Independence Days #4-6

8 06 2009

I don’t want to post only challenge updates so this one is a roundup. πŸ™‚

Plant

Seeded Silver rib and Rainbow chards, arugula, Chantenay carrots, assorted mustard greens, Wautoma cucumbers (pickling), Bull’s blood and Chiogga beets, Bloomsdale savoy spinach, broccoli raab, rutabagas and parsnips. Nasturtiums, hollyhocks and marigolds.

Transplanted Kuri and Delicata squashes, Brandywine and Green Grape tomatoes, Purple tomatilloes and cauliflower.

See My Garden Journal for more gardening details.

Harvest & Preserve

Another 2 pounds of rhubarb frozen plus some made into a flip cake along with some frozen berries. Fireweed and some other wild greens for salad. Also made a salad of errant raabs, overwintered chard, asparagus and Claytonia. Horseradish leaf on burgers.

Keith picked 6 quarts of salmonberries that I froze on cookie sheets. Dehydrated some oyster mushrooms that he found on a fallen alder. Dehydrated lovage.

Prepare and Store

Been baking up a storm so freezing some bread for later.

Keith has filled up the woodshed with enough wood for winter! This is a great milestone for him this early in the season. Now he’ll be able to get ahead for the next winter.

Manage

The outside freezer is nearly empty! I’ll be moving the last stragglers over and defrosting soon. I cleaned the pumphouse/root cellar so it’s ready to be filled although we’ll be painting the floor yet.

Reduce

Saved the hot oil from a jar of pickled peppers for mixing into foliar feed in the garden. It has the dual benefit of being hot so it’ll act as a pest repellant and will help the foliar feed to adhere. The oil is soybean or I’d be saving it for cooking.

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Independence Days #3

16 05 2009

Posting early this week since we’re off for a quick trip across the pass! Back Tuesday.

Plant

Weather has been cold and rainy so I only reseeded some of my starts inside.

Harvest

The first rhubarb!

Preserve

Froze the 3 1/2 lbs. of rhubarb.

Prepare and Store

Picked up a pair of Sperry Top-Siders for $15 (original price $65)! Also stocked up on stainless fasteners.

Manage

Have begun emptying the outside freezer for defrosting and updating the freezer list.

Reduce

Designated a pantry shelf and a freezer spot for food items needing to be rotated out.

Learn

Learned that our native banana slug (the only one I don’t kill on my twice daily sprees) seems to be somewhat territorial. This one has been seen in several locations in the yard including curled up next to some kale seedlings. I left it alone and the kale seedlings are still there as is the slug at the same time each evening. It seems to have quite a range!

Community

Nothing on this front. Enjoying some hermit time. πŸ™‚





Independence Days #2

11 05 2009

Plant

Kale, radishes, mache, Brussels sprouts, arugula, cauliflower, potatoes, beets, collards and hollyhocks.

Harvest

Lone asparagus stalk eaten for breakfast in the garden.

Preserve

Froze nettles, homemade waffles, spicy beans and corn tortillas for quick meals during planting season.

Discovered that my rye starter had become contaminated so I refreshed my frozen stash. Froze a fresh batch and will freeze some of my regular sourdough starter as well. Disaster averted!

Prepare and Store

Acquired 5gal buckets with lids and burlap coffee sacks.

Manage

Collected foods needing to be rotated out of the big freezers into the refrigerator freezer for easy access and visibility, used the last of the whole wheat pastry flour, hemp seeds, poppy seeds and protein powder in the waffles. Noticed that I have too much chocolate, theoretically. πŸ˜‰

Reduce

Lost a chicken to a predator in the middle of the day. 😦 Seeded vegetables and sprinkled bone and kelp meals right before a rain so I didn’t need to water them in.

Learn

Modern roosters, even of heritage breeds, are noisy and useless.

Signed up to participate in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge which will be working through Peter Reinhart’s book of the same name. I’ll be doing some of the recipes from his Whole Grain Breads book too. The challenge will be encouraging me to try some of the recipes that I might not otherwise bake.

Community

Participated in the 5th meeting of our monthly discussion group with the topic of “2012: Cataclysm, Turning Point, or Business as Usual?” where we talked about the environment, local economy, alternative energy, peak oil, etc. Set up a simple blog site for our group so we can continue to share ideas outside of our meetings.





