November 30, 2010

Independence Days Update, 11/22-11/29

DSC_4846 We participate in Sharon Astyk’s Independence Days Challenge.

The skies have been gray and the weather cold in our area lately.  The steady rain outside will mean that the house won’t be heated from sunlight today. 

We still haven’t turned on our heat, which will mean that we will finally make our goal of waiting until December 1 to turn it on after 4 years of trying!  The temp inside the house read 59 degrees this morning, and though chilly, it hasn’t been unbearable.  A little hot tea, warm breakfast, and cozy clothes keep us comfortable.  We’ve been building fires at night, and I’ve been baking a lot more than I normally do to stay warm.  We are also using space heaters and rice bags that we warm in the microwave to keep us warm.  We, including our 4 1/2 year old daughter, haven’t been burdened by the cold.

Unfortunately I can’t say the same for others.  We have good insulation, reasonably new windows, a pretty well sealed house, two fireplaces, cords of wood stacked, and the money to turn on our heat if we want to.  We have choices and options.  I encounter so many who don’t have those choices.  I know I’ve said this before, but it is heartbreaking to know of so many whose choices lie in keeping their house heated, eating, or buying medications. 

If this need speaks to your heart, I encourage you to contact your utility board to ask about making a donation to the heating fund or making a donation in the pastor’s discretionary fund at  your church.  Churches, community centers, and synagogues are phoned so often this time of the year by people with genuine need. Unfortunately, the funds are not always available to help.

Plant— Nothing planted this week, though after looking at the seed catalogs which are now steadily arriving I wanted to plant and plant and plant

Harvest—Kindling for the fires, parsley, green onions, bok choy

PreserveKumquats and cranberry mustard both canned; turkey soup for the freezer (approx 10 quarts)

Waste Not/Reduce Waste— I’ve been keeping the compost bucket in steady work this week.  I used the water from canning to water the houseplants.  I used the leftover syrup from the kumquats to sweeten a few batches of tea.  As I said above, we still haven’t turned on the heat in the house.

Want Not/Prep/Storage—I cleaned out the freezers and our daughter fed some of the bread that was freezer burned to the birds.  She so enjoyed watching them come and take bits and pieces away.  I cleaned out and organized our laundry room.  We put up our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, which was the earliest I’ve ever put it up.  The advantage is that we’ve been putting up a little decorations here and there, and the house is beginning to look and feel festive. 

I’ve been planning what fruits and vegetables I want to grow this year.  The only problem is where to put them all!  I have a few graphs that I’m starting to draw so that I can make it all fit. 

Building Community Food Systems— A friend shared some chicken broth with me for when I was recovering from surgery. I don’t know about you, but when I’m still not feeling perky, broth is the perfect remedy. 

I talked with our milk farmer about resuming the milk co-op over the winter and need to make some calls to the participants about that.

I will be working in the food pantry later today to make up some more holiday food boxes for distribution.

Eat the Food— Thanksgiving wasn’t the same this year, but it was still nice.  We missed seeing my in-laws, tasting Great Grandma’s homemade noodles and her pumpkin pie, and visiting with everyone.  Even though it was different, my sister and dad did a great job with the cooking and it was wonderful to be with them and play with my little nephews. 

I’ve been recovering very well, and I told my husband that I feel more like myself than I have in almost a year.  Returning to canning and cooking in earnest felt so good.

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