Sunday, June 27, 2010

Independance Day - 27 June 2010

The heat is worse this week; upper 90's to low 100's and humid. Not fun. I'm keeping an eye on the balcony to make sure they don't get heat-stressed.

1. Plant something: Nothing.

2. Harvest something: nothing.

3. Preserved something:nothing.

4. Waste not:recycling, leftovers. Does thrift shopping count? I found more indigo glass clamp-top jars, a 1947 book of folk songs with the music, and a Whirlypop to make popcorn with.

5. Want not: Dropped items at thrift store.

6. Build community: went to farmers market.

7. Eat the food: Tomato sandwich, bean salad (new recipe trial; failed), more chard. I didn't cook much this week.

8. Crafting: I washed all of last week's fabric and started sewing my linen dress pants. I'm being very careful with ripping out seams sewn wrong (I'm learning as I go). I've read a lot this week, rather than much crafting.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

As I was drinking my morning coffee, my mind wandered back over the things we've begun, and the things we'd still like to do. We eat (mostly) locally, cook most of our meals, use homemade cleaners, and try to keep down the electric bill (try, only because I'm not happy yet with the progress). The lights that aren't on dimmers are all CFL, and we use natural light as much as possible. We recycle, buy many items second-hand (reuse), and only buy what we need. I fix clothes, rather than replace them, and re-use the fabrics when repairing is no longer possible.

We are saving as much as we can, getting out of debt, and working on being prepared for emergencies. Last year, we weren't. I'm glad it wasn't a bad storm year.

We'd like to preserve more local foods for the winter. I'm also interested in possibly switching to homemade laundry detergent. My skin is fairly sensitive, so I have to be careful what I wash fabrics with. We want to restore the Singer 66, and get an old handcrank as well. We have more plans, as well, for farther on.

What are you looking forward to doing?

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you'll land among the stars."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Independance Day Challenge - 21 June 2010

The cicadas (appropriately enough, the name translates to "buzzer") have started to sing. Even the sound means 'heat' to me, and the weekend was 90's and humid. I tried to get errands done before the heat kicked in until I realized no one is open that early :( I originally wanted to be done and home at 10am. On the other hand, I got lots done around the house!

1. Plant something: Lobelia and white impatiens. I re-arranged and cleaned the patio Saturday morning, and Sunday picked up these cool-white trailing flowers for prettys. I also potted the lemon balm outside and gave everything some fertilizer and cool drinks.

2. Harvest something: A bit of basil.

3. Preserved something:nothing.

4. Waste not:recycling, leftovers.

5. Want not: Another bag is slowly being filled for donating.

6. Build community: went to farmers market.

7. Eat the food: Making more Tabbouleh - it went over very well. Swiss chard, and fried yellow squash; fried mushrooms and eggs. I'm practicing a bit more scavenge-cooking: I scavenge the fridge and make a meal from what I find there. This is different from direct eating of leftovers, at least in my mind, in that I aim to end up with a Meal, versus eating re-heated foods.

8. Crafting:I'm working on my Hedgerow Sock, and the two leaf-heart afghan squares. I also picked up a sewing book that covers adjusting patterns, making your own, and modifying a one-size tailor's dummy to fit a specific person. Since I need to do that, it was an extra bonus. JoAnn's had a sale, so I picked up fabric for tops and a couple of small bags.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Independance Day - June 16, 2010

We've taken apart the Singer 66 table, for repairs. Except that after closer examination, it's getting refinished. It won't hurt the value - someone already refinished these - and the disparate pieces will match. And, I'll have a gorgeous table to show off :)

1. Plant something: nothing.

2. Harvest something: Nothing. The chard looks good, and the orange mint looks happy.

3. Preserved something: Chicken broth.

4. Waste not: recycling, leftovers.

6. Build community: went to farmers market.

7. Eat the food: Tabbouleh - new recipe for us. Ingredients were from the farmers market and the nearest Indian store. Also tacos with a lot of local food in there. I'm making an effort not use commercial canned food this summer, and also learning new recipes. The tabbouleh is served cold, which is wonderful when it's mid-90's and sticky outside.
8. Crafting: I've started a new sock pattern, and am still working on the afghan. I need to make time to sew and cross-stitch, somehow; I have so much in my head that I'd like to see get made!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

missing pictures and computer surgery

I haven't been able to post any pictures for a while because the computer that can read the camera's memory card is down. As it also has all my old pics saved on it, I can't borrow any of those, either. After that computer is fixed I'll be able to do more.

