth information from Sharon Astyk’s blog. You’ll notice a new category in my blogroll for pantry blogs as well. Feel free to suggest your favorites!

Keep in mind that it’s really best to store only what you use. It’s easiest to start by stocking up on the non-perishables staples and go from there. I don’t keep MRE’s or other freeze-dried meals since we don’t eat that type of thing. I do keep some wheat berries because I have a flour mill and I bake all our bread. I also keep a 50 lb. sack of bread flour. None of it is stored only for emergencies, it is part of our daily fare and is used and replenished as needed. No money is saved if food gets tossed because it didn’t get used!

Where do you start? I don’t know, the big pack of toilet paper from Costco? An extra couple of cans of tomatoes, tuna or soup during the next shopping trip. If you have a root cellar, get a box of potatoes. Call around to the potato farms or stop in at Norm Nelson.

50 lbs. of slightly bunged up organic potatoes discounted to $25!

If you’re Upriver, get in on the buying club that Cindy Palacios set up. This is one of the first steps while waiting for the establishment of the Upriver Co-op. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept buying clubs, here is a recent article. Orders need to be in by 2:00pm on the 1st Tuesday of every other month to start. Pickup will be on the following Friday. Pickup will be at Marblemount Community Center’s Pavilion or another agreed on location. Contact me for Cindy’s contact information if you do not have it.

I’ve crammed a lot of information into one post already so I’ll save my suggestions on where to buy what for the next post. Meanwhile look around and see what types of storage spaces you have and also check your existing stores for what you need to round out your supplies.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.





Good Mews for Little Poopers

30 10 2008

Last month we got a new kitten, Dax, after becoming abruptly catless back in July. He’s been settling in nicely, but we did need to quick pick up some litter after a week or so. Kale pretty much used the great outdoors, but our new little guy isn’t ready for that sort of responsibility yet.

While running our errands, we popped into our favorite pet store Walker’s Healthy Pet and picked up some kitten chow (First Mate) and more of the usual litter. Once we got home and I was looking over the receipts, I saw that we’d just paid about $1/lb. for something to crap in! What?! Usually we get it at Skagit Farmer’s Supply and I recalled it costing about $6 per bag.

With the current distressing changes in the economy, not to mention our budget, this was not a reasonable use of our pennies. Since I didn’t want to open the bag, we played around with sand from the beach. This had marginal success. Dax liked it just fine, but it was heavy in the box and didn’t absorb any odors.

The next time we were driving around, we stopped in at Whatcom Farmer’s Supply up on the Guide to have a look. There was our usual cat litter at a more reasonable $8, but the price still had risen from last winter or whenever I’d purchased my last bag. So there we were, staring at an assortment of overpriced pelletized litters and unsuitable clumping (bad for kitty lungs) or clay (high mileage rocks, bad for septics) litters.

Oh, but what have we here? Crown Animal Bedding in the “small” 25 lb. bag for $8.66. Some pets would rather sleep on it, but they had me at “absorbs ammonia odor” and “biodegradable”. Canby, Oregon? OK!

At home, we pour it out and I realize that I recognize it. A little research and I discover that it is, in fact, made by the same folks that make Good Mews cat litter. It’s pelletized from recycled newsprint so, until the last newspaper is replaced by web-only news delivery, it should be available.

Dax christened the new litter kitten-approved!

Next time we’ll pick up the 40 lb. bag for $11.49. I’ll update here when I see where it is carried locally. I assume Skagit Farmers Supply will have it, just not by the cat litter. Good Mews is widely available in grocery stores and SFS.





Living with Wildlife

4 09 2008

It’s important to know who is living in your house and your yard especially since some of them may be carnivores. You may think that just your dog and the feral cat down the way are residents, but a little careful observation can tell you otherwise.

We make it a habit to walk down to the river and enjoy the sites and sounds of the backbone of our valley. Every morning the landscape has changed slightly and it’s always interesting to see who has visited the beach during the night or who might still be there. We’ve seen eagles, mergansers, Canada goose, buffleheads, mallards, cormorant, otters, beaver, coyotes, raccoons and the occasional elk. Since the sand is a good witness, we also know that there are bobcat, possum, various rodents, and, once, a deer.

