Thursday, June 24, 2010

A little of what I am up to

Home again! Last week, I attended Knitters Connection in Columbus Ohio. I had a total blast (yeah, that 80's teen in me won't die). I took a spinning lesson, and learned tons. I bought way too much wool (is there such a thing?), and I spent quality time with dear friends! All in all, a great way to spend my 42 birthday (last Wed.)

The garden is exploding with food! There have been many salads, broccoli, peas, carrots, onions, beets! Soon, I will be swamped with tomatoes. Most of them will need to be canned to enjoy this summer.

I have been putting up lots of berry jams. I should do a video on it because it is super simple.

I have had several job interviews. Next week is THE ONE I think. When the principal called me about the interview, he basically told me what to say in the interview! Wish me luck.

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grandma Put it All in a Jar!

I have lifted this ode of love to canned goods from Ashley English over at Small Measure. I have been using her book to can many jars of strawberry jam.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Thinking about food

I am making the leap into growing food (my weekly garden updates are evidence of that). While I am enjoying my small garden, I have been putting more thought into where the food I buy comes from. Buying a can of organic corn in the supermarket that has been shipped from who knows where uses more fossil fuels and therefore harms the plant more than local food grown with non-organic practices. I am lucky enough that I am able to supplement what I can't produce in my backyard with locally produced foods, which is much better for the planet.

Local strawberries that I processed and made into the most delicious jam. While I didn't grown them myself, they came from less than 10 miles away.

All cut up and mixed with sugar and fresh squeezed lemon juice, it was hard to save them for the jam!

Dinner last night was so amazing, and so local! The salad and most of the veggies were from my garden. I baked the bread myself, and the eggs were from local, free-range chickens. Very tasty meal.

For dinner tonight, I took beans from my garden, some organic potatoes, and locally produced bacon and made this:

I won't embarrass your dinner by describing how fantastically good this meal was. I can't wait for breakfast tomorrow; more local bacon with free range local eggs, and homemade strawberry jam!

Happy knitting!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Things on my mind

I have become increasingly interested in the idea of backyard or urban homesteading. The name is a little misleading because it isn't really homesteading. Rather, it is about self-sufficiency, independence, greener living, frugal living, and (for me) a more authentic way of life. With the price of so-called "organic" foods so high, the dangers of produce from other countries, and the huge amount of fossil fuels used to bring most goods to the store, I have decided that I want to be a producer, not a consumer.

The idea of producing more of what I use at home seems to be compatible with being a knitter and a spinner (not to mention a quilter, a soap maker, and a home baker). I have become interested in backyard chickens (I am still checking my local laws), and I am obsessed with pygora goats (which I may also be able to keep in town). Angora rabbits are very doable for me right now.

I have had a garden in the past, but this year, I have expanded my garden, and I am growing a wider verity of foods. My plan is to increase my small garden each year until I am able to produce a greater percentage of what I eat. I also plan to buy as much as I can at the local farmer's markets and preserve as much local food as possible for use in the winter months.

So, this post is an update on my urban sustainable homestead.
Sly loves blueberries, so when I saw bushes for sale at the garden center, I had to buy one. There are lots of berries, but this little guy might be ready to eat soon!

Regular readers know that I love my clothesline. It is a simple, easy, and cost effective way to start living more sustainably. Sly built this clothesline for my about 5 years ago. It cost around $50. Every couple of years we spend about $10 on a new line, clothes pins, and other small necessary items.

This is one of my raised beds. I am thrilled with how well everything is doing well, and I have several things close to harvest.

Broccoli that should be ready to eat soon. I am very excited because it is my favorite veggie.

Green beans are another favorite of mine. In addition to my two raised beds, I have a small container garden to increase my harvest.

Another of my container plants has visible signs of life. I use green bell peppers in so many things. I am not sure where this little guy will end up, but I know it will be great.

My first two tomatoes. I am very tempted to fry these little guys in bacon fat right now! I will be up to my eyeballs in tomatoes in just a few weeks. All my plants are covered in cute little, yellow flowers.

I really needed to thin out my lettuce plants, so I had a simple salad with my dinner tonight. The greens were very good, and nice and tender. Now the others will have room to grow nice and big.

Finally, my first attempt at canning. I bought some strawberries from a local farmer's market. There were way more than I would eat, so I thought I would do a small batch of jam. I think they are almost too pretty to eat!

Happy knitting, gardening, and cooking!