We participate in Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge. This is our weekly update.
Plant—Nothing planted this week.
Harvest—A handful of cherry tomatoes, 4 or 5 green beans, 8 or so red potatoes, a few turnip greens, onions.
Preserve—Saved okra and pole bean seeds. Froze chopped green onions.
Reduce Waste—We continue our energy reduction, recycling, and composting efforts. I composted the egg shells, coffee grounds, and banana peels left over from preparation of the men’s breakfast at church. One coy older man thought he would kid with me, “So, Gabrielle do you recycle banana peels?” I said, “Yes, I have a compost bucket right here.” All of the other men laughed and laughed at him because he turned red and didn’t have a come-back. He had never thought of “recycling” banana peels.
I helped with our church bazaar and rummage sale. I picked up a few homemade items from the bazaar section for gifts—bows, hats, and gloves. I donated some rice bags to the sale that I had made. From the rummage sale section we bought a puzzle, puzzle keeper, and some never used Christmas coloring books that will be either advent gifts or go in our daughter’s stocking. I picked up a water bath canner for a friend and another gift that shall remain nameless for a friend who reads this blog. ;)
Prep/Storage—I stocked up on a lot of organics—butter, crackers, raisins, and cereal. The bulk order of organic maple syrup arrived this week. Hubby worked on the play area this weekend. He completed the first step in the soda making process. I pulled the weeds that have needed to be removed for weeks (ok, ok, months). I pulled down almost all of the tomato cages, leaving only the cherry tomatoes that are still fruiting. I pulled the bamboo poles from the beans and tidied up the gardens.
I checked all of our stores this week. The outside of a couple of cans needed cleaned and I took that as an incentive to completely rearrange one of the main food pantries downstairs. It is so nice to see almost all of my canning in one place—the beautiful peaches, beets, green beans, preserves of all types, tomatoes and pears make me smile whenever I look at them (not to mention when I eat them!).
Building Community Food Systems—I made up some more boxes for the food pantry. This year the church will be making up boxes with holiday food items inside, and I’ll be making a handout with some recipes to include in each. I bought a dozen eggs from a friend who has chickens. I visited a local farmers market to stock up on sweet potatoes for the winter and bought some for a friend. Picked up local milk for our small milk co-op. I helped organize the church Bonfire, Hayride and Wienie Roast. It was nice to see many people from the community join us this year. I made an effort to use the items we already had rather than purchasing something new. We also recycled at the event. My article entitled Eat Better for Less was released this week as part of the November issue of the Knoxmoms.com magazine.
I will be picking up over 80 pounds of pecans this week. They are within the 200 mile definition of local and are this year’s crop. The farmers in Georgia are ones we have been working with for years, and it always feels good to support them. The bulk buy is a fundraiser for an organization with which I belong and is always a big hit with friends.
Eat the Food—I’d say that my husband was the most excited about the Shepherd’s Pie this week. The potatoes, onions, garlic, and lamb were either grown by us or bought from local farmers. My daughter’s favorite was probably the persimmon muffins I made last night. The persimmons my family from Texas brought us were ultra-ripe and ready for use. I wanted to try something different, so I morphed about 4 recipes together. They turned out fantastic! The blueberries and cream were my favorite this week. They were ones we picked earlier in the year and had frozen. I took a little sour cream, sweetened it with a bit of rapadura, crumbled some leftover homemade graham crackers, and topped the berries with the mixture. They were yummy!