Update.

It’s been another eventful week, and it’s only Wednesday! On Monday Max was hospitalized for a fever. He and my sister have been in the hospital for the past few days, and they were even on some kind of a swine flu alert for a little while. Everything came back clean, thankfully, and it looks like he just caught the little cold that Gretchen and Tuula had right before she went into labor. He’s just so little, though, and it must’ve took a toll on that baby body. They’re going home today, so I’ll stop by there later to check on them and bring them their CSA veggies.

Just a few more weeks on the food storage front and then it’ll be time to work on other things. I’ve still got lots of apples to pick and process to make applesauce, dried apple rings, and just plain old apple slices to can for desserts later in the year. I’m also gonna do lots of pureed pumpkin (I’m excited to try this recipe), canned collard greens (cooked with ham hocks, yum…), kale soup, and a few other odds and ends and random pickling/lacto-fermenting experiments. I just made my first batch of sauerkraut (will be done in a few more weeks), and it STINKS during the initial ferment. On day 3 I was very ready to exile it to the fridge downstairs. I love sauerkraut and can eat it with practically every meal, but this was not an appetizing process. I did it correctly and read that the smell is normal and will go away with time. Thank goodness for that research, though, because I may not have tossed it but I might not ever try it. Our friend who’s living with us right now said that he would expect it to smell something like rotting cabbage… it smelled better than that, and I guess that’s kind of what we’re doing. We’re just controlling the bacterial environment to keep it edible. So with that in mind, bon appetite! haha. I’m sure it will be delicious in a month. πŸ™‚

This is what I did with all those green tomatoes.

I’m now thinking about food for the winter and how to make our stores last as long as possible. I’ll be really surprised if our produce lasts the whole winter, but I’m remaining optimistic. Things to tackle for the winter include (mostly for my own reference, but if anyone is interested all the better):
 

  • Making and mastering a sourdough bread recipe that I can make weekly
  • Sprouting sprouting sprouting. Especially interested in mastering large sprouts that will infuse our diets with some freshness over the winter- things that come to mind are mung bean sprouts and sunflower shoots. I’m just learning, so I’m sure I’ll try out a variety of things and then narrow it down from there.
  • Making my own tortillas. I’d love to make sprouted tortillas, although I’ll have to do more research on how to sprout the grain and then process it properly.
  • Finding as-local-as-possible grain/oats/other bulk food sources and buying directly (I plan to store whole wheat berries in the basement in a big bin and grind them fresh- or sprout and grind them- for bread/tortillas as needed).
  • Making my own yogurt. I keep planning to do this, but just postpone… This Friday I’m pledging to make my first batch! I’d like to make a quart or so a week.
  • Having "bulk recipe days" with friends and making big quantities of things like pizza dough or soups or whatever to freeze for future easy meals.
  • Make my own mozzarella. I’ve heard it’s super easy and I’d love to put big slabs of it on our homemade pizza.
  • Thinking about alternatives. I want to really localize, but coconut oil is just not that… so I’m trying to think about phasing these things out without compromising our health and happiness.
  • Making meal plans. Taking on these new things will likely overwhelm me some in the coming weeks. So simplifying things and making a schedule will only take a few extra minutes every week and will leave me with a concrete idea of what kind of prep is needed for each meal and what ingredients we have. It’ll also help me strategize and keep us eating a variety of food so that nothing is left lonely in the back of the freezer for months on end.
     

Other, non-food related goals:

  • knitting. I’m just a beginner, really, and I just want to keep getting better. It just seems like a good idea to keep flexing that creative muscle even when you’re vegging on the couch or waiting in the doctor’s office. Right now I’m working on a special doll for Tuula (cuz now she’s a big sister!) 
  • sewing. I have several projects in mind and so my goal is really just to set up my sewing area and bust those things out. It’ll be very cleansing, I think.
  • Start drawing/painting/playing guitar again. This stuff got pushed to the side when I started doing… well, everything else, so I’d like to rekindle some of that because I really loved it.
  • set up/plan the garden for spring. Also do something with my totally shaded front yard so that it’s not a total bore.
  • Figure out about where to get chickens, build the coop. The coop will likely wait until the spring, but seeing as how we aren’t buying new materials and we are going to attach a greenhouse to it, we’ll need to do some designing and creative scavenging to make it happen.
  • Get acquainted with more local scavenging resources. I’d like to find junkyards and meet the people who run them. I’d like to find untended fruit trees and other foraging areas and get educated about how to identify what’s edible and what’s not. Um, wild mushroom omelette, anyone? I’d like to go along with some seasoned dumpster divers and learn their tricks. I might make a few new friends!
  • Book club.
  • Take a class on herbs. I’m really interested in that stuff, and my love for it all came flooding back when I was mixing the postpartum herbal bath for my sister. I remembered how wonderful that stuff was in healing me, and it also made Vera’s cord fall off in 4 days! Normally that takes like 2 weeks. It was cool. I tend to feel headachey and nauseous with chemically things, even stuff that’s supposed to smell nice like lotions and stuff. Essential oils and things, and straight herbs are intoxicating to me, though, and I’d love to learn how to make my own tinctures and stuff. I also am a big fan of preventative medicine, and if I can learn how to use herbs to keep us healthy, that’d be awesome too. Like red raspberry leaf tea. I drank that all through pregnancy and when I finally got my period back I had almost zero cramps for months. The only time they made an appearance was months later when I had gotten out of the habit of drinking it and was drinking way more coffee. It got me thinking…
  • Get my master gardener certification, or at least start the process.
  • Work on making money in alternative ways so that Jeff can cut down to part time and spend more time with us.

I don’t think I’ll be bored this winter!

Vera. Her hair is getting so long! Anyway, I was at this mom-to-mom sale and got her some new warm footie pajamas. What is it with kids and kicking off blankets? The middle of the night icicle-feet on my stomach was getting a little old, and I worry that she’s cold at night. Anyway, I got her three of these and this one was too cute not to take pictures of.

It got even better when she decided to put on her cat hat.

I just love this kid.


And some of my sweet Maya. This day I had put laundry all over the couch, but that didn’t stop her!

Let’s get a close up on that dangle! She’s such a funny dog sometimes.

Oooh, tonight is extra special because Jeff and I were invited to sit in on a class at EMU where Derrick Jensen is skyping in! This is really cool. Jensen is this author we’re totally obsessed with right now, so it’s kind of a big deal to us. I’m sure I’ll write more about this later.

Quote of the day:
"“What I fear and desire most in this world is passion. I fear it because it promises to be spontaneous, out of control, unnamed, beyond my reasonable self. I desire it because passion has color, like the landscape before me. It is not pale. It is not neutral. It reveals the backside of the heart.” (Derrick Jensen)

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