November 30, 2009

Independence Days Update

We participate in Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge.   This is our weekly update.  The weather is becoming colder in our neck of the woods.  When we have a bit of warm weather, we try to stay outside as long as possible and drink up the sunlight. 

We visited family for Thanksgiving in OH.  (We brought the most energy efficient car and drove the speed limit to reduce fuel usage).  We listened to the two Laura Ingles Wilder books, and our daughter was so excited about them.  “Are you going to turn on my Laura book again?”  My husband had never read them, and I think he enjoyed them as much as she did. 

We saw our first snow of the year on the day after Thanksgiving in OH.  Our daughter was so upset when it melted and wanted to make a snowman.  Perhaps we’ll see a big snow in East TN this year—one can hope.

Plant—Nothing planted this week.

Harvest—Onions, turnip greens, parsley, kale, and jalapeños

Preserve—I’ll be pickling jalapeños today, added turkey stock to the freezer, made yogurt

Reduce Waste—The weather has been cooler, but we’re trying to hold out until December 1 until we turn on the heat.  Since this is the last day of the month, we should be able to last.  ;)  I brought the plastics and aluminum cans home from one of our daughter’s friend’s birthday parties.  I was made fun of a bit for that one.  I know I should be more secure in my commitment to taking these actions, but it still hurts my feelings when people make fun of me for this kind of thing. I try not to make a fuss over it or be judgmental toward others, and yet by a simple act of recycling I’m an outsider.  On the positive side, my friend did say she had picked up a cheaper Styrofoam plate but put it back and chose another option thinking of me. 

Prep/Storage—Hubby planed wood and used the shaving around the blueberries and play areas.  I sorted closets and under sinks.  I purchased some canned pineapple and organic macaroni and cheese to add to storage.

Building Community Food Systems—We received eggs from a friend with chickens as a barter for baby-sitting her daughter.  (Though there was no need for her to pay me, as we often care for each other’s children).  I sent her home with a sweet potato casserole.  For some strange reason this year I doubled the recipe and did not know what I would do with the extras.  She commented on how yummy it smelled baking, and I was so pleased to send it home with her for her Thanksgiving dinner.  She was so appreciative and said that she would bring me some more eggs next time she sees me as a thank you.  How wonderful!

I talked with my sister about game for this winter.  She said that her husband has taken a deer this year and hopes for another one.  If my husband is unable to take on this year, we’ll split the cost of processing with her and take some of her venison. 

Eat the Food—Our favorite meal this week, of course, was Thanksgiving.  We spent the holiday with family in OH, and it was so nice to visit with everyone.  My sister in law whipped us all at a game of Gin Rummy, and the children played and played together.  Grandma made her famous homemade noodles which she cooks in chicken stock for a side dish to the meal.  She has taught me how to make them in the past, and I’m determined to perfect the recipe using home milled wheat.  I’m sure there will be a lot of trial and error. 

Our contributions to the meal were Yum Yum Sweet Potato casserole—a Southern recipe that involves way too much butter and way too much sugar for anyone’s good.  Everyone loves it, though, and so we make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  As a healthier option we also brought some roasted butternut squash sweetened with a bit of maple syrup and molasses.  We packed some of our home canned spiced beets and homemade sodas for extra treats.  I really didn’t expect any of them to try the beets, but Grandma liked them so much she wanted to keep what was left of them.  She said she hadn’t had ones that were that good since she was young.  It did my heart good to see her so happy about it. 

We bring our Christmas gifts to the extended family on Thanksgiving so that we can give them to them in person and not need to ship them.  This year we gave a gift basket with hot pepper jelly, peach jam, canned pears and a recipe for how to cook them, homemade sodas, and pecans.  Because so few people can where they live, they really seem to enjoy the home canned foods we bring for the holidays. 

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