If the repair is replacing a worn out power box like I think it is, then I'll know to replace those after 6 years. This will be the second computer to have that problem at that age. Nice to know!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Independance Days Challenge - 9 June

I managed to declutter the front closet, and found a few things to donate. Progress is being made...

1. Plant something: nothing.

2. Harvest something: I pulled up the straight-to-seed broccoli. I really ought to plant those a couple months earlier.... Also, checked and noted when to plant cool-season crops for fall/winter harvest. I also picked up lemon balm (live plant) this week.

3. Preserved something: Made calendula salve over the weekend.

4. Waste not: the usual

6. Build community: went to farmers market. Attempting to get coworkers to buy more from there - local honey, sweets, breads, seasoning mixes, meats, eggs, baking mixes, sewn items, soaps, jewelry, plus the fruits & veggies :-)

7. Eat the food: Local meats for dinner, with local squash. Local turnip greens with local onions and bacon. Local egg salad sandwiches for lunches.
8. Crafting: I worked on the yule afghan while playing my computer games, and avoiding going out into the sauna - I mean, going outside. I was *so* happy to see rain Sunday night, and feel things cool off for a bit :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Different Point of View

Perhaps I have an unusual point of view. Prepping, to me, does not involve lots of cans and boxes of commercial foods, specially sealed seeds, and such things. It's always been more of an 'older' point of view, of having enough food that I have put up to get through the next year or two (ideally) with minimum estimated food incoming. That way one bad year in the garden wouldn't leave a family in a bind.

My guiding thought for prepping and homesteading is, and has been, "What can I produce on our farm?" Now, that farm is all in my head - I'm limited in what I can grow on the balcony. In place of an actual farm I used my mental image of a New England farm of the late 1700's. I chose this based on my own curiosity of both the time and the place, along with already having some very basic knowledge and knowing that they tended to be maintained mostly by the family living there and not a lot of hired hands.

For food, that means thinking in terms of what is fresh, and when; and what keeps in the root cellar and for about how long. What can I make from what the farm produces, and what would need to be bought? Snickerdoodle cookies, for example. Cinnamon needs to be bought. Granulated sweetener can be made from boiled down maple syrup, and honey or maple syrup used in the dough. Flour can be grown in the area; baking soda would have to be bought. Salt would be another purchase, but perhaps could come from the Atlantic shore.

In winter we eat more chicken - think of thinning the flock over the winter. In summer I eat more eggs - egg salad, fried eggs, etc., as I would to keep up with the flood of eggs this time of year. The farmer's market provides us with a great deal of fresh, local food, and I attempt to keep up. Fresh veggies for most meals, salads, and putting up for winter's needs as well. Learning to cook meals that don't need meats to be filling and nutritious.

I think, too, of seasonal chores. In the spring, to make more soap - I prefer goat's milk soap, and spring is when we'd have the extra milk for that. In spring, summer, and fall, to gather dye herbs and dye the spring shearing and last winter's spinning, and have the wools and flax ready to be spun on winter evenings by the fire.

Even if I'm not able to do all of these things, the awareness of the work helps my life be more mindful, and helps my mind prepare for things we'd like to do in the future.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Independance Days - 3 June

Still lots of reading. I'm slowly working on an afghan, and on straightening the house. It needs a declutter again, we'll have to do one over the summer.

1. Plant something: nothing.

2. Harvest something: nothing.

3. Preserved something: Nothing.

4. Waste not: the usual

6. Build community: went to farmers market. (yea, these first few are kinda basic most weeks)

7. Eat the food: Lettuce on everything. Lots of sandwiches, without using deli meats. Mashed turnip-potatoes. Local meats for dinner, with local squash. Hoping to get chard next week, as well.
8. Crafting: Um. Yea. Lazy this week, I was....