Thursday, February 9, 2012

Independence Days: 02/10/2012

I am actually posting this a day early because tomorrow, I am going to be busy, busy and then right on the road to the north. KY is going to be under a winter weather advisory tomorrow through Saturday. I only hope I get up past it before it starts (I dread driving I-65 during bad weather).

I am still missing my Canon Rebel. I have no idea where I put it. This is the trouble with living 4 hours between two places. I constantly fret over what I left behind (wallet-check, keys-check, compost-check...that sort of thing).

The last week has been a busy, but productive one. I even (drumroll) received multiple compliments from my supervisor! :)

OK, here is my update:

Planted: heirloom tomatoes (I hope not too early); several varieties of hot peppers; eggplant, bell pepper and tomatillos (verde and purple). The cabbage and broccoli I planted a week ago are up and I think I see teeny asaparagas and rhubarb sprouts (probably, wishful thinking!) I also attended a seed starting course through a Permaculture group I recently joined. We learned this guy's technique for dense seed planting and were able to bring a little Ponderosa Pink tomato seedling home. The next two weeks I hope to finish up on most of the seed starting. I may start another round of tomatoes, but we'll see how the early ones go.

Harvested: Eggs

Preserved: Nothing this week

Waste Not: keeping apartment compost to take home each weekend (I found a lidded container to use for storage and I will freeze when weather gets warmer); took cardboard and shredded paper waste at work to recycling center. I saved useful planting containers including toilet paper rolls. Mostly ate vegetarian this week (I had fish twice as I had some in the freezer to use up). I read a book a co-worker loaned me called Forks over Knives and they make the case for a plant based diet. I was a vegetarian for over 13 years. I have been off sugar for 2.5 weeks and feel so much better and I've lost 10 pounds. I think, after I use up what I have left as far as meat goes, I am going on a strictly plant based, whole foods diet (however, I am keeping eggs and possible dairy, but I'm still on the fence on the latter). I have been using up all the lentils and beans I stored (for years) and the food has been fabulous. I guess I should talk about this in Eat the Food.

Want Not: My youngest son Lyndon asked me last night why when we practice tornado drills (or go to the basement in inclement weather) we don't take my sweet dove Peace with us. I guess I just never thought about it. So, together, we made up a new plan that includes putting Peace in his cage (or grabbing him, according to L.) and taking him with us. Pets are family and should be part of the plan. For a four year old, he's an amazingly observant person. That all being said, I guess I will need to store some bird food in the basement for emergencies.

  • This week I stored extra cans of beans, coffee (another thing I really am thinking of weaning myself off of permanently), hulled hemp seeds, tea, and chicken feed.

  • I thrifted a couple of planters for the apartment garden & some cookbooks.

  • I purchased fruit trees, berry canes, and seeds. I also picked up a seeding heat mat at a (KY) local seed & garden company (more on this place in a moment).

  • Worked out (so far) four times (want not health problems or obesity!)

  • Add a couple of reference books to my library.
Eat the Food: As stated above, I made a big pot of lentils and ate on them for most of the week. I bought this spice from Trader Joe's awhile ago called (I think) African Smoked Peppers. It is smoked cayenne peppers and you grind it into your food. I love it and will definitely be going back to TJ to stock up on it.

Build a Sustainable Community: Oh, I had an excellent week here! I joined a Permaculture group and had my first meetup. We learned how to plant using the above referenced technique and then we had a fermentation class. My favorite part was the kefir. I am on the lookout for real kefir grains (it is rumored a local co-op sells them, but I struck out today at one of the locations). I also learned a new technique for capturing sourdough yeast and the presenter brought an awesome cranberry pecan bread spread with creme fraiche. OMG was it ever good! This is why I am torn about giving up dairy. I am looking forward to the next meeting.

I also supported local businesses. I bought my pole bean seeds from a seed company that has been in Louisville for several generations. I met the owner at a conference last month. The shop is really great (they have a great book selection).

Skill Up: Here is a great way to make a sourdough starter. Go out in your yard and find a tree. The teacher used an oak. Take 3-4 leaves and rinse them briefly. Then place the leaves in a Mason jar with a bit of filtered water and shake it like a polaroid (yea, stole that from the Black Eyed Peas!) Then add a few teaspoons of rye and whole wheat flour. Lightly cover it (or use coffee filter and rubberband). Wait a few days and then add enough of the WW flour to make a pancake batter consistency. This is now your starter!! The guy teaching this part dries his extra in a sunny window and we all got to take home our own starter! I also obtained a new kombucha starter (The one I got from a friend a couple of years ago (Hi K!) finally gave out when I transferred to Louisville. Now I can start again. Now I just need that kefir starter!

One more skill up this week: The wonderful tasting creme fraiche! Take organic heavy cream and put 2-3 Tablespoons of buttermilk into it. Cover with the coffee filter and put in warmish spot (like the top of a refrigerator). In a few days you'll end up with something similar to cream cheese


Rae said...

you had a pretty awesome week! i've been thinking about trying to cut out sugar. i'm scared of doing it!
we've cut out dairy at home and i have been surprised how easy it was! i still eat dairy when i go out, but way less than i used too.
the forks over knives movie is really good too!

fullfreezer said...

I never heard of getting your yeast off leaves. Interesting. I just started sourdough this week and made my first loaves yesterday. I've seen several people posting about sourdough- it must be the season for it!
You did amazingly well. I can't imagine starting tomatoes yet. Still WAAAAAY too early for that here- at least in a normal year. This year... who knows.


Gina said...

Hi Rae: I am thinking I can give up dairy pretty easy (well, maybe with a little effort since I love cheese. I actually think eggs wold be a bigger challenge for me. I have decided to eliminate my eggs only to the ones I raise up here in Indiana (they get to live normal lives) or ones I know came from a loved flock (as hippy as that sounds, LOL!!) The drive for vegetarianism seems to be coming back to me naturally.

Judy: I probably simiplified it a bit, but it seemed easy. Unfort, I can't find anything on the web. I bought a copy of Breads from La Brea Bakery at a thrift store and (even tho I've had it for about a year) read it cover to cover (this was one he recommended). I am going to try to make my own using grapes as a catalyst (until I can pick leaves).

Yes, way too early for No. IN too! Those will be started at the end of feb or beginning of mar.

It's funny how we all seem to cycle the same trends! I've noticed this on the thrift blogs as well (and most of the times there is no initial prompt. We are all true kindred spirits I think!)