Thursday, July 3, 2008

Independence Challenge - Week 10

Planted: More cabbage transplants, more basil transplants. Those three flats that were labeled lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage - I am no loner sure any of them were labeled right. The "head lettuce" looks and feels like cabbage (above). Oh well, we will see what grows. If those are cabbage, I'm going to have to thin the ones in fish boxes.

Harvested: Carrots, rosemary, parsley, basil, green onions. I pulled up two potato plants that were wilted and got 1.5 lb of new red potatoes - enough for skillet-smashed taters with garden herbs.

Preserved: Froze 2 lbs. of raspberries. Dried local sage and oregano from the market. Froze fresh-squeezed lemon juice in cubes, and dried grated lemon rind. Froze mashed bananas in 1 cup baggies.

I was planning to can cherry pie filling, but we went through 13lb of cherries like locusts. Obviously, we need to pick FAR more cherries for me to have any left to can.

Cooked: Although it was hot, we made pie. DH made Coconut Sweet Potato Pie that was to-die-for, for a family picnic. My Pickled Red Beet Eggs went over fairly well - but its hard to top PIE. I also made sweet cherry yogurt, and a new banana bread recipe with spelt flour.

Baked a big spiral ham from the freezer, that I bought for only about $6 - a warehouse store near me heavily discounted Easter hams when they neared expiration. Next year, I will buy more hams. We got dinner, a large pasta salad I call "Ham on Rye", breakfast ham slices, and a lot of sandwiches from that.

Bought 4 more 8' bamboo poles at the market. Bought a year+ of red miso paste - it's a Japanese import, but I am wary of US soy products, which are 90% from GMO seeds. There are organic US producers, but none closer than Massachusetts, and I can't find it locally.

Bought a cherry pitter. Stored ketchup, mayo, cider vinegar, ground cumin, soy sauce, cane sugar, honey, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide. During a long car ride, we all worked on making a list of toiletries and other personal necessities that each person wanted to stock up, and estimated how much we would use in a year.

Reduced, Reused, Recycled: Bought a big box of old church candles to use and/or remelt into votives. Trash-picked 2 boxes of Gulf canning paraffin. Approached landlord about insulating attic, in case we are still here in next winter.

Local: Attended a screening of Good Food, a film about the Seattle area's organic farming community. Met a lot of new and interesting people, and heard about a group that might be starting to carpool for food shopping (too far from me, but useful as a model). Thinking harder about how to get involved, feeling a project coalescing, but feeling uncertain about our own family's future in this specific place.

Did some matchmaking at our small Sunday producer market: the soapmaker was having trouble finding lye, and I introduced her to the pretzel-maker, who also uses lye - they can buy cooperatively.

Learned: That Pennsylvania has a strong wind energy community, apparently a pet project of current PA governor Ed Rendell. Learned how to manually pollinate zucchini.

I have been collecting slow cooker recipes. I like the convenience, and it's a great substitute for the oven in the summer. Also, most slow cooker recipes will easily transfer to a solar cooker. But I hate the old "canned soup" style of recipe - I want to use fresh and whole foods. Found a good cookbook at the library: Better Than Mom's Slow Cooker Recipes, that I am buying used on Amazon. Lots of recipes with fresh herbs, beans, inexpensive cuts of meat, etc.

Ordered A Modern Herbal (Volumes 1&2) by Margaret Grieve. An older (1971), well-reviewed two-volume reference that sounds like the comprehensive guide I need.


LisaZ said...

Maude Grieve's _A Modern Herbal_ is a great book! It is available free online. I have a link to it on my herbal blog,

I would love to have a hard copy of it! Where did you find it?

Lisa in MN

Matriarchy said...

I found the two volumes listed separately on Amazon, and ordered each one used from a Marketplace seller. But I have not gotten them in the mail, yet. Thanks for reminding me - I need to follow up on that.

Matriarchy said...

Oh, and I paid about $16 for the set, with shipping. Each volume was about $4, plus $4 shipping.