Independence Days Update #1

5 05 2009

A day late with my post, but work gets priority around here when clients need their projects. πŸ™‚

Plant

Seeded Good King Henry and earth chestnut in the perennial bed. Seeded chard, lettuce, mustard, raab, spinach, rutabagas, carrots and marigolds. Added a row of raspberries from volunteers.

Harvest

Foraged nettles and used sorrel and lovage in meals.

Preserve

Nothing this week.

Prepare and Store

Picked up two boxes of organic tomato paste and generally stocked up a bit. Keith put up more firewood.

Manage

Continuing to eat down the freezer. Have been using up lots of odds and ends from the pantry.

Reduce

Picked up a wall-mounted wooden drying rack from a garage sale this weekend for $3! Put Netflix on hold for the summer. Added to the wine bottle garden bed edging. πŸ˜€

Learn

Read up on Verpa bohemica (aka false morel), but am still on the fence on actually eating it. Witnessed a bobcat walking through the yard in the middle of the day yesterday. We thought they were strictly nocturnal!

Community

Somewhat indirect, but I purchased some seeds from a local seed company yesterday. Hopefully my small contribution helps support their business. Also convinced someone to buy a case of local microbrew at Costco instead of the formerly local Redhook. Got my friend to sign up for our local CSA.

More next week!





Challenges for 2009

3 05 2009

I don’t usually participate actively in blogger challenges, but I do follow some with interest and have passively played along. In 2007 I did the Dark Days Eat Local Challenge put on by Urban Hennery and enjoyed it very much. Those tags have “fallen off” in the blog revamp, but I should get them back on, especially since I plan to play along this winter if Laura does it again.

This year, as a way to virtually kick myself in the tuckus a little, I’ve decided to participate in two challenges and occasionally in an event. In for a penny, in for a pound!

Independence Days Challenge

It’s the second year for the challenge but the first year for me as an official participant. It’s essentially taking the huge issue of increasing self-reliance (not to be confused with self-sufficiency) and breaking it down into smaller steps. By parsing this multi-faceted goal as a series of smaller tasks, it becomes quite manageable. Tracking it makes it easier to see progress that has been made and not become overwhelmed by what remains to be done.

I used the categories last year to sort of keep tabs on myself and found them quite helpful. Since it was such a positive experience just casually checking once in a while, I decided to actually participate this year. I’ll be posting here on my progress on Mondays (or thereabouts).

The Growing Challenge Advanced Edition – From Seed To Seed!

This one started in January, but I’m just joining up now.

The challenge is to grow a crop from seed and then harvest enough seeds to grow it again next year. The benefit of doing this instead of just buying new seed is acclimating a food plant to your particular micro-climate.

This is interesting to me since I have an especially challenging situation and have been figuring out what works and what I just can’t grow here. The other benefits are learning a new skill and saving a bit of money. I’ve been doing this over the years here and there, but a little less randomness is probably in order. This should help.

I’ll be posting about that on my Garden Journal whenever Melinda requests the weekly update.

Grow Your Own

My friend Nate of House of Annie asked me to submit my nettle pasta post to the Grow Your Own Roundup #27 event last week.

I probably would have written my post slightly differently had I intended it for the GYO Roundup, but I appreciated being alerted to this blogging event and submitted it as it was. I love the concept and think it’s a great way to show off some of our local bounty to the wider world.

I’ll be participating more casually on this one, but intend to try a posting at least once a month. Since it’s only twice a month, I may be able to participate more often, but I’ll be shooting for original recipes so we’ll see.

Is this a change in direction for the blog?

No, I’m still focused on the Skagit foodshed and what it has to offer. As you may have noticed, there hasn’t been much “shopping” going on around here recently. Since both of us are self-employed, the economy has hit us quite hard and we haven’t been eating in our local restaurants or even driving around to see what’s new as much lately. I did have my birthday brunch at Cameron’s in Anacortes and dinner at Seeds in La Conner though!

Since the root cellar has been deemed a success, we’ll be doing our best to fill that up for the winter. We’re still eating down the freezers for defrosting, but we’ll be filling that with local meat and produce over the summer as well. During all the seasons, we continue to forage and learn about our local wild edibles. Each new addition to our stores will get posted about here.

Now, however, the rain has turned to sunshine again so I’m off to plant a few more things out in the garden!