Living in town is no different really. Remove the water birds and mammals and add in skunks, rats, and many more feral dogs and cats. Even here in the woods, dogs are our greatest threat to our own pets and chickens. Shortly after we got our chickens and had them in temporary housing, they were attacked by a pack of three dogs from a ways away. As you can see, they nearly chewed through 3/4″ plywood, but luckily our hens were safe. The sheriff warned the owner of the dogs that we had the right to shoot them on sight. We haven’t seen them since.

We also now have a robust chicken run that is reinforced with chainlink along the bottom. See the previous post for a picture.

Wild animals are a different challenge. Most won’t bother our Newfoundland dog, few will bother our cats, but more could get to our chickens or their eggs. We let them range during the day, but make sure they are enclosed at night. Kale and Maija almost always slept inside. On some hot nights, we would let them be outside, but it just takes once for something to get to them. That policy is now forever changed: All pets inside at night, no exceptions!

The bobcat came, hung around a couple of weeks, and has since been somewhat scarce. I know it’ll be back though so I act accordingly. We can’t do anything about our feral cat Ralf, but we make sure that she only has food out during the day. She has many places to get shelter and is, by far, more wily than our house cat Kale ever was.

We love having all the wildlife around and do what we can to make our acreage good habitat for them. We do like to stop short of feeding them our pets however! Since there are also bear and cougar around here, we have to be concerned for our own safety as well.

RELEVANT LINKS

More information about living with bobcats from WDFW.

More about bobcats, tracking, a great narrative about an escape and good description for identifying a bobcat kill site.

Predator identification

What killed my chickens?

Watching Wildlife from WDFW

Mammals of Washington from the University of Washington





What I did on my summer vacation …

28 08 2008

Since it’ll soon be Labor Day and the end of the summer calendar, I thought I’d share some pictures of the past few months.

We started things off with a small ship cruise amongst the glaciers of Alaska. This was our first of many spectacular glaciers. See the rest of the photos here.

Blackstone Glacier

Blackstone Glacier

The berries of spring!

Eastern Washington cherries and Sakuma strawberries

Eastern Washington cherries and Sakuma strawberries

Some of the berries made it into jams.

Princess (raspberry/strawberry/blueberry) and raspberry jams

Princess (raspberry/strawberry/blueberry) and raspberry jams

Keith built us a spectacular chicken run! The permanent coop is still being designed and will be built later, but Dorie, Alton and Julia love it and we no longer have chicken curfew. We can stay out after dark like real grownups! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Chicken run

Chicken run

We did a little tooling around despite the boggling price of gas. Luckily this has a very small tank since it wants to sip premium.

Maija wondering if there are cookies inside (of course)

Maija wondering if there are cookies inside (of course)

Another summer project also got completed, here’s the pumphouse before.

The dirty pumphouse

The dirty pumphouse

Now it’s clean and ready to be used as a root cellar! The floor will also be repainted when the pressure tank is replaced later.

The freshly-painted pumphouse

The freshly-painted pumphouse

We got involved with the Skagit Citizens for Electric Authority which is a PAC organized to promote the ballot measure to grant the Skagit County PUD the authority provide county residents with electric service. Read all about the issue and the PUD’s position.

Skagit Citizens for Electric Authority wallet card designed by Diane Freethy

Skagit Citizens for Electric Authority wallet card designed by Diane Freethy

Dorie? What are you hiding?

Dorie in the shrubbery

Dorie in the shrubbery

The sneaky hens hid a dozen off in the Oregon grape until we made a few changes to the nesting box.

Hidden clutch of eggs

Hidden clutch of eggs

We drove over the pass for a weekend in the Wild West with my mom. We stayed at our favorite place just blocks from town.

Old Winthrop postcard

Old Winthrop postcard

I put up some chard stem relish. Some friends had shared this wonderful treat with us last year so I decided to use up some of our chard bounty. I did add some spoonfuls of sambal though. Spicy!

Swiss chard stem relish

Swiss chard stem relish

Winkled out some new potatoes. These were all last year’s volunteers so it was all potluck! There were a couple of Ozettes even. I plan on growing them again next year.

New bonus potatoes

New bonus potatoes

We got away for a few days of sailing too! Ours is the blue boat rafted up with our friends’ boat at Matia Island in the San Juans. We had a special treat and saw our state’s tall ships, Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain, on the morning of our departure.

