December 14, 2009

Independence Days Update

We participate in Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge.   This is our weekly update. 

Plant—Nothing planted this week.  It has been pretty cold and wet in our area.  I doubt I’ll plant anything outside until late January or early February.  I’ve been enjoying reading through the first of the seed catalogs that have arrived in the mail. 

Harvest—Kale and onions

Preserve—Nothing preserved this week.

Reduce Waste—We gleaned some toys and a few other items from the house and donated them to Goodwill.  My husband cleaned out our storage room, and we found a few toys in good condition that were ours.  We’ll pass them to our daughter as part of her Christmas gifts.  I sorted through bags of hand-me-downs both my daughter and I had received.  I had a few extra goodies that I passed on to friends as hand-me-downs.

Prep/Storage—Murphy’s Law has hit us hard over the course of the last two weeks.  My grandmother passed away, we have a major plumbing issue that we’ll have to address, and we have some chimney repairs that need to be made.  The chimney issue led to another problem that resulted in a need to clean a rug.  While it is in no way pleasing to have to make so many repairs and tend to so many problems in a short period of time, we are glad that we are supporting local businesses by doing so. 

I used scrap fabric and rice to make rice bags as gifts this week.  My husband will be turning/lathing honey dippers and possibly a few other things.  I mended a sweater that had a hole in the arm.  I should have worked on a few more sewing projects this weekend, but I wasn’t that motivated.

I stocked up on a few items this week: soups, organic chickens, peanut butter, soy sauce, mayonnaise, organic popcorn, and cabbage.

Building Community Food Systems—Daughter dearest and I assisted in the distribution of the Angel Food Ministry at our church on Saturday.  I think that our daughter offered more comic relief than actual assistance, but I think it is good for her to be there all the same.  I checked the food pantry there to see if any boxes needed to be made, but we still have holiday boxes from last time I made them.  This is a bit surprising to me, as we had all expected to have more people in need of assistance once the weather started to cool. 

I bought some eggs from a friend who has chickens.  We have a local Frontier co-op group, and I helped to place the order this week. 

Eat the Food—It was nice to have meals prepared at home this week.  After a week of travel food, I really appreciate home cooked food.  I enjoyed the completely local meal of venison tenderloin (from last year’s deer and stored in the freezer with rosemary and onions picked from the garden), roasted acorn squash (stored from the CSA this early fall), and kale (from the garden) the most.  We thinly sliced the leftover venison and used it in quesadillas the next day, and it was delicious! 


  1. How do you store winter squash? I bought about 40 last year,put them in my basement & they lasted for months. I bought from a different local farmer this year and they are molding like crazy- within weeks. Was I was just lucky last year or is there something I should have done? Only diff is they are on the concrete floor instead of on a bakers rack- could that be why? Thanks. Enjoy your blog. polkstina at hotmail.

  2. There are a few things that could have happened.
    If you bought them from a different farmer, they could have failed to cure them outside. The squash stems need to seal over, and their skins harden outside. The later in the season that they are picked, the more cured they are. I leave ours on the vine until they are fully colored (for butternut squash, they turn that deep orange yellow color instead of the pale yellow.)

    The farmer could have washed the squash. I wipe the dirt and grass off with a paper towel, but I do not clean them. When you clean them, it takes some of their protective layer off.

    If they were picked when it was very wet outside, they could have failed to cure properly.

    If they have been bumped or bruised and the skin failed to scab, that can promote decay.

    You said that you stored them on concrete. I do not know how cold your home is, but if they were stored on concrete there is a chance that they could have frozen without your knowing it. When they freeze and then defrost, they lose some of their integrity and can rot more quickly. THe bakers rack probably offered more air flow to reduce the risk of mold growing.

    If you have room in the freezer, you can salvage what you have left. Take the ones that are not moldy and roast them. Remove the roasted pulp once finished cooking and cool it. When fully cool, add to pyrex or zip top bags and place in the freezer. It won't be perfect, but you can use them for pies, muffins, etc. You can also pressure can winter squashes if you have that equipment. I think that freezing is preferred because of its ease, though.
    I hope this helps!