November 23, 2009

Independence Days Update

We participate in Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge.   This is our weekly update.  We’ve had some beautiful days in East TN this week.  We even enjoyed lunch outside over the weekend, and it was fantastic. 

Plant—Nothing planted this week.

Harvest—Onions and zinnias and fall leaves for arrangements

Preserve—Saved okra seeds.  Froze Vegetable and Beef Soup.

Reduce Waste—We continue our energy reduction, recycling, and composting efforts.   We have not turned on the heat nor found a need for a fire yet.  While the house is a bit cool at times, we simply put on a blanket or sweater.  While we have had some cool days, I’ve been a little surprised by how warm some of them have been.  It is not unusual to have warm days this time of the year in East TN, but I had my mind set that we were going to have a cooler fall and winter than we have thus far.  The firewood is ready when it does turn cold!

Prep/Storage—I stocked up on some peanuts and cashews.  I picked up a few canned goods while they were on sale this week, but we haven’t really needed to buy anything else.  I picked up the broccoli at the farmers market only because it was so beautiful and the farmer with which I was speaking had run out of the sausage I was hoping to buy.  Hubby planed more of the wood this week.  We are going to use the shavings for around our blueberries.   I checked the garden and was pleased that some of the okra pods are finally drying as opposed to rotting as they have been.  I received the first of the seed catalogs this week in the mail, and I have been trying to resist opening it.  It is a slippery slope into obsession when I start looking at the catalogs!  ;)  I so enjoy reading all of the descriptions and planning what I will grow next year. 

Building Community Food Systems—I made up 10 of the holiday food boxes for distribution at our church food pantry.  Hubby and I donated some items to both the food boxes and to the Thanksgiving baskets we make at church for the shut-ins in our congregation.  Visited the farmers market this weekend—love seeing so many people we know there.  Our next door neighbor surprised us with some homemade sourdough bread, and I’m hoping to get some starter from her soon.  I made up another large pot of soup this week (about 95% local).  A friend had given me two quarts of beef stock just in time for me to make the soup.  We invited friends over for supper and sent all who would take it home with some.  It is so nice to serve those you love the foods grown and preserved by your own hands.  For appetizers we had some of our preserved foods—green tomato salsa with tortilla chips, red onion relish over creamed cheese with crackers, and tapas plates of two kinds of pickles and pickled beets.  It was so nice to see people returning for seconds, especially the children! 

Eat the Food—My favorite meal was the shared meal with friends on Friday evening (soup and appetizers mentioned above).  One friend brought her famous custard.  Another brought some homemade chocolate pie that was still warm.  Another brought some fresh pumpkin bread.  The meal was special because everyone took part in making it so.  The adults relaxed in the living room and talked for a few hours together while the children played and played.  I love those kind of evenings!

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