We participate in Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge. This is our weekly update.
Plant—Nothing in the ground this week. I have lots of bulbs I need to plant, but I didn’t make the time to do it when it was pretty outside this week.
Harvest—The very last of the green Beans, in fact, I’m amazed I was able to find any that were edible with the touch of frost we’ve had. I also harvested the last of the red tomatoes. They were a little anemic tasting, but they added some color to a capresi salad I brought to a friend’s dinner party last night. I pulled basil, bell peppers, jalapeños, onions, and flowers for arrangements. We went to a local pumpkin patch with our daughter’s school and picked a pumpkin and a few apples.
Preserve—I made mozzarella and yogurt again this week, and I was very happy that I did when we were invited to the impromptu dinner party. It was nice to bring something fresh and Italian to a spaghetti dinner. I harvested what I think will be the last of the jalapenos and made easy jalapeño rings. I froze some more bell peppers and chopped green onions. I was pleased to preserve a few more foods this week. Like I said last week, this is the time of the year that I look back and wish I would have done more.
Reduce Waste—We continue our energy reduction, recycling, and composting efforts. I happily passed some soup on to a friend who just had a beautiful baby girl. We went camping this weekend, and it was nice to give it to someone who appreciated it rather than letting it go to waste. I also passed a magazine on to her. I reorganized the pantry, taking stock of how many jams and jellies we have left. I keep giving it away and realized that I need to make sure that we have enough for us this winter. I cleaned out the refrigerator and was pleased that not much was found wasteful in there. I used some hot peppers we had from the CSA along with the jalapeños when making the rings I mentioned above. I began making a pile of books to bring to the bookstore for resale. Hubby is working on the church computer to help save money and reduce the need for purchase of a new computer. We donated a few more items for the church bazaar and rummage sale.
A friend passed some clothes and coats on to our daughter. These hand-me-downs are so appreciated! Our daughter gets such a kick out of wearing something that “Marley gave me”, and it means so much more to her than something that came off of a rack. She often asks, “Who made this for me” when talking about toys or “Who gave this to me” when referring to clothes. It is so much nicer to tell her that her cousin or her friend passed clothes to her or her Daddy made her toy than to tell her that it was made in China and shipped thousands of miles to a store.
I am asking myself more often when at the store, “Can I make this myself, and if so, how much would it cost?” Example—we went camping this weekend, and I can’t imagine camping without smores. Instead of buying graham crackers, I made them myself. The taste of homemade is far superior to the ones you find in the boxes, and they are a little cheaper. Yes, it takes time, but really not as much as you might think. (I’ll try to post the recipe for these on my blog soon).
Prep/Storage—I stocked up on some toiletries this week and found a great deal on organic carrots. I pulled out some more winter clothes for our daughter to wear as the weather continues to cool. I can’t think of anything else we did in this area.
Building Community Food Systems—I made up some more boxes for the food pantry. The youth group donated $60 to the food pantry at church, and I spoke with them briefly about how important this outreach is for the community and how often we are able to help people in need. I picked up some tuna fish for the food pantry. We had some breads donated to the church, and I picked up about 9 cases of sliced breads, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns. We’ll use the hot dog buns for a wienie roast we have planned for November 7th, the hamburger buns will go for the youth, and the sliced breads will be donated when we hand out boxes and also used for the children's program.
Eat the Food—Our daughter’s favorite part of the food this week was the smores with the homemade graham crackers. “Thank you Momma for making this for me.” My hubby’s favorite part was eating the homemade petit fours that I baked for his birthday on Sunday. My favorite part was seeing each of their faces as they enjoyed the special treats and knowing that one of my special gifts in life is to prepare foods for the ones that I love. It is such an honor and responsibility. I, in many ways, am the gatekeeper for what we bring into our home and put in our bodies. Sure, it takes more thought, planning, and time to prepare foods from scratch and to plan the budget so that we can buy more locally grown and organic products. It is worth it, though. When we have a special treat, I want it to be special. When we sit down together to eat as a family, I want them to know that I made the meal with love.