Been thinking about the conflicts between wanting to stock up, wanting to buy local, and wanting to buy organic - all on a very limited budget. Each of those efforts requires extra spending. I am thinking that all of my spending needs to go toward stocking up, for now. Once I have good tools and at least a few months of supplies, then I can spend more on organic and local sources going forward. I will continue to go to the markets, to garden, and to buy local/organic at every opportunity that does not cost me a lot more. But I am really worried about the effect of the flooding in the Mid-West. I feel like I need to simply get more food put by, faster.
Planted: Planted zinnia seeds in a tray. Cowpeas sprouted within days. With reluctance, I decided not to plant for fall, at least not in the ground. I may have moved by then. Will keep filling movable pots with herbs and greens, and harvest what I already have growing.
Harvested: The first zucchini, and a few young carrots. A black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar from the volunteer dill in the compost pile - for observing, not eating.
Preserved: Dried oregano and sage from the farmer's market.
Prepped/Managed: Bought food service size canisters of bay leaves and black peppercorns. Bought 6 sizable jars of spices at an estate sale. Includes 2 each of whole nutmegs, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger. They could be years old, but it was 50 cents and I stuck them in my pantry for future testing. Also scored four heavy aluminum cookie sheets. *Just* missed getting a reel mower for $5; a man stepped in front of me and picked up the handle. I watched in case he didn't buy it, but he snapped it right up after testing it in the grass. Darn!
Cooked: Tried garlic scapes from the market - good roasted with balsamic vinegar, like asparagus or green beans. DD15 made stir fry with them, too. Bought a jar of raw honey to try. Made a new crockpot sausage recipe that would also work in a solar oven. Pickled fresh beets from the market (instead of canned), to make red beet eggs (a local PA Dutch delicacy) - good practice for my own beets, which will be ready soon. I might try to pickle and can those.
Finally made yogurt - whoo hoo! The crockpot method worked. I used an electronic thermometer with a probe to monitor the temperature of the yogurt on this first batch. Temp might be harder to maintain when ambient room temperature is below 60 in cooler weather. Used a half a gallon of regular store-bought whole milk and half a cup of organic yogurt as a starter. Next, trying it with lovely un-homogenized organic milk.
System-building: Planted basil, marjoram, and marigolds in another neighbor's front planter. Since I am out of space in my own yard, I have to farm other people's yards! Hauling water may be an issue. The little garden we planted with girl up the block is doing well.
Reduced, Reused, Recycled: Freecycling and eBaying extra junk from cleaning the cellar, recycling cardboard. Electric usage is down a little - the girls finally caught on to using the clothesline for almost everything.
Learned: That I was not doing a good job of growing celery. Read up on it, and have now tied the stalks for blanching and am watering more. Found great jam-making website/guru on my food storage list. Researched Bokashi composting.
Library: Berks County Cook Book of Pennsylvania Dutch Recipes. Copyrighted in 1934 by J. Levan, this collection of recipes "from yesteryear", appears to have been sponsored by a department store, Pomeroy's, which advertised itself as a purveyor of fine foodstuffs. (I worked in that department store when I was a teen - it's gone now.) It promises to be a treat to read. A recipe for Stewed Rabbit starts, "Dress and skin a rabbit carefully." Imagine, it was once assumed that one already knew HOW to do that! This treasure, complete with authentic mouse-chewed corner, cost me 50 cents, along with a book of bread machine recipes. Also ordered a used copy of Kitchen Witchery, at the suggestion of another Independence blogger.