The C-Spree and Tamara Lee rafted at Matia Island

The C-Spree and Tamara Lee rafted at Matia Island

Of course we went to the fair! We spent some of the time promoting the electric authority ballot measure and the rest of the time enjoying the animals and events.

I’ve been putting up produce from the garden too. I’ve frozen several pounds of berries, kale, chard and beans. I hope to get to the corn over this long weekend!

Vacuum-packed veggies

Vacuum-packed veggies

Then there was also a large fest! It was fun and we had a great turnout despite the 85F weather.

Party invite

Party invite

For the party (and the freezer), I smoked the 26 pound turkey we got for Thanksgiving last year. It didn’t fit into the oven so we saved it. I got this huge bird from Tall Tree Exotics. Thanks for facilitating, Laura!

Big bird in the smoker

Big bird in the smoker

We also picked up 32 pounds of pork butt at Silvana Meats. This was the best pulled pork that I’ve ever made! Fortunately we now have several packages of it in the freezer for winter.

Pork butts smoking

Pork butts smoking

We also took our annual birthday trip up to Vancouver, BC for Bard on the Beach. This year we saw [Artistic Director] Christopher Gaze starring in Tait’s version of King Lear. The weather didn’t favor us, but we had a great time and discovered a Kits gem for a reasonably-priced and delicious diner, Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe. Something for everyone and many vegetarian choices too.

Christopher Gaze as King Lear

Christopher Gaze as King Lear

Finally, I battled and beat the fearsome pressure cooker! After timidly boiling some water, I dove right in with a pot of dried hominy. Since it was still a bit toothy after a whole hour at pressure, I was glad that I used the pressure cooker. I can’t imagine how many days it would have taken in the crock pot. It went into a big batch of pozole which mostly went into the freezer for later meals.

Next I cooked up nearly a pound of garbanzos. It took only 30 minutes and they were perfectly done and not a mushy mess! Usually it takes a day of soaking and at least 12 hours in the crock pot. No, I didn’t even soak. I’m stoked and imagining the energy savings since we eat a lot of beans and they’re so much better cooked from dried beans rather than canned. Yay!

Vanquished my fear of the scary old pot!

Vanquished my fear of the scary old pot!

Now what of the crock pot? Well, it proved to be quite a worthy vessel for fermenting some sauerkraut! Since I only fairly recently started liking it having tasted some lovely fresh kraut from Pleasant Valley Farms in LaConner. Canned sauerkraut just doesn’t evoke or inspire so it’s just always been off my menu. Who knew it could be so good?

And who knew it could be so easy? I fermented it on the counter for a few days short of a week and then plunked it into jars and the refrigerator for safe-keeping.

Homemade sauerkraut

Homemade sauerkraut

I guess I won’t have to pay $8/lb. for it at the co-op’s deli case anymore which will leave that much more budget for Peppadews! Okay, not local, but oh so delicious.

Well, time to get ready for a Downriver trip and the Skagit Citizens for Electric Authority meeting tonight at the Burlington Public Library at 5pm. Hopefully I’ll have local corn to report on tomorrow!





Some miscellaneous updates

24 06 2008

PSE

The feasability study is available from the Skagit PUD! So far 79% of Skagitonians prefer local control of electric service. More information about the buyout and the latest news is available at SavePSE.

1,4-Dioxane

You may have read about the carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane being found in many organic personal care products and household cleansers. If you somehow missed the kerfuffle, you can read about it at the Organic Consumer’s Association website here.

Since so many dishwashing liquids were on the list, I thought I’d check with the fine folks at CountrySave to see if they used it. Well, 6 minutes after I emailed “info” this morning, I got a reply from President Kris stating that … well, let me just quote:

Saara – we have NEVER used that ingredient……in any product…….EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

๐Ÿ™‚ have a nice day! If you go over to the detergent shelf in the store and pick up a box you will be able to read every ingredient. One update is that while the box says differently, as of May 1st we no longer use Coconut Diethanolimide in the formula and our boxes will reflect that on the next print run……

Does that answer your question …and more? Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ Kris

I’d say it does! I love dealing with local companies!

Mountain Loop Road

The Loop is re-opening! After being closed for nearly 5 years due to flood damage, there will be a tri-city celebration held in Darrington, Arlington and Granite Falls on the weekend of June 28th & 29th. The Loop would be a great driving and camping trip close by instead of venturing further afield. It’s exciting to have this beautiful drive back.